Episode #559

- Tim, Claire, and Danielle met up with Elly’s adoptive parents in Los Angeles, and they tracked down Elly and Travis before they got into serious trouble.
- Sabrina claimed to have no knowledge of the attack on a comatose Seth, but Jason remained suspicious of her.
- Molly joined Philip on a visit to his family home in New Hampshire, where he introduced her to his mother, Loretta--the same name of the woman to whom Brent and Claire’s investigation recently pointed them.


The sprawling estate spreads as far over the land as Molly Taylor can see. She gazes up at the imposing brick façade of the Ragan family home as Philip greets his mother at the front door.

“It’s so wonderful to have you here,” says the woman, a glamorous redhead who must be 60 but is determined to remain 39 forever. She embraces Philip and then turns to Molly. “And who is this?”

“This is my coworker, Molly Taylor.”

Molly hurries to join them on the steps and extends her hand for a shake.

“Molly, I’d like you to meet my mother... Loretta.”

“It’s a pleasure,” Molly says.

A broad smile stretches over Loretta Ragan’s face. “Well, hello, and welcome to my home!”

“It’s lovely.”

“Thank you. You and my son work together? In what capacity?”

“I design for a fashion company called Objection,” Molly says.

Philip interjects, “She doesn’t merely design. She is the head designer.”

Though she wishes that he wouldn’t have gone out of his way to do such bragging, Molly nevertheless acknowledges his correction with an appreciative nod. “Philip shot our most recent lines of advertisements. His work is incredible.”

“I’m very proud of him,” Loretta says, though her eyes never leave Molly. “What did you say your last name was?”

“Taylor. It’s my married name. My maiden name is Fisher.”

“I see.”

Molly could swear that she detects something odd about Loretta’s reaction, but it is likely just one of the odd transitions that come with first-time small talk. The woman turns and gestures for them to follow her. Philip and Molly pick up their minimal luggage and trail her into the house, which is nothing less than what Molly expected. Immaculate hardwood floors reach from the foyer into rooms beyond, and gold-framed artwork lines the walls.

“Philip has told me so little about this city where your company is based,” Loretta says as they walk. “King City, is it?”

“King’s Bay,” Molly says.

Loretta chuckles. “I hardly have any idea where it is. You’ll have to show me on a map. But for now, let me show you to your room.” They pause at the bottom of a magnificent staircase. “If only we could teleport!”


“Open up! Police!”

Brent Taylor’s fist slams against the front door several times. He pauses and glances at the female detective by his side, as they wait for a response. After a few seconds of no answer and no audible movements inside, he resumes pounding. Sabrina Gage’s car is in the driveway, so there is a fair chance that she is inside.

“Police!” he shouts again. Suddenly the door pulls back from his battering and opens to reveal Sabrina, her brown hair pulled up into a messy ponytail and a white robe covering her body.

Brent lowers his fist, which now throbs from the full minute of heavy knocking. “King’s Bay Police Department. We need to ask you a few questions about the attack on Seth Ashby.”

“Of course. Come in.” Sabrina steps aside. Brent clocks the stains of bright red lipstick, messily rubbed off her lips.

“I’m Commander Taylor,” he says, “and this is Detective Reed.”

“Josh’s brother,” Sabrina says as she leads them to the very neat living room.

“Yes. I am.” Inwardly, Brent grimaces at the connection; he hoped to get through this without referencing the tenuous personal link between him and Sabrina. Normally he wouldn’t even be out questioning persons of interest this way, but a phone call from Jason spurred him to take the situation into his own hands.

They quickly dispense of necessary formalities, and with Sabrina’s permission, Detective Reed sets a tape recorder on the coffee table. The three of them sit around it, tension humming among them like a triangular force field.

“How well do you know Seth Ashby?” Brent begins.

“Um, we’ve worked together for a while. A year and a half, maybe more.”

“You’re coworkers? That’s all?” He levels a hard gaze upon Sabrina, hoping to extract something more useful from her.

She does not flinch. “No. We’ve had a personal relationship... We got to be friends through work... and we’ve gotten closer this year.”

“Closer in what sense?”

“We’ve been sleeping together. On and off, a casual thing.”

He decides to change course and come at this from a different angle. “I understand you were recently let go from your job at the Edge of Winter Arena.”

“Yes.” For the first time, Sabrina breaks eye contact, scanning the beige carpet instead of his face.

“Walk me through the timeline of that day.”

She sighs heavily, as if it pains her to be dragged back to that day. “It was morning when Jason--my boss--told me that he had to let me go. So I drove around for a while, then came back home... I didn’t do much, really.”

“Did you see Seth Ashby that day?”

“Well, yeah. He was at the office that morning.”

“After you left the office. Did you see Seth later that day?”

Sabrina shakes her head. “No. And it wasn’t until this morning that I found out about what happened to him. I went to the office to clear out my desk, and Jason told me.”

Adrenaline pulses within Brent. “So you didn’t see Seth on the night he was hurt?”


“That’s interesting,” Brent says, and Detective Reed hands him a sheet of paper from her folder. “Because Seth’s cell phone records indicate that you called him several times that afternoon and evening. Are you sure you didn’t see him at any point that night?”


With every breath Tim Fisher takes, the stale air in the plane’s cabin turns his stomach a little more. Normally he has no trouble with flying; aside from nerves, he was even fine on the flight down to Los Angeles yesterday. But now, with his teenage son recovered and seated beside him, Tim feels a distinct sense of nausea. Maybe his body is reacting to the prospect of having to deal with Travis after his latest stunt.

The teenager’s surly silence speaks louder than any outburst. When Travis does open his mouth, though, Tim finds himself wishing for that tense quiet.

“This isn’t gonna be some neverending grounding, is it?” Travis asks.

Tim’s ex-wife, stationed in the window seat, turns to their son. “I don’t think you have much room to negotiate. This grounding could last thirty years and you would have to go along with it.”

“I turn eighteen in ten months,” he reminds them, with all the wide-eyed naïveté of someone who cannot quite grasp the concept of never again being under other people’s rule. Tim recalls feeling the same way when his own eighteenth birthday was on the horizon; he expected that he would never again have to answer to anyone else or do anything that he didn’t want to do.

“Then you might be grounded for ten months,” Claire says crossly.

Travis huffs loudly. “What was I supposed to do, let Elly run away by herself?”

“No,” Tim says, though he doesn’t exactly know how to answer his son’s challenge. Any response he gives can and will be used against him. “We understand that you wanted to protect Elly and make sure she was okay after what happened, but--” But what? he can feel Travis’s gaze demanding of him. “--but taking off an entire coast away with very little money and even less of a plan, that’s--”

“Dangerous,” Claire cuts in. “Wanting to take care of someone you care about is a good instinct to have, but not when it involves putting both of you in danger like that.”

Travis locks his arms together across his chest. “Not like there’s any reason for me to stay in King’s Bay.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Tim asks.

“You guys are both so busy with all your other crap. Running around chasing after mob bosses or whatever--” He shifts his gaze from Claire to Tim. “--and hanging out with Cassandra all the time.”

“Your mother and I are both there for you.”


“Don’t whatever me,” Tim says, though for the moment, he will let it rest at that. Travis closes his eyes and puts his iPod earbuds back in, and a look passes between Tim and Claire. He can tell that she is thinking the exact same thing he is: Are we really back to this with him?


While Molly unpacks her belongings and enjoys a quick shower before dinner is served, Philip joins his mother on the back terrace, where she sips her standard gin-and-tonic. They look out over the unoccupied tennis courts; Philip recalls many an afternoon spent there in his youth. He has the fleeting thought to find his old racket in the shed and spend some time on the court tomorrow, but that thought comes much more often than the reality.

“I’m so glad you were able to find time to visit,” Loretta says, placing a loving hand on his back.

“Of course. I’m glad to be here.”

Loretta takes another sip of the bubbly drink and then lowers the glass to her chest. “What about that woman, Philip?”

Her tone catches him entirely off-guard. “What about her?”

“What are your intentions?”

“She’s a coworker,” he says. “And a friend. We’re traveling on business together.”

His mother cocks her head skeptically. He recalls a time when she would also have lifted an eyebrow ever so slightly, but that was many Botox needles ago.

“She’s having a difficult time at home,” he explains. “I thought a day or two of escape would do her a world of good.”

Loretta continues to eye him carefully. “I don’t want you getting too close with her.”


“I’m sure she’s a lovely woman,” Loretta says, “but watch your step, Philip.”

“Why? What are you talking about?” He has always known his mother to be full of stern warnings, but this one comes especially out of the blue.

“She’s a married woman.”

“Oh.” He didn’t realize that is what she was implying. “Molly and I are friends. That’s all. I’m actually seeing someone back in King’s Bay.”

“Isn’t she upset that you’ve brought another woman home to your mother?” Loretta asks, a teasing smile playing on her lips.


“Tread carefully. That’s all I’m saying.” Loretta brings the glass back to her lips and gazes out over the expansive property.


Sabrina can practically see the self-satisfaction steaming out of Brent Taylor’s head. He has been waiting for that moment every since he walked through the door--the moment when his cohort could hand him the printout of Seth’s cell phone records and he could thrust them in Sabrina’s face, essentially telling her that he knows she is lying.

She exercises her last thread of willpower into maintaining her composure and her nearly blank, vaguely concerned expression. True, he caught her off-guard, but there is no way that she will allow him to see that.

“I am sure,” she says, her voice measured and calm. “I called Seth a bunch of times, and I left him a voicemail, but he never called me back.”

Brent’s stare continues to burn a hole through her. “You’re certain of that?”

“Yes.” Even as she utters the word, her stomach turns itself inside-out. She was sure no one saw her at Seth’s building that night, but what if one of the neighbors did? Regardless, there is no turning back now. “I didn’t see Seth that night.”

Brent looks over the printout once more and then hands it back to the detective.

Sabrina leans forward, infusing her voice with an edge of alarm. “I swear, I didn’t see him. If I had... maybe this wouldn’t have happened.”

He offers a cursory nod. He must be killing time, regrouping, trying to shift this back into something he can use. These people have no idea, Sabrina thinks, careful to keep her relief on the inside.

“We haven’t been that close in the past few weeks. He had been talking about his ex-fiancée a lot,” she says. “Mimi or something... Miriam. He kept telling me how much he missed her, how maybe it was a mistake to leave her.”

A look passes between Brent and Detective Reed as they process this new information. Sabrina feels overcome by a desire to hit the point harder, but she knows that less is more. The seed has been planted.

They ask her a few more questions, nothing of any particular substance, though she can tell that Brent is trying to trip her up. Luckily, the rest of it is all true, just asinine details that amount to nothing. Within ten minutes, she is letting them out.

“We might need to speak with you again,” Brent says at the front door. “It would be in your best interests to stay in King’s Bay and be available.”

“Of course.” She dips her head solemnly and closes the door behind them. She retreats to the living room and watches through the big front window as the police car pulls away from the curb out front. Only once they are gone does she fetch her cell phone. She dials as she walks back to the bedroom.

“Was the envelope delivered all right?” she asks the man on the other end. She unfastens her robe and drops it, revealing a piece of silky black lingerie that is barely big enough to cover the necessary parts of her anatomy.

The answer from the other end of the phone line causes her lips to curl in approval. “Excellent. Thank you. You can pick up the cash tomorrow, as we discussed.”

When she sets her phone down on the bed, she feels more confident than she has since she watched Seth plummet down those stairs. The trap has been set, and if she knows how these people operate, it won’t be long before they walk right into it. She turns to the side and admires her figure in the lingerie, then wonders if the pink one might be better. After all, her honeymoon needs to be perfect, she reasons as she moves to apply more lipstick.


Will Sabrina’s plan to avoid arrest work?
Does Philip have any idea who his mother really is?
Will Travis cool toward his parents back at home?
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