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- Lauren was confused when Josh made a secretive trip to Los Angeles.
- Sarah found out that she is pregnant but refrained from telling Graham just yet.
- While going through Graham’s possessions that had been in storage, Alex discovered a set of letters that his mother wrote to Graham--letters that made it clear Graham lied about his efforts to be part of Alex’s childhood.


Crouched on the floor of his father’s home, Alex Marshall holds a stack of letters and stares up at this stranger whom he has let into his life over the past two years.

“Alex, I can explain,” Graham Colville says.

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

Graham’s next statement begins with an uncharacteristic sputter, a rare chink in his refined armor. “I--Your mother and I did not part on good terms.”

Alex simply waits for him to continue explaining. Faced by unyielding silence, Graham finally does.

“For the first few years of your life, I thought you were Don Chase’s son. Your mother and I had little more than a brief affair. When Don left her and she told me the truth--”

“You wanted nothing to do with us,” Alex says.

“It wasn’t that simple.” Graham moves closer toward him. “Your mother asked me for money. I gave her some. I was so angry. I just wanted her to go away.”

“And she did. Or that’s what you wanted me to believe.” Alex rises to his feet, the letters still gripped in his hand. “She tried to get you to be a part of my life, and you didn’t want anything to do with us.”

  Alex Marshall

“I admit that I ignored her pleas for quite a while.” Graham’s voice sounds calm and measured, but there is a hint of desperation showing its edges underneath, and that gives Alex a strange sense of satisfaction. “Then, when I realized that my anger was clouding my judgment, I did try to become a part of your life. By that point, though, she wouldn’t allow it--out of spite, I presume.”

“My mother has been dead for almost a decade,” Alex says. “And I was a legal adult well before then. If you’d wanted to get in touch with me badly enough, you would have.”

“I did get in touch with you!”

“Years and years later, when you were ready. Never mind that I had to grow up without a father, and then my mom died and I had no one--”

“Alex!” Graham reaches out for him, but Alex jerks away. He flings the letters to the floor, and they scatter like autumn leaves.

“You lied to me. All this time, you’ve been lying to me.” He casts a sharp look at Graham and then breaks for the door.


Lauren Brooks moves through the house to the kitchen, where she deposits her armload of paper grocery bags on the counter.

“You don’t have to do all this,” Jason Fisher says as he tails her.

“I want to do all this,” Lauren says. She begins unpacking the bags. “I never get to cook for anyone!”

“Alex is supposed to be having dinner at his dad’s, so I think it’s just you, me, and Sophie.”

“And you guys will be all the audience I need.” Smiling, she finds a cutting board and sets an assortment of vegetables next to it. “Besides, I don’t get to see you--or Sophie--enough.”

Jason takes a seat at one of the tall stools on the other side of the counter. “I know. Work is sort of eating me alive lately.”

“Has it helped having Ryan in the office?”

“Definitely, yeah.” He swivels halfway around and then back on the stool. “Speaking of… Helen came by the office the other day.”

Lauren freezes mid-movement, a red onion in her hand. “What for?”

“She wanted to talk. She wants to see Sophie. I just can’t…” He trails off, shaking his head.

“The court says she’s not even allowed to see Sophie, right?”

“Right. And it’s--I feel bad. Courtney was their only kid, and Sophie seems like their only connection to her, and… But what she did was unforgivable. Sophie could’ve been killed.”

“I know.” Lauren plants her palms on the counter and lets out an enormous sigh. “I can’t believe she ever thought having Sophie kidnapped would be a good idea.”

“I can’t believe that’s a sentence either of us actually has to say.”

“So what did you say to her?” Lauren asks as she sets a package of chicken breasts beside the sink.

“Basically what I just said to you. This whole thing is just… Courtney would hate it.” He closes his eyes tightly and shakes his head, in a vain effort to escape the thoughts. “Why aren’t you cooking for your boyfriend?”

“Because my boyfriend is being really, really weird.” She gives the onion a few good slices with a large kitchen knife. “Something’s up. He made this random trip to L.A., and he said it was for work, but I know Willis doesn’t have him on any accounts that would require him going to L.A., so…”

“That is a little weird,” Jason admits.

“Maybe it’s nothing. I don’t know.”

“You don’t seem to feel like it’s nothing.”

“Ugh. I know.” She places the knife down and looks directly at him. “I’m really worried that… and I don’t even want to say it out loud, but… I’m worried that he’s cheating on me.”


In the dining room, Sarah Colville finishes setting the table with some of the fine Pickard china that Graham purchased for the house. She takes a step back and admires the scene: a table set for four. She touches a hand to her stomach; she can already feel it swelling, making room for the life growing inside her. As she reflects upon this unlikely little family that she and Graham have assembled, it occurs to her that tonight’s dinner might be the perfect time to tell him, Tori, and Alex about the baby.

She goes upstairs and finds Graham alone in the study.

“Dinner’s about ready. Where’s Alex?” she asks, her steps growing tentative as she notices the letters scattered on the floor. Graham is holding one of them and reading it intently.

“He left.” It takes him several more seconds to break his stare from the letter. “He’s gone.”

“What? What happened?”

“He found some letters that his mother wrote to me when he was a child… He’s furious at me.”

She already has a bad feeling about this. “What… kind of letters?”

“Letters in which she asked me to be a part of Alex’s life. Letters that I never answered.”

“I thought you said Sally never let you--”

  Graham Colville

“It was very complicated,” he says firmly, his tone warning her not to question his past judgment. “Sally tried to pass my son off as another man’s for the first few years of his life. By the time I found out, I wanted nothing to do with her. It wasn’t about Alex. I didn’t want to let her back into my life.”

Sarah chooses her next words very carefully. “But you told Alex a different version of the story.”

“I didn’t think it would matter at this point.”

Didn’t think it would matter? She has to bite her tongue to keep from saying it aloud.

“Maybe he just needs some time to cool off,” she says instead.

Graham doesn’t even respond. His head shifts from side to side in despair as he returns to reading the letter in his hands. Sarah tries to help by picking up the rest of the papers, strewn over the floor, and the tense silence convinces her that she should save the news about the baby for another time.


Jason finds himself stung by the bluntness of Lauren’s words. Immediately he feels the need to reassure her.

“Do you really think Josh would do that to you?” he asks.

“You have met Josh, haven’t you?” She picks up the knife and resumes chopping, her moves fueled by a simmering fury. “I really thought he’d changed. Maybe I’ve been wrong this whole time.”

“I really don’t think so.” Despite his less-than-favorable feelings about Josh Taylor, Jason has seen the two of them together; he knows that Josh has fallen hard for Lauren. He moves around the counter and places an arm around Lauren’s shoulders. “Don’t work yourself up over this. There could be a totally reasonable explanation.”

“There could be, yeah.” Chop, chop, chop. “Or he could be up to something.”

Jason is searching for further reassurances to offer when the front door opens and then closes very loudly.

“Alex?” he calls out.

There is no answer until Alex stomps into the kitchen. He unzips his North Face jacket and clutches it in his hand.

“I thought you were having dinner at your dad’s,” Jason says, already trying to suss out what is going on--because something is clearly wrong.

“I left before dinner.” Alex robotically crosses the kitchen and gives Lauren a greeting hug. “Hey.”

“Hey,” she says. “What happened? Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” He stands there stewing for a moment. “I guess. I don’t know.”

Jason manages to catch Alex’s eye. “What’s going on?”

Alex paces away from them and hangs his jacket on the back of one of the chairs at the kitchen table. “He had all these boxes that had been in storage, and he told me to go through them and see if there was anything I wanted… and I found these really old letters that my mom wrote to him, trying to get him to actually be a dad to me…”

“I thought he told you that your mom wouldn’t let him see you,” Lauren says.

“He did! He completely lied to my face.”

“Did you tell him what you saw?” Jason asks.

“Yeah! And he owned up to it. But he was like, ‘Your mom lied to me, and I was mad at her, so whoops.’” He shakes his head. “It was stupid of me to trust him in the first place.”

Jason moves behind him and rests his hands on Alex’s shoulders. “It wasn’t stupid of you. He’s your father.”

“But I should’ve known he was as big a jerk as I thought he was for my entire life,” Alex says. “It was too easy, you know?”

“I’m sorry, buddy.” Not knowing what else to say, Jason gives Alex’s shoulders a few hard rubs to try and relax him.

“Me, too,” Lauren says. “That really sucks.”

Alex forces a shrug. “It just confirms what I’ve known all along: my family is a group of people I’ve chosen, not some guy who got my mom pregnant a long time ago.”

Jason wraps him into a hug. “Exactly. You’ve got us.” Lauren comes over to join them in a group embrace. Jason cannot help but feel that there should be one more person with them, but at least the three of them have each other.


After a tense dinner punctuated by alternating bouts of silence and forced conversation, Tori rushes back upstairs to play on Facebook or YouTube or whatever it is that occupies so much of her time. Sarah clears the table, including the unused fourth place setting, while Graham halfheartedly helps and broods.

“He won’t freeze you out forever,” Sarah says while loading the dishwasher.

“You don’t know that,” Graham says.

She moves her purse from the kitchen counter to the island so that she can stack things for rinsing before she sticks them in the dishwasher. “Maybe not, but I’ve known Alex for a long time. Relationships are important to him. He and my brother have been through a lot. He’s not someone to just sit back and let an important relationship fall by the wayside because it’s too much work.”

Not surprisingly, Graham does not respond. Sarah rinses the remaining plates and cutlery and files it all accordingly in the dishwasher.

  Sarah Fisher

“I think it’s time I go have that talk with Tori,” she says as she closes the state-of-the-art Electrolux dishwasher. She has not exactly been looking forward to having a conversation with her daughter about Tori’s mistreatment of her cousin, but now it seems like a relief from trying to reassure the brick wall that her husband is choosing to be. She goes to the stairs and tries to plan exactly what she is going to say to Tori.

In the kitchen, Graham stands at the island, still absorbing what happened with Alex a short while ago. He had no idea those letters were still among his things. He could have sworn that he discarded them years ago. If he’d only been more careful--

“Damn!” The angry word tears out of him, and he swings an arm at whatever is in range. It collides with Sarah’s purse and sends it tumbling off the island. As he hears her possessions go spilling over the floor, he feels foolish for having had such an outburst.

He kneels down to pick everything up before Sarah comes in and sees the mess. Her wallet, various cosmetics, and a small digital camera all go back into the purse. But there is one item that catches his attention: a bottle of what looks like vitamins. What grabs his attention is not so much the bottle itself, but the word that he sees on its label:


He picks up the bottle and turns it over in his hand. Prenatal vitamins? Is Sarah pregnant? If she is, why wouldn’t she have told him?

He sticks the bottle back into her purse, which he places back atop the island. She’ll never have any idea.


What is Graham going to do now?
Will Alex come around and forgive Graham?
Are Lauren’s suspicions off-base?
Talk about all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

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Monday, Nov. 07, 2011

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