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- Jason’s gala benefit, held in memory of his late wife, Courtney, got underway.
- Half-siblings Sarah and Ryan commiserated over the fact that their exes, Matt and Danielle, are now a couple.
- On the night that their divorce became final, Diane and Ryan got drunk and slept together. In the morning, Diane was horrified by what she’d done, and even more horrified when they narrowly avoided being caught by Sarah.
- Ryan’s former stepmother, Katherine Fitch, and her son, Andy, arrived at the party as his surprise guests.
- Claire had just finished her shift at the hospital when she saw a shocking victim brought in: Spencer, her alleged brother. The hospital had a shortage of the O-negative blood that Spencer needed, so Claire called Tim to come make a donation--knowing that he and Spencer share a blood type because they are biologically father and son.


With the party swirling all around him, Ryan Moriani bolts across the Royal Ballroom to greet his special guests. He gives Katherine Fitch a polite hug and a kiss that skims her cheek; he shares a firm handshake with Andy Fitch.

“I’m so glad you could make it,” Ryan says. “And thank you for your generous donations. Jason will be so grateful.”

“We’re happy to help out,” Andy says, folding his hands in front of himself.

“It’s the least we could do,” Katherine says, shaking her head so that her pinned-up red curls sway ever so slightly behind her. “When I heard about what happened to that poor young woman…” She lets out a pained sigh. “After what that girl--Lisa or Shannon or whatever she was calling herself--did to her parents, I can’t believe she was ever able to roam free again.”

Ryan glances toward the portrait of Courtney, looking so peaceful and happy, at the front of the room. “It was such a tragedy. But tonight is about honoring her in a positive way, and I know she’d be thrilled at all the scholarships we’ll be able to provide. Why don’t I take you over to say hi to Jason?”

“That would be lovely,” Katherine says, and Ryan leads the way.

Across the ballroom, Tim Fisher strains to hear the voice on the other end of his phone call over the music and chatter of the party. “The hospital? Why?” he asks.

“There’s a shortage of O-negative blood,” Claire explains, her words somewhat crackly over the line. “We need donors, and--”

“Can I do it tomorrow?”

“No. It’s--” She pauses, and for a moment, Tim thinks that the line has gone dead. But then she spits out: “There was an accident. Spencer was in it. He needs blood.”

“And he has the same blood type as me?” Tim asks, holding a finger to indicate to his parents--who look increasingly concerned with every word of his conversation--that he will explain in a moment.

  Tim Fisher

“Yes. So if you could come down--I know you must be at Jason’s benefit, but--”

“No, of course. I’ll come right away. How is he?”

“He needs blood,” comes the stoic response.

“All right. I’ll see you in a few.” Tim ends the call and pockets his phone as he turns to explain the situation to Paula and Bill as briefly as he can.


“Coming!” Diane Bishop yells as she stops at the mirror in the living room to put on her second earring. She takes a moment to double-check that the blue sapphire drop earrings look all right with her lighter blue dress, and whoever is at the door rings the bell again.

“Hang on a minute!” she shouts. Irritation rises inside her like one of those obnoxious applause meters at a game show; it’s probably some impatient delivery guy running late, or even worse, one of her neighbors with some meandering question about the lights in the stairwell or something. Partly out of spite, she waits another few seconds before she actually answers the door.

All she can say is, “What the hell?”

“Did I actually just surprise Diane Bishop?” Brian Hamilton says, a grin stretching across his face. “I’m kinda surprised myself, then.”

“What are you doing here?” she says as Brian moves past her and into the condo. He is clad in a dark suit with a red silk tie, his light brown hair parted on the side. It has been too long since she has seen him, but he looks great--a little older, but mostly in a good, self-assured way.

“Katherine told me about Jason’s fundraiser. I thought it might be a good reason to visit King’s Bay.”

She smacks him on the arm. “You should have told me, you jackass. What if I was going to be out of town, or not going to the party, or--“

“I e-mailed Ryan to check on the RSVPs. So I knew you were going. Checkmate.”

“God, you’re insufferable,” she says, even as she laughs and places an arm around him. “It’s really good to see you.”

“You look fantastic,” he says, appraising her up and down. The blue dress comes to just above her knee, with a small slit on each leg, and she is surprisingly pleased with how she looks in it, considering how she feels these days.

“Thanks.” She checks her earrings in the mirror again and then slips on her silver Jimmy Choo pumps. “So how the hell are you? And how’s Serena?”

“How civilized of you to ask,” Brian says with a knowing smirk. “She’s doing well. She couldn’t make the trip because of work--and besides, I thought it’d be good to get some one-on-one time with my old friend. I’m not keeping you from a date, am I?”

“God, no.” She grabs her clutch and car keys. “I’ll have you know that I am happily divorced.”

  Brian Hamilton

“Finally!” Brian exclaims as Diane opens the door again. “I seriously can’t believe you did that.”

“That makes two of us,” she says, pushing aside a particularly potent memory of her one-night stand with Ryan not too long ago--on the very night that their farce of a marriage became history. “Now let’s get to this party.”

“Sounds good to me,” Brian says, following her out.


Molly Fisher rushes out of the elevator, her gold Louboutins pinching her feet as she hurries into the emergency room’s waiting area. She finds Philip Ragan and Claire Fisher standing close together--Philip in a tuxedo, Claire in her scrubs--but not saying a word.

“How is he?” she asks, automatically curving an arm around Philip’s back.

“He needs blood,” Claire says. She looks exhausted and drawn, and her eyes fall to the floor as she speaks, as if she cannot believe what she is saying. “Tim is coming to donate--there was a shortage of his blood type, and it’s rare, so--they’re pretty certain they have his injuries under control otherwise.” Only when she has expelled all the words does she take a breath.

Molly attempts to read Philip, to get a sense of how he is handling this, but per usual, his expression betrays little of his thoughts or emotions. His facial features are held tight, and she has no doubt that he is concerned about his brother, but she cannot gauge whether he is taking this in stride or panicking. Then again, she has never really seen Philip panic.

“How long did Tim say he would be?” Philip asks abruptly.

“He said he would leave right away. The hotel is about twenty minutes away, so…” Claire folds her arms and clutches each one with the opposite hand. “Spencer’s going to be all right.”

“I thought you weren’t supposed to tell patients’ families that,” Philip says.

“Well, I am the patient’s family,” Claire says, “so I can tell myself whatever the heck I want.”

Molly looks from Claire back to Philip. “Claire’s right. He’s going to be fine,” she says, but she knows how empty it must sound to him.


“I really appreciate you making a donation, let alone a trip,” Jason Fisher tells Katherine.

“It’s our pleasure,” she says. They stand near one of the ice tables bearing displays of hors d’oeuvres, with Ryan, Andy, and Alex Marshall flanking them.

“How’s Seattle treating you guys?” Jason asks.

“Very well,” Andy says. “I’m still working as an architect, and Mother is enjoying her charity work.”

“Ryan showed us photos of your daughter,” Katherine says. “She’s beautiful.”

Jason feels a smile pulling across his face immediately. “Thank you. She’s growing up so quickly. It’s nuts--” He barely finishes the word before he spots some familiar faces circulating through the crowd. “Are you kidding?” he says as he catches Lauren Brooks’ eye. “You made it?”

She rushes over in her long black dress to hug him. “We didn’t want to say anything until we knew Josh’s work schedule would allow it, and then it was so late that we just thought we’d keep it a surprise…”

Jason squeezes her and then turns his head to Katherine and Andy. “Sorry. Lots of unexpected guests tonight!”

“That’s quite all right,” Andy says, stepping back.

“Hi, Josh.” Jason offers the blond man a handshake. They have never exactly been friends, but Lauren seems very happy with Josh these days, which is good enough for Jason.

“Good to see you,” Josh says. His hair is slicked back tonight, and he has more of a tan than Jason remembers--a clear indication of his and Lauren’s new status as California residents.

Jason takes a step back. “Josh and Lauren Taylor, do you guys remember Katherine and Andy Fitch?”

The four exchange greetings as Jason does a quick scan for Lauren’s brother. Alex is prepared to see Trevor and Liam tonight, but Jason is still a little concerned about the potential for awkwardness.

“So many out-of-towners,” he says as refocuses on the guests before him.

“We were so happy for the chance to come back and see King’s Bay,” Katherine says. “It’s a very special place.”

“That it is.” Jason lifts his glass, and the others follow suit.

KB Memorial Hospital

Philip and Molly have reluctantly taken seats, but Claire is still on her feet when Tim comes running into the waiting area.

“I drove as fast as I could,” he says, catching his breath. “What do I do?”

“I’ll take you back,” Claire says. “Thank you.”

“Yes, thank you,” Philip says, rising to his feet. “This means a lot.”

“I’m happy to help,” Tim says. “I hope this does the trick.”

“Thanks, Tim,” Molly adds as Claire leads him through a set of doors.

Tim follows Claire down the wide, white corridor. “It’s a good thing you remembered my blood type. Kind of a lucky break, huh?”

“It’s because I put that family medical file together,” she says. “And my brain tends to lock in that sort of information, anyway.”

“Well, it’s lucky. You really think Spencer will be okay if he gets blood?”

“I hope so,” she says as she directs him into the room to have his blood drawn.

“What do I do?” Tim asks as Claire closes the door.

“I’m not supposed to draw your blood because I’m off-duty,” she says, “but take off your jacket and roll your sleeve up above your elbow. Or slip your arm out of your shirt, whichever is more comfortable.”

While he does that, Claire grabs a rubber tourniquet and some alcohol pads from a cabinet. But before Tim can even undo his cufflink, she feels words bursting out of her mouth. This has gone on for too long.

“There’s something I need to talk to you about,” she says, her stomach quivering and her nerves catching on fire.

Tim pauses rolling up his sleeve. “Now? Aren’t we kind of in the middle of something important?”

“That’s what I mean. It’s--” She catches on the next word, unable how to proceed even though she has run through this hundreds of times in her mind. And before she can find that elusive next word, the word that she wants to believe will magically make this all okay even though she knows that it is impossible, another nurse knocks on the door and enters.

“I can take this over,” the nurse, a short, gray-haired woman named Deb, says as she takes the tourniquet from Claire.

“Sure.” Claire keeps the alcohol pads clutched between her fingers as she forces a smile at Tim. “I’ll tell you later, okay?”

“Okay…” He throws her a curious look before inhaling from the pressure of his arm being tied off.


Paula Fisher replaces her phone in her small, satin evening bag as she returns to the table where Bill and Sarah are seated. Guests throughout the ballroom have begun to take their seats as the waitstaff circulates with the first course, a roasted eggplant dish.

“The babysitter says everything is fine,” Paula reports as she slides into her own chair. “So you can enjoy your dinner.”

“Thanks, Mom,” Sarah says. “I know I was kind of skeptical about leaving Billy with a sitter, but…” She expels a heavy breath that morphs into a smile. “It’s nice to have a few hours off, you know?”

Paula echoes her daughter’s smile. “I raised four kids. I know.”

“Speaking of which… Have either of you seen Tori?”

“She went outside with Travis and Elly a few minutes ago,” Ryan says as he arrives at the table.

Sarah reaches for her purse. “I’ll text her that dinner is starting.”

She looks down at her phone to send the text and suddenly hears her mother say, “Oh, hi!”

“Hi,” Diane says as she hurries to their table. Sarah finishes texting Tori and jumps up to embrace her friend. And then she sees who is standing behind Diane.

“I didn’t know you were coming!” Sarah says as she hugs Brian, too.

“Neither did I,” Diane says.

Ryan moves to shake Brian’s hand. “Thanks for coming. We really appreciate it.”

“Happy to be here,” Brian says.

Ryan swivels toward Diane. “Hi.”

“Hi,” she says curtly, before announcing to Sarah, “We should find our table, but the three of us need to do some serious catching-up later.”

“Definitely,” Sarah says as she returns to her seat. As Diane and Brian head off, Sarah can’t help but observe the way that her brother watches them go. He seems… suspicious.

You’d think finally being divorced would make them act less weird around each other, she thinks as she picks up her glass of white wine. Then again, the whole situation has been so bizarre that weird is now kind of relative.

“I hope everything’s all right at the hospital,” Paula says, out of the blue. “I was looking forward to having everyone together for dinner.”

“So Claire needed Tim to go donate blood? On a Saturday night?” Sarah asks.

“Apparently Claire’s brother--that Spencer boy--was in an accident, and there was a shortage of his blood type, but Claire knew that Tim has the same type,” Bill explains. “Molly and Philip are there, too. Molly said she’d call as soon as they knew anything else.”

Paula stares at the small, flickering flame of one of the votive candles on the table. “I hope we hear from them soon.”


“Hematocrit is at 22 percent,” reports Dr. Grant, a man about a decade older than Claire and with the deeply creased face to prove how intent upon his work he is. “He’s being prepped for the transfusion.”

“Okay, good. Thank you.” Claire allows herself to breathe a sign of, if not relief, at least slight loosening. She has been fastidiously keeping tabs on the number--representing the presence of red blood cells, and thus the capacity for carrying oxygen, in Spencer’s bloodstream--and treating it as some sort of unstoppable clock. If they could just infuse new blood before his hematocrit level hit ten percent, then he might be out of danger. And it looks as if that will happen.

“I’ll keep you updated,” Dr. Grant says before disappearing back into Spencer’s room.

Claire permits herself a silent, motionless few seconds to process the events of the last few hours. There has been so much racing and counting and watching the clock, and now all that remains is actual, passive waiting. The exhaustion that was setting in at the end of her shift, before Spencer was wheeled in, slams into her all over again, but ten times stronger.

She has no idea how long she has been spacing out for when a voice pulls her back to reality.

  Claire Fisher

“There you are,” Brent Taylor says, wearing his suit pants and a dress shirt without a jacket or tie. “I ran home to get ready for the party, and it took me forever to get back here--”

“Thanks for coming,” she says as she attempts to shake off the cobwebs cluttering her head.

“How is he?”

“They’re transfusing the blood now. Thank God Tim was able to make it down here.”

“You didn’t have to tell him…?” Brent folds his arms and furrows his brow. It is clear how concerned he is about her and her secret, and Claire is suddenly filled with gratitude that she has someone in whom she can confide about this.

“I almost told him. I wanted to. It isn’t the right timing, but… I’ve let this go on for too long. That’s his son in there. What if Spencer hadn’t even made it to the hospital alive tonight? What if he’d died and Tim never knew he was his son.”

She sees the shock on Brent’s face but doesn’t understand it at first--he already knows all this, has known for months. But then she tracks his gaze to somewhere behind her, and as she turns, she becomes aware of the presence of another person--a person who, judging by the look on his face, just heard every word that she said.


Who overheard Claire’s confession?
Will the party continue without catastrophe?
Are you happy to see some faces from the past?
Discuss this episode in the Footprints Forum now!

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Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012

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