Episode #491

- Brent asked for Claire’s help in investigating how Nick made it out of the hospital alive. She refused, not wanting to endanger her family any further.
- Tim and Claire shared a close moment that seemed headed toward a kiss, but Tim pulled away and told Claire they had no future together.
- Brent interviewed one of Nick’s hired thugs, who insisted that someone calling himself “Mr. Clayton” had hired him--and that man was not Nick.
- Courtney accepted Jason’s marriage proposal.
- Hoping to get his career back on track, Trevor attended an industry party in Seattle. Miriam tracked him down and suggested that they work together to keep Alex and Seth apart.
- Seth made it clear that he was ready to renew his physical relationship with Alex, but Alex was consumed by thoughts of Trevor and turned Seth away.


As Jason Fisher ascends the stairs to the second floor of the arena, he cannot help but marvel at all the progress that has been made on the facility in the past few months. Walls that were once little more than a series of beams are now complete and wear fresh, even coats of paint. The mismatched, utilitarian furnishings have been replaced by sleek, appealing pieces that lend the place a cool professionalism.

He pauses at the railing to look down at the ice surface. Having a new sheet of ice, complete with new logos, is one of the final remaining steps in the remodeling process. He can hardly believe that this is the same arena in which he grew up skating--and he finds it even more difficult to believe that he has played such a substantial role in its transformation.

“Jason! Come here!”

He follows Courtney’s call into the office itself. Like the rest of the arena, it looks like a different place from the one in which they started working last year. This is a space in which he can picture himself working for years to come.

“There’s something Jason and I would like to tell you,” Courtney says to Seth and Sabrina, who sit at their desks.

Jason moves swiftly to her side. He knows this routine by now; they have gone through it with her parents, several members of their families, and a few friends.

“We’re engaged!” Courtney tells their coworkers. She holds up her hand to show off the ring that they picked out together last weekend.

“Wow. Congratulations,” Seth says. He rises from his seat to shake Jason’s hand and give Courtney a polite hug.

“How soon are you planning on getting married?” Sabrina asks, still in her desk chair.

“Not until after the baby comes,” Jason says. “Way too much stuff to do.”

“That’s awesome, you guys. Congrats.” Seth throws Jason a sideways look. “Have fun with the wedding planning on top of having a kid, man. It’s a real joy.”

“No offense,” Jason says, “but I’d like to think Courtney will be a little more reasonable than your fiancée was, based on what Alex has told me.”

Seth holds up his hands, as if to distance himself from the mention of Miriam. “None taken. I think you’re right.”

“Yeah, ‘til the hormones get even worse!” Courtney teases, sticking out her tongue.

Jason takes his fiancée’s hand. He never thought that he would find so much comfort in change. A new career, a baby on the way, an engagement… and he could not be happier. It finally feels as though, after years of trying to figure out what he is supposed to do with himself, the pieces have all come together.

“I have to make a phone call,” Seth says, holding up his cell as he slips out of the room. “I’ll be back in a minute.”

Seth exits the office, leaving Jason and Courtney with Sabrina. She seems to be studying them intently.

“Is something wrong?” Jason asks. Her stare is making him uneasy.

“I hope not,” Sabrina says quickly, shaking her head. “But I just thought of something.”

Almost but not quite in unison, Jason and Courtney ask, “What?”

“The money that you used to buy this place,” Sabrina says. “When you inherited it, didn’t you say there was some provision or something? About you guys being married?”

Jason remembers exactly what she is talking about, and he can see that Courtney does, too. When he first bought the arena and hired Sabrina to work with them, the whole story of how he had inherited the money from Shannon Parish seemed so bizarre. It still does, he supposes, but he has gradually come to terms with it being the strange conclusion to that period of their lives. The thought of Shannon’s will has crossed his mind since he first thought of proposing to Courtney, but he has hoped no one else would think to mention it.

“If you guys go ahead with getting married,” Sabrina asks, “isn’t there a chance that the courts could take away the money you inherited?”


This routine is all too familiar to Alex Marshall: rushing to the Brooks house, searching desperately for Trevor, needing to clear the air with him. After the way he has treated Trevor over the past few months, however, he is almost ashamed to show his face here. He has been indecisive to the point of cruelty, and for too long, he used Trevor’s mistakes as an excuse to keep him hanging while Alex indulged his own curiosity about Seth.

No more, he tells himself as he parks his car at the curb and hurries to the front door. When Seth turned up at his apartment and wanted to get physical, Alex realized that he couldn’t do it--not while Trevor is still out there and, with any luck, waiting for him to come to his senses.

Before he reaches the house, his cell phone rings. Hope surges within him. It must be Trevor, returning his calls, thinking the same things that he is. They can finally put all this behind them. But when he checks the screen, he sees Seth’s name on the caller ID. Feeling guilty, because he has been stringing Seth along, too, he ignores the call and stuffs the phone away. Not now. This time is about him and Trevor. It has to be.

He rings the doorbell and waits impatiently. When the door opens, it is Trevor’s mother who stands before him. Alex feels as if he should apologize to this woman for the ways that he has hurt her children, first Lauren and now Trevor.

“Mrs. Brooks. Hi. I, um…”

“You’re looking for Trevor?”

“Yeah. Is he here?”

Roz shakes her head. “He went out a little while ago.”

“Do you know where he went?”

“You’d have better luck finding that Paris Hilton in a library than you would tracking Trevor down most of the time,” she says.

“Oh.” Alex is unable to stand still; there is too much nervous energy coursing through him. “I need to find him. I tried calling him, but it went straight to voicemail--”

“I know.” Roz folds her arms. “Alex, I don’t think he wants to talk to you right now. He ignored those calls on purpose. He took off not long after that.”

Something dawns on Alex. “But he did see that I was calling.”

“Yep. And I don’t think he was thrilled about it. Looked like he was in some kind of fog.”

If Trevor was thinking--and thinking of him--then he has to be…

“Thank you, Mrs. Brooks!” he calls out as he breaks away from the door, back to his car.


The department administrative assistant shows Claire Fisher into the office. Brent Taylor sits behind his desk and watches Claire carefully as she enters. Neither of them says a word until the assistant leaves and closes the door behind her.

“Sorry for dropping in on you with so little notice,” Claire begins.

“Don’t worry about it,” Brent says. “Is everything okay?”

“Of course.” She doesn’t want to worry him--but it isn’t exactly the truth. Everything isn’t okay.

She is still not certain what she is doing here; a significant part of her is yelling out that she should turn around, walk out of here, and leave well enough alone. But another part of her recalls all too painfully the way that Tim pushed her away recently. Between that and Travis’s continued coolness toward her, nothing is right.

Brent motions toward one of the chairs across from himself. “Have a seat.”

Instead, she pulls a set of photocopied documents from her purse. “These are the contents of Nick’s file from the time he was in the hospital, including the death certificate.”

Brent accepts the paperwork and glances over it, but his attention quickly returns to Claire.

“What made you change your mind?” he asks.

“I thought that I’d be protecting my family by staying out of this,” she says, “but I’ve realized that the damage has already been done. The only way to protect any of us from further harm is to find out who’s been pulling the strings.”

“That’s what I’m thinking.”

“You didn’t get those records from me,” she says, though she trusts Brent to be discreet with them. The information contained therein is really just a jumping-off point, anyway.

He gives the papers another, longer scan. “Anything jump out at you? How the hell did they get a live man presumed dead and out of the hospital before anyone figured out what was going on?”

“The doctor who signed the certificate is a first-year resident. You’ll probably want to speak to her, but it seems like a stretch to think she was involved.”

“Whoever orchestrated Nick’s ‘death’ could have planted someone in there to get this doctor to call time of death,” Brent says. “It isn’t like his death was a shock, with the condition he was in.”

Claire tries for the thousandth time to remember that day, to discern if there was anything strange going on at the hospital, but Nick’s apparent passage into death seemed anticlimactic when it happened.

“Why would anyone want to see Nick live?” she wonders aloud. “Do you think he planned this all before he was shot?”

Brent shrugs. “It’s possible, but he had no way of knowing he was going to wind up shot that night. It would be awfully convenient.”

Claire has to agree. Nick couldn’t have arranged all of this on his own.

“I spoke to one of the guards Nick hired to hold us at the restaurant,” Brent says. “He said that he never met Nick before that day. He was hired by someone calling himself Mr. Clayton.”

Claire’s pulse quickens. “Like the name Tim was being kept in that clinic under.”

“And,” Brent adds, getting even more into it, “I had another talk with Salvatore Domingo. I had just assumed he was covering for Nick when he said Nick wasn’t the ‘Mr. Clayton’ who had brought Tim to the clinic, but now…”

“There’s someone else,” Claire says. The thought that there is still someone out there who wants to hurt her family terrifies her, but it also makes her more confident about having come to see Brent. She has nothing to lose by trying to find this person and put an end to this once and for all, and she has everything to lose by shying away from the situation.

“We’re going to find whoever’s behind this,” Brent says, “and we’re going to make them pay.”


As much as he doesn’t want to admit it, Jason fears that Sabrina is right--that if he and Courtney get married, they might trip through some loophole in Shannon’s will and have to return the money that he inherited, the money that has made this arena a reality. He can see the alarm on Courtney’s face, too, and suspects that this had not occurred to her amidst all the excitement.

“Can they do that?” Courtney asks, grabbing his arm.

“I don’t know,” Jason admits. “I was sure it just referred to the actual time of the inheritance. The lawyer didn’t say anything about never being allowed to get married.”

“That’s not fair,” Courtney says. “What, that psychotic bitch has the ability to play puppetmaster even when she’s dead?”

Jason places a hand on her stomach, hoping to calm her. “Don’t get crazy. I’ll check with the lawyer who handled the inheritance. Everything should be fine.”

Courtney hesitantly takes a seat, but he can tell that she won’t relax until they have a definitive answer.

“I’m sorry for bringing it up,” Sabrina says. “It just crossed my mind. Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut.” She shrinks away in embarrassment.

“No, it’s something we need to check out,” Jason says. “Thank you.”

That seems to put Sabrina at ease, and she returns to typing.

“Listen,” he says to Courtney. “I’m going to get Shannon’s attorney on the phone right now, and we’ll get this resolved.” He moves for his desk, and in that instant, realizes that there is something else he completely forgot about.

“Crap. This has to go out this afternoon,” he says, picking up the packet of papers from his desk.

“What is it?” Courtney asks.

“The final paperwork for the café’s health inspection. We need to file it or we won’t be able to serve food out of there at the grand opening.”

“I’ll take care of it,” Sabrina offers.

“Thanks, but I’ve got it,” Courtney says. “It’s just filling in a bunch of information over and over again, right?”

“Yeah. The inspector’s report is clipped to the back. You have to copy some stuff from there.” Jason hands her the packet. “This has to be faxed over today. We’re already cutting it close. Otherwise we’re not going to have the permit by the opening.”

Courtney moves back to her desk. “I’m on top of it. Besides, it’ll keep me busy while you talk to that lawyer.”

Jason finds the lawyer’s card in his desk and decides to make the call outside on his cell phone. In case of bad news, he would rather Courtney not see his initial reaction.


Alex hopes that his instincts are correct. They have to be. He should have known all along to come here, to Trevor’s secret spot by the river.

As he forces his way along the makeshift path, pushing aside branches as he goes, he tries to ignore the chill in the air. He could have sworn that the weather was getting warmer as it inched toward springtime, but right now, there is no evidence of anything but the lingering winter.

He pushes through the last bit of the path and steps into the small clearing. As he hoped, Trevor sits on the edge of the rocks, staring out over the river. He doesn’t turn, doesn’t even move.

Alex stands silently, not wanting to disturb Trevor or this perfect, peaceful moment. He remembers so clearly another time that he rushed here, needing to apologize to Trevor for thinking the worst of him. It was then, the first time that they kissed, that Alex knew he would fall in love with this man.

It’s perfect, really, that fate brings them back here now. Everything has been leading up to this. Alex couldn’t have written it better himself.

“Hey,” he says. His voice catches in his throat, and the word croaks out unsteadily.

Trevor turns around--not with a start, but slowly, methodically. “How’d you find me?”

“I figured this is where you’d come to be alone.” Alex approaches Trevor carefully. “I’m sorry. I don’t want to interrupt you, or--I just really needed to see you.”

Trevor’s head dips in a nod. Alex takes it as permission to move closer.

“I’m so sorry,” Alex says. “I never should have let things get so out of control. It’s been so unfair to you.”

He looks down on Trevor. In this moment, everything about him is perfect. Alex wonders what he did to deserve him, or if he still does. How could he have jeopardized this to explore some foolish infatuation with the past? Maybe it was all necessary to make him realize that he belongs with Trevor.

“I love you,” he says. “Only you.”

Trevor doesn’t move, doesn’t stand, merely sits there on the rocks looking back at Alex.

“I want to be with you,” Alex says. “I’m ready to do whatever it takes to make this work.”

Instead of jumping up to embrace him, Trevor turns and stares out over the water.

“I got offered a new job,” Trevor says. “A full campaign.”

“That’s amazing! Congratulations.”

“In Europe.”

Panic crowds the edges of Alex’s consciousness. “So you’re going to Europe to do the shoot?”

Trevor shakes his head. “It’s not just a shoot. This guy Felipe--he wants to do a full-out campaign. Print ads and appearances. Parties, trunk shows, that sort of thing.”

Alex wants nothing more than to sit down beside Trevor, but it feels all wrong now.

“I have to do it,” Trevor says.

“Of course. It’s great for your career.”

“It’s great for me. I need to do something different right now… whatever’s been going on here hasn’t been working.”

Alex simply lingers there, standing over Trevor and listening to the river move down below. He wishes that he could bolt, but it seems so weak and self-centered, and he’s been both of those things more than enough lately.

“How long will you be there?” he asks.

“A few months, at least. I leave Monday.”



Nothing happens for several more seconds, and again Alex wonders if he should leave. Before he can make a decision, though, Trevor pats the rock beside him.

“Are you sure?” Alex asks.

“Yeah. Sit.”

Carefully, Alex lowers himself down onto the jagged seat. He joins Trevor in gazing out at the water. Despite the cold, the afternoon sun is visible overhead, and Alex cannot help but think of the first time he saw this view. Trevor brought him out here to celebrate his publishing deal and talked him into jumping from this cliff into the water below. Alex was terrified, but once he was in the water, he felt a rush like nothing he’d felt before, a rush that lasted even as he and Trevor rested on the opposite shore afterward.

Sitting here now, Alex is sure that he can still feel the same electricity that he felt on that day.

“How did we screw this up so badly?” he asks.

To Alex’s surprise, Trevor leans over and rests his head on Alex’s shoulder. Alex flinches--not because the contact is unwelcome or uncomfortable, but because he fears that he will not be able to face the moment when it has to end.

“I don’t know,” Trevor says.

And they sit on the edge of the cliff, watching the river move undisturbed below them and remembering a time full of possibility and hope.


What will Alex do without Trevor?
Will Jason and Courtney be able to get married?
Will Brent and Claire find the truth?
Come discuss this episode in the Footprints Forum!

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