Episode #598

- Ryan and Travis hoped to bring Danielle and Elly together so that mother and daughter could finally reconcile.
- Molly and Brent’s separation took a turn for the worse when Brent caught her and Philip kissing.
- The Fishers were distressed to learn that Loretta was out on bail, since she has yet to be charged for the serious crimes she has committed over the years.


It is remarkable how much life can change in an instant. In the weeks since returning from her journey to New Hampshire, Claire Fisher has been unable to stop thinking about that reality. In the single moment that Loretta Ragan revealed that she had been married to Claire’s father, so many things about Claire’s life changed: the fact that she has two brothers she never knew about; the awareness of why her mother really left James; the sense of guilt--however unreasonable she keeps reminding herself it is--that she brought Loretta’s wrath upon the Fishers by pushing James to his death all those years ago.

Sometimes, however, the changes are bright ones. Today, as she sits in a crowd in a hot gymnasium and watches her son receive his high school diploma, Claire realizes that life has once again, irreversibly, transformed. Travis is no longer a high school student--certainly no longer a child. In the fall he will enter college. He recently turned eighteen and is, for legal purposes, an adult. Claire cannot fathom where the time has gone or the fact that she will never again be able to look at him and see her little boy... even if she will always think of him that way.

After the ceremony, the entire family and various friends move to Bill’s restaurant to celebrate. A spread of delicious food, which Claire has no doubt Bill spent all night preparing, stretches over a buffet table on one side of the room, and a banner that reads “Congratulations, Travis!” hangs over the table.

“I’ll wrap my mind around it eventually,” Claire says as she drapes one arm over her son’s shoulders. “I don’t know if the world is ready for Travis Fisher to be a legal adult, though.”

“Maybe I’ll get addicted to playing Lotto,” Travis says.

“Or going to strip clubs,” Landon Esco chimes in. Travis shoots him a look, and Claire shakes her head.

She swipes a finger at the tassle hanging from his graduation cap, which he is still wearing. “You don’t need to keep that on all day, you realize.”

“Well, I’m going to, because it’s the only day it’s not really weird to wear it.” Travis scarfs down the last of the skewered chicken on his plate. “You want any food, Mom?”

“I’m full, thanks. But go gorge yourself. You know it’ll make your grandpa happy.”

Travis and Landon head back to the buffet table to make sure no item of food goes untouched. Claire moves over to Bill and Paula, who are looking through photos on Bill’s new digital camera.

“Did you get some good ones of him getting his diploma?” Claire asks. “That guy in front of me wouldn’t get out of the way. Mine are all blurry.”

Bill scrolls back in the photo gallery and holds up the camera for Claire to see. “This one turned out pretty well, I’d say.”

“It did. Thanks, Bill.” Her gaze sweeps over the room. “Thank you for setting up this party, too. Everything’s terrific. Especially the food.”

“It’s my pleasure,” Bill says.

“You should be so proud of Travis,” Paula says. “He’s growing up into such a wonderful young man.”

Claire’s body suddenly stings with the emotion of realizing what an adult her son is becoming. The sensation has been washing over her on and off all day long. “I know. And I am proud.”

She still feels stiff around them, awkward. There has not exactly been a transition back to the way things used to be; after the trip to New Hampshire, the family has come together, but all of the tension that was boiling amongst them before--everything surrounding Brent and Molly’s marital problems and Paula’s perception of Claire’s role in them--has been swept under the rug.

She decides to do some actual clean-up now. “Thank you for including me in all of this, too. I know the past few months have been a little... strained...”

“I should apologize, too,” Paula says, touching a hand to Claire’s forearm. “I was so worried about everyone, especially Molly. It wasn’t fair of me to take that out on you.”

“I understand where you were coming from, I do.” She decides it is best not to mention that, despite understanding it, she found Paula’s allegations to be misplaced and unfair. These relationships are too important to jeopardize over a grudge. These people are her family.

“At least you actually did get some answers,” Bill interjects. “Now we know the truth about Loretta and why she did the things she did.”

“Now we can all move forward,” Paula says.

Claire manages an uneasy nod.

“What’s the matter?” Bill asks.

“It’s nothing,” she says, rather unconvincingly. Prompted by their looks, she explains, “I’m just worried that it isn’t all over yet. That Loretta has something else up her sleeve.”

A voice from behind her agrees: “I would bet on it.”



Outside, the day clings to the sun. The early summer evening is bathed in a warm, lazy glow, the kind that invites a sense of utter contentment. For Danielle Taylor, however, that rosy haze is not enough to distract her from the sense that she is about to impose. Attending a party for Travis’s graduation, when his girlfriend is the daughter who refuses to speak to her, seems inappropriate.

“It’ll be fine,” Ryan Moriani says as they near the restaurant’s entrance. “Travis understands that the situation with you and Elly is complicated.”

“I know,” she says, though she still feels odd at the prospect of facing Travis. He knows Elly so much better than Danielle does these days.

“Besides, I’m here because he’s my nephew, and you’re a part of my life. That is why you’re here.”

He opens the door and holds it for her to enter first.

Inside, Travis and Landon take their freshly acquired food over to where Elly is talking with Samantha.

“I can’t believe that happened to you,” Elly is saying. “It sounds like the kind of thing that only happens in movies.”

Samantha shakes her head. There is something intense about it, as if she is actually trying to dislodge the memories of being forced to drive at gunpoint. Travis slides up next to his sister and places an arm around her shoulders.

“But you made it out, and you don’t have to think about it anymore,” he says. He gets the feeling that Samantha has been spending a lot of time dwelling on the traumatic incident, even if she claims otherwise. He offers her shoulder a reassuring squeeze.

Thankfully, Samantha heeds his advice and changes the subject. “How was your graduation?” she asks Elly.

“About the same as this one. Long and dragged-out and then the part where you get your diploma goes way too quickly.”

“I can’t believe it’s over,” Travis says in between bites of a glazed chicken wing. “Like, we never have to be in high school again. That’s so weird.”

A big grin spreads over Landon’s face. “College is going to be amazing. El, you sure you don’t want to come to King’s Bay U with us?”

“I’m excited about Occidental,” Elly says.

Her discomfort with the subject is apparent. Travis has brought it up countless times, but he doesn’t think there will be any changing her mind, at least not until something else works itself out. Speaking of which...

He spies his uncle Ryan entering the restaurant, his hand intertwined with Danielle’s. They stop to greet Paula and Bill. Travis’s stomach tightens as he waits for what he knows is coming next.

Ryan and Danielle spot him and begin to approach. And then Danielle stops. Travis can feel the tension beside himself, too, as Elly sees her mother. Suddenly he wonders if this was a horrible mistake.



“There are my boys!” Molly Taylor happily exclaims as she rushes over to Caleb and Christian. She kneels down, and the twins simultaneously embrace her.

She glances up at Brent, who is standing with Jason near the buffet table. “How were they this weekend?”

“Very good. Even if someone--” He casts a dubious look at Caleb. “--tried to convince me to skateboard.”

“I told you I don’t like you on that skateboard. It’s dangerous,” Molly tells her son, but it is an admonition already tempered by grudging acceptance.

“Did you do it?” Jason asks. “I’d pay to see that.”

Brent shakes his head. “I tried. I made it about three feet and then hopped off.”

You need to be careful,” Molly says as she rises to her full height again. “How’s the new prosthetic feeling?”

“Great. Not really any kind of adjustment period.”

She offers him another stern warning look before asking, “Did Josh come?”

“No. He’s been with Lauren nonstop the past few weeks.”

“Seems like they’re back together,” Jason says. “Lauren’s even stopped talking about what a pain in the ass he is.”

They all quietly consider the implications of that for a moment. Then Brent’s attention moves to the restaurant’s entrance.

“I’m going to go say hi to Danielle,” he says at the sight of her and Ryan. “I keep missing her the past few days.” He heads off to greet his sister, leaving Molly alone with her younger brother and the twins.

“How are you?” Molly asks Jason. “I left a message on your cell the other day...”

“I know. Things got crazy at work, and I forgot to call you back. How have you been?”

She understands that, though it is a simple question on the surface, it actually contains a number of smaller questions inside. “Boys, why don’t you go get some food?” she tells Caleb and Christian.

Molly waits until the boys are out of earshot before she addresses Jason again. “I’m fine. Good, even.”

“You know what I mean.” He levels a knowing gaze upon her. “Have you talked to Philip at all?”

“No. I... I can’t even deal with that. He says he didn’t know any of this, and I want to believe him, but...”

“Yeah.” He hesitates before continuing. “What about you and Brent?”

She knew this was coming, and she is surprised by how ready with an answer she is. Eager, even. “I don’t know, but it’s... this is over, I guess. This investigation, and the danger. And if it is...”

“You think you guys might be able to get past this?”

Molly is scared to answer, scared to get her hopes up, and yet she cannot keep the thought inside, either: “I think we might.”



“You knew she was coming,” Elly says from beside Travis. There is no question about it--just a fact, a statement drenched in blame.

He is scared to answer, or even to face her. “Just talk to her,” he says.

“Travis. Congratulations,” Danielle says as she and Ryan arrive in front of the kids.

“I’m... gonna go get more food. Wanna come, Samantha?” Landon says. Samantha doesn’t even offer a response, just follows him over to the buffet as quickly as she possibly can.

Ryan offers his hand for Travis to shake. “Congratulations.” Travis mumbles his thanks, but neither of them is at all focused on the pleasantries.

“Congratulations to you, too,” Danielle says to Elly. The words are tentative, as if they are the first ones she has ever spoken. “Did you get the card I sent?”

Elly nods. “Yeah. Thanks.”

“Why don’t we give you two a moment alone?” Ryan says.

With a sharp glance at Travis--the kind that makes him very worried about being alone with her later--Elly says, “Don’t bother.”

“I didn’t know you were going to be here,” Danielle says. “I wouldn’t have come.”

“You’re both here now,” Ryan says. Travis wants to contribute, but he is too paralyzed by the realization of what a horrible idea this was. It seemed so clever on paper: tricking Elly and Danielle into being at the party together, shutting them away to talk, and then having them emerge as a happy mother and daughter. It doesn’t exactly look like that’s where this is headed, though.

Danielle stares hopefully at Elly, who will not even make eye contact with her. On anyone else, this behavior would seem ridiculously bratty, but as Travis watches Elly try so hard to avoid looking at her mother, he can see how much this is hurting her--how wounded she was by having the truth kept from her all those years, even when she asked Danielle flat-out if she knew anything about her biological parents.

“I’m going to go,” Danielle finally says. “Again, Travis, congratulations. Elly, I’m sorry for this. I’ll--I’ll leave you alone, I promise. I didn’t know about any of this.”

Ryan places a hand on her arm. “Don’t just walk out like that.”

Danielle’s face is tight with barely controlled anger. “Don’t tell me what to do, especially after you set me up this way. You know how I feel about being a mother. I lost mine when I was far too young. I had all these hopes for how it could be with Elly, how I could somehow make up for what I didn’t have, and...”

“I was only trying to help. To fix this for you.”

“It’s not helping! It’s making a joke out of it.” Danielle hitches her purse up higher on her arm and looks to Brent, who is now standing nearby, waiting to make sure she is all right. “I’m going to go home.”

With Brent on her tail, she makes haste in exiting the restaurant. Elly casts a disdainful look at Travis, who wants to melt from embarrassment.

“Nice work, boys,” she says, leaving Travis and Ryan to stew in the reality of what they have done.



“What makes you think that?” Bill asks Tim, who has just walked up to the conversation his parents and Claire are having about Loretta.

“Because she was powerful enough to pull all those strings from behind-the-scenes for years,” Tim says. He glances at Claire to confirm that this is what she is thinking, too. “I can’t imagine that being in prison would be too much of an impediment for her.”

Paula’s face goes slack at that realization. “Then what are we supposed to do? Have the woman killed?”

“That wouldn’t be the most unfair thing, after all she’s done,” Claire says.

They all fall quiet at the sight of Brent approaching.

“Listen, I’m about to take off,” he says, gesturing toward the front door. “But Danielle’s outside on the phone with Elly’s parents, and I wanted to tell you guys that I heard from my contact at the FBI this morning. They got Dr. Domingo to hand over records from his clinic. It looks like she’s going to be charged with Tim’s kidnapping very, very soon.”

“That’s amazing,” Claire says. “Thank you. Even if...”

“Even if what?” Brent asks.

Bill, Paula, and Tim all trip over an explanation before Tim takes the lead: “We were just talking about how, even if Loretta goes to prison, she isn’t going to stop this.”

“Maybe not. But the difference is that we’ll know who it is this time. She doesn’t have the anonymity she had before, which means she can’t get very far with anything.”

“I hope you’re right,” Claire says, as whatever relief she should be feeling about Loretta facing serious charges evaporates into the air.

“I need to get back to Danielle,” Brent says.

“Everything okay?” Tim asks. “I saw her come in and go over to Travis and Elly--”

“You guys should ask Travis what happened.” With that, he leaves them and heads out of the restaurant to rejoin his sister. He moves with such purpose that he doesn’t notice that Molly has been eyeing him from across the room, watching him interact with Claire and wondering if she was wrong--if anything is really going to change now.


Is Molly wrong to get her hopes up about Brent?
Does Loretta have something else planned for the Fishers?
Can Danielle and Elly be angry at Ryan and Travis?
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