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- Natalie wanted Jason to set up her daughter, Bree, with a top-rated skating coach. Jason put her in touch with his former coach, Sandy.
- In the wake of his beating and accusations of drug abuse, Matt was fired from his job at Windmills.
- Graham pressured Sarah to fight Matt for custody of Tori. Sarah had to continue pretending that she believes the accusations against Matt.


Harbor Boulevard

Matt Gray waits by the host’s stand of the rustic-styled restaurant. The dining room is entirely empty, since the lunch rush is still an hour or so away. Matt’s already thin patience is beginning to fray dangerously when Bill Fisher emerges from the kitchen, clad in his white chef’s jacket and holding a paper bag in one hand.

“Thanks for coming,” Bill says as he sets the bag on the host’s stand.

“What’s up?” Matt asks. He tries not to sound too terse, as he is aware that Bill is not responsible for any of what has befallen him lately, but it is tough to positive about much right now.

Bill glances around to be sure that no one is within hearing range before he says, “I know you’ve been dealt a tough hand lately.”

“That’s putting it lightly.” Matt sees Bill react to the harshness of his tone and feels compelled to add, “If this is about Tori--”

“It isn’t.” Bill digs in the bag and pulls out something that Matt immediately recognizes, or at least thinks he recognizes. “This is for you,” he says, extending the item to Matt.

Matt takes it and, as he unfolds the white fabric, realizes that it is a jacket--one with the burgundy and gold Harbor Boulevard logo on the breast, just like the one Bill is wearing.

He eyes the jacket uncertainly. “What is this?”

“It’s yours,” Bill says. “If you’ll accept it, that is.”

Matt lowers the jacket enough to look his former father-in-law in the eye. “Just so I’ve got this straight…”

“I’m asking you to come aboard the kitchen staff. It would be my pleasure to have you. So what do you say?”


In a spartan room in a back hallway of the KBPD headquarters, Brent Taylor sits in the dark in a worn-out office chair, his focus intent upon an old television. Beside him, Sarah Colville squirms in her chair, trying in vain to make her very pregnant body comfortable as she studies the disc being fast-forwarded on the screen.

“We’re never going to see anything at this angle,” she says with a sigh, again adjusting her position in the chair.

“Never say never,” Brent responds, though he does not sound particularly confident, either. “It’s the closest thing we have to a view of Pier 23 on the night Matt was attacked.”

“Yeah, and I’m not seeing Matt anywhere on this tape. None of the other businesses had a better angle?”

“It’s a pier. There aren’t that many angles.” Brent stops fast-forwarding and lets the footage play in real time--just a mostly silent view of the end of the pier closest to the road--as he turns to Sarah. “Either Matt magically teleported into the building, or he entered through the back door.”

“What I’m really interested in seeing is how he entered,” she says.

“Even if we do find something, I doubt it’s going to be a shot of Graham dragging Matt into the building himself.”

“There’s got to be something.” She lets out an irritated growl. “Sorry, I’m just… going a little crazy.”

“Can’t say I blame you,” Brent says, softening his voice.

“I could be living with a total lunatic--having his baby any day now--and I have to keep telling Matt that I think he’s some out-of-control drug addict. It’s craziness.”

Brent uses the remote control to gesture at the screen. “And that’s exactly why we’re doing this.”

“Yeah, but if we don’t find some proof one way or the other soon…” She trails off, unable to think about what her life is going to be like if she has to continue on with this kind of doubt and suspicion.

Edge of Winter

The late-morning freestyle session is in full swing when Jason Fisher arrives at the arena. The soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean, or as he recognizes it, Emily Ward’s Novice short program, plays over the speakers, filling the space but not drowning out the sounds of coaches shouting instructions and blades scraping against the ice. He spots Sandy James on the other side of the rink and makes a beeline for the penalty box.

“How’s it going?” he asks Sandy, who stands on the ice watching a young blonde girl in a sparkly blue skating dress perform a footwork sequence.

“She’s good,” Sandy says, somewhat grudgingly. “Especially considering the amount of time she’s been skating.”

Jason watches as the girl executes a series of turns--rockers and counters, pretty advanced for her level. She could use some work on her posture, especially in terms of pulling her shoulder blades back, and her edges need deepening, but there is an ease and a fire to her movements that certainly catch Jason’s attention.

The girl finishes the sequence and does a slightly obnoxious bit of self-satisfied presentation, with a smile that’s too big and hands that are too showy.

“That’s stupid coaching,” Sandy mutters.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it came from her mom,” Jason responds.

The girl skates over to them, looking as if she expects a treat for her performance.

  Jason Fisher

“That was  very good,” Sandy says. “Bree, this is Jason. He’s the skating director here.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Bree.” Jason shakes her tiny hand. “Have you guys done any jumps yet?”

“No, we’ve been warming up. Bree, why don’t you go run through your singles? Start with waltz jumps.”

Bree dutifully takes off across the ice.

Jason and Sandy watch from the side of the ice as Bree ticks off a waltz jump, Salchow, toe loop, and loop in under a minute. After a short breather, she handily does a flip and Lutz, and both adults recognize the set-up for her Axel, the most difficult of the jumps.

“Come on, baby!” shouts a voice from the bleachers on the other side of the rink. Jason recognizes the voice even before he sets eyes upon its owner: Natalie, on her feet and clasping her hands together as she watches her daughter with laser-sharp focus.

Bree sets up for her Axel but gets thrown off-course by another skater who suddenly kicks her leg up in a bold extension, so she circles again and sets up for the jump. As soon as she takes off, Jason knows that she will land it. It’s a crisp, confident maneuver.

“Yeah!” Natalie shouts from the stands, clapping excitedly.

“That looked good,” Sandy admits, even as she frowns at Natalie’s exuberance.

Jason nods in agreement. “Aside from her mother crowing victoriously over there, she is very good. Do you think you’re going to take her on?”

“I honestly do not have the space in my schedule. She’d be going to totally different competitions than my higher-level kids. It wouldn’t be worth it time-wise.”

“I hear you,” Jason says. “Well, it was good of you to check her out. Maybe you can refer them to one of the other coaches. She’d definitely be a good skater for the club to have on its roster.”

You could always take her on,” Sandy says.

“I’m running the rink. I’m not a coach.”

“You’re not coaching at the moment. You could if you wanted to.”


“Might as well consider it,” she says.

“I’m not a coach,” Jason repeats, grateful that Bree is skating back toward them so that he can shut down this line of conversation.


“So you said yes, right?”

“Of course I said yes,” Matt tells Danielle Taylor across the table where they have just sat down for lunch. “I start tomorrow.”

“That’s fantastic! Congratulations.” She reaches across the table and gives his hand a squeeze. Matt is acutely aware of the way her hand lingers over his; he finds the touch reassuring.

“Yeah, it’s a huge relief. At least I have an actual job. That makes me less of a deadbeat.”

“You aren’t a deadbeat,” Danielle says before taking a sip of her iced tea.

“I feel like one.” Matt casually browses through the menu, though he is ninety-nine percent certain that he will get a bacon cheeseburger with fries, like usual.

“Well, you aren’t one.”

He sets his open menu down on the table. “That was really nice of Bill. And a huge surprise.”

“You said he always loved working with you,” Danielle says.

“Yeah…” But a thought keeps nagging at him. “It’s weird how fast it happened. Sarah was the only person besides you who even knew I got fired from Windmills.”

“You don’t think…”

“No.” He is quick to wipe the idea away with a vigorous shake of his head. “Maybe she said something, I don’t know. But she sure as hell wouldn’t have asked him to do this.” Or would she?

“Regardless, it’s exciting,” Danielle says. “And things will only get better from here.”

“You’d better be right,” he says as he picks up the menu again, but he knows that if Graham gets his way, Matt will be facing repercussions for a long time to come.


“That’s the last one,” Brent says as he removes the disc from the DVD player.

Sarah lets out a giant sigh as her hands fall to the sides of her chair. “So that’s it. Still nothing we can use.”

“We’ll find something.”

“We don’t know that! And Graham is determined to make an example of Matt, or whatever the hell he’s trying to do by insisting that you pursue the charges. He’s pressuring me about keeping Tori away from him, and--” The whole thing is utterly overwhelming to Sarah, and she can feel the distress throughout her body. She pauses to try and grab a deep breath.

Brent grabs her water bottle off the table. “Here. Take this.”

She reaches for it but then stops.

“What’s wrong?” he asks, setting the bottle down with alarm.

  Sarah Fisher Colville

Sarah seems shocked as she forces the words out: “My water just broke.”


Can Sarah face bringing Graham’s baby into the world?
What’s the real story behind Matt’s new job?
Will Jason be forced to coach Bree and deal with Natalie?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

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Monday, July 16, 2012

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