Episode #588

- In Phoenix, Josh and Lauren met with a potential client who requested an unethical favor in exchange for his business. Lauren and Josh clashed over his nonchalance about performing the favor, but their disagreement spiraled into a passionate argument about their past--and then into sex.
- After learning that Danielle was her biological mother, Elly refused to forgive Danielle for having lied to her for so many years.
- Tempest ran away from Claire’s home in the middle of the night but reconsidered her plan to leave King’s Bay after a man offered a ride in exchange for sexual favors. She tried calling Claire, and when she received no answer, called someone else instead...
- Tim informed the police that JD had threatened him at knifepoint. The police went to see Cassandra, who was hiding JD in her hotel suite. She warned JD to leave town and forget about Tim and the Equinox diamond, but JD was incensed that Tim had notified the police.


The aggressive Arizona sun pushes through every crack in the hotel room blinds, making it impossible for Lauren Brooks to sleep. For the briefest of moments, she thinks it might be morning and wonders what happened last night... until she realizes that it is late afternoon, and she knows exactly what took place before her unplanned nap. A quick glance at the bedside clock confirms the time, and even the slight shifting of her body leaves her with no doubt that she is naked underneath the covers.

And that Josh Taylor is asleep beside her--also, from what she can tell, naked.

No. No, no, no. She never should have let this happen. She lets her head fall back into the pillow and clamps her eyes shut, hoping that some greater truth will reveal itself in the darkness of her thoughts.

When it does not, she decides that what she needs is to get out of here. Immediately. Taking the utmost care, she manages to slip out of the bed without making too much noise. Even though Josh is asleep--and she hates herself for thinking that he looks so good lying there--she covers her naked body as she gathers her clothing from the floor and the chair in the corner.

If this weren’t her room, she would put on the bare minimum of clothing necessary and race across the hallway. But this is her room, and she cannot deal with waking Josh yet, because that would mean having to face him. So she retreats to the bathroom, where she mechanically puts her clothes back on and tries to figure out what to do next.

She needs to talk to someone. Her first instinct, before logic sets in, is to text Courtney. But she cannot do that... She will never be able to do that again.

Sadness overwhelms her as she sits on the cold edge of the bathtub. If Courtney were alive, she would be able to tell her what to do.

Her next instinct is to call Trevor, but with him being in Europe, the time difference prevents them from having much spontaneous communication. Most of their communication takes place via e-mail these days. She doesn’t even know what time it is for him right now, and as much of a mess as this is, it is not a wake-you-in-the-middle-of-the-night emergency.

She swears that she can hear Josh breathing in the bed just on the other side of the bathroom door. With every breath, real or imagined, that he takes, the space sucks in tighter and tighter around Lauren. She can’t stay in here forever, but she also can’t go back out there and face Josh.

Unable to handle it anymore, she uses her phone to do the only thing she can think of that will put a stop to this situation.


The gray Mazda parks in the driveway, and two girls step out.

“I’m sure they won’t mind if you stay here for the night,” Samantha Fisher says as she leads the way to the front door.

Tempest Banks lags behind her. “I could go stay at Claire’s. She gave me a key.”

“She’s out of town for the weekend.” Samantha opens the front door. “We’ll ask my grandparents and see what they think.”

They find Bill and Paula in the living room, watching TV. When Samantha received the call from Tempest, asking if she could pick her up at the bus station, she decided not to tell her grandparents what was going on until she had the full story. Now, of course, she has the whole thing and still does not understand why Tempest ran away or why she wants to come back--but she does know that Claire is not in King’s Bay and that Tempest clearly needs some help.

“Tempest. Hi,” Paula says. “This is my husband, Bill. Bill, this is Tempest. She’s been staying with Claire.”

Bill rises from the couch and extends a hand to Tempest, who shakes it hesitantly. “It’s nice to meet you,” he says.

“Would it be all right if Tempest spent the night here?” Samantha says. “Since Claire is gone...”

“Where did she go, anyway?” Tempest asks, mostly to Samantha.

“She had to go take care of something with Uncle Brent,” Paula says. There is an unmistakable edge to her voice; Samantha knows that things have been uncomfortable between her grandmother and Claire since Aunt Molly and Uncle Brent split up, but she doesn’t have much idea why any of that is Claire’s fault.

“I’m sure we can find room,” Bill says graciously. “Claire didn’t tell you she was leaving, though?”

Tempest deflects her gaze and shows no sign of planning to answer, so Samantha does it for her: “It’s a long story. Tempest didn’t realize Claire was going out of town.”

A smile broadens over Paula’s face, and she looks more like the grandmother Samantha knows so well. “It’s no trouble at all for you to stay here,” she tells Tempest. “This couch is a pull-out. I’ll put some sheets on it later.”

“Thank you,” Tempest says in that half-mumble she seems to love so much. Then she turns to address Samantha alone again, even though she must know the adults can hear her, too. “I need to get some of my stuff from Claire’s, then.”

“I can give you a lift over there,” Bill says.

Samantha holds up her keys. “I can do it.”

“Why don’t you girls go now, and when you get back, dinner will be ready?” Paula says. “Travis should be home soon, and your dad shouldn’t be too much longer.”

A few minutes later, the girls are exiting the house again. The sky remains a dull gray, the kind that makes it feel like it never fully turned from night to day and is just biding its time until it can turn pitch-black again. A soft rain has begun to fall again.

“So why’d you run away to begin with?” Samantha asks as they return to the car.

Tempest freezes, about to open the passenger door. Her face is suddenly all ice. “Just drop it, okay?”

Samantha does not know how she suddenly became the one in the wrong, but she does know that nothing this girl does seems to make a lick of sense. She decides to bite her tongue and gets into the car.

She backs the car out of the driveway and is about to put it in Drive when something unexpected presses into her neck. Something cold, metallic.

“Lock the doors,” a voice says. A man’s voice. From the backseat. “Lock the doors and drive.”


Travis Fisher hangs his employee coat on a hook in the back room and, after saying goodbye to a few of the other workers whose shifts are not yet over, makes his way out to the parking lot. He waits until he is in his car before pulling out his cell phone; normally he would hang outside the arena to make a call, but the rain manages to kill any possibility of that.

Elly Vanderbilt answers his call after the first ring. “Hey!”

“Hey,” Travis says. “Did you get anything?”

She knows precisely what he is talking about, but her tone strikes panic into him. “Yeah...”


“I got in.” The way she says it, she might as well be saying, “I got rejected” or “I got the death penalty.”

“That’s awesome!” Travis was nervous that he would be the one not to get into King’s Bay University, just like he didn’t get into USC even though Elly did. At least now there is one school that they both got into, someplace they can attend together.

Still, Elly does not sound anywhere close to enthused about it. “Travis, I don’t think it’s really a good idea.”

“What? Why not?”

“Why not? I’ve gotten into, like, five colleges so far. Why would I move to the one city where my real mother--who lied to me for years and years about being my mother--lives?”

“Because of me?”

The silence on the other end of the line is not exactly confidence-inspiring.

“It just seems like a really bad idea,” Elly says. “Some of our schools are close to each other. Maybe we can make that work.”

“Maybe.” Travis goes quiet as he watches the rain hit his windshield and hood. “Well, congrats, I guess. I’m just leaving work. I have to get home for dinner.”

“Travis, I’m sorry. It’s not you. You know that.”

“I know.” Doesn’t make it any better, really, he thinks. “Text me later, okay?”

“Okay.” There is an uneasy silence before Elly says, “We’ll find some way to make this work.”

“I hope so. Later.”

He tucks his phone away and starts the car. None of the schools they have been accepted to so far are really that close; he doesn’t consider living two hours away from each other “close.” They will have totally separate lives, and it will wind up being a huge mess.

No. There has to be something he can do about this.


As silently as she can, Lauren creeps out of the bathroom and snags her suitcase from the closet. She quickly realizes the inherent conflict between throwing all her belongings into the bag at lightning speed and trying not to wake Josh, but now that she changed her flight and can see freedom on the horizon, she hardly cares.

Or so she thinks, until she hears Josh stir in the bed.

“What are you doing?” he croaks through the last streaks of sleep.

There is no lie that would be remotely plausible, caught as she is emptying the contents of the dresser into her open suitcase. “I changed my flight,” she says. “I leave in a few hours. I have to get to the airport.”

“What? Lauren, what the hell?” He sits up in the bed, even though his groggy mind appears to be ten seconds behind his body.

“This,” she says, “this was a big mistake. We shouldn’t have...” She grabs her extra pair of heels from the closet and tosses them on top of the mound of clothes in her suitcase. This is going to be a mess when I get home, she thinks, but currently, speed is the top priority.

“Yeah, yeah. So what, you’re gonna go join a convent now? Oh, don’t forget to take a whole bottle of those Plan B pills, in case the condom didn’t work. So you don’t wind up with my demon spawn.” He shakes his head in annoyance, then flings the sheet aside and gets out of bed. He makes no attempt to cover his nakedness, and though Lauren does her best to ignore it, the task is difficult. He looks to have eased up on his workouts since the last time she saw him this way, and somehow, it makes his body even more appealing.

“See?” Josh says. She can hear him smirking even before she looks back to his face.

“See what?” She hurriedly throws more clothing into the suitcase.

“You want to do it again.”

“I do not.” It sounds so false that she cannot even bother trying to sell it. “It doesn’t matter. We have to work together. We’ve had a good thing going lately--”

“Until you got all upset about my questionable morality or whatever.”

“Yeah. Or whatever.” With the last of the drawers emptied, she closes the lid of the suitcase and presses down as she attempts to pull the zipper closed. In a not-particularly-surprising move, it does not work. She glances at Josh.

“What, I’m supposed to help you run for the hills?” He laughs, then moves over and takes hold of the zipper anyway. She wishes she hadn’t pushed him to help her; his naked body is far, far too close to her now. “Hold the top down,” he instructs her.

She presses down, but the zipper still will not budge further than halfway.

“Sit on it,” Josh says, and before the words are even all the way out, he is flashing her that obnoxious grin and casting his eyes down toward his crotch to make sure she gets beaten over the head with the double entendre.

She hops up onto the suitcase, and with a little more tugging and a lot more groaning, Josh gets the zipper closed. He collapses onto the floor.

“You don’t want to leave,” he says.

“I have to leave.”

He reaches up and grabs her hand. He tugs on it, trying to pull her down onto the floor with him. She almost lets him... but instead jerks away and takes her suitcase.

“I have to go,” she says. “This was a mistake. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, but it was a mistake. Not a little mistake. Like, Britney-marrying-K-Fed mistake. So let’s just have a few days apart, then try and be normal in the office on Monday, okay?”

“You’re going to ditch me to deal with the clients on my own tomorrow?”

“You have to tell that guy that you’re going to go meet his wife under the pretense of needing her input on the ads and then seduce her. I think you can handle that alone. I’ll pick up some slack in the office to make it up to you, okay?”

“So now you’re okay with me doing this to get us the account.”

No. Not okay. At all. Which is why this--” She gestures wildly between them. “--is and was and always will be an epically horrendous idea.” She maneuvers the overstuffed suitcase to the door and opens it. “I’ll see you at work.”

“Great. See you at work,” Josh says in a monotone. She tries her best not to steal another glance at his naked body before she closes the door... and she almost succeeds.


Samantha’s entire body is shaking so violently that she can barely drive. The gun presses hard against her neck, so hard that she is worried this man is going to try and stab her with it at any moment. She has never been so scared in her life; not even during Claire’s wedding to Ryan, when Nick Moriani herded everyone down to the basement. At least her parents were with her then, and she was so young. Now, she is the one with the gun pressing into her skin.

“Turn left here,” the man orders her. Samantha’s unsteady foot brings the car to a stop while she waits for the left turn arrow to turn green.

“What do you want? Money?” Tempest asks.

“Shut up.” The man pokes Samantha harder with the gun. “Who the hell is this?”

“It’s complicated,” Samantha explains. The words just spew out. “She’s staying with my ex-stepmother. But she isn’t technically a foster child. And I wouldn’t exactly say that we’re friends, seeing as how we’ve only met once before, but--”

“Okay, got it,” the man says. “Now get your dad on the phone.”

“My dad?”

A horn honks from behind them.

“Turn left!” the man snaps. Samantha realizes that the light has changed, so she manages to make the left turn and continues driving forward. She scans the road for places that she can pull over and jump out. Maybe at the next light. But she has to convey that idea to Tempest, too, or it will not work.

“My phone’s in my pocket,” she says, with no idea how she is going to get her phone out and continue driving. She can barely keep the car in a straight line as it is. Her heart is pounding so hard that she genuinely thinks it might explode.

“Get it out for her,” the man tells Tempest.

Samantha raises her hips off the seat enough to stretch out so Tempest can extract the phone. Their eyes meet for the quickest of moments, and although countless ideas seem to fly between them in that time--How do we get out? When should we do it? Is he really going to shoot? Can we call the police instead?--it passes in such a blur that nothing at all can be decided.

“Now call Tim,” the man instructs Tempest, though he keeps the gun fixed on Samantha. “And you, you take this right up here. Then get on the freeway.”

“Why on the freeway?”

“Just get on the fucking freeway!” His voice tears out of his body with the fury of a bullet firing out of a gun, and Samantha’s heartbeat doubles in response.

“Okay.” She feels tears boiling behind her eyes and wills them not to pour out. “He’s under ‘Dad’ in my phone...”

Tempest locates the number and dials. The man grabs the phone from her and waits for an answer.

Raindrops thump against her windows, blurring the world outside.

Samantha can hear her father’s voice on the other end: “Hey, honey.”

“Tim. It’s your old pal, JD.”

JD? Samantha combs through her memories, trying to place the name. She swears that she has never seen this man before, though. What does he want with her and her father?

“Why do you have my daughter’s phone?” Tim asks.

“’Cause I’m with her,” JD says. “Matter of fact, she and her friend are taking me for a little drive right as we talk.”

Samantha brings the car to a stop at the traffic light, waiting to make the right turn. Cars on the cross street whiz by. She wonders if any of them can see inside. Maybe if she honks--

No. She can’t take the chance. Could she and Tempest jump out? But he might shoot them...

“Listen up, Tim,” JD is saying. “I got some conditions for you.”

“What the hell are you doing?” Tim demands. “Let me talk to Samantha.”

Samantha catches Tempest’s eye again.

“Make the fucking turn!” JD screams. Samantha takes her foot off the brake in panic, and the car lurches forward, even though the light is still red. A car flying by honks its horn as it swerves around her.

“Sorry,” she mutters. With the road now clear, she makes the turn and guides her car toward the freeway on-ramp. She cannot think of a way out of this, but once they get on the freeway...

Everything is moving too fast for her to react. Not knowing what else to do, she takes the on-ramp and merges into the moderately dense traffic.

“Now Tim,” JD says into the phone, “you listen to me real good. ‘Cause if you don’t, the next time you see your kid and her friend, it’s gonna be at the morgue.”

Tears start to cloud Samantha’s vision as she keeps the car in the right-hand lane, desperate for some way to escape this.


Can Samantha and Tempest escape from JD?
Will Lauren change her mind about Josh? Should she?
What can Travis do about Elly attending KBU?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum!

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