Episode #599

- Samantha and Tempest survived being held hostage in a moving car by JD Robinson.
- Travis and Ryan conspired to reunite Elly and Danielle by having them both show up at Travis’s graduation party.
- When Elly spotted Danielle at the party, she was furious at having been set up and refused to talk to her mother.


A wall of traffic stands immobile a little bit up the road, waiting to greet Samantha Fisher’s car. Somewhere behind her--A few hundred feet? Half a mile? She has no idea--sirens blare, but the promise of their arrival feels more ominous than hopeful.

“Goddammit!” barks a voice from the backseat.

Samantha doesn’t have to look to identify the source of the voice. But she does anyway. One glance in the rearview mirror confirms what she already knows: JD Robinson is sitting behind her... a gun clutched in his hand.

Outside, rain falls around them. Samantha’s fingers tremble as she clutches the steering wheel and attempts to keep the car on the road.

She can feel Tempest Banks beside her, in the passenger seat, but she is too scared to look at her, too scared to take her eyes off the road. She presses her foot down on the brake, instructing the car to slow down for the traffic jam up ahead.

They’ll have to jump out of the car. That is the only option.

Only the brake doesn’t work. She presses harder, harder, but her foot simply sinks into the floor, and the car travels onward. It doesn’t accelerate, doesn’t race, just presses on at that same moderate pace.

“Stop!” Tempest cries out.

“I can’t!” Samantha pushes down harder, but she cannot even feel her foot now, cannot find the brake or the gas or anything. The cars up ahead grow larger.

“Stop the fucking car!” JD shouts. His palm reaches out and smacks her in the side of the head. Samantha feels her skull crash into the window. Pain sears through her brain and her cheek and her jaw--and then it happens.

They hit the first car. It scatters off into the air. Then they hit another, and another. With each collision, it is like her head is hitting the window again, only she feels it all over her body. And the brake is nowhere to be found underfoot.

So she does the only thing she can do: she screams.

“Samantha! Samantha, wake up!”

Then she feels hands on her shoulders, hands reaching up to touch her cheeks. And when she opens her eyes, she is not in the car at all-the car that was totaled weeks ago--but in her bed at her mother’s condo, and Diane is standing over her, white as a sheet.

“What’s wrong?” Diane asks, still holding onto her. “You were screaming in your sleep. Were you having a nightmare about the car?”

It does not even need to be a question, because they both know the answer already.


Once the celebration at the restaurant dies down and all the guests have been thanked for their gifts, Travis Fisher is finally able to head home. It has been a long, exhausting day, from the chaotic morning of everyone getting ready to the unnecessarily long wait to walk into the graduation ceremony--not to mention the lengthy ceremony itself. Unfortunately, the car ride home is anything but relaxing; there is a painful tension between him and Elly Vanderbilt that fills the car like noxious gas.

When they reach his grandparents’ house, Elly makes a beeline for the staircase, presumably to go hide in Samantha’s room, where she has been staying during this visit.

“Wait,” Travis says. “Can we just talk a little bit?”

She stops on the second step. “Talk about what? You did it, it happened, the end.”

Travis cringes at the reminder of how badly his plan blew up in his face. “I just wanted you and Danielle to... have a chance to talk or whatever.” It sounds lame even as he says it.

“No, you wanted us to magically make up so that I’d decide to go to KBU instead of Occidental.”

He can’t really deny that.

“I’m going to pack my stuff,” she says, turning back up the stairs. “I texted my mom to change my flight so I can leave in the morning.”

“Elly--” But it is a feeble protest, and in a matter of seconds, she has disappeared upstairs. Travis stands in the middle of the living room, trying to figure out his next move, as his father enters from the kitchen.

“That didn’t sound too good,” Tim says.

“Yeah. No kidding.” Travis folds his arms in front of his chest. “God, I really screwed this up. As usual.”

“What was happening, anyway? You didn’t tell Elly that Danielle would be at the party?”

“I thought maybe it would help, if she just had to talk to her.”

“I’m surprised Danielle would be okay with ambushing her daughter that way.”

“She didn’t know, either,” Travis says. He knows it is a mistake even as he continues: “Ryan didn’t tell her that Elly would be there.”

“Wait, wait.” Tim holds up both his hands. “Do you mean to tell me that you were in cahoots with Ryan on this?”


On the porch of another house across town, a man waits for the doorbell to be answered--unlike the countless phone calls he has placed in the past few hours. When the door does open, however, it does not reveal the person Ryan Moriani hopes to see.

“Leave her alone,” Brent Taylor tells him.

“I need to see her,” Ryan says. “We have to talk about this.”

“No. This is enough, Ryan. I never should’ve let you get close to her in the first place.”

“You don’t get to ‘let’ Danielle do anything. She’s a grown woman. If she doesn’t want to see me, let her tell me that herself.”

“I don’t want to see you,” comes the voice from somewhere inside the house. Ryan adjusts his position and sees Danielle leaning against the entry to the kitchen.

Brent’s face curls up in that obnoxious policeman’s sneer. “Good enough for you? Now get out of here. You’ve done enough damage.”

“I’ll handle this,” Danielle says, approaching the door. Suddenly Ryan is a lot more fearful of facing her than he was of dealing with her brother.

Brent reluctantly steps aside. “Call out if you need anything,” he says.

Danielle steps out onto the porch, closing the door behind her. “Why do things like this keep happening?” she says before he can even begin to defend himself. “Why are there all these little ‘surprises’ popping up? It’s like there’s no actual trust between us.”

The severity of that assertion tears into Ryan like a bullet to the gut. He sputters over several beginnings before he is able to push out a coherent statement.

“I was trying to help you and Elly,” he says. “And Travis. I want you to be happy and complete and--you’ve done so much for me. This was my backwards way of--”

“Don’t.” She presses her eyelids together hard, as if trying to block him out. “Don’t turn this around and make it some wildly considerate thing you did. You ambushed me. And a seventeen-year-old girl who’s dealing with some really heavy stuff.”

“Obviously it wasn’t the most selfless act in the world, but... I’m sorry. Okay? I am. I’m truly, truly sorry for misjudging the situation. But I love you, and I wanted to do this for you.”

She reaches for the doorknob. “Brent was right. You’ve done enough. Go home, Ryan.”

She opens the door and then, in a flash, closes it in his face.


“No. Just a bad dream. I don’t even remember...” Samantha struggles to pull herself to a sitting position, needing her mother to remove her hands.

“Are you sure?” Diane asks, her gaze as intent as a homing missile.

“Yeah. It’s--Mom, don’t worry.”

Samantha hopes that she buys it. Diane has that look in her eyes like she might go out and murder someone just for daring to disturb her daughter’s sleep--and since JD Robinson is dead, someone else would probably have to take the hit.

“We can get you a new therapist,” Diane says. “If this one isn’t doing enough--God, Claire picked him out for Travis. Not exactly the person you want selecting your mental health professionals.”

“Mom. I’m fine.”

Even as she says it, she feels the crack of JD’s hand against her head. An involuntary shudder rocks her body.

“I know you want to be fine,” Diane says, her voice relaxing into something less strident, “but what you went through--no one expects you to just pick up and move on. It was traumatic. And I don’t want you hiding anything from me. Tell me if something is wrong, and I’ll do everything I can to help you.”

Samantha lowers her head back to her pillow. “Thanks, Mom.”

“I will find another therapist if this one isn’t getting the job done.”

“Dr. Arcaro is fine. I promise.”

With a skeptical look still plastered on her face, Diane reaches for the light switch. “Do you want me to leave this on?”

“No, I need it to be dark to sleep,” Samantha says, even though she suspects that her sleep tonight will be just as poor as it has been since that night.


Travis briefly entertains thoughts of bolting out the front door and running into traffic. That might be preferable to having to tell his father about his ill-advised plot with his uncle.

“I think ‘in cahoots’ is a little melodramatic,” he says, hoping to calm the waters.

“He tried to have me locked up for a murder he committed! Or thought he committed,” Tim says.

“I thought you were over it, not holding a grudge or whatever.”

“I can be in the same room as him without needing to go up to him and punch him in the face. That doesn’t mean I want my son getting roped into his little plots.”

“It wasn’t a plot!” Travis counters. “We just wanted Elly and Danielle to have to talk. They don’t need to stay like this forever.”

“I don’t disagree, but it isn’t up to any of us when or how or if they choose to make up.” Tim takes a moment to compose himself. “Elly said she was going to leave in the morning?”

Shame stings Travis all over again. “Don’t remind me.”

“Maybe she’ll cool off in the next few hours. Don’t push her.”

“I’m kinda learning that lesson.”

Tim takes a few slow steps closer to him, eventually placing a hand on Travis’s shoulder. “I know it seems like the most important thing in the world to have Elly in King’s Bay next fall. I get it. But college is going to be a whole new world, and--”

“And what? I’m supposed to just forget about her?” Travis shakes off his father’s hand. “It’s not gonna happen.”

Instead of responding, Tim merely regards him with a tight-lipped nod. Travis is about to plead his case further when he spots Elly descending the stairs.

“I need to... can you give me a ride someplace?” she asks Travis.

“Yeah. Of course.” He pulls his keys from his pocket, ready to go. “Wait, you’re not trying to do something crazy to go home right now, are you?”

She shakes her head. “No. There’s something else I have to do.”


Ryan sits in the driver’s seat of his Acura for several minutes, staring at the house and contemplating his next move. He still finds it difficult to believe how badly he screwed this up, how awry this entire plan went. In the time that he has known Danielle, he has learned that there is no trying to force her into anything (So why did he think it would be different with the Elly situation?), and so finally, he starts his engine and prepares to leave her alone for a little while.

He is about to put the car in reverse when another car pulls in behind him. In his mirror, he sees a surprised Molly begin to pull back out so that he can leave. Ryan puts his car back in park and holds a hand out the window telling her not to go. Moments later, the siblings are standing between the cars.

“Did you talk to her?” Molly asks.

“It might be more accurate to say that she talked to me,” Ryan explains, “and none of it was especially positive. I need to give her some time to cool off.”

“Probably wise.” Molly’s eyes roam the hood of her car, unwilling to connect with his gaze as she considers her next words. “You really thought this was a good idea?”

“I know, I know. Believe me, I’ve heard it enough.”

Molly softens as she finally makes eye contact again. “I hope there’s at least a lesson you can take away from this.”

“Absolutely.” It occurs to him that the lesson might be for naught, if Danielle chooses not to let him back into her life. The thought twists in his guts like a knife. “I can’t lose her. She’s too good.”

“Then think about that before you start trying to play chess with her life.”

He nods slowly, waits for some intelligent response to manifest itself. Molly moves to his side and places a hand upon his shoulder.

“I know what you’re thinking right now,” she says. “You’re trying to figure out a way to fix this. Calling Elly, maybe? Pleading Danielle’s case with her?”

Ryan confirms this with a sideways glance.

“Well, don’t. Don’t do anything. Support Danielle--don’t try to engineer her life. There’s a difference.”

He quietly accepts her advice and tries to resign himself to the utter helplessness of the situation.


“Elly isn’t going to feel this way forever,” Brent says as he hands Danielle a mug of steaming hot tea. “She’ll come around.”

She accepts the tea with a grateful smile. “I hope so.”

“She will. Especially once she doesn’t feel like she’s being pressured. I’m sure Travis isn’t helping, trying to get her to come here for college.”

“He’s a kid. He’s in love. I get it.” She sighs heavily, sending curls of steam floating off in every direction. “And Elly will... well, I don’t know that she’ll change the way she feels about me. But she has a lot of growing up to do, and with growing up comes change, and... I have to have faith in that.”


“Truth be told, Ryan’s the one I’m really worried about.”

The moment of apparent sympathy invokes a flame inside Brent’s chest. That man, after all the stunts he has pulled, gets way too much of a pass from way too many people. Brent has no intention of sitting back and watching his sister’s life be shredded to pieces because of her need to take care of a stray.

She beats him to the punch. “I know what you’re going to say. ‘Don’t worry about him. Don’t think about him. You’re too good for him.’ And I appreciate it, Brent, I do. I know you’re watching out for me.”

“I should’ve watched out for you from the beginning and kept that guy away from you.”

“No.” It is a firm reprimand, the kind that Danielle can somehow deliver without sounding like a bitch. It represents a kind of quiet strength that Brent doesn’t even think she knows she possesses. “I care about Ryan. Something about him... we’ve connected. But I’m also beginning to think that he doesn’t want to change, and if this is going to be an endless cycle of him doing these impulsive, destructive things--” She shakes her head. “That isn’t the way we do things in recovery, and it’s not the way I’m going to live my life.”

“I’m glad to hear you say that. Take care of yourself. That’s all I’m worried about here.”

“I know.” She takes a first sip of the hot tea, and down the hall, the front door opens and closes.

“He just left,” Molly says as she enters the kitchen. Brent is relieved that she does not try to plead Ryan’s case with Danielle.

“The boys are upstairs,” Brent tells Molly. “I told them they could watch some TV while we...”

“Good thinking. Danielle, how are you?”

“I’ve been worse,” she says with a faint grin.

The doorbell rings, and all three of them move for the entryway. But Danielle sets her mug down with a decisive clink and maneuvers in front of them. “You spoke too soon,” she says to Molly. “Let me handle him.”

Brent and Molly remain in the kitchen, waiting for some sign that they are needed as backup at the front door.

“I’ll get going in a few minutes,” Brent says. “I didn’t want to leave her alone.”

“That was thoughtful.” Molly has more words ready, more things to say about Danielle’s situation, but the sight of her husband here, in their kitchen in their home, hits her harder than she would have expected. Feelings come rushing back like wild waves over the shore, feelings of comfort and familiarity and reassurance.

“Are you hungry?” she says. “I can make something. I’m sure the boys would like it if you hung around for a while.”

Brent smiles back at her.

Meanwhile, in the entryway, Danielle reaches for the doorknob, then pauses a moment to ready her nerves. She has nothing else to say to Ryan, at least not yet, and she fears that he will be able to talk her out of her anger before she is ready for that.

She is already speaking as she pulls the door open. “Look, I--”

But it is not Ryan’s face that greets her. It is another face, one that she never expected to see here tonight.

“Hi,” Elly says.


Why has Elly come to Danielle?
Has Ryan finally pushed Danielle too far?
How can Samantha get past what JD did?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to talk about it all!

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