Episode #634

- After he caught Sarah in a lie, Graham followed his wife and found her visiting Matt. He witnessed a kiss between them but, instead of confronting them, retreated home to consider his options.
- Natalie was shocked to see a strange woman visit Julian at the hotel when he thought she and Bree were out.
- Diane remained desperate to save her job by acquiring a new publishing project.


He hardly slept at all last night.

After he witnessed his wife kissing Matt Gray, Graham Colville retreated back to his own house. A large part of him wished that he had confronted them on the spot, forced them to admit how long this has been going on and exactly how much of his marriage has been a lie. But an even greater part knew, even in his fury, that it would serve him better to take his time and strategize.

Well after midnight, he finally retired to bed, though sleep refused to come. He wondered if Sarah would come home earlier than she’d led him to believe--whether her surveillance job was even real--and then was stricken by the sickening thought that she lied about the job so that she would be free to spend the entire night with Matt. The image of their kiss lingered on the screen of his mind like a cigarette burn pressed into a strip of film, growing even worse every time he closed his eyes.

He managed to clamp them shut when she arrived home shortly before dawn. Pretending to have been asleep, he drowsily asked her about the surveillance work and was relieved to find, when she went into the bathroom, that the memory card of her digital camera was full of images snapped during her job. At least she did not spend the entire night with Matt.

That did not make it any easier to share a bed with her. She mercifully fell asleep almost as soon as she slid between the sheets, and Graham climbed out of bed, his joints and bones weary from a night of stress rather than rest. With the first strains of dawn spilling through the house’s curtains and blinds, he made his way downstairs, where he attempted to make some sense of that kiss he saw.

He wants to blame it all on Matt, but he knows that his wife is equally to blame. He saw her, kissing her ex-husband back, betraying her current husband of her own free will.

Eventually, Graham showers, dresses, and moves to his study to handle a variety of e-mails and paperwork. He is seated behind the large mahogany desk when Sarah pads downstairs in her bathrobe and sleepily greets him.

“I didn’t mean to sleep so late,” she says through half a yawn.

“You had a very busy night.” She doesn’t even flinch at the subtle insinuation. “You feel that the surveillance was successful, though?”

“Yeah. I got everything I need to move ahead with this case.”

“Wonderful.” He returns his attention to his e-mail.

Sarah steps from the hardwood floor of the hallway onto the printed navy carpet of the study. “Is there any coffee left in the kitchen?”

Graham lazily looks to his half-full mug. “Oh, I must have finished it. I’m sorry.”

“I’ll make more. What do you have planned for the day?”

“I have some work to attend to, a few errands to handle… nothing very exciting.” He relishes the opportunity to be as vague as possible, hoping that it might concern her a fraction as much as what he saw last night.

“If you have time, maybe we can go to lunch or something. I don’t have anything planned work-wise for the day, other than getting the photos from last night organized.”

“I’ll see if there’s time,” he answers coolly.

She lingers by the door. “Is something wrong?” she finally asks.

Graham spares a quick glance in her direction. “Why would you ask that?”

“You seem… distracted.”

The image of that kiss hangs in front of his eyes, even in the light of day. His urge to confront her only swells as she asks, “Is something going on, Graham?”


She hardly slept at all last night.

Natalie Bishop has felt crazy ever since she saw that woman in the red trench coat at the door of the hotel suite she shares with her fiancé. Julian still has no idea that Natalie saw the woman; he thought that she had taken her daughter to the movies already. Natalie resolved to keep it to herself and not rock the boat, but she cannot shake the thought that it was exactly what it looked like--that she is not being crazy or jumping to conclusions.

She drops Bree off at school and then stops for more coffee. The caffeine is going to be necessary to get through the day after her restless night. As she stands in line waiting to order, it occurs to her that she is also stalling on returning to the hotel. And that is when she makes up her mind.

Back at the hotel, she finds Julian sitting on the balcony, reading a newspaper. She joins him outside. The sky is blue and welcoming, a tease of the delayed Northwest spring and the summer that lies beyond it.

“We need to talk,” she declares.

Julian regards her with surprise, perhaps a bit of annoyance. “Excuse me?”

“You and I. We need to talk.” She grips the rail of the balcony. Down below, some brave souls are trying to enjoy a late breakfast at the poolside café, despite the chill that remains in the air. “I saw her.”

“Saw who? Natalie, you’re not--”

“The woman who was here the other day. In the red coat.”

“Oh.” Julian touches a finger to his chin. “I see.”

That is all he offers.

“Are you gonna say anything? Maybe explain who she was? Because when I see a strange woman coming to meet my fiancé in a hotel room--”

“How did you see?” he asks. He makes it sound more like a scientific inquiry than a matter of concern.

“Bree wanted to come back to the room and get something. And when we did, there she was, knocking on the door.”

“Yes, I admit it. A woman knocked on our door while you were gone.” He rustles the newspaper, as if announcing its priority over this conversation.

“You let her in,” Natalie continues. “Not only that--you looked pretty damn happy to see her.”

“Well, then.” And then he does it: he actually turns his attention away from her and back to reading the newspaper.

“Excuse me!” She grabs the newspaper and pulls it out of his face. “You owe me an explanation.”

He seems amused, like this is all one big joke. Like Natalie’s perfectly normal reaction is somehow funny.

“I want the truth, Julian. Did you--are you sleeping with that woman?”

“Okay, you’ve got me,” he says, casual as can be. “Yes, I’m sleeping with her.”


She hardly slept at all last night.

There isn’t any time for sleep--not when her job, her entire career, is on the line. Instead, Diane Bishop spent the night combing through articles and search engine results and everything else, desperate to find the project that will save her job at Vision Publishing. She managed a brief nap sometime in the very early morning hours, mostly because she had already determined what her next step would be and knew that she could not take action until the rest of the world woke up.

In mid-morning, she drives to Ryan Moriani’s house and rings the doorbell unannounced. He seems both surprised and perturbed by the sight of her, just as she expected.

“What are you doing here?” Ryan asks in place of a greeting.

“Don’t act too excited to see me or anything. It’s not like I’m your--” She also says wife, but then she spots Danielle Taylor emerging from one of the rooms behind Ryan. The utter panic on his face is priceless, though.

“Diane,” Danielle says. “What brings you by?”

“I need to have a word with your lovely fiancé.” Diane feels a smile crossing her lips. “How is the wedding planning coming?”

“It’s fine. Thanks.” Danielle looks to Ryan with confusion.

“Oh, that’s good to hear,” Diane says. “Just think: in practically no time at all, you two will be husband and wife!” Then, her focus trained solely on Danielle, she adds, “Smart of you to get this one to the altar before someone else scoops him up!”

Ryan is now a chalky white color. He manages to ask, with great annoyance, “What do you want, Diane?”

“I already said that I need to have a word with you. Don’t worry--” She flicks her eyes from him to Danielle and back again. “--it’s about business.”

Ryan grabs her by the arm and turns her around. He steps out onto the porch with her. “I’ll only be a minute,” he tells Danielle before closing the door.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” he demands in a cautious half-whisper, half-bark. “Do you want her to find out about…”

Diane runs a long, manicured nail up his arm. “That would be such a shame, wouldn’t it? You finally find a woman willing to tolerate your ridiculous criminal history and your spotty decision-making, and right before the wedding, she finds out about how you actually married someone else already?”

Ryan deftly removes her finger from his arm. “We’re not married, Diane. It was a stupid legal mistake that’s in the process of being rectified. Have you heard anything from Eric about the annulment?”

Only that I told him to stall on the paperwork until I get what I need out of you, she thinks.

“It’s coming along,” she says instead.

“Good. Now would you do me a favor and stop being the most obvious secret bride in the world?”

“It’s interesting that you mention favors, considering that you’re the one who stole my author and possibly screwed up my entire career.”

She gets a chuckle out of how quickly he turns remorseful. “I’m sorry about that,” he says. “It was a matter of self-preservation.”

“And so is this.”

“So is what?”

“The favor I’m about to ask you,” she says. “And before you even consider saying no, think about how upset Danielle is going to be when she finds out that I beat her to the punch of becoming Mrs. Ryan Moriani.”


Yes, something is going on, Graham wants to tell Sarah. You know precisely what’s going on. You went to Matt’s last night. You let him kiss you. You kissed him yourself. And then you came home and climbed into bed with me, your husband, and acted like someone who has any regard at all for her marriage, you liar. You traitor.

He envisions ordering her and her obnoxious daughter out of the house, making her realize what she has given up, seeing her come back to beg for his forgiveness.

Instead, he simply tells her, “Nothing in particular. I’m a bit busy, that’s all.”

“Okay. I’ll go make some coffee. Let me know if you think you’ll have time to go to lunch.”

“I will.” Graham watches her disappear down the hallway and round the corner toward the kitchen. He did not get married after all these years so this woman could make a fool of him. And he’s going to ensure that she does not.

Meanwhile, Sarah goes to the kitchen and cleans out the coffeepot. As the water runs, she thinks about Graham’s odd demeanor just now. She could swear that something was going on.

You’re just projecting your own guilt, she tells herself as the memory of her kiss with Matt overtakes her for the thousandth time since last night.

She can still feel his mouth on hers and the heat from his naked torso radiating toward her, begging her to touch it. What shocks her most is how familiar it all felt, even though it has been years since they were together in that way. It was as if no time had passed at all--except for how alive her body felt, craving him, needing his touch so badly.

“Stop it,” she mutters aloud as she replaces the coffeepot and scoops ground coffee into the machine’s basket.

I got caught up. That’s all, she thinks. Because Matt and I left so much hanging when our marriage ended. Yes, that’s it. It was an itch that seemed to grow worse and worse because she wouldn’t just scratch it and get it over with. But now it’s been scratched, and she’s still married to Graham… so that is that.

It has to be.

The guilt is still making her stomach do flip-flops as she turns on the coffee maker and waits desperately for it to be done. She has to keep busy today, or this is going to drive her nuts. Going to lunch with Graham will be good for both of them; as soon as she is reminded of all the reasons that she chose to marry him, she will be able to file that kiss away and move on with her life.

She hopes.


Natalie has no idea how she is supposed to react. Julian is supposed to deny it, or get angry at her for not trusting him, or beg for her forgiveness, or any combination of those options. He is certainly not supposed to state, plain as day, that he is sleeping with some other woman, like there is nothing at all wrong with that.

She can hear the vague chatter and laughter from the poolside café several stories below, and it only irritates her further.

“What do you mean, you’re sleeping with her?” she manages to ask.

“We’re having sex,” he says, as calmly as if he were telling her that the woman is a casual business acquaintance. “I’m sorry you had to find out this way.”

“How would you have preferred for me to find out?” This is so insane that she cannot fully believe it is happening.

“I wanted to have a talk with you.” He finally stands from the chair where he has been sitting so casually this whole time. “Natalie… you don’t really feel that this is working, do you?”

What is he talking about? This doesn’t even seem like the same man she has known for all these months. He seems like a stranger, as if someone ripped out Julian’s brain and implanted a completely different one in his body.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean it feels as though our relationship is reaching its natural end. Don’t you?”

“No! We’re getting married.”

Julian’s lack of response tells her everything that she needs to know.

“How can you do this to me? You were all ready to marry me in Vegas.” She grabs the front of his white t-shirt. “Who is she? Why do you want to be with her instead?”

“I don’t want to be with her. Not--not like this.” He makes a gesture that is supposed to indicate the entire hotel suite, the sum of their life together thus far. “You and I are not meant to be married, Natalie. Not all relationships are meant to last forever. This one has taken us both where it was supposed to take us.”

And that’s when she realizes where this is coming from. He doesn’t need her anymore. He has his publishing contract. She was only useful to him as long as she could tie him to Diane and to Vision.

“You bastard!” Her arms flail outward and push him. He stumbles backward, toward the railing.

“Natalie, calm down.”

“You used me!” Again she shoves him, harder this time, and he hits the railing. “You’ve been using me this whole time!”

“Stop it!” Julian yells, as she smacks him in the chest.

From down below, she hears someone yell, “That lady is going psycho!”

“I’ll show you psycho!” she screams, as much at the guy down below as at Julian.

“You are out of control,” Julian says, and he ducks away before she can push him off the balcony. Not that she would have, even if it would feel great…

Instead she grabs the chair where he was just sitting. “You’re such a bastard!”

“Stop!” Julian says, covering his head with his hands.

The sight of him is suddenly sickening to her. How could someone toy with another person’s emotions this much, for this long, claiming to love her and want to marry her, only to discard her like some piece of trash? She heaves the chair over her head.


“Go to hell, Julian.” With that, she hurls the chair not at him, but in the opposite direction--over the railing, where she hears people hollering and then, a moment later, a tremendous crash and the smashing of glass.

As good as it feels, she has the sinking sensation that she might have just made a very big mistake.


Diane can barely say the words “Mrs. Ryan Moriani,” let alone in reference to herself, without vomiting, but luckily they have the intended effect upon Ryan.

“Fine,” he says, still half-whispering. “What the hell do you want from me?”

She decides to draw this out, to make him suffer a little more. All the better to get what she needs out of him--and seeming desperate is not going to be any help, anyway. She turns her back to him and strokes her cheek with her index finger, as if deep in thought.

“Diane. Come on.”

“Javier Camacho,” she says deliberately.

Even without being able to see Ryan’s face, she can feel the shock radiating off him. “What about him?”

“I hear you’re acquainted with him.”

“He’s a drug dealer. I don’t--”

“I know. Changed man, blah blah. But you do know him, right?”

“Knew him. A long time ago. He’s in prison.”

“That’s the thing.” She slowly spins back around to face him. “He went to prison on murder charges three years ago.”

“So obviously, you want to get to know him.”

“Actually… I do. And I need you to make the introduction.”

“Diane, I don’t even know what you’re getting at here. You want me to introduce you to a drug dealer who’s in prison for murder? Fine. But I’m not sure he’s going to be any happier to see you than I am.”

“But I have something to offer him. Javier Camacho was convicted of murdering his girlfriend three years ago. They nailed him on forensic evidence, only to have it turn out that one of the detectives involved in the investigation might have falsified evidence in order to secure a conviction. He apparently had a personal vendetta against Camacho because of some situation involving the detective’s sister.”

“I still don’t see what this has to do with either of us,” Ryan says.

“God, you’re an imbecile. Camacho is going through the appeal process right now. It’s almost certain that his conviction is about to be overturned. And he hasn’t sold the publishing rights to his story yet.”

Ryan’s eyes widen. “You want me to help you get to him? I’m sure he’d be interested if you came at him waving a big, fat check.”

“That’s the thing. His attorney isn’t allowing anyone associated with the media to have any access to him. But you know him--you’ve worked with him…”

“Ding, ding, ding. I’m not asking a lot of you, Ryan. Just a backdoor introduction so that I can secure the publishing rights before anyone else has the chance.”

“I really don’t want to go back to that chapter of my life,” he says.

“Yeah, well, there’s a woman in that house who wouldn’t be too thrilled to find out you’re actually married to me,” Diane says, “so I don’t think you have much of a choice.”

Ryan grits his teeth, but instead of a refusal, all he winds up spitting out is a terse, “Damn you.”

“Thanks, hubby.” She notices Danielle peeking through the living room curtains at them and offers an overly enthusiastic wave. “This is the least you can do for me, Ryan.”

“I’ll make some calls,” he says, his hand already on the doorknob. “I can’t imagine how this could possibly go wrong.”

“Only way it goes wrong if it you try to screw me over again. Now go back inside and keep pretending you aren’t a total disaster of a human being.”

“Shut up,” he says before opening the door and then promptly slamming it in her face.

Diane smiles, as much with amusement at his irritation as with utter relief. If she can lock Camacho down before anyone else has the chance, her job at Vision will be safe. And if it means putting up with Ryan Moriani for a little while longer in order to accomplish that, then so be it.


Will Diane’s plan go as smoothly as she hopes?
What kind of trouble has Natalie gotten into now?
Is there any hope for Sarah and Graham’s marriage?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

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