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- Sarah and her children moved back into the house she shared with her late husband, Graham. On the first night back, Sarah was haunted by a vision of Graham.
- After learning that Claire and Tim are his biological parents, Spencer fled King’s Bay. Claire hired Sarah to investigate his whereabouts and learned that he had been in Europe, living off Loretta’s money.
- Philip planned a romantic weekend away with the intention of surprising Molly with a marriage proposal. As they prepared to leave, though, Spencer showed up at the front door.


“And the dreams… Are you still having those?”

Sarah Fisher draws a deep breath and studies the tan weave of the carpet in her psychiatrist’s office. Her dark blonde hair hangs down over her eyes as she contemplates her response.

She opts for honesty as she looks back up. “Sometimes.”

Dr. Croft adjusts her thick plastic glasses. She is probably in her late forties, with auburn hair cut into a softened version of a bob and a thin, long face. “The same as before?”

“Mostly. Yeah.”

“How do you feel about that?”

“I mean, I’d rather have regular dreams about flying or going to Oprah’s house,” Sarah says. She gets the most miniscule of chuckles out of Dr. Croft and waits a moment before continuing. “But it makes sense. He was my husband. It didn’t end on the best of terms. Of course I’m going to dream about him.”

  Sarah Fisher

“You don’t have to justify it to me,” Dr. Croft says. “Or to anyone. Graham was your husband. It’s perfectly reasonable that he’d be appearing in your dreams.” She pauses, bringing the cap of her pen to her lips. “But you’ve described them as rather… haunting.”

Sarah’s mind jumps to her first night back in the house after Graham’s death. He actually appeared to her while she was awake. At least it has only been in her sleep since then.

“I freaked out that first night,” she says. “Being back in the house was weird. It reminds me so much of him. I know I shouldn’t have snapped at Matt the way I did--he was only trying to help--and look out for Tori. But I apologized. I even got him a gift to thank him for checking on us--”

“Was that necessary?”

She bristles at the question but tries to mitigate her reaction. “If you’d seen the way I yelled at him… yeah. Probably.”

Dr. Croft chews lightly on the end of the pen cap for a few seconds. “What was the gift?”

Sarah shrugs. “A gift certificate to this new B&B on Orcas Island. I thought he and Danielle--the woman he’s dating--I thought they might enjoy it.”

“You’ve mentioned this Danielle a few times,” the doctor says.

“She’s dating my ex-husband. And she used to be my sister-in-law, a long time ago.”

“Does it bother you that she and Matt are seeing each other?”

“No! I mean… no. I’m happy for them.”


There is a hint of judgment in the doctor’s response, or maybe Sarah is just inferring it. Regardless, it makes her crazy to have to defend herself this way.

“Have you given any more thought to selling the house?” Dr. Croft asks.

“Yeah…” Sarah shifts in her chair. “I don’t think it’s the right move. It’s a great house. The market is still down. And…”

Dr. Croft allows that thought to fade into the air.

“Do you think the dreams would stop if you weren’t living there?” she finally asks.

“I don’t know,” Sarah admits with a sigh.


Philip Ragan swiftly moves to answer the door for the driver. Here goes nothing. By the time they return from their weekend away, he and Molly might be--

The hopeful thought falls away as he opens the door and sees who is actually standing there.

“Hey, brother,” Spencer Ragan says. “I’m back.”

“Hi.” Philip throws an arm over Spencer’s shoulder, but the attempt at intimacy is met with stiffness. He pulls back and asks, “How are you? How was your trip?”

Spencer looks tanned and healthy, his dark hair a little longer and wavier than usual. He shoves his hands in the pockets of his skinny jeans. “Good. Spent some time all over Europe, basically. It was kind of crazy.”

“Well, it’s good to see you. How…” Philip fumbles over his words for a moment. “How are you feeling? About everything here?”

The inquiry gets blown off with a shrug, just as Molly hurries out of the kitchen.

“I’m all ready!” But then she stops in her tracks. “Spencer. Hi.”


“Everyone’s missed you,” she says. “I… It’s good to see you.”

Spencer acknowledges her with a raise of his eyebrows, but that is it.

“Can I talk to you for a second?” he asks Philip. “It’s important.”

“Of course.” Philip turns to Molly. “Keep an eye out for the driver, would you?”

Spencer clocks the luggage waiting by the door. “You guys going somewhere?”

“We have a weekend trip planned. That’s all,” Philip explains. “Let’s go into the living room.”

Philip leads the way. While he takes a seat in one of the armchairs flanking the coffee table, Spencer remains on his feet.

“Here’s the thing,” the younger man says. “Getting out of here was the best thing I could’ve done for myself.”

“You also missed an entire semester of school.”

“So what? Do you not remember what happened before I left? That all kind of trumps Environmental Science, don’t you think?”

Philip hesitates. “I understand how unsettling it must have been to find out that Claire and Tim are your parents--especially the way that you found out. And if you needed some space from the situation, then it’s good that you’ve had it.”

“Not ‘needed.’ Need.”

Philip folds his hands in his lap. “What do you want to talk about, exactly?”

“Money. My money. I want to move to New York--and I need your help to do it.”

“My help.”

“Yeah. I know you said I had to live here and go to KBU and blah blah to get my trust money or whatever it is, but come on. Everything has changed. All I want is some space to, I don’t know, get my head together. I can’t do that here.”

Outside the living room, Molly lingers. Normally she wouldn’t approve of eavesdropping, but Spencer is hardly making his proclamations in a quiet voice, and besides… this is more than a matter between the two Ragans. It involves the whole family now.

She goes to her purse, which rests on a table by the door, and retrieves her cell phone. Quickly she taps out a text message:

Spencer is back. He’s at my house now.

Thaw Coffee & Tea

An Imagine Dragons song plays over the speaker system, competing with the hissing and gurgling of the espresso machines. Travis Fisher finishes preparing an extra-large chocolate-and-caramel blended, iced drink and brings it to the bar, where he reads the name written on the cup in order to call it out.

“Uh… Snuffleupagus?” he shouts. A guy maybe three or four years younger than him rushes up to the bar, grabs the drink, and then disappears with a crowd of his laughing buddies. Travis rolls his eyes and grabs a rag to wipe off his hand.

“Want to take a bet on whether that was his real name?” a voice asks from the other side of the counter.

Travis looks up to see his uncle (sort of), Ryan Moriani, standing there.

“They always think it’s so damn funny,” Travis says. He looks around the shop; thankfully, it’s pretty calm, with just one customer currently in line.

“Can I get you anything?” he asks Ryan.

“How about a half-caff soy latte?”

“You got it.” Travis sets about making the drink.

Ryan hovers by the counter. “You must have finals coming up soon.”

“Yeah. Next week. Just gonna try to survive a few more days and then I’m clear for the summer.”

“And what do you have planned for the summer?”

Travis pauses while he lets the milk steam. He isn’t sure if Ryan is fishing for any particular reason; it seems unlikely that Tim would have put him up to this, considering how not close the two of them are--but then again, who knows?

“Working. Trying to save up money for after graduation,” Travis says.

“I heard your dad bought a place. Are you going to stay there?”

Travis looks up at him sharply. “I don’t know, dude. Did he ask you to grill me? Or did Uncle Jason?”

“I’m just being curious,” Ryan says. “I promise. Why? What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know. It’s not like anything insane happened to me in the past few months, right?” He returns his focus to the machine. He finds that easiest some days: just pay attention to the most miniscule thing and close everything else out

“Travis, I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you,” Ryan says over the partition. “I’m sorry this is something you have to deal with. But if you’re worried that this changes things with your family--that you’re somehow less connected to them because of this--I can assure you that is not the case.”

Travis just keeps watching the cup as it fills up.

  Travis Fisher

“The Fishers are some of the most accepting people I have ever crossed paths with,” Ryan continues. “If they’re still allowing me in their lives after everything that has happened… well, then there’s no doubt that they still have the same love for you that they’ve always had. You are a part of that family, no matter what some blood test says.”

The machine finishes its job. Travis finds a lid and snaps it onto the cup.

“Dave can ring you up,” he says, nodding his head toward the register as he hands Ryan the drink.

“Thank you,” Ryan says. “And if you ever want to talk… my office is just upstairs.”

With that, Ryan moves over to pay for his drink. Travis grabs a rag to wipe up a spill on the counter that normally wouldn’t bother him.


“Wow. Is it always a ghost town in here, or what?”

Sarah Fisher surveys the store as she crosses toward the counter, where Diane Bishop sits atop a stool, a book open before her.

“It pretty much always is,” Diane says. “Lots of time to catch up on my reading, though.” She holds up the book to show the well worn cover of The Count of Monte Cristo. “Honestly, I’m enjoying this part of the job far more than I expected.”

“That’s a definite plus. Here, this is for you.” Sarah sets an iced coffee down in front of Diane. “Thought you might need a pick-me-up.”

“Always. Thanks.”

Sarah sips her own coffee as she again looks around the empty store.

“What have you been up to today?” Diane asks as she comes around from behind the counter.

“Met with a client, saw my therapist…”

“And how’s that going?”

Sarah throws her a sideways look. “It’s therapy. I also got to witness a mini-showdown between my mom and Claire.”

“Tell me more,” Diane says with a devious grin.

“Nothing to tell, really. Claire had asked me to look into something, and she came over to get the report, and my mom showed up early to watch Billy. She was… not warm, I’ll say that much.”

“Good. After what Claire did to Tim and those boys…”

“She wasn’t trying to hurt them,” Sarah says.

“She didn’t do a very good job of not hurting them, then.”

Sarah shakes her head. “I don’t know what I would’ve done if a secret like that just fell into my lap.”

Before Diane can respond, the door opens again. But instead of a customer, it is simply one of the co-owners of the place.

“Hey, what’s up?” Jimmy Trask says. “Just need to grab something out of the back room.”

“This is about the most excitement we’ve had all day,” Diane says.

Jimmy shrugs. “Whatever.” And then he vanishes into the back room.

Bemused, Sarah looks to Diane. “Is he aware that you need customers to keep a retail business going?”

“I have no clue,” Diane says, returning to her stool. “As long as they keep paying me to sit here and read, I’m not gonna drive myself crazy about it.”


“What is it?”

“Nothing,” Sarah says, knowing how unconvincing it sounds. “Something just seems a little weird about the whole thing. You know?”

“Yeah. What’s weird is that these two idiots thought a used bookstore would be a good investment,” Diane whispers. The two women share a laugh as they return to sipping their coffees.


“I’m so sorry,” Philip tells Molly as he closes the front door. “I just don’t think it’s a good idea…”

“I understand. Completely. You don’t have to apologize to me,” Molly says. She watches through the glass panel beside the door as the limo pulls away without them. “You need to deal with your brother. My nephew. God, that’s weird.”

“Very weird. And thank you for being so understanding.”

She takes hold of her suitcase. “Why don’t you go talk with Spencer some more? I’m going to unpack my clothes before they get too wrinkled.”

Philip kisses her on the cheek and returns to the living room. Molly pauses at the foot of the stairs. She would be lying if she said she weren’t disappointed at missing their weekend away, but obviously Spencer’s return takes precedence. Maybe Philip can even reason with him and convince him to speak with Tim a little.

She is nearly at the top of the stairs when the doorbell rings again. She leaves her suitcase on the landing and hurries back down. She doesn’t have a clue who could be at the door--but a sinking feeling overtakes her stomach as soon as she sees who it is.

“What are you doing here?” she asks Tim in a nervous whisper.

“I got your text.”

“I was just trying to keep you informed!”

  Tim Fisher

“He’s my son. I haven’t even seen him in three months,” Tim says. “If he’s back, I want to see him while I can.”

“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” Spencer says from the entry to the living room. He turns sharply to Molly. “Did you call him?”

Tim does a fairly good imitation of shock. “Spencer. You’re… back. Wow.”

“I forgot he was coming by,” Molly says. “I didn’t realize…” She trails off under Spencer’s skeptical gaze.

“Tim. Hi,” Philip says from behind Spencer.

“Were you in on this, too?” Spencer asks. “Forget it. I came here to talk about money, not get ambushed by this bullshit again.”

“Why don’t we sit down and talk?” Tim suggests.

Spencer shoots for the door. “No way. Will you all just leave me the hell alone? Please?” He yanks the door open, and a moment later, its slam is echoing through the house, stunning all three adults into sad silence.


Should Philip give Spencer the money to move to New York?
Will Tim be able to get through to his son?
What’s really going on at the bookstore?
Come on over to the Footprints Forum to talk about it all!

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

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