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- Molly began dating Philip Ragan, but she worried about her family--and, in turn, her sons--finding out that she was seeing someone so soon after her divorce from Brent.
- Danielle ran into Sarah, and together they realized that someone had forged a note to Matt, allegedly from Sarah, asking him to meet her at the pier. They went to Brent to report Matt’s disappearance.
- Graham had second thoughts about letting Matt be killed in the demolition of the building on Pier 23, but he was unable to stop the demolition without implicating himself.
- The police searched the waterfront area where Matt’s truck was found and rescued him from the building before it was destroyed. One of the officers discovered a surprising item on the floor of the room where Matt was found…

KB Memorial Hospital

“Thanks, Mom. I’ll let you know as soon as we hear anything else,” Sarah Colville says as she walks through the doors and into the hospital’s waiting area. After a quick goodbye, she ends the call and, clutching her cell phone in her hand, returns to where Danielle Taylor is trying to occupy herself with a tabloid magazine.

“Everything okay?” Danielle asks as she sets the magazine aside. “I mean…”

My mom is picking Tori up from school, so at least that’s under control.” Sarah lets out a deep sigh and sits down beside Danielle. “Where’s Brent?”

Danielle points vaguely toward the doors. “Outside making a call. No word from the doctors yet.”

Sarah rests her hands atop her growing stomach. The waiting area feels stuffy, even though she already removed her coat. She suspects it has more to do with her anxiety over Matt’s condition than the actual air circulation in the hospital.

“None of this makes sense,” Sarah says. “Why would Matt have been in that building? And where did that note come from? I swear I didn’t write it.”

Danielle is searching for an answer when Claire Fisher, clad in her nurse’s uniform and holding a clipboard, strides into the waiting area with purpose. Both Sarah and Danielle shoot to their feet.

“How is he?” Sarah asks.

“He’s resting,” Claire says.

“What’s wrong? What happened to him?”

Claire hesitates, and her lips tighten into a flat line. “Sarah, I’m sorry, but I can’t discuss the specifics of Matt’s condition with anyone but his immediate family. Is Tori here?”

Sarah shakes her head. She understands that Claire is only doing her job, but still…

“What’s the prognosis, then?” she asks. “Can you tell us that?”

“He’s fine. He should recover absolutely fine,” Claire says, looking relieved.

“Thank God,” Danielle says, exhaling heavily.

Sarah has a million more questions, but she knows Claire can only share so much--and besides, many of them have nothing to do with Matt’s medical situation. “Can we see him?”

“In a few minutes, yeah. I’ll come get you.” Claire exits the waiting area, leaving Sarah and Danielle to share their relief in overwhelmed silence.


In the corridor, Claire sees Brent Taylor walking toward her, putting his phone back into its holster.

“Any word?” he asks from a distance.

Claire motions for him to come nearer. When they reach each other, they step toward the wall.

Quietly she says, “I couldn’t tell Sarah and Danielle any of this--”

“I’m investigating what the hell happened to him.”

“Which is why I’m telling you. The doctor ordered a tox screen. There were… puncture marks in Matt’s arm.”

“Track marks.”

“I know. It sounds weird,” Claire says, waiting for another nurse to pass before she continues. “Please don’t tell any of the family about this. It’s privileged information.”

  Brent Taylor

“Of course,” Brent says, but she can tell that something is eating away at him.

“What is it?” she asks.

Brent glances in both directions before explaining, “One of my officers found a needle in the room where we found Matt. And his wallet and cell phone are nowhere to be found.”

The news lands hard on Claire. She has known Matt for years, and she never suspected anything of this sort. “Do you think it could be…”

“A drug deal gone bad,” Brent says, shaking his head with sorrow.


Carrying a duffel bag over his shoulder, Jason Fisher steps off the elevator onto the eighteenth floor of Winston Tower and walks through the newly redecorated offices of his sister’s company. The recent touch-ups have resulted in a vibrant, slightly pop-art décor--a far cry from the utilitarian grays and browns of Jason’s own office at the ice arena.

“Hey, Cameron,” he says as he walks into Molly’s office suite. “I think she’s expecting me.”

“She is indeed. She just had me hold a call because you were on your way.” Molly’s assistant, a thin, handsome man in his mid-20s, wears a gray cardigan sweater with a black-and-white checked shirt underneath. He presses a button on his phone and alerts his boss, “Jason is here.”

“Go on in,” Cameron tells him a moment later. Jason thanks him and heads inside, where he finds Molly behind her oversized desk, staring in confusion at her computer screen.

“What’s up?” he says as he sets the duffel bag on a chair.

Molly stands from her seat and comes to greet him with a hug. “Perfect timing. I could use a break.” She indicates the bag. “What’s that?”

“The twins’ hockey skates. I checked in at the shop, and they were done being sharpened, so I figured I’d save you a drive out to the rink.”

“Thank you. We’ll drop the bag off in your office next time we go to the rink.” She gestures toward the white leather sofa against the wall. “Have a seat.”

Molly sits across the coffee table from him, in an Art Deco chair with a whimsical blue stripe on it. “What do you think of the redecorating?”

“It looks great. Really fun.”

“That was my goal. It was starting to feel a little stale in here.” She adjusts the collar of her red boat-neck blouse. “Have you talked to Mom today?”

Her tone alerts Jason to the fact that something serious is going on. “No. Why?”

“Something happened with Matt. I’m not sure what, but he’s at the hospital. Danielle was there, too, so she had Elly pick up the boys from school.”

“That doesn’t sound good.”

“No. Mom was bringing Tori by the hospital, but she didn’t have many details yet. Apparently Matt’s going to be fine, but…”

“Still scary. I’ll have to give her a call when I leave here.”

A sharp double-beep from Molly’s cell phone, perched on her desk, steals both of their attention. She stands and goes over to retrieve the phone. Jason casually watches her as she takes in the newly arrived message--and he notices when her lips curl up in the faintest hint of a grin.

“Something good?” he asks.

Molly looks at him with a start. “What? No. Nothing.”

“You sure looked happy,” he says, unable to resist a bit of little-brother prodding

She stares at him for a moment, then taps out a response on her phone’s keyboard. She clutches the phone in her hand as she returns to her seat, and before she has even settled back in, another beep announces a response. Molly cannot hide her instinct to glance at the phone immediately, even though she quickly covers.

“Something is up with you,” Jason says.

“Is not.”

“Is, too. Come on, spill. What’s up?”

Molly reads the message on her phone and then lifts her eyes to her brother. “There’s something I need to tell you.”


Sarah knocks lightly as she cracks the door open. Matt’s head, resting on a mound of pillows, swivels to face her.

“Claire said I could come see you,” she says.

“Yeah. Come in.” His voice is hoarse, and his face looks wan and drawn, its lines more pronounced. The site of him lying there, so weak and worn, fills Sarah with terror--but she knows that it could be even worse. Matt could have died in that building. The mere thought chills her blood.

“How are you feeling?” she asks.

“Not amazing,” he says, forcing a grin, “but all things considered, not too terrible. Mostly my head is killing me.”

She hovers several feet from his bedside. “I’m just glad you’re okay.”

“Me, too. I thought…” His gaze drifts toward the ceiling. She can tell that his mind is taking him back to whatever he experienced inside that building.

  Matt Gray

Abruptly, he turns back to her. “How’s Tori? Where is she?”

“My mom picked her up from school. She’s fine. I told my parents that they could bring her down here once we had some idea of what’s going on.”

“Good. I’d love to see her.” He lifts a hand, the ropey muscles of his forearm standing in contrast to the withered, exhausted state of his face. “Wish I had some idea what the hell just happened to me.”

“Brent’s looking into it,” she says, aiming for a perky reassurance that falls short and lands squarely in lameness. She decides to stop tiptoeing around it: “You don’t remember anything?”

Matt sighs and lets his head loll to the side. “I remember being on the pier. I was waiting for you. Thought I heard you. And then I turned around, and--I don’t know.”

“Danielle said you were going to meet me. And when I woke up this morning, I had a missed call from you.”

“Yeah. ‘Cause someone put a note on my door that looked like it was from you. It had your name on it and everything. Looked like your handwriting.”

“I didn’t write it.” The statement flies out of her, firm and declarative. Then it hangs between them, questions oozing out of it like blood from a nasty wound that cannot be staunched.

“Someone did. And they said not to call or text you ‘cause it had to be secret, and they knew about Pier 22.”

That looms over them. Sarah wonders if he is going to say exactly what she is thinking, but it sounds crazy and makes her question every single thing about her life, including this child growing inside her, so she cannot propose the possibility, and maybe Matt is too nice to say it. But now that she has had the thought in this solid a form, she knows that she cannot ever be rid of it.


In the waiting area, Brent approaches his sister. “Did Elly have any trouble with picking up the boys?” he asks.

“Nope. She just texted me that they’re back at the house.”

“Good. Please thank her again for me,” Brent says. He slips into the chair beside her. “Have you been in to see Matt yet?”

She shakes her head. “Sarah’s in with him now. I’ll go in once she’s done.”

“Sounds like he’s doing okay, though.” He idly checks his cell phone screen. “I sent Burke over to Matt’s apartment. He said he couldn’t find that note anywhere.”

Danielle has had a bad feeling this would be the result. She wishes she had thought to stick the note in her purse, but at the time, it felt like an invasion of privacy, so she just left it where she’d found it.

“I left it on the ground,” she says, continuing to kick herself mentally. “I guess it probably got cleaned up, or blown away…”

Brent adjusts himself in the chair so that he can face her. “You’re sure it was signed by Sarah?”

“Positive. I thought maybe she and Matt had gone off together, or…” She trails off, unsure how to articulate what she thought--or why she even cared.

“You and Matt--you’ve gotten pretty close, haven’t you?” Brent asks.

“I guess. We’re getting to be friends, yeah.”

“Have you noticed anything… strange about him?”

“What do you mean?”

“Have you seen anything to indicate that he might be using drugs?”

“What? No!” The proposition sounds completely outrageous to Danielle, like Brent just asked if she thought Matt was making weekly trips to the moon. “Do you think that’s what this is about?”

“I don’t know what to think,” he says. He pauses, then continues carefully: “Please don’t say anything about this to anyone else. Not yet. But we have evidence to suggest that it’s a path of questioning worth pursuing.”

“I would know if he were using,” she says. “I’ve seen enough people--”

“I know. That’s why I asked you.”

Something flashes across Danielle’s mind—a memory of Matt complaining about the work environment at Windmills…

“Windmills is killing me. Too stuffy. And everyone’s so keyed-up all the time.”

She knows it’s ridiculous. Matt isn’t on drugs. She is certain of it. But what if something happened at work, something to push him to start using to keep up? As much as she knows that it’s crazy, the seed of doubt has still been planted.

She forces the thought to the back of her mind. “You know what I think is weird? How you guys found him in a building that was about to be demolished by Sarah’s husband.”

“It’s really weird,” Brent agrees, nodding. “Too weird to be a coincidence. Don’t you think?”

Danielle drops her chin into her hands. “I don’t know what to think right now.”

Objection Designs

“Did I just put my foot in my mouth?” Jason asks as he awaits Molly’s explanation. “Is it something serious?”

She waves off his concern. “No. I mean, it’s not a joke, but it’s nothing dire. It’s… I’ve been seeing someone.”

Oh.” Jason takes that in quietly for a few seconds. “’Seeing someone’? Are you a hundred years old?”

“Shut up.”

“No, seriously, that’s good to hear. I know splitting up with Brent has been really, really hard on you.”

“To put it lightly.”

Jason points to her phone. “So that’s the guy? Texting you?”

Molly nods as she re-reads the latest message. “Yeah.”

Jason leans back on the leather sofa, stretching his arms across its back as far as they can reach. “That’s great, Mol. Where’d you meet him?”

She hesitates. “Here, actually.”

“You’re dating Cameron?” he says with a snicker.

“Yes, Jason. I’m dating Cameron. He’s just been pretending to like guys this whole time to get to me.” She turns serious again. “It’s Philip.”

“Philip that Lauren dated? Philip, like, Claire’s mystery brother?” As Molly confirms this, Jason silently takes in the information. “I guess that’s not that huge of a surprise,” he says. “You guys have your whole fashion-art thing going on.”

“It isn’t serious,” she quickly adds, “but I like him. Could you keep this to yourself for the time being, though? I’m not ready for Brent to find out--and I definitely don’t want the twins to know until I’m sure exactly what it is.”

“Of course. I’m happy for you. I’m glad you’re…” He makes a big, sweeping hand gesture. “…back out there or whatever.”

Molly visibly relaxes, as if she has just been allowed to set down an enormous anvil she had to carry around. “What about you? Have you met anyone, or…”

Jason shakes his head adamantly. “I am not ready for that yet. I feel like my head has really cleared up these last few months, but… no. Not even close.”

“You’re allowed to take your time. I can’t imagine how much you must miss Courtney.”

“It seriously shocks me. Like, every single morning when I wake up. Still.” He doesn’t let himself go back into that mental abyss. “Things are slowly getting back to normal, though. Having a roommate around the house has helped. And Alex is so good with Sophie.”

“I’m glad you have him there with you,” Molly says, “since you wouldn’t let any of us do it.”

He shrugs. “It’s just different, with it being my best friend. I don’t know.” He quickly feels the need to change the subject. “But speaking of getting back into the dating scene… I feel bad for Alex. I think Sophie and I are probably cramping his style a little.”

“Why? Was he see-- dating someone?”

“No. There really hasn’t been anyone since Seth. And now Trevor’s coming to visit for Lauren’s wedding, which I’m sure is going to be tough. He’s being an awesome friend to me, and I know he’s busy with writing, but I get the sense that he’d also like to have someone.”

“I think most of us would,” Molly muses.

Cameron appears in the doorway. “Sorry to interrupt, but Kate’s office just called to ask if we could move the walkthrough up by fifteen minutes.”

Molly checks the time on her phone. “That should be fine. Thanks.”

Jason notices her staring at the empty doorway even after Cameron has gone. He waits for her to break the silence.

“I think I have an idea,” she says.

“Uh-oh. What kind of idea?”

“Go with me here,” Molly says as she jumps up and closes the door.


By the time she and her daughter arrive back at home, Sarah feels as if she has been through a triathlon. She wants nothing more than to collapse onto the sofa and switch off her brain.

“Go start your homework,” Sarah tells Tori, “and I’ll find something to make us for dinner.”

Tori starts up the stairs but pauses halfway. “You’re sure Dad is going to be okay?”

“The doctors seem pretty confident about it,” Sarah says, “and your Aunt Claire would be honest with me. I think the scariest part of this is over.” Even as she says the words, however, she knows that they are not true.

“Good,” Tori says before bolting upstairs.

Sarah lingers in the foyer, weighed down by the severity and the confusion of everything that has happened today. Matt’s prognosis does sound good, and that is reassuring, but there is so much more going on here—more than she would ever tell Tori, and more than Sarah really understands herself.

  Sarah Colville

The sound of a key in the front door startles her, and she finds herself having to prepare to face her husband. Graham enters with a weary look on his face.

“What a bizarre day,” he says as he hangs up his coat. “Have you been home long?”

“No. My mom brought Tori to the hospital to see Matt. We just got home a few minutes ago. I only just started thinking about what we could have for dinner.”

“We’ll figure something out.” He crosses toward her and greets her with a kiss on the cheek. Sarah has to fight the instinct to pull away.

“Did you manage to finish the demolition?” she asks, suddenly needing to keep both of them occupied.

“Yes, though several hours behind schedule. I’m still in shock about what happened with Matt.” He shakes his head sadly. “Did the doctors have anything else to say about his condition?”

“No. He should be fine. Just needs to rest and recover. I…” She has no idea what to say. Something tells her not to mention the note that was delivered to Matt with her name on it, or the strangeness of Matt winding up in a building of which Graham had oversight.

“That’s good to hear. I hope the police are able to resolve whatever happened.”

“Me, too.”

He moves toward the kitchen. “Now should we take a look at what we have for dinner? I’m sure there’s something we can put together.”

“Yeah. Good idea.” She follows him into the kitchen, unable to shake the warning signals that go off every time she looks at him. She has no idea how she is going to sleep in a bed beside him tonight. Every part of this seems crazy, but her investigator’s instincts are telling her that coincidence was not a part of what happened today.


What should Sarah do about Graham?
What will the drug allegations mean for Matt?
What is Molly up to?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

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