Episode #476

- Travis spotted Elly at the mall with Danielle and learned that she is Danielle’s goddaughter.
- Courtney told an ecstatic Jason about her pregnancy.
- Lauren secretly scheduled a biopsy for the lump that Josh found in her breast.
- Cliff offered Trevor a great deal of money to return to adult films.


When Travis Fisher descends the stairs of his grandparents’ home, tired of competing for Nintendo Wii time with his sister and cousins, the family’s Christmas celebration is in full swing. The adults swirl around, drinks and appetizers in hand, as holiday music fills the air. Travis finds his way over to his father, who is chatting with Uncle Brent.

“When’s dinner gonna be ready?” Travis asks as soon as there is an opening in the conversation.

“Another fifteen, twenty minutes,” Tim says. “Don’t worry, I just checked.”

“How’s it going?” Brent asks Travis.

“Fine. Sam and Tori won’t stop playing that bowling game. I got sick of waiting.”

“I hope Caleb and Christian aren’t being too annoying,” Brent says.

Travis shakes his head. “Way less annoying than the girls. Don’t worry.”

Suddenly, something occurs to Travis. If Brent and Molly are here, then maybe…

“Did Danielle come with you guys?” he asks.

“No, she’s hanging out at the house. We had our big celebration with her and Josh last night.”

“Oh.” It takes him a moment to figure out how to steer things toward what he really wants to discuss. “I ran into her at the mall last week. And that… girl who was visiting.”

“Elly. She’s a good kid. She’s Danielle goddaughter.”

Folding his arms, Travis tries to be as casual as possible as he asks, “So is she, like, staying up here now?”

“She was having a rough time at home,” Brent explains, “but Danielle finally convinced her to go back and hear her parents out. She’s going back for New Year’s.”

“Oh, really?” Shut up, Travis’s brain tells him. She’s some random girl you met twice. Get over it.

“Why, are you interested?” Brent asks.

“No.” Travis glances from Brent to Tim, as they exchange a look. “Just curious.”

“Uh-huh,” Tim says, his tone making it clear that he doesn’t believe Travis at all.

“Whatever. I don’t even know her,” Travis insists, his face suddenly growing warmer.

Thankfully, the front door to the house swings open, and their attention shifts there as Jason walks in… followed by Courtney, her parents, and Alex.

Tim moves toward his younger brother. “Didn’t realize you were bringing a whole troop over,” Tim says, and then he moves to greet the Chases and Alex.

“I figured they should be here for this,” Jason says. Before Tim can ask what he means, Jason raises his voice: “Hey, everyone! Can I get your attention?”

Courtney closes the front door and then snuggles up to Jason. They beam as they wait for the family to quiet down and listen to whatever it is they have to say.


Trevor Brooks’s cell phone is heavy in his pocket as he sits at the dining room table with his sister, mother, and father. The family’s Christmas feast, some of Roz’s best take-out ordering work (but accompanied by her traditional homemade cake), is spread before them, but cheer and mirth are nowhere to be found tonight. All Trevor can think about is how much of a mess his life has become in the past year: his relationship with Alex has fallen apart, his career has lost all its momentum, and it is up to him to decide whether he is ready to accept Cliff Burkett’s offer to star in another video. All he has to do is make that phone call.

“You’ve hardly touched your food,” Roz says, staring across the table at Trevor. “I know how much you look forward to this ham.”

“Sorry,” he says, and he genuinely means it. He is sorry for being such a screw-up, sorry for ruining Christmas last year and for being such a downer this year. “I don’t have much of an appetite.”

“What is with you two? You’re like a pair of pups who just had a bad run-in with a skunk,” Roz says.

Trevor makes a face at his mother’s colorful metaphor, though it is one of her more sedate ones. He notices that Lauren, seated beside him, looks just as miserable as he feels.

“Come on, you two, it’s Christmas,” Patrick says as he helps himself to another scoop of garlic mashed potatoes.

Lauren glances up from her plate. Her facial features are tight, as if she is balancing them just so for fear of breaking something. “It feels a little weird this year, that’s all,” she says.

“We’ve got to do something about these two,” Roz says to her husband. “I know it feels like it, but getting your hearts broken is not the end of the world.”

“It’ll get easier,” Patrick adds. “Both of you have had tough years, but things will get better. You’ll meet new people--or maybe things will work out with Josh and Alex. You never know.”

Trevor and Lauren exchange a skeptical look. They haven’t discussed their mutual misery much--only in the vaguest of terms, perhaps to give each other permission to continue wallowing. Now that their parents are home for Christmas, however, that permission seems shaky at best.

Roz heaps more food onto both her grown children’s plates, as if that will help matters. “I want you two to try and enjoy yourselves. Maybe you can even trick yourselves into thinking that you’re having fun.”

“I wish I could do that, but I don’t know if there’s any way I can enjoy this,” Lauren says, dropping her fork onto her plate with a loud clang and shoving the plate away from her.

“Don’t be melodramatic,” Roz says, her voice walking the tightrope between comforting and scolding. “You had a relationship that didn’t work. Yeah, it hurts, but it’s not the end of the world. A little bit of romance gone bad never killed anyone.”

“This might,” Lauren spits.

All eyes lock on her, surprised by the sharpness of her tone, by a surprising seriousness to her words.

“It isn’t Josh I’m upset about,” she says, staring down at the food she has rejected. “It’s the biopsy I’m having next week.”


Their reaction is just delayed.

Or that’s what Jason Fisher wants to believe, anyway. As soon as he and Courtney announce her pregnancy to his entire family, he expects some joyous shouting, some clapping of hands, some frenzied hugging. Something besides glancing around like they’re trying to see where the cameras are hidden.

“Helen and Don did way better than this,” Jason says to the family, almost silent but for some muttering.

“You’re serious?” Bill asks, stepping forward. “We didn’t know…”

“We weren’t planning to tell anyone about us--yet--” Jason throws Courtney a sideways look, to reassure her about where he stands on this whole thing. “--but this happened, and it’s--it’s perfect.”

“Congratulations,” Paula says. She moves to hug Courtney and then him. The movements, the sounds, they are exactly what a woman should do when she finds out she is about to become a grandmother, but to Jason, something seems off. Not genuine.

The rest of the family follows suit. Tim and Molly, to whom the news of him and Courtney being involved isn’t a shock, are first. The rest follow, offering hugs and kisses and exclamations of complete shock.

“We were shocked, too,” Helen says to Paula. “We had no idea.”

“What are your plans?” Paula asks Jason and Courtney, as everyone else swarms around, discussing their great surprise and catching up on who knew what at which point.

“We’re having a baby!” Jason says, unable to keep the excitement from his voice. “And the money isn’t a problem, obviously.”

His mother does not seem to catch his blind enthusiasm. “No, of course not. But there are other things to consider. Will you live together? Are you planning to get married? Who will take care of the baby when you’re both working?”

Instinctively, Jason and Courtney turn to each other--and, for the first time since Courtney’s announcement, neither of them has anything to say.

“We’re still figuring stuff out,” he tells his mother. “I just found out a little while ago myself.”

“I’m just coming to the end of the first trimester,” Courtney says. “We have time.”

“Of course. I hope you both know how excited I am for you, and how excited I am to have another grandchild on the way. But I want you to know how serious this is, too. Your lives are no longer just about you.”

“We know, Mom.” Jason does his best to maintain a cheery façade, but inside he is seething, his blood reaching a boil and his muscles achy with frustration. This was supposed to be their big moment. Why does she have to bring them down? There will be plenty of time for practical considerations later… plenty of time.

“We’re going to need some help,” Courtney admits, looking to both their mothers, who seem pleased by the acknowledgment.

Jason wants to be mad at her for caving just a little bit, for daring to admit that their mothers might be right. But when Courtney squeezes his hand, he reminds himself that none of it matters. They will figure out the specifics. Right now, all that matters is that this woman, his first love, is having his child. They are going to be parents. He won’t let anyone ruin that joy for him, for them, no matter what.


Lauren’s pronouncement crashes into the Brooks’ Christmas dinner with all the grace of a cement block being dropped in the middle of the table.

“Biopsy? For what?” Roz asks.

Trevor watches his sister carefully. How did he not know something was going on? They have been living in this house together, talking to each other--though, apparently, not enough.

“I found something,” Lauren says. “A lump.”

“Oh, honey.” Roz slides out of her seat and is at Lauren’s side in a flash, consoling her daughter the same way she did when Lauren was a little girl.

“That means they haven’t learned anything,” Patrick says. “The lump is just a lump.”

Lauren nods. “For now, at least.”

Their father’s tone is sharp, stern. “You can’t have that attitude. Your body needs to take the cue from your mind to fight this thing.”

Trevor can see Lauren nodding and playing along, but he wonders how much she actually believes Patrick’s words.

“I didn’t think Christmas could get any worse than the one where we saw you in a porno,” Roz says to Trevor.

“Mom!” Embarrassing as it is to have her mention that, it hardly seems worth the effort to worry about it now. Lauren’s news has put his own catastrophe in perspective.

“You could’ve told me,” he says to his sister.

“I didn’t want to worry anyone.” Lauren keeps her head low and her eyes lower. “Dad’s right. We don’t know that it’s anything serious. I figured after I knew more…”

“You shouldn’t go through this alone, no matter what the end result is,” Roz says.

They continue Christmas dinner in a haze. Trevor hardly tastes any of the food, though he mechanically finishes most of what is on his plate. When they are through eating, the four of them clear the table together.

“Just give me a few minutes to get dessert ready,” Roz says.

They all go their own ways, needing some space and quiet time to process the way in which their lives might have been transformed over what should have been a quiet but cheerful Christmas dinner. Trevor retreats to his bedroom, and for the first time since his recent run-in with Cliff, his phone no longer feels like a burden. In his room, he finds the card with Cliff’s number on it and tears it in two… and then four… and then into more pieces than he can count.

No more wasting time, he resolves as he drops the scraps in the trash.


Following Jason and Courtney’s big news, the Fishers settle in for what proves to be a very nice Christmas dinner. Travis senses something strange in the air; everyone’s words are excited and congratulatory, but there is something less certain below the surface.

When dessert and coffee come out, some people stay around the table, while others spread into the living room. Travis finds himself sitting near Jason and Courtney, although he has no idea what to say to people who are going to have a baby. Jason has always been the uncle closest to him in age, the one who played video games with him, and now he’s going to be a dad. Weird.

“I’m still trying to picture you with a baby,” Travis says to his uncle.

Jason shakes his head in amazement. “Still trying to picture myself doing it. Just don’t go getting any ideas.”

“Like that Jamie Lynn Spears,” Courtney adds. “Bad, bad example.”

Travis recoils. “Oh my God. Don’t worry about me.”

He hears a familiar laugh behind him and turns instinctively. In the living room, he sees Sarah and Diane chatting… Molly and Brent playing with the twins… and the source of the laugh, his own mother, currently fumbling to grab a piece of apple pie that has fallen onto the floor.

“Very smooth,” Tim, beside her, teases.

“Please. That pales in comparison to some of your eating mishaps,” Claire says to him.

Travis cannot help but stare at them, talking and laughing like old friends. When Claire glances over and sees him watching them, his first impulse is to look away. But he thinks better of it and instead stares her down.

As if able to read his mind, she widens the space between herself and Tim.

Tim notices the silent exchange and, a moment later, is at Travis’s side, leading him away from the table and to a relatively quiet spot on the other end of the dining room.

“What was that between you and your mother?”

“Nothing.” Travis shrugs for emphasis.

“Travis.” Tim’s voice softens the slightest bit. “I thought we were working past this. You went back to Dr. Arcaro--”

“Not for this.” He moves his hand wildly to gesture at Tim and Claire.

“What are you talking about?”

Travis can’t suppress a bitter little laugh. “Please. I see where this is going. Everyone does.”

Tim throws up his hands. “I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.”

“You and Mom. You’re gonna play nice, get back together, and just when everyone gets comfortable with that, you’ll blow it all apart again and make everyone’s lives hell.”

The color drains from Tim’s face.

“Don’t worry about that,” he says. “We are not going to do that to you.”

Travis looks up at him, not sure whether he should trust his father’s words. “You promise?”

“I promise,” Tim says, and though Travis knows that he shouldn’t believe it, he lets himself cling to the vow for the time being.


Can Jason and Courtney raise a child?
Should Tim have made that promise to Travis?
Can Trevor make a clean break from Cliff?
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