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- Sarah, her family, and Alex reeled from Graham’s sudden death. Sarah named their son Billy after her own father.
- Elly asked Danielle to contact her biological father. Danielle did, and Jimmy Trask arrived in King’s Bay.
- Following their awkward kiss, Tempest admitted to Samantha that she is interested in girls.
- Sandy suggested that Jason coach Natalie’s daughter, but Jason was torn about getting back into coaching and about dealing with Natalie.

Edge of Winter Arena

In the second-floor office of the ice arena, two men sit at their desks, listening to the distant slaps of the puck and shouts from players down on the rink.

“I’m just worried it’ll seem weird to throw this big party right now,” Jason Fisher says. “Disrespectful to Sarah and Alex, or inconsiderate. You know?”

Ryan Moriani leans back in his desk chair. “I get what you’re saying. But it’s also an important event for a good cause. Sarah and Alex don’t have to be bothered with it at all if they don’t feel like it.”

“True. And I really want to do this for Courtney. And for Sophie.” Jason pauses before adding, “And for myself.”

“I don’t think anyone would hold that against you.”

Jason glances back down at his desk, where the caterer’s contract for his upcoming fundraiser gala is awaiting a variety of signatures and a hefty check. After the progress he has made since last Christmas in processing Courtney’s death and his own grief, he thought of the idea of honoring her memory by holding a fundraiser for the many student-athletes who lack the means that Jason and Courtney were fortunate enough to have as kids.

“Sarah seems like she’s doing all right. I mean, considering,” Jason says as he picks up a pen and begins to add his signatures to the designated spots in the contract. “Mom said she actually went to the therapist twice already.”

“Good. I can’t process what Graham did or what an insane situation that was--and I’m not the one who married him and just had a baby.  She’s going to need all the support she can get.”

“It’s good that she’s staying with Mom and Dad for a while.” Jason flips through a few more pages and finishes the necessary signing. “Am I really tackling this party?”

“I’ll help,” Ryan says. “Let me make some calls. I bet I can swing some big donors.”


“Who’s having a party?” comes a voice from the doorway. Jason and Ryan both look over to see Natalie Bishop standing there, wearing a zebra-print dress and an expectant grin.


The coffee shop is unusually quiet for a summer afternoon, with just a handful of patrons scattered around the mismatched tables and secondhand furniture. A Mumford & Sons song plays quietly over the sound system. At a table beside the windows, Danielle Taylor talks to her daughter.

“I saw these really cute paper lanterns there,” Danielle is saying. “Maybe we can pick some up for you and Samantha’s dorm room. It might be nice to do a little extra decorating when you move in.”

But Elly Vanderbilt hardly seems to hear her. The young woman stares out the window as she clutches her iced latte between both hands.

“Elly?” Danielle says.

At the sound of her name, Elly snaps out of it, or at least makes a valiant effort to do so. “What? Sorry.”

“Nothing. I was just saying--nevermind. Are you nervous?”

  Elly Vanderbilt

Elly hesitates before admitting, “Yeah. I didn’t think I would be. I’m the one who asked to meet him.”

“It’s still a big deal.”

“Yeah.” Elly takes a sip of her drink as she glances outside again.

“Remember: this all happens on your terms. There’s no pressure. You don’t have to be best pals with him--you don’t have to do anything but be polite. It can be as long or as short a meeting as you’re comfortable with. Okay?”

Elly nods, her brown hair moving over her shoulders, which her coral-colored tank top have left bare. She has more than a hint of a summertime tan, and Danielle recognizes the smattering of freckles that she and Josh also show when they get some sun.

“I didn’t think I’d be nervous,” Elly says. “I totally want to meet him. But it’s like… I don’t know him at all. Just what you’ve told me and the few pictures you have. I knew you my whole life, even before I knew I was adopted, so it was different.”

“Of course. And like I said…” Danielle spots Jimmy Trask entering the coffee shop. “…the ball is completely in your court on this.”


Danielle indicates Jimmy approaching them, and both women stand from their seats.

“Elly, this is Jimmy,” she says.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Elly says shyly as she sizes up her biological father.

A broad smile beams across Jimmy’s tanned face. “Good to meet you, too.” He reaches out a hand, and Elly carefully shakes it. Danielle is grateful that he didn’t try for too much, too fast. They all take their seats, with Danielle perhaps more on-edge than either of them.


The smack of hockey sticks against pucks and blades chopping across the ice echo throughout the arena. Tempest Banks tries to take care of a few odds and ends as she keeps an eye on the clock. When it finally rolls over to a new hour, she moves behind the skate rental counter and picks up the microphone that feeds into the PA system.

“The session is now over. Please clear the ice,” she says, the same words in the same tone that she has probably said hundreds of times since she began working here.

The hockey players straggle off the ice, but not before they sneak in a few more shots on the goal. Since there isn’t another session coming up afterward, Tempest doesn’t even bother worrying about it. Eventually, most of them head back to the locker rooms. Tempest watches idly as one of the players stops by the side of the rink, removes his helmet, and shakes out his hair--only to turn out not to be a “he” at all.

The girl’s eyes flash in Tempest’s direction, and she busies herself with placing the newly copied flyers in the hanging pockets on the wall.

“You should probably get to the locker room,” a male voice says.

Tempest looks up and sees that two of the male hockey players, roughly college-aged guys, are talking to the girl as she unties her skates.

“Huh?” the female player says.

  Tempest Banks

“Better get that cup off before your balls suffocate,” the other guy says.

“Yeah, Mannie.” The two idiots crack up.

Tempest puts down the stack of flyers and marches over to the three of them. “You guys got a problem?”

She sees them react to her staff t-shirt. The shaggier-haired of the guys says, with a bit of a sputter, “Nope.”

“Wouldn’t be so sure about that,” the girl says as she sets down her helmet on the nearby bench. “Because from what I hear out of that locker room, you guys might be jealous of the size of my balls. Which is really sad, considering I don’t have any.”

The guys swap surprised looks, communicating silently until one of them shrugs and the other mutters, “Whatever.” Clutching their sticks, they walk off toward the locker room together.

“And don’t get me started on how that you’re walking around holding onto some big sticks all the time. A little Freudian, don’t you think?” the girl calls after them.

Tempest realizes that she is still lingering there. “Good work,” she says lamely. “Thought you might need some help.”

The girl smiles as she sits down to take off her skates. “Thanks. But I’ve been doing this long enough to know how to handle these morons. I’m Annie, by the way.”


“Well, I appreciate you watching out for me,” Annie says, her dark, curly hair falling over her face as she bends over to put her skates into her equipment bag and slip on her shoes.

“No problem.” Tempest catches herself staring, and she forces herself to snap out of it. “I gotta get back to work. See you around?”

Annie looks up. “Definitely. And I might need your help for real one of these days.” With another smile, she stands, picks up the bag, and heads for the exit. As Tempest watches her go, a little heat creeps into her cheeks, and her mouth seems determined to stretch its way into a grin.


Both Jason and Ryan clam up once they become aware of Natalie’s presence.

Ryan is the one to break the silence. “No,” he tells her, “there will not be a cake for you to fall into. So move along.”

“Very funny.” Natalie saunters into the office as she addresses Jason: “I hope you aren’t going to have a minister there, or this one is liable to marry everyone.”

“What can I do for you?” Jason says curtly.

“Sandy said you were going to call me,” Natalie says. “But I haven’t heard from you, and--”

“There’s been some pretty heavy stuff going on with my family. I apologize.”

My sister told me. Sorry for what Sarah’s going through.” Natalie hikes her purse up on her shoulder. “Look. Bree’s been skating here the past few weeks. She’s going to need a coach soon, and the closest rink is like an hour away. So it would be really nice if something worked out here.”

Sandy doesn’t have time,” Jason says. “All her skaters are Novice level and above. That means different test sessions, different competitions… She can’t fly to a separate set of competitions for just one skater.”

“She explained that. And I get it. But she also said that she thought you might be interested in taking on some students again, and Bree would be a great one to start with.”

Jason casts a glance over at Ryan, who simply raises his eyebrows in response.

“Sandy and I discussed that,” Jason says, “but I really don’t have the time to get back into coaching right now.”

Natalie considers that for a moment. “What’s the party for?”

“It’s a fundraiser for student-athletes. In my wife’s memory. She was my skating partner.”

Natalie’s entire demeanor instantly becomes more somber. Jason finds himself wishing he hadn’t mentioned Courtney--not that he didn’t want to, or ever doesn’t want to, but because it always makes things feel so serious, so heavy, and sometimes he doesn’t have the energy to push back down the emotions that the mere mention of her conjures up.

“Point is, I’m really busy,” he adds.

Natalie seems to be toying with an idea, letting it play on the tip of her tongue, before she finally spits it out. “So let me help.”


“With the party. Let me help plan it. I do that, and you give Bree a few lessons. I’ll pay you, of course. But if the fundraiser’s off your hands, maybe you can focus on teaching.”

  Natalie Bishop

“I think that’s like asking Lindsay Lohan to help you plan a car trip,” Ryan chimes in.

Natalie throws him a dirty look. “This is the one thing my ex-husband ever put me in charge of, and I’m damn good at it. I can even show you some photos and materials from events I’ve headed up. Come on.”

Jason doesn’t know whether it’s temporary insanity or permanent insanity or an urge to get back on the ice or just a desire not to deal with the minutiae of the fundraiser, but he finds himself nodding.

“Deal,” he says, as Ryan lets out a groan from across the office.


“So all I did was ask the guy for a lighter, and the next thing we know, it’s 7 a.m. and we’re in Baja and we’re jamming with some guy who wound up being the bassist for the Foo Fighters.”

“That’s crazy,” Elly says, her face lit up as she looks from Jimmy to Danielle and back again. “You guys had so much fun.”

“That we did. Sometimes too much,” Danielle says, but there is a lightness to it right now, a feeling that she doesn’t often have when she thinks of these stories. Maybe it is the lively way that Jimmy is recounting the old days to Elly, or maybe it is the way Elly has brightened up and been drawn in, but today, the stories feel fun and exciting to Danielle--not simply shadows of what became a very dark time in her life.

“So you’re still in a band?” Elly asks.

“I play with a couple bands. Just a gig here and there, nothing too serious. The one I’ve been playing with lately is called Betty White’s Cleavage.”

Elly bursts out laughing, and Danielle feels herself doing the same. Part of it is that she finds the name legitimately funny, and another part is that she is so relieved to see Elly relaxing and having a good time with Jimmy.

Casually, Elly checks her phone and then lets out a very serious-sounding “Crap.”

“What’s wrong?” Danielle asks.

“I have to get back to campus. I have that meeting for New Student Orientation leaders. I thought we’d be done by now.”

“Get to your meeting,” Jimmy says. “We’ll do this again soon.”

“How long are you going to be in town?” Danielle asks as they rise from the table.

Jimmy shrugs. “A while, I guess. My buddy Keith--the one I’m crashing with--he’s got a new business he’s opening, and he asked me to help out. Guess I might as well do it.”

Danielle chuckles to herself at how utterly Jimmy-ish that entire scenario sounds: he shows up in a town, parks himself on someone’s couch, and winds up with a job opportunity. She clears their empty cups off the table and deposits them at the bussing station while Elly gives Jimmy a hug.

“It was really great to finally meet you,” Elly tells him. “Thanks for coming.”

“Hey, you’re the one who did me a favor,” Jimmy says. “You seem smart. And so pretty. It’s nice to know your parents did such a great job with you.”

“We should get going,” Danielle says when she returns with her car keys in her hand. “I’ll be in touch, Jimmy.”

“Later, Dani. Peace.”

The two women exit the shop, and Jimmy looks through a rack of CDs for sale by the counter. He picks up an album of Fleetwood Mac covers, expecting that it will piss him off but also curious to see if any of the musicians did the songs justice. He rereads the track listing as he walks to the counter--but he abruptly encounters a roadblock in the form of a dark-haired woman.

She sticks a hand out to his chest to minimize the collision.

“Getting pretty friendly pretty fast, huh?” Jimmy jokes.

“You wish,” she snaps, yanking her hand away. “God forbid you actually look where you’re going. I know that might require an exceptionally high level of cognitive functioning, though.”

“Lady, you don’t have to use all those SAT words to try and charm me,” Jimmy says with a laugh as he gets in line to pay for the CD.

A moment later, the barista sets a drink down on the other end of the counter and calls out, “Diane!” The dark-haired woman grabs it and blows out of the shop, but not before tossing a dirty look Jimmy’s way.


Is Jason making a big mistake by working with Natalie?
What will Jimmy’s continued presence in King’s Bay mean?
What did you think of Tempest and Annie’s meeting?
Discuss this episode and more in the Footprints Forum!

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Monday, August 20, 2012

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