Episode #637

- A group of “mean girls” at school--including Tori--played a prank on Samantha by filling her locker with garbage.
- After their near-disastrous hot air balloon ride, Molly and Philip shared a kiss. Molly rushed off afterward, leaving Philip confused.
- Graham spied Sarah kissing Matt and became suspicious that the ex-spouses were having an affair. He decided not to confront Sarah for the time being.


The knock on his dorm room door takes Travis Fisher by surprise--not because someone has come to visit, but because his fellow residents in Hartley Hall have a tendency to barge in rather than knocking and waiting. He hits pause on his Xbox 360 controller and jumps to his feet.

“Come in!” Landon Esco yells anyway. He remains on the floor with his controller in hand, ready to resume their game.

However, their guest either does not hear the command or chooses not to heed it, so Travis crosses the room and pulls the door open. When he sees who it is, he understands the surprising formality.

“Hey. What are you doing here?” he asks his younger sister.

“I don’t know,” Samantha Fisher says, sounding choked-up. “Can I come in?”

“Yeah. Of course. Sam, what’s wrong?”

She shakes her head. “Nothing. I just didn’t want to go home yet.”

“Why not? Something happened.” Travis shuts the door and pats the bed to indicate that she should have a seat. “Come on. Tell me.”

She folds her hands in her lap and looks like she wishes she could fold her entire body in on herself. It doesn’t look like she has been crying, but she seems close. Travis knows that something must be wrong; she doesn’t just come all the way across town to hang out in his dorm on a regular basis.

“It’s stupid,” she says. “I just didn’t want to go home and tell my mom, because she’ll get mad, and…”

Travis takes a seat beside her and drapes an arm around her shoulders. “Sam. Come on. You’ve gotta give me something to work with here. What would Diane get mad at you about?”

“Not at me. Mad in general.”

“You’re kind of freaking me out.”

“These girls at school,” Sam says, staring down at her hands, “they put all this stuff in my locker… garbage. It was so gross. My British Lit paper was in there and got all ruined…”

“Why would they do that?” Travis asks.

One of her shoulders humps up and then falls. “I don’t know. We ran into them at Thaw a few days ago, and I accidentally spilled coffee on one of them, and when she kept yelling at me about it, Tempest got in her face, which I’m sure she didn’t like.”

“What girls?” Landon asks.

“Miranda Hilson. She’s a senior.”

Landon nods, his hands still positioned on the game controller. “I remember her. She was kind of a bitch.”

“She definitely sounds like a bitch,” Travis says. “Why garbage? I don’t get why she would do that.”

“Because they kept talking about how Tempest is homeless and I like to hang out with homeless people--”

Travis shoots to his feet. “Oh, that is bullshit! Do you want me to go punch this chick in the face for you or something?”

“No. No.” Samantha grabs his wrist to pull him back down to the bed. “I just cleaned it up. My teacher said I could turn in a clean copy of the paper tomorrow. So it’s not a big deal. It’s just that people were watching and laughing…”

“Sam, it’s a big deal. That’s gross.”

“How’d they even get into your locker?” Landon asks. When Samantha’s only response is silence, he presses: “Did they break into it?”

“That’s why I was worried about my mom finding out,” Samantha says slowly. “Miranda and those girls… Tori has been hanging out with them.”

Travis finishes the thought: “And she has the combination to your locker.”

Landon drops the controller to the floor. “You really think Tori would do that to you?”

Samantha begins to shrug, but she stops the gesture midway. “Yeah. She’s been hanging out with them all the time.”

“We should tell Aunt Sarah,” Travis says.

“No. Travis…” Samantha seems to struggle for something, anything, to back up the surface conviction of her plea. “Not yet, okay?”

He concedes that much with a quick nod. “Well, I’m sorry that happened. It sucks. And those girls are gonna get what’s coming to them.”

“Thanks,” Samantha says glumly as she rests her head on his shoulder.


The video footage plays, moving forward with no actual action as it reveals a dimly lit hallway. When it reaches the now-familiar point where a door at the end of the hall opens, Sarah Fisher Colville hits the rewind button with her thumb and scrolls back to watch it again.

“Dammit,” she mutters.

“What’s wrong?” a voice asks from behind her.

She turns back to see her husband entering her home office. Graham is dressed in a white polo shirt that makes his slight tan more pronounced.

“I’ve been going over this security footage for an hour,” she says, “and I can’t find anything useful. I’m running out of spots to zoom in on.”

Graham comes up behind her and rest his palms on her shoulders. “I just made dinner plans, so you’ll have a break in a little while.”

Sarah tilts her head to look up at him. “I can’t do dinner tonight. I’m sorry. I have plans with my mom.”

“You do?”

He sounds concerned, as if she said she were having dinner with Jeffrey Dahmer.

“Yeah,” she says. “My father is working late at the restaurant tonight, so she’s free, and it’s been a while since we had time to sit down and chat.”

Continuing to glower down at her, the lines in his face more evident now, Graham says, “I think you should cancel those plans.”


“Your plans for tonight,” he says. “I suggest you cancel them.”


“I’ll be home in half-an-hour or so… I just had to pick up a few things downtown… Yeah, I already left the office… Okay, thanks, Danielle. See you soon. Bye.”

Molly Taylor tries to put her Blackberry back into her purse as she navigates the busy sidewalks of downtown King’s Bay. People seem to have lost their ability to walk in straight lines, forcing Molly to bob and weave in order to avoid slamming into the other pedestrians. She finally manages to get her Blackberry into the purse, and she is pulling the zipper closed when she glances up and spots a familiar face.

She stops mid-stride, causing the man behind her to slam into her back before mumbling something at her and ducking around her. Now I’m one of those people, she thinks ruefully, but the thought passes without even feigning a landing.

Philip Ragan is maybe fifteen or twenty feet away from her, and unlike Molly, he has managed to continue walking. He wears a lightweight navy jacket with a pale blue shirt underneath, and there is a thin growth of dark stubble across his well-defined cheeks and chin.

“Hey,” she says, knowing that this confrontation is unavoidable.

“Hi.” Philip takes in the sight of her for a moment. “How are you?”

“I’m okay. How have you been?”

“I’m well. Great, actually. I was commissioned to photograph an historical site in Eastern Washington for a book.”

“That’s terrific. Congratulations.”

The conversation is stiff and lifeless, nothing like how things were the night they went on that hot air balloon ride.

“I’m sorry I never returned your call,” she says.

“It was nothing important. I just wanted to check up on you after that balloon ride… see how you were feeling afterward…” He doesn’t need to mention what happened after the ill-fated balloon ride: their kiss.

“It was rude of me not to call you back,” she says.

Philip allows that remark to pass without rendering a judgment either way. “I should get going. Good seeing you.” He starts to move past her.

“Philip. Wait.”

He stops, but he merely regards her with a look backward, over his shoulder.

“I was confused after what happened,” she says. “It was rude of me to run off the way I did, and not returning your call… even worse. But I didn’t know what to say. I want you to know that I value your friendship.”

“Thanks.” He turns to stare back down the street, at the anonymous faces coming and going. “I think I’ve made it very clear that I’m interested in more than friendship, Molly.”

She takes a deep breath. “Yeah.”

“I can’t keep playing this back-and-forth game with you,” he says. “I’ve made my feelings clear, but if you can’t tell me definitively that you want me around, then I have to go.”



She wants to force the words out. She has thought about that kiss a lot in the intervening weeks. But she is also busy with caring for the twins, and with work, and her divorce from Brent is barely final…

“I’ll see you around, Molly,” Philip says. It is a final challenge that she cannot even attempt.

Instead, she bows her head and lets him go.


Tori Gray rushes to the door when the knock finally comes.

“You expecting someone?” Matt asks from the kitchen, where he is preparing dinner.

“Just a friend from school,” she says. She yanks the door open and, finding Landon there as she expected, joins him outside, closing the door behind her.

“What was that text all about?” she asks.

“I think you know.” Landon levels a hard stare upon her. “Samantha came to our dorm today. She was really upset about what happened at school.”

Tori feels as if someone just took a wooden stake and jammed it into her chest. She was worried that Samantha might go blab about what happened--not that she has any actual proof that Tori was involved--but she also thought that Sam would be smart enough not to make a big deal about it.

“What happened at school?” she asks innocently.

“You know exactly what happened. Garbage in her locker? Really? That’s mean, Tori.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I didn’t see Sam--”

“Bullshit. She said she saw you and Miranda and those other girls watching and laughing at her while she tried to clean it up.”

“That doesn’t mean I knew what was going on!”

“So you’re telling me you had no idea? Even though you’re the only person at the whole school who has her locker combination?” Landon is more intense than Tori has ever seen him. Usually he is kind of dopey, making stupid jokes and acting like a clown; that one day at Thaw, she caught him moping and depressed. She hasn’t even seen him serious like this before.

“I didn’t put the garbage in there,” she says. “Miranda knew that I had her locker combo. I didn’t know what else to do.”

“You could’ve told Miranda she was being a bitch.”

“Yeah, and then I would have no friends, and--”

“Do you seriously believe that?”

“Yes!” She can tell that he thinks she’s being ridiculous. Of course he does. He never had to work to be popular. He just went along with Travis and always had a decent social life. “If those girls don’t like me, then I’m off the cheer squad, and then--”

“Oh, god. Whatever.” He waves a hand in her face. “I thought maybe you’d at least feel bad about what you did.”

“I do feel bad! But it’s not like Sam got hurt. If they were gonna do anything to really hurt her, I’d--”

“You’d probably find them a car to run her over with. Whatever, Tori. Have fun with your friends. You’re gonna need them when your family won’t even talk to you.”

She wants to call after him, to try and explain herself, but she has a feeling that would only make things worse. If he cools down a little, then there is less chance that anyone is going to tell her mom and dad what happened. She just has to lie low for a little while and not make a big deal about it.


Sarah does not understand why Graham would urge her to cancel dinner with her mother. Unless he has some sort of surprise planned…

“Am I missing something?” she asks.

“Possibly.” His face is hard. “I have a potential client in town with his wife. It’s only right that my wife be there for dinner, as well.”

“I wish you’d given me notice. I can’t just cancel on my mom at the last minute.”

“You can, Sarah.” His stare bores into her. “What could be so pressing about seeing your mother this evening? There are plenty of others. We can see them tomorrow, if you’d like.”

“My father won’t be working late tomorrow. Besides, the point was to spend some time alone with her. Just the girls.”

For a long moment, Graham does not respond. Sarah swears that she can feel his hands tighten on her shoulders, the fingers digging into her flesh and refusing to let her get away.

Instinctively, she sits forward, freeing herself from his grip.

“I’ve made plenty of sacrifices for this marriage,” Graham says. “I’ve dealt with your daughter when she’s been less than pleasant. I’ve treated you to very nice things. I don’t think I’m making a ludicrous request by asking you to rearrange your schedule to attend a dinner where you’re needed.”

When he puts it that way, it doesn’t sound quite as unreasonable. He has inconvenienced himself plenty of times for Sarah and Tori, and he had no idea that she had made plans with Paula tonight.

“I’ll call my mom and see if we can reschedule,” she says.

“Wonderful. We need to leave in about an hour.”

“Okay.” Sarah manages to suppress a sigh until he leaves the room. She picks up her cell phone from the desk but does not make the call yet; she has to gather herself first. Something about that whole encounter was very unsettling—like no matter how much Graham might have pretended it was a conversation, it was really just a set of demands, and she had no negotiating power.

Her eyes drift back to the television screen, where the tape is paused on the same frame that she has already seen ten or twenty times.


Should Sarah be worried about Graham’s behavior?
Should Samantha tell her family what Tori did?
Was Molly wrong to let Philip go?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

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