Episode #522

- Jason and Sabrina had Happy Hour drinks while doing some arena work. Sabrina replaced Jason’s drinks with double-strength ones, hoping to drive him home and irk Courtney. Instead, Alex came along and took Jason home.
- Danielle told Ryan that she wanted to pursue a relationship with him.
- Tim’s understanding reaction to Ryan’s book surprised both him and Claire. After a talk about how their lives might have gone differently, Tim and Claire had sex.


The intoxicating aroma of turkey sweeps through the house. Claire Fisher enters the house, clad in a three-quarter-length coat and carrying an oversized purse on her arm. The Fishers’ Thanksgiving gathering is in full swing, and Travis wastes no time working his way into the middle of things.

As Claire slowly removes her coat, she spots Tim across the room, engaged in conversation with Jason. They have hardly had a chance to speak since what happened between them the other day. There is so much to say--so many hopes for the future, so much opportunity to repair the life that they started together but never had the chance to play out. Her nerves tingle with anxiety as she hangs up her coat and prepares to approach him.

As she starts across the room, however, Brent Taylor sidles up beside her.

“No luck with the photo?” he asks, though it is clear that he already knows the answer. “Tim said you showed it to him.”

“He didn’t recognize Clayton. I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised, but it’s still disappointing.”

Brent lets out an agonized groan. “I have no idea what we do next. Cracking this thing is going to be--”

“Next to impossible.” She forces herself to look him in the eyes. “Brent, there’s something I need to tell you.”

He cocks his head and waits for her to go on.

“I’m having second thoughts,” she says hurriedly. “About pursuing this--about Clayton.”

“Wait, what? Why?”

Claire can see Tim out of the corner of her vision. The way he talked the other night, after having read Ryan’s book… it made so much sense to her. For the first time since she and Brent began actively pursuing this Mr. Clayton, whoever he is, Claire was able to see the upside of leaving the whole matter alone.

“Maybe this is a sign,” she says. “The fact that we’re hitting a dead end with this picture… maybe it means--”

“We’re not hitting a dead end. We’re going to I.D. the photo. It might take some time, but--”

“But why? Are we just chasing trouble? Nothing has happened since Nick died for good. Maybe Clayton has no interest in any of us now.”

Brent frowns, skeptical. “Where is this coming from?”

Again she glances at Tim. She cannot tell Brent the full story, at least not yet, but what she is saying is the truth.

“I just think that what we need to do is move forward,” she says. “Not stay trapped in the past.”


“I’m sorry. I--I have to do this.”

She pulls the photo of Clayton from her purse, hands it to him, and moves away.


In the dining room, Paula Fisher refreshes a plate of crackers and cheese. Sarah Gray slides out of the kitchen and notices her mother’s focus on the task.

“I’m sure no one is going to be upset if the crackers aren’t fanned out perfectly,” she teases.

Paula turns and smiles. “Oh, you know how I am.” She gives the platter a final once-over. “How are you doing, dear?”

“I’m fine.” The casual tone sounds forced even to Sarah’s own ears.

At that moment, Molly Taylor sashays into the room with a glass of Chardonnay in hand.

“Molly, do you think this looks all right?” Paula asks, gesturing toward the platter.

“It looks wonderful.” Molly settles in beside them but seems to be at a loss for words to offer Sarah. For her part, Sarah cannot take her eyes off the extravagant earrings that Molly chose to wear today. Normally, she might make some crack about how over-the-top they are, but given the state of her life right now, getting in a few digs about her sister’s overly opulent earrings does not seem necessary.

“Did you get to talk to Tori?” Molly asks at last.

Sarah nods. “Yeah. I just got off the phone with her. She’s having fun playing with Jake and Mia’s baby.”

Paula touches a hand to her daughter’s shoulder. “I’m sorry you can’t be with her today.”

“It’s all right,” Sarah says, surprised by how much she means it. Of course, she would love to spend Thanksgiving with her daughter, but given the current climate in their family unit, Matt’s decision to take Tori to Pennsylvania for the holiday seems wise to Sarah. “Honestly, it’s a relief not to have to deal with any of that today, in a way.”

Molly and Paula murmur with understanding and agreement. Brent comes up behind Molly.

“Are the boys both upstairs?” he asks.

“Samantha’s playing with them,” Molly says.

Sarah notices the photograph in Brent’s hand. It looks entirely out of place here: from what she can tell, it is a still from a security camera.

“What’s that?” she asks. “Are you doing work at Thanksgiving dinner?”

Only now does Brent even appear aware that he is holding the photo. “Oh, this is… nothing important. Part of an investigation.”

He tucks it away before any of them can get a better look.


“Thanks for inviting me, Mrs. Fisher,” Alex Marshall says as Paula enters the living room.

“We’re happy to have you.” Paula seats herself on the couch beside Jason and Courtney, who is holding baby Sophie. “It’s so nice to have you and your parents with us again for the holidays, too, Courtney.”

“It feels like old times,” Courtney agrees.

Paula begins to play with the baby, and Courtney takes the cue and hands Sophie over to her grandmother.

“How is the house coming along?” Paula asks Courtney and Jason.

“They’re actually going to be finished next week,” Courtney says. “So we can move in…”

“…and stop torturing Alex,” Jason teases.

“I haven’t minded,” Alex says. They all laugh; anyone would mind being awoken in the middle of the night, sometimes multiple times, by a crying baby.

“Seriously. I’ll miss having you guys around,” he persists. “And we won’t be able to have any more nights like the other night…”

“What happened the other night?” Paula asks.

“I had to give Jason a ride home, and he kept making me stop to pick up things for dinner, so we showed up with, like, steaks, pizza, and two boxes of waffles,” Alex explains. “He and Sabrina went to do some work over drinks and got a little carried away.”

Paula laughs, but Courtney sits up straighter.

“I thought you were having drinks with Tim,” she says to Jason. “You were drinking with Sabrina?”


After going upstairs to check in with Samantha, Claire comes back down, intent upon talking to Tim. She pauses to admire an arrangement of flowers sitting on a table at the foot of the stairs and then makes her way across the room, to where Tim is now chatting with Bill.

“Hi,” she says, sliding up beside her ex-husband. “Happy Thanksgiving.”

“Happy Thanksgiving,” Tim says. Immediately Claire feels the strange chill emanating from him.

She looks to Bill. “Happy Thanksgiving.”

“You, too,” her former father-in-law says. Perhaps he senses the awkward vibe between them, because the next words out of his mouth are, “I’m going to go check on the turkey. We have to be getting close to carving time.” Bill departs, leaving Claire and Tim together.

“I’ve wanted to talk to you,” Claire says. “Sorry my hours at the hospital have been so strange.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Tim takes a sip from his glass of wine.

“About what happened…” She makes sure that no one is close enough to overhear. “It was as much of a surprise to me as I’m sure it was to you, but I’m glad it happened.”

Tim nods slowly, looking at her over the rim of his wine glass. “It was nice.”

The lack of enthusiasm in his response floors Claire. She and Tim have had their share of issues, but him being an under-involved jerk has never been one of them.

“Nice? Tim, it was--God, I’m stupid.”

“What?” Now it is his turn to glance over his shoulder to be sure that no one is listening to him. He leans in closer. “I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression. It was impulsive, and I probably shouldn’t have done it.”

“But why not? We can do this. We can put the past behind us and move on with our lives, just like you said you wanted to.”

“Not like this.” He runs his finger along the edge of the large oak breakfront. “We can’t turn back time or erase the past few years. Too much has happened. If we really want to move forward, it has to be…”

“Apart.” She shakes her head at him. “I can’t believe what an idiot I am.”

“Claire, I’m sorry. I got caught up in the moment. I thought you felt the same way.”

“I don’t really have a choice now, do I?” Resisting the irrational but potentially satisfying urge to toss a drink in his face, she heads outside to get some fresh air and clear her head.



Molly follows Brent through the kitchen and out to the back porch. The evening air nips at her bare skin without regret, leaving no doubt that the holidays are truly upon them.

“Is everything all right?” she asks.

Brent turns with a start. “Yeah. I’m just… Yeah.”

“What was that photo you had inside?”

His mouth opens, an explanation seemingly poised, but he swallows it. “It’s nothing.”

Frustration soars within Molly. She traces a finger along the wet edge of the deck as she struggles for a way to get through to him.

The sliding door opens behind them, and Danielle joins them on the deck. “Sorry if I’m interrupting,” she says, “but I need to talk to you two.”

She stands between them, and a concerned look passes between Molly and Brent. Molly feels guilty for having the thought, but she suspects that Brent is having it, too: Has Danielle been drinking again?

“I know this is a bad time for this,” Danielle says, “but I can’t keep it to myself anymore. And I owe it to both of you to tell you.”

Brent takes a step toward his sister. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” She hesitates and rethinks her choice of words. “From my perspective, anyway. Things are… maybe right. I don’t know.”

Without any clue as to where this is going, Molly and Brent wait in silence until Danielle spits it out:

“I’m going on a date with Ryan.”

Brent’s response is immediate and explosive. “What? Are you insane?”

“Brent,” Molly tries to intercede.

He is undaunted. “Danielle, that’s nuts. He’s dangerous. And he’s a loser.”

“He’s struggling,” Danielle says, calm but clearly irritated. “I’ve been there, and--look, I know this sounds crazy. But Ryan and I have bonded. There is a good person in there, and he needs help finding him again.”

“And you think you’re going to be the one to help him?” Brent asks.

“Yes. I’d like to be.”

Brent releases an exasperated sigh. Molly rests a hand on her husband’s arm.

“Thank you for being honest with us,” Molly says. “In the interest of being honest… I’m not sure how I feel about this. We might have to set some ground rules as far as him coming to the house--”

“Of course,” Danielle says.

“Damn right.” Brent stares at his sister and then at his wife. “I can’t believe either of you think this is okay.”

Danielle looks directly into her brother’s eyes. “This is something I need to do.” She turns and goes back inside, leaving Brent to fume and Molly to ponder if there is any way this can work out all right.


Will Danielle sacrifice her relationship with Brent for one with Ryan?
What will Claire do now that Tim has rejected her?
Will Shannon manage to drive a wedge between Courtney and Jason?
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