Episode #615

- Molly told Brent that she didn’t believe their marriage could work. She asked him to move out of their home again.
- On the one-year anniversary of Courtney’s death, Jason finally lost control of his emotions. His behavior troubled Helen Chase, who made a comment to Paula about pursuing custody of Sophie if Jason were not fit to raise the child.
- Sarah and Diane had a falling-out over Diane’s decision to publish Julian St. John’s book, while Ryan remained determined to stop the book from becoming public.
- After speaking with Kathleen Bundy, Claire suspected that James and Loretta switched Kathleen’s baby with her own son eighteen years ago.


“Where did I leave my cup of coffee?”

Molly Taylor comes down the stairs, hurrying as much as she can while still being careful in her high heels. She is still fastening one of her pearl earrings as she sweeps through the foyer.

“I saw it on the end table in the family room,” Brent Taylor says stiffly from the spot by the front door where he has assembled several suitcases and boxes.

“Thanks.” Despite the grateful nature of the word, there is something cold and removed about it. Brent is not sure if the tone is intentional; he is simply very aware of how awkward and strained things feel between him and his wife today.

“All right, kiddos, I think I’m ready to head out!” he calls.

Caleb and Christian come running in from the living room. They are already dressed in their khaki pants and sweater vests.

“Why can’t you come to Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa’s?” Caleb asks.

“Because,” Brent says, feeling incapable of adding any adequate words to that meaningless one. “Mom and I are going to be doing things a little differently from now on. Not that differently--you know how it was when I was staying at Uncle Josh’s?”

Caleb glowers at him. “Yeah. That was stupid.”

Brent tries to ignore the jab. “Well, I’m living there again now. And we had our Thanksgiving breakfast together. You guys can go have fun at Grandma and Grandpa’s now.”

Christian grasps his hand but doesn’t say anything. Caleb, however, folds his skinny arms across his chest and says, “I want you to come.”

“I told you, I’m not coming to dinner over there, buddy. That’s why we made pancakes before.”

“This sucks,” Caleb says.

“Watch the language,” Brent warns.

Molly enters the foyer, both earrings affixed and the lost cup of coffee in her hand. She looks as if she needs the last drips of caffeine.

“Mommy, why won’t you let Daddy come to Thanksgiving?” Caleb says.

She struggles to conceal her reaction to the accusation. “Because your dad is doing Thanksgiving with Uncle Josh and Grandpa Bob.”

Caleb stares hard at her. “You’re being mean to Daddy.”

“Mom is not being mean,” Brent intercedes, “and actually, you need to be a little nicer to her.”

“Why don’t you guys go put your shoes on?” Molly tells the twins. “The brown ones.”

Grumbling, Caleb and Christian head upstairs to locate their shoes. Brent can tell how rattled Molly is by Caleb’s hostility.

“He didn’t mean any of that,” Brent says. “He’s just confused.”

“I know.” She takes a sip from the coffee cup. “At least you were able to spend the morning with them.”


For a split second, he thinks there might be an invitation to dinner coming. Maybe Caleb’s resistance will show Molly that this is wrong--that Brent should still be living here, that they should all be a family together.

The invitation does not come.

“I should get this stuff into the car,” he says, already picking up two boxes. Molly opens the door for him, and after making sure that his prosthetic leg is steady, he carries the boxes out to the car.

He transfers the rest of his belongings to the trunk and backseat of the SUV as quickly as he can. Then he goes back inside one last time, to say goodbye to his sons and wish them a happy Thanksgiving. It was never supposed to be like this.


“Just a club soda with lime for each of us. Thanks.”

Ryan Moriani stands by while Bill Fisher prepares the drinks for him and Danielle Taylor.

“No wine? You’re sure?” Bill asks Ryan.

“No, thanks.” Ryan accepts the glasses from him and hands one to Danielle. Since he showed up at Danielle’s AA meeting to support her--to show that he understands why sobriety is important to her--he has been conscious of drinking in front of her. If wine and liquor are the biggest sacrifices he has to make to enjoy a relationship with Danielle, then he has it pretty damn good.

He spots Diane Bishop in the living room, greeting Paula and handing her coat to Travis. He notes that Sarah makes no move to greet her best friend; they must still be at odds over Diane’s decision to publish Julian St. John’s book. Ryan was hoping that he would have the opportunity to work on Diane today, and there appears to be no better time than the present.

“Excuse me for a minute,” he tells Danielle and Bill, who have already lapsed into conversation about Brent and Molly’s marriage and living situation.

“Just who I hoped to see,” Ryan says as he approaches Diane.

Diane scowls at him. “Are you fishing for sarcastic comebacks, or…?”

“You know what I want to discuss.”

“I’m painfully aware, believe me.”

Ryan decides to try a different strategy. “I noticed Sarah didn’t come over to say hello to you.”

“What, are you stalking me?” Diane snaps. Nevertheless, Ryan can tell that he has hit a sore spot.

“Shouldn’t the fact that your best friend won’t even wish you a happy Thanksgiving tell you something? Like, oh, that publishing this book was a horrible idea and you should stop it while you can?”

“It tells me that you’re a transparent pain in the ass who isn’t above using his sister to get what he wants.” She flips her short, dark hair and then her gaze settles anew on Ryan. “Speaking of which, why are you so concerned about this book? Everyone knows you were involving with Nick’s business for years and years.”

“Because I don’t want it all dredged up again!” Even as his heart pounds, he lowers his voice. “Things are going well between Danielle and me again. The Fishers have finally given me a second chance. I don’t need them all to be reminded of what a terrible person I used to be.”

“Bullshit. There’s something else. Something Julian knows that you are terrified will come out in the book.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ryan says, but it comes out a second too late to be fully convincing.

At that precise moment, Danielle comes up beside him. “Everything okay?” she asks, leveling a disdainful gaze upon Diane. 

“Everything is absolutely fine,” Ryan says, taking Danielle’s arm.

Diane lets out a huff. “I need a damn drink.” With that, she sashays into the dining room.

“What was that all about?” Danielle asks, clearly aware that there was more going on than some casual sniping.

“We were talking about Julian St. John’s book,” Ryan says, “and the fact that Diane is throwing away her friendship with Sarah to publish it.”

“Maybe that’s not such a bad thing for Sarah.”

“Maybe.” Ryan sips his club soda nervously, saying a silent prayer that Diane does not follow up on her hunch about what Julian might know about Ryan.


“I’ll have a beer. Just one tonight, though.”

Bill obliges, handing his son a cold beer from the small bucket filled with ice that sits atop the bar cart.

“How did it go at Don and Helen’s?” Bill asks.

“Fine.” Jason lifts his eyebrows, a move that implies much more, and continues, “Basically I dropped Sophie off at 9 a.m. and picked her up on my way here. I don’t think we said more than ten words to one another.”

“Maybe it’s best to give things time to settle.”

The ghost of what happened at Jason’s house the other day--Jason’s outburst that ended in him throwing a vase across the room, shattering it--lingers over them, but neither wants to raise the subject. In the wake of that incident, Bill and Paula have taken turns sleeping in Jason’s guest room, despite his insistence that he doesn’t need company. Technically, he is right; he is perfectly capable of functioning and taking care of Sophie on a day-to-day basis. But they both want to believe that having family nearby might somehow aid him in becoming less of a robot and more of the man he used to be.

“I hope so,” Jason says. “I don’t like having all this… tension between the Chases and me. They’re Sophie’s grandparents.”

Paula emerges from the kitchen, an apron tied around her body, and hears them as she enters the dining room.

“Was everything okay with the Chases?” she asks, her voice spiked with concern.

Jason shrugs. “Yeah. It was fine. Just awkward.”

“But you were polite? You showed them you were perfectly all right?”


“Good. Jason, it’s very important that you don’t provide Helen and Don with any more…” Paula hesitates over her word choice. “…ammunition.”

“Ammunition? What are you talking about, Mom?” He sets down his beer hard on the dining room table, and foam runs out the top of the bottle.

Bill grabs a dishtowel to mop up the spill, while Jason continues to grill Paula: “What aren’t you telling me?”

“The day of the memorial at your house,” she says, “after we put you to bed… Helen said some things to me.”

“What things?”

“She said that… if you aren’t capable of taking care of Sophie…” Paula casts an uncertain glance at Bill, who grimaces at the mere idea. “Then she and Don would pursue custody.”

“That’s such crap!”

Tim and Travis, standing only a few feet away, turn instinctively at Jason’s raised voice. He waves away their alarm and then says to his parents, in a much quieter voice, “They can’t do that. I’m perfectly capable of taking care of Sophie. I had one bad… am I not allowed to grieve for my wife?”

“Of course you are,” Paula says. “You just need to be aware, especially around Helen and Don, of how you act. We need to let this pass, that’s all.”

“I think it might be helpful if you enrolled in some kind of counseling,” Bill says. “Grief counseling or something.”

Jason flinches at the very thought. “I told you--”

“I know,” Bill cuts him off. “But it might help demonstrate that you’re working through your grief and rebuilding your life. If it comes down to a legal matter, then it might make a big difference.”

“Maybe.” Jason nods, though it is clear that he is not at all comfortable with the idea.


“Could I have a glass of white wine? I need it.”

Molly stands at the makeshift bar in her parents’ dining room while her sister pours her a glass of Chardonnay. She accepts the glass gratefully from Sarah and takes a gulp.

Sarah, ready to move along with her own glass of wine, stops at the sight of Molly downing the wine like a runner drinking water at the end of a marathon. She could apply a lot of negative labels to her sister, but “heavy drinker” is not one of them.

“You okay?” Sarah asks tentatively.

Molly nods but then lets out a contradictory sigh. “Brent came over to see the boys earlier today. He moved out the last of his things.”

Sarah drops her head respectfully. “Sorry. I know how horrible that feels.” Literally, she thinks, remembering the time when Brent left her for Molly. Probably best not to mention that right now.

“I felt so bad for the boys when they had to say goodbye to him,” Molly says.

“You feel bad for yourself, too.”

“No, I’m not--”

“Molly. What I’m saying is, you’re allowed to admit that you feel bad about this. It’s not just about Caleb and Christian. It’s your marriage.”

“You’re right.” Molly stares down into the pale yellow pool of wine. “For all those months that Brent was staying with Josh, it felt like… I don’t know… something temporary. It felt like, once the Loretta case passed, things would go back to normal. And it seemed like they were going to.”

“Yeah,” Sarah says. The “but…” is implied.

“He moved back in, and I thought everything was fine, but it’s like we were only pretending. Too much has changed.” The time, Molly draws another sip of the wine. “This time, it feels like our marriage really is over. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now.”

Molly is aware of an awkward tension between them, a space in the conversation where sisters who are closer might share a hug. Instead, Sarah touches a hand lightly to Molly’s forearm; for them, it is a significant gesture.

“I wish I had some magical fix to tell you about,” Sarah says, “but for me, it was time. You do your best to live your life and be a parent. You focus on work. And day by day, it gets a little less awful. That’s how it was when Matt and I split up.”

“And now you’re about to get married again.” Molly forces a hopeful smile, as if to say, If that’s how your story winds up, maybe that’s how mine will go, too.

“Yep. Let yourself grieve. That’s the best advice I can give you.”

“Thanks, Sarah.” Molly downs the rest of her glass. “Now how about another glass? I think I’m allowed tonight.”


“More sparkling cider?”

“I don’t think a little champagne would hurt,” Tempest Banks says, nevertheless holding out her glass.

“Nice try.” Claire Fisher smiles at the teenager and pours her more sparkling cider. Then, after refilling her own glass, Claire lifts it in the air. “Happy Thanksgiving, Tempest.”

“Happy Thanksgiving.” The sound of their glasses touching rings in the air, and they drink.

“You know, I haven’t had a real Thanksgiving in a long time. Like, turkey and all this stuff,” Tempest says. “It’s pretty nice.”

“I’m glad you’re enjoying it.” Claire studies the girl, waiting for her to say more. When she doesn’t, Claire prompts, “What did you do for the holidays last year?”

Tempest shrugs. “Nothing, I guess. Just hung out.”

Claire sees the familiar curtain of silence coming down over Tempest’s face, as it often does when anyone asks about her time as a runaway. As much as she hopes that Tempest will one day feel comfortable opening up to her, she doesn’t want to press too much; she hopes that Tempest is at least discussing these things during her meetings with the social worker.

A knock on the door interrupts them. Claire hops up from her seat, fairly certain who it might be.

“Hey,” Brent says, glancing past her into the apartment, where Tempest sits at a table filled with serving dishes heaping with delicious-looking food: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, rolls…

“I don’t want to intrude,” he says.

“Oh, please. You’re not intruding at all.” She steps aside to let him in. “I told you to come over, didn’t I?”

“Yeah.” Brent removes his coat. “Hi, Tempest. Happy Thanksgiving.”

“Happy Thanksgiving,” Tempest says.

“I didn’t mean to sound crazy when I texted you,” Brent tells Claire, his tone highly apologetic, almost embarrassed. “I was just so rattled.”

“Understandably so. Here, have a seat.” She ushers him to the dining table and hands him a plate. “Help yourself.”

“Thanks.” He seems more grateful than is necessary as he fills his plate. “This looks amazing.”

“We spent most of the day cooking,” Claire says.

“So you helped out, huh?” he asks Tempest.

“I’m not too bad at cooking,” she says with exaggerated nonchalance.

“Can I get you something to drink?” Claire asks Brent. “We’re having sparkling cider, but I have some wine in the kitchen.”

“I’d love some, if you don’t mind.” He finishes scooping some mashed potatoes onto his plate. “Here, let me help you.”

They head into the kitchen. Claire pulls out a bottle of merlot, and she hands it to Brent to open.

“Thanks for inviting me, seriously,” he says as he locates the corkscrew in a drawer.

“We’re happy to have you. It sounds like you’ve had a rough day. I’m sure you would rather be with the twins.”

His head dips solemnly. “I’d rather not talk about it, honestly.” He sets about removing the cork. “Have you done any more thinking?”

As Claire retrieves a glass from the cabinet, she says, “It’s all I’ve been doing.”

“Any idea what your next move is going to be?”

“Proof. I can’t tell anyone until I have the proof. If I tell Travis or Tim, and it turns out not to be true, I’d be turning their worlds upside-down for nothing.”

“Yeah.” Brent pours himself a glass of wine. “Sure you don’t want one?”

She contemplates it for a moment, then gets out a glass for herself. She watches as Brent pours her some, as well.

“How are you going to get proof, then?” he asks.

“Well, I have Travis’s birth certificate. So I know what his blood type is supposed to be. And I have the--the other boy’s, too. They’re not the same. I need to check Travis’s actual blood type against those, and then…”

“What about the other kid? Spencer? How are you going to test him?”

“I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it,” she says, accepting the glass of wine from him as eagerly as if it were a solution to this life-changing dilemma.


“Hold that bottle for me, would you?”

Sarah freezes at the bar when Diane calls out to her. She holds the open bottle of Chardonnay in mid-air and waits for Diane to cover the remaining distance to the bar and the waiting bottle.

“Here you go,” Sarah says stiffly, handing off the bottle.

“Thank you.” Diane takes it but makes no move to fill her glass. “Can we talk?”

“If you want. I’m not sure we have much to talk about.”

“Sarah. Come on. We have a hell of a lot to talk about.” Diane sets down both the wine and her half-empty glass. “I’m sorry, all right? I genuinely am.”

“I believe you.”

“You do?”

“Yeah.” But something about Sarah’s body language remains uninviting. “I just don’t think that means much anymore, unfortunately.”

“Doesn’t mean much? I screwed up. Big time. I’m really, truly sorry.”

“I understand that. But you still signed Julian to a contract because it was convenient to you, even though you knew how I felt about it. Just like you made my mom admit Ryan was her son on the stand in court, even though you knew it would hurt our family. You do what benefits you, regardless of how it’s going to affect people you say you care about.”

Diane recoils. If most people laid into her this way, she would laugh them off and move on with her day. Sarah, however, is one of the few people whose opinion actually matters.

“Okay, look,” she says, lacking some of her characteristic poise. “I’m a bitch. I’m a mean, self-serving bitch. I acknowledge that. And usually it gets me what I want, everyone else be damned.”

“That’s kind of the problem,” Sarah says.

“But the thing is, what I want in this case is to be your friend. I haven’t had a lot of real friends. I had Brian, and I managed to foul that up. And God knows I never had a real sister. Your friendship--you--mean a lot to me.”

Sarah absorbs that in silence. Diane can see the contemplation going on behind her eyes and hopes that her words are making an impact.

“I don’t know what more I can say or do,” Diane continues. “We’re too far along in the process for me to pull Julian’s book, and honestly, I do need this thing to save my ass at Vision. But I promise that there will not be any mention of you or what Julian pulled on you in that book--”

“You already said that, and I appreciate it. It’s just--”

“I need you to give me another chance. That’s all. Let me prove to you that I understand why you’re upset. Give me the opportunity to prove that I know what it means to be a real friend.” Diane would be cringing at how corny the words sounded if she didn’t mean them so sincerely.

Sarah doesn’t say anything for a long time. Diane is vaguely aware of the rest of the Fishers swirling around them, bringing bowls and platters from the kitchen and setting them on the dining room table. Thanksgiving dinner, however, is the furthest thing from her mind; she just needs to know that Sarah is not going to write her off.

“I don’t know if it’s the holiday spirit or just insanity,” Sarah finally says, “but something is telling me I should give you that second chance. Third chance. Whatever.”

“Thank God. I promise not to actively cause harm to you or your family.”

“Let’s not go crazy here,” Sarah says with a grin.

“You know what I mean.” At last, Diane refills her wine glass and returns the Chardonnay to the little bar. Before she takes a drink of it, though, she pulls Sarah into a tight embrace.

“Dinner is served!” Paula calls out as she lays the turkey on the table.

“You wouldn’t happen to still need a maid of honor, would you?” Diane asks.

“Um, actually…”

“I’m happy to do it. You know that,” Diane says before taking a sip from her glass.

“No. I, uh… I already asked Molly to do it.”

The next thing Diane knows, she is sputtering loudly, choking on her wine.

“Are you all right?” Paula asks from the end of the table. Diane feels people clustering around her.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” she gasps through hard breaths once she manages to force the wine down. “I just…” She glances at Sarah. “I’m a little overwhelmed, that’s all.”

“She’s having a rough time, and… I’ll explain later,” an exasperated Sarah whispers to her as they take their seats.

“You don’t have to explain,” Diane says, though she feels reassured knowing that being without her best friend must have driven Sarah to the brink of complete insanity.

Everyone settles into their seats, and then Bill rises at the head of the table.

“Would you all raise your glasses?” he calls, quieting the smaller conversations buzzing around the table. “Here’s to another Thanksgiving, a holiday when we can all be together, after what has been a very difficult year. We have so much to be thankful for this year, but nothing more so than family and friends--the greatest gifts any of us will ever be given. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.”

“Happy Thanksgiving,” the many voices shout out, and all their glasses clink together, singing a song that chimes on through the night.


Will Sarah regret making Molly her maid of honor?
Is Claire right to keep her suspicions to herself for now?
Will Jason be able to keep the Chases from pursuing custody?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

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