Episode #508

- Travis’s classmate, Amelia, made her interest in him clear.  Later, reeling from having failed his driver’s test, Travis slipped away while his family waited at the hospital for the birth of Jason and Courtney’s child.
- Sarah could not help but feel guilty over her dinner with Graham, platonic though it was.
- Brent and Claire were released from their jail cell in Brazil, but not before their seemingly deranged cellmate informed them that a “palace in the sky” would hold the answers they seek.
- Courtney gave birth to a baby girl.


Pride swells in Jason Fisher’s chest, in his fingers and toes and all throughout his body, as he leads his three siblings into the hospital’s nursery. He cannot wait to see her again, his daughter who came into the world mere hours ago but already feels like the center of his entire universe. He settles at the appropriate spot in front of the glass, already having memorized exactly where in the line of bassinets hers falls. Tim, Molly, and Sarah stop behind him.

“There she is,” he says, pointing at the tiny little girl. Her impossibly small fists are balled up, and her delicate eyelids are clamped shut, as they have been for most of her life thus far.

“She’s beautiful,” Molly says.

“She really is,” Tim joins in. “Congratulations, kiddo.”

Sarah places a hand on her younger brother’s shoulder. “Yeah. You are going to be a great father.”

“I hope so,” Jason says. Even just being in his daughter’s presence, his heartbeat is picking up; there are so many things to worry about, so many ways that he could screw this up. He wants to ask his siblings how they have done it with their own children, but there is so much to cover that he does not even know how to begin articulating his questions.

“It comes,” Tim says, “somehow.” The way he keeps glancing at his cell phone is not lost on Jason.

“Did Travis take off?” he asks. He has not seen his nephew since before Courtney gave birth, though it did not occur to him until now that Travis might not be around; there has been such confusion and excitement that he had not even thought about it.

“I guess. He isn’t answering his phone. He sent me a text saying he went to Landon’s, so… who knows?”

Molly and Sarah, like Jason, seem to recognize Tim’s weariness in discussing his son.

“He’s going through a rough patch,” Sarah offers. “They come through it. I did… kind of.” She grins awkwardly and shares a knowing look with Molly.

“Sarah’s right. He’s acting out a little. It will pass. Just be available to him.”

Tim nods along, as if trying to will himself to agree. Then, abruptly, he shifts to a much cheerier demeanor. “Can you believe all four of us have kids? I wasn’t sure I’d ever see the day.”

“I’m still not sure who allowed me to do this,” Jason says, unable to tear his eyes away from his child, lying so peacefully on the other side of the glass. “It’s pretty amazing.”

With his brother and sisters behind him, Jason continues to watch his daughter. His mind fills briefly with thoughts of someone who is not here--the sibling who is not a parent, who in the past year has not even been a part of their family. Concern and contempt duel within him, but he does his best to push them aside and focus on the miracle that has come into his and Courtney’s lives today.


As Travis Fisher follows his friends into Amelia’s parents’ house, he feels his cell phone vibrating in his pocket. One look at the caller ID confirms that it is his father calling for the millionth time. Travis sends the call to voicemail and follows Landon and the other boys through the house. They find fifteen or twenty of their classmates gathered in the kitchen and out on the deck.

Almost immediately, Amelia is at his side. “Travis! Hi!” She throws her arms around his neck.

“Hey,” he says, a little embarrassed at the attention but also pleased for his friends to witness it.

Grasping his hand, Amelia leads him out toward the deck. “We have some beer. You want one?”

He shakes his head. “Not today. My dad’s gonna want me to come home sooner or later.”

Travis greets a few of the other kids but finds himself sequestered with Amelia toward the edge of the deck.

“Where’ve you guys been all afternoon?” she asks.

“These dickheads wanted to play basketball,” Travis says.

As if summoned, Landon appears, scoffing. “Please. We rescued you.”

Travis can’t argue with that.

“Rescued you from what?” Amelia asks.

“Family time,” Travis answers quickly. He would rather not--

“That’s not all,” Landon says. “Someone didn’t exactly nail his driver’s test.”

Amelia grabs Travis’s hands. “You failed?”

Genius strikes again, Travis thinks. “Thanks, jackass.”

Landon takes it in stride, as always. Travis sometimes wonders if his friend has an incredibly thick skin or if he is really just that dense.

“It’s no big deal,” Amelia says. Travis feels her hand curve around to rest of the small of his back. “You can try again in a month.”

“At this rate, I’ll have mine before you,” Landon says. Travis knows Landon isn’t trying to be a jerk, so he suppresses the urge to sock him.

Amelia, noticing the tension, takes Travis’s hand again. “Come on. I want to show you something.”

“Fine.” He is all too happy to go with her and get away from the others.


After the day they have had since arriving in Brazil, Claire Fisher figures that she and Brent Taylor should have plenty to discuss. Yet now, as they wait at a table in an interrogation room in the Brazilian police station, all they share is silence and the occasional questioning of what is taking so long.

They wait for a solid half-an-hour before an officer brings them the file that they requested. It is in pristine condition, clearly not having been touched in years. The local police, of course, have had no reason to reference it; the case was open and shut within a day, as far as they were concerned.

Brent tears into the file with zeal. Claire sits back, uncertain what they are looking for or how to go about finding it.

“You really think that was the truth?” she asks. “About Detective Abreu?”

“I don’t know. With as easily as they let us out, I’d say so.” Brent pages through the file’s contents as he speaks. “Coincidences do happen.”

“I guess.” The whole experience was so strange--being tossed in a holding cell without any explanation, then being let out just as easily, all because they came in and asked for a detective who was fired months ago for corrupt behavior.

“If that’s the worst luck we have during this whole process, then we’re in good shape,” Brent says.

Claire has to agree, but what they have experienced here thus far has been so surreal: finding her father’s former compound leveled and replaced; being tossed in jail; having that strange woman make a seeming psychic prediction to them that made no sense whatsoever.

“Look at this,” Brent says, extending a paper toward her. He traces words with his index finger to guide her. “That was acid James fell into. There’s no way--”

“--he could’ve survived that.” It seems so simple, so anticlimactic. She scans the rest of the report quickly. “They found human matter in it. He’s…”


She is not sure how to feel about this. In one way, it is an enormous relief. Her father is not alive. He has not been secretly pulling strings for years, manipulating Claire and her loved ones. Still… if it isn’t him, who is it?

“The palace in the sky,” she says, recalling the cries of their cellmate, Senorita Estella. “Heaven.”

“You think he’s in Heaven?” Brent asks, the faintest trace of a smirk on his lips.

“Hey, she was in the ballpark. Or a complete raving lunatic.”

“I’d put my money on the latter.” Brent seems poised to say something else, but he pauses as something in the file catches his eye.

Claire cannot contain her anxiety. She needs answers “What is it?”

“The property,” Brent says, pointing to another spot in the document. “It was owned by--”

“M.R. Clayton.” She reads the name five times over, just to be sure she isn’t imagining things. “Mister Clayton.”

“Of Clayton Holdings.” Brent scrambles to jot down the company’s information. “This is something. It’s more than we had when we came here.”

Claire watches him record the information. She knows that she should be ecstatic to have some kind of break, a new lead to pursue, but she cannot shake the feeling that this latest reference to the mysterious Mr. Clayton is someone’s way of taunting them.


Amelia leads Travis across her parents’ backyard and around a large shed, where there is a bench. He follows her lead and sits down on it.

“It really isn’t a big deal,” she says, out of the blue. “Your test, I mean. Tons of people have to retake it.”

“I know.” He does something. “Could we talk about, like, anything that’s not my test?”

“Sure.” She stares at him. Abruptly, she reaches up and ruffles his hair. “We don’t actually have to talk, either.”

Travis has never been especially certain about her come-ons. He isn’t that into Amelia, and then there is the whole Elly situation--she said she would be back in King’s Bay to visit soon, though he didn’t want to press for too many details because it might make him appear too interested.

“What’d you wanna show me?” he asks.

“Just this spot. It’s so peaceful.” A sly grin snakes over her lips. “That’s not convincing at all, is it?”

Travis has to appreciate her honesty. “Not really.”

“Oh well.” She shrugs. “You know, there is something I’d like to show you…”

He almost laughs at what a bad line it is, though he’s sure he wouldn’t do much better if he were in her position. Right now, he decides, Amelia’s offer of distraction is a welcome one.

“Good,” he says before leaning in to kiss her. It grows quickly, from a flicker to a full-blown fire in a manner of seconds. He feels something building in the pit of his stomach and presses his body against hers.

“Well, well,” Amelia says, breaking their kiss as she moves her hand down to his shorts, “what do we have here?”

He thinks he is going to lose his mind waiting for her to undo his zipper.


By the time Matt Gray arrives at the hospital with Tori, most of the family has gone out for a bite to eat. Sarah sits in the waiting room with Jason, engaged in stop-and-start conversation, when her husband and daughter enter.

“Hey, beautiful,” Sarah says, rising to greet her daughter. She hugs Tori, who is stiff against her embrace but nonetheless complies.

“Hi,” she says to Matt.

A thousand unspoken words flutter between them. Sarah tries to capture some of them, maybe all of them, but it is no use. All she gets out of Matt is a simple, “Hey.”

“Hey, Tori, wanna go meet your new cousin?” Jason asks.

“Yeah! What are you gonna name her?”

“That’s a conversation Courtney and I will have when she’s a little more rested. Why? You have any ideas?”

Jason leads Tori off toward the nursery, flashing Sarah a final look as he goes: Use this time.

“Thanks for bringing her,” she says to Matt.

“Yeah, no problem.” He seems surprised that she would even have to thank him for such a small thing, such a normal part of being married and sharing a child--the former of which they are not so good at these days, of course.

“This stuff going on with us,” Matt says, “it doesn’t--it’s not gonna affect Tori.”

“I know. You’re too good for that.”

The realization feels like a cruel joke to Sarah. He is too good for that. He is good. He is everything she ever wanted. So why does she have to feel this way?

“I had dinner with someone else,” she blurts out, and if that weren’t damning enough, she adds, “a man.”

Matt seems thrown off-balance. He steps one foot backward, as if to catch his weight.

“Who?” he finally asks.

“His name is Graham. I met him… when Diane and I went up to the mountains to find Ryan.”

“This has been going on since then?”

“No. He just came to King’s Bay… he found me and asked me to have dinner.” A horrible burning sensation swells in her stomach. Seeing him here, she couldn’t hold the information in for another second. But now that it is out, she wishes there were something she could have done to keep it inside. There is no going back now.

“You and this Graham guy,” Matt says, in the slow way he does when anything is difficult or even just emotional, “are you…”

“No. No. It was dinner. That’s it.”

He levels a gaze on her, the type she has never been able to lie to. Not since the day they met. “Then why’d you tell me?”

“I don’t know.” That much is the truth. “Seeing Jason and Courtney’s baby--it took me back to our baby, and--” She doesn’t even know where this is going, other than it made her feel so off-balance that she needed to do something to grasp onto the world she knows.

Matt sits in one of the too-small, too-hard waiting room chairs. Grateful, Sarah seats herself in the one beside him.

“I had to tell you,” she says, “just to get it off my chest. I’m sorry.”

A long, torturous moment passes between them. Matt says nothing, does nothing, looks only at the floor.

At last, his neck cranes around so that he is focused on her.

“I’m sorry.” She can’t help but say it again.

“Do you want to end this?” he asks.

The question drives into her gut like a heavyweight’s fist. “What?”

“Us. You and me. You want to end it?”

“I didn’t say that.”

Matt stands up. “Doesn’t mean you don’t want to.”

He moves for the exit. Sarah shoots to her feet.

“Matt. Wait.”

“Call me before you bring Tori over tomorrow,” he says, not looking back as he leaves.


In Courtney’s hospital room, the new mother rests, her parents flanking the bed. Courtney is unable to sit still, much less sleep, despite how exhausted she is, so when a nurse brings her newborn daughter back, she is all too happy to hold her.

“She’s absolutely beautiful,” Helen says, marveling at her grandchild. Don nods along, a consensus among two of the most biased people in the universe.

Not that Courtney disagrees. The baby is already beautiful. She deserves so much--the entire world.

“What have I gotten myself into?” Courtney asks.

“You figure it out as you go,” Don says. “Take my word for it. I was far from a natural at first.”

Courtney appreciates the sentiment, but the enormity of the task ahead of her seems overwhelming now. There is no way she is going to be able to pull this off successfully.

“I’ve been living at home,” she says. “We have a new house to move into and get organized.”

“You’ll have plenty of help with that,” Don says.

“We have a wedding to plan--”

“That doesn’t have to happen until you’re ready,” Helen interjects.

“And on top of all that, I have no idea what I’m doing!” Courtney stares down at the helpless little baby in her arms. It feels so correct to be holding her, and yet, she feels as though she has no right to do so.

Helen looks Courtney in the eye and brushes a strand of wet, dark hair out of her daughter’s face. “Let me tell you a story.”

Courtney tries to lean back and relax so that she can listen, but she feels her back muscles tensing up to keep her at attention.

“When your father and I got married,” Helen says, “it was all very quick. He had just split up from Sally and found out Alex wasn’t his.”

“I was a wreck,” Don adds. “And your mother was there for me.”

Helen smiles at her husband as she speaks. “And then I found out I was pregnant. We were thrilled, of course, but it was so unexpected.”

Courtney’s eyes move between them. “So you’re telling me I was an accident? That’s supposed to boost my spirits?”

“It wasn’t something we had planned,” Helen says. “At the time, we were living in this awful little basement apartment…”

“And your mother was still finishing school,” Don says.

“But we both wanted a family so badly. There was no two ways about it. It might not have been perfect, I figured, but it was my life and my family, and I’d make it work.” Helen’s body shakes with a knowing laugh. “Little did I realize how ambitious that was.”

“You’d better be getting to the part of this where it worked out,” Courtney says. As much as she makes it sound like a joke, she is also legitimately freaking out.

Helen goes on. “My parents were far away, and your father’s parents had already passed. We had very few people we were close enough to turn to for help. We were both drowning--your father working as much as he could to support us, and me trying to take care of a baby and finish my degree.”

Courtney waits. “So what happened? Things did turn out okay, right?”

“And that’s where Sophie came in,” Don says.

“Who’s Sophie?”

“Our landlady. She was probably in her late 60s by then.” Helen falls quiet for a moment, as if conjuring an image of the woman. “She never spoke much--we assumed she didn’t like us and just tolerated us because we were the only ones willing to pay rent on her terrible apartment.”

“Sophie saw what we were going through,” Don says, taking over. “She insisted that we let her watch the baby for us. Made it sound like we were doing her a favor by keeping her occupied. Refused to let us pay her.”

“This woman had no obligation to help us,” Helen says, “but she saw that we needed it, and out of the kindness of her heart, she did, and everything worked out. We moved out of that apartment when you were two--”

“And Sophie passed away a few years later.” Don’s head drops in remembrance. “She saved us. She made it possible for us to build our family.”

“Why didn’t you ever tell me about this?” Courtney asks. As the question passes her lips, Jason enters the room and goes right to his new daughter.

“I suppose I didn’t want you to think we were ever anything less than capable,” Helen says, “but it seems that you could use that information now. So you know that it’s all right to ask for help, and that we’re here--and the Fishers are--to give it.”

“What’s going on?” Jason asks.

Courtney turns the story over in her head again, soaking up the details. “My parents were just telling me a story about when I was a baby. And how they made everything work.”

Jason smiles and gives her a kiss on the forehead. “Everything is going to be fine.”

“Yeah.” Courtney nods, determined now to believe that, to make it true. “Jason?”


“I think I know what to name her. Sophie.”

Courtney sees a look pass between her parents--a look of gratitude, of karmic fulfillment. As Jason settles in so that they can retell the story to him, Courtney cradles her little daughter, Sophie, and imagines nothing but the possibilities that lie in wait for this young life.


Will Courtney and Jason be able to make it as parents?
Should Sarah not have told Matt about Graham?
How does “Mr. Clayton” tie in to James Robbins?
Will Travis regret what he’s done with Amelia?
Come discuss this episode in the Footprints Forum!

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