Episode #537

- Sarah realized that her blissful ignorance about Graham’s secretiveness cannot last forever.
- After their unpleasant initial encounter, Lauren and Philip met once again when they realized they would be working together on Objection’s ad campaign.
- Claire went to Orlando to meet with Reginald Carter’s daughter, who revealed that her father seemed to take orders from a woman named Loretta.
- A truck forced Brent’s vehicle, carrying him, Josh, and the twins, off the road and into the guardrail.


No matter where she goes or how she moves, Molly Taylor feels as though she is trapped inside a plastic bag. The world around her seems muted, dull, and everything she touches, everything with which she comes into contact, feels just out of reach, as if sensation has become a thing of the past. Her breaths come short and hollow, barely adequate to keep her moving, never enough to fill her lungs and help her relax.

That is the last thing she needs, anyway. To relax. As much as she would like to brush all of this away, there is no turning from it. She crosses the hospital’s lobby and mechanically takes the elevator--she is forced to endure a man with slacks pulled up to his belly button, who stops the elevator on at least three different floors before finally getting off--up to where Danielle and Josh are waiting.

“Have you heard anything?” she asks as she rushes toward her sister- and brother-in-law.

Danielle and Josh trade a look. It is the worst look that Molly has ever seen, one that says, How much can we tell her without pushing her over the edge?

“Tell me everything,” she demands.

“Brent and Christian should be out in a few minutes,” Danielle says. “They just had scrapes and bruises. Brent’s prosthetic might need to be repaired--”

“What about Caleb?”

That look again. Molly is about to snap when Josh speaks:

“He was unconscious.”

She knew it. She knew that she was going to arrive to hear something like that. She barely even said goodbye to the boys this morning, just stooped down to give them the most cursory of kisses as she ran out the door ten minutes late-- “What have the doctors said?” her brain spits out via her mouth.

“Not much yet.” Josh touches a hand to his chest and shoulder, no doubt a spot where he is experiencing pain.

“We’re waiting for more information,” Danielle says.

“What even happened?” Molly asks, as though the information might somehow reveal the key to making Caleb all better in an instant.

“This truck,” Josh says, “was tailing us really hard, and Brent kept speeding up to get away and slowing down to let it pass, but the guy would not get off us. Then he pulled next to us and was, like, trying to ram us off the road.”

“And it worked.”

“Into the guardrail. Brent turned the wheel really hard--trying to keep us from hitting head-on, I guess. He and Caleb got more of it on the driver’s side.”

“Has Caleb been unconscious the whole time? Since the crash?”

Josh’s tightly held lips and dip of the head tell Molly all that she needs to know.

“Do you need anything?” Danielle asks. “Water? Something to eat?”


Molly does not know what to say or do. The chairs and magazines taunt her with their pedestrian nature. Is she supposed to sit and calmly read about Jessica Simpson’s unflattering choice of high-waisted jeans while her little boy is somewhere back there, unconscious?

She doesn’t have to worry about passing the time, because the doors open and Brent enters the waiting area. With Christian beside him, holding his hand.

“Thank God you’re okay,” she says, swooping down to Christian. She holds him close against her body; the only thing that could make this better is if there were two of them.

“He’s going to have a pretty nasty bruise from the seatbelt, but he’ll be fine,” Brent says.

Molly, still on her knees, looks up at her husband. She is so happy to see him moving and talking, so relieved to know that he is as she remembered him. And yet, there is something in that eye contact, something that passes between them, that she suspected might happen. As much as she tries to suppress it, there it is: an accusation.

“I don’t understand why this happened,” she says plainly.

Brent does not answer.


The generic, midsize sedan pauses at a stop sign. The vehicle in front of it, a high-end model, turns into a parking lot. The midsize hesitates at the stop sign for several seconds before following the luxury car into the lot.

Sarah Gray parks her rental car toward the back of the lot, in a nondescript location near a few other vehicles. She is almost entirely certain that the driver of the other car has no idea that he is being followed--which is fortunate, because if Graham Colville were to find out what she is doing, he would be incensed.

And that is exactly why Sarah has to do this. Graham has been so secretive about his life. She wanted to believe that it does not matter, that their relationship is not serious enough to warrant full disclosure, but now she admits that was idealistic at best and stupid at worst. If she can open up about her life to him, he can share his with her. Except he won’t. There is something that he is keeping from her.

She watches Graham’s car, waiting for him to step out, but seconds and minutes pass. He never does. Sarah wonders if he suspects that someone is following him… Does that mean he is accustomed to being followed? And what does that say about his life?

She brushes the thoughts aside, for the time being. Graham does not emerge from the car. She tries to get a better look at what he is doing, but all her binoculars reveal is that he is sitting in the driver’s seat, very still, staring at the building in front of him.

It is a building that Sarah knows well. She was surprised when Graham first turned into this apartment complex, but plenty of people live here, people she does not know… but someone whom Graham knows. Is he waiting for someone?

Her cell phone vibrates in her pocket. She sets down the binoculars and checks the screen: Tim.

“Hey,” she answers. “What’s--”

“I’m on my way to the hospital,” her brother says. “There’s been an accident.”


In the lobby of the opulent hotel, Lauren Brooks waits. It has been over ten minutes since the time they were supposed to meet, and she cannot shake the thought that she is being stood up. Although that makes no sense, because Philip Ragan needs what she has for him… She contemplates calling his cell, but she doesn’t want to come off too neurotic. Even if she knows that she is.

Finally, on what must be the thousandth opening of the elevator doors since Lauren arrived, Philip emerges. He looks relaxed and confident in a black cashmere sweater and designer jeans.

“Oh, you’re here already,” he says by way of greeting Lauren.

“Yes, I’m here. Have been for…” She checks the time on her phone. “Twelve minutes now.”

“Is that supposed to be your roundabout way of insulting me? Or lashing out at me for being later than you’d have liked?”

“Not later. Just late.”

Philip smirks at her, that same annoying bunching of his mouth that she has noticed in both of their previous encounters. Does nothing faze this man?

“Here’s your check,” she says, pulling it from her purse. “I’m sorry about the shirt.” I’m also sorry you think it’s necessary to spend that much on a white dress shirt, she thinks.

“Much appreciated.” He folds the check and places it in his pants pocket.

She notices him watching her, a little too closely for comfort. If he weren’t so damn handsome, she would be genuinely unnerved. As it is, she suspects that he is dreaming up some new way to make fun of her.

“I should get going,” she says. “I guess I’ll see you in that meeting next week.”

Philip nods. “Thank you for the check.”

Lauren turns to go, but she barely makes it three steps before she hears her name.


She pauses. Philip is still standing in the same spot, watching her.

“I was hoping that you might like to see me before that meeting,” he says. “Saturday night, perhaps? For dinner?”

She does not know how to respond. This has to be another joke, right? Or is he actually asking her out? No, definitely a joke.

“Very funny,” she says, trying her hardest not to seem thrown by his antics.

“I’m serious. Would you like to have dinner on Saturday?”

“Um…” It occurs to her that he might be waiting for to accept before he laughs in her face and declares that he can’t believe she fell for it. Or… he might actually be genuine.

“Sure,” she says. “I’d like that.” Maybe.

“I’ll give you a call to work out the specifics,” he says. “Have a good afternoon.”

“Thanks. You, uh, you, too.” Not knowing what else to do, she bustles for the hotel’s exit. But she has to turn back once more, confused by what just occurred. Of course, Philip stands near the elevator, waiting, and catches her backward glance.

She holds herself together long enough to make it outside before a smile breaks out over her face.


“That guy--he was insane,” Brent says as he approaches his wife. “I don’t know why he was so determined to force us off the road.”

Molly remains tight-lipped. She has an idea or two. Now, however, is not the time.

“I’m just glad the two of you are okay,” she says, holding Christian tightly.

“Caleb is going to be fine, too,” Brent says. For the first time, Molly notices that, in addition to the red marks on his face, his eyes are puffy and pink from crying.

She does not respond--does not want to tempt fate. She continues to hold onto her son as Tim enters the waiting area.

“Thank God,” he says, giving Brent a hearty handshake and then hug. Only then does he notice the absence of one twin. “Is he--”

Brent interrupts, “They’re looking at him right now. Nothing to get too worried about just yet.”

Molly wants to share his confidence. This is how Brent is, how he has been for as long as she has known him: he decides what the outcome is going to be and then makes it so. As much as she wishes that he could do that now, though, she fears that it might be out of their hands.

No. She can’t think like that. They don’t know anything yet.

While Brent and Josh recap the accident for Tim, Molly leads Christian over to a chair. She goes through the routine of asking if he wants a snack or some juice, though she suspects that all he really wants is a long nap. He is about to let her go get him some apple juice when someone else hurries into the waiting area: Claire, pulling a rolling suitcase behind her.

“I was on a plane when you called,” she says to Tim. “I got your message when we landed and came straight from the airport.”

“You were out of town?” Tim asks her.

“I flew to Orlando to take care of something.”

Molly notices it immediately: the look that passes between Claire and Brent as soon as Claire mentions Orlando. Molly has a good idea what it means, too.

“You went to Orlando?” Brent asks quietly. The way he says it, he sounds hurt, like the trip was a personal violation of trust between him and Claire.

“I talked to Aimee Garmyn,” she says, keeping her voice low. At least she has the sense to know how inappropriate this is. “I know who it is--the person who’s behind all of this.”

Brent and Tim hang on her words, awaiting an answer, but Molly has to intercede.

“Don’t you think that might be connected to this?” she asks, stepping away from Christian so as not to draw him into this. “Claire runs around asking questions again, and suddenly a lunatic forces your car off the road?”

Their faces drop.

Brent, however, quickly springs to his own defense: “There are a million different reasons that truck could’ve done this. I’ve put a lot of people behind bars. If someone got out, wanted revenge--”

“Claire got shot because of this! Doesn’t that tell you what these people are willing to do--”

Another arrival silences her. This time, it is a middle-aged woman with corkscrew hair and a doctor’s coat. Brent, Danielle, and Josh seem to recognize her.

“How is he?” Brent asks.

“He’s awake,” the doctor says, “but he’s very groggy. At best, he has a severe concussion.”

“And at worst?” Molly asks. “I’m his mother…”

“We’d like to do an MRI. We won’t know anything further until that’s done.”

Molly does not want to imagine her young son undergoing an MRI, pushed into that tight tunnel. He still gets scared going down the closed tube slide at the playground.

“Can we see him?” she asks. The doctor nods, and Molly falls into step behind her. Brent follows suit.


After Molly and Brent follow the doctor to visit Caleb, the others fan out over the waiting area. Paula and Bill arrive, and Tim talks with them; Claire sits quietly, too nervous to do anything but wait. Danielle and Josh take Christian to the cafeteria, and when they return, Sarah has also come to join the family.

Danielle pushes two chairs together so that Christian can lie down. As she steps away from her nephew, Sarah approaches her.

“Scary, isn’t it?” Sarah says.

Already weary from the day’s events, Danielle nods. “You never know what could happen, no matter how careful you are…”

“Being careful is a good start, though.”

After an uncomfortable bout of silence, Danielle asks, “How’s Tori?”

“She’s good.” Sarah decides to cut to the chase. “Are you sure you know what you’re doing? With Ryan?”

“I don’t see how that’s your business.”

“He’s my brother.”

“And from what I can tell, you’re doing a terrific job of offering him support as a sister.”

Sarah cannot believe what she is hearing. Does Danielle have amnesia? “Can you blame any of us, after--”

“We’re all well aware of what happened, Sarah. That was almost two years ago. A lot has happened since.”

“Yeah. You lost your common sense…”


“Diane told me about your little warning,” Sarah says. “If you have to go around asking people not to give your boyfriend alcohol--”

“Ryan can handle himself. I was trying to look out for him, that’s all.”

“And why do you need to do that?” Sarah does not allow Danielle the chance to answer. “Because he’s a loose cannon. Claire learned that the hard way--we all did.”

Danielle takes a step back and folds her arms, evaluating Sarah with a smug expression that is all too familiar: it reminds Sarah of Molly.

“That’s pretty funny, coming from you,” Danielle says. “The original loose-cannon Fisher.”

“Ryan and I are not even close to being the same.”

Their rising voices catch the attention of the others, who surround them.

“What’s going on?” Josh asks.

Danielle steps away. “Nothing. Sarah was trying to offer me some advice. I let her know it was unnecessary. That’s all.”

Danielle sits down beside Christian, and Sarah halfheartedly indulges her parents’ attempts at small talk. But she is too distracted by her argument with Danielle to grant Paula and Bill much attention. Whatever happened to Danielle between the time she left King’s Bay years ago and the time she returned, it certainly did a number on her.


After Sarah and Danielle separate, Tim finds himself standing beside Claire. Things have been anything but comfortable between them in recent months, but he decides to play it cool and hope for the best.

“That was… fun,” Tim says after Sarah and Danielle are separated.

“Everyone’s on edge,” Claire says. “Understandably.”

“Very understandably.” As much as he does not want to turn this into a lecture, does not want to scold her, the transition is too easy. “Running off all by yourself to interview dangerous people? Claire, that’s not you. It’s--”


“I was going to say crazy.”

“What’s crazy is how little you care,” she says. “You’re the one who was kidnapped! Aren’t you interested in finding out why?”

Tim has asked himself the same question too many times. He gives Claire the answer that he gives that voice in its head when it gets too loud for its own good: “We know why. Nick wanted to keep me from telling anyone about what I’d heard on the pier, and as a bonus, it would help Ryan.”

“But someone helped him do it. Someone who’s still out there.”

“So? That person was all set to leave us alone until you and Brent started digging.” He really did not want this to turn into an argument, and now he regrets having started the conversation at all.

“I started doing this for us,” she says. “You, me, Travis. We all needed answers, and we needed to know that we would be safe. I don’t understand why that doesn’t matter to you.”

“It does matter! That’s why I think we should butt out of it.”

A set of swinging doors open, and Molly and Brent step out, almost right into Tim and Claire’s conversation. They clam up, waiting for news on Caleb.

“They’re doing the MRI now,” Molly says. “It will be a while before we know anything.”

Brent leads her over to a chair near where Christian is lying down. Claire waits until they have moved away to resume her discussion with Tim.

“We’re so close to finding this person, whoever she is,” Claire says.

“She?” Brent’s voice cuts into the conversation.

Claire hesitates. “I’ll tell you later.”

But he persists. “You found something out? It’s a woman?”

A nod is the only confirmation that she will offer. Brent joins her and Tim.

“Tell me,” he says. “This person--if she’s the one who did this to Caleb--”

You are the ones who did this to Caleb,” Molly says, shooting to her feet. The rest of the waiting room takes notice. “The two of you--you are obsessed with this! Claire gets shot, and you keep going. You and our boys and Josh could have been killed, and you still want to keep going. When does it end?”

Tim puts his arm around his sister’s shoulders. “Mol…”

She doesn’t shrug him away, but she bristles at the touch, anyway. “You know what I’m saying, Tim. This obsession, it’s going to get all of us killed.”

“That’s what we’re trying to prevent.” Brent is working very hard to keep his tone even.

“No! You’re walking right into it!” Molly shakes her head at Brent and then at Claire. “I swear to God, if Caleb isn’t okay--”

“He’s going to be fine,” Brent says.

“We don’t know that.” Molly falls quiet, too stunned by the possibility of Caleb not being okay.

“Let’s go sit down,” Tim says, ushering his sister back to her chair and her other son. He sits with her, hoping to calm her, but hoping even more that Claire and Brent will understand, finally, that this has to end.


Should Brent and Claire be blamed for the accident?
Why was Sarah so aggressive with Danielle?
Are Lauren and Philip suited for one another?
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