Episode #514

- Bill and Matt planned to open a new restaurant together.
- Sarah pleaded with Matt to call off the divorce, but he felt that he had no other option remaining.
- Brian told Diane that he accepted a publishing job in Los Angeles.


The furniture remains in Brian Hamilton’s apartment, but with all other signs of life packed into the cardboard boxes that now fill the living area, the place is a shell of its former self. As Brian moves among the boxes, performing a final count, Diane Bishop lingers by the window.

“This was a good window,” she says, gazing dreamily across the way at another apartment. “The view into Brent’s old place was really amazing.”

“Nothing like a heartwarming memory of temporarily ruining people’s lives,” Brian remarks.

“Oh, come on. They had it coming. And it was fun!”

“It was an adventure, I’ll say that much.” At the time, Brian could not believe that he was helping Diane take pictures of Brent and Molly together so that they could expose their secret relationship--and, years later, he finds it even more difficult to comprehend that he participated in something so purposefully destructive.

“And, yeah, okay, kind of exciting,” he admits, caving under Diane’s intense stare.

He hands her a spare key to the apartment and the inventory of boxes and furniture. “You’re sure you’re okay with letting the movers in tomorrow?”

She accepts the items. “Absolutely. Maybe I’ll come raid your stuff before they come, though.”

“Hands off the ‘Bedroom Drawers’ box,” he warns, only half-kidding.

He steps back and surveys what is left of the apartment where he has resided since returning to King’s Bay several years ago. When he made the decision to move back here, even though his friendship with Diane was at best tentative, he felt as though he was coming home. King’s Bay had been his home for so many years, the place where he launched his career and developed a friendship that has defined much of his adult life. Somehow, though--as much as he considers it, he cannot pinpoint the moment when it happened, if there even was one--that has all changed. Leaving now seems as natural a step as returning once was.

Brian’s cell phone rings, and he quickly answers, already knowing that it is a call from the driver outside, having arrived to take him to the airport.

“I guess that’s my cue,” he says, opening the front door. He allows Diane to pass outside and then follows her.

“Good timing,” she says. “I need to go pick up Samantha.”

Brian pulls the door closed and hesitates before locking it for the final time. He sees the car out in the parking lot, waiting to take him away.

He looks Diane right in the eyes. “Thank you. For everything. I know we haven’t had the smoothest road, but--”

“Oh no. No, no, no. We are not having one of those goodbyes.”

“Why not?”

“Because.” Her hair moves to touch up her not-at-all-mussed hair. “I don’t think I can handle it.”

“Oh, now you get emotional on me?” he teases. “Only took how many years?”

“Shut up.” And then she does something that he does not expect: she hugs him. As they stand there, pressed together, regret washes over Brian. Maybe it is wrong to leave her. Maybe they can make this work. Maybe he has finally cracked that tough, seemingly impenetrable shell that Diane wears 99 percent of the time.

But just as quickly as the thought strikes him, it fades. They tried that. It was not right. Perhaps the only way to find that out was to try it; still, he is sorry that they lost so much time as friends, that they spent so much time fractured and apart.

“I’ll call you if there are any problems with the movers,” Diane says as they separate. “Which there won’t be, because I will kick some ass.”

“I expect nothing less from you.”

He moves toward the waiting car with his carry-on bag and single piece of luggage. Diane walks along beside him. The driver takes Brian’s bags and places them in the trunk.

“Take care of yourself,” Brian says to Diane. “And Samantha. She’s a great kid, you know that?”

“She’s mine. Why wouldn’t she be?” A smile parts Diane’s full lips. “Now get out of here. Go to Los Angeles and do brilliant things. It’s your time.”

“I know,” he says, regret and determination playing simultaneously upon him as he gets into the car. “Bye.”

Diane doesn’t respond. She folds her hands and stands there in the parking lot, watching as the car pulls away. Brian watches her, too, until the car turns and he can see her no longer.


Bill Fisher answers the doorbell and leads Matt Gray toward the kitchen. Matt follows, a thousand words tingling his lips and waiting for the right moment to spring forth into the world.

“It just came to me,” Bill says as they enter the kitchen. “I woke up in the middle of the night last night, and--there it was. Our restaurant.”

The table is covered in papers. Matt recognizes some of them as the recipes they have been developing, albeit without much specific direction. Others are new and appear to be sketches of this new restaurant concept that Bill called him over to hear about.

“We’re in agreement that we want this to be a restaurant for families, aren’t we?” Bill asks, though he already knows the answer. Matt nods. “And that’s partly why we’ve had so much trouble with a concept--because everything we think of seems too trendy or stuffy for families.”

“Yeah.” Matt feels as though his skin is trying to creep off his body. He needs to talk to Bill, and it has nothing to do with the restaurant. “Listen--”

Bill rattles on, undaunted. “Then I thought: why not make that our concept? This is a restaurant for families. Big groups of people. It’s our specialty, not an inconvenience.”


Holding up a rough sketch of a floorplan, Bill says, “Table For Ten. That’s our name. Make it clear what kind of place this is.”

Matt looks over the plan. Immediately he likes it. This is just what they have been searching for: something that feels familiar and comfortable, yet offers something new and different. Bill’s idea makes perfect sense to him.

“I like it,” he says. “I like it a lot. Well done.”

“I’m relieved. I wasn’t sure if you’d think it was corny or old-fashioned.”

“No. Bill, it’s great.” Matt sets the sketch down on the table. Now that he let Bill say what he needed to say, Matt has to spit out his part. If he doesn’t do it now, he might never have the resolve again.

“But before we get any further into planning this,” he says, “there’s something you need to know.”

Concern returns to crowd Bill’s features. “What?”

“Sarah and I--we’re splitting up. I filed for divorce.”


After she picks up Samantha from the library, Diane takes her daughter to Sarah’s new apartment. Diane is still not accustomed to visiting her friend here, in this place that feels more like a holdover than a home. Sarah lets them in, and while Samantha goes to join Tori and her friends in her cousin’s bedroom, the women settle in the living room to talk.

“This is not over,” Diane says as Sarah hands her a cup of coffee. “Don’t even let that thought cross your mind.”

“I tried. But the way Matt reacted…” Sarah gets lost staring into her own coffee. “He just seems so done with all of it.”

“Because he’s protecting himself.”

“From me.”

“No. From circumstance. This is so far from your fault, Sarah. You can’t hold yourself responsible for an emotional response. That’s like expecting--"

“But I can be held responsible for my reactions to those emotions,” Sarah says. “Especially after so much time.”

Diane has witnessed how conflicted Sarah has been over the past year. She has wanted so badly to give her marriage her all, but there has been something preventing it: something deep inside Sarah. Diane knows that, if Sarah were able to control that, she would have done so long ago.

“That’s bullshit,” Diane says firmly.

“Maybe. But, to be fair to Matt, how long is he supposed to stay in limbo? He can’t put his life on hold forever.”

Diane doesn’t know how to respond to that. Sarah has a point, sure, but it is not that cut-and-dry.

“Brian’s gone?” Sarah asks, abruptly changing the subject--probably a very conscious choice.

“He left for the airport right before I went to pick up Samantha.”

“It’ll be weird for you not to have him around, huh?”

“Yeah.” Diane doesn’t even know how she feels about Brian leaving. She thinks that she is going to miss having him around, but maybe she will mostly miss the way things could have been between them--if Brian hadn’t complicated things by trying to make their relationship into something more, or if she had been savvier about not giving him the wrong idea.

If she had never slept with him that first time, she thinks, would everything have turned out differently? Or what if Tim had not been available? Would she have wanted to give things with Brian a real chance?

“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the idea that the entire course of your life can hinge on one moment,” she says aloud, not really expecting Sarah to have any idea what she is talking about.

Sarah nods slowly, but there is clear understanding in her eyes.

“We’re going to change his mind,” Diane says.

This time, Sarah doesn’t respond at all.


“Red one!”

Samantha Fisher enters her cousin’s bedroom and feels as though she has stepped into a war zone. Tori Gray and three friends dance around the room, piles of clothing strewn everywhere. One of the girls grabs a flowy red top out of Tori’s hands.

“Heidi!” Tori cries out. But the blonde girl is already putting the shirt on over her tank top. Tori finally notices Samantha. “Hey, Sam.”


“We’re having a fashion show,” Tori explains. She slips into a pair of heels, shoes that Samantha can’t even believe a junior-high kid would own, and shuffles over to the full-length mirror propped up against the wall.

“Ooh, la, la, la,” Heidi sing-songs as Tori poses in the front of the mirror. “Is that designer?”

“Designer?” Samantha asks, wondering what planet these girls are from. They can’t really expect to own clothes that cost as much as what they see on Gossip Girl or whatever else it is they watch…

“We love designer,” Tori says, checking out her reflection. She scowls. “I need some new stilettos.”

Samantha looks at the shoes as Tori slips out of them. “You can’t walk down the street in those!”

“Don’t be such a downer.”

Taking a seat on the bed, Samantha watches the girls shout and switch clothes and pose in front of the mirror. Between Travis’s constant moods and Tori’s obsession with clothes and The Hills, Samantha is grateful to be beginning her freshman year of high school.

One of the other girls preens in front of the mirror. “This is the greatest dress of my life!”

Meanwhile, with Tori standing beside her, laying clothes out on the bed to try and create another outfit, Samantha quietly asks, “How’s your mom doing? My mom told me about her and your dad.”

Tori turns sharply to her. “She’s fine. They’re gonna be fine.”

And before Samantha can follow up on that, Tori bolts away, back to her ‘fashion show’ with her friends, a million miles away from real life.


Matt waits for some indication of Bill’s feelings about this news. One of the best things about his marriage to Sarah has been the opportunity to become part of her family. He loves working with Bill, and he values his friendships with Sarah’s father and brothers. The possibility of losing those things was a very real consideration in his decision to file for divorce--but not enough of a factor to keep him from doing it.

“Sarah hadn’t told us yet,” Bill finally says, clearly taken by surprise.

“It happened really fast. It’s not something I wanted to do, but--I had to.”

Bill considers that for a moment. “If you don’t want a divorce…”

“Not in a perfect world. I’d never wanna give up what I have with Sarah. But the way things have gotten… I don’t really feel like I have a choice.”

“Of course you have a choice.”

Matt doesn’t want to go down this road. He has done enough second-guessing all on his own. He was starting to worry that things would never change and he would spend the rest of his life waiting around for his marriage to heal, but the truth is, that isn’t going to happen magically.

“I had to,” he says. “I’ve been waiting around for something that I don’t think is ever gonna happen.”

Bill still seems skeptical. “You don’t know that.”

“No. But I can’t keep living like this.” He picks up the floorplan sketch again. “Bill, this sounds great… and I’d love to work with you… but I know the divorce changes things.”

Tight-lipped, Bill nods.

“I have to talk to Sarah about that,” he says. “You know I’d love to work with you, Matt, but you’re right. It does change things.”

Matt knew that was coming, but it doesn’t hurt any less to hear it.

“Unless we can prevent this,” Bill continues. “Are you sure there isn’t any way to change your mind?”


Once Brian makes it through airport security, he starts to relax. He has some time until his flight, his bag is checked, everything with the apartment is taken care of… He finds his gate and is relieved to discover that the flight is, thus far, running on time. He settles in a chair to wait and watches the intricate ballet of planes and ground crew outside.

Driving away from his apartment complex, watching Diane out the back window, he felt the stirrings of great regret. But it passed. This is the right thing to do, for his career and for himself as a person.

There is something out there for him, something wonderful, and it will never be Diane, no matter how much he has tried to force it. It certainly wasn’t Molly Fisher, and it was not Kelsey Barker, either, though perhaps something more could have come of that had Brian not messed it up. Every now and then, in the quiet moments before he falls asleep, he wonders if it might have been Katherine Fitch, but he suspects that he was right to keep their relationship platonic. If only he had been able to do the same with Diane…

Deciding that he could use some coffee while he waits, he stands and reaches for his carry-on bag. He realizes that he forgot to zip it back up, but the realization comes too late: he is already lifting the bag, and its contents are spilling onto the floor.

Brian groans and glances around, hoping that no one has noticed his blunder. He notices people trying to look as though they are not looking at him. He kneels down to pick up his things and is still on his hands and knees when a pair of high heels appear in the corner of his vision.


His eyes track from the heels up a pair of jeans-clad legs, to a fitted blazer and a very familiar face.

“Serena? Oh my God!”

Quickly he tosses the rest of his stuff back into the bag and hops to his feet. It has been years since he saw Serena Scott--since before he left Los Angeles to move back to King’s Bay. Their breakup was ugly, given Diane’s constant interference and Brian’s inability to cut her out of his life, but Serena bears no hint of bitterness now, judging by the pleasant smile on her face.

“How are you?” he asks. “What’s going on? What are you doing here? Are you still living in L.A.?”

Serena laughs. “Let’s see: good, a lot, book signing, and yes. Did I get that?”

Brian has already forgotten what he asked, but he is so flummoxed by running into his ex-girlfriend that it doesn’t even matter. “So you’re on your way back?”

“That I am. What are you up to? I heard you were working at Vision up here.”

“Actually, I just resigned. I’m going back to work for Element.”

“You’re coming back to L.A. for good?” She seems excited by the prospect. Brian warns himself not to read too much into her reaction.

“How about… everything else?” Serena asks.

“Are you asking about Diane? She’s still at Vision. Not coming back to L.A.” Even the mention of Diane between them makes Brian feel guilty; he made some terrible missteps in putting that friendship ahead of his relationship with Serena. Maybe he liked the idea that Diane could be jealous. “I need to apologize for how things ended. I was such a jerk.”

“I was no picnic, or no day at the beach, or whatever other cliché you can think of. I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two since then.”

An awkward quiet falls between them. Brian is not sure what to do next. Do they continue catching up? Does he politely step away and give her some space?

“Are you seeing anyone?” Serena asks.

Okay. That is not exactly what he was expecting.

“Actually, no. Do you, uh, want to come and get a coffee with me?”

“I’d love to.”

Still in shock, Brian zips up his bag and leads the way. Serena falls into step beside him, and the last traces of doubt about departing King’s Bay leave Brian’s being for good.


“Thanks for coming by,” Sarah says as she sees Diane and Samantha into the hallway. “I appreciate it.”

“Anytime. Call me if you need anything,” Diane says. The elevator doors open, and she and Samantha disappear into the car.

Sarah heads back inside the apartment. She can hear Tori and her friends in the other room, and under normal circumstances, she might ask them to keep it down. Now, however, she is simply happy to hear her daughter having fun. She has no intention of doing anything to disrupt that.

She has already done enough to disrupt Tori’s life as it is.

She carries the coffee cups to the sink and is rinsing them out when there is a knock on the door. She finishes rinsing a cup before even moving to answer it. She just feels too slow today, too tired.


A man’s voice calls through the door. It is dulled by the sound of the faucet, but she hears it, and it gives her enough of a kick in the pants to get moving. She turns off the water and sets the cup aside to dry.

Maybe Diane was right to have faith. Maybe Matt realizes what he did was a mistake.

She dashes to the door and pulls it open, ready to leap into his arms.


Not who she expected. Not what she expected.

Bill stands outside her door. As soon as he sees her, he opens his arms wide.

“Come here,” he says, and Sarah wastes not a moment falling into his embrace.


Should Bill cancel his plans to work with Matt?
Is there anything that might change Matt’s mind?
What is ahead for Brian in his new life?
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