Episode #635

- The Fishers rallied around Jason in an effort to squash Helen’s suit for custody of Sophie before it even begins. Helen’s attorney, Eric Westin, advised her that there are other tactics they can try.
- With Samantha’s encouragement, Tempest took her GED exam.
- Natalie confronted Julian, who admitted to cheating on her and declared their engagement over. In a rage, Natalie threw a chair off the balcony of their hotel suite.


“You gonna take up painting?”

The question cuts through the heavy shroud of Sarah Fisher Colville’s distraction. She looks up to find Diane Bishop watching her from across the table.

“The way you’re pushing that French fry around in your ketchup, I’d swear you were trying to paint something,” Diane says.

Sarah realizes that she has been holding the same shoestring fry for minutes now, and she has, in fact, been drawing circles and lines in the blob of ketchup that sits beside the half-eaten burger on her plate. She examines the ketchup a little more closely.

“I don’t even know what that’d be if I were trying to paint something,” she says.

“I didn’t say it was a good painting.” Diane offers a good-natured grin. “Something’s eating at you. What is it?”

Sarah pops the French-fry-turned-paintbrush into her mouth and chews. Diane is her best friend, but she is not sure that she can even confide in her about something of this magnitude. Talking about her kiss with Matt and the ensuing confusion--no, guilt, that’s all it is--would be a step toward admitting that it really happened, that it isn’t the product of a very vivid dream. She is not ready to go there.

“It’s nothing,” she says, picking up another fry.

“I’m disappointed in you.”

“What? Why?” A dull sense of panic tries to rise up inside Sarah, like someone is holding a blanket over it. There is no way that Diane could know what happened, but the mere insinuation nevertheless makes her a bit nervous.

“Because you’re a crappy liar. I thought I’d taught you better than that.”

Forcing a half-smile, Sarah decides to give her a matching half-truth. “Graham was acting a little weird this morning. I asked him to have lunch, and he blew me off.”

And some totally illogical part of me is convinced that he knows Matt and I kissed, her brain adds.

“Now I’m a second-choice lunch date, huh? I don’t know about you, Sarah.”

“I’m sorry. I’m bad company today.”

“That’s what I’m saying. And that’s usually fine,” Diane says, “but that’s because usually, you tell me what’s going on. You’re not this spaced-out because Graham didn’t want to go out to lunch with you.”

“I had that surveillance job last night. I was up until almost 5 a.m.”

“And…?” Diane holds a penetrating stare upon her. “Come on, Sarah. It’s me.”

The truth is nudging at her throat, eager to get out, to be released into the world. As much as saying it aloud terrifies Sarah, because she would rather just hold it inside until she can smother it to death, she has the sense that it will not be that easy. Maybe opening up to someone she can trust, like Diane, will help.

“It’s complicated,” she begins, but then the adamant buzzing of Diane’s Blackberry, set to vibrate and resting atop their table, interrupts.

Diane spares a glance at the screen. “Dammit.”


“It’s some number I don’t know. It could be a work thing. Sorry.” She picks up the phone and answers the call. “Diane Bishop speaking.”

Sarah watches as Diane listens for a split-second, her mouth widening in what has to be shock.

“Wait, you what?”


The coffee shop is busy today, and Samantha Fisher feels awkward sitting at a table alone. In order to look occupied, she checks her e-mail on her phone, and then she opens the browser and checks a message board for the TV show Supernatural that she often reads. There is nothing much to keep her attention, though, and she feels more and more self-conscious just sitting there. Even though she is sure that the other patrons have better things to do than wonder why she is all alone, it feels as if they are staring at her, judging her. When Tempest Banks finally walks in, Samantha breathes a gigantic sigh of relief.

“Hey,” Tempest says, taking off her blue Edge of Winter Arena jacket and hanging it on the back of a chair.

“Hey. How was work?”

“Good. My hands are so damn cold, though.” Tempest rubs her hands together to warm them. “You want something to drink?”

Samantha springs to her feet. “I’ll get it. What do you want?” She would rather wait in line for a while than spend any more time sitting at this table alone.

She commits Tempest’s order to memory and goes to retrieve their drinks. After paying for them, she returns to the table, keeping one eye on the end of the bar for their drinks to be ready.

“Thanks for that,” Tempest says.

Samantha shrugs. “Did you hear anything about your GED yet?”

“Nope. I even talked to Claire a little while ago, but there was nothing in the mail yet.”

“The results have to be coming any day now.”

“Yeah.” Tempest seems more apprehensive than excited.

“You passed,” Samantha says. “I know it. You were ready for that test.”

“I’m not gonna get excited ‘til I’ve got a paper in my hands that says I never have to take that stupid test again.”

“Then I’ll be excited for both of us.” Samantha hears her name called out from the end of the bar. “Let me go grab those.”

She hurries across the shop. Tempest’s drink is waiting there, ready to go, and within thirty seconds, Samantha’s is called out, too. She picks up the second cup, turns to head back to their table--and slams right into someone.

“Sorry,” she mutters, already cringing at the sight of foam and brown liquid spilling out of the top of the cup. “I’m sorry.”

Forcing herself to look up at her victim, she is surprised to recognize her: Miranda, a girl from her class at school. And there is a healthy splotch of coffee on the bottom of Miranda’s pink sweater.

“Ugh!” Miranda groans, turning to one of her cohorts, another girl Samantha recognizes but cannot name. “Do you know how much this sweater cost?”

“I’m really sorry,” Samantha says. “I didn’t--” She stops herself. Chances are it isn’t going to help to point out that Miranda could see exactly where she was going, and all Samantha was doing was turning away from the bar.

“You should watch where the hell you’re going,” Miranda says. She turns back to someone else in her crowd and asks, “Isn’t this clumsy idiot your cousin?”

That is when Samantha notices Tori and her friend, Fee, standing behind Miranda and the other girl.

“Yeah, um, hey, Samantha,” Tori says with a meek wave. It is far from the type of loud, brash energy that Samantha is used to seeing from her younger cousin.

Miranda makes a disgusted sound, which Samantha notes with private amusement is not entirely different than a cat coughing up a hairball. “Well, learn to watch where you’re going. I know that fat ass takes up a lot of space, but come on.”

Samantha’s mouth flaps open and closed, unable to come up with any response to such a comment. She decides to duck away and go back to her table without continuing this, but before she knows what is happening, Tempest is wedging herself between Samantha and Miranda.

“You wanna repeat that?” Tempest asks Miranda.


Jason Fisher has never been too wild about bringing his daughter to the park. It is always chaotic, with kids of all ages running around everywhere, and the jungle gym and other features pose all sorts of danger. But he knows that Sophie loves to go, so he tries to steel his nerves and take her every now and then. Since the big Fisher family meeting about Helen’s plan to pursue custody of Sophie, Jason has been trying to build a routine of taking Sophie to the park on the same day, around the same time, every week. Because that is what normal families do.

Today, he has to admit that it is a perfect day to spend some time outdoors. The sky is bright with the promise of the coming Northwest spring, although the chilly air is a reminder of the lingering winter. Bundled up in her little pink coat, Sophie sits between Jason’s legs as they go down the slide over and over. The little girl squeals with delight as they race down the plastic tube and crash into the piled bark beneath.

As they are careening down the slide for what must be the fifteenth time, a little boy--not much older than Sophie--darts across the bottom of the slide.

“Watch out!” Jason yells, more out of reflex than anything.

The little boy remains oblivious. Jason grasps the sides of the slide and squeezes his legs around Sophie to slow them down.

“Marcus!” a woman hollers from not far away.

Jason manages to slow down enough that he and Sophie coast to the bottom of the slide. The little boy, having seen them, is frozen in place, his face an almost comical expression of terror, as his mother swoops over to pick him up.

“I’m so sorry,” she says. “He just rushed away…”

“It’s okay. No harm done,” Jason says, holding Sophie’s hand.

She squeezes the boy to her chest. “Marcus, you have to watch where you’re going.”

“Yeah. You’ve gotta be careful, buddy.” Jason pokes a finger at the boy’s cheek, eliciting a giggle. “I don’t think he’ll be too traumatized.”

A relieved smile breaks out over the woman’s face. A smattering of freckles stretches over her nose and cheeks, and Jason takes note of how pretty she is. A navy blue knit cap covers her long, blond hair.

“I’m Lindsay,” she says, working a hand free to hold it toward Jason.

“Jason.” He shakes her hand. “And this is Sophie.”

“Nice to meet you, Sophie. How old are you?”

Sophie holds up two fingers, then three, then struggles to put one down. She stares at her hand as if confused by its mechanics.

“She’s two,” Jason says. “How old is Marcus?”

“He just turned three. Do you guys come here often? I don’t think I’ve seen Sophie before.”

“We’re trying to come more. She loves it.”

“Well, we have to get going, but I hope we’ll see you again.” A breezy, effortless smile fills Lindsay’s face. “It was very nice to meet you, Sophie. And you, too, Jason.”

“Same,” he manages to say, surprised at how he nearly tumbles over the simple sentiment. “Have a good day.”

“You, too.” With a final wave to Sophie, both Lindsay and Marcus walk off toward the parking lot.

Jason watches them walk across the grass. He feels a surge of energy go through his body, the sort of thing that he has not felt in a long time. It seems silly, childish, and his first instinct is to scold himself, but there is no harm in finding a woman attractive and charming. Right?

Meanwhile, in the parking lot, Lindsay arrives at her car. She straps Marcus into his car seat, gets into the driver’s seat, and locks the doors. After starting the ignition, she pulls out her cell phone and calls a number.

“I made contact,” she says into the phone. “And I don’t think this is going to be very hard at all.”


A sharp buzzer sounds, followed by a loud click. The steel door opens, and Brent Taylor leads a furious Natalie Bishop out to Diane and Sarah in the waiting area.

“Do I even want to know?” Diane asks her sister.

Immediately, Natalie yanks away from Brent and launches into her own defense: “He was cheating on me! He had no intention of marrying me--not after he got what he wanted out of me.”

Diane doesn’t even pretend to exhibit sympathy. “What did I try to tell you?”

“Shut up,” Natalie says with a scowl.

Turning to Brent, Diane asks, “Is it too late to get a refund on that bail money?”

Sarah decides that she is going to have to be the voice of reason; the distraction from her own distractions is not entirely unwelcome. “What exactly happened?”

“She’s facing felony vandalism and assault charges,” Brent explains. “She hurled a deck chair off the balcony of her suite down into the pool area.”

“No one got hurt!” Natalie says, as Diane and Sarah groan and gasp, respectively.

“Luckily for you,” Brent says.

“It was better than pushing that bastard Julian off the balcony, and that was my other option, so…”

“Your restraint is admirable,” Sarah says sarcastically, sharing a sly look with Brent. “Though I wouldn’t mind shoving Julian St. John off a balcony, either.”

“That’s what I’m saying!” Natalie says. “I just want to get out of here. I need to go back to the hotel.”

“I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to see you,” Diane says. “What about Bree?”

“She has practice for the school play until 5. I’ll go back for her after that.”

“I can ask Samantha to get her, too.”

Natalie looks reluctant but merely says, “Thanks.”

“You’re lucky I’m feeling generous today.” Diane fishes her keys from her purse. “Now let’s go before I change my mind.” The sisters move toward the exit.

“Thank you,” Sarah mouths to Brent as she follows them out of the police station.



“I said, you wanna repeat what you just said to her?” Tempest forces her way right into Miranda’s face, so close that it makes Samantha uneasy just to watch.

Miranda crinkles her nose. “Who the hell are you?” She turns back to Tori. “Who is this?”

“She’s my aunt’s… she lives with my aunt,” Tori says. It has to be the quietest Samantha has ever heard her be.

“Oh,” Miranda says, realization blooming over her face. “You’re that homeless girl.”

Tempest gives only the slightest indication of flinching. “Not anymore.”

A cruel little laugh escapes from Miranda’s throat, and she flicks her wavy brown hair over one shoulder. Thoughtfully, she lifts up the hem of her pink sweater, where the stain from Samantha’s coffee is beginning to set.

“Maybe I can donate this thing to you,” she tells Tempest.

The shop’s walls feel, to Samantha, like they are closing in tighter and tighter around them. She is finding it increasingly difficult to breathe. It takes a great deal of focus and energy for her to say to Miranda, “I’m sorry about your sweater.” Then she prods Tempest. “Let’s go. Come on.”

Tempest tosses her the most sparing of glances; her attention is clearly focused on Miranda at the moment. “I think this rude bitch needs to be taught a lesson.”

Samantha is sure that she sees a heavy wave of fear pass over Miranda, like the shadow of an approaching storm cloud, but the girl does an impressive job of cloaking it.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Miranda asks.

Tempest grits her teeth. “You’re about to--”

Samantha grabs her arm. “Come on.”

Reluctantly, Tempest allows Samantha to pull her back. Miranda’s jaw hangs open in surprise and, Samantha is sure, a bit of relief.

Tempest points a finger toward Tori. “You’re really gonna let your friend talk to us like that?”

Tori’s eyes land upon Samantha, and for a moment, Samantha thinks that Tori is going to renounce her older, popular friend and stick up for Samantha and Tempest. Instead, Tori breaks the contact entirely.

“Let’s go get our drinks,” she tells Miranda and the other two girls. “We don’t want to be late for the movie.”

They proceed toward the counter in perfect formation--like a bunch of robots, Samantha observes. She cannot handle Miranda’s glances at her, so she drags Tempest back out to the arena, where they find a quiet spot in the bleachers to sit with their drinks.

“Your cousin is kind of a bitch,” Tempest says.

“She’s sort of your cousin, too.”

“Still a bitch.”

Samantha stares down at the white lid of her drink. “Yeah.”


Sarah has a bad feeling as soon as they pass the hotel’s entrance. She glances at Diane, whose posture and face are equally stiff, as if she is bracing for an assault. Natalie, for her part, holds her shoulders back and her chin high as she marches across the lobby.

They only make it halfway across that lobby before a nervous-looking desk clerk comes rushing toward them.

“Ms. Bishop?” the lanky young man, who cannot be more than a year or two out of college, says.

“That’s me,” Natalie says, not slowing her stride at all.

“You’re not permitted to be on the premises!” the clerk calls out to her.

Sarah and Diane pause momentarily, then surge forward when Natalie shows no signs of slowing down.

“Natalie! Come here!” Diane reaches for her sister’s shoulder, gets a fleeting grip, and then is shrugged away as Natalie heads for the elevators.

“I’ll have to call security,” the clerk says, not without an awkward quiver in his voice.

Sarah breaks into a sprint and grabs Natalie. “You don’t want to do this. Not when you’re facing charges. Come on.”

“I need to get my things,” Natalie insists. She refuses to make eye contact with any of them.

“We’ll get them for you,” Sarah says.

Natalie does not respond but continues to look toward the elevators.

“I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” the clerk says, balling his hands together.

Diane’s head snaps toward the clerk. “Give us a second.” She approaches Natalie and Sarah and takes her sister by the hand. “Let’s get out of here.”

Sarah watches carefully, and just as she feels that Natalie is about to break her concrete stance and go with them, they see Julian St. John stepping off an elevator. He wears a lightweight sweater, layered over a white button-down, and slim-fitting khaki pants. In one hand is a large duffel bag; the other pulls a rolling suitcase.

“You bastard!” Natalie yells, as abruptly as if she were just shocked with a cattle prod.

“Natalie, shut up.” Diane attempts to drag her sister out of the lobby, to little avail. Sarah watches the clerk retreat behind the front desk and pick up a telephone receiver.

“Are you going to stay with your whore?” Natalie asks Julian.

“I’ve decided to go to Portland for the time being,” he says, his tone measured and calm, almost infuriatingly so. “I’m sorry it had to come to this, Natalie.”

“I’m sorry you’re an asshole!”

“Shut up,” Diane says, again attempting to pull Natalie away. Then, to Julian, she says, “You really are an asshole, though.”

A security guard of imposing stature comes toward them with a frightening amount of focus. “I’ll have to remove you by force if you choose not to leave on your own,” he tells Natalie.

“Don’t be an idiot,” Diane tells her sister, who finally begins to move with her--but not before snapping at Julian, “I hope you rot in hell.”

Julian watches his ex-fiancée’s departure with a smirk on his face. Sarah lingers behind, gesturing to Diane that she will be outside in a moment.

“Natalie’s right--you are a bastard,” Sarah says.

“Natalie is highly unstable. I’m saving my own life by not marrying her.”

“That doesn’t make her wrong. Say, Julian, how’s your son doing? Is your ex-wife letting you see him? I know how the courts feel about granting visitation to convicted felons.”

“I’m leaving,” he says, resuming his movement toward the exit.

“Please. It would be the biggest favor you ever did any of us.” Sarah watches him blow out of the hotel, his demeanor as superior and full of it as always. She hopes that none of them will ever have to set eyes upon Julian St. John ever again.


What will come next for Natalie?
What could Lindsay be up to?
What should Samantha and Tempest do about Tori?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

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