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- Danielle ended her relationship with Ryan after it was revealed at their wedding that he drunkenly married Diane in Las Vegas.
- After a hot-air balloon ride and a kiss between them, Molly asked Philip to give her space.
- Alex’s relationship with his biological father, Graham, developed.
- Sarah fainted at Matt’s apartment. At the hospital, the doctor told her she is pregnant--a fact that she did not share with her husband. Tori found the cameo that Graham had given Sarah lying on Matt’s floor.


Danielle Taylor moves through the house, flipping on a light here and a lamp there. The evening darkness has started to come much earlier in recent weeks, as fall unmistakably makes its presence known. She is trying to achieve the proper balance of dim light in the living room when the doorbell rings. She moves swiftly to the door but freezes when she glances through the side window and sees who it is.

“Danielle, come on. Please open up,” Ryan Moriani says, his words muffled by the door. “I can see you.”

She steels herself and then opens it. “What are you doing here?”

“I need to talk to you.” He jams his hands into the pockets of his charcoal coat. “Actually, I planned something. I’d like you to come with me. We can talk, and…”

She studies him, trying to recognize him as the man she was so thrilled to (almost) marry a few weeks ago. What scares her is that she can see it. She can see that man she loved, the man with whom she planned to spend the remainder of her life. But she also sees a man who hurt her deeply, who humiliated her in front of her family and friends, who never, ever learns his lesson.

“I can’t,” she says. “Molly’s almost home from work, and--”

“And the boys are with Brent tonight. I’m pretty sure Molly is capable of functioning alone for a few hours without injuring herself. So what do you say?”

  Danielle Taylor


“Danielle, please. I know that I can never undo what happened at that wedding. But it doesn’t have to change anything between us. You and I--we were a very good thing. We are a very good thing. I made an enormous mistake. You have no idea how sorry I am for hurting you. But if you’ll just give me the chance to show you, maybe we can… I don’t know. Maybe we can make a real go of this.”

Backlit by the porch lights, he looks like the man she remembers--the man she realized she has been waiting her entire life to find.

“So what do you say?” He reaches out a hand. “Come with me.”


“It’s not exactly encouraging,” Alex Marshall says as he follows his father up the stairs. “Diane basically made my career happen. If she’s not at Vision anymore, I’m not sure that I want to be, either.”

Graham Colville turns back to speak to him. “Then you should take control and search for another publisher. You have the upper hand in this situation.”

“I hope so.” With two successful books under his belt, Alex knows that he could likely secure a contract elsewhere--but the uncertainty of it makes him rather uncomfortable.

“Here they are,” Graham says as he leads Alex into the guest bedroom, which is now occupied by a number of cardboard boxes and plastic bins. “Years and years of things I’ve had in storage.”

Alex tentatively moves amongst the boxes, a few of which have already been opened and explored. “You’re sure it’s okay?”

“It’s more than okay. I’d love for you to look through them and see if there’s anything you’d like to have.”

“Thanks,” Alex says. “That’s really nice of you.”

A voice calls out from downstairs. “Mom? Mom!”

Graham pokes his head out the door of the guest room. “Alex and I are up here. Your mother isn’t home yet.”

Alex pulls back the top flaps of one of the boxes and begins looking through it. He can hear Tori bounding up the stairs. A moment later, she appears in the doorway.

“I spoke to your mother about fifteen minutes ago,” Graham tells her. “She’s on her way home. She’s going to bring dinner.”

“Oh,” Tori says, clearly not that interested in the logistics of their dinner plans. “Hey, Alex.”

“Hey.” Alex cannot get over how grown-up she looks, even dressed down in jeans and a sweatshirt. He tries to imagine what it will be like to see Sophie the same way, in what will undoubtedly be far too short a time.

Tori pulls something out of her backpack. “I found this. You gave it to Mom, right?”

Graham takes one look at the item and moves forward to take it from her. “Yes. It’s my mother’s cameo. I gave it to your mother to wear. Where did you find it?”

“At my dad’s.”


Molly Taylor treks down the busy sidewalk. Her navy trench insulates her from the light wind that the dim evening has brought. She is turning into the parking lot of Windmills to pick up her dinner order when she spots Philip Ragan--with a dark-haired woman at his side.

“Hi, Molly,” he says as they meet near the front door. “This is Adrienne.”

“Nice to meet you,” Molly manages, shaking the woman’s hand and trying not to size her up too much. There is no getting around it: she is stunning. A black shirt that hits just about the knee reveals a shapely pair of legs, and her face is striking even without much makeup.

“Are you, um, here for dinner?” Molly asks. It is the most polite, normal thing that comes to mind, even if it is--which she realizes as she says it--a totally idiotic question.

Something passes over Philip’s face, but only for a split-second. “Yes. Are you meeting someone?”

“Just picking up an order to take home. How, uh, how have you been?”

“Excellent,” he says. “I just flew in from San Francisco last night, actually. I’m putting the finishes touches on a new series I shot recently.” Then he turns to Adrienne. “I’m sorry. Would you mind checking on our table? I have a quick business issue to discuss with Molly.”

Adrienne, not seeming too concerned about it, nods. Philip holds the door for her, and she dips inside the restaurant.

  Molly Taylor

“What business issue?” Molly asks him.

“I only wanted to ask how you’re doing,” he says. “I didn’t want to be rude to Adrienne.”

Molly shrugs. “I’m doing fine. Thanks.” She sees Adrienne through the front window, speaking to the maitre’d. “How long have you been seeing each other?”

“Only a few weeks.” He bites his lip, a familiar action that Molly cannot help but find a little sexy. “She’s very nice.”

“And beautiful.”

He lets out a little laugh. “Yes, beautiful, too.”

Suddenly it is too much for Molly to take. “I actually need to call Danielle to ask a question about the order she put in. Why don’t you go inside? You shouldn’t keep your date waiting.”

“True. It’s good to see you, Molly.”

“Yeah. You, too.”

He disappears inside Windmills. Molly takes out her cell phone and moves around the side of the building, though she has no need to make a call. She knows that she should not be so thrown at seeing Philip with another woman--not after she pushed him away, avoided him, asked him for space. But there is no getting around it: she’s jealous.


Ryan’s outstretched hand waits for Danielle to accept it. And, she realizes, she wants to do just that. It’s so similar to the feeling she gets when she is too close to alcohol in a weak moment. She feels compelled to be with him, to throw her better judgment to the wind and give him another chance.

That is exactly why she tells him, “No. I’m sorry.”

Ryan’s face falls. “What? All I’m asking is--”

“I said no. I have to.” She folds her arms in front of her body. “I’ve been going to three or four meetings a week lately. Do you know how long it’s been since I had to do that?”

“It’s good for you.”

“Yes. But the point is that, this far into my recovery, with as good a handle as I’ve had on it, I shouldn’t be putting myself in situations that make it necessary for me to go to a meeting to avoid taking a drink. Being with you--that’s what it does to me.”

He finally seems to grasp the severity of what she is saying. His hand drops away.

“I need you,” he says, his voice tinged with defeat.

“I need me, too. That’s the problem. And I can’t risk…” She doesn’t want to keep punishing him like this. He made a colossal mistake, yes, but she is the one whose response to it makes the situation unsalvageable.

He lifts a tentative hand to her face. “I’m so sorry I screwed this up. There isn’t anyone out there for me as good as you.”

“I’m sorry, too,” she says, and then she does the only thing she can to preserve herself: takes a step back and closes the door.


Graham tells Alex to go through the boxes until dinner arrives. Then, he takes the cameo downstairs and waits for Sarah to get home. He is checking his new Breitling watch for the umpteenth time when she finally comes through the front door, a plastic bag of takeout containers in her hand.

“Let me get that for you,” Graham says, rising from his seat to meet her. He sets the bag on a side table and then reaches into his pocket. “And I have something for you.”

“Where was it?” Sarah asks. “I’ve been looking everywhere.”

“Tori found it. At Matt’s apartment.”

Sarah visibly recoils. “Oh. I… It must have fallen off when I fainted.”

“I didn’t realize you were at Matt’s when that happened,” Graham says.

She appears uncomfortable, and it makes all his muscles tense up. Why would she keep that from him?

  Sarah Fisher

“I went over there to talk to him about Tori,” she says. “Speaking of which--she’s home? I need to have a little talk with her about that prank she and her friends played on Samantha.”

“We can do that later.” He moves behind her and places the necklace around her neck. “I’m glad this turned up. It would have been a shame to lose it.”

“Yeah.” She pulls her hair out of the way as he fastens the clasp.

“Don’t you find it a little strange that Matt didn’t tell you himself that you’d left this at his apartment?”

“It was a little chaotic. I didn’t even realize it was missing until my head cleared at the hospital.”

Graham regards her grimly in the mirror, then takes a step backward. “Why don’t you set up for dinner in the dining room? I’ll go tell Alex and Tori that we’re almost ready.”

“Okay.” Without another word, Sarah grabs the plastic bag and moves into the kitchen.

Graham climbs the first few stairs and then pauses, consumed by thought. Why would Sarah have neglected to mention that she was at her ex-husband’s when she fainted? Why would she act so uneasy when Graham raised the subject?

It seems as though, no matter how hard Graham tries, Matt Gray remains a presence in his marriage. And that cannot continue.


Upstairs, Alex moves from box to box, sifting through all sorts of items. Some of it is stuff that he would love to have once he gets around to buying a home of his own; the things from his last apartment are all relics from his 20s and could use an upgrade. Some of the glassware and dishes have to be very valuable, and it amazes him that Graham has just had them sitting in boxes for years while he accrued all sorts of new items for this house.

He keeps an eye out, in particular, for items that could be of sentimental worth: old photographs, cards, that sort of thing. He doesn’t expect to find anything directly relating to him in the boxes, since he was not a part of Graham’s life until recently, but perhaps something about Graham’s history--or even his parents’--might turn up.

When he comes across a thick manila envelope, he digs into it with great interest. Inside are a stack of papers that, as soon as he pulls them out, he realizes are handwritten letters.

What’s most surprising is that he recognizes the handwriting.

Graham, the first one begins. It takes another second for him to place the writing. It is something deep in his memory, something that dates back as far as he can remember, and something that he has not seen much of in years.

His mother’s handwriting.

He flips quickly through the letters, his consciousness picking up words and phrases that paint a quick and sharp portrait. The letters span years--years that made up Alex’s youth--and the tone veers from pleading to furious to resigned.

He doesn’t even hear the footsteps until Graham is entering the room. “Alex, dinner is--”

Alex looks up from the spot where he is crouched on the floor, soaking up the letters one by one.

“What do you have there?” Graham asks, and Alex swears that he detects more than a hint of nervousness.

“You lied to me,” Alex says, disbelief wound tightly around each syllable.

Graham moves toward him. “What are you looking at?”

“These letters that my mom wrote you. For years, she wrote you letters to tell you how I was doing, where we were living, even asking you for help. You told me that she never answered you. But from the looks of these--”

“Alex, I can explain.”

“I hope so,” Alex says, his heart pounding. “Because it really looks like you left my mom and me in the dust and never bothered to look back.”


Will Graham be able to explain himself to Alex?
What is Graham going to do about Matt?
Should Molly tell Philip how she feels?
What comes next for Danielle and Ryan?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum!

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Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011

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