Episode #501

- Graham Colville, the man who rescued Sarah in the mountains, turned up in King’s Bay and asked her to have dinner with him.
- Molly presented sketches for a new line to her Objection coworkers, who were unimpressed.
- Brent told Claire his latest theory: that her father, James Robbins, was still alive and had masterminded Nick’s escape from the hospital and final revenge plot.


The crowd inside the gallery is thin, which makes Molly Taylor even more conscious of her heels’ clacking on the concrete floor. As she and Danielle peruse the photographs that make up the night’s exhibit, Molly tries to step softly and noiselessly, with little success.

“It’s so frustrating,” she says to Danielle, her voice at half-volume. “I can’t come up with anything else. I’m tapped out.”

“Something else will come,” Danielle says. “Give it a little time.”

“I don’t have time. And, no matter what else comes, they’re probably going to hate that, too.”

Danielle does not argue. She has been privy to Molly’s nightly tales of ideas shot down and inspiration deflated. At this rate, Objection is not going to produce a new line for some time.

“We don’t have to stay much longer,” Danielle says as they move to another photograph. “We’ve done our time.”

Molly shrugs. “I don’t mind. Brent and Tim are watching the basketball game, anyway, so they’re going to be all riled up.”

“Well, give it a few more minutes, and then I’ll slip over and talk to Brooke, and then we can leave.”

“I’m sure she appreciates that you showed up,” Molly says.

“Not that it did much good…”

Danielle scans the bare crowd. She agreed to attend tonight’s exhibit as a favor to the gallery’s owner, a friend from her time playing music in King’s Bay.

“But thanks for coming,” Danielle adds. “I appreciate not having to come alone.”

Molly doesn’t hear her. She is a few feet away, stationed in front of a photograph that has commanded every bit of her attention. Danielle moves to her side.

“You like it?” Danielle asks.

“This is it,” Molly says. “This is what I need.”

Danielle stands beside her to take in the photograph. It depicts a phone booth, the receiver inside dangling from its cord. There is something hypnotic about it; perhaps it is the low angle from which the photo was taken, or the way that the colors, despite their best efforts to be bold and bright, simply look rusty and worn-out. Molly cannot take her eyes off it.

“For what? That open spot on your bedroom wall?” Danielle asks.

“For work. This is… what I need to capture in the clothes.” She reads the small blurb accompanying the photograph, which identifies the photographer as Philip Ragan. “And I need him to shoot the campaign.”


The sun recedes slowly in the evening sky, casting a pink haze over the city. Claire Fisher parks her car at the curb and walks up the mostly empty driveway to the front door. She rings the doorbell and has to wait only seconds for an answer.

“Hey,” Brent says, his surprise evident as he sets eyes upon her.

“I need to talk to you.”

Brent lets her into the house. She can see Caleb and Christian in the living room, conducting a war between two action figures.

“I’ve been thinking about what you said the other night,” she says, “and I think… I’m sorry I was so quick to dismiss it.”

“It was probably a big shock.” He seems preoccupied; his attention keeps straying to the front windows.

“Yeah. I wasn’t prepared for it, and it was such a shock that I guess I didn’t even want to consider the possibility.” Shock doesn’t even begin to describe how she felt when Brent suggested that her father might be alive, might be the one behind all the terrible things that have happened to all of them in recent years. The thought of that man being alive, after she was so sure that she was free of him--it is almost more than she can bear.


“It’s something we need to look into,” she says. “I want you to know I’m onboard. We have to figure this out.”

Brent nods, but again his eyes roll around her and to the front window.

“Is everything okay?” she asks.

“Yeah. I, uh…”

And the doorbell rings again. Brent moves past her to open it, and there is Tim, carrying two pizza boxes and a grocery bag.

“Ready to see the Lakers get destroyed?” Tim asks as soon as Brent opens the door, but then he spots Claire.

“Hi,” she says.

“Are you, uh, watching the game with us?” he asks, throwing Brent a confused look.

Claire shakes her head. “We just… I had something to discuss with Brent.”

Tim’s continued surprise is apparent. “Is something wrong?”

A glance passes between Claire and Brent--a glance that does not go unnoticed by Tim.

“Guys. What’s going on?” he presses.


While Tori Gray and Samantha Fisher chatter and watch America’s Next Top Model in the living room, their mothers talk in the well-appointed kitchen. Both Sarah and Diane hold glasses of Chardonnay as they--well, mostly Sarah, but Diane stands by to offer support--prepare dinner.

“I’m not sure if I should be freaked out or not,” Sarah says, careful to keep her voice down so that the girls don’t hear.

Diane screws up her face. “Why? It’s flattering.”

“The amount of detective work that went into finding me--that’s no casual looking-someone-up-on-the-internet.” For days, Sarah has gone back and forth on the subject of Graham Colville. Of course it’s flattering that anyone would go to the trouble of seeking her out because he was unable to get her off his mind; then again, she knows almost nothing about the man.

“Please. You and I have both done our fair share of… resourceful pursuing,” Diane says.

“We never stalked strangers.”

“So it’s better if you stalk people you already know?”

Diane smirks, and Sarah follows suit, though it does not make the situation any easier to process. She focuses on the pot of rice that must be close to being fully cooked.

“I think you should meet up with him,” Diane says.

Sarah turns sharply. “I can’t!” She glances out to the living room to make sure Tori is not listening. “I’m married!”

“So? Have lunch with him. Keep it platonic.”

Sarah gulps her Chardonnay. This entire situation is too weird. She has a loving husband whom, for whatever reason, she cannot bring herself to live in the same place as. She should not even be intrigued by Graham’s presence. And yet…

“Meet at a restaurant when it’s busy,” Diane says. “That way he can’t hack you up and kill you. I’ll even sit at a table in the back so I can keep an eye on you, if you want.”

Sarah focuses on the rice for a moment longer, then looks up. “This seems like a terrible idea.”

Diane leans in, her voice so quiet that it is barely audible. “All I know is that you have barely seemed alive for most of this past year. If there is something, anything, that excites you or takes your mind off things, you owe it to yourself to pursue it.”

As Sarah removes the rice from the heat, she wonders if Diane has a legitimate point.


Molly does not know what has gotten into her. Actually, she does: inspiration. This is how it always comes, like a fit of madness that she cannot control. Something about that photograph--the angle, the almost-hypocritical use of color--has reawakened the creative part of her that has taken such a beating at work in the past few weeks.

“I’m going to have your friend introduce me,” she tells Danielle. She hurries over to Brooke, to whom Danielle briefly introduced her earlier, and inquires about this Philip Ragan and his whereabouts.

“That’s him over there,” Brooke says, indicating a man who… looks absolutely nothing like what Molly expected.

He is young-ish, perhaps in his early or mid-thirties, and he looks nothing like the starving-artist stereotype that Molly expected. His hair is short and neat, his suit stylish without being too considered.

“I’d like to meet him,” Molly says. “His work is… inspirational.”

Brooke, a heavyset woman with quirky personal style, leads the way. They wait until there is an opening in Philip’s conversation with a bespectacled older man.

“Philip, I’d like you to meet Molly Taylor,” Brooke says. “She’s the sister-in-law of an old friend of mine.”

“It’s a pleasure.” Molly extends her hand for a shake, and Philip does the same. “Your work really grabbed me, especially the phone booth--‘By a Rope,’ is it?”

“Yes. And thank you.”

Brooke excuses herself. Molly finds herself, after the initial rush of adrenaline, faced with a potentially awkward encounter, so she just spits it out:

“I’m Chief Creative Officer for a company called Objection Designs. We design and sell clothing for a younger demographic, primarily women, though we do a limited menswear line, as well. We’re developing a new campaign, and--”

“What, you want me to model?”

The joke stops Molly in her tracks. At least she is fairly certain it is a joke. Philip grins, but there is something smug about it. Apparently people have told him before that he is good-looking.

“We have professionals for that,” Molly says, never allowing her smile to waver, “but that is, actually, where you come in. Your work is--it’s terrific. I’d love to have you shoot the campaign.”

“You want me to shoot fashion ads?”

“Have you done any before? If not, you’ll learn quickly. You’re obviously very skilled at what you do.”

“Thank you,” Philip says. That grin emerges again. “But I don’t do people.”

“Excuse me?”

“People. I don’t photograph them. I find it very… pedestrian. How obvious, to make a statement about humanity by focusing on human beings.”

Molly glances back at the phone booth photo and at the others surrounding it. For the first time, she notices that there are, in fact, no people in any of them.

“I really hope you’ll at least consider meeting with us to discuss the possibility,” she says, extending a business card to him.

Philip takes the card and peruses it, though she suspects he does so more out of some anthropological fascination than any genuine intention. Molly decides that she has done all that she can do for now; perhaps allowing the idea to take root will help.

“Thank you for your time,” she says, pulling herself away. She grabs Danielle and, after saying a quick goodbye to Brooke, they leave. For the rest of the night, she thinks about nothing but Philip’s photograph and whether he has changed his mind yet.


As Tim’s gaze burns into her and Brent, Claire’s body tingles nervously. She thought of sharing Brent’s theory with him the other night, at the arena’s opening, but something told her to keep it to herself for the time being.

“Brent’s looking for a new physical therapist,” she blurts out. “I brought him some recommendations from people I work with.”

“Things are kind of dragging with the current one,” Brent says.

Tim accepts that. “All right. I’m going to go drop this stuff in the kitchen.”

“Good seeing you,” Claire says.

“You, too.”

Tim slips into the kitchen. Claire pulls Brent closer to the front door. They need to be on the same page if they are going to do this.

“I don’t want him to know,” she says in a hushed voice. “Not until we know something concrete.”

Brent does not exactly protest, but he does hesitate to agree. “Whoever was helping Nick is the same person who kept Tim in Domingo’s clinic. He deserves to know the truth.”

Claire shakes her head insistently. “He’s been through too much because of these people--because of me. When we know something for certain, we’ll let him know. Until then, I don’t want to burden him.”

“All right.”

“If my father turns out to be the one behind all this…” She can barely process the possibility. She has been so sure for so long that she watched the man die.

“I want to go down and investigate,” Brent says suddenly.

“What? Where?”

“South America. Where he took Travis--where he died. Or didn’t. If we’re going to figure this out, that’s where we need to start.”

The thought of returning to that place horrifies Claire. She has a physical reaction to the very possibility--her legs grow weak, her hands go numb. But she knows that there is only one appropriate response.

“I’m in,” she says.

“Brent! The pregame stuff is ending!” Tim calls out from the kitchen. He emerges with a slice of pizza.

“I should get out of here,” Claire says. Then, to Brent, she asks, “You’ll be okay arranging everything?”

“I’ll let you know what I come up with,” he says.

With a final goodbye, she lets herself out of the house. She has worked so hard to banish that time in South America from her dreams and her waking thoughts. Years later, it still haunts her in the most unexpected moments: the horror of thinking she would never hold her son again; the moment she realized that she would have to kill either her father or her husband. She would rather do almost anything besides revisiting that time.

But Brent is right. If they are going to solve this mystery, they need to return to the place where it all began. She owes it to Tim, if nothing else. Steeling herself for what is to come, she returns to her car.


Should Claire and Brent keep Tim in the dark?
Is it wrong for Sarah to call Graham?
Will Molly be able to change Philip’s mind?
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