Episode #536

- When he spent Christmas with the Fishers, Matt told Bill that he was interviewing for a position in the kitchen of Windmills.
- Sarah slept with Graham but later wondered if she would regret letting him get so close so quickly.
- Diane informed Ryan that Danielle had confronted her about drinking with Ryan.


“Who’s ready for some baseball?” Josh Taylor asks as he hurries up the driveway of his brother’s home.

His nephews, Caleb and Christian, wait on the front steps with their baseball mitts and caps. Brent emerges behind them, two fleece jackets in hand.

“No one’s going anywhere without jackets,” he says. The boys groan.

“You think it’s gonna rain?” Josh asks, looking up toward the ever-gray Washington sky.

“I think it’s going to do whatever is the opposite of what we want it to do.”

“Good thing they didn’t build an open-air stadium, I guess.”

Brent helps the twins into their jackets, despite their wriggling. A car pulls up to the curb at the bottom of the driveway. Only on second glance does Brent realize that the Acura is familiar. He steels himself for an uncomfortable confrontation as Ryan Moriani gets out of the car and slowly makes his way toward the house.

Josh notices Brent’s glaring and turns to see what it is. “Stay cool,” he warns his older brother.

Brent attempts to take that advice to heart. He has, more or less, promised Danielle that he will try to accept her relationship with Ryan--if not enthusiastically, then at least in the most civil manner that he can muster.

“Hi,” Ryan says awkwardly to Brent. He turns to Josh and repeats the greeting.

“Hey,” Josh says. Brent simply lifts his chin in a slight nod.

Ryan greets the twins, who don’t do much besides stare at him. “Is Danielle home?” he asks.

Brent knows what he promised Danielle. And he wants to keep his promise. He truly does. But having Ryan here, on his property, so close to his sons… it makes Brent uneasy. Something inside him, something physical, reacts to the man’s mere presence. The thought of not only admitting Ryan to his house, but pointing him in the direction of the sister whom Brent loves and worries about very much, seems antithetical to everything for which Brent stands.

“Look,” Ryan says, “I know you aren’t--”

“She’s in the kitchen.” Brent surprises even himself with the swiftness of his response.

Ryan is, apparently, just as taken aback. “Oh. Thanks.”

As Ryan moves toward the house and then slips inside, Josh eyes Brent quizzically.

“What?” Brent asks.

“Nothing. I thought you were gonna give him a little shit, at least.”

The closed door stares back at Brent. “A promise is a promise,” he says, as much for the boys’ benefit as for Josh’s, though he is not entirely certain that he ever should have made that promise in the first place.


The room slowly drifts into focus. Clutching the pillow tightly to the side of her face, Sarah Fisher allows her eyes to adjust to the mid-morning light--and her brain to adjust to the inevitability of getting out of bed.

She is still lying there, gathering her bearings, when Graham Colville enters the bedroom in his black robe. “Good morning,” he says. “I was just coming to see if you wanted a cup of coffee.”

“I could use it,” Sarah says, pulling herself to a sitting position. She spies the late hour on the clock. “How did I sleep until 10:30?”

“You must have been exhausted. Hold on. I’ll bring you that coffee.” Graham exits the room and reappears, a minute later, with two mugs. He hands one to Sarah and then takes a seat on the edge of the bed.

She gratefully breathes in the enticing aroma of the coffee. “Thank you.”

“My pleasure.”

Sarah takes a sip of the warm, inviting coffee and marvels at the fact that it is just the way she likes it: a splash of cream and one sugar. It is no surprise--she and Graham have been sharing coffee and meals and mornings more frequently of late. For whatever reason, though, it catches her attention now. He knows her well enough to prepare her coffee without having to ask how she prefers it.

When he reaches out to stroke her hair, Sarah does not flinch, does not pull back. The touch comforts her.

“What do you have planned for the day?” Graham asks.

“I’m meeting Diane for lunch, and then I have a meeting with a client at one-thirty,” she says, appreciative of the chance to review her calendar so that she can get a handle on the developing day, “and Tori has a swim meet this afternoon. It’s their first home meet in weeks, so it will be good to see her in action.”

“I’m sure she will appreciate having you there.”

“I hope so.”

“She will. Your daughter loves you, and she knows you love her. This is a transition period for both of you, but you should just continue what you are doing: being her mother.” Graham kisses her gently. His lips taste of the dark roast coffee.

She smiles at him and sips from her mug. “How can you be so calm about everything?”

“Years of practice. Years and years. Eventually you come to realize that getting worked up over things does not bring you any closer to a solution.”

Sarah suspects that she is still several years--if not decades--away from that contentment. However, she keeps that thought to herself, spying the opportunity to get Graham to open up.

“What finally got you to that point?” she asks. Maybe if she seems as though she is asking for advice, she will get something out of him. All this time they have spent together, and he has revealed so little about his past. For an investigator, it’s frustrating at best.

“It’s ancient history,” he says with a breezy, almost dismissive, grin.

“And I’m interested. All we do is talk about me, my life, my problems. I want to know about you.”

“All you need to know, my dear, is that I’m here for you.” He kisses her again, but this time, Sarah has to force herself not to bristle at the contact. Not because it is unwelcome, but because she is too distracted by questions, too frustrated with Graham’s unwillingness to be forthcoming about himself and his history.

“I should hop in the shower if I’m going to make this lunch date with Diane,” she says, leaping away from him and out of the bed all in one maneuver. Graham remains seated on the bed, watching her go.


Matt Gray turns into the spice aisle and freezes when he sees who is already there: his soon-to-be-former father-in-law. Before Matt can decide whether to approach him or make a getaway, Bill turns and spots him.

Putting on his game face, Matt closes the gap between them.

“Good to see you,” he says as the men shake hands.

“Same,” Bill says. “How have you been?”

“Fine, I guess.” Matt shrugs, trying to play it off. In truth, there is not much to tell. He goes to and from his new job, he tries to spend as much time as he can with Tori on days when he has her, and otherwise… he spends a lot of time watching television. He hasn’t even felt much like messing around in the kitchen, experimenting with new dishes and combinations, of late.

“How is the new job?” Bill asks.

“Good. Windmills is definitely, uh, different. Good experience to have, though.”

Bill’s face wrinkles with concern. “Are you sure it’s going well?”

Matt wonders what gave him away. He attempts to maintain a grin as he says, “Yeah. Just a different environment, different food…”

He notices that Bill is nodding along.

“I wish I had you onboard at my new place,” Bill says. “We’re finally gearing up for the opening, but it isn’t the same without you.”

“Thanks.” The sentiment certainly means a lot to Matt, even if both men know that there is not much they can do to change the situation. “So how’s everything going? When are you gonna open up?”

“We’re still about a month out. I actually came here to get some things for a few last-minute experiments.” Bill indicates the various grocery items in his cart. “I’m glad things are going well for you.”

Matt wouldn’t go that far, but… “Thanks. Good luck with the opening. I’m sure it’s gonna be great.”

“Thank you.” Bill shifts awkwardly from one foot to the other. “You should come down sometime, as soon as we open. Bring Tori. Everyone would love to see you.”

“It’d be good to see all of you,” Matt says. And he means it. His split with Sarah has been hard enough; cutting out most of his contact with her family has been just as difficult.

He worries that he is lingering and taking up Bill’s time. “I should let you get going. And I have to grab some stuff. Like I said, good luck.”

“Thanks. Same to you,” Bill says, and with another handshake, the men pass each other and go their separate ways. Matt tries not to think about it too much.


In the kitchen, Ryan finds Danielle scooping cottage cheese out of a container and into a bowl. Unsure of how to announce his presence--or how to broach a very awkward subject--he clears his throat.

“Oh,” she says as she spots him on the border of the kitchen and dining room. “What are you doing here?”

“I came to see you.” He moves toward her, albeit hesitantly. He does not want to give her the wrong impression with too affectionate a greeting.

Danielle senses his coolness and stops in her tracks, still several feet away from him.

“We need to talk,” he says. “Or I need to say some things, at the least.”

She replaces the lid on the cottage cheese container. “Go on.”

He decides to set all his cards on the table. “Diane told me that you had words with her about me. I didn’t appreciate hearing about that--especially not from someone other than you.”

Danielle’s remorse is apparent in the soft droop of her mouth and the downward movement of her eyes. But there is something else to it, something resigned, as if she knew this was coming and already made her peace with it.

“I’m sorry if I put you in an awkward position,” she says.

“Awkward? Diane is, for all intents and purposes, my boss. For you to march up to her in public and tell her that I’m a drunk--”

“I didn’t say you were a drunk.” She puts the cottage cheese back in the refrigerator and shuts the door with more force than necessary. “I don’t use that word to describe people.”

“Whatever word you used, you made me look like a fool. An irresponsible child. And that is not acceptable.”

Folding her arms, she leans against the fridge. “Again, I’m sorry. But I can’t change how I feel.”

“And how is that?”

“That you shouldn’t be drinking. If someone is encouraging it, or even facilitating it, I have a responsibility to step in.”

Even through his anger, he knows that her concern comes from a good place. She is not a meddler; she genuinely wants what is best for him. Still, pure intent does not make what she did okay.

“I can take care of myself,” he says.


It sounds too much like a challenge, like she does not believe him. That sets him off.

“Don’t talk to me like you’re this guardian angel sent to save me,” Ryan says. “You’re just as screwed up as I am, in your own ways.”

He regrets it instantly, but to his surprise, Danielle hardly reacts at all. She certainly does not appear fazed by the slam.

“I’d like for you to come to a meeting with me,” she says softly. “An AA meeting.”

“I already told you--”

“You don’t have to say anything. Just listen. It might do you some good.”

“It might do you some good to listen to me,” he says, turning on his heels. “I am not a drunk, okay?” Too fed up to argue with someone who already has her mind made up, he leaves the kitchen and the house.


“Ridiculous. It was completely ridiculous.”

Diane Bishop picks at her grilled ahi salad as she relays the story of how Danielle confronted her at the coffee shop. Sarah listens, well aware that the best thing to do when Diane gets on a roll is to let her wear herself out.

“Can you believe that? Acting like it was my fault that he got a little tipsy?” Diane takes a bite of the salad and, as she chews, allows her emotions to simmer. “Like Ryan hasn’t gotten himself into plenty of trouble on his own.”

Finally she falls quiet, taking another bite of her salad. Sarah takes that as her signal to jump in.

“You shouldn’t let it bother you,” she says. “Danielle is best friends with Molly. That should tell you something about her credibility.”

“You’ve got a point there.”

Sarah cuts a piece of her chicken. “I’m still irritated at her for running around blabbing to everyone that she saw me having dinner with Graham. That was none of her business.”

Diane sets her fork down, hard. “You know what she has? A nosiness problem. A severe nosiness problem.”

“Like I said: Molly.”

The women share a snicker at the expense of Sarah’s older sister.

“What’s going on with that new man of yours?” Diane asks. “You’ve been quiet about him. Annoyingly quiet.”

With a shrug, Sarah says, “There isn’t much to tell. We’ve been spending time together. It’s… nice.”


She doesn’t know how else to describe it. Her time with Graham is soothing, almost like taking a step out of her real life and into an alternate world where she has not (yet) made thousands of mistakes to land her where she is today. Except for one thing.

“I just wish he’d be more forthcoming,” she says. “At least a little bit.”

“Are you complaining that he doesn’t talk about himself enough?” Diane asks in disbelief. That is Diane: always finding a way to put her own unique spin on a situation.

“A little bit would be nice,” Sarah says. “Every time I ask him a question about his life, it’s like pulling teeth. Really stubborn teeth that have been glued in with industrial-strength glue and then reinforced just to be safe.”

“So… you’re an investigator. Do some investigator-ing.”

The thought has certainly crossed Sarah’s mind, but when she did that to Matt, it tore open more issues than it solved, at least in the short term. And she isn’t even sure if there is anything long-term about her situation with Graham--not enough to be worth the drama in the present.

“Oh, come on. You know you’re going to do it eventually,” Diane goads.

Sarah mulls that over, and her mind drifts back to what they were originally discussing. “I can’t believe Danielle and Ryan are dating. That’s something I never, ever saw coming.”

“Judging by his reaction when I told him what she’d done, I don’t know how long they’re going to be dating.” With a satisfied sneer, Diane bites into a piece of lettuce.’’


Gray sky and menacing clouds hover in the distance, as far as the eye can see. Brent maintains sharp focus on the road as he maneuvers the SUV toward Seattle.

“She isn’t stupid,” Josh says from the passenger seat.

“Neither is Claire. But she still got taken in by Ryan, and look at how that turned out.” Brent checks the rearview mirror and, noticing that the pickup truck behind them is following a little too closely, speeds up. “Danielle was in that basement with us. She knows what kind of trouble follows Ryan. To walk into that willingly…”

“I’m not saying you’re wrong. At least not for worrying about her. But Danielle’s smart. If she thinks she’s got this under control, let’s trust her.”

Brent hates the sound of that--not because he does not trust his sister, but because he expects Ryan to take advantage of Danielle’s generous nature. And yet, Josh is right: short of voicing their concerns, which he has done repeatedly, all they can do is be prepared to leap in and help her when necessary.

“Can we go down and watch batting practice?” Caleb asks out of nowhere.

“If there’s enough time when we get there,” Brent says, and even though he is pretty sure that they will make it in time, he nevertheless feels an urge to speed up. Seeing the boys so excited brings him such a pure joy and reminds him why he does the things he does.

Another glance in the mirror reveals that the truck behind them has caught up and is once again tailgating them. “Will this guy get off my bumper?” Brent mutters. This time, he slows the SUV down in hopes of forcing the driver to change lanes and pass him.

It doesn’t work. The truck remains on their tail and, if possible, closes the gap between them even further. Frustrated, Brent honks the horn, to no avail.

Josh turns in his seat. “What is this ass--” He catches himself in front of the twins. “--inine person doing?!”

Caleb and Christian giggle at the almost-curse, anyway. Brent speeds up again, only for the truck to follow him as though the two vehicles were bound by a cord.

“What the hell?” he cries out in annoyance, smacking the steering wheel hard. He has seen too many instances of people playing stupid games on the road--especially in dead stretches like the one between King’s Bay and Seattle--out of boredom, games that end very badly. In the mirror, he attempts to get a better look at the pickup’s driver, but all he can discern is that it is a man with facial hair and a hat pulled very low over his face.

He is considering pulling onto the shoulder and stopping entirely when the truck rockets out from behind them.

“Finally,” Josh says. But instead of propelling forward and away from them, the pickup keeps pace with them, so that the two vehicles are almost exactly parallel.

“What the hell is your problem?” Josh yells at the other driver, who does not even glance over. His truck, however, wanders closer and closer to their lane.

Brent hits the brakes hard to slow down, but the other driver does the same. And when Brent speeds up, the other guy does that, too. The truck drifts over the dividing line, and the two vehicles’ wheels collide. Brent grips the steering wheel hard to stay on course.

One of the boys yells from the back seat, and the other one follows seconds later.

“Everything’s going to be fine,” Brent says, and then he tells Josh, “Get my badge.” Josh puts it out of the center console and holds it up for the other driver to see. All they get in response is another slam of the wheels.

“I’m pulling over,” Brent says, but when he brakes again, the truck comes at them with full-force, slamming its side right into the SUV. Brent loses control of his vehicle for a moment and, as he struggles to get it back on course and slow down, the truck rams them again.

Brent grips the wheel hard, trying to straighten out, but he cannot get the wavering wheels to stay within the boundaries of the road. All he can think about is doing something to protect the boys, but before he even knows what that would be, the SUV slams into the guardrail on the side of the highway.


Who targeted Brent’s vehicle?
Will Brent, Josh, and the twins be all right?
Can Sarah find peace with Graham?
How can Danielle and Ryan fix things between themselves?
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