Episode #589

- Elly told Travis that she will not move to King’s Bay for college while her estranged mother, Danielle, is also living there. Travis was determined to attend the same college as his girlfriend.
- While hiding in Cassandra’s closet, JD overheard his ex-wife tell the police that the Equinox diamond ring is being stored in a safe deposit box in Houston.
- When Samantha and Tempest got into Samantha’s car, JD was hiding in the backseat and, at gunpoint, forced Samantha to drive onto the freeway. He called Tim and insisted that Tim meet his demands if the girls have any hope of getting out of the car alive.


In another hour, the halls of the publishing office will be a veritable ghost town. At present, however, the madness of the workday remains in full effect; bodies dart in and out of offices, phones screech, and voices move at an urgent clip. One of them belongs to Tim Fisher.

“I promise, you’ll have it within the hour,” he tells Angelica Larson, a senior vice president who sometimes reminds him of Diane... if one were to remove every trace of humanity and humor.

Angelica taps the face of her watch with a long, witch-like nail. “The clock is ticking.” She saunters past him and down the hallway, and Tim covertly checks for evidence of her broom as she goes.

Tim takes off in the opposite direction, feeling as if he has been shot out of a cannon. Drafting this entire report in an under an hour is going to be a push--and that is putting it gently. Nevertheless, it has to get done, and anything he can do to impress Angelica is a plus. She was not at Vision during his original term here, and she seems to consider him a slacker who has failed to advance up the ranks rather than a man who had several years of his life and career stolen from him.

When his cell phone rings, his immediate instinct is to ignore it. He gives the screen a cursory look, sees that it is his daughter calling, and still nearly lets it go to voicemail--but he always picks up calls from the kids if at all possible. So he answers.

“Hey, honey,” he says, trying not to sound as rushed and insane as he feels inside.

The voice that responds is most assuredly not Samantha’s. “Tim. It’s your old pal, JD.”

Panic’s strong claws clutch and twist at Tim’s chest. “Why do you have my daughter’s phone?” He already knows it must be much worse than that.

“’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.”

Tim listens hard for clues that JD is telling the truth. The amount of background noise suggests that JD really is in a car.

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

“What the hell are you doing?” Tim demands. “Let me talk to Samantha.” He turns on his heels and pilots himself toward Diane’s office. His heart feels like it is halfway up his throat, choking him.

“Make the fucking turn!” JD screams on the other end. It sends a shiver of terror through Tim and drags him back to last night, when JD cornered him with a knife in the parking garage. He can only imagine how Samantha must feel in an even worse situation. Little friend? He doesn’t even know who it might be. Tori?

Tim flies into Diane’s office. He knows that people are watching him, wondering why he is moving so fast and wild. He shuts the door behind him.

Diane looks up from her work. “What’s wrong?”

“Samantha,” he mouths, as he hears JD resume talking.

“Now Tim,” JD says, “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.”

Tim is trying to half-listen so that he can communicate with Diane, let her know what is going on and get some help for Samantha, but JD’s words have him half-frozen with fear.

“What do you want from me?” he asks, robotically, as he grabs a sheet of paper and pen from Diane’s desk.

He scrawls on the paper: 911!

Diane’s confused, panicked eyes grow even wider. She shoots out of her chair, and her mouth flies open, no doubt ready to take on whatever threat is on the other end of the line. Tim rushes a finger to his lips to warn her to stay quiet.

“First things first,” JD says, “I want you to find another phone and get a hold of that ex-wife of mine. She’s got some information I need.”

“Fine. Okay.” Tim snags Diane’s Blackberry from the desk. “What do I tell her?” Then, looking to Diane to explain what is going on, he asks JD: “What’s it going to take for Samantha to make it out of that car safe and sound?”


Driving in the rain still scares Samantha Fisher a little bit. Driving on the freeway is also a bit nerve-inducing. Driving in the rain, on the freeway, with a gun pressed to her neck--that’s really pushing it for a girl who received her license only a few months ago.

She tries her hardest not to cry, but the tears insist on pooling in her eyes. The combination of that with the escalating rain outside has significantly reduced visibility. Samantha stays in the right lane, barely reaching 40 miles per hour, and tries to keep her shaking hands firmly on the steering wheel.

In the backseat, while holding the gun in one hand, JD is using his other hand to hold Samantha’s phone and dictate orders to Tim. “Tell Cassandra I need all the info for that safe deposit box in Houston. If she’s gotta call them and say her husband is coming to open the box, she should do that. I want to be able to walk in there in the morning and walk out with the ring.”

Samantha’s brain races in an attempt to keep up with what is going on. Ring? Who is this guy, Gollum? Usually thinking about Lord of the Rings would be a happy distraction for her, but it does little to soothe her fried nerves now. They pass by an exit, and Samantha contemplates jerking the car onto the off-ramp. Could she stop at the bottom and jump out? She still doesn’t know how to communicate that kind of information to Tempest in enough time to coordinate a plan.

As if reading her mind, JD orders her, “Get in the middle lane.” She hesitates, then puts on her blinker. She slowly checks her mirrors, then swivels her head to check her blind spot. “Move to the middle lane!” he barks impatiently.

“Okay,” she snaps back, unable to contain all the rage and worry and panic circulating through her body. She makes a jerky lane change and is relieved that there are no cars close enough for it to be a problem. A spray of water flies up, temporarily blinding her from seeing the freeway.

“You calling her?” JD asks, and it takes Samantha a moment to realize that he is talking to Tim again.

“You’re doing great,” Tempest says from the passenger seat. It is possibly the first unprompted thing Samantha has ever heard the other girl say.

Samantha wants to open up a dialogue. She wants JD to be so distracted by his call that he doesn’t hear his hostages making plans, figuring out a way to escape from this. She wonders if her dad has called the police to come help them. Is there a way that she can let him know where they are?

“She knows what I’m talking about,” JD says into the phone. He pushes the barrel of the gun harder against Samantha’s neck, for good measure. She flinches at its colder, harder touch.

Maybe she can crash the car. If she does it right-- No, she has no idea how to do that and not be hurt or killed. Besides, there is an ugly merge coming up, and--

That’s it. That’s how they are going to get out of here.


Driving up to the house is surreal for Travis Fisher. He has heard about this place for so many years. He remembers when his uncle Ryan was dating his mother and finally moved out of his father’s house and into the loft where Travis eventually spent so much time. He vividly recalls seeing the exterior of this house on the news after Nick Moriani was shot and seemingly murdered, and he will never forget all the details he overheard about who was in the house that night: Ryan, Nick’s wife Katherine, and Travis’s own father.

Finally seeing the place in person, then, is a disorienting experience. In spite of all logic, he feels a strange sense of déjà vu as he parks his car and trudges through the heavy downpour of rain to the front door.

He knows that his uncle is home, because his Acura is in the driveway, but it takes almost a full minute before Ryan answers the doorbell.

“Travis,” he says, making no effort to conceal his surprise. “What are you...”

“I need to talk to you,” Travis says, peeking out from beneath the hood of his sweatshirt.

Ryan steps out of the way, though he still appears perplexed by his nephew’s unannounced visit. “All right. Come in.”

The interior of the house bears an eerie quality, exactly the way Travis expected it would. Everything feels too ornate, cold, pieces carved from marble and old, elegant wood. He wonders how Ryan can stand to live in the house where his father was killed (or so they thought)--even worse, where Ryan himself shot the man.

“Can I get you anything?” Ryan asks as they reach the living room.

“No, I’m good,” Travis says, pushing down his hood. “It’s about Danielle.”

Ryan stops on the line that divides the wood floor from the living room’s carpet. He turns over his shoulder to examine Travis. “Why? What is it?”

Though he relishes the alarm that his statement triggers in his uncle, Travis explains--after a long moment, anyway, “About her and Elly, I mean. We have to do something. Get them to make up, or start talking again, or something.”

“Danielle would like nothing more.”

“I figured. But Elly’s--she’s still kinda blown away by the whole thing, I guess.”

Ryan dips his head deferentially. “That’s understandable. It’s a lot for anyone to absorb, especially someone Elly’s age. But Danielle is her mother.”

“Believe me, you’re preaching to the choir. I want them to make up, too.”

“Has Elly said anything to you?”

Instinctively, Travis shakes his head. Not only has Elly not said anything in that vein, but she has made it clear that she does not have warm feelings toward Danielle.

“She’s still mad at Danielle,” Travis says. “That’s why I need your help. We need to bring them together or something. Make Elly realize she needs Danielle.”

Ryan folds his arms and stands there silently, sizing Travis up. “Where is this coming from, Travis?”

He shrugs. “I just want to help her.”

The staredown continues.

“Okay, and Elly doesn’t want to go to King’s Bay U because Danielle is here and things are still so crappy between them. But it’s the only school we both got into, so if she doesn’t come here--”

“--then this stays a long-distance relationship.”

“Exactly. Which sucks.”

Slowly Ryan unfolds his arms and lets them hang at his sides. He leans against the doorframe that divides the entry from the over-decorated living room behind him.

“After your father came back,” Ryan says, “I was incredibly scared of losing your mother to him.”

“Yeah, so you framed him for murder.” Travis can’t believe that the man standing before him was once like a father to him, was very nearly his stepfather. That all seems like a different lifetime.

“I did some remarkably stupid things. You know why? To try and make sure your mother would be with me. And here’s what I finally figured out, far too late: you can’t manipulate someone into loving you. It might work for a little while, or seem like it does, but what you ultimately get isn’t love.”

“That’s not what I’m doing to Elly,” Travis says. The comparison is bullshit.

“I didn’t say it was. I’m talking about Elly and Danielle. You can’t force Elly’s feelings to change. As much as I would like this to work out, for Danielle’s sake, what Elly probably needs right now is time.”

“We don’t have time. We have to pick our schools in, like, a month. If she turns down KBU, she can’t go there in the fall, and then--”

“Travis. I understand.” Ryan holds up his palms, as if fending off an assault. “But there isn’t anything we can do to make Elly feel differently toward Danielle. Talk to her. Be honest. That’s it.”

This is not how Travis expected this to go down. He thought that if there were one person he could count on for a little manipulating, it would be his uncle.

“Seriously?” Travis flips his hood back over his head. “I’ve gotta go. Thanks for nothing.” Part of him hopes that Ryan will stop him, maybe change his mind about this, but Ryan makes no effort. He doesn’t know why he expected anything more out of a guy who would’ve let Travis’s dad spend the rest of his life in prison for something he didn’t even do. He lets himself out of the creepy house and sprints through the rain to his car, mind racing to figure out a solution before it’s too late.


“I don’t know anything more specific than that!” Diane shouts into the phone. Screaming at the police dispatcher is possibly not her most rational move, but hey, those people must deal with much crazier callers than her. “They’re on I-90, I think. They probably got on at Sammamish Avenue. I don’t know.” She is trying to read off the notes that Tim scrawled before he went to another office to call Cassandra, but most of his “information” seems to be conjecture, based on the presumption that Samantha’s car departed from Bill and Paula’s house.

The dispatcher tells her to remain on the line, and Diane tries to sit back in her desk chair. It lasts all of two seconds before she is on her feet again. She wants to rush out of the office, get into her own car, and go find this lunatic who has Samantha herself. She always had a feeling Cassandra Ward was bad news--she just had no way of knowing it would lead to something like this. She has every intention of beating the hell out of that woman for getting them into this disaster.

Outside, the rain pelts her office window much harder than it did a few minutes ago. Samantha is not great with driving in the rain yet. She is too tense, too nervous, and that makes it worse. And the freeway... they still have work to do on that. Mostly she is capable of driving to and from school, at this point.

Diane has never been too sure if there is anything such as God, but right now, she lifts her eyes to the ceiling. “Let her be okay,” she says quietly. “Please make her be okay.”

In his own office, Tim has Cassandra on Diane’s Blackberry, which he holds to his right ear, while JD waits on Tim’s own phone, at his left.

“Why do you need to know that?” Cassandra demands. “It’s none of your business.”

“Cassandra! Shut up and tell me!” Tim yells.

In his other ear, JD says, with maniacal glee, “Tell her. Tell her what she made me do.”

“He has Samantha,” Tim wastes no time saying. “He has her driving her car, and he has a gun, and--I don’t know what he’s going to do. He wants this info.”

Cassandra’s gasp pops in his ear.

“You can’t tell me that damn ring is more important than my daughter’s life,” he says. “If you’re not a totally evil--”

“No. No. Let me get the information.” He can hear her moving. “Tim, I’m so sorry. I tried to make him go away. I tried to tell him--”

“I don’t care.” This isn’t about her. Not now. This is about getting Samantha safely away from JD. “Tell me the safe deposit information as soon as you have it. Do you have to call the bank and authorize JD to access the box? You can do that as soon as we get off the phone.”

“Okay.” She sounds shaky now. In a perverse way, Tim is glad. She should be nervous, she should be upset. This is not what he signed up for when he began dating her.

He can hear her clicking keys on her computer.

“You still there, Fisher?” JD asks on the other phone. “Say hi to your dad, kid.”

“Dad!” he hears Samantha gasp in the background. Is she crying? He doesn’t know how she wouldn’t be. He wonders how Diane is doing with the police, if his guesses about the car’s location were close enough to help them get to Samantha and whoever is with her.

He hopes JD means what he said: that when he gets this information from Cassandra, he will let the girls go. Tim has a horrible, horrible feeling about taking this lunatic at his word.

“Cassandra,” he snaps into the Blackberry. “Do you have it?”

“One second.” More clicks. “Here. Do you have a pen?”

He has had one ready for minutes now. “Yeah. Go.”


The spot where I-90 merges with the State Route 202 is an ugly one. The two right lanes fork off to 90, the third lane allows cars to choose either option, and the leftmost lane leads solely to SR-202, which a few miles down trails off into suburbia. Samantha knows the route because it is the quickest way to go from her grandparents’ house to her mother’s condo, but it is always a bit terrifying, because cars that got onto I-90 at the last entrance have to move over several lanes in under a mile in order to get onto 202. And at this time of day, because 202 quickly converges into a single lane, the traffic is often a nightmare.

It’s perfect.

Stealing glances in the rearview mirror, Samantha sees JD writing down whatever information is being relayed over the phone. He sure came prepared, she thinks, and if the situation weren’t so horrific, she might be amused by the idea of a madman holding them hostage but remembering to bring a pen and paper along with his gun.

As it is, she takes advantage of his distraction to drift over the line between her current lane and the one to her left, which has the fork coming up ahead. Doing her best to act as if it is an unintentional drift, she jerks the car to the left and into the next lane.

“Sorry,” she mumbles. Her whole body is shaking, vibrating, but something new is also surging within her: the confidence of a plan.

JD reads back a bunch of numbers to Tim, who must be checking them himself, or repeating them to Cassandra, or something. From what Samantha has gathered, this JD guy is Cassandra’s ex-husband, whom she has heard mentioned in passing a few times during conversations she probably was not supposed to hear.

Up ahead, to the left, she can see the stalled traffic.

“Not so fast,” JD says into the phone. “I hope you learned your lesson about keeping your damn fool mouth shut, Fisher. You breathe a word of this to anyone--that brother-in-law who’s a cop, whoever--and I come back for this kid and the boy, too.”

The merge is coming up ahead, very soon. Samantha prepares to move over.

Tim’s voice rips out of the phone: “Let them go!”

“Don’t think I’m fucking around, man.” JD directs his attention to Samantha and Tempest. “That goes for you two little bitches, too. You let anyone know about this, I come back for you. Got it?”

“Yeah. Okay,” they say, a discordant mishmash of agreement. Samantha tries to focus on making the merge onto 202 look as much like a mistake as she can.

“Damn right, I’m taking it,” JD says in response to something Tim says. “I’ll make her get off the freeway. They get out, I take the car, and you don’t even think about reporting it stolen, okay?”

Samantha begins to second-guess her plan. Maybe JD really is going to let them go. Maybe she should merge back over, toward the off-ramps--

And then she hears it. Based on the way the gun jerks off her skin and then pushes back into it, JD notices immediately, too.

Sirens. The police are coming.

“Ah, shit,” Tempest says as they all wait for the flashing lights to become visible in the mirrors.


What will JD do now that the police have arrived?
Will Samantha and Tempest be rescued?
What is Travis going to do about Elly and Danielle?
Come talk about this episode and more in the Footprints Forum!

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