Episode #498

- Brent and Claire united in an effort to find out how Nick made it out of the hospital alive.
- A health inspector crashed the arena’s opening, claiming the inspection paperwork had not been filed. Jason was upset with Courtney because he had entrusted her with that responsibility.
- Courtney mentioned Lauren’s cancer scare to Josh, unaware that Lauren had not told him about it.


The arena’s grand opening carries on. As Claire Fisher stands back, she observes many of the guests having wonderful times--talking, drinking, testing out the new Olympic-sized ice surface. She wishes that she was in a celebratory mood, because she truly is proud of Jason and impressed by what he has done to this place. However, her son’s complete unwillingness to engage with her, and his utter disdain for her, have cast a dark shadow over the evening.

When Brent Taylor approaches her, limping slightly as he always does these days, she draws a deep breath and puts on her most amiable face.

 “Enjoying yourself?” she asks.

He nods. “It’s really something, the way they’ve redone this place. It looks great.”

“I know. It’s incredible.”

Brent glances around, confirms that no one is listening to them, and then says, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you. There’s something… something I think we should consider.”

Something about his tone makes Claire’s nerves prickle.

“Is everything okay?” she asks.

“Yeah. Everything’s fine, at least right here and right now.” He pauses, as if unsure that he wants to dump this upon what is supposed to be a happy night. “It’s about Nick.”

Claire expected as much, but still, even the name sets her on-edge. She wishes she had known better. When the Morianis turned up in King’s Bay all those years ago, she and Tim were doing fine. She should never have let Ryan back into her life. She should never have given Nick access to her family.

She catches Tim’s eye. He is in the midst of a conversation with Molly, but he glances over, acknowledges her, and returns his focus to his sister.

“Everything okay with the two of you?” Brent asks, snapping Claire out of a trance she didn’t even realize she was in.

“You were staring,” he says. “You and Tim--are you guys…”

“There is nothing going on. Take my word for it.”

“This is why we have to find out who was pulling the strings for Nick,” Brent says with force. “Someone caused all of this chaos.”

She finds herself shaking her head. “I can’t think about it. Not now.”


“Brent, please.” She darts outside for some fresh air, for some relief from the constant reminders of her mistakes.


Lauren Brooks is catching up with Paula Fisher when she feels a finger tap her on the shoulder.

“I need to talk to you,” Josh Taylor says before Lauren even turns around.

His intensity flusters Lauren, but she tries not to let it show. “I’m in the middle of a conversation,” she says.

“Would you excuse us?” Josh asks Paula.

“No, Mrs. Fisher--”

“Yes.” Josh stares Lauren down. She can tell that this is something serious.

“Sorry,” Lauren says to Paula. “I’ll catch up with you later.”

Paula slips away, and Josh moves around so that Lauren cannot escape his gaze.

“What do you think you’re doing?” She doesn’t know how, besides aggression, to handle his sudden interest in talking to her after months of being utterly cool and indifferent.

“What do you think you’re doing? You had a fucking biopsy and didn’t even tell me?”

Lauren gasps for breath that isn’t there.

“Did you really think I wouldn’t find out?” Josh asks. “I knew something was going on. Your whole story about Trevor having surgery--no offense, but you’re a pretty shitty liar.”

“I didn’t want to, like, burden you if it wound up being nothing. Which it did.” Even as she says the words, she knows they are only half-true. She thought Josh wouldn’t want anything to do with her if she had something as serious as cancer.

“So you’re fine, right? Nothing is wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. It was just… it was a scare. That’s all.”

He exhales heavily. “Good.”

She can see how worried he is--was. Maybe she underestimated him. Maybe he cares more than she realized.


“I’m an idiot,” Courtney Chase says as she sips on her sparkling water.

“You are not.” Helen Chase places a comforting hand on her daughter’s shoulder.

Courtney remains focused on Lauren and Josh, embroiled deeply in conversation, all because of her. She didn’t realize that Lauren never told Josh about her biopsy and cancer scare. If she had known, she never would have said anything. But, just like she screwed up Jason’s night by allowing the health inspection paperwork to fall through the cracks, she wrecked things for her friend by blabbing her secret.

“I’ve managed to make disasters out of two people’s nights so far, and it’s not even that late. Like I said: idiot.”

“Whatever it is you told Josh,” Helen says, “perhaps it will be a good thing for him to know. Maybe it will help him and Lauren work out their problems.”

Courtney doesn’t see much possibility of that, but crazier things have happened. Right now, she is most concerned with having to face Lauren. There is no way that she can possibly apologize for what she’s done. And on top of that, Jason has been giving her the cold shoulder since the fiasco with the health inspector.

“I just wish everything would go right for a little while,” she says, as much to herself as to her mother. “I find out I’m pregnant, and I don’t know how to tell Jason. Then I tell him, but I’m not sure he wants to be with me. Then we get engaged, and I screw up something at work, so he’d mad at me. It’s like…”

“Life. That’s life.”

With a hand on her stomach, Courtney asks, “Isn’t this supposed to be the happiest time of my life or something?”

“Nothing is ever perfect, no matter how much you try to make it that way,” Helen says. “Look at your father and me.”

“You’ve been together for, like, thirty years and you’re happy. What’s not perfect about that?”

“Your father and I went on a few dates, but I brushed him off because there was another boy I thought was a better catch. When I realized that I was wrong, your father was already married to Sally.”

“But you wound up together.”

“Because Sally took up with another man,” Helen says. “And even then, your father felt like he should be there for the baby, whether it was his or not. It wasn’t easy, any of it.”

Courtney sees her mother’s point, but she cannot resist one last, sarcastic comment. “And then Sally turned up years later and nearly wrecked your lives all over again.”

“I suppose it never really becomes any easier.” Helen seems to drift away for a moment; Courtney imagines that she is lost in remembering that terrible year, when Sally Marshall very nearly pulled their family apart. But she snaps back to attention and puts on her brightest face. “Let me ask you something. All the confusion aside, when you lie down at night and feel that life growing inside of you and think about your future with Jason, aren’t you happier than you ever imagined?”

Courtney has to admit that much is true. There are moments lately, plenty of them, when she lies awake marveling at the turns her life has taken, grateful for each and every one of them. She just hopes that she hasn’t screwed it all up now.

“Thanks, Mom.”

Helen smiles. “That’s what I’m here for.”


“I’m sorry,” Lauren says, the words rushing out. She can see that Josh genuinely cares and is worried about her. She never should have hidden this from him; she should have had faith that he would be able to handle it.

Josh is quiet. He searches her face, taking in the sight of her, letting his emotions catch up with this new knowledge.

“I should have told you,” she says. She needs to hear something else come out of his mouth. Maybe they can make this work after all.

Suddenly Josh backs away from her. “Maybe it’s a good thing you didn’t.”

“What do you mean?”

“This way, I know what you’re really like,” he says. Contempt twists his face. “A hypocrite. I go a little outside the lines and I’m a terrible person, but it’s okay to lie about something this serious when you were supposed to care about me? I was just wasting my time with you.”

He starts to walk away.

“Josh. Wait.”

He stops long enough to shake his head and fire off one last round: “It’s kinda funny, though. You get pissed at me for lying about work, but you’re the one whose lying really ruined everything.”

As he walks away, something inside Lauren snaps. It is a door that she has been holding shut for months--leaning against it with all her strength, trying to keep the emotions inside from bursting out. She has spent so much time and effort avoiding him at work, telling herself that it is best for them not to be together. Now that door flies open, and everything held behind it explodes out.

Lauren feels like a bomb has gone off inside of her. She has been doing nothing for months but ruining her own life; she has no one to blame but herself.


Was Josh’s reaction surprising?
Will Lauren be upset with Courtney?
Will Claire find the answers she needs to move on?
Come on over to the Footprints Forum to discuss!

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