Episode #506

- After Josh found out that Lauren had kept her cancer scare from him, he lashed out and made it clear that they would never have a future together.
- Travis refused to practice for his driver’s test with his mother.
- Claire and Brent traveled to Brazil to investigate the possibility of her father being alive. At the police station, they inquired about the detective who handled the case years ago--and were promptly handcuffed.
- Shannon, as Sabrina, picked a fight with Courtney. When Jason came in, she made it look as though Courtney had snapped at her. In the midst of the stress, Courtney went into labor.


“Please parallel park between the two posts.”

The driving test administrator, a little man who nevertheless manages to be wildly intimidating, stares hard at Travis Fisher. Travis forces a grin and a nod, trying his best not to show how badly his stomach is flip-flopping.

He knows that his test is already on the line. He didn’t stop for long enough at a stop sign out in the neighborhood, and he was too far from the curb after backing around a corner. He has to nail this.

He pulls the car, his father’s Honda Accord, ahead of the designated parallel-parking space. His hand moves to put the car in reverse, but at the last second, he remembers something. Grateful, he puts on his blinker, then shifts into reverse.

The steering wheel feels slippery in his hands as he swings the car outward and then into the spot. His eyes flash around: from the rearview mirror to the side mirror to the padded post at the front of the space. He keeps catching glimpses of the test administrator, watching intently out the window. Travis lets the wheel go straight and eases backward into the spot. The administrator raises his pencil to his clipboard--

And then Travis feels it. The car’s back bumper thumps into the padded post.

Quickly he pulls forward, determined to get the car into the spot.

“Please put the vehicle in park,” the administrator says.

Travis thinks of protesting, but the man’s beady eyes convince him otherwise. He puts the car in park and throws his head back with a weighty sigh. The administrator writes, his pencil scraping against the paper, for what seems like hours.

“I’ll need you to return to the front of the building now,” he finally says.

“That’s it?”

The man dips his head. Travis swears he sees a note of smug satisfaction in the motion.

“That’s not an automatic fail,” Travis says. “I only bumped--”

“You’ve lost more than twenty points. There isn’t any way you’ll score above an 80.”

Defeated, Travis puts the car back in drive and returns it to the front of the DOL, where his test began a mere fifteen minutes ago. Fifteen minutes, and his whole summer is ruined.

After the administrator hands Travis his paper, with the word Fail circled in thick pencil, he exits the car. Travis remains in the driver’s seat for what has to be five full minutes. He glances occasionally at the paper, hoping that maybe it will say something different each time.

At last he trudges back into the building. He has to tell his dad eventually. Tim, however, is already on his feet when Travis finds him.

“So?” Tim asks. “How’d it go?”

Travis doesn’t even want to say it. Instead he hands his father the paper.

“Sorry, kiddo,” Tim says. “You know you can retry it next month. We’ll practice hard--”

“I don’t even care,” Travis says.

Tim scowls but does not argue. Travis can see him searching for something to say, some way to make this okay, which isn’t even possible. Thankfully, Tim’s cell phone rings.

“Hey,” he says as he answers the call. “Oh. Whoa. Yeah, we’ll be there--I have Travis with me--yeah. Good luck.”

Tim hangs up. “That was Uncle Jason. Courtney is in labor.”

Travis never thought he would be so happy to get dragged to the hospital to hang out with his family, but right now, he is thrilled for any excuse to get out of this place. He all too willingly hands his father the keys and follows him out to the car.


After he calls Tim, Jason Fisher places calls to both his sisters. He is on his way back to the waiting room, where his parents and Courtney’s have all gathered, when he bumps into Sabrina Gage.

“I was just headed to get something to drink,” Sabrina says. “Can I get you a coffee?”

Jason holds up one shaky hand. “I don’t think I need that right now. My nerves are, like, in overdrive.”

“Some cocoa, maybe?”

He shakes his head. “No, but thank you. You know, you don’t need to hang around. We appreciate it, but--”

“Please. It’s a big day. If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.”

Jason cannot deny that he is grateful for Sabrina’s presence. She has been a godsend over the past year, stepping up and contributing in ways that he never expected their office manager to do.

“Any word from the doctors?” Sabrina asks.

“We’re just waiting. They’re going to move her into a delivery room soon, so… God, I can’t believe this is really happening.”

“Me, neither.”

The conversation drifts to an easy lull, like a leaf settling to the ground after a gust of wind.

“I should get back,” Jason says. “I want to be with Courtney when they move her into the delivery room.”

“Yeah. Of course.”

He starts to move, but then Sabrina speaks up: “Jason, wait.”

He half-turns back to her.

“Look out for Courtney,” she says, her voice meek, as if she is embarrassed at having to say this. “She’s been really on-edge lately. I know pregnancy does a lot of weird things to a woman’s emotions, but she’s been… strange. She blew up at me before for no reason.”

This is the last thing Jason wants to think about right now, but he knows that the tension between Courtney and Sabrina earlier was very real. Courtney had worked herself up into a frenzied state. Of course her hormones are going crazy, but Jason would like to believe that things will settle down once the baby is born.

“I’ll be aware of it. Thanks for your concern,” he says before continuing on his way to the waiting room. Right now, all he wants is to ensure that everything is perfect as his child comes into the world.


Lauren Brooks is halfway into the driver’s seat of her car when she hears the cry from across the parking garage:


Her first instinct is to ignore the familiar voice, especially since its owner appears to be in a less-than-pleasant mood. But the single word echoes throughout the concrete chamber of the garage, bouncing off the walls and floor and ceiling until it surrounds her.

She gets out of the car and rounds the corner to the aisle where Josh Taylor’s parking space is. Josh stands beside his car, staring angrily at his cell phone.

“What’s wrong?” she asks, fully expecting him to snap at her or breathe fire or something.

Instead, he regards her with silent caution. “Fucking alternator,” he finally mutters.

Not much I can do about that, Lauren thinks, suddenly feeling that it was a supreme mistake to come over here.

“Do you not get reception down here?” she asks. “You can use my phone.”

“I already called AAA. They said it’s gonna be at least two hours.” He leans against the car. “I might as well just go home and have them come out here tomorrow.”

“I can give you a ride,” she offers.

Again, Josh gives her that look: the careful study, as if he does not quite believe that she is really standing here.

“What are you doing?” he asks. An aggressive edge saws away at the words, rendering them rough and accusatory.

“I’m just trying to help. You can be a jerk if you want.”

“Oh, I’m the jerk? Who’s the one who lied again?”

Being reminded of that still hurts. It is bad enough having to see Josh at work every single day; somehow, they have developed a routine that requires as little contact as possible. She is almost able to put their issues out of her head for an entire workday now. But to be confronted with them dead-on like this…

“Do you want a ride or not?” she says, resisting the urge to plead her case again.

“Yeah, fine. Sure.”

Lauren turns and walks back to her car. She can hear Josh behind her. There is something satisfying about making it seem to him as though she could not care less--when, in reality, that could not be further from the truth.

They load into the car in silence, and they make it all the way outside and onto the adjacent street before Lauren’s cell phone rings.

“Hey,” she answers as soon as she sees Alex Marshall’s name on the caller ID screen.

Alex doesn’t even bother with a greeting. “Jason just texted me. Courtney’s in labor. I’m going to head over there, and I thought you might want to…”

“Yeah. Of course. Thanks. I’ll see you in a little bit.”

Lauren hangs up and is about to make an abrupt left turn, to put her on course toward the hospital, when she remembers that she has a passenger.

“What is it?” Josh asks.

“Courtney. She went into labor. They’re at the hospital.”

Josh barely hesitates before saying, “Just go straight there.”


“Go to the hospital. I’ll take a cab from there.”

Lauren doesn’t know how to respond, so she gets in the left turn lane and says, simply, “Thanks.”


When she and Brent Taylor were tossed into the holding cell, Claire Fisher thought that the place didn’t look so awful. It is not particularly dirty, nor is it too small--considering that it is a jail cell, of course.

Now, two hours later, she is in a much less forgiving mood. She and Brent have been sitting in this cell, stewing in their own frustrations and unable to get a straight answer out of anyone. The only other person in the cell is, thankfully, not physically threatening, but something about the way the older woman has been eyeing them makes Claire very uneasy.

“Don’t we get a phone call?” Claire asks. The most horrifying thing about this entire experience is that nothing at all is happening. They have been sitting, pacing, waiting in the cell, but there is nothing going on, no effort to figure out the truth, no momentum toward getting them out of here.

“It’s Brazil,” Brent says, turning away from the bars, where he has been standing intently for at least half an hour. “And I’m pretty sure these guys aren’t playing by the rules.”

Claire sighs deeply and, in what she knows is a futile attempt to make herself relax, takes a seat on one of the hard, wooden benches lining three of the cell’s walls. Though she tries to divert her eyes, she cannot help but notice that the other woman in the cell is staring at her. Hard.

“Do you have any paper in your pockets?” Brent asks.

Claire searches her pockets and finds a coffee receipt from the airport in Seattle. She hands it to Brent, who has already pulled a pen from his own pocket. He scrawls something on the paper.

“Come here. Please,” he says, beckoning the guard who has been standing a few feet from their cell the entire time. Brent has tried to talk to him several times, with little success.

Brent reaches through the bars and presses the receipt into the guard’s hand. The man pulls back but takes the receipt.

“Call this number,” Brent says. “In the United States. Call that man. Ask about me--Brent Taylor--that’s my name.”

The guard stares at the receipt. He is either incredibly annoyed or intrigued. Claire cannot tell.

And then he walks off. No response, no indication if he is going to help or not. He simply walks away.

“Dammit!” The word explodes out of Brent as he slams his hands against the bars. It is such a useless expenditure of energy that it makes Claire tired just by watching it. Anything they do is going to be useless.

“I know why you are here,” their cellmate says, out of the blue.

Both Claire and Brent fix their gazes on her.

“Excuse me?” Claire asks.

The woman stares so hard that it sends a chill through Claire’s body.

“I know why you are here,” she finally repeats, her voice croaking through the cold air.


While the Fishers and the Chases gather in the waiting room, Shannon Parish hides in Sabrina Gage’s skin. She does the necessary greeting and chit-chat, of course, but she finds that none of the family members are particularly concerned with her right now, which is for the best. She sits in a chair, holding up a magazine as though she has any of the focus necessary to read even the shortest blurb right now.

She wants so badly to bolt from this place. Her insides are going wild; she should not have to sit here like this, doing nothing, while Courtney unravels all her hard work. But the logical side of her--the side that, if she’s being honest, has gotten her this far--knows that what she needs to do is bide her time. It will not hurt to be present, to pick up on any details or holes that she can use to her advantage.

She is still so angry at herself for not having seen this coming. Once upon a time, it all seemed so simple: get out of that hospital; get a new face; come to King’s Bay; make Jason fall in love with her all over again. With a clean slate, this time. When she arrived in King’s Bay, things were free and clear. His relationship with Lauren Brooks was long over, and he was focused on his new business--thanks to her, no less. Sure, Courtney was working with him, but Shannon figured that would be an added bonus: she could stick it to Courtney while growing closer to Jason.

But she never expected them to get back together--especially not in secret. By the time she realized what was going on between them, too much damage had been done. Courtney was already knocked up and all too eager to trap Jason into a life together.

It won’t be that easy, Shannon vows. She works hard to steady her gaze on the magazine in her hands, open to some bullshit article about Victoria Beckham. That should be us, she thinks, taking in the perfect photos of a perfect family.

She doesn’t know what to do about this baby yet. Once Courtney is gone, it might be good to have it around. Jason will fall even more in love with her when he sees what a good mother she can be, even to a child that is not her own. Then again, she doesn’t know if she can look at a child every day and see Courtney Chase in its eyes.

She will figure it out. As much as it is killing her to be passive, she knows that it is the right choice at the moment. Let the families celebrate their new baby. Let them fawn all over Courtney for now. Because that will not last much longer, not if Shannon has her way.


What will Shannon do about the baby?
Could things change between Lauren and Josh?
How can Claire and Brent escape captivity?
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