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- Elly convinced Travis that he should invite his mother to his 21st birthday celebration, even though he is still angry at her for having kept the truth about his identity from him.
- Philip convinced Spencer to stay in King's Bay long enough for them to work something out regarding Spencer's trust fund, of which Philip is the administrator.
- Natalie accidentally revealed to Ryan that Diane was pregnant with his child but miscarried it. Ryan angrily confronted Diane, who admitted the truth.

322 Bar & Grill

The aroma of the burgers and fries grabs hold of Sarah Fisher the moment she steps into the restaurant. She can almost taste the delicious meat and the salty, crunchy fries. She allows her gaze to wander to the food on some of the diners' tables; it looks so tempting, so greasy and satisfying. The salad that she phoned ahead for suddenly sounds disappointing and sad, the culinary equivalent of going to the beach on a hot day and then sitting in a chair, fully clothed, watching the waves hit the beach instead of getting to feel that cool, crisp water.

But she touches a hand to her stomach and is reminded of the salad's purpose. She has not lost nearly as much of the pregnancy weight as she would have hoped by now, and a cheeseburger and basket of fries are not going to help in that department. She waits at the host stand, contemplating what torture it will be to drive home in the same car as the chicken strips that she ordered for Tori.

The hostess returns and greets her, and Sarah gives her name and explains that she is here to pick up a takeout order. The young woman darts off to fetch the order.

Sarah continues waiting. She feels a brush of warm summer air behind her as the door opens, and when she casually glances over her shoulder, she realizes that she recognizes the young man who just walked in. She turns back around and considers whether she should say anything. She really only recognizes him from the investigation that she just conducted for Claire -- not that he knows that…

She decides to go for it.

"Hi," she says, turning quickly. "Spencer, right?"

He regards her with a wary look, as if he expects her next move to be lunging at him with a shiv. "Uh, yeah," he says.

"We haven't officially met, but I'm Sarah Fisher. Tim's sister -- and Molly's."

"Oh." His voice is flat, but his eyes are searching. She can tell that he is trying to figure out how to come at this, and she wonders if it was a mistake even to try.

  Sarah Fisher

"I just thought it'd be weird not to say hello," she says. "I heard you had left town."

"Yeah. Just got back. I won't be here long, though."

"Oh." She decides that it's best to be as neutral as possible. "Big plans?"

"Not sure." His gaze darts toward the window and then back quickly.

The hostess returns with a takeout bag and recites Sarah's total. Sarah hands over her credit card and then says to Spencer, "Happy 21st birthday, by the way." When he looks puzzled, she adds, "Travis is having his birthday, so I figured…"

"Got it. Uh, thanks." Again he seems distracted by something outside the window, but when Sarah looks over there, she isn't sure what could be grabbing his attention. There isn't anything exceptionally interesting going on out there, and there isn't even a girl who might have caught his eye, as far as she can tell.

"Here you go," the hostess says. "If you'll just sign…"

Sarah directs her attention toward signing her receipt. As she puts her credit card back in her wallet, she feels that whoosh of warm air again. When she looks back, the door is closing, and Spencer is gone. She searches the restaurant quickly, but there is no sign of the stranger who is also her nephew.

"Did he… just leave?" Sarah asks the hostess.

The hostess seems equally perplexed. "Yeah. Like, all of a sudden."

"That's weird," Sarah says as she picks up the takeout bag. She thanks the hostess and exits the restaurant. She checks in both directions, but Spencer is nowhere to be seen.

"Really weird," she mumbles to herself as she heads back to her car.


"I just can't believe that she didn't tell me," Ryan Moriani says from his seat at the kitchen table. "That was my child."

Paula Fisher draws a deep breath as she continues frosting the birthday cake sitting on a pedestal atop the counter. "I understand why you'd be devastated. That's a lot to learn all at once."

"Yeah." Ryan drinks from the glass of iced tea. The refreshing liquid is a welcome relief from the summer heat that crowded him the moment he climbed into his car after work. "I was going to have a kid, and I didn't even know it. I was going to be a father."

His mother focuses on smoothing over one particular spot where the white frosting doesn't look right. Then she sets down the knife and looks directly at him.

"I'm so sorry," she says. "It's a loss, even if you didn't know until now."

"Thanks. I just… I don't even know why I'm surprised. It's Diane. Of course she wouldn't have told me."

"You don't know that she wouldn't have told you. You just know that she hadn't told you yet."

"But it's been months since she lost the baby. She wouldn't have told me if her sister hadn't accidentally blabbed."

"You don't know that for certain," Paula says.

"It's Diane. What she did -- it's as bad as what Claire did to Tim and Travis."

"Ryan." Paula wipes her hands on a dishtowel and then slings it over her shoulder. She crosses the short distance to the table, where she looms over him. "Diane lost a child, too. A child she didn't plan on having and, for all you know, did not want to carry to term. I'm sure she's been going through some very complicated emotions, too."

Ryan recoils. "You're taking her side?"

She smacks the table with the towel. "I'm not taking her side. I'm trying to help you see her side of it."

"That was my child! You told Stan that you were pregnant with his baby. Stan! And she couldn't tell me?" He hesitates, then adds, "Don't answer that."

"Do I think Diane made the best, most altruistic decision possible? Of course not," she says as she returns to the cake. "But the situation can't have been easy for her. Maybe there's a more rational way for the two of you to talk this through."

"Maybe. Why do you have to be so reasonable?"

"Because I'm your mother." She picks up a pastry bag full of blue icing and studies the cake from a variety of angles.

"It feels like this was my last chance," he says, leaning back in his chair. "A last chance I didn't even know about."

"For what?"

"For a family. I thought I was going to have it with Claire, and I screwed that up. And then I thought I was going to have it with Danielle, and that turned into a disaster. Maybe one good thing could have come out of this ridiculous marriage to Diane…"

"I understand," Paula says. "I do. I'm really sorry for your loss."


"Now, if you need a distraction, I'd be happy for an extra set of hands over here, or Travis's cake is going to look like a kindergartner's art project."

"I think I can handle that," Ryan says as he gets up to assist her.


"Dad! That is so lame!"

Travis Fisher stands back, watching in horror, as Tim stands on a chair and hangs a banner that spells out HAPPY BIRTHDAY in multicolored letters.

"Just let me have this," Tim says as he climbs down from the chair and steps back to examine the banner.

"Am I turning 21 or 8?" Travis asks, eyeing the thing like it might explode at any second.

"I think it's cute," Elly Vanderbilt says as she enters with a reusable grocery bag. She sets it on the dining room table. "Here's all the paper plates and utensils."

"Thank you, Elly," Tim says. "On both counts."

"Ugh," Travis says with a groan. "Fine. Have your lame banner."

"It'll let me pretend that we're just having a nice family party and not just warming up for you to go out to the bars and ingest an ungodly amount of alcohol," Tim says. He checks his watch. "Okay, I need to head out and pick up the pizzas."

  Travis Fisher

"Are you sure we can't do it?" Elly says.

"No, no. You guys stay here and hang out. If you wouldn't mind setting out the plates and cups, that'd be a huge help. I'll be back soon."

"Cool," Travis says as he begins unpacking the grocery bag. "Thanks, Dad."

"My pleasure." Tim grabs his keys from a nearby side table. "I'll see you guys soon." He exits, and they hear the door to the garage close and then the car start up.

"Let's put out the tablecloth before we set everything up," Elly says as she removes the blue tablecloth from its package.

"We'll get to that." Travis takes the package from her and sets it on the table. "First things first." He plants a deep kiss on her lips and lets his hands rest on her lower back, drawing her nearer to him.

"Happy birthday," she says as their lips part. "I know I can't go out with you guys, but we'll celebrate on our own later."

"Damn right we will." Travis raises his eyebrows lasciviously, and Elly has to laugh at him. He looks around at the half-set-up party around them. "And thank you."

"For what?"

"For convincing me to let my dad do this," he says. "It's really cool. Everything is starting to feel normal again, you know?"

She surprises him with another quick kiss on the lips. "I told you it would."


"I feel bad," Sarah says as she transfers her salad from the takeout container to a plate. "If I'd known you were stopping by, I would have gotten you something."

"I already ate," Diane Bishop says from across the kitchen table. "Eat your dinner without guilt."

Sarah takes her seat. "Are you going to Tim's later?"

"Nah. Samantha is, but it doesn't really seem like my place, you know?"

"I'm sure they'd be happy to have you."

"Oh yeah, I'm sure Travis's 21st birthday will hinge on whether I'm there or not," Diane says with a smirk. "Actually, there's… kind of a reason I don't want to go, anyway."

Sarah pauses just before taking a bite of her food. "What's that?"

"Ryan." Diane knots her fingers together; it feels like she has to drag every syllable out of herself. "There's something I need to tell you."

"You already drunkenly married my brother in Vegas. What else could it be?" Sarah's eyes go wide. "Oh, god. You slept together?"

Diane bows her head in shame.

"That… doesn't seem like something either of you wanted. Or did you?"

"I did not," Diane says. "And I don't think he did. It just happened. I was lonely, and pissed about my job, and a million other terrible things."

"Well," Sarah says before she finishes chewing, "it's not the end of the world. You're both grown-ups… in spite of some of your recent decision-making."

"That's not all."

"What do you mean?"

"I…" Diane claps her hands down on the table. "I wanted to tell you, but I couldn't. But now the cat's out of the bag, so…"

"Diane. What are you talking about?"

"I got pregnant."

Sarah drops the fork onto the plate. As it clangs, she whips her head back. "You what?"

"I miscarried. Early. In the first trimester. And I hadn't even told him, because…" Diane shakes her head. "I don't know. Because."

"But he knows now?"

"Yeah. My idiot sister slipped and told him. The thing is, I was… not even sure I was going to keep it. I'm too damn old to start over with a baby, and it's a miracle the first one turned out decently."

Sarah nods slowly, deliberately.

"I'm sorry," she finally says.

"Thanks." Diane waves a hand out into the air, though it isn't clear what she's trying to wave off. "I made this mess myself. I deserve it, right?"

"No. No. You don't deserve anything like that." Sarah takes a moment to gather her words. "Look--and you don't need to respond to this at all--but when I lost my baby, part of me felt like it was my fault. Like because I wasn't sure I wanted it, I somehow caused it to die. And it took me a long time to get past that." She picks up the fork and takes a deep breath. "I kind of still am."

Diane waits silently--not arguing back, which is a miracle in and of itself.

"My point is, don't do that to yourself," Sarah says. "Don't blame yourself. All you can do is move forward. Okay?"

"I'm gonna try," Diane says.

"Good. And Diane?" Sarah waits for her friend to make eye contact. "I really am sorry."


After rushing out of the restaurant, Spencer hightails it back to his hotel. At first, he thought he was just imagining things, but that guy outside was looking at him too intently. Staring, really. He's sure he isn't crazy…

His plan was to pick up dinner at 322. Instead, he goes right back to the hotel. He can order room service and stay hidden away. It's for the best.

He hurries through the lobby and gets on the elevator. He's starving. He wishes he already had some dinner in his hands. But this is more important.

When he steps off the elevator onto his floor, he realizes how fast his heart is beating. The adrenaline in his body is going wild. It was probably nothing, he lectures himself silently. Of course it was nothing. You're just paranoid.

  Spencer Ragan

He slips the key card into the door of his room. The button turns green, and he pushes the door open. He has barely closed the door when he feels the hand on the back of his neck.

"I've been waiting for you," the voice says. "Just like I've been waiting for my money. And you know how much I hate waiting."


What is happening with Spencer?
Will Diane and Ryan be able to make peace?
Can Travis mend fences with his mother?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to talk about it now!

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Friday, July 19, 2013

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