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- Jason and Molly wanted to set Alex up with Molly’s assistant, Cameron. Alex was resistant to the idea but, after making peace with his ex, Trevor, decided that he should go for the fix-up after all.
- After several months traveling in Europe, Spencer returned to King’s Bay and asked Philip to free up money from his trust so that he can move to New York.
- While Philip and Spencer were talking, Molly texted Tim to alert him that his biological son was back in town. Tim showed up, but Spencer wanted nothing to do with him and took off.



The two bodies rise and fall as one. Legs kick out, sending the sheets askew, as the joints of the bed groan under the force of the activity. The pace quickens, and small, incomprehensible grunts fill the air.

A moment later, it is over.

Panting heavily, Alex Marshall rolls onto his back. His body is covered in a sheen of sweat, and his head is spinning.

“Oh my god,” he says between attempts to catch his breath. “That was…”

“Fun. Really fun,” says the other man.

They stare at the ceiling for a few quiet seconds as they come back down to Earth.

“Okay, I’m glad you talked me into coming over,” Alex says. He grabs his cell phone from the floor. “And I still have plenty of time to get to my meeting.”

“See? I told you you’d be fine.”

The other man runs a hand over Alex’s bare chest. Alex leans in, gives him a kiss, and then begins the process of extracting himself from the mess of limbs and sheets. The man grins at him from the bed as Alex gathers his clothes.

“Maybe I should shower,” he says as he contemplates putting on the button-down shirt.

“Go ahead. There’s a clean towel under the sink.”

“Thanks.” Alex starts for the bathroom and then pauses, his body and mind still overwhelmed by that experience.

“What is it?” the other guy asks, sitting up in the bed.

Alex shakes his head. “Nothing. Just… that was really great.”

  Alex Marshall

“Then I guess we’ll need to have an encore later,” Cameron Kelley says. “I need Molly to take long weekends more often. I love my job, but this is…”

“Way more fun.”

“Indeed. Now go get in the shower!”

“If you insist.” Alex makes an exaggerated sad face and then drags himself to the bathroom, where he turns on the shower.

Cameron lies in bed, unable to wipe the grin off his face.


A stack of bills sits beside Claire Fisher’s laptop. It has been growing gradually smaller over the last hour, but the sight of how many are left is exhausting to her. She is contemplating another cup of coffee when there is a knock at the door.

Grateful for the respite, she removes her glasses and hurries to go answer it.

“Hi,” she says uncertainly. Her ex-husband stands before her, and given their recent history, she braces for an unpleasant encounter.

“Sorry for dropping by unannounced,” Tim Fisher says. “But I need to talk you. It’s important.”

“Okay… Come in.”

She closes the door, but Tim lingers by the entrance rather than going to sit in the living room. Clearly he means business.

“It’s about Spencer,” he says.

“Did you hear from him? Did something happen?”

“I saw him.”

Claire’s heart jumps. “He’s in town?”

“He surprised Philip and Molly,” Tim explains. “He wanted to talk to Philip about money, I guess. Molly texted me that he was there.”

“Is he okay?”

“He’s fine, from what I could tell.”

“Is he staying with Philip?” She scrambles to locate her purse, which is all the way across the room on an end table. She goes to retrieve it.

“Claire, I thought you should know he’s back,” Tim says. “But you can’t go see him.”


The hotel lobby is teeming with mid-afternoon activity. Philip Ragan nearly gets run over by a bellhop pushing a large, chrome luggage cart as he waits near the entrance. There is a small sitting area not twenty feet away, but Philip is too keyed-up to sit and wait.

Finally, his younger brother blows through the lobby. Philip reminds himself to maintain his cool and waits for Spencer to approach him.

“I would have come up to your room,” Philip says.

“I don’t want you knowing my room number,” Spencer says. “Claire and Tim would be all over me before I knew it.”

“I had no idea that Molly let Tim know you were at the house earlier. I’m sorry.” He resists the urge to defend Molly or her brother; the way Spencer just vanished for three months, of course the Fishers want to jump at the opportunity to see him and be sure that he’s all right.

  Spencer Ragan

“Look, you don’t need to get in the middle of anything,” Spencer says. “I just want the money to get a place in New York. A bunch of my friends from boarding school are living in the city now. I need a fresh start.”

Logically, Philip understands Spencer’s need to get away from this place. Learning that Tim and Claire are his biological parents was a tremendous shock. But retreating won’t make that go away--and even more, Philip worries about how out-of-control Spencer might get if turned loose in a big city in which he has no home base at all.

“Hasn’t Mother been financing your little adventures for the past few months?” Philip asks. “Why can’t you just continue doing that?”

“I can’t put an apartment on her credit card. It’s not like she’s handing me wads of cash or anything. Some guy in an office is paying the balance every month.”

“I want you to be in school,” Philip says. “You already missed a semester here--”

“Because my entire life got turned upside-down!”

“I know. I understand that.” Philip waits until a couple, pulling two rolling suitcases behind them, pass before he continues. “But none of this negates a need for a future.”

“I need to figure out what I want. And New York is a great place for that.”

Philip does his best to suppress the urge to lecture. He knows that one false step will drive Spencer back onto a plane and away from King’s Bay.

“Why don’t I set up a meeting with the accountant?” Philip says. “We can all sit down together and review the numbers. Maybe something can be worked out in the way of a stipend.”

Spencer’s relief is evident. “Are you serious?”

“Let’s discuss it. I’ll need to set up a meeting, so it might be a few days.”

“That’s cool. As long as things are in motion. Thanks, Philip.”

“Of course. And Spencer?”


“It’s good to see you.”

Spencer turns and heads back to the elevator.

Cassie's Coffee House

Alex’s fingers fly over the keyboard. Every ounce of energy in his being is focused on the document displayed on his MacBook’s monitor.

“Do you think--”

“Hang on,” Alex says to his writing partner. He can’t have his focus broken now. He keeps typing furiously until he types those two glorious words: THE END.

Alex collapses against the back of the chair.

“Oh my god,” Liam Cassel says from the chair beside him. “We’re finished.”

“For now.” Alex takes in the phrase on his screen again. THE END. “We have a lot of work ahead of us to get this script in shape. But right now, I can’t even describe how good that feels.”

Liam stares at the screen as he says, “I’m a bit scared to read the full draft. We wrote that final act so quickly--”

“--that it probably makes no sense,” Alex agrees with a laugh. “So let’s put off reading it for a day or two. Let’s bask in our victory.”

“Sounds good to me. Alex, I can’t tell you how pleased I am that you chose me to adapt your novel with you.”

“I’m the one who should be grateful. Without your help, I don’t think I ever would have been able to turn this thing into a screenplay.” Alex falls quiet for a moment. “I guess it’s good we were able to get past the… awkwardness of everything, huh?”

“No need for things to have been awkward. I know Trevor had a life before he met me. And you’re a wonderful writer. We work well together. It’s a good match.”

“It is.” Alex saves the document again, just to be safe, and then closes the computer. “Would you want to go grab a celebratory drink?”

Liam checks the time on his phone. “I’d love to… but I have to meet Trevor to go over things with the wedding planner.”

That never stops feeling like a punch to Alex’s gut, but he thinks that he covers pretty well. “Oh. Okay. When we finish the rewrite, then.”

“That sounds terrific. In the meantime…” Liam lifts his coffee cup from the table. “Here’s to a first draft--and all the brilliant things that are to come.”

Alex picks up his own cup and touches it to Liam’s. “To brilliance. And to us.”


Claire stops mid-step. She flips back toward Tim. A searing ball of frustration and rage flares in her stomach.

“Tim,” she says, her voice tense and on the verge of shouting. “He is my son. I’m sorry that I screwed up. I can keep apologizing for a bad judgment call forever if you’d like, but I’ve been lectured sufficiently by the entire Fisher family, okay? I get it. Spencer is my son, and I want to see him.”

The response is surprisingly non-aggressive. “I know you do. But not now. He’s…” Tim sighs. “I thought I would just show up at Molly’s and happen to run into him. And he blew up at me. He said I was ambushing him, and… That kid is so angry. We need to tread carefully, that’s all.”

Claire takes that in. Her first instinct is to apologize for snapping at him, but she also feels that it was a perfectly accurate presumption that he came here to chastise her once again.

“Do you know how long he’ll be in town?” she asks.

“No. I don’t think he knows. It sounded like he wanted to talk to Philip about freeing up his trust, though.”

“Does Travis know he’s back?” Claire asks with concern.

  Tim Fisher

“Not yet.” Tim sounds resigned to the eventual disaster that will occur when that news reaches their other son.

Suddenly, a pair of loud laughs sound from the back of the apartment. Tempest Banks and a girl with porcelain skin and dark, curly hair come rushing down the short hallway, arms around each other’s waists, and through the living room.

“Oh, hey,” Tempest says with a wave when she spots Tim. She is barely suppressing the residual laughter of moments ago.

“Tim, this is Tempest’s friend, Annie,” Claire says.

Annie raises her hand in a wave. “Nice to meet you.”

“Same,” Tim says.

“What are you girls up to?” Claire asks.

“We’re gonna go walk down by the waterfront and get some dinner or something,” Tempest says as she locates a pair of Converse sneakers. She balances herself against Annie as she pulls on one shoe and then the other.

Annie pats her jeans pockets and looks alarmed. “Do you have my Chapstick?”

Tempest reaches into her own pocket and pulls it out. “Here--wait.” She applies the Chapstick to her own lips, then passes it back to Annie, who uses it as well.

“Okay, see you later,” Tempest tells Claire as she opens the front door.

“Have fun,” Claire says.

“Tempest seems like she’s doing really well,” Tim observes once they are alone again. “Jason says she’s great at the arena.”

Claire folds her arms in front of herself. “She’s really settling in. It’s good to see.”

She can tell that there is a question perched on Tim’s lips, one that he is holding back.

“What is it?” she asks.

“It’s nothing,” he says with a shrug, but a few seconds later, he asks, “She and that girl--Annie--are they…?”

“I don’t know,” Claire says. “You got that impression, though?”

“Yeah. They just seem… close. Although girls that age can be like that with their friends, I guess.”

“I know. Well, I hope if they are dating, Tempest feels comfortable enough to tell me about it. But I have to let her come to me in her own time, right?”

“Probably the best way to go,” he says.

The moment suddenly transports Claire to the past, to a time not very long ago even though it feels like decades, when she and Tim were happily co-parenting, even when they weren’t together romantically. It seems so different from the animosity and confusion of the past few months.

“Anyway,” Tim says, clapping his hands together, “I just thought you should know about Spencer being back. Maybe we can try and figure out some kind of plan for approaching him.”

“I think that’d be a good idea. Thanks, Tim.”

She shows him out of the apartment and then returns to her seat at the computer, but paying bills is the last thing on her mind now. The less-heated encounter with Tim is something of a relief, but she can only relax so much knowing that Spencer is somewhere in King’s Bay and she might not even have the chance to try and connect with him--even if he doesn’t want to connect right now.

Her brain overwhelmed with frustration, Claire reaches for her phone. She scrolls through the list of contacts and places a call. She receives an answer after the first ring.

“Hey,” she says. “I need your help.”


Who is Claire calling for help?
Should Philip give Spencer the money to move to New York?
Will Alex continue to be able to work with Liam?
Discuss this episode and more in the Footprints Forum!

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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

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