Episode #538

- Alex agreed to Seth’s request that they bring a third partner--a female--into their sex life.
- Philip surprised Lauren by asking her on a date. She accepted.
- Needing answers about Graham, Sarah tailed him to a familiar apartment building, where he never got out of the car.
- Danielle and Sarah faced off over Ryan.
- Brent’s car was forced off the road with him, Josh, and the twins inside. Caleb suffered a head injury and had to undergo an MRI, while Molly lashed out at Brent and Claire for continuing to pursue their dangerous investigation.


The Killers’ latest album fills the car, courtesy of Seth Ashby’s iPod. Good thing, too, because if not for the music, the vehicle would be overcome by tense silence.

“You sure you’re okay?” Seth asks his passenger, who stares blankly out the window at the darkening sky.

Alex Marshall shakes himself out of his thoughts. “Yeah. I’m fine. I’m actually great.”

“You look like you’re great,” Seth says sarcastically.

Alex tries his hardest to adjust his expression and his posture accordingly. He doesn’t want Seth to think that he is second-guessing the decision to go through with this. He knows what a big deal this is to Seth--Alex can only imagine how long it took him to ask for a threesome with a the two of them and a woman--and he promised that he would give it a shot. He keeps his promises.

“Alex, if you’re nervous...”

“I’m not!” Alex turns in his seat, facing Seth for the first time during the ride. “A little awkward, sure. This feels so clinical, the two of us driving over like we have an appointment.”

“Okay, I feel you on that part. It’s like, ‘Are you here for the 8 o’clock? Strip down and someone will be with you in a minute.’”

“‘Please fill out this mound of paperwork.'"

"'Put on this gown so that someone can rip it off you. Maybe with their teeth.'"

"'And here’s a cup to pee in.’”

Seth is about to continue the game but freezes. "Wait. Why is someone pissing in a cup for a threesome?”

“I... don’t know.”

Alex can’t help but break into laughter, and as he and Seth crack up together, he feels himself starting to relax. Howling with laughter, he forgets, at least for a few seconds, all about what they are going to do.

“Oh my God, that’s hilarious,” he says as he catches his breath.

Seth guides the car to a parking spot beside a curb. It is a nice neighborhood, normal and suburban, the sort of place one might go for a weekend barbeque. Alex still isn’t sure how he got himself into this, but right now, he feels comfortable with Seth, and that might be reason enough to go through with it.

They step out of the car and approach the front door of a one-story, blue house. Alex walks a few steps behind Seth, and for some reason, the sight of Seth’s form catches him off-guard. He has grown accustomed to Seth’s body in recent months, but the sight of his lean but muscular upper body, covered only in a sweatshirt, is an enormous turn-on. Suddenly Alex finds himself looking forward to this.

Seth knocks, and an instant later, the door flies open--and all of Alex’s mental preparation swan-dives out the window.



Hours have passed since the doctor’s announcement that Caleb would need an MRI. The boy’s parents have remained in the waiting area the entire time, aside from trips to the bathroom and individual journeys to the cafeteria, which produced food that now sits, half-eaten, on one of the small tables nearby. Danielle took Christian home some time ago, and Molly insisted that everyone else leave and await phone calls. She simply could not handle having everyone here when she needs to focus squarely on Caleb.

“Can I get you anything?” Brent asks from several chairs over.

Molly shakes her head.

He stands and picks up the cafeteria trays. “I’ll get rid of these, unless you want to keep eating...”

“No. I’m finished. Thanks.”

She hears how snippy her words sound. She does not mean for them to come out that way, but short, efficient statements are all she has energy for right now. And she fears how she might act toward Brent if she offered him more than basic responses. She is trying not to dwell on the probable reason why Caleb wound up in the hospital in the first place: because of Brent and Claire’s insistence on pursuing this investigation, come hell or high water.

Realizing that she is once again descending into that mental abyss, Molly pulls out her Blackberry and reviews her work e-mails. There were several that she read earlier but did not have the focus to answer. Now she sets about doing that, and she finds that, exhausted and distracted as she is, the purposeful activity helps somewhat.

When the doors swing open and someone steps into the waiting area, Molly’s attention immediately shoots toward the person. This time, it turns out to be Caleb’s doctor.

“Dr. Burgess,” she says, scrambling to her feet, the Blackberry already forgotten. “Did you get the results yet?”

“That’s what I came to discuss with you,” Dr. Burgess says.

Molly’s chest tightens. “What were they? What did the MRI show?”

Brent hovers beside her as they wait for the doctor’s response.


“That is weird,” Diane Bishop says as she reaches for the cheese and crackers on the kitchen counter.

Sarah Fisher nods in agreement. “I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that he was at that particular apartment building, but it made the whole thing hit close to home, you know?” Despite having brought Graham Colville to her family’s Christmas celebration, her entire relationship with him feels strangely isolated from the rest of her life. She wanted to believe that it could stay that way--that it could be an oasis for her, a step away from her real life. But it is now abundantly clear that she has been living in a dream world.

“I’m having some records pulled,” she says. “Typical background check stuff. Court documents, anything that might be a red flag. Everything that’s happening with Brent and Claire has made me realize how important it is to be safe. I have to be proactive.”

“If I were a better person, I’d tell you it’s a bad idea to dig behind someone’s back like that.”

“Well, he hasn’t wanted to answer when I ask him questions, so... It can’t hurt.”

Diane levels a knowing stare at Sarah, who cracks under it.

“Okay, fine. Maybe this is going to open a can of worms,” she admits. “But what am I supposed to do? Sit back and wait for something awful to jump out of the bushes?”

“Or... I don’t know... get the hell out of dodge while you can? No one’s forcing you to be with this guy. You aren’t married to him.”

“I know, but it’s...” Sarah munches on a cracker while she tries to wrangle her thoughts--or, even more daunting, her feelings. “I enjoy my time with Graham. There’s no pressure. And having someone is not the worst thing in the world right now.”

“You’ve got me. And Tori. And your family, charming as they always are.”

“You know what I mean,” Sarah says. “It’s a precaution. If anything horrible turns up, I’m out of there. If not, I can enjoy whatever we have going without worrying.”

“I’m going to trust you on this. For now,” Diane says. “But you’d better hope all that’s in that can is worms.”

“I’ve got it under control. Oh, you’ll love this. Guess who I had a nice little conversation with at the hospital?”

“I’m going to guess that the answer is not Graham.”

“Danielle.” Sarah sits back and watches Diane’s face transform with irritation. “I tried to talk to her about Ryan, how maybe it’s not such a good idea to appoint herself as his caretaker--”

“I’m sure that went well.”

“She had the nerve to tell me that it was none of my business, because I’ve been a crappy sister to him.”

Diane snaps a cracker in half. “God. I think I officially like Ryan more than that woman.”

“No kidding. It’s like she’s campaigning to be crowned Most Sanctimonious Bitch 2009.”

“You know what she needs?” Diane asks, though it isn’t much of a question at all, as she clearly has an answer in mind.

“Do I want to know?”

“A lesson. I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but she needs to be taught a lesson.”

“Maybe we could just avoid her,” Sarah says.

Diane sneers. Clearly that option is not entertaining enough for her. “I’ll find a way to make it happen. You just sit back and enjoy the show.”


“Who wants a refill?” Sabrina asks, picking her empty wine glass up off the table.

“Me,” Alex says. He hastily hands over his almost-empty glass. Getting drunk might not be the ideal solution, but it might do the trick.

Sabrina disappears into the kitchen with all three glasses. Alone with Seth for the first time since they arrived, Alex turns and fires a wide-eyed look at him.

“What?” Seth asks.

What?” Alex tries to keep his voice quiet, so the whisper comes across as a hiss. “You couldn’t have found someone who we didn’t already know?!”

“It’s a lot less sketchy than posting an ad on the internet.”

Alex sees his logic, and still, the whole thing seems insane. Even disregarding all of Courtney’s suspicions about Sabrina, the woman is Seth’s coworker. They work for Alex’s best friend. It’s too much.

“It’s just weird,” Alex says. He stops short of declaring that he can’t do this, because he doesn’t know if that is true.

“Everything okay?” Sabrina says as she returns with three delicately balanced wine glasses. Seth and Alex jump up to take their glasses from her.

“Everything is fine,” Seth says. He reaches out a hand to touch Alex’s hair. Alex is very self-conscious about the contact in front of someone else; it feels less like an affectionate gesture and more like the beginnings of foreplay.

Sure enough, Seth’s hand moves down to Alex’s face, first his cheek and then his mouth. He drags his thumb over Alex’s lips.

“Kiss him,” Sabrina says. “Make out.”

Alex swallows hard, embarrassed by the attention, as Seth leans toward him. They kiss as they have kissed probably hundreds of times by now, a soft meeting of their mouths that quickly escalates into a rhythmic dance of lips and tongues. Seth’s hand drifts to Alex’s shoulder, to his chest. Alex’s eyes open a sliver, enough to slide over and notice that Sabrina’s attention is fixed firmly upon them.

“My turn,” she says. Alex and Seth part, and she looks to Alex. “If that’s okay with you.”

He supposes that it has to be. “That’s what we’re here for, right?”

Sabrina settles on the couch, on Seth’s other side. They come together more slowly than he and Alex did, and somehow, that offers Alex reassurance that this is new for them. Seth has sworn to him that he never did anything with the woman in question, and their moment of hesitance seems to confirm that.

He watches Seth and Sabrina make out. He is sure that he has seen Seth kiss girls before, years ago, in college. He would see Seth making out at parties or with a girl in their dorm room and wonder why Seth needed them--why it couldn’t just be him. His train of thought is broken when Seth takes his hand. At first he offers a reassuring squeeze, which sends a current through Alex’s body; for all his bravado and almost marrying Miriam and needing to have sex with a woman, Seth still cares about Alex. 

And then Seth’s hand guides his... to Seth’s crotch.

“See how turned on I am?” Seth asks, breaking from his makeout with Sabrina for a split-second. “That’s ‘cause you’re here, doing this.”

Alex feels a surge of power in that realization. He rubs, the same as he always does, and soon Seth is pressing against his hand, grinding. Somehow, Seth manages to remove Sabrina’s shirt while they kiss. Her breasts look fantastic, pushed up by her bra, and Alex finds himself mesmerized. Not turned on, exactly, but fascinated.

Sabrina notices him staring. “Reconsidering your stance on breasts?”

Embarrassment floods Alex’s face with heat. “No, I just...” He doesn’t bother to finish the statement. Seth turns to him, and they resume making out. Seth reaches down and unzips Alex’s jeans. He feels a rush--bashful? Or is it arousal?--at the thought of being exposed in front of a third party.

“Take them off,” Sabrina says. The next thing he knows, a pair of unfamiliar hands tug at his jeans and his underwear simultaneously.

Alex pulls back. “Wait.”

Sabrina and Seth stare at him as if he just started speaking in tongues. Seeing them like that, having just felt Sabrina’s hands on him... something shifted. Something took shape, finally, after all this time.

“I don’t think I can do this,” he says, buttoning his jeans as he moves for the front door.


Courtney Chase and Lauren Brooks sit at a table against the wall. Courtney rocks Sophie’s stroller gently, afraid to stop even though her arm is going numb. The last thing she needs is a cranky baby waking up right now.

When Josh Taylor enters, he does not even bother ordering a coffee. He comes straight for them and drops into the empty chair.

“How’s Caleb?” Lauren asks.

“They’re doing the MRI now,” Josh says. He looks exhausted and battered, which is not much of a surprise after getting into a car accident earlier today.

“You didn’t have to come,” Courtney says. “We could have done this another day.”

He shakes his head. “Brent and Molly didn’t need everyone hanging around the hospital. It’s a good distraction while I wait to hear how he’s doing.”

“How about you? Are you okay?” Lauren asks. Courtney notices how intent Lauren is upon Josh--especially considering how much she claims that he annoys her.

“I’m fine. I got a little banged up, nothing too bad.” He shakes his head again, as if trying to be rid of those thoughts entirely. “What’s so urgent that you guys needed to see me?”

Lauren defers to Courtney, who is all too happy to take the lead. “It’s about Sabrina,” she says. “We need you to get close to her again.”

“No way. That bitch is a lunatic.”

“That’s what I’m trying to prove,” Courtney says. “You’re the only one who can get that close to her. She doesn’t trust either of us, and Jason refuses to believe what a nut she is.”

“Jason’s an idiot,” Josh says.

Courtney tries not to get snagged on the comment. Chastising Josh will not get her anywhere right now... and, with regards to this particular situation, she kind of agrees with him.

Lauren jumps in: “We need you to ask her about Courtney. Get her talking. See if she’ll open up to you a little bit. She’s up to something, the way she’s trying to play Court and Jason against each other.”

“Look, I don’t disagree that she’s mental,” Josh says, “but do you think you’re reading into this because of that other crazy bitch you guys had to deal with?”

“I’m not saying she’s a homicidal maniac like Shannon,” Courtney says, “but I get the same vibes from her. All I want to do is prove it to Jason so that we can be rid of her once and for all.” She switches arms to continue the stroller-rocking. “I have more important things in my life now.”

“I don’t even know if I can get to her now,” Josh says. “We had a pretty bad blow-up the last time I saw her.”

“Just try. Please?” Lauren says.

Courtney notices something shift in Josh, as if a plea coming from Lauren carries more weight than one from anyone else. She makes a mental note to ask Lauren why they don’t just get back together already... and then one more tactic occurs to her.

“Lauren, don’t you have to get ready?” she asks, checking her watch.

Lauren’s confusion is apparent. “For what?”

“Your date! With that photographer.”

Taking the bait, Lauren says, “That’s on Saturday.” She lowers her voice, embarrassed, probably because Josh is sitting right there.

“You’re going out with that Philip douche?” Josh asks.

“Oh, that’s awkward,” Courtney says, relishing the chance to play dumb. “I shouldn’t have mentioned it.”

“No, it’s fine,” Lauren says. She turns to Josh. “And yes, he asked me out.”

Courtney waits anxiously for Josh’s response--and when it finally comes, it is just what she hoped it would be.

“I’ll go over to Sabrina’s and see if I can get her to talk,” he says. “I’ll let you guys know.”

“Thanks, Josh,” they say almost-but-not-quite in tandem.

He is already on his feet and ready to leave. They offer him their best wishes for Caleb, and then he is gone. As soon as the door closes behind him, Lauren turns to Courtney.

“Oh my God. Did you have to bring that up in front of him?” she asks.

“Sorry. It slipped my mind,” Courtney says, resisting the urge to ask why Lauren is even bothering to go out with Philip at all.


Seth follows Alex outside. The night has settled over King’s Bay, wiping away the slight spring warmth. Alex folds his arms across his body.

“Did I do something wrong?” Seth asks. “Or was it Sabrina touching you? I can--”

“No. It’s not anything like that. I just can’t do this.”

“You seemed like you were getting into it.”

“I was.” Alex pauses, stricken by the fear that he is overreacting. That fear passes. “Not because there’s anything wrong with it, or because I’m uncomfortable being with a woman. I just... I shouldn’t have to keep talking myself into it.”

Seth’s disappointment is apparent, but when he speaks, his words don’t reflect it. “If you don’t want to--”

“I don’t,” Alex says, “but you do. And that’s fine. We want different things. We always have. We always will.”

Seth’s brow draws up and wrinkles, his first realization that this is about more than today or this particular incident. As Alex tries to find his words, words that he knows are inside him, he studies Seth. Sandy blond hair, slightly pouty lips, something more masculine than the lanky soccer player Alex knew in college. Seth has grown into himself, there is no denying that. But all Alex sees is a grown-up version of the 18-year-old whom he thought he was in love with before he ever knew what love was. What love is. It exists, it’s real and tangible. He has had it. This is not it.

“This was supposed to be a fulfillment of a fantasy,” Alex says. “But that fantasy, for me... it isn’t a good one. It’s the same fantasy I’ve had since we were 18--that no matter how into women you are, you’re into me, too. I guess that’s always fascinated me.”

“I am into you.” It sounds like pleading.

“I know.” Alex turns and takes in the night sky. There is a world full of possibilities out there. He cannot keep dwelling on the same ones that captivated him when he was merely a kid.

“You go back inside,” he says. “I’ll call a cab.”

“I can drive you home.”

“No. It’s better this way. Tell Sabrina I’m sorry, I just... can’t.” He takes Seth’s hand and squeezes it.

“Are you mad that I wanted to do this?” Seth asks.

Alex lets his hand go. “Not mad. Just seeing things clearly for the first time.”

He walks down the cement path to the sidewalk and pulls out his cell phone. If it weren’t so far, he would walk home. As it is, he takes out his cell phone and turns down the sidewalk. He’ll go a little bit of the way before he calls that cab.

Behind him, he hears the door open and then close. He doesn’t look back.


“Thank goodness he’s okay,” Molly says as she and Brent step out of the hospital room where their son is now sleeping.

“As I said, we’ll keep him overnight to be certain that it isn’t a more severe injury,” Dr. Burgess says, “but I’m optimistic.”

They thank her, and she ventures down the hall, on to other patients. Molly leans against the wall and closes her eyes, relieved for the first time in what seems like ages.

Brent’s fingers curl around her hand. Without intending to, without even processing the thought, Molly stiffens up. She has to resist the urge to pull away.

“Do you want to go home and get some things?” Brent asks. “Then we can come back here and camp for the night.” She can tell that he is trying not to acknowledge the tension between them, to dissolve it by acting as if things are perfectly normal.

“I’ll stay here,” she says. “You don’t have to.”


She does not know how to say what she feels. It seems blasphemous, after all that she and Brent went through to be together, after they have built an entire life for themselves.

She forces the words out: “I don’t want you to stay.”

“He’s my son, too.”

“Yet you have no issue putting him and Christian in harm’s way,” she says. “Over and over.”

Brent’s jaw tightens. “That is not true. How many times can I... I am doing this for them. For you and me and the boys, so that we can be safe--”

“We aren’t safe! Because of this never-ending mission. The boys could have been killed today. Put yourself in danger all you want, but not my sons.”

“You’re overemotional,” he says. “You need some rest.”

She yanks her hand away from him. “I think you should go home and pack some of your things.”

He hesitates. “Now you do want me to stay here? Molly, you’re not--”

“I think you need to find someplace else to stay,” she says, unable to believe the words coming from her mouth. “For a little while, until we figure this out... If you want, you can stay at the house and I’ll take the boys to my parents, but--”

“You have to be kidding.”

She does not respond.

“Only for a few days,” he says, backing away from her. “I’m doing this for all of us.”

All Molly can say is, “I’ll let you know how Caleb is doing.”

As she watches Brent hesitantly walk away, she cannot believe that their lives have really come to this.


Josh strides purposefully from his car to Sabrina’s front door. He’ll be damned if he’s going to let Lauren think of him as some useless pussy. Especially not when she’s going out with that jackass photographer.

He knocks hard on the door and reminds himself to hold it together. Sabrina isn’t supposed to know that he is here strictly on a mission. He prepares himself to suck it up and deal with her lunacy, at least long enough to get some answers about why she hates Courtney so much.

He hears footsteps approach the door, and then nothing happens for a few seconds--presumably while Sabrina checks him out through the peephole. Finally the door unlocks and opens.

“I did not expect to see you,” she says.

“Uh...” Josh is surprised to find her wearing an oversized t-shirt and, if he had to guess, nothing else. “Sorry to drop by like this. I was just thinking about the last time I saw you.”

“What about it?”

“I didn’t like the way things ended.” He hates doing this. He wonders if she is going to stab him in his sleep or something. Making a mental note not to fall asleep in her presence, he adds, “Can we... I don’t know... talk?”

“I have someone over,” she says, opening the door wider. Josh is even more surprised to discover that guy Alex Marshall is dating, kneeling on the couch in only boxers.

Josh lifts a hand in a weak, confused wave. “Uh, hey.”


Josh’s gaze drifts over the room. There are clothes on the floor and on the back of the couch... and yet, neither of them seems particularly upset about being caught like this. And then he sees something else on the couch, something he is pretty sure he has never seen in person before.

“Is that a...”

“Strap-on? Yeah.” Sabrina grins wickedly. Seth scrambles to cover the item.

Josh isn’t used to being flustered like this, and he doesn’t like it. “I can come back later.”

“All right. Unless you want to join us.” Sabrina raises her eyebrows suggestively,

“I’ll give you a call,” he says, beating a hasty retreat. “Um... have fun.”


What will Josh do with this latest knowledge about Sabrina?
Is Molly being too harsh toward Brent?
Is Diane’s plan going to blow up in her face?
Discuss this episode with others in the Footprints Forum!

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