Episode #487

- Travis found a letter written to Danielle that implied she had once been pregnant.
- On the advice of his therapist, Travis asked Jason for a job at the ice arena. Jason agreed to give it a shot.
- Brent asked for Claire’s help in investigating how Nick made it out of the hospital alive. Afraid for her family, Claire refused.
- During her impromptu trip to the mountains, Sarah found clarity about her marital problems. She resolved to seek therapy upon returning home.


The prison is located only half an hour out of King’s Bay, but by the time he arrives, Brent Taylor feels as though he has traveled to another universe. The facility feels like a place from another time, or removed from time entirely, with its dusty floors and crumbling brick walls. As police commander, he is exposed to a great deal of unsettling and even inhuman things, but his experience could not possibly measure up to having this place be the centerpiece of one’s day-to-day existence.

He waits in a meeting room and runs through his planned questions in his mind. They all seem too straightforward. Normally he does not have a problem disengaging himself from the emotion of a situation and approaching an interrogation objectively--but this is no normal situation. This is his life.

The door opens, and the guard leads in a man whom Brent struggles to recognize. He remembers so many things about that day at the Fisherman’s Pier, but the faces of Nick’s hired gunmen are not among those details. He can recall the terrified screams, the searing pain in his head, the sunken, ghostly face of Nick Moriani… but this man might as well be a stranger.  He hobbles to the table on unsteady legs. Brent wonders if he suffered some sort of prison injury.

The handcuffed man, a big, blond guy who no doubt spent his high school years playing linebacker, sits across from him. He cannot be much over 35, but his eyes are hollow--the eyes of a much older man, a man who knows that a meeting with death is inevitable.

Brent thanks the guard, who replies with a simple nod and takes his position at the door. Then he addresses the prisoner sitting across from him. “Mr. Lang, thank you for meeting with me.”

Peter Lang bows his head stiffly. “Not much else to do.”

“As I said in my letter,” Brent says, “I’m looking for information, plain and simple. If you know anything at all that might help answer one of my questions, please tell me. You’re the only one of the guards who survived the restaurant explosion.”

“Always been my luck. Total crap.”

The words come out in such a flat tone that Brent has trouble interpreting them: is surviving a good thing? Bad? He cannot tell.

“You wish you had died that day,” Brent ventures tentatively.

“That was the plan.”

Brent does not know if this will help with any of the answers he is seeking, but Peter Lang’s reasons for walking into what he must have known to be a deathtrap intrigue him too much to ignore. The man pled guilty to all charges and was sentenced shortly thereafter; as a result, there is a dearth of court documents addressing what he did and why he did those things.

“Why would you want that?” Brent asks.

Lang’s eyes flare, and Brent braces for a blow-up. Instead, Lang sets a clenched hand on the table and responds in that same flattened voice: “You ever hear of Lou Gehrig’s Disease?”

“ALS. Yeah.”

Lang glances down at his hand, lying on the table. Brent realizes that he cannot unclench it.

“The guy promised us we wouldn’t live through the bombing. Too bad he couldn’t guarantee it.”

Brent tries to moderate his tone, wanting to avoid sounding preachy or judgmental or anything that might alienate Lang before he shares everything he knows about that day. “You signed up for a suicide mission because you have ALS?”

“I don’t want my kid to see me die like this,” Lang says. He looks away, seemingly embarrassed at being so honest. “I got no one else.”

“You have a child.”

“Daughter. Ariel.” Lang’s eyes glaze over for a moment; he might as well be a different man, but only for a few seconds.

“That’s it? Do you have a wife, or--”

“Ex. All she wants outta me is money. And that guy, Clayton, he promised my kid would be all set with money if I went through with the mission.”

“Clayton?” Brent asks. Alarms blare in his head. “You mean Nick Moriani?”

Lang shakes his head. “No. A guy named Mr. Clayton.”

Brent’s heart pulses rapidly with the thrill of the chase. “So this Mr. Clayton hired you?”


“What about Nick Moriani? When did you first meet him?”

The bulky muscles of Lang’s neck and shoulders rise, as if amazed by how bizarre Brent, Moriani, and everyone associated with them must be. Brent finds the reverse-angle view darkly amusing, considering Lang’s own circumstances.

“I never met him, not really,” Lang says. “First time I ever saw him was when he came out in that wheelchair.”


Since she returned from her trip to the mountains with Diane Bishop, Sarah Gray has been determined to find a way to put her life back together. Unfortunately, life itself seems to be getting in the way. When she arrived home from the Pass the other night, she was surprised to find that Matt had taken Tori out. Exhausted, she fell asleep before they came home. Yesterday, Matt seemed to do his best to avoid her entirely--or maybe keeping himself on the go is what Sarah has pushed him to, after all these months of being cold and distant.

When she returns to the apartment after what has been a busy afternoon, she is pleased to find Matt there, unloading the dishwasher.

“I can do that,” she says, jumping in to help.

“I’ve got it.” He loads a stack of dishes into an upper cupboard.

She moves to pick up a pair of glasses from the top rack of the dishwasher, but Matt beats her to them. She stands back and watches as he puts them away. She can see him trying his hardest not to pay attention to her.

“I’m sorry I just took off like that,” she says. “Diane was looking for Ryan, and she needed me to find him--”

Matt’s curiosity overrides the cold front, at least momentarily. “What does she need with Ryan?”

“He’s doing some work with Vision.” Sarah decides that it is best to leave it at that, at least for now. She hasn’t known what to do with the information that Ryan is going to write his story for Vision to publish. She feels as though she should give her family, especially Tim and their mother, advance warning, but she doesn’t want to create more trouble, either. Regardless, best not to say anything to anyone until she figures that out.

“I know it was crappy of me to take off like that,” she continues. “I really am sorry. But being up there, it gave me some time to think…” She doesn’t want to say too much about her little incident in the woods--knocking herself out and being rescued by a complete stranger. Somehow it seems like an unnecessary complication along the way to the real point of all this. “I know what I want now.”

She waits for Matt’s eyes to settle on her, but when they do, they seem reluctant, as if he is scolding himself that he should know better by now.

“There’s something I need to talk to you about,” Matt says.

“That’s why I made an appointment with a therapist,” she says, taking his hand to let him know that she is serious about this.


In the bedroom that used to belong to his uncle Jason, Travis Fisher stretches out across the bed, with his head propped up against the wall and his laptop computer resting on his legs. His fingers fly over the keys and nimbly type an instant message.

Travioli0604: so i start work in 2 weeks
Travioli0604: first good suggestion this shrink has had, i swear

He sends the message and awaits Elly’s response. They have been IMing each other more and more frequently over the last few weeks. Travis doesn’t want to seem desperate, so he made sure only to IM her every three or four days at first, but lately, Elly has been initiating the conversations nearly every day.

The familiar sound of an incoming IM claims his attention.

SmellyElly: I’m glad your therapy is going better.
Travioli0604: its fine
Travioli0604: its not like it actually does anything, u know?
SmellyElly: it’s good for you, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
Travioli0604: i guess

He knows that he probably sounds like a brat, but he doesn’t want her to think that he’s so screwed-up that he needs therapy. He liked Samantha’s suggestion about doing it for himself, as a way of learning to be independent, but now he has a job, and that seems like a much more effective way to learn to handle things for himself. Maybe it’ll even prove to his parents that he has himself together enough that he doesn’t need the shrink anymore.

He sure as hell doesn’t want to spend his limited conversation time with Elly discussing the same crap he has to think about every other hour of the day.

Travioli0604: whats going on with u? r u glad 2 be back home?
SmellyElly: yeah, everything is pretty okay. I miss Danielle but I’m sure I will come visit in the summer or something.

Grateful to be alone, Travis catches himself grinning like an idiot at that bit of news.

Travioli0604: so everythings okay with ur parents and stuff?
SmellyElly: pretty much.
Travioli0604: thats good
Travioli0604: i thought u were mad at them and thats why u came to see danielle

He hopes that he isn’t prying too much. To be fair, they have discussed his problems way too much, and Elly has ducked around offering much information on whatever it is that made her run away to King’s Bay in the first place. He anxiously waits for her response, hoping that he hasn’t pushed too hard.

When the message arrives, he realizes that she must be in a more forthcoming mood than usual. Maybe it’s a sign that her life really is getting back to normal.

SmellyElly: it’s still a little weird. I’m not mad at them, just awkward
Travioli0604: y?
SmellyElly: they kept something really important from me like my whole life, no joke.
SmellyElly: I only found out cuz I heard them talking about it when they thought I was in my room.
Travioli0604: ouch

He wants to ask what it is that they kept from her; even though it’s none of his business, he wants to get to know as much about her as he possibly can, and this seems pretty important. But he opts for a less pushy approach.

Travioli0604: maybe u just needed time 2 get used 2 it
SmellyElly: probably, but it’s still weird.
SmellyElly: they never told me I was adopted til I heard them talking about it!
Travioli0604: omg!!

His fingers clatter over the keys to send the quick response, without even processing the information. Only when he pauses to wait for Elly to say something further does the significance of the news hit him.

SmellyElly: they said they can’t have kids. guess that’s why I don’t have a brother or sister.
Travioli0604: i only have a half-sis bc my dad had like an affair with his boss and then ‘died,’ lol
Travioli0604: no time for any more kids!
SmellyElly: hahahaha. sorry, the dying part’s not funny. :)
Travioli0604: its cool, he turned up
Travioli0604: omg my life is such a freakshow
SmellyElly: lol… it really does make mine seem pretty normal!

Questions pound on Travis’s brain. He starts to type something, then deletes it, then repeats the same steps two more times before he finally gets a message out.

Travioli0604: did they say anything about ur real parents? or like where they adopted u from?
SmellyElly: they said they didn’t know much about any of it, and I can’t look into it til I’m 18, so…

Travis’s mind races. Elly finds out she’s adopted and comes to stay with Danielle, and right after Elly leaves, Danielle is reading old letters about being pregnant? It’s too much to be a coincidence.

Then again, there are a lot of holes. Why wouldn’t Elly’s parents want her to know that Danielle was her mother? And why would Danielle be such a big part of her life if she gave Elly up for adoption? Maybe he is jumping to conclusions. A new IM arrives, startling him.

SmellyElly: you there? sorry, that was kinda heavy.
Travioli0604: no its cool
Travioli0604: u have listened to enough of my problems!
SmellyElly: haha

But he is thinking too much to enjoy talking to her right now. He feels guilty not saying anything, but all he has to go on are suspicions--and those are based on him snooping around and reading Danielle’s letter, which he knows he shouldn’t have done.

Travioli0604: my grandma is calling me, gotta go
SmellyElly: okay! good luck tomorrow.
Travioli0604: haha, thanks, i need it
Travioli0604: bye
SmellyElly: bye!

He closes the program and sets the computer aside. Folding his hands on top of his stomach, he remains on the bed, too consumed with thought to do much of anything. He tries to tell himself that he is reading too much into the situation, but he can’t shake the feeling that he is onto something here.


Like a rancher trying to tame an out-of-control horse, Brent grapples with the information that Peter Lang has just revealed. In a way, it is precisely what he expected to learn--that someone else was responsible for coordinating the logistics of Nick Moriani’s deadly last stand.

“How old would you say he is, this Mr. Clayton?” Brent asks.

“I dunno. Older.”

“Older as in forty five, older as in seventy…?”

Lang shoots him a warning look, a Don’t push me. I’ll tell you when I’m ready. “Sixty, maybe.”

Good enough. “Does he have a first name?”

“Bet he does. I never heard it.”

“Tom? Was it Tom?”

“I said I never heard it,” Lang snaps back, with enough bite to remind Brent that he is a man spending his life behind bars for conspiring to commit mass homicide.

Brent sits back in his chair. Though he is careful not to exhibit any fear, he relishes the extra few inches of distance from Lang.

“How did Mr. Clayton come to hire you?” he asks after allowing a few seconds for tensions to cool.

“I did some work for him before.”

“What kind of work?”

“Stuff.” Lang shifts his eyes to the prison guard.

Brent realizes that Lang is only going to reveal so much, given that he was apparently never apprehended or charged for the other jobs he did for this Mr. Clayton. He asks a few more questions, hoping to find out anything at all about Clayton’s line of work, where he might be located, or what stake he had in helping Nick escape the hospital alive, but Lang seems to know little more than Brent himself does.

“All right, Mr. Lang,” Brent says, rising from his chair, “thank you for your time.”

Brent shakes the man’s right hand, which is in much better shape than the left. But when he moves to end the handshake, Lang maintains a tight hold.

“You were there,” he says, staring intently at Brent’s face.

Brent doesn’t respond. He introduced himself in his letter as the police commander, and he made it clear that he was pursuing information that had nothing to do with Lang’s case, but he did not mention that he was one of Nick Moriani’s hostages. He thought it might make Lang too nervous to sit down with him.

“You were in that basement,” Lang says. It sounds like a challenge: You wanna try and tell me otherwise?

“Yeah. I was.”

“What’d you do to Moriani? Why’d he want you dead?”

“I ask myself that question every day,” Brent says. Finally Lang releases his hand, and when Brent takes a step away, his prosthetic hits the ground awkwardly. He catches his balance, but he is sure that Lang has noticed. The incident makes him feel awkward, exposed as a man pursuing revenge against all logic and reason rather than a professional working on a case.

“Thank you again,” he says, hastily moving past the guard and exiting the room. With Lang behind him, he travels quickly out of the prison, wanting nothing more than to be outside again. But even when he gets there, the air seems stale and dusty, as if the facility has infected the world around it.

He has precious little to go on, but even the small bit of information he gleaned today brings him one step closer to finding out how Nick pulled off his final revenge plot--and if it all means what he thinks it means, he and the Fishers are caught in the midst of something much larger than they have ever realized.


Sarah waits for some reaction, anything, out of Matt. She realizes that she has been deluding herself into thinking that he might jump for joy at her news, when he has already been burned plenty of times. He is smart to be cautious; it is one of the things that makes him as good a husband and father as he is.

“I know I haven’t done much to give the impression lately,” she says, “but I want this to work. I value our family. You have to know that.”

He nods, but it is reserved and tentative. “Yeah. But I also know I got my hopes up when you wanted to have dinner, and even after everything went okay, you got all weird.”

“That’s why I need to see a doctor. This is bigger than me, Matt. It’s something chemical, or… I don’t know. I need to take responsibility for it.”

“Glad you see that. Finally. A doctor should do you some good.”

“It will.” She bobs her head enthusiastically, feeling as though she needs enough optimism for both of them. Matt’s hand remains in hers, but it feels lifeless.

“I really am going to make this work, no matter what,” she says.

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Matt sighs and withdraws his hand. Sarah waits for him to say something; it might be just a brief pause, but it feels like it drags on forever and ever.

“This isn’t working,” he finally says.

“I know. That’s why I’m--”

“For me. It’s too much. I want you to get better. Go to the doctor, work through this… you need it. But I can’t do this to myself anymore. Or to Tori.”

She wants to reach out for his hand again, but it feels all wrong. She feels as though it might not be physically possible to touch him, as though someone has constructed a force field between them.

“What are you saying?” she asks. She doesn’t want to know, not really, but anything is better than waiting another second.

“I’m going to move out.” He gives the statement a moment to impact before adding, “Or you can, I don’t care. Something needs to change. We can’t keep Tori in the middle of this, and honestly, I can’t be in the middle of it. I’m going nuts.”

“That’s why I’m doing this! I’m going to fix it!”

“You can’t fix it all by yourself,” he says, defeat weighing down his entire body. “If I’ve learned one thing this past year, that’s it.”

He closes the dishwasher, still half-full, and leaves the room. Sarah watches him go, but as much as she wants to chase after him and beg him to reconsider, she can’t bring herself to do it. Not after all she has put him through.

She reopens the dishwasher and busies herself by emptying the rest of its contents.


Can Sarah change Matt’s mind?
Should Brent continue his investigation or let it go?
What will Travis do with this new information?
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