Episode #554

- Molly’s confidence in her ability to run Objection Designs remained shaky.
- After learning that Danielle is her biological mother, Elly lashed out at Danielle for having kept the truth from her for so long.
- Travis planned to have Elly spend the night at his grandparents’ while she sorted out her feelings, but Elly had other ideas and asked if he was up for an adventure.


Tim Fisher finishes pouring milk into his bowl of Raisin Bran just as the doorbell rings. Knowing that both his parents are upstairs, he moves from the kitchen through the living room to the front door. It is still very early for anyone to be dropping by...

“Hey,” he says, trying to sound as sympathetic as he can when he opens the door to reveal Danielle Taylor. Stress has worn on her face, leaving in its path dark circles beneath her eyes and heavy lids above them.

“Hey. Is Elly here?”

Tim shakes his head. “My mother said they came back here to spend the night, but this morning, there was a note on Travis’s bed that they already went out. I left him a voicemail to call me, but I haven’t heard back.”

Instead of responding, Danielle lets out a weary sigh, the kind that sounds like an attempt to purge her being of all anxiety and strain. Judging by her expression, it does not work.

“I know I need to give her space,” she says, “but all I can think about is talking to her and trying to make this right.”

“Did you get any sleep?” Tim asks.

“Does passing out in an armchair at 5 a.m. for a few minutes count?”

He offers a compassionate smile. “Can I get you anything? Food? Coffee?”

“Some coffee would be great, actually. I don’t want to take up your time...”

“Please. You aren’t.” He leads the way back to the kitchen and pours her a steaming mug of coffee.

“Thank you,” Danielle says, seeming genuinely grateful even for this small gesture.

Tim wishes there were something more he could do for her. He grabs his cell phone from the kitchen table.

“Maybe I can get a hold of Travis,” he says as he dials the familiar entry. He waits as the call rings once, twice...


...three, four times. The vibrating in Travis Fisher’s hand ceases as the call goes to voicemail.

“Is that your parents?” Elly Vanderbilt asks from the seat beside his.

Travis nods. “My dad.” He stares out the window, as he has done for many, many minutes of the past few hours. “This wasn’t a bad idea, was it?”

“No.” Elly joins him in gazing out at the landscape passing by. The greenery of southern Washington stands out against the nearby open freeways. “It’s just to get away, and... I don’t know.”


Travis turns back to her, and the sight of her hopeful face brings his optimism rushing back. This is supposed to be fun. An escape. They aren’t running away forever. He’s sure his parents will give him crap about it, but they’ll understand once he explains the situation with Elly. He’s watching out for her, that’s all.

“How long have we been going?” he asks. It already seems like forever.

“Um... three hours? So only thirty-something left.”

“Think we can sleep for thirty hours?”

“I’m sure you could,” Elly says. “But do you want to? I brought these from your room...” She digs in her bag and pulls out a deck of cards.

“Oh yeah, I can totally stay awake for a million hours playing cards,” he teases as he takes the deck from her and begins to shuffle it.


Despite the early hour, the workday is already chugging along at full force on the eighteenth floor of Winston Tower. Molly Taylor finds herself swept up in conversation with two members of her design team.

“I really think the pieces with bold prints turned out well,” says Tatiana, a woman in her twenties with short, spiky hair and the prickly voice to match.

“That’s going to be what sells, I’m telling you,” confirms Luke, the tall, thin young man with the perpetual stubble.

They blather on for a few more seconds, and while Molly is sure some of it is useful, it is all too much right now. The ideas clog her head and distract her from the scheduling conflict that has been weighing down upon her over the past few days. She extracts herself and proceeds down the hallway, bound for her assistant’s desk.

“I don’t know if New York is going to work,” she tells Tatum, the young assistant who reminds Molly more than a little bit of herself at that age. “There’s--there’s too much going on.”

“Isn’t a meeting with buyers, um... sort of a big deal?” Tatum asks.

“She’s right,” comes an all-too-familiar voice from behind Molly. She turns to see Philip Ragan leaning against the wall, grinning at the both of them.

Molly is beyond not in the mood for his act this morning. “I can’t do it. I can’t up and leave the twins right now, and--”

“And you don’t feel like you can sell this line to buyers,” Philip says.

And that.

“No,” she protests, not very convincingly. “My head is just--it’s very cloudy. Maybe we can send someone else.”

“I think the Chief Creative Officer is a significant part of getting a line into a new chain of stores.”

Molly doesn’t even know how to argue with that. He is right. She glances at Tatum, who in turn looks away, pretending not to notice the volley going on in front of her.

“What if I were to be there with you?” Philip says.

Molly has no idea where that came from. “What if?”

“Maybe it would help to have one of your favorite collaborators at your side.” That stupid, overly confident grin presents itself again--not that it ever went away, really. “I was popping in to say goodbye. I’m headed to the East Coast for a few weeks as it is. It really wouldn’t be that difficult to be in New York for your meeting.”

She has the vague feeling that he is playing a practical joke on her, but then, she always feels like that when she speaks to Philip. Even more unsettling is the fact that his proposal makes sense. Having him there might actually inspire her. No one bullshits better than Philip Ragan, and he seems to amp up that instinct in her, too.

“I suppose that might work,” she says, as coolly as she can. “Thank you. Let’s look at our calendars to make sure it will line up.”

“My pleasure,” Philip says. Molly has no doubt that he will hold this over her head for months to come, but at this point, she could use whatever confidence she can get.


From the doorway of one of the upstairs bedrooms, Tim and Danielle stare at an immaculately made bed.

“This bed was definitely not slept in,” Danielle says. Before Tim can respond, she adds, “Believe me, I’ve seen Elly’s idea of making the bed in the morning.”

“No surprise there,” he says, closing the door to Samantha’s room and leading her to Travis’s. “I’m going to guess they both spent the night in here.”

He doesn’t know what he expects to find when they enter Travis’s room, but it is certainly not there. The room is still except for the blinds swaying softly in the light morning wind. The note that Paula found there earlier sits on the nightstand.

“I’m sorry you guys have been pulled into this,” Danielle says. “It’s my mess. Or disaster.”

“This is hardly a disaster. Mess, maybe. And messes can be cleaned up.” He hears the computer humming and realizes that it is not turned off, just in sleep mode. As he pushes the mouse to wake it up, he says, “Elly will come around. She’s surprised, that’s all.”

“I hope you’re right. I don’t even need her to forgive me right this second. I just want to know that she’s okay.”

Tim would like to know the same about Travis, too, but now is not the time to voice his doubts. “I’m sure they’re fine. They’re probably going to run around King’s Bay until they get bored or need cash, and then they’ll turn up. My bet is they’re here by dinnertime.”

He is about to shut down the computer, but the e-mail notifier on the desktop flashes to life. He sees the words “Amtrak Confirmation” and, without even processing the thought, clicks on the icon.

Travis’s inbox loads. Tim reads the details in the e-mail, his shoulder blades tightening up with every millimeter that he leans in toward the screen.

“What is it?” Danielle asks, hovering behind him.

“You know that thing I said about them being back here by dinnertime?”

She nods, obviously prepared to have that faint hope shot down.

“Might take a little longer than that.”

“Why? Where are they?”

Tim scans the e-mail once more, to be sure that he has taken in the correct information. “I’m not sure where they are right now, but I can tell you where they’ll be at 12:15 tomorrow afternoon.”


“L.A. Hollywood. This is gonna be awesome,” Travis says as he flips through some of the pages that Elly made him hastily print out before they left his grandparents’ house.

“Maybe we’ll see some celebrities,” she says. “Or, like, Paris Hilton.”

“Cool. Then I can punch her in the face.”

They laugh together as Travis sets the papers down. Their half-forgotten card game sits on the unoccupied seat between them.

“How are we going to get to the motel?” Elly asks.

“We’ll get a taxi at the train station, I guess.” He has never hailed a taxi before in his life, but he can’t imagine it’s that hard. “I have enough cash to pay for that. Then we can figure out how to get other places.”

“I want to go on one of those bus tours around L.A.,” Elly says. “Where you sit on the roof and they drive you around to see all the movie studios and stuff.”

“Then we will.”

He reaches out and takes her hand in his. He hasn’t completely figured out how they are going to pay for all this stuff--his bank account isn’t exactly overflowing--but he is sure that it will fall into place. They’re smart. And Elly needs something like this, something to take her away from reality. He is all too happy to be that for her.


Will Travis and Elly’s excursion go as planned?
Will Tim and Danielle be able to intercept them?
Can Philip help Molly get past her nerves?
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