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- Natalie overheard a message from the doctor’s office on Diane’s answering machine and realized that her sister is pregnant.
- Rattled by the revelation that he is actually Claire and Tim’s biological son, Spencer blurted out the truth to Travis.
- A devastated Travis went to be with his girlfriend, Elly, to process the shock about his origins, while Tim lashed out at Claire for having kept this shocking secret for so long.


The sun has barely begun to peek over the horizon, but the sky already portends another day of wintery gray for King’s Bay. The Fisher house sits almost entirely in darkness, save for the light above the kitchen table, where Tim Fisher sits with the day’s freshly delivered newspaper spread open before him.

He is struggling to make it through an entire article--interrupted every fifteen or twenty seconds by a need to glance at his cell phone--when he hears footsteps. He drinks his coffee and waits for his mother to arrive in the kitchen. Paula Fisher wears a fluffy, lavender-colored robe, and her face is still drowsy with sleep.

“Did you sleep at all?” she asks.

Tim shrugs. “A little bit. Not very good sleep, though.” He gestures with his mug toward the opposite counter. “I made coffee.”


Her slippers brush against the hardwood floor as she shuffles across the kitchen. She pours herself a cup and adds some milk before she says, “I still can’t believe it’s true. It seems like a bad dream.”

“I wish.” He stares at the newspaper, which is little more than a blur of gray space and black print. “I still don’t know where Travis is. Samantha said he and Elly weren’t at the dorm when she got home last night. And Spencer wants absolutely nothing to do with me.”

“Everyone needs time, honey.”

“We’ve already lost of a lot of time.”

“I know.” Paula pulls out a chair and joins Tim at the table. “I wish there were anything I could say that would make this better.”

  Paula Fisher

“Yeah. Me, too.”

Paula regards the steam rising off her coffee for a long moment. “What I can tell you is that families are… flexible. They expand. There isn’t a finite amount of love that we can have for other people. And I think, in time, you’ll learn that’s true with Spencer. You haven’t lost a son--you’ve gained another one.”

“I’d like to believe that, Mom. I would. But the way Travis has been hurt by this--”

“Travis will always be a part of our family, biology aside.”

“I know that. I just want to be sure that he does. Then there’s Spencer… he’s spent so many years being poisoned by Loretta.”

“We can change that. We can show him what family is,” Paula says. “It might take time, but we can do it.”

“I hope you’re right.” Tim lets out a loud sigh. “I still can’t believe Claire didn’t tell me.”

Paula’s mouth tightens into a rigid line.

“Not only did she know, but she told Brent and Philip,” Tim says. “She told them and not me--Travis and Spencer’s father.”

“I can’t begin to imagine what Claire has been going through since she found this out,” Paula says, but the statement is distant and cool, like she knows those are the proper words even though she doesn’t quite believe the sentiment.

“I’m just tired of having no power whatsoever in my own life. Does that make sense?”

“It does make sense. But it isn’t true.” Paula sets down her coffee and reaches over to take Tim’s hand. “Oh, honey. You are going to get through this. All of you are--all of us. I’m going to make sure of it.”


Diane Bishop’s feet dangle off the side of the leather-upholstered table. Her legs, left exposed by the hospital gown, are all too aware of a draft in the room; in fact, the entire exam room feels cold--in every possible way. She isn’t sure why, considering the multitude of bright and cheery child-themed items spread around: blocks for décor; pamphlets with picture of smiling mothers and babies. Maybe it is the attitude Diane has brought with her that is cold, then.

She can’t believe that she is sitting here, doing this. She can’t believe much about her life these days, though.

The door cracks open, and a kind voice says, “Diane?”

Dr. Genovese’s sensible, light brown haircut enters the room a second before the rest of her body. She tends to be like that, easing into everything, making sure everything is comfortable before going at it fully.

“Hi,” Diane says, giving the rest of the doctor’s body permission to come in and close the door. “Thanks for fitting me in so early.”

“Of course. How are you feeling?”

Diane sighs and decides it would be a poor choice to answer that question truthfully. “Fine.”

“Good.” A kind smile, to match the voice, shows itself. “Will it just be the two of us today?”

“Definitely just the two of us.”

“Well, three of us, really,” the doctor says, indicating Diane’s stomach.

All Diane can manage is a, “Yeah.” She doesn’t want to think of this child inside her that way. She doesn’t want to associate it with her first pregnancy or with the young woman Samantha has grown into.

But maybe it’s too late for that.

“Why don’t you lie back?” Dr. Genovese suggests.

Diane rearranges her body accordingly. She tries to summon the words to explain what she wants to do about this pregnancy, but they don’t come. They aren’t ready yet. But she also knows that she is rapidly running out of time.

Thaw Coffee & Tea

Ryan Moriani exhales with relief as he hurries into the coffee shop. The upside of having such a business in the same building as his office is that it saves him a stop in the mornings; the downside is that he never seems to budget enough time for popping into the shop. Today, luckily, there are only three people in line at the register, which leaves him with plenty of time to make the meeting that Jason is holding in fifteen minutes.

The first of those customers has just paid and moved off to wait by the bar when Ryan notices Natalie Bishop entering from the arena side of the shop. She wears a heavy black coat and has her arms folded in front of her.

“As if this morning weren’t stressful enough,” Ryan mutters, only partly to himself, as Natalie steps into the line behind him.

“Awww. Shouldn’t you be more excited to run into family?” Natalie says tauntingly.

Ryan keeps his back turned to her as he responds. “We are not family. That marriage--” He pauses to shake it off. “--is over and done with, as far as the law is concerned.”

“I don’t know which one of you is luckier.”

He glances at her over his shoulder. “Should I be flattered?”

  Ryan Moriani

Natalie scowls at him. “No. You are still literally the worst possible husband I can imagine. For anyone. But my sister is just about as big of a mess as you. Be glad that you got out when you did.”

In spite of himself, Ryan finds the comment troubling; Diane might be a pain in the ass, but she has her redeeming qualities, unlike her younger sibling. “What does that mean? Did something happen with Diane?”

“Just that she’s gotten herself into trouble again. Per usual.” She glances up at him with an indiscernible expression.

“What’s that look for?”

“Nothing. Hey--” She nods toward the counter, and Ryan realizes that it is his turn to order.

“Get moving,” Natalie says. “I need to get back in there before Bree’s lesson is done.”

“Gladly,” he says as he steps up to the counter, though her vague insinuations about Diane keep tugging at his mind.


Panic floods Danielle Taylor’s system the moment the alarm hits her consciousness. She doesn’t remember having set an alarm; in fact, the entire point of this morning was supposed to be for her and Matt to be able to sleep in. Tori is spending the night with her mother, and Danielle is off-duty as far as Caleb and Christian go, so they decided to take advantage of the rare night when they could not only sleep in the same bed but also wake up at their leisure. And yet…

That is when Danielle realizes it is not an alarm. It is the electronic ring of her cell phone.

She scrambles to grab the phone from the nightstand as she becomes aware of Matt moving beside her, reacting to the noise.

“Sorry,” she mutters as she gets the phone in her grasp and checks the caller ID. She doesn’t recognize the number, but it is a local one.

“Hello?” she asks, the panic growing stronger. It’s still pretty early for someone to be calling, especially someone she doesn’t know…

“Danielle? Hi. This is Tim Fisher. Molly gave me your number. I’m sorry if I woke you--”

“No, Tim, it’s fine.” Danielle lies back against the pillow and sees Matt watching her through half-opened eyes. “What’s going on?”

“It’s the kids. Don’t worry, they’re okay--at least I think they are. But I can’t get in touch with Travis. And Samantha says they haven’t been back to the dorm room since last night. I was wondering if you’d heard from Elly.”

“No, I haven’t. Do you want me to try her?”

“If you wouldn’t mind.”

“Of course not.” She hesitates, then asks, “Is everything okay?”

A loud sigh fogs up the line for a moment. “There was some… drama last night. With Travis and Claire and me. We haven’t been able to reach him, but he told us he’d be with Elly. We just want to know that he’s okay.”

“Let me try her. Is this your cell number? I can call you back as soon as I know anything.”

“It is. Thanks. I’m sorry to bother you--”

“Tim, don’t worry about it. I’ll be in touch.”

The call ends, and Danielle holds the phone in her hand as she gathers her bearings. Her head is still swimming somewhere beneath the surface of sleep, trying to fight its way up to clarity. It takes a moment to process the content of the call.

“That was Tim?” Matt asks. “Everything okay?”

“I’m not sure,” she says. “I need to get a hold of Elly.” So she pulls herself to a sitting position, all hopes of sleeping in forgotten as she worries about what might be going on with her daughter.


Samantha Fisher finishes double-checking the books in her messenger bag and is about to add her laptop to the mix when there is a knock at the door. Frazzled, she quickly pulls it open--and finds her former stepmother standing there.

“Elly isn’t here, is she? Or Travis?” Claire asks, as her visual survey of the small dorm room answers the questions for her.

“No. Dad already called me. What’s going on?”

Claire goes through a whole series of movements--widening her eyes, brushing back her hair, pulling down her sleeves--that do not produce any kind of explanation. She looks as if she hasn’t slept all night.

“Claire, what’s wrong?” Samantha asks, her pulse quickening. “Where’s Travis?”

  Claire Fisher

“I don’t know.”

“Did something happen?”

“Yes.” Another few seconds pass as Claire composes herself. “Why don’t you have a seat?”

“I have class in a few minutes,” Samantha says. But if something serious is wrong… of course she can miss a morning of classes.

“There’s something you should know,” Claire says. “I don’t want you to find out the wrong way.”

“You’re making me nervous.”

“Everything is okay. I promise.” Claire draws Samantha into a hug. “But I want you to hear this from me.”


A dark haze hangs over and around Diane as she parks her car and ascends the steps toward her second-floor unit. Her brain keeps attempting to summon coherent thoughts that will not come; the drive home felt like moving foot by foot through a dense fog.

It isn’t until she is mere feet from the front door that she notices someone standing there.

“What are you doing here?” she asks Tim.

“Didn’t you see my text? We need to talk. There’s something we need to tell Sam.”

“What? Why?”

He begins to explain whatever it is, then takes a better look at her. “What happened to you?”

“It’s nothing,” she says, shaking her head as she moves to unlock the door.

“Diane, it’s something. I can tell.”

She lets that pass without comment and opens the door. Once inside, she drops her purse on the floor and moves robotically to lean against a wall.

“Where were you just now?” Tim asks. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing is wrong!” she yells. “Everything is working out just fine. All right?”

He regards her for a long moment and then shuts the front door.

“Talk to me,” he says. “What happened?”

Diane feels it all surging up through her throat. She thought that she could just make this be over and done with, stick it in the past and tell no one. But she never expected what happened at the doctor’s--

“Everything is a mess,” she says, and then she feels Tim’s arms wrapping around her, and instead of pushing him away, she folds in toward him as she feels hot tears forcing their way out from behind her eyes.


What happened with Diane?
Will Ryan figure out what Diane has been hiding?
Where have Travis and Elly gone?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to discuss it all!

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Sat., June 01, 2013

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