Episode #542

- Caleb was injured when another vehicle ran Brent’s car off the road. Molly suspected that it had to do with Brent’s Clayton investigation and demanded that he drop the case. When he refused, Molly ordered him to move out of their house. Brent agreed to stay with Josh for a time.
- Josh informed Jason, Courtney, and Lauren that he caught Seth and Sabrina together in a very intimate situation.
- Sarah revealed to Jason her discovery that Graham is Alex’s biological father. She asked him not to say anything yet. Meanwhile, Graham worked up the nerve to visit Alex, but he was met with a chilly reception.


When Jason Fisher arrives for another week of work, he carries the weight of a weekend of revelations. He still has not spoken to Alex Marshall since his sister shared her discovery that Graham Colville is Alex’s biological father... and he has no idea how he is going to face Alex anytime soon. He promised Sarah that he wouldn’t say anything, but keeping something so important from Alex seems wrong. He can’t even tell Courtney what is going on, because he knows that she will encourage him to tell Alex.

He is so consumed by this dilemma that, as he enters the office, he forgets that he is walking right into another messy situation.

“Good morning,” Sabrina Gage says from her desk, where she is busy removing staples and tossing papers into the recycling bin. “Did you have a nice weekend?”

All Jason can see when he looks at her is the image that Josh described: Sabrina and Seth, more or less naked, with a strap-on very obviously part of their activities. “Um, it wasn’t the most relaxing,” he manages.

When Seth Ashby emerges from the small side room where they keep the copier, he spots Jason and visibly slows down. “Hey, Jason.”

“Hey.” Jason wonders what Seth is thinking. Judging by his body language, it’s something along the lines of, What did Alex tell him about the break-up? Jason has no idea how he is going to spend this entire day--and the next, and the one after that--mired in this awkwardness. He sets his things down at his desk and then makes a decision.

“I just want you to know,” he says to Seth, “that Alex told me you guys split up. And you don’t have anything to worry about, job-wise or anything. This is totally separate from that.”

Seth offers a grateful smile. “Thanks.”

Jason sees the look that passes between Seth and Sabrina, a look that questions how much Jason really knows. He takes a big gulp of air, hoping that it will somehow steady his nerves, and then spits out another declaration. “Alex told me about... the situation, too. I want both of you to know that it’s really none of my business, so you’re free to do whatever you like in your free time. You don’t have to hide anything from me. I just want to get it out there so it’s acknowledged, and now we can move on.”

Again, Seth’s relief is apparent, but Sabrina’s reaction surprises Jason.

“It’s not how it seems,” she says.

“Sabrina, like I said, it isn’t really--”

“No. I’m not--it isn’t anything serious. We’re not...” She gestures wildly between herself and Seth, as if to indicate the wide space separating them. Suddenly she seems to be on the verge of tears.

“He said it’s no big deal,” Seth says. “Why don’t we just--”

“Shut up!” Sabrina yells. “It’s nothing! It was stupid. A one-time mistake.” As tears burst from her eyes, she blows out of the room.

Jason and Seth watch her go, neither of them with any clue how to react.


It is barely 8 a.m., but the precinct buzzes with all the energy of a busy afternoon. Molly Taylor makes her way through the makeshift maze of desks and half-walls, greeting familiar faces as she goes. She wonders if they know what is going on between her and Brent, if they are wondering why she is here and how she could put Brent through this. Increasing her pace, she soon arrives at his office.

Although the door is open, she still feels the need to knock. Brent, huddled over a mound of paperwork at his desk, looks up.

“Hey,” he says, the awkwardness between them thick and suffocating like quicksand.

“I have your contacts.” She removes the two slim boxes from her purse. “I brought all of them...” Just in case? She didn’t even realize the implication until now.

“Thank you.” Brent stands and comes out from behind the desk to take the contact lenses from her. “Sorry I forgot to bring these with me. I didn’t know that it’d be so long.”

Molly does not know how to respond to that. She had no idea it would be more than a day or two, either. She expected that they would spend a few nights apart, cooler heads would prevail, and it would be the breakthrough that they have so desperately needed to get back to normal.

“You didn’t have to bring these,” Brent says. “I could’ve swung by the house this afternoon...”

“I don’t mind. I know you’re busy.” She adjusts her purse on her shoulder, too self-conscious to stand still. “Danielle said you had fun with the boys yesterday at the park.”

“It was nice.”

The only question either of them truly cares about hovers in the air like poison gas. Part of Molly--a big part--wants to bolt from the office before she chokes on it, but she also knows that it will follow her. Tonight, when she is lying in bed, all she will be able to do is think about Brent’s empty spot beside her.

Brent breaks the silence. “This can’t go on forever.”

“I know.”

“How are you feeling?” he asks, each word carefully considered before he speaks it. “Do you think... has anything changed?”

If he is asking if she wants him back in the house, of course the answer is yes. A thousand times over. But that would put them right back where they were before.

A knock on the door mercifully interrupts the charged moment. A young officer, one whom Molly has never met before, stands at the door with a few sheets of paper in hand.

“Commander, I have those listings you were looking for,” he says as he hands Brent the papers. “Every woman in New Jersey and New York with the name of Lor--”

“Thanks,” Brent says, doing his best to cut the officer off, but not quickly enough. The guilt marked all over his face tells Molly everything that she needs to know. The other officer, noticing that he has walked into a conversation that is more volatile than a Molotov cocktail, makes an abrupt exit.

“I guess I don’t need to ask you the same thing,” Molly says, “because clearly, not enough has changed.” She moves for the door.


She whips around. She wanted so badly to believe that something had shifted, that this turbulence in their relationship was about to pass. “I’m not going to tell you that you can’t keep searching for Clayton, or whoever you think is behind all this. You have every right to dig and dig until you find whatever you’re looking for. And I have every right to keep my distance from you.”

“How many times can I tell you that I’m doing this for us?”

“As many as you want. It doesn’t change anything.” She forces herself to walk out of the office. He might be her husband, but no matter what she would like to believe, this is not the man she married.


“I’ll go see if she’s okay,” Seth says.

Jason is about to let him, but the way Sabrina ran out, the last thing she seemed to want was to be alone with Seth. She is probably just embarrassed, and Jason figures that he should be the one to reassure her so that they can get on with their work.

“Let me talk to her,” he says. He exits the office and finds Sabrina at the end of the hallway, crouched down along the wall.

“Hey,” he says softly. It is enough to make her look at him. Tears stain her face.

“I’m not really like this,” she says, her voice cracking through the effort of trying to restrain her sobs.

He kneels beside her. “You don’t have to be embarrassed. What you do in your personal time--it’s none of my business. And I’m not going to judge you for it.”

“But that’s the thing. That’s not even who I am.” She wipes at her eyes. “I don’t sleep around.”

Jason doesn’t know how to respond to that. He meant what he said--it really is not any of his business. But if she is this concerned about him finding out about her personal life, maybe she shouldn’t keep sleeping with people connected to him and his friends.

“Like I said, it’s no big deal,” he tells her. “I won’t mention it again.”

Her hand darts out and grabs his sleeve. Reflexively, Jason pulls back.

“I’m serious,” she says. “I’m the kind of girl who... I just need one man. I want to be in love. And when I can’t have that, it hurts, and I-- God, I sound like an idiot.”

“No, you don’t.” He hopes that she will let go of his shirt.

“You have to believe me, Jason. This isn’t who I am.”

“I believe you,” he says, easing away from her and standing up again. “We don’t ever have to talk about this again, if you don’t want to.”

She nods gratefully and again wipes her brimming eyes. “I’m sorry for getting so overemotional. It’s just...”

“Don’t worry about it.” This is even more awkward than earlier. “Take a few minutes to calm down. If you need anything, let me know.”

“Thank you, Jason. You’re a good person. A really good person.”

He doesn’t know how to respond to that, so he mumbles a thank-you and heads back to the office.

“She okay?” Seth asks.

“She’ll be fine.” Jason goes about unpacking his things for the day, but he cannot get the memory of Sabrina’s desperate tears out of his mind. Whatever was going on out there, it definitely seemed much greater than run-of-the-mill embarrassment.


When Molly finally makes it to her office, fifteen minutes later than she expected and her mind clouded by her encounter with Brent, Philip Ragan is waiting for her. He sits in one of the guest chairs, fiddling with his Blackberry, as Molly rushes in.

“I’m so sorry,” she says, dropping her things onto the desk. “I had to make a stop on the way in, and I don’t usually come that way, and traffic gets so ugly in that direction--”

“Spare me the mundane details,” Philip says. His eyes linger on the Blackberry’s screen for a moment longer before settling on Molly. “Are you ready to go over the proofs?”

“Yes. Or I will be, in a second.”

Philip lifts the envelope from the edge of her desk, where it rests, and opens it up. Even in her harried state, Molly is excited to see the newest drafts of their upcoming ads. He removes them from the envelope while Molly moves around in a frenzy, starting the computer, double-checking her calendar for the day, and dropping her purse into the desk drawer.

“They used an interesting shadow on a few of these,” Philip says, “but I’m not sure how I feel about it. I like the concept, of course, but it might be inconsistent with what we’ve established in the first few ads.”

He holds up two of the proofs. Molly examines them and immediately notices the shadow of which he speaks. She thinks she likes it, but she tries to remember the other ads.

“I’m sorry, I’m so scatterbrained right now,” she says. “I need to look at the others to be able to compare.” She takes the book off her desk and consults the other pieces.

“Glad to see you’re so engaged with this,” Philip says.

It is a casual comment, quiet, almost muttered--except he never mutters, because he seems to have no problem making offensive quips in direct conversation--and Molly knows that she should brush it off. It comes from nowhere, just another of his obnoxious ego-driven assertions. But this time, with the rope already as frayed as it is, something inside her snaps.

She slams the book shut. “That is enough of the attitude. I realize that you’re serious about your work, but people have lives. And sometimes those lives fall apart, and a bunch of pictures of clothes and shadows don’t seem so important. Okay?”

He draws his head back, as if she just took a swing at him. If he so much as makes one more smartass comment--

“What’s the matter?” he asks.

The surprise that strikes Molly is powerful, overwhelming. She is so thrown that she almost spits out the entire story, but he will probably just turn it around on her, anyway.

“Is it your son? The one who was in the hospital? Is everything all right?”

“Caleb is fine. Thanks.”

“Then what is it?”

There is something sincere about him, something she has only seen when he discusses art and photography. Something that tells her that it is safe to continue.

“My husband,” she says, “has been staying with his brother. I made him. After the accident, I didn’t know if... I didn’t think it was safe for him to be at the house, with the boys and me.”

Philip nods and, for once, does not respond. Simply waits.

“I went to bring him something this morning,” she continues. “I thought it might be time to take stock, see if he’s ready to move back in. But this case--it isn’t even a case, really, just a personal mission--he’s so obsessed with it. Still. Even after our son could have died.”

“Why is it so important to him?”

“I guess he thinks that if he finds out who caused all this, it will somehow make sense. Like he’ll have someone to be angry at for the leg he lost... I don’t know. Revenge is part of it, I think.”

“And you don’t want him to have that?”

“I don’t think revenge is productive,” she says, “especially not when it comes at the risk of your family’s safety. He says that he’s doing this to keep us safe, and I understand that, but it’s like he’s so deep in it now that he has no perspective. He can’t see that he’s going to make things worse.”

She slumps in her chair. It occurs to her that she should shut up, but she has been trying so hard not to speak these words--not even to have the thoughts--that it is an enormous relief to get them out now. Maybe it’s better to tell Philip than her mother or someone else close to the situation.

“I truly don’t know where we go from here, or if the things that need to change will change. And I don’t know what my life is if those things don’t change. If we can’t go back to how it was... where do we go? It’s stupid, but I’ve spent so long writing this story where Brent and I are the happy ending that I can’t even imagine what would come afterward.”

Philip leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees. It is a rare detour from the perfect posture and carriage he usually displays. “When my father died, my mother gave me some advice,” Philip says. “Very wise advice. She said that I should live my life with the knowledge that there are no happy endings. Happy times, happy periods, of course. The only ending is when we die, and even then, the story goes on for other people. Happy endings don’t exist.”

“Is that supposed to help?”

“I don’t know. I think it would be good for you to take that pressure off yourself. You aren’t obligated to fit everything into this neat, perfect, happy ending.”

Molly knows that he is right, but she does not want to imagine her life without this happy ending. She does not even know if she can.


After the incident with Sabrina, Jason goes downstairs for a coffee, hoping to give the situation some time to cool. He is waiting for his drink when a familiar face enters the shop, and Sabrina’s strange behavior suddenly does not seem like such a big deal.

“Hey,” Jason says as Alex Marshall approaches the counter.

“Hey.” Alex looks cautiously around the shop.

“Don’t worry. Seth is upstairs.”

Alex’s whole body relaxes. “I figured I was taking a chance by coming in here.”

“Just give it a little time to settle. You guys will probably run into each other eventually, but if it’s down the road, it won’t be so awkward.” Jason barely knows what he is saying; he is talking simply to fill the space. He feels incredibly weird being around Alex and not saying anything about Graham. It occurs to him that, as of now, he is officially keeping something from his friend.

“I was actually going to call you over the weekend,” Alex says. “There was something I wanted to talk about, but I didn’t know if...”

“What? You know you can talk to me about anything. Literally anything, after this whole--” He glances around and lowers his voice. “--threesome thing.”

“This is different.” Alex shifts his weight from one foot to the other and back again. “You are never going to guess who showed up at my place the other day.”

Jason is grateful for the change of direction in their conversation. “Trevor? Dylan? Oh my God, if it was Dylan--”

“No. Not Dylan. Luckily.” Alex draws in a deep breath. “My dad.”

The news comes at Jason with all the gentleness of a boot to the face. Graham went to see Alex? So then Alex knows-- In the moment, Jason makes a decision: to play dumb.

“Your dad? The guy you haven’t seen in forever?”

Alex nods. “That isn’t the weird part. I mean, it would be, but he’s--this sounds so ridiculous. My dad’s name is Graham.”

Jason allows his reaction to lag. “And...?”

“Graham Colville. The same guy your sister brought to Christmas.”

Jason wishes he were a better actor, because he suspects that his open-mouthed reaction is not the most convincing performance. Then again, Alex has no reason to question it.

“He’s known I lived here all along and was trying to work up the nerve to come see me,” Alex explains. “But he didn’t know how I’d react.”

“How did you react?”

“I didn’t, really. He ignores me for however many years and then shows up at my door out of the blue, and I’m supposed to do what? Be grateful? It didn’t even seem worth my energy to get mad at him. He’s... no one, really.”

“So that’s it? You aren’t going to see him again?”

“He gave me his card.” It is not an answer, which Alex seems to realize. His eyes search the floor for nothing in particular. “Who knows? The whole thing is so bizarre. I’ll probably run into him at some point, if he and Sarah are still...”

“They are.” Jason allows himself to express a truly genuine reaction: “This is so weird. My sister and your dad?”

“Would you mind not saying anything to Sarah, for the time being?” Alex says. “I know that’s a crappy position to put you in, and I’m sorry, but... I don’t know if I’m ready to have this out there yet.”

As he nods, Jason wonders if he needs to make a chart of who knows what and who knows who knows what and what moves could get him into trouble. Too bad keeping his mouth shut is on that list.

“This is such a mess,” Alex says as he moves to the register to order.

You have no idea, Jason thinks.


There are times when Shannon Parish misses her old face. Her real face. Sometimes, she catches a glimpse of her reflection and doesn’t recognize herself, or wonders if it was really necessary for her to destroy the person she was for twenty-something years. Most of the time, though, she is grateful to have the face of “Sabrina Gage” to hide behind. It wipes away the past, makes all of those people--Jason, Courtney, Sandy--look at her like they look at everyone else.

Not today. Today, she wishes that she could run away from this new face. She wishes that she didn’t have to stand behind Sabrina’s face and have Jason look at her that way. She knows that she screwed up, sleeping with Josh and then with Seth. She should have kept her distance, or even better, kept her desires in check. She will have Jason soon enough. It’s just that, being around him every day, thinking about him, remembering the way that he feels and the way that he tastes, she can’t help herself. If she has to bide her time with Jason, then she needs some kind of outlet.

The way he looked at her earlier, though... she felt like the whole thing was about to fall apart. She felt like trash. She wanted to grab him and shout that all she wants is him, that if he will have her, she wouldn’t have to do any of these other things.

That’s why she had to get out of there. She needs to be smart about this. She told Seth she was going to run an errand to clear her head.

And this is an errand. A very important one.

She checks her eyes, exits her car, and crosses the shopping center’s vast parking lot. Warm springtime sun washes over her, bringing with it a renewed optimism. This morning might have been unfortunate, but maybe it is also the kick in the ass that she needs to shift her plans into overdrive. The time has come.

She enters the hardware store, removes her sunglasses, and smiles at the nearby employee, a gangly young man who appears all too glad for the attention.

“Excuse me,” she says. “Could you tell me where I could find the rat poison?”


Will Shannon be able to carry out her plan?
Will Alex find out that Jason already knew about Graham?
Will Molly and Brent be able to reach a compromise?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to discuss this episode!

Next Episode