Episode #507

- Courtney went into labor. Shannon joined the Fishers and Chases at the hospital and grew upset when her efforts to win Jason’s attention were unsuccessful.
- After Josh’s car broke down at work, Lauren offered him a ride, only to require a detour once she received word that Courtney was in labor.
- Travis failed his driver’s test.
- In Brazil, Claire and Brent attempted to visit the detective who handled her father’s case years ago, but instead, they were quickly tossed into a holding cell without explanation--and with a strange older woman for a cellmate.


The elevator rises through the hospital at a maddeningly slow pace, at least as far as Lauren Brooks is concerned. Being trapped in an enclosed space with Josh Taylor is liable to suffocate her; she swears the tension is multiplying just by bouncing off the walls and crashing into itself over and over.

“You didn’t have to come up,” she says. She wishes that she could be pleased that Josh decided to accompany her up to the maternity ward, but she has no idea what he is thinking or how he will react toward her at any given moment. As much as she wishes they could work things out, being around him simply reminds her of how foolish it was to lie to him for months.

“I wanna see if my brother’s here with Molly. Maybe Danielle is. It’ll take two seconds.” He tried calling Brent, but for some reason, his phone was turned off.

The elevator bumps to a stop and, after a drawn-out wait, offers a merciful ding. The doors slide open, and they step out--at almost the exact same moment that Alex Marshall steps off the neighboring elevator with Seth Ashby.

“Oh. Hey,” Lauren says, giving Alex a quick hug. “Have you heard anything else?”

“No. I’m sure everything’s fine.” Alex’s gaze lands somewhere over Lauren’s shoulder, presumably on Josh.

“They in the waiting room?” Josh asks.

Alex nods, and Josh takes off ahead of the other three. Alex holds Lauren back.

“What’s he doing here?” he asks. “I thought you guys were--”

“We are.” Unable to read his expression, she hastens to add, “Or we’re not. What are you even asking?”

Alex laughs. “I didn’t think you guys were even speaking.”

“We weren’t. His car broke down, I offered him a ride, and then you called… He thought maybe Brent might be here.” Lauren realizes that she has been looking past Alex, at Seth. She feels as though she needs to make an effort not to seem weird, in light of what happened between Alex and her brother. “Hey, Seth.”

“Hi,” he responds, a slight hint of surprise present in his voice.

“Shall we get in there?” Lauren asks.

The men fall into step with her, but they only make it a few feet before Alex says, in complete amazement, “I can’t believe Courtney is having a kid! This is so weird.”

Lauren couldn’t agree more.


Josh enters the waiting room and finds a crew of Fishers, all of whom seem various parts surprised and/or annoyed to see him. He also spots Sabrina Gage, sitting alone with a magazine. She glances up long enough to clock his presence and then returns her focus to her reading. As Josh watches her uncertainly, his sister-in-law approaches him.

“What are you doing here?” Molly asks.

“I was with Lauren, and she got the call, and--I just wanted to see if Brent might be here.”

Molly shakes her head. “He’s on a trip for work. Sorting out a case or something.”


“You were with Lauren, hmm?” Molly asks.

Josh knows he walked right into that one. “She was giving me a lift. My car wouldn’t start, and she was in the parking garage--”

“Just wondering. No need to jump down my throat.”

“I think I’m gonna grab a cab and head home,” he says. “I’ll give you guys a call this weekend or something.”

As soon as he leaves Molly’s side, however, Sabrina rushes toward him.


“I know why you are here.”

The woman’s English is smooth and fluid, her accent an exotic texture rather than a complicating obstacle. She sits on the opposite side of the holding cell from Claire Fisher and Brent Taylor, focused intently--frighteningly so--upon them.

“What do you mean?” Brent asks.

Their cellmate rises. She is a mass of scarf and cloak and dress, so much so that Claire cannot determine where she ends and the layers begin. She comes at them with steps so measured and methodical that it is hard to imagine she has not choreographed this performance.

“You are searching,” she says. “But you have come to the wrong place.”

Claire trades a look with Brent. She can tell that he is skeptical, that he feels silly asking follow-up questions, as if this woman is any more than a kook in a local jail. Claire shares that feeling, and yet…

“Where do we go, then?” she hears herself ask.

The woman’s head moves feverishly from left to right and back again. “No. No. I cannot see. I cannot--” She grips her head between her bony, withered hands. “The palace.”

Claire waits for more, and when it does not come, she presses: “What palace?”

“In the sky,” the woman’s voice croaks, sounding as if it running on its last fumes. “The palace in the sky is where you will find your answers.”

“What does that mean?” Brent asks, impatient and disbelieving.

“The palace in the sky!” the woman shouts.

The guard who was stationed outside until a few minutes ago rushes over. “Senorita Estella!” he barks, and the woman slinks back across the cell.

“Senorita?” Brent asks, taking in the wrinkled face and shuffling walk.

The guard shrugs. After ensuring that Senorita Estella has backed away, he addresses Brent.

“I called,” he says in fractured, heavily accented English, the polar opposite of Senorita Estella’s. “Is good.”

“Really?” Claire exclaims, as Brent throws her a look warning her to calm down.

The guard begins to unlock the cell.

“I want answers,” Brent says as soon as they step out of the cell. “We came to see Detective Abreu.”

The guard freezes in the act of locking up the cell. He shakes his head insistently. “Gone. Not here.”

Brent’s face remains inflexible; it is a side of him that Claire has not often seen, the professional, so calculated and yet so effortless. “I need to speak to someone in charge.”

The guard departs, presumably to bring them someone with greater authority.

“What is it about this Abreu guy?” Claire asks, though she realizes Brent has no greater knowledge than she does. There is something important they have overlooked, something--

“The palace in the sky!” Senorita Estella shrieks from inside the cell, and when Claire looks, the woman is as close to them as she can get, gripping the bars.


Travis Fisher is happy for his Uncle Jason and Courtney. Of course he hopes that everything goes smoothly with the baby’s birth. But right now, he would rather be anyplace but here, with his family circling around him like a swarm of drama-hungry vultures.

When his grandmother seats herself in the empty chair beside his, Travis does not even greet her. He continues fiddling with his cell phone, hoping that if he ignores her, she might get bored and wander away.

“You shouldn’t feel bad about your test,” Paula says softly. “Your Uncle Jason failed his driver’s test twice. Did you know that?”

“I’m really trying not to think about failing it again,” he says.

Paula does that grandmotherly thing she always does: allows his words to settle, so that he hears them again in his head and realizes how snotty they sounded.

When he speaks again, he looks at her. “I really wanted to have my license for the summer.”

“You’ll have it by the time school starts, if you take it again next month. That’s what really matters, isn’t it?”

What really matters is not having to bum rides off his parents or his friends or his friends’ parents anymore.

“They should let you redo something if you just make a little mistake,” he says. “I tapped the pole in the parallel parking. Like, barely. It’s not fair.”

Suddenly, his father is standing over them.

“We’ll make sure you get more practice this month,” Tim says. “That’s all. You could’ve used a little bit more. Your mom said the same thing.”

“Oh, great.” Travis stares at his phone’s screen. “Can you guys just let me, like, be mad for a little while?”

Paula is already standing up. “Of course. If you promise not to stay that way.”

“I promise,” he says.

Tim and Paula make their way back over to the rest of the family. Travis sits for a few more minutes, until his phone vibrates, announcing the arrival of a text message. It is from Landon: Cory n Brandon want 2 play b-ball. You in?

Travis thinks about it for a moment, then stands up. As he passes by his father, he tells him, “I’m gonna go get something to eat.” Tim nods, and Travis makes his way to the elevator. He passes right by the cafeteria and exits the hospital.


Josh has no idea what to expect when Sabrina comes at him. They have not spoken since the night of the ice arena’s grand opening, when she summarily blew him off.

“Didn’t expect to see you here,” she says, wearing a frustratingly effective poker face.

“Didn’t expect to be here. It won’t last long, don’t worry. I was actually on my way out.”

He turns. She can come after him if she wants. He isn’t about to change his plans for some woman; he tried to do that once. Look at how that turned out, he thinks.

“Hang on.” Sabrina catches up with him in the corridor leading away from the waiting room.

“I’ve gotta say, I didn’t even think you’d want to see me,” he says.

Sabrina remains a blank in front of him. He cannot read her, cannot figure out what she is thinking or why she is talking to him.

“We didn’t have such a bad thing going,” she finally says.

“No shit. I don’t remember being the one who pulled the plug, though.”

Her right shoulder rises and falls in a half-shrug. “Things have been a little crazy for me lately. I’ve been… distracted.”

“By what?” Out of the blue, it hits him. “Is something going on with that ex of yours?”

“Kind of. I don’t know. He isn’t where I need him to be.”

Over her shoulder, Josh spots Lauren, talking with Alex and the Chases. “I know what you mean,” he mutters.

“Do you have to get out of here right away?” she asks.

“Uh… I guess not.”

“I need you to do something for me.” She grabs him by the hand and leads him down the corridor and around a corner, where she scans each closed door as though it might hold the answer to some long-held mystery.

“What are we doing?” Josh asks.

“I need help,” Sabrina says distractedly. More doors. And then she stops. She has found what she wanted.

A supply closet.

Sabrina tries the knob and, when it turns, she yanks open the door and pulls Josh into the closet with her. Even as she locks the door, she is already kissing him, smashing and grinding her body against his.

Josh pulls back. “What are you doing?”

“Shut up. I need this,” she says, her words all ragged, breathy exhales. She dives back into him, fingers clawing at his pants. But in that split-second before she is all over him again, Josh finally sees a glint of emotion in her eyes: desperation. He doesn’t know where it came from, but right now, he doesn’t care.


Courtney Chase is desperate, too. Desperate to stop her body from tearing in half, as it surely is right now.

“And… push!” her doctor says. To Courtney, it sounds less like encouragement than a death sentence.

She squeezes Jason’s hand even tighter. She never knew it was possible to find so many new levels of “tighter,” but she has blown through all of them in the past hour.

“Come on. You can do this,” Jason says, smiling weakly at her before launching back into the breathing exercises that long ago ceased to be useless. Regardless, Courtney makes a show of following suit--anything to distract her for even a millisecond is worth a shot.

“Give me another push!” the doctor urges.

She obliges, certain that this is going to be the push that breaks her for good.

“We have a head!” comes the doctor’s voice from a place that Courtney would rather not think about him being.

What follows is little more than a flurry of sounds and images, like a DVD showing only every tenth or twentieth frame. There is more shouting--more pushing--cheering--movement. All Courtney can feel is the sudden sense of emptiness in her body.

With his free hand, Jason touches her upper arm. “That’s our kid,” he says, though he speaks with such disbelief that it might as well be a question.

Courtney is about to respond when something comes over her. It replaces the emptiness and the sense of unbelievable physical relief at having pushed the baby out. And it is so much worse than the pain of pushing and breathing and pushing and--

“Is she okay? He? Is he okay?” she asks suddenly, frantic. She cannot hear anything. Not the baby crying, not the doctor’s words, nothing. Everything is quiet, too quiet.

“What’s going on?” she cries.

“Court, calm down,” Jason says, still with the hand on her arm, though her panic seems to have spread to him, too.

She doesn’t know where the feeling came from. It is not physical; it is a sense, an instinct to grab her baby and get out of here by any means necessary. Something awful is coming, she is sure of it.

“She,” says the doctor, turning to her. An infant’s cry rises to fill the room. “And she’s perfect.”

A moment later, the baby is in Courtney’s arms. Jason hovers beside her, taking in this new life--their daughter. Courtney wants to memorize her face as quickly as she can, so that she never forgets a detail or a moment of this precious life in her arms.

“Our daughter,” Jason says, reaching out a shaky finger to the baby.

As Courtney holds her new daughter, she tries to shove the feeling down deep inside her. She wants this time to be as pure as possible. Everything is fine. She is being paranoid. It must be the hormones. She keeps telling herself those things, wanting so badly to believe that they are true, even if she knows better.


What will Shannon do now that the baby has been born?
Does Josh’s fling with Sabrina mean he and Lauren are done?
Should Claire and Brent listen to Senorita Estella?
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