Footprints Home Episodes People King's Bay Step Inside Forum Episodes People King's Bay Step Inside Forum Episodes People King's Bay Step Inside Forum


- While Claire was trapped in the fraternity house fire, Philip blurted out that to Spencer that Claire is his biological mother.
- Claire called Travis and Tim to the hospital, intending to tell them the truth at long last.
- Spencer intercepted Travis and dropped a bomb on him: they were switched as infants, and Spencer is Claire and Tim’s real son.

KB Memorial Hospital

A thousand knives plunge into Claire Fisher’s heart at the exact same instant that a semi truck flattens her. Or at least that’s how it feels. Because in this moment, with a few simple words uttered, she knows that everything has changed forever.

“You don’t have to worry about Travis,” Spencer Ragan, who has just appeared in the doorway of Claire’s hospital room, says.

Claire hops off the bed. “What do you mean?”

She and Philip Ragan await the inevitable, while Tim Fisher stands there trying to figure out what in the world is going on.

“He knows,” Spencer says, his gaze ripping into Claire with such hatred that her blood goes cold inside her veins.

“What do you mean?” Tim asks. He looks to Claire. “Knows what?”

“What I was trying to tell you.” She fumbles around and retrieves her cell phone. “We have to find him.”

Now Tim tries Philip: “What the hell is going on?”

Philip’s mouth flaps wordlessly a few times. Claire’s numb fingers do their best to pull up Travis’s number and dial. Spencer watches the whole thing with what Claire can only process as sadistic, spiteful glee.

“He’s not answering,” Claire says to Tim. “You try him.”

“Is Travis okay?” he asks as he pulls out his phone.

“Yes. I mean--yes, he’s okay. But we need to talk to him.”

Tim tries the number and puts the phone to his ear. Claire’s body hums with fear as she waits. After a few seconds that seem to take hours, Tim lowers the phone.

“No answer.” The phone still clutched in his hand, he focuses on Claire. “Now will you please tell me what is going on?”


The iPhone in the car’s cup holder lights up, and the Honda Civic’s Bluetooth system spreads its loud ring throughout the vehicle. Travis Fisher glances down at the screen just long enough to see the caller ID: Dad. Then, returning his focus to the road, he lets the ringing continue undisturbed.

As it abruptly comes to an end, though, Travis wonders if he should have picked up. He needs answers. Clearly his mom and dad have them. Except they aren’t his mom and dad, if what Spencer said is true--and, given everything Travis knows about his late grandfather and Loretta Ragan, it seems all too plausible that it is true.

The headlights and brake lights ahead of him are all out-of-focus and blurry. It’s like his mind doesn’t even have the energy to burn on simple tasks like observing the traffic around him because it is so overworked processing what Spencer blurted out at the hospital.

Maybe he should have picked up those calls. But he can’t talk to them right now. Not until he… he doesn’t even know. Makes sense of it all? Calms down? If he isn’t the person he has spent twenty years thinking he was, then who is he? He wonders who else knew about this, who else lied to him all this time. His grandmother and grandfather, maybe?

Unable to help himself, he lets his eyes drift down to the phone long enough for his fingers to pull up a contact. It takes only one ring before there is an answer.

“Hey,” Travis says. “I really need to see you.”

  Travis Fisher


“Claire, come on,” Tim urges, his impatience now undisguised.

Claire looks over to Philip, who without delay grabs Spencer by the arm. “Come with me,” he orders the younger man before dragging him out to the hallway and closing the door.

“I’ve wanted to tell you for so long,” she says. “Or didn’t want to, but knew I had to. But I could never find the right way or the right time.”

“For what? You are scaring the hell out of me.”

She just nods. She isn’t sure what she’s agreeing with--that she understands? That it’s scaring her, too?--but it allows her a few precious moments to process the new reality that she has to face. The truth is out, and there is no more anticipating to be done.

“After Loretta went to prison, she had something sent to me,” she begins, digging for scraps of the thousands of rehearsed beginnings lying around in her head. “A birth certificate.”

Tim cocks his head but, having nothing solid to grab onto, simply waits for her to go on.

“It was for a boy born three days before Travis was.” She always corrects herself--Travis wasn’t the one born to them all those years ago--but she soldiers on. “I questioned Loretta about it and did some investigating. And I found out…” She shakes her head. “I found out there had been a switch.”

She can feel Tim’s intensity growing, like a giant balloon being inflated and threatening to overtake the room. “What do you mean?”

“When my father kidnapped our son from the hospital…” Her words dissolve, and as she struggles for more, she can see understanding breaking across Tim’s face.

“No,” he says. “Travis is our son. He’s the baby your father had in South America.”

“But he wasn’t the baby I gave birth to. My father gave that baby to Loretta. He wanted to raise his grandson as his own. That other baby--the one whose birth certificate I got--that’s the one we took home after my father died.”

  Tim Fisher

She lets out a heavy breath. That’s it. It’s out. The truth is out.

“Are you saying Spencer is our son? This has to be a joke. A sick joke. You know what Loretta is capable of--what your father was capable of.”

The enormity of it all washes over Claire in a way that she has rarely allowed it to in the past. When it was her secret, when it was something she could contain, she could usually fight this off. But she can’t now. She feels her eyes growing wet and her throat tightening.

“I did a blood test,” she manages to say. “It’s true. Spencer is really our son.”


“Okay, what’s happening?” Elly Vanderbilt asks with alarm as Travis flies right past her into the dorm room.

“Something bad.” He clutches his head in his hands and takes several seconds to try and steady his swirling consciousness. “Sam is out, right?”

“Yeah, she has her night class. What do you mean, something bad?”

“When you found out you were adopted…” He doesn’t even know what to ask. What did you do? She ran away to King’s Bay to see her biological mom. Where is Travis supposed to go if he doesn’t even know who his parents are?

Elly steers him to the bed and all but forces him to sit down. “Start at the beginning,” she says. “Where did you come from?”

“The hospital. You know how all those fire trucks were over by Sigma Chi? My mom was in that fire with Spencer and Philip.”

“What? Are they okay?”

“I don’t know. I think so.” There is a current in his legs and feet that won’t allow him to stay seated, so he stands again and begins pacing the floor.

“But they’re okay? Your mom is okay?” Elly asks, stringing out the syllables as if it might force him into some kind of calm.

“My mom,” he repeats. The word feels weird on his tongue now.

“Travis. What happened at the hospital?”

“Spencer told me something--that there was a--a switch, a long time ago. The baby that my parents had--it wasn’t me. It was Spencer.”

He sees Elly’s whole demeanor change as shock and confusion override that soothing air of “I’m sure it isn’t as bad as it seems” that she has had since he blew in here.

“What does that even mean?” she finally asks.

“I’m not sure. Spencer told me this whole story and I just--I had to get out of there. So I left and drove around and then I came here.”

“You haven’t talked to your parents yet?”

“No. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to say to them.”

She hesitates for a moment and then asks, “Where’s your phone?”


Philip’s first instinct, as soon as he gets Spencer alone in the hallway, is to blast him for having done something so hurtful and foolish. But this is, for all intents and purposes, still his younger brother, and the enormity of the shock he just received is too large for Philip to process fully. So he forces himself to proceed with some semblance of calm.

“You really told Travis everything?” Philip asks.

“Everything would be a little hard, since I barely know what the hell is going on,” Spencer responds.

“I can tell you as much as I know. I only wish you had used a bit more discretion with Travis.”

Spencer continues to avoid eye contact. “Don’t you think he deserves to know?”

“Of course he does. But there’s a compassionate way to break bad news. I can’t imagine what Travis must be feeling right now.”

“Travis? What about me? You screamed it at me in the middle of a fire!”

“I didn’t want to do that,” Philip says, aware that people passing up and down the hallway are watching them. “But I also didn’t want...” The rest goes unspoken, too awful to vocalize: Would Spencer have let Claire die in that fire if he didn’t know she was his mother?

“Why don’t you and I go sit someplace, and I can tell you everything I know?” Philip suggests.

He sees Spencer mulling the idea over--probably, knowing Spencer, weighing what response will sting Philip the most--when he spots Brent Taylor coming at them from the far end of the corridor.

“This is Claire’s room?” Brent asks Philip.

“Yes. She’s in there with Tim. They’re… discussing something serious,” Philip says.

Brent’s concern intensifies. “Is Claire all right?”

“It seems that way.”

“Spencer, I might as well take your statement about the fire while I’m here,” Brent says.

“I don’t want to talk about the goddamn fire right now.” Spencer turns away from them.

Brent searches both of them with a piercing look before asking Philip, “What happened?”

But it’s clear that Brent understands before Philip is even able to say, “They know. They all know.”


“My god.” Tim shakes his head in disbelief. “I knew your father was sick, but this…”

“I know.” Claire folds her arms against what feels like a sudden and extreme chill in the room. “I’m sorry I didn’t say anything sooner. I wanted to--I didn’t want to, but I knew I had to--but every time I thought about how it would turn all of our lives upside-down--”

“Yeah.” His mouth opens and closes, but none of the attempts produce actual words. And then Claire sees it: the realization blooming inside him, working its way into his brain and then out. His eyes go steely.

“That’s how you knew to call me to donate blood,” he says. “You’ve known for that long?”

The breath goes rushing out of Claire’s body as if forced out. “I put that medical file together--and I noticed the blood types didn’t match--”

  Claire Fisher

“You had me come in here to donate blood to my own son, and you never even told me who he was?”

“There wasn’t a good time. It was an emergency. I had to do whatever I could to make sure Spencer pulled through.”

“He could have died. My son could have died, and I wouldn’t have ever known he was my son.”

Claire feels like she is going to throw up. Tim’s anger and revulsion are so palpable that they seem to be pummeling the energy out of her.

“You have to understand,” she says, her whole body tingling with panic. “I thought I could find a good time--or a good way--”

“There is no good time or good way! These are people’s lives! If Spencer hadn’t found out, would you have just kept this to yourself forever? Pretended nothing was wrong?”

“Nothing is wrong. We can deal with this. We have two sons, that’s all.”

He shakes his head again, but this time less thoughtfully and more dismissively. Then he takes out his phone.

“We have to find Travis,” he says. “We have to talk to him.”

“Yeah. Okay.” The purposeful activity might help, she figures.

Tim dials and then holds the phone to his ear. The sound of the phone ringing slices through the air as he puts it on speaker. Then, to both of their surprise, there is actually a click.

“Just tell me the truth,” Travis’s voice says over the line. “I’m not your son, am I?”


What will this revelation mean for Tim, Claire, Travis, and Spencer?
Will Claire be forgiven for keeping this secret?
Will Spencer ever want to know his biological parents?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

Next Episode



Friday, March 08, 2013

For a printable version,
click here.

Home / Episodes / People / King's Bay / Step Inside / Forum