Episode #620

- After talking with Matt, Diane suspected that he might try to stop Sarah from marrying Graham. She told Tori that the wedding might not take place.
- Matt rushed to stop the wedding, but when he arrived, he saw the ceremony through the window and could not bring himself to interrupt. He left without making his presence known… but Tori saw him through the window.
- Determined to prove himself to Danielle, Ryan attended one of her AA meetings. They rekindled their relationship.
- Claire took a blood sample from Travis and discovered that it did not match the blood type listed on his birth certificate. She realized that a switch took place shortly after his birth.


Ever since his brother began staying with him last year, Josh Taylor’s house has slowly been transformed into more of a home. First came the toys and sporting equipment that visited with Caleb and Christian; then came the kitchen table that Brent bought at IKEA so that they would have someplace to eat meals besides the living room couch. Over the past month, Josh’s girlfriend has managed to outfit the place with holiday decorations, beginning with a Christmas tree and expanding to a wreath, garland, and a few festive knick-knacks. Today, with the family and several others gathered to celebrate Christmas, the house officially completes its transition from bachelor pad to adult home.

“Looks a lot better in here than I remember,” Bob Taylor says from his seat in the living room recliner.

“You can thank Lauren for that,” Josh says, placing his arm around her shoulders. “She forced me to get the tree.”

“And decorate it with me,” she says teasingly. “I’m sure you can imagine how much he loved that.”

Josh shrugs. “Wasn’t so bad.”

Ryan Moriani enters from the kitchen. He hands both Brent and Danielle glasses of eggnog--alcohol-enhanced and not, respectively. “Your father looks thrilled to have everyone together for Christmas,” he comments.

“It’s been a long time since we had such a big celebration,” Brent says. There is an unmistakable hint of solemnity to his speech and his entire demeanor.

“How are you holding up?” Ryan asks. He and Brent are not exactly close, but since Ryan began seeing Danielle and was then accepted back into the Fisher fold, they have forged a civil-enough dynamic.

“I’ve had Christmases where I felt better, for sure.” Brent pauses as the twins run by, wielding a pair of plastic swords that their grandfather somehow felt would be a good idea for gifts. Once they have passed through the room like a hurricane, coming perilously close to the brightly lit tree, Brent continues. “I miss Molly, but it’s nice to have everyone here together. And I get to spend the day with the boys.”

The doorbell rings, and all heads turn to look. “Come in!” Josh calls out.

When the door opens, Elly Vanderbilt and her parents enter the house to a chorus of hellos. They wipe their feet, remove their coats and hats, and everyone bustles from one person to the next, wishing Merry Christmas over and over.

“Sorry we’re late. We got a little lost on the way over from the hotel,” Tom Vanderbilt says.

“Your timing is perfect,” Danielle tells him. “We just put out some hors d’oeuvres.” She gestures to the coffee table, which is covered in an assortment of vegetables, breads, dips, and more. Rex, the pug who normally resides at Molly and Brent’s house, is lurking around the perimeter of the table, waiting for something to fall his way.

Danielle steps aside with Melanie Vanderbilt and takes her old friend’s coat from her. “I can’t tell you how much it means that you guys decided to spend Christmas in King’s Bay. Being able to be with Elly for the holiday…”

“It’s good for all of us,” Melanie says with a smile, though Danielle suspects it is taking some effort not to reveal underlying insecurities.

“I know I’ve said this before, but I want to make it clear that I would never, ever try to replace you as Elly’s mother or undermine your role. I’m just grateful to be a part of her life.”

“It’s all right.” Melanie places a hand on her arm. “You gave us the gift of a daughter. Elly is lucky to have all three of us looking out for her.”

They stop to watch the young woman, who is frowning at her cell phone.

“What’s wrong?” Melanie asks.

“Georgia, my roommate,” Elly says. “I texted her Merry Christmas a few hours ago, but she hasn’t texted me back. I haven’t heard from her at all since the night before my last final.”

“Maybe she’s busy with her family,” Danielle says, though from what Elly has told her about Georgia, it does seem odd for her to be out of touch so fully.

“It was so weird, though. We went to this party, and I went home to study. I fell asleep, so I didn’t see her come in that night, but in the morning, she had packed up her stuff and left a note saying she switched to an earlier flight back to Louisiana.”

Melanie seems disturbed, too. “That is strange.”

“Yeah. I hope she’s okay.” Elly puzzles over her phone for another few seconds, then puts it away. She takes in the Christmas décor. “Who decorated this place? It looks great!”

“You can thank Lauren for that,” Josh pipes up from the couch. “It’s kinda like a real house now.”

Bob looks around at his three grown children and his grandchildren, surrounded by other  people who are so important to them. “It really is.”


At Bill and Paula Fisher’s home, the traditional Christmas gathering is well underway. The smell of honey-glazed ham floats from the oven into the dining and living rooms, teasing everyone with hints of the meal to come. Jason Fisher bounces his young daughter on his hip while he talks to his nephew.

“How’s it feel to have a whole semester of college under your belt?” Jason asks.

Travis widens his eyes and lets out a big sigh. “I don’t even know. It went so fast. I just hope I didn’t bomb any of my finals.”

Jason grins. “Did you actually study for them?”

“Mostly. You know how it is. I think I did fine.”

“Good.” Sophie squirms in Jason’s arms, and he moves to set her down. “You are getting too heavy for this, kiddo.” As soon as he places her on the floor, she rushes off toward Samantha.

Tim approaches Jason and Travis. “Are you busy corrupting my son?” he asks Jason.


“Mom’s coming, isn’t she?” Travis asks, glancing toward the door.

Tim nods. “She’s bringing Tempest, I think.”

“Hey,” Travis says. “Did she ever get a blood sample from you?”

“No.” Tim’s face scrunches up with confusion. “What do you mean?”

“She called me to come down to the hospital a few weeks ago. She wanted to take my blood type and stuff so she could put a file together for the whole family, in case anything happens, I guess.”

Tim swaps looks with Jason, who is just as baffled by this news.

“Maybe she said she already had yours and Sam’s,” Travis says. “I don’t remember.”

As if on cue, the front door opens, and along with a gust of chilly winter air, Claire and Tempest join the festivities. They move around, greeting everyone, and Tim waits until the holiday pleasantries are out of the way before he pulls his ex-wife aside.

“Question.” His tone is deadly serious. “Why did you make Travis go to the hospital to give a blood sample?”

There is a noticeable hesitation in her movements--she stops undoing her scarf for a good two or three seconds--before she answers. “I’m putting together a file for all of us. Travis hadn’t ever been typed. He hasn’t ever had to have blood drawn. That’s all.”

“Are you sure? Claire, what’s going on?”


As Nat King Cole’s voice fills the room, a pair of newlyweds stand close together, celebrating their first Christmas as a married couple.

“It was a beautiful wedding,” Bill Fisher tells Sarah and Graham. “And the ossobuco that the caterer made was fantastic. So rich and tender.”

“I’m glad you enjoyed it,” Graham says. “We’d have loved to have you prepare dinner, but it was a time for you to celebrate with us, not work.”

“I would’ve been happy to do it, but yeah, I would rather enjoy my daughter’s wedding.”

“The last thing any of us needed on my wedding day was you panicking about everything being less than perfect,” Sarah says with a little laugh.

Across the gathering, Sarah’s daughter watches them with a critical eye.

“How are you doing, kiddo?” Diane Bishop asks as she sweeps up behind Tori.

“Great. Merry Christmas.” She whips around toward Diane. “How did you know my dad was gonna show up at the wedding?”

“Because I spoke to him beforehand. I’m sorry I said anything. I really thought he would show up.”

“He did show up.”

Diane nods toward Sarah and Graham, arms around one another. “This whole scene would indicate otherwise.”

“He was outside. I saw him. He just didn’t come in.” Tori folds her arms across her body. “I don’t know why.”

“It was stupid of me to say anything to you,” Diane says, still evaluating this new bit of information. “I just want your mom to be happy.”

“And my dad makes her happy. Not Graham.”

“She looks pretty happy right now.”

Diane might as well be wearing a big, flashing sign that says I am trying really hard not to say anything bad about Graham, Tori thinks.

“My dad should’ve come in and told Mom not to marry Graham,” Tori says. “She would have listened to him.”

“You’re sure he was there?” Diane asks carefully.

“Yeah. I’m not retarded or insane or anything.” Tori gives a giant roll of her eyes. “Can’t you, like, talk some sense into her?”

“I tried, hon. She insisted that Graham is who she wants. As her friend, I have to respect that.”

“She doesn’t mean that. Sooner or later, she’ll figure that out.” She catches Diane looking at her sideways, kind of uncertain and maybe a little shocked. “What?”

Diane draws a deep breath. “You really are your mother’s daughter.”


A graveyard of plates, glasses, and serving dishes sits atop the rented table in Josh’s dining room. The guests are all leaned back in their chairs, breathing hard after a more-than-filling meal. Josh and Lauren circle the table, picking up items for transport to the kitchen.

“I think we can wait a few minutes before dessert,” Brent says.

“No!” Caleb yells out, eliciting a laugh from the adults.

Josh and Lauren each carry a stack of dishes and silverware to the kitchen.

“This turned out pretty awesome,” he says as he deposits everything beside the sink.

“Yeah. It’s nice that you’re able to have your whole family together for Christmas.”

He slips his arms around her waist. “And you, too.”

“And me, too. Otherwise I would just be hanging out at home or something.”

“Have you talked to your parents today?”

“This morning, yeah. It’s a miracle if I can get a hold of them while they’re on these cruises, but my mom called this morning.”

Josh brushes a piece of dark blonde hair back behind her ear. “What about your brother?”

“We spoke last night. I really wish he could be here for Christmas.”

“Yeah.” Josh can see how much she misses her family, and he is surprised by how badly he wants to do something to make her feel better.

“You really did a great job setting up today,” he says.

She lifts a shoulder to her ear. “Well, thanks. It was fun to do.”

“And I’ve got to give you credit--you’re more of a manipulator than I thought.”

She recoils in concern. “What do you mean?”

“I mean this.” He drags her by the hands into the doorway that leads back to the hallway, where a sprig of mistletoe hangs. “You mean to tell me you didn’t think I would take advantage of this?”

A smile curls her lips. “Well, I was kind of hoping…”

“See? Manipulator.” He leans in and presses his lips to hers, softly at first and then, when he cannot help himself, much deeper.


After Josh and Lauren carry the dishes into the kitchen, Ryan reaches over and takes Danielle’s hand. “Can I talk to you alone for a minute?” he asks.

“Yeah, of course.” Nevertheless, alarm seizes her as she follows him from the dining room. He leads the way through the living room and opens the back door.

“Here,” Ryan says, slipping off his blazer and placing it over her shoulders as he leads her into the backyard. The winter chill still nips at her face and hands as they step onto the wet lawn.

“Ryan, what’s going on?”

“I wanted a minute alone with you.” He places his hands on her shoulders and seems to be studying her, drinking in the sight of her as if he might never see her again. “Merry Christmas, Danielle.”

“Merry Christmas.” She has the vague sense that he is about to drop some bomb on her, a confession of some terrible deed that will force him to leave King’s Bay forever.

“I want you to know how much of a difference you’ve made in my life,” he says, his gaze firmly intent upon her. “You make me want to be a better man. My life has been--it’s been a long line of poor decisions and acting on impulse. When I’m with you, though, I want to… I want to be different. I can’t explain how much of a gift it is that you’ve given me a second chance.”

She doesn’t know how to respond to this outpouring of sentiment--especially when she sees his hand reach into his pants pocket. Something about the move is completely non-casual. Like he has been waiting all night to do it.

“That’s why I want to ask you something,” Ryan continues. “Danielle, I want to spend the rest of my life feeling this way. I want you to know that I will do whatever I have to do to keep your trust and to support you.”

She gasps when she sees the ring box, and she gasps even harder when he opens it to reveal a beautiful, sparkling diamond ring.

“Will you marry me?”

To say that this is a surprise would be an understatement. She did not expect a marriage proposal this soon after getting back together with him. If they had talked about the prospect of marriage in recent weeks, her automatic response would have been that they are not ready for it, that they are still finding their footing this time around. But the past few months have been truly wonderful, and Ryan seems committed to changing his life in positive ways. And when he supports her, she really does believe that she can do anything.

“Yes,” she says, unable to believe that it is so easy to say. “Yes. I’ll marry you.”

In a flash, Ryan has the ring on her finger and is kissing her. She is loosely aware of a shining light nearby, and only when they part--their faces separated by mere millimeters--does she realize that the light is coming from the house.

A cluster of faces hovers at the living room window, staring directly at them.

“I think they’ve figured us out,” Danielle says.

“Good.” Ryan kisses her again.

Out of the corner of her eye, she sees everyone inside--her father, Brent, Josh, Elly, Melanie, Tom--applauding them.


Tim waits for Claire to provide some kind of explanation. He can tell that she is uncomfortable, that there is something she is not telling him and does not want to tell him.

“I told you, I’m putting together a file,” she says.

“Travis’s blood type is on his birth certificate.”

“I know. But I just found out I have brothers I never knew about, and for all intents and purposes, Tempest is a part of this family now. I want to have all our information in one place, so we have access if we need it. That’s all.”

The explanation makes sense, but something is still not sitting right with Tim.

“I want to be prepared, in case Loretta has something else up her sleeve,” Claire persists. “Don’t worry about it so much.” She finishes unwinding her scarf, as if to punctuate the conversation.

Turning to Tempest, who is by the couch with Samantha, she says, “Hand me your coat. I’ll go hang it up with mine.”

“Merry Christmas, Tempest,” Tim says as the teenager joins them.

“Merry Christmas.” Tempest seems more at ease at the Fishers’ than she once did, though he can still see her looking around as if she expects to be caught crashing someone’s Christmas party. She hands Claire her coat.

When Claire moves off to hang up the coats, Tim focuses on Tempest. “Are you ready for your GED test?” he asks.

“Hope so. I only have a few weeks left. We’ve been studying like nuts.”

“Samantha says you’re working really hard. Good luck.”


Tempest folds her hands together as she goes quiet. As delicately as he can, Tim decides to dig a bit.

“I was just wondering,” he says, “if Claire got a blood sample from you recently. We had talked about putting together a medical file for the whole family, in case of emergencies or anything.”

Tempest is already nodding. “Yep. She’s always gotta worry about everything.”

The confirmation puts him somewhat at ease. Perhaps it really is just an instance of Claire being overly cautious, in the wake of the revelations about Loretta Ragan and her father.

“Do you want something to drink?” Claire calls out to her foster daughter from across the room.

Tempest heads toward the kitchen to join her. Tim watches them for a moment longer, attempting to put his nagging worries to rest.

In the kitchen, Claire pours herself a glass of wine and fixes a glass of soda for Tempest, who marvels at the meal in progress on the stove and countertops.

“This looks awesome,” Tempest says, stepping over to look at the mashed potatoes that are almost ready.

“Paula and Bill throw terrific holidays. It was nice of them to invite us.”

“Yeah, it was.”

Claire hands Tempest the glass of soda, then puts her arm around the teen. “I’m so glad you’re with us this Christmas.”

“Me, too. A lot better than my last one.” Even though Tempest goes a little stiff at Claire’s touch, she doesn’t pull away. That feels like significant progress to Claire.

“Merry Christmas, Tempest.”

“Merry Christmas.” Tempest turns her head to look up at Claire. “Thanks for everything, for real.”

“Thank you for sticking around,” Claire says. “You have no idea how happy I am to have you in my life.” She pulls Tempest closer and is overcome by a wave of affection for this girl who crashed into her life in such unexpected circumstances.

“Am I interrupting a big moment or something?” Travis asks, pausing as he enters the kitchen with an empty glass.

“Not at all.” Claire motions for him to join them and places her other arm around him. “I’m so proud of both of you.”

They stay like that a moment longer, surrounded by the sounds and smells of the Christmas feast, basking in the warmth and comfort of this family… but Claire cannot stop thinking about the other son she has out there, a son with whom she has never spent a single Christmas.


Should Claire tell Tim the truth about Travis?
Will Ryan and Danielle make it to the altar?
What happened to Elly’s roommate?
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