Episode #624

- After a spat with Graham, Tori let it slip to Sarah that Matt came to interrupt her wedding but ultimately left without making a move.
- Ryan planted seeds of doubt in Natalie’s mind about Julian’s commitment to her and urged her to get him to Las Vegas to elope. Natalie managed to talk Julian into it. Meanwhile, Ryan sent Julian’s manuscript to a publisher in Vegas who was interested in stealing the project from Vision Publishing.
- Claire and Brent tried to swipe something from Spencer’s dorm room that they could use for a DNA test. When they were interrupted and almost caught, Claire decided on another approach: she called Philip for help.


The taxi pulls beneath the ornate porte cochere where valet attendants and cars criss-cross in a highly choreographed, neverending dance. The driver pops the trunk, and before Natalie Bishop and Julian St. John even step out of the car, a bellhop is waiting to assist with their bags.

“Checking in,” Julian tells the bellhop as he pays their cab fare with cash.

They make their way inside. Marble floors and gold adornments extend as far as the eye can see. It all walks that fine line between luxurious and tacky, as only Las Vegas can.

At the front desk, they find their bags waiting on a luggage cart. A smiling desk clerk greets them, and Julian begins the check-in process.

Natalie can hardly believe that they are here. She expected Julian to resist her efforts to visit Vegas, and telling him that she wanted to elope was a last-ditch attempt to get him here. She was immensely surprised when he decided that it might be a good idea. Regardless, he is here with her and not with that hussy who called the room the other day, whoever she might have been.

She turns to soak in the scene. The place is alive with activity, with excitement and potential and the sense that no one has any intention of going to bed tonight. For her part, she could use a cosmo and some blackjack before dinner.

And then she sees him.

At first, she thinks that she must be imagining it. There is no way that--but yes. It’s true. Ryan Moriani is here, in Las Vegas, at the Bellagio, staring directly at her.

He strolls toward them. Julian still has his back to them as he talks to the desk clerk.

“What are you doing here?” she demands as Ryan comes nearer.

“What a pleasant surprise,” he says with a smirk that makes it clear this is anything but a coincidence.

“How did you find us?”

Hearing her, Julian turns around. He opens his mouth to speak but stops when he recognizes Ryan.

“Julian,” Ryan says with a dip of his head.

“What the hell is going on here?” Julian asks. He looks to Ryan, then to Natalie, and then back again. “Why is he here?”

She shakes her head. “I don’t know. I have no idea.”

“It was so helpful of you to get Julian here for me,” Ryan says to her. “I really thought it would be more difficult.”

Now Julian focuses solely on his fiancée. She can see the confusion and anger boiling just beneath the surface.

“What is he talking about?” Julian says.

“I can explain,” she manages to say. She turns back to Ryan. “You set me up!”

Ryan merely shrugs.

“I don’t know what in the world this is all about,” Julian says, “but I don’t plan to stick around to find out.” He grabs his bag from the luggage cart. “Have a nice weekend, Natalie.”

Her stomach sinks. “Julian, no! Wait. I had no idea--”

He doesn’t even regard her as he hurries toward the exit.


This is not something that Claire Fisher wants to do. If she had full control of the situation, she would never have to deal with this man again. There is simply too much water under this particular dangerous, dilapidated bridge; even if she takes Philip Ragan at his word and believes that he never knew about their connection, he is still linked to her father and to Loretta, and no good can ever come of keeping those bonds alive.

But she does not have full control of the situation. In fact, she is desperately trying to get a handle on it, to figure out if the past eighteen years have been a colossal lie. She needs her half-brother’s help to do that. So she sits in the modern, slick-looking coffee shop and waits with a cup of Chai tea for him to arrive.

When Philip enters wearing a navy blue, wool coat, he scans the shop for her. Claire offers a cordial wave. The gesture is a violation of her survival instincts, but she pulls it off. If she wants to do this, she has to put on her game face and make Philip believe that she is genuine.

“I’m going to get a coffee,” he says, stopping by her table. “Can I get you anything?”

“No, I’m okay. Thanks.”

He goes to the counter and is back in under a minute. He sits across from her with one of the shop’s trademark frosty blue cups with a white lid.

“Thanks for meeting with me,” she says.

“Thank you for meeting me. I was very surprised to get your call.”

“I was surprised to make it, honestly.” Not much of a lie there.

“I’m grateful that you’re open to communicating,” Philip says.

“Well, I’ve been thinking, and… as much I might want all of this to go away, it isn’t going to. We are family, for better or worse.”

“I know you want to believe the ‘worse’ part, but Claire, I swear to you: I had no idea about any of this. If I’d known about all the terrible things my mother did--”

She holds up a hand to silence him. “You’ve said your part already.”

“And I would like you to believe it. I understand why you’d be reluctant, but like you said, we’re family. I’d like to have as much of a fresh start as we can possibly have.”

She sips her tea and winds up for the big pitch. “That’s sort of why I wanted to talk to you. I need something from you.”

A glimmer of interest passes over his face. “What is it? If you need help of some sort--”

“I guess it is help, in a way.” She sets her cup down on the glossy white table. “I need your blood.”


“It doesn’t make sense,” Sarah Fisher says as she sits in a chair in her best friend’s office, staring out the window at downtown King’s Bay. “Why would he come to the wedding and then not even come inside?”

“Because he was nervous?” Diane Bishop says, as if it is the most obvious thing in the world. “I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Matt isn’t exactly the most demonstrative guy.”

“True.” Sarah leans her elbows on the massive desk between them. “Do you really think he was going to stop the wedding?”

“Am I wearing a white t-shirt and boots and an old leather jacket?”


“I mean, do I look like Matt? I have no way of answering that question.” Diane glances at her computer monitor briefly as an e-mail alert pops up, but she quickly ascertains that it can wait and refocuses on her friend. “I wasn’t going to say anything, but I actually talked to Matt a little before the wedding.”

“What? Why didn’t you—”

“Because it was none of my business, really. And he didn’t say anything groundbreaking.”

Diane can see Sarah scooting closer to the edge of her chair, hanging intently upon every syllable that drops from Diane’s mouth. She needs to phrase this carefully—needs to make sure that she doesn’t offer any misinformation.

“He seemed… sad,” she continues. “Thoughtful, at least. Like he was considering the fact that you were going to marry Graham, and that would be the end of it.”

“Well, we kind of had a talk when he dropped Tori off. You know how it is with exes. You always have a little bit of that nostalgia.”

“Of course. But this was more than nostalgia.” Diane draws in a deep breath and then releases it slowly. “I had a feeling he might come back for you. He didn’t say as much, so I didn’t want to create confusion for you on your wedding day, but I had a sense.”

She watches Sarah absorb that news. She does not look like she is simply taking in some interesting information; she seems to be processing news that could change her entire life.

“If you had known that, would it have changed what you did that day?” Diane asks.

Sarah stops to think about the question, but instead of answering, she goes back to staring out the window. “What am I supposed to do?” she asks after a lengthy pause.

“Maybe nothing. You married Graham. He’s your husband.”

“I know that. But this thing with Matt—” It sounds like Sarah stops herself, forces her brain to push back thoughts that she knows it should not let out into the world. “I don’t want this hanging between us, that’s all.”

“Go talk to him.” It is probably the easiest declaration Diane has made all day. “Ask him about it. It might not change anything, but it will clear the air.”


“Sarah. That’s what you want, isn’t it? To talk to him about it? So go do it.”


The desert heat assaults Ryan as he rushes out of the hotel. Julian stands only a few feet from the entry, at the valet stand.

“Julian! Wait!” Ryan calls out.

Julian turns with a sneer. “Why? I have no desire to know what’s going on here.”

“Natalie didn’t know I was going to be here. She’s telling you the truth.”

Ryan watches as Julian takes in that information, decides to let it past whatever wall he has erected in the past minute. It’s a good first step.

“That doesn’t explain why you’re here,” Julian says. “If this is about the damn book—”

“It isn’t.” Ryan knows that is a lie, but he has to say it to quiet Julian down. “Well, in a way, it is, but I’m not here to hound you or plead with you any more.”

“You’re hounding me at this very moment.”

“No, I’m making you an offer.”

Julian shifts his weight and straightens his posture. Everything about his body language says that he is interested now, just like the opportunist Ryan knows he is.

“There’s someone I would like you to meet,” Ryan explains. “Here in Las Vegas. He’s a publisher—and he’s very interested in publishing your book.”

“I already have a deal with Vision.”

“He has a better deal for you. And your contract with Vision won’t be processed until Monday. I checked. So if you’re interested in maximizing the benefit for yourself, it’s in your best interests to meet with my friend.”

Ryan hears the clicking of heels behind him. He turns and sees Natalie standing there.

“What’s going on?” she asks. “Julian, I swear that I had no idea—”

“He believes you,” Ryan says. He addresses Julian again: “Now what’s it going to be? Will you hear out my friend’s offer? Or are you going to enter into a contract with Diane Bishop without finding out how much better you could do for yourself?”


Philip is uncharacteristically quiet as he takes in Claire’s statement. She takes the opportunity to appraise him again, to study his features in an attempt to see a resemblance between them, or between Philip and their father. She supposes that she can see something, an underlying suaveness, that does remind her of James.

“Is this a medical issue?” he asks. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine. But it is a medical issue, broadly speaking.”

Like the well-bred man he is, Philip sits back and awaits the details, rather than pressing her into an explanation.

“I’ve been thinking a lot the past few months,” she says, “with Travis turning eighteen, and bringing a foster daughter into my home, and this… revelation about you and I being siblings. And I’ve started a little project.”

“What sort of project?”

“Not a very fun one, but—and this is definitely the nurse in me talking—an important one. I’m putting together a file with everyone’s medical information: history, blood types, that sort of thing.”

“That seems sensible.”

“I just think it’s important to be prepared, in case of an emergency. And you are a relative, so I think it would be useful to get a blood sample, keep it on file, you know.”

“Of course.”

She can see him thinking, trying to figure out her angle on this, and she reminds herself to stick to the script. “There’s one other thing.”

“What’s that?”

“I’d like to do a DNA test. Just to be sure that what your mother claims… I feel like I need confirmation, that’s all.”

Philip takes another sip of his coffee as he digests that. “All right. That’s probably wise.”

“Like I said, these are just nurse’s instincts coming to the surface. But it would help put my mind at ease, and… it might help me come to terms with everything.”

“I don’t see a reason why I shouldn’t participate,” he says.

“Spencer, too,” she says, and then she hastens to add, “Even though he’s adopted. I’m getting all Tempest’s information, too, just to be safe.”

She doesn’t observe any kind of reaction from him at the mention of Spencer. Either he is an incredible actor, or he really has no idea at all.

“Give me the date and time, and I’ll make sure both Spencer and I are available,” he says. “I can also have records faxed over from our physicians back east.”

“Thanks, Philip.” She even manages to eke out a small smile at him. “It means a lot to me.”


A heavy sigh escapes Sarah’s throat. “You’re right. I do need to talk to Matt. Just to clear the air.”

“Yeah. Just… clear the air.” Diane cannot help but slip in the minor insinuation that there might be more to Sarah’s motives; Sarah lets it pass without mention.

“Sorry to bother you with this in the middle of your workday,” Sarah says.

“Oh, please. You’re much more interesting than most of the crap I have to deal with here. Besides, I’d much rather have a visit from you than one from your brother.”

It takes Sarah a minute to do the math. “Ryan?”

“Yeah. Always popping in here to pester me about one thing or another.” Diane finds the stupid note that he made her assistant leave the other day and hands it to Sarah. “I swear, if that book hadn’t been such a success…”

Sarah glances at the note and then places it down on the desk. “Well, he won’t be bothering you for a few days, at least. He left me a voicemail about going to Vegas for the weekend.”

“Oh.” But in another instant, an alarm goes off in Diane’s head. “Wait. Ryan is in Vegas?”

Sarah shrugs. “That’s what he said. I don’t know if he and Danielle decided to take a little trip, or—”

“My sister is in Vegas. With Julian. She sent me a text about it.”

“You think they’ll have a run-in and murder each other?”

“No.” Diane is already out of her seat and grabbing her purse. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence at all.”

Sarah follows suit and tentatively stands, watching Diane for some hint as to what the hell is happening. “What could possibly be going on?”

“I don’t know,” Diane says, shaking her head emphatically, “but I intend to find out.”


Ryan refuses to break eye contact with Julian. He needs him to feel that he has no choice but to agree to this.

“There’s another publisher?” Natalie asks.

“A friend of mine,” Ryan says. “Someone who was interested in publishing my book, but I was already locked into a deal with Vision. Julian still has time—very little time—to change his mind.”

He continues to stare Julian down. “He has more favorable terms for you. More aggressive shopping of the story for TV and film adaptations—he has a whole department to do that—and more money as soon as the book is on shelves.”

“Fine,” Julian says. The word sounds like a giant exhale. “I have nothing to lose by talking to him for a few minutes.”

“Exactly.” Ryan is trying his hardest not to jump up and down with glee. “Go finish checking in, and meet me by the front desk in fifteen minutes. I can take you to Sal.”

Regarding him with a wary look, Julian picks up his bag and heads back inside the hotel. Natalie begins to follow him but then stops and turns back to Ryan.

“What the hell are you up to?” she asks.

“Precisely what I explained to Julian. I have a better deal for him, and it would bring me an immense amount of pleasure to screw over your sister.” He takes out his cell phone. “Now if you don’t mind, I need to call Sal and tell him we’re coming.”

Natalie grits her teeth. “I’m warning you, if this is a trick—”

“It is not a trick. I promise. You’ll benefit from this as much as I will.”

Still not one hundred percent convinced, Natalie nevertheless goes back inside the hotel to join her fiancée. Ryan places the call.

“Sal,” he says. “Ryan Moriani. I have Julian St. John here at the Bellagio. We can meet wherever and whenever you’d like this afternoon.”

His heart is pounding so hard that he almost finds it difficult to speak. This has to work.


Will Ryan’s plan actually work?
What is Diane going to do to stop him?
Is Claire making a mistake by using Philip?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

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