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- Jason’s gala benefit, held in memory of his late wife, Courtney, got underway. Jason was impressed with Natalie Bishop’s work in planning the event.
- Ryan’s former stepmother, Katherine Fitch, and her son, Andy, arrived at the party as his surprise guests.
- Alex slept with his ex-boyfriend, Trevor, when Trevor returned to King’s Bay for his sister’s wedding--but then Alex was shocked to meet Trevor’s fiancé, Liam.
- 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.
- While Spencer received the transfusion, Claire unloaded to Brent, the only other person who knows that Spencer is really her son--but they realized someone had overheard them.

KB Memorial Hospital

It makes perfect sense that Claire Fisher’s instinct is to run.

Her entire life, that is what everyone has done. Her mother ran away from her and her father. Even before that, her father ran away--to a double life that none of them knew about until years later, although they did know how he disappeared for months on end. When Claire met Tim, she tried to run away herself, to put the past firmly in the past and never face it again. But then even Tim left her, or at least that was how it felt. She allowed herself to trust Ryan, to do what she thought she never could and let him into her heart, and he might as well have left her cold, the way he betrayed not only her but the entire Fisher family.

So it makes sense that, when faced with a situation like this, Claire’s instinct is not to lie or divert, but to flee. If only she could get her legs to play along. If only it would do any good.

She sees Philip Ragan standing there, his stare intense and demanding. She hears her own words replaying in her head, huge and echoing in the hospital corridor.

“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?”

And she knows that Philip heard those words, too.

“I can explain,” she says weakly.

Philip glares at her. “You’d better.”

“Now is not the time,” Brent says, stepping forward from behind Claire.

“If it concerns my brother, now is absolutely the time,” Philip says.

Claire balls her hands together, her fingers interlocking and twisting like vipers in a pit--which she might as well be facing right now, given how she feels. “I’ll explain to you later. I will.”

But Philip persists. “Did my father--our father--adopt Spencer from you?”

Brent inserts himself between Philip and Claire. “Philip. I said--”

“Did you have twins?” Philip continues. Claire can see him doing the math in his head. “Are Spencer and your son--”

“No!” she exclaims, and then, with a weary sigh, she allows her body to relax as much as it can at a time like this. There is no point arguing with him, and certainly no point lying. She places a hand on Brent’s shoulder. “It’s fine. Seriously.”

Brent takes a tentative step to the side.

Claire glances around and, assured that there is no one in the corridor who will care about the story, says, “Let me explain.”


The ballroom, decked out in blue and icy silver, is brimming with life. The piano player’s gently upbeat tunes underscore the pulse of conversation and excitement throughout the room. Katherine Fitch sits at a table with her son, a few other significant donors, and three empty seats, enjoying the roasted eggplant course.

“Is that… No, it couldn’t be,” says a voice from behind her.

“You made it!” she says as she wheels around in her chair.

“It’s so good to see you.” Brian Hamilton scoops down to give her a hug. Katherine kisses him on the cheek. “Hi, Andy,” Brian says as he shakes hands with her son.

“It’s been far too long,” Katherine says. She remembers a time when Brian was such a friend to her--an unexpected ally during a dark, awful time in her life. “How does it feel to be back in King’s Bay?”


“Very,” Andy chimes in as he sets down his knife and fork.

“You look fantastic,” Brian tells Katherine. “Seattle agrees with you.”

“So does not being burdened by a mobster husband.” She is amazed by the laugh that trills out of her throat, a weightless sound that, a few years ago, she never imagined could be associated with her marriage to Nick Moriani. “And how are things with--”

“Katherine Fitch?”

  Andy Fitch

The husky voice is unmistakable, and it stops Katherine cold. Before she even looks, she knows to whom those three empty seats at her table belong. She draws a deep breath, calms herself as best she can, and rises from her chair, her hands subtly smoothing her gold dress as she does so.

Brian and Andy flank her. Without having to be told anything, they understand.

And then Katherine sees them: three elegantly attired bulls in a china shop, coming right at her.

Tenille, Marj, Dar,” she knows, her voice lilting with that same faux graciousness she has perfected from years and years of society events. “It’s so lovely to see you.”


Across the room, Sarah Fisher waits while the bartender pours her a glass of white wine. She thanks him, accepts it, and turns--only to see Alex Marshall mere feet in front of her.

“Alex. Hi,” she says, the tension of their last encounters seeping in.

He stares at her for a long moment. “Where’s Billy tonight?”

“He’s with a sitter.” Sarah wants to smack him for the question and for its obnoxious implication that she is somehow an unfit parent for attending her own brother’s charity function. “I have to get back to my table.”

As she walks, she can feel Alex watching her, maybe blaming her for his father’s death all over again.

Alex moves up to the bar and orders a vodka-soda. While he waits, his best friend arrives at his side and clasps a hand on his shoulder.

“Having a good time?” Jason asks.

“Yeah. Everything is amazing,” Alex says. It isn’t a lie--the décor, the food, the service, all of that is wonderful.


“But what?”

Jason lowers his voice and leans in. “Is it Trevor?”

Alex shrugs. “I haven’t even talked to him. I don’t know what I’m supposed to say.”

“Nothing, I guess,” Jason admits.

Before they can continue, a ball of energy in a flowing silver dress descends upon them. “Everyone enjoying themselves?” Natalie Bishop asks. There is a grin perched on her face as if she already knows the answer and just wants to hear it aloud again--which, of course, she does.

“It’s really great,” Alex tells her. “You did an impressive job.”

“Thank you,” she says, adding a mini-curtsy for effect.

“Most importantly, we’re going to raise a lot of money,” Jason says. “I was looking at the bid sheets for the silent auction. People are being really generous.”

Natalie smiles at him, her dress shimmering under the carefully designed lighting. “I’m glad you’re so happy with it.”

At a nearby table, Tempest Banks pauses mid-movement, eggplant speared on a fork mere inches from her mouth. “She is dancin’ like she wants it,” she mutters to no one in particular.

Beside her, Samantha Fisher turns over one shoulder and then the other. “Dancing? Who’s dancing?”

“That heffa Natalie,” Tempest says, indicating the scene by the bar, where Natalie is laughing at something that Jason has just said. “Look at her. She is doin’ the most.”

Samantha sounds exasperated as she asks, “The most what?!”

Tempest simply stares at her for a second and then bursts out laughing. “You crack me up.”

“I don’t know what any of those words meant!” Samantha says, joining in her laughter.

“Just look.” Tempest flicks her hand in the direction of the bar. “She is all over your uncle.”

“You think she likes him?”

“I think she likes his bank account,” Tempest says before she finally takes that bite of the eggplant.


Philip stares down at the flecks of color on the linoleum floor. Claire can see him working to process the enormity of what she has just explained to him. She is suddenly very aware of the incessant hum of the fluorescent lights, a sound that she has spent so many years around that it faded into the background a long time ago.

“If Father went to all that trouble to--to take your son away,” Philip says, his gaze still cast downward, “why would my mother ever tell you? She had to know that it would come out eventually--that you would tell Spencer.”

“Because she wants to torture me,” Claire says.

“She’s a lunatic,” Brent adds.

“It’s her ultimate revenge,” Claire continues. “For me to know that she raised my son, and that he loves her as a mother and will always blame me for killing our father--it’s everything she wants.”

Philip shakes his head, but when he speaks, his tone is not one of denial. “And you’re certain the DNA results were correct?”

  Philip Ragan

“Yes. The DNA, the blood types… it’s true.” She cannot believe that she is having this conversation. When she has talked about it with Brent, it was still contained. Managed. Other than that, she has held onto this herself, hoping that she might never have to face it, that if she buried it, it might go away. Travis is her son. That young man who has been raised to hate her… that’s the problem. No matter how much she tries to block it out, the truth is that Spencer is also her son, and she can’t ignore that.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” Philip asks.

“Because this could tear my family apart. I can’t even imagine how Travis would react. To find out that he isn’t related to Tim and me…” Every time she has thought of speaking up, this is where she winds up. She knows her son. She has a terrible sense of how he would take the news. And she cannot bring herself to inflict that kind of pain upon him.

“Secrets like this don’t stay hidden forever,” Philip says.

Claire doesn’t want to admit how true that is, but before she has the opportunity, she spots Molly rounding the corner… followed by Tim, who is holding onto his sister’s arm.

“Are you sure you should be walking around?” Claire asks, moving toward him, placing herself between them and Philip.

“I’m fine,” Tim says, though he looks a little pale and his movements are a bit weak. He looks from Claire to Philip to Brent. “What’s going on? Is it Spencer? Is everything okay?”

“Actually,” Philip says, “Claire was just in the process of explaining something to me.”

The humming of the lights grows even louder, painfully so, as time seems to freeze all around Claire.


Their silver jewels glinting under the lights like weaponry, the three women come toward Katherine.

“We weren’t sure you would ever show your face in King’s Bay again,” Tenille proclaims in her deep voice.

“Let alone at a charity event, considering what a debacle the last one you threw was,” Marj says.

Katherine feels an old, familiar, and not particularly elegant instinct swelling within herself: to smack each of the women in the face.

Instead, she fires off a calm retort: “Seeing as how my felonious late husband is nowhere in the vicinity, I believe all of us and the proceeds will be safe tonight.”

“Ladies,” Andy says, stepping forward. “Lovely to see you again. And I’ll have you know that my mother has organized a variety of charity events in Seattle. Just last month, she spearheaded a fantastic event to benefit the public library, and it went off brilliantly.”

The three women blanch at this information. What fun can they have, after all, with a tale of success?

“Such a gentleman,” Dar says. She moves closer to caress Andy’s shoulder. “And still so handsome!”

“And is this your beau?” Marj asks as she sidles up to Brian. Her long, French-manicured nails dance over his chest. “That must have been quite the bid you made at that charity auction all those years ago, if he’s still around!”

Tenille bounces in to join her in appraising Brian. “If this old bag is boring you, I’d be happy to liven things up, young man.”

“Katherine is a dear friend,” Brian says, removing both hands from his shirt and placing his own arm around Katherine’s shoulders. “The chance to see her is one of the main reasons I flew in for the weekend.”

The three somehow manage to exchange one single look amongst all of them, a look of disappointment and boredom.

“I could use a Chardonnay,” Dar says, eyes flitting off in the direction of the bar. “Oooh, look at the ice tables!”

They begin moving across the room in a single mass, and Tenille glances over her shoulder to say, “We’ll be back, Katherine.”

“I’m sure you will,” she responds as they move away.

“They haven’t changed one bit,” Brian says as they sit back down.

“No,” Katherine says, but there is something oddly comforting about that realization.


“Why? What’s going on?” Tim asks.

“It’s nothing,” Brent says.

“Claire was just explaining,” Philip says, undaunted, “that it’s going to be a little while before they can tell us anything conclusive about Spencer’s condition, even once the transfusion is done.”

Claire’s body is tingling from the adrenaline and the panic that Philip was about to reveal everything, and she struggles to compose herself enough to say, “Yeah. I’ll check with the doctor in a little while.”

“I’m glad you thought to call me,” Tim says. “Otherwise this could have been a lot worse.” He addresses Philip: “Your brother has been a very good intern at Vision. We’ve enjoyed having him around.”

“That’s great to hear,” Philip says. Claire doesn’t miss the sideways look that he tosses her.

“Do you want to go downstairs and get something to eat?” Molly asks Philip, and Claire could not be more grateful to her for breaking this up.

“That’s a good idea,” Claire says. “Tim, do you need anything? Are you sure you aren’t lightheaded?”

“I’m fine,” he repeats. “I’m just going to take it easy for a few minutes. Maybe getting something in the cafeteria would be a good idea.”

Tim and Molly begin to head off, and Claire manages to hold Philip back just long enough to mouth, “Thank you” to him. Then he turns the corner with the other two, and it is just Claire and Brent again.

“That could have been worse,” Brent says with a sigh.

“Yeah.” Claire paces a few steps over the linoleum and then retraces her short path. “But I can’t ask Philip to keep this secret forever. It isn’t fair to him, and it isn’t fair to Tim or Travis or Spencer, either.”

“You’re going to tell them?”

“I don’t have any other choice,” Claire says, not quite wanting to believe the words even as she speaks them.


“You look fantastic,” Andy Fitch says to Danielle Taylor as the waitstaff begins to clear the first course from the tables. “And very happy.”

A slight blush radiates beneath Danielle’s cheeks. “Thanks. It’s great to see you.”

“Mother really wanted to be here for Ryan,” Andy says. “And for Jason. I still can’t fathom what that woman did to Courtney. To think that we helped have her locked away so many years ago--”

“No one had any idea it was really Shannon. My brother was even involved with her. And she put another guy in a coma. It’s…” She shakes her head in disbelief. “It’s still too out-there for me to understand, most of the time.”

“It’s really horrible.”

Silence befalls them as the weight of Courtney’s tragic end overwhelms them. Danielle listens to the distant tinkling of the piano before she forces a smile and continues.

“It really is good to see you,” she says.

“Same.” Andy’s dimples crease in that way that Danielle recalls so well. “Am I being too presumptuous in asking if you’re here as more than friends with Matt? I saw the two of you earlier…”

  Danielle Taylor

“We’re more than friends. It’s early, and we’re moving slowly, but there’s… potential.”

“I’m happy to hear that. We were more than a little disappointed to hear about what happened at your wedding to Ryan.”

You might have been disappointed, but I’m sure your mother wasn’t,” Danielle says, uneasy laughter spilling out.

Andy offers half a shrug, which is about the most Danielle would ever expect from him in the way of untoward comments. “She was sorry to hear that Ryan had once again made such a mess of his life.”

“She wasn’t the only one.”

“Well, I hope Matt treats you better than that,” Andy says.

Danielle gazes toward the table where she and Matt are seated, with her brother, Lauren, and a number of others. “I have a feeling he will.”

Meanwhile, Alex puts his cell phone away as he approaches the Fishers’ table, where Jason is sitting with his family.

“The babysitter says everything is fine,” Alex reports, placing a hand on Jason’s shoulder. “Sophie actually went to sleep without a fight.”

“You’re sure you aren’t just telling me that to keep me from getting stressed out?” Jason says.

“I swear. All’s quiet on the home front.”

“Amazing. Thank you.”

Alex turns to head back to his table but is nearly stampeded by a trio of older women, each clutching a glass of white wine. Instantly he recognizes them from the bachelor auction Katherine Fitch threw several years ago.

“Jason Fisher!” one of them, a redhead who looks vaguely unsteady on her high heels, hollers.

Jason stands without startling too much at the sight of them. “Ladies. Hi.”

“You might not remember us,” one of the others says, “but we’re--”

“Tenille, Marj, and Dar,” Jason says. “It’s a pleasure to see you.”

“No, it’s a pleasure to see you,” says the third, a husky-voiced brunette who eyes Jason up and down like a tasty filet.

“We just had to compliment you on the décor,” the redhead says a bit too loudly. “Those ice tables--”

“They’re just magnificent!” clucks one of the others. “I was looking at them for a party of my own, but they just weren’t in the budget, you know? You must have spent a pretty penny on them!”

Alex sees Jason tense up. He looks back at Alex and then to the women again.

“Exactly how much did those tables cost?” he asks.

Alex watches nervously for the answer, but before the women’s wine-fueled babbling produces any kind of recognizable number, a finger taps Alex on the shoulder.

He swivels to see Trevor Brooks standing behind him.

“Hey,” Trevor says. “Can we talk?”


Will Claire come clean to her family now?
What does Trevor want to say to Alex?
What did you think of the trio of ladies’ reappearance?
Talk all about this episode in the Footprints Forum!

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Sunday, Nov. 04, 2012

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