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- Tempest impulsively kissed Samantha, who later refused to talk about the incident with her friend.
- Natalie interrupted Ryan and Danielle’s wedding with the revelation that Ryan and Diane drunkenly got married in Vegas and their annulment had not been filed. Danielle walked out on Ryan.
- Back at home, Molly went upstairs to take a shower, and Danielle gravitated to the liquor cabinet, where she contemplated taking her first drink in years.


I shouldn’t do this, Danielle Taylor thinks, even as she twists the cap off the bottle of vodka.

It isn’t worth it. She thinks of the days and weeks and months and years of sobriety that she has built up, each one another layer of armor against this demon that once consumed her life and threatened to ruin it for good.

But she can already taste it, can already feel the burn searing her throat. It’s the type of pain that promises pleasure is soon to come.

With the cap clutched in her hand, she lifts the bottle to her lips--and then the doorbell rings.

The melodic reality check sends her scrambling. She slams the cap back onto the bottle, shoves the bottles back into the cupboard, and propels herself out of the kitchen. Before answering the door, she wipes her mouth, even though there is no actual reason to do so.

“Dad,” she says to Bob Taylor upon opening the door. “Hey.”

“How are you doing?” he asks warmly as he comes into the house.

“I’m fine. I don’t know. Shell-shocked.”

She sees him heading for the kitchen. She knows that she put the bottle back where it was, that there is no evidence of what she almost did, but it still makes her very nervous, as if he might be able to tell just by scanning the room.

“I could go find Ryan and sock him for you,” he half-jokes as he leads the way into the kitchen, where he settles on one of the stools at the counter.

“I think the moral of today is that we should all stay far, far away from Ryan Moriani.” It feels like a betrayal to say the words, since she has been defending him and believing in him for so long, but all it takes is one replay of the day’s events--of Natalie announcing to their family and friends that Ryan is actually married to Diane--to remind Danielle that steering clear of him is exactly what she needs.

“I should have listened to Brent,” she says. Her brother warned her that Ryan was nothing but trouble and that she would be putting herself in the line of fire by getting involved with him. At the time, they were all worried about literal fire from guns and explosions and who knows what else, but this might be just as bad.

“Don’t do that to yourself,” Bob says. “You made the decision to trust someone. Now you know that you can’t trust him again. Simple as that.”

“I guess.” The logic of it makes sense to her, but she has no idea how to move forward. How do you trust someone on that level after you’ve had your trust mangled and mishandled so badly?

“Danielle,” he says, causing her to snap out of her bleak musings on the future. “I want you to be honest with me about something.”


“Is there anything you want to talk about?” At her hesitation, he adds, “Is this making you feel like you need to take a drink?”


“I know you’re in there! Open the door!”

Ryan Moriani pounds on the front door. He is still clad in his suit from his disaster of a wedding, but the jacket has been left behind in the car and the shirt sleeves pushed up his forearms.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Diane Bishop snaps as she yanks the door open.

“Me? I’m not the one who came crashing into someone’s wedding with the sole intent of ruining people’s lives.”

“That wasn’t me. It was my idiot sister. Do you think I want people to know I married you? How am I supposed to explain that to my daughter?”

“Gee, thanks.” Ryan pushes past her and into the condo. “Where’s Natalie?”

“She isn’t here.” Catching sight of his skepticism, she insists, “Seriously. She’s been out for a few hours. Have you been drinking?”

“No. Unfortunately not.”

  Ryan Moriani

“Good. Because I am not in the mood to put up with incoherence or belligerence, on top of whatever foul mood you’re in.”

“I just want to give Natalie a piece of my mind,” Ryan says, planting himself in the middle of the living room.

“Well, she’s not here. So you can rant and rave to the walls all you want, but don’t expect me to listen.”

She tries to move by him, to the kitchen, but Ryan grabs her by the arm.

“Would you stop joking about this?” he says. “My life is ruined.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time!”

Her complete refusal to treat this situation with any seriousness whatsoever makes his blood run hot. Hotter than it has been all day, even. He should have known better than to expect any kind of understanding from her.

“Where are the papers?” he asks. “I want to take them to an attorney who’s actually capable of filing them. How did your lawyer manage to screw that up?”

“He was a little busy!”

“Yes, getting arrested for kidnapping my niece. You sure know how to pick ‘em.”

That’s when they hear the door opening, and when they look over, there is Natalie, with no place to run.


“Do we have to?” Samantha Fisher asks as her brother and Elly Vanderbilt lead the way to Claire’s apartment door.

“Just for a few minutes,” Travis says, using his key to unlock the door. “Mom wanted to hear about the wedding, and it’s on our way back to Grandma and Grandpa’s, anyway.”

Samantha bites her tongue. It’s not like she can actually tell him the real reason she is so hesitant about coming here, anyway. They go inside the apartment and each greet Claire with a hug. While she awaits her turn, Samantha glances around: no sign of Tempest.

“So we hear this huge commotion outside, and everybody goes out there, and Diane and her sister are on the floor in the middle of this totally destroyed wedding cake,” Travis is telling Claire.

“What?” Claire asks, listening raptly. “Why would they be there?”

Elly shakes her head. “It’s even more insane than you can imagine.”

“Because Natalie wanted to bust up the wedding,” Travis continues, “by telling everyone that Uncle Ryan and Diane are married.”

Claire’s eyes nearly bug out of her head. Samantha hears the information again, but it still seems too weird to be true: her mom is married to her uncle.

“They’re what?” comes a voice from across the apartment. Samantha turns and, sure enough, there is Tempest, ready to join in on story time.

“They went to Vegas a few months ago for some work thing,” Travis says, “and everyone got drunk, and they got married. They were trying to get it annulled, but the paperwork didn’t go through or something.”

Tempest comes to stand beside Claire as she comments simply, “Whoa.” Then, turning to Elly, Claire asks, “How’s your mother doing?”

“She was really upset,” Elly says. “Obviously. Molly took her home.”

As they continue to post-game the latest catastrophe of a Fisher family wedding, Tempest manages to catch Samantha’s eye. “Can we talk for a minute?” she asks quietly.

“We’re leaving in a second.”

“It’s only gonna take a second.”

Unable to escape, Samantha follows Tempest into the kitchen, her stomach burning with anxiety every step of the way.

“You gonna keep blowing me off forever?” Tempest asks, keeping her voice even once they are in the kitchen. “You haven’t texted me back in days.”

“Things have been crazy,” Samantha says.

“I get that, but it’s more than just being busy. You’re avoiding me. At some point, we’ve gotta talk about how we kissed--right there, actually.” She points to the spot on the floor where, sure enough, she fell on top of Samantha right before it happened. The memory, far too vivid, makes Samantha wince with discomfort.

“So talk to me,” Tempest says. “At least long enough to tell me if you never wanna talk to me again.”


“Dad, I’m fine,” Danielle says by reflex, before she even has the chance to think about how to respond.

Bob studies her with concern. “Are you sure? I’m not trying to accuse you of anything, or--I don’t know. I want to make certain you’re okay, that’s all.”

“And I appreciate that.” She clasps her hands over his. “Thank you, Dad.” Now all sorts of thoughts are zipping through her head, though. Could he have smelled the liquor in the air? Did he read it on her face?

That is what convinces her that she needs to say more.

“I was thinking about it right before you showed up,” she admits. It hurts to say, and she braces herself for the disappointment on her father’s face--but it never arrives.

“But you stopped,” he says.

“I stopped because the doorbell rang. Who knows what would have happened if you hadn’t shown up?”

Instead of answering, Bob pulls her into an embrace.

  Danielle Taylor

“I’m so sorry about today,” he says, holding her close. “I want you to remember that you have me, and Brent, and Josh, and Elly. We’re all here for you, and there are things to come in your life that will make all of this fade into the background someday.”

“I hope you’re right.”

“Danielle, I was thinking we could get--” Molly falls silent as she enters the kitchen, fresh from the shower in a long-sleeved t-shirt and pajama pants, and sees them. “Oh, sorry. Didn’t mean to interrupt.”

Bob turns to her. “I was just reminding Danielle how many people are here to care for her.”

“It’s true,” Molly says, pushing her wet hair behind her head.

Danielle watches them standing there, just two of the people who are still around to offer her support and love after Ryan’s great betrayal today. She remembers the philosophy that has been driven into her during her time in AA and in rehab: that admitting one’s faults is the first step to overcoming them.

“I was just telling my dad how I need you guys around tonight,” she says, “and then I’m going to go to a meeting in the morning. I don’t need to ruin my sobriety over this, but I need help tonight.”

“That’s what we’re here for,” Molly says. “Now can I please convince you to let me make you some dinner?”


It takes every iota of willpower that has ever existed within Ryan to keep him from flying across the room and throttling Natalie.

“You’re lucky that murdering someone would have terrible repercussions for me,” he says, glaring harshly at her.

Natalie plants her hands on her hips. “Try me.”

Diane looks to Ryan. “You could do it and then just frame one of your siblings for it. That would really bring this whole wedding day full-circle.”

“Oh my god!” Ryan exclaims, throwing up his hands. “How did your parents’ house not burst into flames with the two of you inside it?”

“I don’t have to listen to this,” Natalie says. She waves him away and starts toward the back hallway.

Diane steps in front of her to block her path. “Hold it right there. I want you to pack up all your crap and get out of here.”


“Like, an hour ago. Get packing.”

“Diane, this is not fair! What about Bree?”

“Bree can stay with her father for a while longer,” Diane says, unable to suppress a grin at her sister’s sudden despair. “Guess you should’ve thought about that before you publicly humiliated me, huh?”

Ryan watches the confrontation between the two sisters and snickers with amusement.

“Okay, I really don’t need this,” Natalie says. “I’m gonna go get my suitcases.”

“Good.” Diane watches her go to the hall closet.

“It’s a miracle Julian put up with you for as long as he did,” Ryan calls after Natalie.

“Go to hell!” she shouts back.

Diane moves around him and into the kitchen, where she grabs an unopened bottle of red wine. “Want a glass?”

“Oh yeah, I’m dying to sit around here drinking with you,” he says.

“Have it your way.” She gets herself a glass. “I just figured that it’s tradition to spend your wedding night with the woman you married…”

“Oh, shut up.” He watches her pour the wine. “And yeah, get me a glass. I’m going to sit back and enjoy watching your sister drag all her shit out of here.”


“Of course I don’t want to never talk to you again,” Samantha says, stumbling over the awkwardness of the sentiment, nevermind the double-negative and split-infinitive.

“How long do I gotta wait, then?” Tempest asks.

“You don’t. Don’t worry about it, okay? Nothing’s… everything is fine.”

Tempest simply continues eyeing her, like she is trying to see through her and read her soul. It makes Samantha very nervous; she doesn’t want to think about what Tempest thinks she might be able to see.

Suddenly, the ringing of a cell phone interrupts them. Samantha turns around and sees what must be Claire’s phone on the countertop, its screen lit up. She picks it up just as Claire appears at the edge of the small kitchen.

“Oh, I was just filling Tempest in on the wedding,” Samantha scrambles to explain, unnecessarily, as she hands Claire the phone. “You know, all the complicated backstory.”

“I don’t even think I understand all of it,” Claire says. She glances at the caller ID. “Sorry, it’s the hospital.”

Claire takes the phone into her bedroom as she answers. “This is Claire.” She listens to the voice on the other end; it is not one of the familiar ones from the nurse’s desk, however.

“This is Imelda from the lab,” the woman says, instantly conjuring a mental image for Claire, who has become familiar with many of the lab techs and workers during her time at King’s Bay Memorial. “The DNA results you ordered are in.”

“Finally,” Claire says. “I had no idea the lab was so backed up.”

“This is one of the more time-intensive tests.”

“Can you tell me the results?”

“I’m going to need you to come in and get them, or pick them up the next time you work,” Imelda says. “I can’t give out this information over the phone.”

“I figured as much,” Claire says with a sigh. “And I’m coming to get them.”


Will the DNA test answer Claire’s questions about Spencer?
Will Danielle be able to maintain her sobriety?
Would Ryan and Diane actually make a good match?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

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Wed., Sept. 07, 2011

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