Episode #648

- Helen and attorney Eric Westin were arrested after conspiring to have Sophie kidnapped in order to make Jason look like an unfit parent. Jason vowed never to let Helen near her granddaughter again.
- Samantha told Diane about the prank that Tori and her friends played on her at school. Diane relayed the news to Sarah.
- Sarah went to see Matt in order to discuss Tori’s behavior. While they were talking at his apartment, she fainted.


The autumn night stretches over as far as the eye can see, a blue-black ghost consuming the town. The city’s lights bounce off the surface of the water. This is not a place that Helen Chase ever planned on revisiting, but she keeps coming back here--again and again and again.

She has to.

“This is what you deserve!” the voice commands. An instant later, a bloodcurdling shriek fills the night.

“Leave her alone!” Helen shouts. She doesn’t want to watch this, but she cannot move her focus anyplace else. Terror grips her as she watches the woman raise the long blade once more--and then plunge it back into her daughter’s stomach.

“Courtney!” Helen cries out. Her daughter is sobbing as Shannon Parish, wearing the face that she called Sabrina Gage, drives the blade into her over and over.

Helen tries to force her feet to advance on them, but they will not move. She is stuck in place, her legs as mobile as two blocks of cement.

“Mommy!” Courtney yells out to her. In response, Shannon drags the blade across Courtney’s throat. Blood spurts everywhere and spatters over Courtney’s wedding dress.

Shannon looks Helen in the eye. “Come and get her.”

But Helen cannot move, and when she tries to raise her arms in some vain attempt to reach for her daughter, she notices something horrifying: they are no longer there. Her arms are gone.

“Courtney!” It is all she can do. She looks to Shannon again, but this time, it is not Courtney that Shannon is holding--it’s Sophie.

“Let go of her,” Helen says, her voice brittle.

“Or what?”

Helen draws in a deep gulp of the cool nighttime air and then prepares to release it back into the world. “Help! Someone help!” she shouts--or tries to shout. When she opens her mouth, when she tries to push the sound out of her throat, nothing happens. Her voice is gone.

Shannon lets out a mad cackle and then tosses Sophie over the side of the building.

The next thing Helen knows, she is surrounded by daylight. She twists around and realizes that she has arms and hands again. They grab onto the sheets of her bed--

Her bed. In her home. She’s at home and safe and has her arms and her--

“It was a nightmare,” she says to herself, gasping for breath.

Her husband comes bounding into the room. He sees her sitting up in the bed.

“What happened?” Don asks, confused.

“I was having a nightmare.” She attempts to orient herself. Outside the window, it is a normal autumn day in King’s Bay. It is not nighttime. She is not on the hotel’s roof.

Courtney is still gone.

She remembers lying awake for most of the night. She must have finally dozed off, only to sleep until mid-morning. She would forego sleep for the rest of her life if she never had to relive that horrible night of her daughter’s murder again.

“It was about Courtney,” she says to Don, who is studying her warily. “And Sophie.”

“You’re okay.” Don’s words sound obligatory; he is used to reassuring her after all these years of marriage. But there is a distance to them, an utter lack of warmth.

“Don, I’m so sorry,” she says. She is the reason why they can’t go see Sophie right this second to make sure that she is okay.

“You’re okay,” Don repeats as he exits the bedroom.


When Sarah fainted at his apartment, Matt Gray frantically attempted to revive her. He was successful, but she seemed disoriented, so he hurriedly got her into his truck and rushed to the hospital. Now, as he sits in the waiting area, he tries to convince his adrenaline-filled body to be patient. It isn’t working very well.

He keeps hoping that the next person to enter the waiting area will be the doctor, bearing news, or even better, Sarah herself. The next person he recognizes, however, is someone he was hoping he wouldn’t have to see at all.

“Matt,” Graham Colville says in that same measured, suspicious tone he almost always uses when he encounters Matt. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

Matt rises from the stiff plastic chair. “I was with Sarah when she fainted. I drove her here.”

“How is she?”

“She’s awake. Haven’t heard anything else.”

Graham’s gaze is already off him, scanning the room for someone who might be able to speak with more authority. There is something dismissive about it, something that wonders, Why did I even bother asking you?

Suddenly, the eyes lock back onto him. “What was she doing when she fainted?” Graham asks.

“We were talking. There was--there’s kind of an issue with Tori. Maybe she was stressed out and worried--I don’t know.”

“I want to see her.”

Matt looks around and spots a nurse. “Let’s ask that nurse. They said they were gonna do some tests.”

He begins to move toward the nurse, but Graham holds out a hand to stop him. “I can handle this. You can go home now.”

Matt freezes. I want to know if she’s okay. That’s what he wants to say. He knows that it technically isn’t his place to be here, but he and Sarah have a daughter together, and he was the one who brought her here.

“Thanks for your help,” Graham tells him coolly before making his way over to the nurse.


Sarah lies in the bed and stares at the ceiling of her hospital room. The paint has dulled from what was probably once a pristine white to a dingy, yellow-tinged color. The air vent could really use a new faceplate. And the smoke detector does not exactly look trustworthy. She thought this hospital was a lot nicer before she had all this time to examine it.

“Mrs. Colville,” comes a voice a split-second before there is a soft knock on the open door. Sarah turns to see a man with slicked-back, graying hair--maybe it is trying to keep pace with the hospital’s décor--in a white coat.

“Dr. Sherman,” he says, extending a hand. She uses her left to shake, since her right arm is restrained by the IV pumping fluids into her body to rehydrate her.

“How are you feeling?” he asks as he plants himself at her bedside, clipboard in hand.

“Not bad, actually. Tired. But fine.”

“Good to hear. Your test results don’t show anything alarming.”

“So I just fainted? That sounds kind of alarming.” Her memory of what happened in Matt’s apartment is scrambled and hazy. She remembers talking to him about Tori, and then a wave of discomfort--dizziness, exhaustion, thirst--hit her all at once. Somewhere in there, it all went to black, and even though she is told that she was awake when Matt brought her in, she doesn’t remember anything until she woke up again in this bed.

“There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for why you fainted,” Dr. Sherman says. “I take it you didn’t know, then.”

“Didn’t know what?”

“That you’re pregnant. About ten weeks along, from the look of things.”


The arena is mostly empty, given the midday hour. Two coaches give lessons on the ice, both to adult skaters. Thankfully, one of the coaches is not Sandy James, who would have recognized Helen the moment she walked in the door. She moves as hurriedly as she can to the back staircase and ascends it. On the landing at the top, she pauses to gather her strength, and she looks out over the arena. Although it has been renovated, it still looks like the place where she spent so much hours of Courtney’s life, watching practices and fixing hair and nursing injuries.

With a determined deep breath, she moves into the large bullpen area that serves as the administrative office. Jason Fisher and Ryan Moriani are both seated at their desks; there is no one else present.

Ryan spots her first. “I don’t think you should…”

He is unable to finish the statement, but he doesn’t have to, because a split-second later, Jason looks up and sees her. He focuses a cold stare upon her but says nothing at all.

“I need to speak with you,” Helen says. She feels frozen in place, just like she was in that nightmare.

Jason rises from his desk chair. “You’re not supposed to be here. The judge made it very clear that there’s a restraining order--”

“For Sophie. Not for you.” Helen cannot believe it’s come to this, talking to Jason about the technicalities of a restraining order. Courtney would be disgusted. “That’s what I want to discuss with you.”

“I’m not letting you see her,” Jason says.

“I’m not asking you to. Not right now, at least. I want to talk to you about the case--the charges. I’m sure we can come to some agreement--”

“No.” His voice is firm and loud, and the sound bounces off the cement walls of the big, open space. “You had my daughter kidnapped, Helen.”

The declaration is like a punch to the gut. She wishes she could deny it, tell him he’s wrong, but she can’t--and that hurts even more. How did it come to this?

“Sophie needs Don and me,” she says. “And we need her. Jason, she’s all we have left of Courtney. Without her, it’s like we’ve…” She cannot bring herself to say it. Like we’ll never be with Courtney again.

She can see Jason cracking. She knows that he feels the same way about Sophie. She is the last tie to Courtney. In a way, Courtney lives on in her daughter. He has to understand what that means to Helen.

“You should have thought of that before you had her kidnapped.” Jason drops back into the chair.


“Helen, come on.” Ryan slips out from behind his own desk and guides her back to the door. “You need to go.”

“I don’t want to go,” she pleads, turning back to him, hoping that Jason might take notice. “I want to see my granddaughter. I need to.”

“I’m sorry,” Ryan says, and then he closes the office door in her face.


The word stings Sarah’s ears. Pregnant. She doesn’t know how to feel. The possibility hadn’t even crossed her mind…

“Wow,” she says, forcing a smile for the doctor’s benefit. “Thanks for telling me.”

“Telling you what?”

The voice sends a shiver down Sarah’s spine as Graham enters the room and makes a beeline for her bedside. Sarah realizes that her physical reaction is totally out of proportion to what is actually happening, but she is still processing the news herself, and her husband’s intrusion cuts into her opportunity to do that.

“That I’m fine,” Sarah says before Dr. Sherman can speak up. “They’re getting me rehydrated, but nothing is wrong.”

“Is that so, Doctor?” Graham asks.

The doctor gives Sarah a meaningful look, one that promises not to reveal anything on her behalf. “Yes. It’s true. Your wife appears to be perfectly healthy.”

“That’s wonderful to hear. I was so worried when I heard you were here.” Graham leans down and gives Sarah a kiss on the forehead.

“I’ll give you two some time alone,” Dr. Sherman says. “A nurse will be by to handle your discharge paperwork, Mrs. Colville. And… best of luck.”

“Thank you,” Sarah says, her nerves prickling again. Even his well wishes carry the implication that this is something she is going to have to face. She cannot ignore it forever. But today…

Graham takes Sarah’s hand in his. “Did something happen with Tori? Matt was in the waiting room when I arrived. He said you and he had been…” He uncharacteristically trails off. Sarah wonders if it is truly accidental.

“Diane found out that Tori and her friends pulled a prank on Samantha at school. Matt and I were talking about how to handle the situation when I fainted, I guess.”

“Well, you can allow Matt to handle her for the time being. You focus on resting and getting healthy again,” he says.

“I’m fine. I’m just tired, with work, and that disaster of a family wedding, and getting Tori ready to go back to school… I’m totally fine.”

“You’re sure of that?”

“I’m sure,” she insists, though she is anything but.


Matt barely makes it back to the apartment before Tori arrives home from school. He hurries down to the laundry room, where he left a load of clothing in one of the washers in his haste to get Sarah to the hospital. He finds it still wet and sitting on top of one of the machines. Deciding that it’s best to call this one a loss, he eats the 75 cents and tosses the clothes back into a washer. When he goes back upstairs, Tori is just getting home.

“How was your first day?” he asks as she unlocks the door.

“Fine. My Geometry teacher is crazy. She went off on this 15-minute tangent about the lady who wrote our textbooks, like anyone cares.”

Matt waits for her to finish, then levels a more serious look upon her. “We need to talk, kiddo.”

“What? Why?” Clearly Tori senses that this is a real issue.

“Two things,” he says, pulling up a kitchen chair. “First off--”

“Is this Mom’s?” Tori bends down and picks up a necklace off the floor. Matt vaguely remembers that Sarah was wearing it earlier. “Was Mom here?”

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. You’re sure that’s hers?”

“Yeah. Graham gave it to her. It was his mother’s cameo or something.” She turns the jewelry over in her head, giving it a distasteful look. “So Mom was here.”

“Mom was here. She came by to talk about you, actually. But something happened.”


“She fainted. I had to take her to the hospital.”

“Is she okay? Why didn’t you call me? I could have left school--”

“She’s fine,” Matt says. “They probably discharged her already. I stuck around ‘til Graham got there, but she texted me a little while ago and said everything’s fine.”

“I wanna go over and see her,” Tori says.

“Let her rest tonight. You’re supposed to go there after school tomorrow, anyway. And besides, you and I have something else to talk about.”

The cameo dangles from her fingers as she waits for the other shoe to drop.

“Diane came by to talk to your mom this morning,” he says. “Something about Samantha and a locker full of garbage?”

She plays out all the elements of a surprised, confused reaction: her head pulls back, her brow wrinkles, her mouth hangs open a little. But it is all a little mechanical. Matt knows his daughter well enough to recognize when she is faking.

“You get 30 seconds to tell me your side of it,” Matt says. “Go.”

“Dad, I can explain.”

“You better. Now go.”

Elbows planted on his legs, he leans forward and listens while she attempts to spin the story in her favor. 


Why didn’t Sarah tell Graham that she is pregnant?
What should Matt and Sarah do about Tori?
Is there anything Helen can do to change Jason’s mind?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

Next Episode