- Danielle came clean to her family about having spent time in rehab for a drinking problem. Josh encouraged her to confront whatever it was that drove her to drink in the first place.
- Ryan expressed to Sarah how sorry he was for her loss and pleaded for a chance to spend some time with her, but she shut him out.
- Diane told both Sarah and Brian about her argument with Tim and wondered if she could stay with him, knowing how he still feels about Claire.
- Tim returned from his trip to New York with Travis and Samantha.
BRENT & MOLLY TAYLOR'S HOUSE
After she puts her nephews to bed, Danielle Taylor returns to the family room of her brother and sister-in-law's new house. She is grateful for the quiet time alone. With Molly spending so much time at the hospital with Brent lately, the twins have largely been Danielle's responsibility. She does not mind helping out one bit, but some time to herself is greatly appreciated.
With the television droning on, she curls up on the couch. She is almost comfortable here--almost. She never quite forgets, however, that she is a guest in someone else's home, that none of this is really hers. Brent and Molly might say otherwise, but to Danielle, being here is a constant, lingering reminder of how little permanence she has achieved in her life.
That thought drives her to reach for the cordless phone for the umpteenth time today. She has wanted to make this call for days and days, but she keeps finding excuses to put it off.
Not this time.
She dials the familiar number and is greeted with a "Hello?" after only one ring.
"Melanie. It's Danielle."
"Hi!" her old friend exclaims. "Did you get my message? How is Brent holding up?"
"He's doing well. His spirits are actually pretty high. It'll take some getting used to, but I have faith in him." Danielle gathers her resolve and spits out the next part before Melanie can cut her off: "I need to talk to you about something."
"What about? Is everything okay?"
"Maybe." Danielle feels like even her insides are shaking now; her first instinct is to pour herself a drink, but she reminds herself that that will not help--it will only make things worse. She keeps talking in hopes of keeping alcohol off her mind.
"I know we have a plan," she says, knowing that Melanie can tell exactly what she is talking about, "but I was thinking hoping that there might be some room for revision."
"What are you talking about?"
"Elly. I want to tell her the truth. I need her to know."
DIANE BISHOP'S CONDOMINIUM
Diane Bishop senses that something is going on before she even walks through the door. Something about the place feels tense. It is no surprise, then, when she enters her condo and finds Tim Fisher sitting there in silence, waiting for her.
"You're back! How was the trip?" she asks as Tim rises and embraces her, kisses her on the cheek. There is something programmed about the gestures, as though he knows they are expected and is merely fulfilling the required schedule of events.
"It was great. It was really nice to have that time with the kids. They both loved New York."
"And where's my daughter? I'm dying to see her."
"She's at my parents'," Tim says. "They wanted to catch up with her and I thought we could use the time alone."
Diane knows that he is right. After the way they left things, she has been unable to imagine what this first encounter would be like. A full-scale fight? An awkward acknowledgement followed by weeks of tiptoeing around the issue? She is not sure that she would prefer either choice; they both sound awful in their own ways. Even the (admittedly distant) possibility of a joyous reunion seems off, given the discussion they had before Tim left for New York.
"How have you been?" Tim asks. "I missed you."
She can see that the accusation, slight as it was, has offended Tim, and that brings her a strange sense of pleasure. He does care about her, that much she knows for certain.
He tries again: "How are things at work? I can't say I didn't appreciate having a break. Anything big going on?"
Diane stares him down and finally says, "We are not doing this."
"Making small talk. Catching up. Not when there's this gigantic thing hanging over us."
Tim nods and, with a look like he is conceding defeat, says, "You've had all this time to think. What have you decided?"
"What, you're not a part of this?"
"You know where I stand," Tim says, sitting down again. "My feelings aren't going to magically change. I wish I could make them, but--"
"Don't sugarcoat this for me, Tim. I'm not--" Claire. She stops short of saying it aloud. "If you want to break up with me, just do it."
"I'm not trying to break up with you!"
The force of his voice is enough to convince her, and she wonders--for the first time, really, since he left for the trip--if they can really make this work. If he wants it, and if she wants it
"But it's up to you," he continues. "You know what my feelings are. I'm not running back to Claire just because she's single again, but there will always be something there. And I'll give you everything I can."
"How romantic," she mutters, and immediately she is embarrassed by how bitter it sounds.
"I'm sorry I can't offer you a neat, little package and call it true love and never question it," Tim says. "So the question is: is what we have enough for you?"
Dirty dishes, silverware, and other remnants of dinner cover the dining room table. Paula Fisher gathers the plates and carries them to the kitchen. On the way, she passes her husband, who is on his way to help her out.
"It's so nice having Travis and Samantha back, isn't it?" Paula says.
Bill's face says it all: as wonderful as it is to have their grandkids in their house, Travis's attitude toward Claire is less than encouraging.
Knowing what is on Bill's mind, Paula says, "I hope she's able to get through to him." She is careful to keep her volume down, as Claire is currently upstairs with the kids, having them--or at least Samantha--show her the photos and souvenirs from their New York trip.
Paula loads the dishes into the dishwasher, and soon Bill is beside her with the glasses in his hands. She steps aside to allow him to load those.
"Sarah told me that she ran into Ryan," she says, with all the subtlety of dropping a 50-pound weight on Bill's head.
Bill pauses and turns to her. They have discussed Ryan very little since the explosion and the revelations about Ryan having shot Nick. At first, it was as though they were too shell-shocked to talk about it, and then it seemed taboo, something understood but unspoken.
"She said he was practically begging her, in the middle of the mall, to spend some time with him. Same as he did with Jason."
Bill's response is swift: "I hope she told him to get lost."
"She did, more or less." It makes her sad to think of Ryan that way. She knows Bill can see her softening.
"Don't let him get to you."
As Bill returns to the dining room, Paula lingers by the open dishwasher. Mixed feelings compete for space within her. Thinking about Ryan this way, begging for his own family to listen to him, breaks her heart, but then she thinks about what he was ready to do to Tim.
"I just wish I'd been able to do something for him," she says as Bill returns with the rest of the dishes. "To keep him from letting things become so bad."
His lack of sympathy for Ryan apparent, Bill says, "The damage to Ryan was done long before you met him. The people who raised him--they were monsters."
"Because I gave him away."
"No. It isn't your fault that he wound up as Nick's son, or that Stan became a part of his life again." Seeing her uncertainty, he quickly adds, "And you gave him a chance. We all did. Look at how that nearly destroyed our family."
She knows that he is right. Everything he is saying makes perfect sense. But Ryan is still her son.
"We have an obligation to the kids we raised," Bill says as he shuts the dishwasher. "Look at the way we treated Tim, thinking he might have been a murderer all those months. He's the one we let down, not Ryan."
Paula wants so badly to argue with that, but nothing that comes to mind is right. Guilt once again overtakes her as she thinks of the shabby way that they regarded Tim, how they all accepted that he must have been far enough gone to have killed Nick and Lola.
"We all need a fresh start," Bill says, "and that can't include Ryan. Not after everything that's happened."
Nodding slowly, Paula turns on the water to rinse her hands. It runs for minutes, drowning out the world around her and letting her fall into her thoughts. Things are back to the way they always were: she and Bill have four children. That's it.
But as much as she would like to be able to put Ryan out of her mind, she cannot do it.
You have to, she tells herself as she shuts the water, forcing herself to snap back to reality. For the family you do have, you have to let him go.
BRENT & MOLLY TAYLOR'S HOUSE
Danielle holds her breath as she awaits Melanie's response. She is already kicking herself mentally. She sounded too demanding, too unsympathetic.
"What?" Melanie finally says, sounding more confused than anything. "Why now? Did something happen?"
"No." Something has happened, but Danielle cannot even put it into words. A switch has been flipped inside her, maybe, and the accumulation of years of secrets can no longer be stored inside her this way.
"This isn't what we agreed upon," Melanie says.
"I know. And I'm sorry for springing this on you. I know how crazy it must sound."
"It does sound crazy. I don't understand why you're doing this now."
"Because I'm working so hard to get my life together," Danielle says, as she focuses on a reflection of herself in the sliding glass door. "I tried to tell myself that this part could be left out of my recovery, but if I'm honest with myself, it's a huge part of why my drinking got so bad in the first place."
She and Melanie have hardly spoken since Danielle told her old friend that she spent time in rehab. She hasn't thought much about the lack of communication; they often go weeks and weeks without speaking at all, and then they have an hours-long catch-up session. Now she wonders if Melanie and her husband have spent the last few weeks wondering how much of a loose cannon Danielle is, reflecting back on her past behavior and adding it up in light of this new information.
No, they're my friends, she tells herself as she waits for some kind of response. They aren't judging me for this.
"Danielle, we made you her godmother because you promised this wouldn't be an issue. It hasn't been an issue for fifteen years! Why now?"
"Because I can't hold it in any longer," Danielle says. "Maybe it's my fault for ever deluding myself into thinking this arrangement could work. I'm not asking for you to hand her over. I just want her to know that she's my--"
"I can't talk about this right now," Melanie cuts her off. "I can't do this to my family because you have an impulse. I'm sorry, Danielle."
A click signifies that Melanie has ended the call, and Danielle slowly puts down the phone. She should have expected that it would turn out this way. Anything else was wishful thinking.
She stands from the couch. Catching another glimpse of her reflection, she turns away and makes tracks for the twins' nursery. The room is perfectly quiet, the silence blemished only by the boys' soft breathing as they sleep.
Danielle stands over Caleb's crib and watches him sleep, watches his little body rise and fall with calm breaths. She feels the pressure behind her eyes increase, and though she tells herself not to let it happen, the resistance is only momentary. Tears roll down her cheeks as she watches the baby sleep and wonders how things could have been for her.
DIANE BISHOP'S CONDOMINIUM
"It's up to me, then?" Diane asks. "I say I'm okay with it, and we go back to the way things have been. And if I'm not "
" then that's it." Tim sighs and folds his hands in his lap.
She can see how heavily this is weighing upon him, and it bolsters her confidence. He does care about her--she might even go so far as to call it love--and really, shouldn't that be the only thing that matters?
"Things are nice like this," Tim says. "You, me, Samantha, living here together. It's really good."
Holding her lips together tightly as she attempts to straighten things out in her head, Diane nods. Finally, her thoughts clear enough to put into words, she speaks.
"Years ago, if you'd told me we would wind up here, having this conversation, I would've called you crazy," she says. "You were so kind and stable and--normal. You're a good guy, Tim, a genuinely good guy."
One side of his mouth lifts in an awkward, embarrassed half-smile.
"You are," she says. "I would've done anything to have that in my life. God, I did do just about everything." She cringes at how outlandish some of her past efforts were.
"That's all in the past," Tim says. "Besides, if you hadn't been so persistent, we wouldn't have Samantha."
"Yeah. But that woman--that desperate, crazy woman I was--that is not someone I want to be."
"That's not who you are."
"No." It isn't. Sometimes, when she wakes up beside Tim, she has a flash of guilt and has to remind herself that she hasn't done anything wrong, that he chooses to be with her now. She didn't have to manipulate him into this.
"But that's what scares me," she says. "I appreciate how honest you've been with me, but knowing how you still feel about Claire--can I really live my life that way? Or is it going to eat away at me until I turn back into that desperate nutjob who's doing everything in her power to hang onto you?"
She sees Tim's face fall. He gets it.
"I don't want it to be up to me alone. I can't spend my life feeling like I've settled," she says. "Maybe, when we first met, that would have been enough for me, but not today."
After a long silence, Tim looks directly at her. "I'm sorry."
"Me, too." She crosses her arms in front of her chest. The room feels cold now.
Tim rises from his chair. "I'm going to get some of my things. I should spend the night at my parents' tonight."
Diane doesn't protest. Her initial instinct is to tell him to stay for one last night, or at least one last romp, but that will only make this harder.
She watches him disappear into the bedroom that they have shared, the bedroom that is now solely hers again. She feels a twinge of doubt, but it fades quickly. This is right; she meant every word that she said. Maybe she just threw away the best thing she will ever have, and maybe there is not something better out there for her, but she has to find that out for herself.
END OF EPISODE #463
happens next for Diane and Tim?
What is going on with Danielle?
Will Paula continue to shut out Ryan?
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