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- Matt was astonished to learn that there was evidence suggesting he had been beaten and left for dead during a drug deal gone bad.
- Josh began his new job at Sunset Studios in Los Angeles, while Lauren stayed behind in King’s Bay to finish her job at Willis Advertising and plan their wedding.
- Trevor returned to King’s Bay for Lauren’s wedding. He ran into Alex, and after they caught up, Alex walked him back to the hotel… where Trevor invited him up to his room and they slept together.


It takes a few moments for Alex Marshall’s brain to catch up with his eyes. While the latter adjust to the light, the former is trying to figure out why the white linens and the warm yellow walls look familiar. All at once, he realizes that he is in a room at the Metropolitan Inn… the hotel where Trevor is staying… and he is in Trevor’s room. In his bed.

He rolls over to face the other side of the bed, swinging his arm to drape it over Trevor. Instead it hits the sheet-covered mattress. There is no one else in the bed.

“Trev?” he calls out, but there is no noise from the bathroom and nothing else to indicate the presence of another person in the room. Alex shifts himself to an upright position and rubs his eyes. Despite his disorientation, he does feel well-rested.

The digital clock on the glass-topped nightstand reveals that it is 7:44 a.m. He has never known Trevor to be much of an early riser, although maybe the time change from London has his body severely out of whack. Maybe he went to pick up breakfast.

Alex smiles at the thought and gets out of bed. His clothes, which he expected to be strewn around like they were last night, have been folded and neatly stacked on a chair in the corner. He slips into his boxer-briefs and fishes his phone out of his jeans pocket.

Sure enough, there is a text from Trevor: Didn’t want to wake you up, but I couldn’t sleep and I needed to go help Lauren get ready anyway. See you at the wedding!

The explanation makes perfect sense, but something about it jolts Alex’s stomach. Perhaps it is the lack of overt affection--no “Last night was amazing” or “I’m so glad I ran into you” or anything. But Alex reminds himself that it isn’t as if they are back together, just like that; there were--are--deep issues between them that need to be addressed, and one night of catching up and alcohol-fueled sex is not going to fix all that. At least Trevor is being realistic.

Alex climbs back into his clothes from last night, thinking mostly about where it will be most convenient to grab a cup of coffee on his way home.

Harbor Blvd

“Thank you for coming with me,” Danielle Taylor says, her high heels clacking against the pavement of the restaurant’s entry. “I’m sure putting on a suit was the last thing you wanted to do today.”

“Nah. I’m kinda itching to get back into society,” Matt Gray says as he holds open the door for her. He has spent more than enough time laid up in bed over the past few days, and as much as he normally dislikes buttoning his top button and tying a tie around his neck, for now it feels like an opportunity. If Danielle hadn’t bothered to search for him, he might not even be around to get dressed up.

He and Danielle pause at the sight of the restaurant. The tables and chairs have been rearranged to create an aisle and what will later become a dance floor. The venue’s rustic décor has been enhanced with an abundance of white and pink flowers, and a number of draped cloths add an airy feeling to the space.

“It looks amazing in here,” Danielle says as they take in the special makeover.

“Yeah. Looks great,” Matt agrees. He doesn’t immediately spot Bill or Paula Fisher in the restaurant, though he knows they must be here somewhere. He wonders how they are going to react to him having come with Danielle, even though it is only as a friend.

Danielle hands her coat to the attendant at the entry. “There’s Josh with my dad,” she tells Matt. “I should probably go over and say hello.”

“Probably a nice thing to do when your brother’s getting married, yeah. I’ll hang out over here.”

She heads off to see her family. Matt contemplates getting a beer from the bar, but since he is still taking painkillers, he figures that it might not be the smartest move. But then he spots someone who does not have the same reservations.

“How are you feeling?” Brent Taylor asks, moving down the bar to join Matt.

“I’m walking around and I managed to dress myself,” Matt says, “so pretty good.”

  Matt Gray

“Looks like my sister turned out to be a pretty good nurse.”

There is an awkwardness to it, an implication, that Matt decides to let go by unaddressed. “I don’t know what I would’ve done without her.”

“Well, it’s good to see you up and about.” Brent takes a sip of his beer. “Listen, I’ve been keeping on top of this whole investigation--”

“You know as well as I do what really happened,” Matt says firmly. “Or who, I should say.”

Brent nods. “Yeah. Or at least I have a pretty strong hunch.”

“So does that mean you guys are gonna drop this whole drug thing?”

“The investigation is ongoing,” Brent says as neutrally as he can. “But I want you to know that I’m looking out for you, okay? So don’t go trying to be a superhero.”

“I’m wearing a suit without being forced, so there’s no telling what could happen next,” Matt says, grinning. “But thanks, man. I appreciate it.”

“Now there’s only one thing left to do.” Brent lifts his glass again but pauses before drinking. “I just hope we can find some actual proof.”


“Wow, it looks great in here,” Alex says as he and Jason Fisher--each holding one of Sophie’s hands--enter the restaurant.

Jason takes in the changes that have been made to his father’s business. “Yeah. Seriously.”

“Where’s Grandpa?” Sophie asks, looking around the restaurant in confusion.

“He’s probably in the kitchen,” Jason tells her as he scoops her into his arms. “I bet he and Grandma can’t wait to see how pretty you look.” He plants a kiss on her cheek, and she giggles and turns away in embarrassment. “Already getting too cool for a kiss from your dad in public, huh?”

Sophie laughs again, and Jason sets her down.

Across the room, Jason spots Lauren’s parents, Roz and Patrick… and her brother.

“Are you ready for this?” Jason asks Alex quietly.

Alex nods. “Yeah. Actually… I ran into Trevor last night, after I had dinner with your brother.”

Jason does a double-take. “Wait, what?” His eyes go wide. “Is that where you were this morning?”

As much as he tries, Alex cannot keep the smile off his face. “Maybe…”

“Seriously?” Jason pats Alex on the shoulder. “So I guess it was a happy reunion, then?”

“Yeah. I mean, we obviously still have a lot of stuff to talk about, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself.” Alex continues to watch Trevor as a tall, dark-haired man in a tuxedo comes over to say hello. Trevor shares a laugh with the man as Alex tells Jason, “But I have a good feeling about this. Trevor and I have both grown up a lot since he left King’s Bay. Maybe this time, we can really make things work.”


As guests continue to fill the restaurant, Josh Taylor stands with his sister, drinking in the whole scene. Danielle notices the toe of his black dress shoe tapping against the painted wood floor.

“Nervous?” she asks.

“Anxious is more like it,” Josh says. “I’m ready to get this show on the road.”

She gives him a careful appraisal. “You sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure!” For a split-second, it looks as if he might be genuinely angry with her, and Danielle realizes that all their family’s jokes about Josh being immature and unable to settle down might be more irritating to him than he ever lets on.

“I’m glad you’re so happy with Lauren,” she says.

“I’m just ready to get out of here,” Josh says, continuing to tap his foot against the floor. “This back-and-forth thing is driving me nuts. I can’t wait to have Lauren in L.A. with me full-time.”

  Josh Taylor

“How’s the movie executive doing?” their father, Bob, asks as he comes up behind Josh.

“I think ‘movie executive’ is a bit of a stretch,” Josh says, turning around.

“Still… I’m very proud of you.” Bob clasps a hand on his son’s shoulder.

“Thanks, Dad.”

Brent comes rushing up to them. “What am I missing out on over here?”

Everything,” Danielle says, flashing him a wicked grin. She squares up in front of Josh. “Here, stand still.” She straightens the white boutonnière on his lapel. “There. Perfect.”

“I’m so proud of all of you,” Bob says, taking in the sight of his three children together. “Your mother would be, too.”

The mention of their late mother brings a reflective hush over the group.

Josh breaks it by asking, “Are we ready to get this show on the road yet?”

“I think that’s up to your bride,” Brent says.

“Trevor said she was almost ready.”

“I’m sure it will be worth the wait,” Danielle says, “and for what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure Lauren didn’t secretly marry some crazy person in Vegas, so everything should go fine… unlike some weddings we might all remember.”

Josh slips an arm over his sister’s shoulders. “You’re clearly better off without that loser.”

Danielle makes a face and looks to Brent, who holds up his palms to defend himself. “I didn’t say it!”


Jason and Alex are waiting at the bar, idly watching the door, when another pair of guests enter. Don and Helen Chase tentatively approach the two men.

“Hey,” Alex says, giving Helen a hug and shaking Don’s hand. Jason follows suit, trying to will away any residual awkwardness among them. Since their reconciliation at Christmas, he has only seen the Chases a handful of times, primarily for quick drop-offs and pick-ups of Sophie; Alex tends to handle most of it, just by virtue of being more available during daytime hours.

“Have you seen Lauren yet?” Helen asks, surveying the room.

“No,” Jason says. “I’m sure she’s hiding that dress until the last possible second.”

Alex decides it would be a good idea to give the three of them a moment alone. “I have to go take care of something. I’ll catch up with you guys in a few minutes,” he says before slipping away.

Uncertain silence settles in before Don asks, “Where’s that beautiful granddaughter of ours?”

Jason directs their attention to the back of the restaurant. “Wait for it… wait for it…” And, as if on cue, Christian comes tearing through the crowd, pursued by a giggling Sophie. Brent intercepts Christian before he can slam into anyone.

Don, Helen, and Jason all share a laugh at the scene.

“This is beautiful,” Helen says as she looks around the restaurant. “I wish Courtney could be here to see Lauren get married. She would be so happy for her.”

“She is happy for her,” Jason says, and the Chases nod in agreement.

Meanwhile, Alex crosses the restaurant to where Trevor stands with his parents.

“Hey,” Alex says, unable to suppress the grin that keeps bursting out over his face. “How’s Lauren doing?”

“She’s good. We should be starting in a few minutes.” Trevor takes a slug from his glass of bourbon. “How, uh, how are you?”

“Good, obviously.” Alex touches a hand lightly to Trevor’s arm. “It’s too bad you weren’t there when I woke up this morning.”

  Alex Marshall

“I had a lot of stuff to take care of. Listen…”

“I know,” Alex says. “We should talk later. There’s a lot to cover. But I just want to say that I’m really glad last night happened.”

Before Trevor can get his response out, the dark-haired man in the tuxedo joins them. In a British accent, he asks, “Are we going to have a wedding today, or what?”

“Lauren’s just having her makeup touched up,” Trevor says.

It is quiet among them for a moment before Alex sticks out his hand to the other man. “Hi, I’m Alex.”

“Liam,” the man says, responding with a firm handshake.

“How do you know Trevor and Lauren?” Alex asks. He mostly has a sense of who everyone here is--family friends, friends from high school and college, coworkers from Willis Advertising--but he has never seen Liam before in his life.

Liam looks to Trevor and chuckles. “I’m here with Trevor,” he says.

Alex feels as if the room starts spinning. He turns to Trevor for confirmation.

“Alex,” Trevor says, nearly choking on his own words, “Liam is my fiancé.”


How should Alex react to Trevor’s news?
Will Matt team up with Brent to prove his innocence?
Will the wedding go off smoothly?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum!

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Wed., May 9, 2012

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