Episode #489

- Sarah told Matt that she had made an appointment with a therapist. Matt still felt one of them should move out.
- Danielle offered to bring Ryan to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. He denied having a drinking problem, even after she admitted that she was in recovery.
- Diane and Sarah trekked to the mountains to find a drunken Ryan, whom Diane convinced to sign a contract to write his story for Vision.
- Sarah struggled with the knowledge of Ryan’s book deal and how she should inform her family about it.
- Diane planned to break the news about Ryan’s book to Tim once he returned from a business trip.


“You must be out of your freaking mind!”

Tim Fisher dashes into Diane Bishop’s office. His feet hurt from pounding so hard on the floors in hard-soled dress shoes, and his body buzzes with adrenaline-fueled anger.

“I guess you found out,” Diane says from her post behind her desk.

“Did you think I wouldn’t?” Tim closes the door to prevent this from becoming a public argument. “I go out of town for a few days and you pull this? Did you think I could go on working here and not hear anything about it?”

“I wanted to tell you myself, once you got back.”

She appears infuriatingly calm over the entire thing. Tim knows that he should not be surprised--this is Diane, after all--but signing Ryan to write a tell-all about Nick’s faked death and the aftermath? He presumed she had better taste than this.

“Well, I’m back,” he says, “and I’m not happy about this. Surprise.”

She opens her mouth to respond, but Tim cuts her off: “How could you possibly think this was a good idea? That man was going to let me spend the rest of my life in prison.”

“Exactly. It’s compelling. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s this thing called the Internet, and it’s kind of causing problems with book sales. If there’s a truly fascinating story that we have exclusive access to--”

“What are we now, the National Enquirer?”

Before he even finishes the statement, Diane is shaking her head. “Don’t pretend this is about the integrity of your precious publishing industry. This is personal.”

He wishes she weren’t right, but she is.

“Fine. It is personal. Is that so wrong?” He moves closer to her, planting his palms on the desk and leaning in. “Think about Samantha. She reads everything. She’s going to want to read this.”

“So? I’d rather have her know that her uncle is a screwed-up man who made mistakes rather than an emotionless sociopath who did all of this for shits and giggles.”

“I’d rather she not ever think about it again!” He can see that the personal appeal isn’t working, either, so he simply cuts to the chase. “It isn’t too late to put an end to this. Void the contract. Pay him a small sum to go away.”

“He’ll just sell his story to a tabloid anyway,” Diane counters. “He knows that he’s got something valuable now, and he doesn’t exactly have a ton of job prospects.”

Tim wants to argue with that, but he knows that she is probably right. A thousand other protests form and then die before ever passing through his lips, and the result of all the build-up is a loud, frustrated grunt.

“You can’t let this go through,” he finally manages to say. “Diane, please. We’ve been very close in the past. Do this for me. For my family.”

She doesn’t even flinch. “Sorry. You gave up your right to call in personal favors with me, remember?”

Tim knows that he is not going to get anywhere with her, not now. And if that is the case, there is something else he has to do. He bolts from the office without another word.


Even sitting at the kitchen table of her parents’ house, where she spent so much time as a child, Sarah Gray feels just as ill-at-ease as she has for days--ever since Matt’s proclamation that one of them should move out of their apartment.

“It’s a one-bedroom in a nice complex. Big courtyard, good parking, gym in the clubhouse… but it’s not my home,” Sarah tells her mother, who listens attentively.

“Of course it isn’t. It also isn’t permanent,” Paula says.

Sarah wants desperately to believe that, but she is not so sure.

“It only seemed fair that I should be the one to move out,” she says. “I’ve been in and out for months anyway, and he’s been there with Tori. It will be the least disorienting for her… I hope.”

“You’ll still be there for Tori. You’re just going to have a separate space for a little while so that you and Matt can sort things out. It isn’t as uncommon as you think.”

“Believe me, with the work I do, I’ve seen all kinds of arrangements in marriages.” That’s what scares her.

“Your father moved out of this house for a short while,” Paula says. She sounds ashamed even to remember it, let alone mention it. “It was a necessary part of taking stock of our expectations and of the work we’d have to do. That’s what this will be for you and Matt, too.”

Sarah picks up her fork and spears a piece of the apple pie that she doesn’t even want but which Paula insisted she have. The bite makes it to her mouth and, though she’s sure it is very good in reality, she cannot be bothered to taste it. She chews out of necessity and swallows.

“It isn’t fair,” she says, setting down the fork a little too hard. “I’m finally ready to work on this, really work on it, and he decides it’s time to be apart? It feels like he’s giving up.”

“Don’t think that way,” Paula says. “This has nothing to do with whether Matt wants to be with you. It’s his way of protecting himself.”

“From what? Me? I’m sorry if I lost a baby trying to save my family. That does some weird things to your emotions, you know?”

“Of course.”

“I know I’ve probably been horrible to deal with this past year, but--I had no control of that. I’m doing everything I can. I’m seeing a doctor, I’m making time for Tori--”

“No one said you weren’t trying.”

“That’s what it feels like. I say I’m ready to make an effort, and my husband wants me to move out.”

“Because he’s scared, too.” Paula reaches across the table to touch her daughter’s hand. Sarah’s instinct is to pull away, but she forces herself to accept the contact. “There is no short-term solution to this. Keep seeing your therapist. Spend time with your family. Things will fall back into place.”

As much as Sarah wants to believe that, it all sounds a little too perfect. If there is one thing she has learned over the last year, it’s that there is no such thing.


From a bench beside the playground, Danielle Taylor watches Caleb and Christian play with their friends. She has come to value the structure of her daily routine with the boys. It all helps her to feel grounded and secure--something that she has not felt consistently in her life for years.

When she spots Ryan Moriani coming down the walking path that cuts through the park, she lowers her head, hoping that he will not see her. Or, if he does see her, maybe he will have the good sense to walk in the opposite direction.

No such luck. Danielle raises her eyes to peek and sees Ryan in the process of noticing her. As soon as they make eye contact, an awkward encounter becomes inevitable.

“Hi,” he says, hands planted in the pockets of his slacks.

“Hi.” She doesn’t know what to say to him or why she should even bother. She offered him help with his drinking, and he refused; there is not much more that she can do.

“Look at this. We’re in the park, it’s the middle of the day, and neither of us is passed out on a bench.”

“I wasn’t aware that was a mutual problem.”

“Fair enough.” Ryan stares off into the distance. “Look, I should apologize for snapping at you the last time I came to see you. You were trying to help. It wasn’t fair, the way I blew up at you.”

“Does that mean you’re ready to admit you need help?”

Clearly he is not, and clearly he was not expecting her to go there so quickly. He even takes a step backward, putting a little more space between them.

“I told you: my drinking isn’t the problem. My life is,” he says. “Drinking is a byproduct of that.”

She tries her hardest to be gentle, not judgmental or pushy, but a certain amount of pressure could be good for him, too. “How do you think it was for me?”

A lengthy spell of silence falls between them. Danielle watches the boys playing, and she notices that Ryan follows her gaze and watches his nephews, too. It troubles her to think that those boys are his family but, if their parents have their way, they will never know their uncle.

“I did something fairly stupid,” Ryan says suddenly.

“What’s that?”

“I got offered a book deal. To write about… what happened with my father, his death and coming back and everything that happened at the restaurant on my wedding day.”

“Is the stupid part that you accepted it or that you turned it down?”


“Why is that stupid?” Danielle asks. “Maybe writing about it will help you process it. You could use the outlet, from what I’ve seen.”

“Maybe. But there’s a difference between writing for myself and writing for the whole world. I can’t imagine my--the Fishers are going to be too happy about it.”

All Danielle can do is nod.

“At any rate, I didn’t even intend to sign the contract,” he says. “I kept saying no, but Diane Bishop chased me out of town and tricked me into signing it.”

“She tricked you? How?”

The answer is already apparent. Ryan, apparently unable even to say the words, quickly mimes taking a drink.

“If she tricked you because you were drunk,” Danielle says, making sure to let the word linger for a moment, “you have legal grounds for getting out of the contract.”

“I know… but I figure if I already signed it…”

Before she has even fully processed the thought, she blurts it out: “Do you really expect people to buy this act you’re trying to sell?”


When Tim arrives at his parents’ house, he finds his mother in the kitchen with Sarah.

“I didn’t know you’d be coming home for lunch,” Paula says, surprised.

“I’m not.” Tim didn’t want to break this news to his mother over the phone, and he could not have waited until the end of the workday. “There’s something I need to talk to you about.”

Immediately Paula rises from her seat. “What is it?”

“You might want to sit back down.”

“Is everything okay?” Sarah asks.

Tim nods. “Yeah. I mean--everyone is fine. It’s nothing like that.”

Paula studies him, as if she hopes to find the answer written somewhere on his person. “Tim, what’s going on?”

He considers taking a seat, as well, but he has far too much nervous energy for that. His adrenaline is still racing from learning about Ryan’s book deal, and now he has to share the information with Paula. He wishes there were some way he could avoid doing this, but keeping it from her will only make things worse in the long run.

“It’s about Ryan,” he says.

He can see Paula’s mind working overtime to keep her body from bursting out of her seat. “You said everyone is all right,” she says, as if trying to convince herself not to panic.

“He’s fine.” Tim knows that Ryan is still her son and that she will always, at the very least, worry about what happens to him, but something inside him still bristles. “Out of his mind, maybe, but fine.”

Tim is trying to figure out how to continue when he notices something in Sarah: she sits up a little straighter, her eyes open a little wider. An instant of eye contact between them makes it undeniable to him.

“You know?” he asks.

“I only found out a few days ago,” Sarah says. “Diane asked me to find Ryan for her--”

Tim cannot believe what he is hearing. “You helped her do this?”


Danielle can see that her outburst has astounded Ryan. She is glad; the man needs something to make an impact upon him if he is going to improve his life at all.

“It’s transparent, Ryan,” she says, standing from the bench. “You’re always the victim. You’ll take responsibility for shooting Nick… but only because you were trying to protect the Fishers. You’ll write this book… but only because Diane tricked you.”

“Are you trying to send me straight to the liquor store?”

“You might as well head there now. Because all of this--the excuses, the self-pity--that’s where it all leads. Writing this book could be therapeutic, but if it’s just a few hundred pages of you blaming other people for your own bad decisions, it isn’t going to accomplish anything for you.”

He soaks this all up and inhales a deep breath of the cool air. “Then what do you suggest I do?” he asks at last.

Her response is swift. “Be honest! At least with yourself. Why are you writing this book?”

“To tell my side of the story,” he says.

“Okay…” She can tell that there is something else poised to emerge, and she waits for it.

“And because I need the money.”

“There’s no shame in needing to make money. Just admit it. If that’s why you’re writing it, that’s why you’re writing it. The more things you bottle up inside, the more likely you are to… well, to hit the bottle.”

She sits back down, hoping that she has made some impact upon him.

Nodding, he says, “Do you have plans for dinner?”

The question blows away any sense of control she had in this conversation. “What?”

“I know that was a weird segue, and believe me, I’m not expecting anything. But this is the first actual, honest conversation I’ve had with anyone in months, probably. I’m a little short on friends these days.”

“I can’t imagine why.”


She regrets the barb, so she explains, “Molly and Brent both have things for work tonight. I’ve got the twins.”

“Okay. So tomorrow night. Friday. It doesn’t matter. I just appreciate the fact that you’re actually willing to speak to me like I’m a human being, and I’d like to buy you dinner to thank you for that.”

“I suppose we can make something work,” Danielle says, unsure why she is accepting his offer or why the decision is so easy.


Sarah springs up to defend herself. “I didn’t know what Diane was up to,” she says, as much to Tim as to Paula, “until we found Ryan. I wanted to make sure he was okay--”

“What are you two talking about?” Paula interrupts.

Tim and Sarah exchange a look. Seemingly embarrassed, she defers to him, and he proceeds carefully.

“Ryan’s writing a book,” he tells their mother, “about Nick’s shooting and how he faked his death.”

Paula’s response is the polar opposite of Tim’s: motionless, speechless, almost as if she has been zapped by a laser.

“Diane got him to sign the contract while I was away,” he says. “I only found out today.”

Seconds later, Paula’s first response is directed not at what Tim has said, but at Sarah. “You knew this was happening?”

“I didn’t know how to tell you,” Sarah says. “I don’t even know the details. All Diane really told me is that she got Ryan to sign the contract.”

Paula soaks this up in further silence.

“Could you possibly talk some sense into Diane?” she asks Tim.

He shakes his head. “I tried. She’s dead-set on doing this.”

“Maybe it isn’t that big of a deal,” Sarah interjects, ostensibly trying to help.

Tim doesn’t have a clue how she could possibly argue that. “How is this not a big deal?”

“So he writes a book. People read it if they’re interested. We ignore it. And it will be a public record of your innocence.”

Her points make sense, and yet Tim hates the idea of such a book being out there, of Ryan (and Diane) somehow profiting from the terrible things that he put their entire family through. Especially if it is some sob story, positioned as a plea for sympathy.

“I’ll talk to Ryan,” Paula says.

“I can do it,” Tim says. “Let him know what I think of this latest idiotic plan.”

“No, it should be me. He’s more likely to listen to me.”

Paula moves to the front room to gather her things. Tim and Sarah follow her.

“Diane said he moved out of the loft,” Sarah says.

Paula seems unsurprised. “I know.”

“How did you know that?” Tim asks.

“Claire bumped into Ryan a few months ago. She told me that he said something about having lost the loft.”

Tim wishes he didn’t feel some sense of satisfaction at this news, but he does.

“I’ll call him, then,” Paula decides.

“You don’t have to do this. I can talk to him,” Tim says. A significant part of why he wants to stop the publication of this book is because he does not want to see his mother put through the wringer by Ryan all over again. Forcing her to interact with him again is completely counterproductive.

“No. I should be the one to do it,” Paula says firmly. “Tim, when you came back to us, I was so worried about the new dynamic of having Ryan in the family… I’m afraid I wasn’t fair to you. I put too much energy into protecting Ryan when it was you I should have been protecting. I need to make up for that now.”

“Mom, you didn’t make Ryan’s decisions for him.”

“No, but maybe I can have an effect on this one.”

Tim hopes, for all of their sakes, that she is right.


Will Paula be the one to change Ryan’s mind?
Could Ryan and Danielle have potential together?
Should Sarah have said something sooner?
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