Episode #606

- Claire paid Loretta a visit in jail to inquire about the mysterious birth certificate, but all Loretta did was stoke Claire’s fears about what it might mean.
- After his plot to bring her and Elly together backfired, Danielle pushed Ryan away.
- Alex went to visit Jason and found Sophie crying in her crib, while Jason--knocked out by sleeping pills--slept hard in his own room. When Alex confronted him, Jason became defensive and asked him to leave.


“Thank you for coming by,” Graham Colville says as he ushers Alex Marshall inside the house.

Alex steps into the grand foyer of his father’s home. He has only been here a handful of times, and the effect of the elegantly appointed dwelling has not yet faded. He marvels both at Graham’s taste and at the money clearly required to maintain it.

“Is everything okay?” Alex asks.

“Everything’s fine. Great, even.” This last part seems like a strain for Graham, a man not prone to excessive enthusiasm and especially not hyperbole. Alex finds himself still adjusting to the measured, mannered ways of this man who, despite being his father, is a veritable stranger.

Graham leads the way toward the kitchen. “Have you had lunch yet?”

“No,” Alex says. They pass through the dining room, where the table remains set at all times, as if a phantom dinner party might commence at any time.

“Excellent. We ordered some food in. I hope you enjoy it.”

In the kitchen, Graham reveals a spread of artisan sandwiches, salad, and olives that would be more fitting for a fundraiser luncheon than for one grown son dropping by to have a bite to eat.

“Help yourself,” Graham says, handing him a plate. He waits for Alex to begin gathering food before he takes a plate himself.

“I’m so sorry,” Sarah Fisher says as she hurries into the kitchen. “I thought I’d have time to stay for lunch--hi, Alex--” She pauses long enough to greet him with a one-armed hug. “--but I told my mother I’d meet her to go over plans, and I’m running late.”

Graham kisses her on the cheek. “That’s fine. It will give Alex and me time to catch up.”

Sarah spins in a circle until she finds her overstuffed purse tucked away on one of the kitchen counters. Alex stands back with his half-filled plate for a few seconds, watching the vaguely humorous scene, and then decides to speak up.

“I’m actually glad I caught you,” he says. “There’s something I wanted to--well, something I feel like I should mention...”

Purse in hand, Sarah pauses, apparently realizing the severity of whatever he wants to discuss. “What is it?”

“It’s Jason. I was at his house this morning, and...” Seeing their bold-faced concern, he hastens to add, “He’s fine. Sophie’s fine. But when I got there, Sophie was in her crib, wailing. I could hear her from outside. So I let myself in, and I went and got her, and Jason was nowhere to be found.”

While Graham reacts with a subtle tightening of his facial features, Sarah’s eyes threaten to leap out of her head, and she grasps Alex’s wrist. “He left her alone?” she says.

“No. No. He was... asleep. Hard. He’s been taking these sleeping pills, and--in his defense, the battery in the baby monitor died during the night, but--I’m worried about him. He’s trying to do too much. I offer to help, but he just shuts me down.”

“He’s been doing it to all of us for months,” she says, and Alex can see her mentally reviewing all the instances of such behavior. “Thanks for telling me, Alex. Sophie’s fine, right?”

“Yeah. Totally fine. Once I woke him up, he was mortified. Still...”

Sarah nods. “I need to swing by his house or the office later and check in.”

“I’m just worried he isn’t going to let anybody help him,” Alex says, “before something really bad happens.”

“It won’t come to that,” Sarah says, her resolve apparent.


Since Claire Fisher moved into her apartment, the closet beside the front door has been something of a lost territory. When she first arrived, she used it as a dumping ground for a few boxes that had not quite been cleared of loose ends. A few years later, the boxes and the loose ends remain, and she cannot remember the last time she opened the closet’s door.

Until today, that is. Now she frantically yanks the half-crushed cardboard boxes from the closet and attempts to evaluate their contents as she hears heavy footsteps coming down the hall.

“Where should we put this stuff?” Tim Fisher asks.

Claire turns to see her ex-husband with hands full of Target bags and a brand-new blue comforter propped on his arms. Their son follows him into the apartment, carrying an equally large load of new purchases.

“Put it all in here,” Claire says as she pulls the boxes away so that they can maneuver to the closet.

Tempest Banks emerges from the bedroom. “Are you guys sure you bought the entire store?”

Travis deposits several of the bags on the now-clear closet floor. “I need to make sure my dorm room is awesome.”

“Is there more stuff downstairs?” Tempest asks. “I can help.”

“Probably one more trip’s worth,” Tim says.

Tempest tells Travis, “Let’s go down and grab it.”

As they head out, Travis says to her, “Landon and I were going to meet some of the guys to shoot some hoops. You wanna come with?” Tempest agrees, and they bound out of the apartment toward the elevator.

“She seems to be doing well,” Tim observes once they are alone.

Claire nods, unable to remove her eyes from the empty doorway. Seeing Travis getting along so well with her new ward fills her with an immense sense of pride; the Travis of two or three years ago never would have been so welcoming. And it is a pleasure to see Tempest opening up, actually enjoying her place in a not-exactly-traditional family.

“She is,” Claire says. “To be honest, I’ve really come to enjoy having her around. She’s got a great sense of humor.”

“Good. You’re doing something really special by taking her in, Claire.”


“What’s the plan? Is there a plan? Are you going to adopt her, or...?”

“I don’t know,” she admits. “She’ll be eighteen next year. By the time we clear all that red tape, it might not be worth it. Especially because she doesn’t want to talk about her family, let alone have me find them.”

As she speaks, Claire’s gaze shifts to the end table beside the couch. Before Tim called to say they were downstairs with Travis’s new spoils, she was looking at a document... a document that now sits atop its manila envelope on the end table. She moves, as casually as she can, toward the table.

Luckily, Tim spends a lengthy moment lost in thought. “I can’t imagine growing up like that. It makes me realize how lucky I was.”

“I agree,” she says. She grabs the birth certificate and slides it back into the envelope.

“You didn’t exactly have it easy.”

“I know.” She realizes how distracted she sounds and hurries to place the envelope in the drawer.

“Is everything okay?” Tim asks. Then his eyes shift to the envelope in her hands, hovering over the open drawer. “What is that?”

“It’s nothing.” She shoves the envelope inside and closes the drawer with a too-eager slam.

She can tell that Tim is not buying her poorly sold nonchalance. “What’s going on?” he says. “What was that? And why are you acting weird?”


Josh Taylor wipes his brow as he steps through the sliding door at the back of the house and then closes the screen behind him. “You guys are nuts!” he calls out to his nephews, who continue playing some kind of game that was supposed to be baseball but has turned into something more closely approximating a kamikaze mission.

“Are they behaving?” Danielle asks from her perch at the kitchen island, where she has a view out the window that allows her to see the occasional glimpse of Caleb or Christian running by like a madman.

“I don’t know about behaving,” Josh says as he pours himself a glass of water, “but they’re having fun and don’t seem like they’re in danger of killing themselves.”

“I’ll take that.”

He pulls up a stool and joins his older sister at the island. “It’s good to run around with them. It’s fun. And it reminds me why I don’t need to have kids anytime soon.”

Danielle smirks. “You sure about that?”

Yes.” He stares her down. “Yes. Totally.”

“Things are going well with Lauren, though?”

“Yep. Just not even close to the point of, you know, talking about kids.” He pulls up the bottom of his grey t-shirt to wipe a few lingering beads of sweat from his face. “I can’t tell you how stoked Brent is to be back here all the time and be with the boys.”

“I can imagine. You guys are all set to move his stuff tomorrow?”

He gulps his water. “Yeah. What’s your read on it? Does it seem like Molly’s ready to put all this crap in the past?”

“I really think so,” Danielle says. “I don’t think she ever wanted him to move out in the first place. But things got so strained, with all this Loretta stuff.”

“Lauren and I ran into that Philip jackass the other day. He’s still hanging around and trying to play it like he had no idea what his maniac mother was doing.”

Danielle recognizes his tone well. Josh has always been the most stubborn of the Taylor siblings, unflinching in his judgments about people. If he deems someone a jerk, then he will most likely be a jerk until the end of time. Danielle is not so sure that everything with Philip Ragan is so cut-and-dry, but then again, she hardly knows the man at all. She decides to keep her mouth shut on the subject.

“Elly will be up here in a few weeks, too,” she says instead.

A smile works Josh’s mouth. “Why didn’t you ever tell us? We could’ve kept the secret.”

“It’s not that I don’t trust you guys...” Her shoulders rise and fall in a shrug. Now that everything is out in the open, it is hard for her to remember how dire it all once felt. “I promised Melanie and Tom. Elly is their daughter.”

“She’s your daughter, too.”

“No, she’s...” To be honest, she hasn’t quite worked out the specifics of it in her own head. “They’re her parents. I’m... I’m her godmother. I always have been. I’m glad that she knows, so we can have a different kind of bond.”

“I don’t know how you did that all those years,” he says before finishing his water in a big gulp.

“Because I had to. It was what was best for her.” Thoughts of the future fill her head, though, and she can feel the smile returning to her face. “I can’t wait to have her up here full-time, though.”

“Good. What about Ryan? You guys been talking?”

“Not really. I promised him we’d have lunch or something soon.”

“Do you want to do that?”

“Yeah. I do love him.” She doesn’t doubt that, but... “I don’t know if I can keep doing this with him. I guess that’s why I’ve put off dealing with it for a while.”

“You’ve given that guy a lot of second chances.”

“I know. And I’m not going to spend the rest of my life doing it.”

“You shouldn’t have to.” He leans toward her, dropping his voice to a conspiratorial low. “Look, this is some sappy shit, so if you tell anyone I said it... There were a lot of times I thought Lauren and I would never get it together. And it took a long time to happen. But now it is happening, and it’s awesome. Same with Brent and Molly. They had to go through some bad shit to get to where they are now. So if this thing with Ryan is supposed to work out, it will. If not, you’re better than that, anyway.”

“I know. Thanks.” She reaches out and squeezes his hand, but she still wishes that she could ignore the part of herself, somewhere deep in her core, that aches at the thought of having to be without Ryan.


Alex and Graham eat their lunch at the circular, dark oak table that sits by the bay window in the kitchen. Summer sunlight falls over the round table and their bodies in hard geometric lines.

“I can close the blinds if you’d like,” Graham offers midway through their meal, noticing Alex squinting against the sun.

“Not if you don’t mind,” Alex says. “The sun feels nice.”

They eat in relative quiet, with conversation cropping up and then tapering off into natural lulls. Rather than being awkward, though, there is something comfortable about it; Alex is learning that Graham is a man who does not fill space with idle chitchat, who is at ease with silence when it is appropriate and earned.

“There’s something I wanted to discuss with you,” Graham finally says, placing his half-finished sandwich down on the plate.

Alex smiles. “I had a feeling you had a reason for inviting me over aside from really wanting to order a huge spread of food for lunch.”

Graham wipes his fingertips on his napkin. “I do appreciate the opportunity to spend this time with you, Alex. It isn’t something I ever thought would happen, after your mother left with you...” Uncharacteristically, he trails off without completing the thought.

“And I thought you wanted nothing to do with me all those years. So this is all a really nice surprise--having you in King’s Bay and getting to know you.”

“It is.” Graham passes a hand over his finely combed brown hair; Alex finds it difficult to imagine the man with his hair mussed first thing in the morning. Maybe he wakes up this way. “That’s why there’s something I would like to ask you.”

“Go ahead.”

“As you know, Sarah and I are planning a small wedding. Family only, really. It’s only right, considering... well, considering that she’s been married before, and what happened at the last wedding in her family.”

The reference to Jason and Courtney’s tragic wedding day spins them both off into a reflective moment, and Graham allows it to pass before he continues.

“Nevertheless, I’d be honored if you would agree to stand up for me,” he says. “I’d like you to be my best man.”

Alex, having just stabbed at a kalamata olive with his fork, pauses. He should have seen this coming. Yet the offer arrives as a genuine surprise. He supposes that he hadn’t considered himself close enough to Graham for it to be a possibility, but it makes perfect sense.

“I’d love to,” he says, already conscious that the gap in conversation could be construed as hesitation. “Thank you for asking me.”

“Thank you for agreeing. It means a lot to me, Alex.”

“It means a lot that I’ll even be around for your wedding.”

Nothing further needs to be said on the matter. The men resume eating their lunches, silently appreciative of having reached this latest milestone in their relationship.


When Sarah arrives at her parents’ house, she rings the doorbell and hears her mother call out, “Come in!” She enters the living room and is surprised to see Paula on the sofa and Ryan Moriani in an armchair.

“Hi,” Sarah says to her half-brother. “I didn’t expect to see you today.”

“I wanted to speak to Paula about Jason,” Ryan explains. “I saw him a few days ago, and he seemed... not great.”

Sarah sets her bag down on the ground, her insides twisting with hesitation. While she wants to open up about what Alex told her, she also doesn’t want to get anyone else too alarmed about Jason. They all know he has been having a tough time since Courtney’s death, and getting everyone else involved might just exaggerate an already difficult situation. Then again, it has been months and months, and he has been so reluctant to seek help of any kind.

“There’s actually something I need to tell you guys,” she says, seating herself on the arm of the sofa.

Paula and Ryan look to her expectantly, already troubled by her tone.

“Right before I left the house, Alex came by to see Graham. He said that he had plans to see Jason this morning, but when he went over to his place, Sophie was crying and Jason was out cold.”

“Drunk?” Paula asks, sitting up straighter.

“Sleeping pills. I don’t want you to panic that he’s addicted to them or anything. I think he’s just really, really worn down, and it’s taking its toll.”

Paula is already on her feet. “I’m going to go over there. He needs one of us to stay with him for a few days and help him out.”

Sarah doesn’t disagree, but she moves to block her mother, and she sees Ryan ready to do the same.

“He’s not going to listen,” Ryan says. “We have to be a little more subtle than that. He’s too prepared to shut down anyone who suggests he isn’t in full control. He did it to me the other day.”

“I agree,” Sarah says. “We aren’t going to help the situation by storming in there. And the last thing we need is to push him further away.”

Paula remains on her feet, hovering over her freshly abandoned seat on the couch. She is not entirely convinced, though she seems to be considering the potential value of her children’s words.

“I need to talk to your father about this,” she says to Sarah.

“Why don’t we work on the wedding stuff, and we can both talk to Dad when he gets home from the restaurant?” Sarah suggests.

“Good idea. I need to get going, actually.” Ryan gives Paula a hug. “I’ll be in touch. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for Jason.”

“Thank you,” their mother says before going into the kitchen.

Ryan picks up his keys from the coffee table and addresses Sarah: “I’m worried about him. No matter what I do, it’s like--”

“--like he won’t accept help. I know.” She nods grimly. “The best thing we can do is be there for him as a unit--but not act like we’re ganging up on him.”

“Easier said than done.”

“Yeah.” She watches him move for the door and then says, “I’m glad you’re here, actually. There’s something else I need to talk to you about.”

Ryan cocks his head to the side as he waits for more information.

“I realize this sounds nuts,” she says, “but Diane’s sister turned up in King’s Bay with this new fiancé, and it turns out he is none other than Julian St. John.”

The name registers with Ryan in an instant, and his entire body appears to do a double take. “What? He’s out of prison?”

“He’s out and he’s peddling a book about his experience working for your father and going to jail.”

“That’s asinine!”

“He and Diane’s sister tried to get Vision to sign on to publish the book. They pitched it as being a good companion piece to yours--”

“Oh, that is horseshit. I hope Diane had a rare attack of common sense and refused.”

“Well, she hates her sister, so she wouldn’t even consider it,” Sarah says. “I just wanted to warn you that he’s out there and trying to profit from all that.”

“Thanks,” Ryan says, his mouth held in a tight line, but she can see the gears turning inside his head, working to solve a problem that hasn’t officially become a problem yet.


Claire’s heart thumps against the inside of her chest and threatens to cut off her breathing. Of course she wants to tell Tim--more than anyone, probably. If what she suspects is true, then...

“Claire,” Tim says, leveling a stern stare upon her. “What’s going on?”

But she has no proof yet. All she has are her suspicions, one suggestive document, and a bunch of snide comments from Loretta Ragan. She has to know more before she rattles the Fisher family all over again. It’s very possible there is nothing to worry about at all.

“It’s about Tempest,” she says. “From the social worker. I shouldn’t have left it out. I don’t want her to be embarrassed, that’s all.” She feels a pang of guilt for using Tempest as a cover story, but for the time being, it is the far more preferable option.

“Okay,” he says in that drawn-out manner that implies that he does not fully believe her but is going to let it slide for the time being. 

“How’s Samantha doing?” she asks, eager to redirect the conversation.

Tim’s eyes widen, and he draws in a deep breath that he then expels in a heavy rush. “She’s going to Dr. Arcaro this week. I think she’s having nightmares about what happened. How’s Tempest handling it?”

“Honestly? I had the social worker evaluate her, and she seems to have gotten past it.”

“I guess they’ve had very different life experiences, so it’s not surprising they’d handle it in different ways.”

“Yeah. Have you talked to Cassandra at all since then? Where is she?”

Tim holds up his palms. “No idea. We haven’t had any contact. I’m not sure that I want to have any.”

With that, Travis and Tempest come barreling into the apartment with the remainder of the Target bags. Discussion about Travis and Landon’s dorm room fills the space, and Claire allows herself to breathe a little easier. She is confident that she has thrown Tim off the trail of the birth certificate--for now. But she cannot go on this way for much longer; she needs to find answers, and she needs to find them soon... even if a large part of her would rather not know at all.


Should Claire tell Tim about her suspicions?
Should Danielle give Ryan another chance?
What should the Fishers do about Jason?
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