Episode #483

- Lauren awaited the results of her biopsy. Josh suspected that something was wrong and came to see her, but Lauren made her mother turn him away.
- Brent struggled with allowing Molly to see and touch his prosthetic leg.
- Diane pressured Ryan to write a tell-all for Vision Publishing, but he refused to do such a thing to the Fishers.


“Is there anything I can help with?” Molly Taylor asks as she sets down her briefcase and purse.

Her sister-in-law stands at the stove, with chicken breasts sizzling in a skillet in front of her. “No, I’ve got it,” Danielle says. “I’m on dinner duty tonight. Just get yourself organized.”

“Thank you.” Molly hopes that Danielle knows how much she means it. Having Danielle live with them has been one of the wisest decisions that she and Brent ever made. Though Molly was resistant to the idea at first, she has come to realize how much they need help, given both their work schedules and the heavy demands of parenting young twins. Molly only hopes that the arrangement is as positive for Danielle, too.

Removing the high heels that she has been wearing since this morning, Molly crosses to the family room, where Brent sits on the floor, holding an ESPN magazine,  as the boys run around him in a circle. The sight causes a sudden and surprising surge of emotion within her. As much as she loves her work, there are times when she wants nothing more than to spend every waking moment with these three people.

She and Brent trade a quick hello kiss.

“Ew!” Caleb chimes in helpfully.

“How was your day?” Brent asks her.

She lets out one of those sighs that feels like it has been building inside her all day long. “It’s like I can’t win. You’d think being in charge would make it easier to get my ideas taken seriously, but it’s like half these people refuse to trust anything that comes out of my mouth.”

“Maybe they’re jealous.”

“Maybe. I like that explanation. Have these two been behaving?”

Brent makes a face. “Do you want the actual answer to that question?”

Molly watches the boys and tries to ascertain what they are doing. From the looks of it, they are chasing each other in a circle, to the point that is has become unclear even to them who started chasing whom.

As if on cue, Caleb snatches the magazine from Brent and takes off.

“I think we’re raising a bandit,” Brent says as he pulls himself to his feet.

“I’ll get him,” Molly says.

Brent struggles to a standing position. “I’ve got it.” He takes off after Caleb.

Molly lowers herself to her knees in front of Christian, who has lingered behind. Before she can say anything, though, the sound of feet pounding against the floor ceases suddenly, and a cry of agony flies up from somewhere down the hall.

“What’s wrong?” Molly asks as she rushes to see what happened.

She finds Brent collapsed on the floor, his leg splayed at the most unnatural angle she has ever seen.

“Are you okay?” she asks, bending down to help him.

“I’m fine,” he says, but as she reaches for his leg, she realizes that his prosthetic has popped out of its socket.

“Boys, go help Aunt Danielle with dinner,” Molly says reflexively. She reaches for the artificial limb, still inside Brent’s jeans. He pushes her hand away and takes hold of the prosthetic himself.

“I’m fine,” Brent insists, though his expression tells her that he is anything but.


Ever since Lauren’s biopsy, a dense fog has settled over the Brooks household. Things already feel cramped and unusual; it has been years since Roz and Patrick have been at the house for more than a week at a time. On top of that, all four of them have been moving as if through a thick soup. It takes that much energy just to go about their daily routines as they wait for the phone call that will determine their entire family’s future.

When the phone rings on this night, Lauren sits at the kitchen table, still in her clothes from work and eating one of the tacos that Roz prepared. The call comes to Lauren’s cell phone, as she wanted to be reached as soon as the results became available. She stares at the phone’s display, knowing that the number comes from the hospital.

Roz and Patrick, standing by the counter, stop their movements and watch.

“It’s the doctor’s office,” Lauren says unnecessarily. With solemn nods, her parents stand by.

“Lauren Brooks,” she answers. “Hi, Doctor.”

Roz’s chest constricts, tighter than she thought was possible, as she searches Lauren’s face for some hint of what is being said on the other end of the line.

“Thank you,” Lauren says, her face still revealing nothing. Roz grabs the sleeve of Patrick’s sweater. That seemed so simple. So without fanfare. And if that’s all, it can only mean--

“I’ll call tomorrow to schedule an appointment,” Lauren says.

Roz’s stomach sinks. Her hands and feet go numb. Her fingers, which a moment ago were pinching her husband’s sleeve with excitement, now fumble desperately to hold onto him. Patrick meets her eyes with his own and silently encourages her to stay calm and positive, for Lauren’s sake.

Lauren ends the call. She sets the phone on the table. Roz wants to rush over and smash the damn thing into a million pieces.

“This is going to be okay,” she says, rushing over to her daughter. “There are so many things they can do…”

“I don’t have cancer.”

Roz doesn’t know what to say. She just heard…

“They need me to schedule a follow-up assessment,” Lauren says. “For a few months down the road. Just to be sure everything’s okay.”

“But the lump--it’s clear?”

“It’s benign.”

Roz squeals and throws her arms around her daughter. When she feels that it has gone on long enough, she dashes over to her husband and does the same. Lauren, for her part, remains seated at the table, not showing much emotion at all.

 “We have to call your brother and let him know. When’s he supposed to be home?” Roz says. Lauren’s utter lack of emotion scares her. “Come on, get excited. What’s the matter?”

“I don’t have cancer,” Lauren says, as if she doesn’t quite believe it.

That is when Roz realizes what this is really about. Lauren has been proceeding cautiously, living her life as though she was about to receive a death sentence.

“You’re thinking about Josh,” Roz says.

“No!” Lauren snaps, but her eyes betray her.

“You should talk to him, sweetie. Tell him what you’ve been through.”

When Patrick opens his mouth, Roz is sure that he is going to contradict her, but instead he backs her up: “If you’re still thinking about this guy, you owe it to yourself to at least come clean with him. Who knows what could happen?”

Lauren takes it all in but makes no move.


Diane Bishop is in the midst of packing up her things to go home for the night when Reginald Darby, the company’s publishing director, appears in her doorway. Normally the most troubling thing about such a visit would be his propensity for wearing monochromatic shirts and ties every damn day (apparently no one has told him that it is no longer the late 90s), but this evening, Diane has more important issues to face.

“There you are,” Reginald proclaims, taking an assertive step into the office.

Diane smiles her broadest. “Just on my way out for the night, actually.”

“That’s all right. This will only take a second. I’ve been trying to track you down all day!”

She figured as much, which is why she kept herself moving the entire day. Meetings, a business lunch, walking things all over the floor… she figured, eventually, he would grow tired of checking in on her, and that would buy her just enough time.

Behind Reginald, Brian Hamilton lingers just outside the office. He sees that Diane is in the middle of something and waits there in case of a cue to come to her rescue.

“This Ryan Moriani project you’ve proposed,” he says. “What’s the current status? We need this on our calendars, Diane.”

I know, you wrinkled idiot, she thinks, evaluating the deep creases in his face. They are almost impressive in their depth. She had hoped to avoid this discussion until she had something more concrete to say.

“If there is a problem--”

“There isn’t,” she blurts out. “I’m supposed to meet him tomorrow to hammer out the details and secure his story for Vision. Once that’s done, we can bring him in to work on the specifics of his contract.”

Reginald’s wrinkles rise in surprise. “Oh. Excellent, then. You never fail to amaze me, Diane.”

“That’s why I’m a living legend,” she says, and when he moves to pat her on the shoulder, she adds, “You can look but don’t touch!” They share a laugh and then Reginald departs.

Brian watches him go and then joins her in the office. “You got Ryan to agree to sit down with you?” he asks.

“Not exactly.” She busies herself by stuffing a few last items into her bag and zipping it up.

“What’s that mean?”

Turning sharply, she reduces her volume but not the force of her voice. “I can’t even find him. I don’t know where he is. His loft is empty, his cell phone goes straight to voicemail… I have no idea where the hell he’s gone.”

Brian takes in her rant and then simply says, “Oh.”

“And now Reginald thinks I’m meeting with him, which means he’s going to expect a progress report, which means--dammit!”

“You don’t need to make yourself nuts over this. So this one project doesn’t happen. Big deal.”

“Yes. Huge deal. Then there’s an entire quarter where I have absolutely nothing of note to show for myself.”

“I don’t really see what option you have,” Brian says, “if you can’t even find the guy.”

Before he even finishes the statement, it hits Diane. Of course. She whips out her cell phone.

“What are you doing?” Brian asks.

“Finding that bastard.” Into the phone, she says, “Sarah. Hi. I need you to put your investigative skills to use.”


“Daddy, what’s wrong?” Christian asks, still lingering in the hall despite Molly’s weak command to head for the kitchen.

“Nothing. Daddy’s fine,” Brent says, though his expression does little to support this claim.

“Daddy just got a boo-boo,” Molly says.

“Boys. Go tell your aunt we’ll be there for dinner in a minute.” Brent shifts his weight off his injured leg; Molly can tell that he is uncomfortable and trying to hide it until the twins are out of sight.

Christian and Caleb don’t move. Molly wishes that Brent would be more open about letting them see his prosthetic, but he barely lets her see it.

“Dinner’s ready!” Danielle calls out. Without any further prompting, the boys rush out. For once, Molly finds herself grateful for their short attention spans.

“Let’s fix this thing,” Molly says, helping him realign the prosthetic limb with the artificial socket attached to his knee.

“I’ve got it.” He grabs the limb and hastily sets it back into place.

“Make sure it’s done up tightly enough.”

“It’s fine!” he snaps.

Surprised by the anger in his voice, Molly backs away.

“I’m sorry,” he adds almost immediately. “I’m just--this shouldn’t be happening.”

“It’s not like the boys don’t know. You can let them see it. It’ll only make it more familiar to them.”

“And then they’ll ask a million questions.”

“They’re kids. They ask a million questions about everything.”

Despite his outburst, he sets about tightening the prosthetic. “When they’re older and they’ll understand it better, we can talk about it. For now, it’s not necessary.”

Molly lays a hand on the prosthetic. Though Brent obviously cannot feel it, he still flinches at the touch.

“I don’t know why you act like it’s something to be ashamed of,” she says. “No one cares.”

I care! It’s my damn leg that’s missing.”

“That’s not what I meant. You know I care. But it’s not something ‘bad.’”

“It’s also not good. You can’t tell me that this is ideal.” He doesn’t give her the chance, anyway. “This shouldn’t have happened. It’s because of that bastard Moriani.”

“And now he’s dead and gone,” she says, “and we have our family.”

The words do not seem to penetrate Brent’s quiet rage. “I don’t get it. He was dead. Someone at that hospital pronounced him dead, and then he manages to pull together this mini-army to try and blow us all to hell?”

“He was a madman.”

“Yeah. But not superhuman. He had help.”

Molly has to admit that she has wondered about the specifics of Nick’s miraculous “resurrection.” What Brent is doing now goes beyond wondering, though. It is forceful and determined, a mission in the making.

“I know you don’t consider it a big deal,” he says, gesturing at his leg, “and I love you for that, but it is to me.”

All Molly can do is nod. She waits for him to say something further, but he doesn’t. Still, she is sure that she can see the various cords of a plan fusing together in his mind, and that makes her very nervous.


Lauren sees Josh’s car parked in front of his house. She has no excuse now; she has come this far. She parks her own car several houses down and sits there, with the engine turned off, gathering her thoughts.

Then, all at once, she pushes the door open. She could think about this for days and days and never find the proper words. If she doesn’t force herself to go to him, she could sit here forever thinking and be no closer to putting her life back together.

There’s something I need to tell you… I’ve been preoccupied with something… I didn’t want you to worry, and I guess I got nervous about how you’d react…

None of it sounds right. None of it is what she needs to say. She pushed him away. She didn’t want him to feel obligated to her if she turned out to be sick. But how can she say that without making it sound like it’s all his fault?

It isn’t. It was circumstance. Now that circumstance no longer exists, so maybe they can return to the way things were before. Seeing him at work every day has made this unbearably difficult; every time she thinks she has a handle on the situation, she sees some glimmer of what she and Josh once had, and she has to twist herself inside-out to justify her decision all over again. No more.

This mental argument carries her all the way to the front door. She takes a moment to force the thoughts aside, at least enough to allow her general social graces to pass. Her finger rises to the grime-covered doorbell--

And then she hears a shriek.

It comes from within the house. It is a woman’s voice, and though it initially alarms her, it does not sound like a shriek of terror. There is a laughing quality about it, something lighthearted and…

The implications are already filling up her head as she leans to the left, hoping that a peek through the front window will illuminate the situation. Does it ever. She sees Josh stagger into the room with a thin, blonde woman caught in his arms, kicking and screaming and laughing. He dumps her onto the couch and lowers himself on top of her apparently very willing form.

Part of Lauren wants to keep watching, in the hope that this isn’t what it looks like. But another part of her cannot bear it.

What an idiot you are, she scolds herself as she backs away from the window. She walks as fast as her legs will carry her, going wide around the unkempt front yard to avoid any possibility of being seen through that window. When she gets into her car, she finds herself gasping for breath, as though she has just escaped with her life.

In some ways, she has. The doctor’s news should have her ecstatic, and yet, all she feels is this numb sense of defeat. Of course he has moved on. She pushed him away--she has no claim on him, nor has she had any for weeks, if not months. Yet it still feels like a betrayal to see him with some other woman.

Though her head is probably too crowded to drive, she starts the car and steers it away from here in a hurry. She hopes that the further away she gets, the less she will care. It doesn’t seem to work that way, but she’ll be damned if she doesn’t keep trying.


Should Lauren give up on Josh?
What is Brent going to do next?
Is Diane in over her head?
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