Episode #486

- Brent was embarrassed when his prosthetic became detached and caused him to fall while playing with the twins.
- Samantha convinced Travis to view therapy as a way to help himself rather than his parents.
- Jason told Alex that he planned to propose to Courtney.
- Brian grew frustrated with Diane’s hot-and-cold attitude toward him.
- Diane and Sarah trekked to the mountains, where Ryan had rented a cabin, and Diane coaxed him into signing the book contract.


It was a crazy morning at Vision. Now, with his work for the day completed and his brain in need of recharging, Brian Hamilton decides to take some time out for himself. He decides to catch up on his personal phone calls, but after being sent straight to voicemail on his first three, he changes course. He settles on organizing his Netflix queue, but when he opens it, it is not nearly as much of a mess as he expected. After making sure that no one is watching, he moves License to Wed to the top of the queue (he would watch Mandy Moore read the phone book, which he is sure would probably be better than this movie).

So much for taking some time out. Finally he settles, ridiculously, on reading the Wikipedia entry devoted to Michael Jackson.

He is almost done with the article and trying to figure out what to do next when he sees Ryan Moriani blaze past the office. Judging by the hard, determined look on his face, Ryan can only be headed to one place. Brian springs out of his seat and follows him.

Diane’s assistant makes a feeble effort to stop him, but Ryan spots Diane through the open door.

“Oh, my favorite new author has come to visit. How nice,” Diane says.

“Give it to me,” Ryan demands.

Diane leans back in her chair. “What are you talking about?”

“The contract. Give it to me so I can tear it up.”

“Writer’s block already?”

“Diane! Stop screwing around.”

Brian trades wide-eyed looks with the assistant. The escalating voices have already attracted several other people’s attention.

“I want that contract now,” Ryan says. “I’m going to tear it up, and that will be that. Unless you want a massive lawsuit.”

Diane folds her arms and regards him silently. Suddenly she calls out, “Brian, get in here!”

Brian wonders what he could have done to warrant being dragged into the middle of this, but he obeys.

“Close the door,” Diane says, and he does. “I want a third party here to witness this.”

“Clearly he’s going to be objective,” Ryan says sarcastically. “Is this how you people always do business?”

“I’m not the one who marched into your office and started screaming.”

As if wanting to ensure that he has an audience, Ryan turns to Brian and says, “And I’m not the one who tricked a highly inebriated man into signing a contract.”


The arena’s new gym facility--or, rather, the space that will soon become a gym facility--is finally finished. This entire experience has felt like such a whirlwind to Jason Fisher, and as he strolls through the newly built addition with Courtney Chase by his side, he cannot comprehend that they have actually come this far.

“I can’t believe it’s, like… done,” he says, taking in every detail of the large fitness room. The mirrors have already been installed on the wall in what will be the stretching area, with blue painter’s tape marking the borders of where mats will be laid permanently. The rest of the space is shockingly empty, but he can see the designer’s drawings in his head and tries to project them onto this identical space.

“It’s amazing,” Courtney agrees. Her hand slides into his, as it has begun to do recently. No awkwardness, no making a mountain out of a molehill--pure ease and comfort.

Jason instinctively looks to the walls for a clock before realizing that, obviously, there are none there. He pulls out his cell phone and checks the time.

“Where is this guy?” he asks, as if Courtney would have any idea why their building inspector might be late.

“Are you nervous?” she asks.

“Not really. Anxious, maybe. I just want to keep things moving.”

They continue walking in silence through the space, checking out details that Jason never thought he could be so interested in, like the water fountains that have been installed throughout the gym.

“This is amazing!” he says. He cannot stop marveling at this space that he and Courtney have overseen from its very conception to its completion. They did this. It’s an extremely gratifying feeling, and seeing it whole and completed makes him realize that this is really coming true. They are no longer in the process of getting this business off the ground; it is about to be in full swing, whether they are ready or not.

So are their lives. The only thing that can pry his eyes away from the newly built addition is Courtney. Her stomach grows bigger with each day, and each day he has to grasp all over again that his child is growing inside her. Maybe one day it will seem less remarkable, but by that time, their kid will probably be eighteen.

He doesn’t know what comes over him, but the thoughts and plans that have been swirling in his head suddenly surge together. He grabs her by the shoulders and turns her so that they are face-to-face.


“What?” She doesn’t seem to know whether she should be confused, concerned, or laughing in his face.

His breathing goes short, but he pushes through, because if he doesn’t say it now, he is going to burst: “Let’s get married.”


It has been a slow day at the hospital, so when Claire Fisher glances up from her charts and sees Brent Taylor approaching, she is grateful for the opportunity to pass a few minutes chatting.

“Did you just get through with physical therapy?” she asks, setting her charts down on the counter of the nurses’ station.

Brent shakes his head. “No. I actually came to see you.”

“That sounds ominous.” It comes out like a joke, because she wants to believe that Brent is kidding… but his demeanor suggests otherwise.

“Do you have a few minutes?” he asks.

“Sure. I was just finishing up some charts.” She leads him over to a pair of chairs against the wall. “You’re walking really well. Your therapist must be really pleased.”

“He is,” Brent says, though he seems less enthusiastic about the situation. They settle into the chairs, and he continues, “I hate that I have to have this thing.”

She nods sympathetically. “It’s senseless, but if anyone can take on a challenge like that, it’s you.”

“Thanks. But I’d rather not have to face it, you know?”

“Of course.”

“That’s why I came to see you. I need your help.”

All sorts of alarms sound in Claire’s head. “Is something wrong with your leg? Or is there something else--?”

“No. I need information.”

Claire waits for him to explain. He is so intense, so serious, that she cannot shake the sense that he is about to tell her about some awful tragedy.

“I need to know about Nick,” he says. “He had help getting out of here alive. I have the death certificate, but I can’t go digging into hospital records if it isn’t part of an actual investigation.”

She barely even processes the favor that Brent is asking of her. Her focus stalls elsewhere: “Why would you want to dredge all of this up?”

“Because I need to know. Why did any of this happen? I lost a leg. Sarah lost a child. Camille Lemieux died.”

“And so did Nick!” Claire retorts with a force she isn’t aware of until it bursts out of her. “He’s finally gone. That nightmare is over, and we all have the chance to put our lives back together.”

“It’s not that easy. I can’t run around with my boys, or hop out of bed in the morning without attaching this thing to my body, or a thousand other things. I need to know why any of this had to happen.”

He is desperate, she can tell that much. But she can’t do this, not anymore. Her son still blames her for dragging their family into that basement with Nick. They are all lucky to be alive. And the last time she insisted upon investigating Nick’s criminal activity, Tim wound up going to that pier, and they lost years with him. He lost years of his life because of her stubbornness.

“I’m sorry, Brent,” she says, standing.

Brent struggles to his feet. She extends a hand to help him, but he ignores it.

“I just need some information,” he says. “Get it for me and that’ll be that.”

“That’s what you think, but you don’t know what you could get into. If someone was helping Nick, that person might be out there, and--I can’t do that to my family all over again.”

“Claire, you just filled in about ten extra steps there.”

“I’d rather be overly cautious and let everyone move on with their lives,” she says, “than put all our lives in danger again.”

Blessedly, her pager sounds. “I have to take this,” she tells him. She grabs her charts off the counter. “I’m sorry.”

He doesn’t say anything. Instead he turns and heads back toward the elevators. She watches his uneven gait, the physical manifestation of Nick Moriani’s legacy. She wishes that she could help him, but things are too fragile. She isn’t going to risk it to satisfy some curiosity, when it won’t even change the way things are.


Since his first visit to Dr. Arcaro’s office--well, the first one that he stuck around for--Travis Fisher has found it ridiculous that the doctor actually makes him lie down on a couch. It seems like such a cliché, like maybe the doctor skipped medical school and just learned by watching a bunch of movies with shrinks in them. Travis tried to sit in the chair once, just to mix things up, but the doctor put an end to that pretty quickly. Something about “familiar distributions of space” that didn’t particularly interest Travis. He just got up and went to the couch.

Now, he lies on that same couch he has been lying on every week for months, staring at the same weird stain on the side of the bookcase while Dr. Arcaro goes on and on.

“And why do you think it is that instant-messaging with this girl is the highlight of your day?” the doctor asks.

Travis has become familiar with this routine. He is supposed to have some great insight into why he’s acting the way he is, even though Dr. Arcaro practically wrote it in Sharpie on a giant sign and shoved it in his face. He’s not in the mood.

“Because she’s hot?”

The doctor lets out a little laugh. He isn’t a bad guy, really, if you look past the bad 70s mustache. He might even be pretty decent outside this office. But in here? Not so much.

“I think you appreciate that it gives you an escape from your own life,” Dr. Arcaro says. “Especially when you’re at home, and even moreso when you’re staying with your mother.”

Brilliant insight, Travis thinks. Of course that’s why he likes talking to Elly. And the hot part.

“Listen,” he says, cutting off the doctor before he can continue. “I need your help with something, like, real--not this psych stuff, but like, real life.”

Dr. Arcaro folds his hands. “And what is that?”

“I’m doing this for one reason,” Travis says. “No offense, but this isn’t really my first choice of places to spend an afternoon.”

“Fair enough. What’s your one reason?”

“To learn to be independent. My parents are--you know. They’re all over the place. I don’t wanna let them run my life anymore.”

“Well, they are your parents, and you are a minor, so…”

“I mean, like, emotionally or whatever.” Travis springs to a sitting position. Screw lying down while they talk about something he actually gives a crap about. “I just want to not care anymore. Let them do whatever they’re gonna do, good for them, whatever. I wanna learn to not be affected by it.”

There is a long pause, the kind that means the doctor is trying to come up with a way to tell Travis he’s an idiot without sounding like an asshole.

“I don’t know that it’s possible to disconnect yourself emotionally from the people who have raised you,” Dr. Arcaro says, “nor do I think it’s a great idea. I do understand that the root of all this is wanting to distance yourself from them to protect yourself.”


“The key is to find ways to build your own sense of self, not with the purpose of shutting out your loved ones, but so that you can feel safe letting them in because you feel confident of the other structures in your life. It’s a positive approach to the situation.”

Travis stares at him and replays that in his head, trying to see if any of it makes sense. No, not really. He leans forward. “Got it. Now how do I do that?”


So that’s how she pulled this off, Brian thinks as he observes the confrontation between Diane and Ryan. She has been hailed as a hero around here for making the deal come together. Brian wondered how she could have possibly changed Ryan’s mind about the book, but she had a signed contract, so he thought it must be legit.

He catches Diane’s warning look and opts not to respond to Ryan’s claim.

“Does Tim know about this yet?” Ryan asks. “I can’t imagine he’s thrilled.”

“He’s on a business trip. I’m going to break it to him on Monday,” Diane says, showing the slightest hint of trepidation. Brian can only imagine what a calamity that is going to be, but Diane outranks Tim, and he has no obligation to be part of this project.

Ryan clasps his hand together. “Who knows? Maybe he’ll work with me to put a stop to this.”

“Somehow I don’t see that happening. And frankly, I don’t care what Tim thinks about this. I don’t owe him a damn thing, and I sure as hell don’t owe you anything!” Diane’s voice escalates steadily so that, by the last syllable, she is flat-out yelling.

“Calm down,” Brian interjects, moving closer to Diane.

She focuses on Ryan. “Fine. You regret signing the contract? I’ll call and put a halt on the check they’re cutting you for your advance. How much is sitting in your bank account right now, Ryan?”

He is tight-lipped.

“A six-figure payday for telling your own damn story doesn’t seem so bad to me,” Diane continues.

Ryan stares her down and, apparently unable to find the right words, whips open the door.

“Do you want me to cancel the whole thing?” she calls after him.

“I want an impartial editor,” he says, turning back. “That means not you.”

“Done. Now get out of my sight.”


Ryan vanishes from the office. Brian reads the feel of the room and closes the door so that Diane can rant and rave in private.

“Do you think he’ll stay focused long enough to write it?” Brian asks.

“We can bring in a ghostwriter if need be. Get a couple of interview sessions out of the way right away, so if Ryan flakes out, we still have a story to tell.”

Makes sense to Brian. He waits for Diane to direct the conversation.

“What are you doing after work?” she asks.

Trying not to seem as though he has been thrown for a giant loop, he does his best to respond with stammering: “I don’t know. Nothing, really.”

“Give me an hour or so after I leave, then come over. Samantha is spending some time with Claire and Travis tonight.”

Brian doesn’t want to assume too much, but… “You mean…?”

“You are a smart one.”

Brian tries to process this information. He makes himself crazy for months--longer than that, even if he doesn’t want to admit it--chasing after her, and one day, she decides that this is what she wants, after all?

“Why now?” he asks.

She leans against the edge of her desk, one leg folded over the other. “That is what you want, isn’t it?”

Of course it is. He has waited so long to hear her reciprocate his feelings, to know that she--

“I could use something to take the edge off,” she says, rolling her head back.

And in that moment, it hits Brian. This has nothing to do with him, not really. This is about her, just like it always is. She’s in the mood for sex, and he has made himself abundantly available, so when it’s convenient for her, she has an easy lay at hand. But what about when it’s over? What about next time, when it is his idea? Will she be up for it then?

The answer is right in his face, clear as day, even if he doesn’t want to see it.

“Then you’d better get on the phone. You don’t have too much time left in the day,” Brian says, moving for the door.

“Huh? Have you gone stupid?”

“No. For the first time in a long while, no.” He opens the door.

“I thought you wanted this.”

“Not like this,” he says, feeling more at ease with this assertion than he ever thought he could be. “It’s never going to happen the way I want it to, is it?”

She drops her head to one side, giving him that Are you kidding me? look, but she doesn’t answer the question.

“That’s what I thought,” he says as he leaves the office. He doesn’t even look back.


Courtney blinks but does not speak.

In the moment before the words tumbled out, Jason was so sure of what he was doing. Now, however, he realizes that it was all wrong.

“I’m sorry,” he says. “I know this is really out of the blue, and I should have a ring and set up some big scene, but…”

“Don’t worry about that,” she says.

“I know that stuff is a big deal. It is to me, too, usually, but I’ve been thinking about this and I couldn’t keep it to myself anymore.” He thinks back to when he was ready to propose to Lauren. He planned and planned that, bought the ring, worried about it for days and days, and he got so worked up over it that he never even made it to the proposal. He wants this to be different. It’s probably best, however, not to mention past botched relationships right now.

“Jason. I don’t care about that stuff. Besides, it’s not like we’re doing things in the conventional order, anyway.” She smiles, but it is stiff, and she still doesn’t seem as relaxed as she is telling him to be.

“Then what do you say?” he asks. “We can go pick out a ring together. You’ll get exactly what you want.”

Only now does he see it. The specifics of the proposal are not the problem. The proposal itself is.

“I don’t know,” Courtney says, unable to look at him. “This is… everything’s happening really fast.”

“And the baby’s coming whether we’re ready or not. The timing is out of our hands.”

“You don’t have to be married to have a baby anymore.”

He doesn’t know what to make of this. Is she saying no? Things have been terrific between them lately. A minute ago, they were as happy as they have ever been--or, at least, Jason was.

“I’m going to run up to the office and call the inspector,” Courtney says. “I want to make sure we get this done today.”

She leaves without giving Jason any chance to protest. He has no idea what just happened between them. The only thing that is clear is that, for whatever reason, Courtney does not want to marry him.

He is still trying to work that out in his head when a voice startles him.

“Uncle Jason?”

Travis stands at the entry of the gym, waiting for some sign that it is okay to come closer. Jason tries to pull himself together.

“Hey, what’s up?” he greets his nephew.

“I, uh, wanted to talk to you. Are you busy?”

“We’re waiting for this inspector to show up and do a walkthrough. Courtney just went upstairs to call him.”

“Yeah, I passed her on my way in.” Travis shifts his weight from one foot to the other and back again. “So, um, I was wondering if you could do something for me.”

“Does it involve lying to your dad?”

“No.” A smirk dances on Travis’s face. “Not this time, anyway. And actually, it’s more me doing something for you. You could look at it that way, anyway.”

“Okay, spill,” Jason says. “What’s going on?”

“I want a job. I want to work here.”

Jason thinks about it for a split-second. “I think we could work something out.”


“I mean, I’m going to have to interview you and all that…”

“I can handle that,” Travis says, beaming. Jason hopes to soak up some of the kid’s happiness; it would be a nice distraction from whatever just happened between him and Courtney.


Where should Brian direct his attention next?
Should Brent leave well enough alone?
Will working with Jason be good for Travis?
Come over to the Footprints Forum for discussion!

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