Episode #492

- Brian realized that Diane would never have deeper feelings for him and told her off.
- After finding out about Ryan’s publishing deal, Tim told Paula, and they realized that Sarah had already known about it.
- Danielle agreed to have dinner with Ryan.


Ryan Moriani’s fingers snake around the stem of his wine glass. He idly swirls the rich red liquid as he sits at the bar, awaiting his dinner companion’s arrival. When he sees her step up to the maitre’d stand, he quickly works his way through the dense dinner crowd and arrives at her side.

“This is the other half of my party,” he tells the hostess. He and Danielle Taylor are swiftly escorted to a table toward the center of the restaurant--not his top choice, but he is not in much of a position to throw his weight around these days.

“Thanks for coming,” he says to Danielle.

She looks back at him uncertainly. “Of course.”

“I could have picked you up. It wasn’t necessary for both of us to drive.”

“It’s fine. I’d rather have my own car, anyway.”

“So you can run away if need be?” he asks. He makes it sound like a joke, but he is not so sure that it is one.

“It’s just easier,” Danielle says. She opens her menu and focuses intently upon the words within it.

Ryan observes her carefully, and then it hits him. He should have figured this out earlier.

“You didn’t want them to know,” he says.

Danielle looks up sharply.

“Molly and Brent,” Ryan says. “You don’t want them to know you’re having dinner with me.”

He expects her to at least try and deny it, but she simply makes a pained expression and asks, “Can you blame me?”

“Fair enough.” He shrugs, and Danielle returns to perusing the menu.


Normally, Paula Fisher would be thrilled to have two of her children stop by the house after work. This evening, however, she dreads having to do what she knows she has to do. And even worse than telling them, she has to tell Bill, as well.

“What’s going on?” Jason Fisher asks when he arrives and finds his parents and Molly gathered in the living room. “Is everything okay?”

“Everything’s fine,” Paula says, greeting her youngest child with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. “I just needed to talk to all of you about something.”

“Are Tim and Sarah coming?” Molly asks.

“They’re actually the ones who told me about this.” That isn’t exactly true in Sarah’s case, but Paula would prefer not to exacerbate tensions any further right now.

“You’re sure everything is all right?” Bill asks, rising from the couch to stand beside his wife.

Paula nods insistently. After everything that they have been through in the past year alone, Ryan writing a tell-all book should be insignificant. No one is in danger. But Paula still fears that this book will tear open wounds that have barely been sealed. What they need now is to move forward, not to get tied up in the past.

“It’s Ryan,” she says. She gauges their reactions carefully; none of them seem to know how to feel or what to show.

Jason is the one to break the silence. “What did he do now?”

“He signed a contract,” Paula explains slowly, “with Vision Publishing. He’s going to write a book--his account of Nick’s shooting and… what happened at the restaurant.”

“Can he even do that? Don’t we need to give our consent?” Molly asks, though it sounds less like a question and more like a desperate attempt to find a loophole.

“Apparently it’s all legal,” Paula says, “or Diane wouldn’t have signed the contract.”

Jason smacks his hands down on his legs. “Of course she’d do something like this. Did Tim try to stop her?”

“She did it while he was out of town.” Paula proceeds carefully, not wanting to make it sound as though she has been hiding too much from her family. “I asked Ryan to meet with me and tried to talk him out of it. He refused.”

She pauses, all too aware that Bill has yet to say or do anything in response to this news. She wishes that she didn’t have to tell him at all. After all the devastation that Ryan has both directly and indirectly brought upon this family, Paula fears what Bill might do.


“There has to be something you can do,” Tim Fisher urges as he paces in front of his brother-in-law’s desk.

“I wish there was,” Brent says. He gives one more cursory look to the Vision Publishing contract that Tim brought to him and then sets the document down. “There’s nothing illegal about publishing a factual account of a story that was already reported by news outlets. If the actual content is slanderous somehow, then maybe--”

“We’re not going to sue him,” Tim says. “And besides, by then the book will already be out, and the damage will have been done.”

Tim doesn’t know what he expected Brent to do, exactly, but he hoped that the police would have some strategic, clever way of finding just the loophole to prevent Ryan from publishing his book.

Brent folds his hands in front of his mouth as he considers their options. “You’ve spoken to Diane? She understands what this could do to Samantha’s family?”

“Do you think Diane cares about anything I have to say? Me being upset about it is probably egging her on.”

“She has surprised us from time to time.”

Tim knows that as well as anyone. He was ready to write her off long ago, but her fierce protectiveness of their daughter and her compassion toward him when he was at his lowest created a strong bond between them. Even though their relationship is over, Tim would like to believe that some mutual affection remains. In this situation, however, he has the feeling Diane is not going to budge. Not when her company’s profit margin is on the line.

“Why can’t you arrest him?” Tim asks suddenly.

Brent sighs, betraying a weariness that he has, until this moment, concealed very well. “Believe me, I would if I could. But it’s a logistical nightmare. As far as the law is concerned, Nick died in that hospital. There’s a death certificate on record.”

“Yeah, and there were at least twenty people who saw him alive and terrorizing people before he set off those bombs.”

“But there wasn’t enough time to invalidate the death certificate. We can’t charge Ryan with his murder because Nick wasn’t dead.”

“So charge him with attempted murder. Ryan’s admitted that he shot Nick. He’s going to write it in the damn book.”

“Tim… believe me, if there was a way to make this work, I’d have charged him months ago. There’s too much red tape. Any lawyer worth his salt would be able to get the charges thrown out on any number of technicalities.”

Tim cannot believe what he is hearing. Since the truth about Ryan shooting Nick came out, he has told himself that Ryan is suffering enough. Tim has his life back, so what happens to Ryan is of no consequence to him--or wasn’t, until this book business.

“Manslaughter. Assault,” he presses. “There must be something.”

“I’ve looked at this from every possible angle. Don’t you think I want to see somehow pay for this?” Brent asks, smacking his prosthetic lower leg.

“This is ridiculous,” Tim says, but whatever momentum he came in here with has been shot.

“I’m working on something,” Brent says. “Not about Ryan directly, but… something to make sense of all of this. So that we can have peace, once and for all.”

“What is it?”

Brent shakes his head. “I don’t want to say too much yet. Not until I know what’s really going on.”

Tim watches for some kind of clue as to what it is, but Brent gives away nothing.


Sarah Gray and Diane Bishop meet on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant and walk inside together. As they are led to their table, Sarah catches sight of something that she would not in a million years have imagined she would see: Ryan and Danielle having dinner together. Normally, she would go over and say hello to Danielle, but Ryan… she has no idea how to address him, especially after this business with the book.

She says a silent prayer that they will be seated somewhere in the back of the restaurant, where she can pretend that she doesn’t see her half-brother and former sister-in-law dining together. So, naturally, she and Diane wind up only a few tables away from them.

“What a day from hell,” Diane is saying as they take their seats. “I could use a martini or twelve.”

Sarah smiles amiably, trying not to let on that anything is distracting her. A moment later, however, Diane glances to her right and spots Ryan and Danielle.

“Well, well, look who it is.” She indicates them with the long nail of her index finger, and Sarah feigns surprise at the sight.

“Isn’t that Brent’s sister?” Diane asks.

“Yeah.” Sarah doesn’t have to fake her confusion, at least. She has no idea what Danielle might be doing with Ryan.

The waiter appears and takes their drink orders. As soon as he departs, Diane shoots to her feet. “Let’s go over and say hello. Wouldn’t want to be rude, would we?”

Sarah thinks of protesting, but Diane has already caught Ryan’s eye, and Danielle notices them, as well. Sarah falls into step behind Diane, and they walk over to the other table.

“If it isn’t my favorite new author,” Diane says.

Ryan glares at her. He appears to be deliberating his response.

Sarah leans in to give Danielle a kiss on the cheek. “It’s good to see you,” she says.

“You, too.” Danielle shifts uncomfortably.

Sarah catches Ryan looking at her and decides to be as neutral as possible. “Hi, Ryan. I didn’t realize you two knew each other.”

“We, um…” Again Danielle squirms. Sarah gets the sense that this was supposed to be a covert meeting.

“Danielle’s been an enormous help to me lately,” Ryan says. “I insisted on buying her dinner to thank her.”

“Don’t help him too much,” Diane says with a sarcastic laugh. “Angst makes for much better writing.”

“Yeah, and God forbid you weren’t able to properly take advantage of people’s problems for your own profit,” Ryan says, sipping his wine.

Diane’s eyes widen. “I’m not the one being paid to write about how I willfully ruined my entire family’s lives.”

Before Ryan can snipe back at her, Sarah takes Diane by the arm. “We should get back to our table,” she says. “Good seeing you, Danielle. We’ll have to catch up sometime soon.”

“I’ll give you a call,” Danielle says.

Sarah leads Diane back to their table, though she can tell her friend is just itching to turn around and scrap with Ryan.

“That brother of yours really has a warped perspective on the world, you know that?” Diane says as they take their seats.

Sarah can’t resist tossing a little laugh across the table. “Yeah, and he’s clearly the only one who has that problem.”

Diane makes a face. “Shut up. And where the hell is my martini?”


Paula waits for some sign of her husband’s reaction. By the looks on their faces and their tense posture, Molly and Jason appear to be waiting for the same thing.

“You met with Ryan?” Bill asks, narrowing his gaze upon his wife.

Her first instinct is to apologize for doing so behind his back. They have been very clear, since the revelation that Ryan allowed Tim to be charged with Nick’s murder, about no longer accepting Ryan as part of the family. But Paula believes that her meeting with Ryan was necessary and in her family’s best interests, and nothing Bill says can convince her otherwise.

“I wanted to try and reason with him,” she says. “I only wish it had worked.”

Bill stares at her, his eye contact intense and unflinching. “You shouldn’t have done that.”

Paula is about to respond when Jason steps in. “I think it was smart. Why not go right to the source of the problem? Too bad he didn’t listen.”

“It’s exactly what he wanted,” Bill says. “This is nothing but a bid for attention. Because of the book, you can’t keep ignoring him.”

As much as she doesn’t want to believe that Ryan’s intentions are so manipulative, it does make sense to Paula.

Bill slides his arm around his wife. “I don’t want to see you hurt by him again. You put a lot of trust in Ryan once, and look at how that turned out.”

Paula finds herself nodding in agreement.

“So what do we do?” Molly asks.

“I’ll tell you what we do,” Bill says, and once their attention is focused on him, he continues: “Absolutely nothing.”

His nonchalant attitude is the last thing Paula expected. “You’re all right with this?”

“Of course not. But we have to learn to be. We’ve all been victims of Ryan and Nick for too long. We need to move forward.”

“That’s kind of hard when the whole story’s going to be all over,” Molly says.

“Then we have to make an effort. Let Ryan write his book. We can’t give him the satisfaction of getting upset about it. Yes, it might dredge up some painful memories, but we can’t let him have this power over us.”

Paula leans tighter against her husband. She expected him to have the worst reaction of them all; he has been such a critic of Ryan from day one. His clear-headed outlook now makes her extremely proud.

 “I can’t believe I ever trusted Ryan enough to go into business with him,” Jason mutters. “It figures he’d pull something like this.”

“Maybe Brent can do something to stop this,” Molly says.

“Your father is right,” Paula cuts them off. “We have to rise above this.”

Neither of their children seem particularly convinced that this will be enough, but they do not argue, either.


When the waiter arrives with their food some time later, Sarah and Diane are deep in conversation.

“I still feel really bad about it,” Sarah says. She pauses to thank the waiter and then continues, “I should have given them some kind of warning, or… something.”

Diane shakes her head. “Don’t let them do this to you.”

“Do what?”

“Guilt-trip you about this. It’s not your job to protect your family from every dumb decision Ryan makes.”

“Because you had nothing to do with that decision at all,” Sarah says. The book has become a strange point of contention between them in the weeks since Diane persuaded Ryan to sign the contract. Their friendship has not changed at all, but there is this one element lurking just under the surface. Sarah has forgiven Diane for doing some pretty awful things in the past, but this seems like such bold-faced disregard not only for the Fishers, but for Sarah herself.

Diane cracks, at least a little bit, under Sarah’s glare. “Okay, I’m sorry. I am. I don’t want to see you hurt by this… but as a businesswoman, publishing this book is something I have to do.”

“I guess.” Sarah picks at her food. “I don’t have to like it. I’m not going to.”

“Fine. We don’t have to agree with every single thing each other does.” Diane moves to take a bite, but a thought distracts her, and she sets down her fork. “Don’t go all Brian on me.”

“What’s going on with that?”

“He’s being all weird again. Acting all ‘professional’ and cool--but never enough so I can call him on it without looking like a bitch, you know?”

“You did basically use him for sex,” Sarah says. Normally she wouldn’t be so accusatory, but Diane’s insistence on publishing this damn book has irked her pretty badly.

“He wanted to be used for it!” When Diane gets no agreement out of Sarah, she takes a softer route: “I just want things to go back to normal between him and me. Why does he have to make this so difficult?”

“Maybe he’s not the only one making it difficult. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you’re kind of a tough person to be friends with from time to time.”

Sarah worries that she has gone too far, but Diane simply puts her hand to her chest and makes an exaggerated gasping noise. “Me? Never!”

“I’m just saying, an apology would go a long way, I bet,” Sarah says. “A real apology. Tell him you want to be friends again.”

Diane ponders the idea while chewing a bite of her food.

“You know,” she says, “this is why I keep you around. Sometimes you bring some great insights to the table.”

“Someone’s got to have a soul around here,” Sarah says with a laugh, and thankfully, Diane joins her in it.


“Could I have another glass, please?” Ryan asks, holding out his wine glass to the waiter.

When the waiter departs with the empty glass, Ryan turns back to his dining companion--and finds her staring at him with eyes that could drill through concrete.

“What?” he asks, but before he even gets the question out, he figures it out. Remorse burns in his gut; what an idiot not to have foreseen this. “Would you prefer I didn’t drink around you? I’m really sorry, I didn’t--”

“I’m fine,” Danielle says. “I know when I can control myself.”

“Then what’s with the death look?”

“You shouldn’t be drinking because of you.”

“I had hoped we were past this,” Ryan says, returning his attention to his dinner.

“It would be nice if it worked that way.” Danielle continues to stare him down, and when he offers nothing in response, she proceeds: “I’m not doing this to be a nag or a harpy, Ryan. I’m genuinely worried about you--God only knows why, but I am.”

“I appreciate that, but you have nothing to worry about. At least not on that front.”

Danielle does not argue, but she does not accept his word, either. They eat in silence for a few moments, until the waiter returns with Ryan’s new glass of wine.

“You know what?” Ryan says to the waiter. “I’ve changed my mind. I really don’t need another glass. I’ll pay for it, of course, but could you please take that back with you?”

The waiter, a little confused, agrees nonetheless and departs with the wine.

“Thank you,” Danielle says.

She appears genuinely pleased. It is a simple thing, something that a year ago, Ryan would have taken entirely for granted. These days, however, it isn’t often that someone is truly happy with anything he does. He certainly can’t afford to alienate the one person who is actually willing to sit down and have a meal with him.

“So, about this book,” Danielle says. “Have you given any thought to how you’re going to write it yet?”

Ryan’s thoughts on the matter are still very sketchy, but he launches into them nonetheless, simply grateful to have someone actually willing to listen.


Will word get out about Ryan and Danielle’s dinner?
Did Bill’s reaction to the book surprise you?
Will Diane win back Brian’s friendship?
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