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- Philip planned to take Molly away for a romantic weekend and propose to her, but their plans were derailed when his younger brother, Spencer, suddenly returned from a trip to Europe and promptly got himself into trouble. 
- Jason continued to coach Natalie's daughter, Bree, but tensions between the adults remained after Natalie carelessly went over-budget in planning Jason's benefit gala. 
- Ryan was furious when he learned that Diane had miscarried their child without ever having told him that she was pregnant.


The downtown sidewalks are quiet at this relatively early hour. A light layer of fog persists over the bay and the edges of the city, but the sun appears poised to break through soon enough. Ryan Moriani takes in the peaceful scene as he walks down the street--until he spots a familiar figure coming toward him.

He thinks of turning back or of abruptly crossing the street. Sure, Diane Bishop would probably see him do it, but he doesn't owe her any niceties, not after what she has done to him. Ryan slows his pace as he considers what to do, but by that time, Diane has spotted him.

Ryan resumes his stride, determined not to be the one to back down. Diane, cradling a reusable grocery bag in her arms, flashes a critical look at him as she passes. Ryan is about to let it go, but something inside him won't allow that.

"Are you kidding me?" he says, freezing on the spot.

Diane stops mid-step but doesn't turn to face him. "What now?"

"That look. Are you serious? You're copping an attitude with me now?"

She drops the bag so that she is holding it by its handles and then sets it on the sidewalk. "Look. I am sorry. I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I'm sorry I didn't know what to do about a baby neither of us ever expected. I'm sorry I lost it before I had the chance to process what was going on. I am sorry. Okay?" 

Ryan takes that in. Aggressive as it is, it is an actual apology. And that means something. He just wishes it were enough.

"I could have been there for you," he says. "I know we didn't exactly plan on winding up married, but we were getting along--"

She cuts him off with a sarcastic noise that rips out of her throat.

"We were," he persists. "And it isn't fair that you didn't trust me enough to let me know that we had a child on the way."

  Ryan Moriani

"It's gone! There is no child." She pauses as a woman walks past them. "It isn't like my body had any business being pregnant at this point--not that that's any of your business." 

Ryan sees something soften in her, a fragility that he has rarely glimpsed in her and that always throws him off-guard. He imagines what it must have been like for her to cope with this alone--to receive the news that she had miscarried without having anyone to lean on.

"I'm sorry you had to go through any of that," he says. "If I had known…"

She picks the grocery bag up from the sidewalk. "I can't defend my decisions to you any more than I already have. Okay? I'm sorry. I'm fucking sorry."

She turns and walks down the sidewalk and away from him. Ryan remains in place, attempting to process what just happened, even though he fears that he will never be able to do so.


Molly Taylor balances a platter in both hands as she steps through the open sliding door and onto the back deck. Her body remains tense until she sets the meticulously organized plate of fruit, cheese, and crackers on the wooden table.

"This looks beautiful," Philip Ragan, seated at the table with a cup of coffee in his hands, says. "Thank you." 

Molly takes a seat across from him. "Oh, it's nothing. I just thought it would be nice for us to have something to pick on." She plucks a round, purple grape from the platter. "So you felt all right leaving Spencer by himself?"

Philip's shoulders slump. "For a few hours. We'll see if he manages not to torch my entire building."

"What you're doing--having him move in with you--it really does seem like what's best for him right now. He needs the stability."

"You're telling me." He takes a cracker and a small piece of sharp cheddar. "I wish he would stop treating me like the enemy, but if that's how it has to be for the time being, then I can cope with it."

"You're doing a good thing for him. There is something I was wondering about, though."

"What's that?"

"The trip we were going to take before Spencer came back from Europe," Molly says. "I still don't even know where we were going to go… but do you think we might be able to make it up, now that the boys are going back to school?"

"I would love to," Philip says, though it isn't without reservation. He thinks back to how simple it all seemed when he made the plan for their trip weeks ago. His greatest concern was getting that ring on Molly's finger without somehow losing it along the way.  Now the entire thing seems far too complicated. 

"I understand if you don't want to leave Spencer alone just yet. But it would be nice to get away, once things settle."

"I agree." He takes a sip of his coffee and gazes out over the backyard as he thinks. "In the meantime, maybe we can do something special here. In King's Bay, I mean. I know things have been rather hectic since Spencer came back."

Molly takes another grape. "That'd be nice. What do you want to do?"

"Leave the planning to me," he says with a smile, and immediately his mind returns to that ring, hidden away in his desk at home. Is this the right time to bring it out again? 

He takes another look at her, with her dark hair falling over one shoulder and her face so perfect, even without a trace of makeup, and he knows that he has to do it.

Cassie's Coffee House

Ryan huddles over a small table, attempting to review the competing quotes the arena received for upgrading its sound system. No matter how hard he tries to focus on the facts and figures printed in front of him, though, his attention keeps drifting back to his run-in with Diane. Frustrated, he leans back in his chair and frees his eyes from staring at the white sheets and black type. When his head turns to the left, he spots Danielle Taylor in the short line at the counter.

Their gazes meet. Ryan lifts a hand uncertainly in a polite greeting. Danielle returns the gesture. She is dressed down, in jeans and a brown plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Her blonde hair is pulled into a loose ponytail. She looks casual and relaxed--unassuming. Something about the look makes Ryan miss her desperately. 

After Danielle places her order, she comes over to his table, a cup of tea in hand. Ryan was not expecting this, and he shuffles around in an attempt to pull himself together.

"Hey," Danielle says, standing over him. "How are you?"

"I'm okay. Just doing some work." He indicates the mess of papers before him. "How about you?"

"Just taking care of some errands. You looked…" She sweeps a hand over him. "…a little out of it a minute ago."

"I was thinking. That's all. I don't know if you heard, but--" He stops himself. "Nope. You are the last person who needs to listen to me talk about this."

"Ryan, it's okay."

"It really isn't."

"I promise. One thing I have become very good at it is not holding grudges." As a show of good faith, she even takes a seat across from him. "What's going on?"

He still doesn't want to say it. Talking about Diane with her is like pulling the knife out and plunging it back in even harder. If only he had stayed away from Diane in the first place, he and Danielle would still be together. Happy. Married.

"Diane and I are officially divorced," he says. "Or annulled, rather. It's done." He wants to add, Like it never happened, except that isn't even close to the truth.

He sees Danielle stiffen in her seat. He knew she would be taken aback by this subject. "Oh." She pauses for a moment and then says, "Is that what you're upset about?"

"No! No. It's a relief. I swear to you."

"Then what's the matter?"

He knows that they have gone far enough that he has to tell the whole story now--if for no other reason than he cannot bring himself to lie to her face again, not after what he put her through. But knowing that doesn't make it any easier to say it.

"Something happened a few months ago." He draws a deep breath and then lets it out so that it will carry the words with it. "I got Diane pregnant." 

Edge of Winter Arena

"Nice job! Five laps and you're done!" Jason Fisher calls out from the side of the ice, where he stands against the waist-high boards. 

As Bree Halston, her cheeks flushed and her breathing heavy, takes off for the final laps of her lesson, her mother creeps up to the railing right beside Jason.

"She needs to hold that layback for one more round, doesn't she?" Natalie asks.

"At least, yeah. But it was a good program." Jason takes his eyes off Bree to look at Natalie. "What can I do for you?" The subtext is clear: You'd better not be coming over here just to tell me how to coach my student.

"Regionals." She holds up a packet of papers, with neon tabs sticking out of them at various points. "I just need you to sign off on Bree's entry."

"Oh. Thanks for being on the ball with this." He takes the pen and flips through the pages, signing where indicated. 

Bree whizzes past them. "Hi, Mom," she says between gulps of air.

Jason glances up from his signing. "I spoke to Julie about putting Bree on the ice at Regionals. She said she'd be happy to do it."

"You're her coach. You need to put her on the ice," Natalie says, her tone suddenly much firmer.

"I don't have any other students going," Jason says. "I don't have any other students, period. I told you this was part of the deal when you begged me to coach Bree."

Natalie lets out a loud huff. "You're really okay with training her all year and then, when it really counts, just sending her down to Oregon with some local coach who wears fake nails and who never made it to Nationals once--"

"Julie has all her coaching accreditations--and her nails are none of your business--"

"Big deal. You are Bree's coach."

Jason is about to respond, but he clams up as Bree flies past them again.

"Keep those arms up!" he instructs. Then, more quietly, he says to Natalie, "I really wasn't planning on going to Regionals. I have a business to run here--"

"--which I'm sure your brother could handle for three days."

"Still. You would be responsible for the entirety of my travel costs, since I don't have other students to split them."

"That's fine. I can handle it." She takes the packet of papers back and straightens them out on the railing. "Think about it, okay? I know Bree would really be more comfortable with you there when she competes."

She takes her papers and returns to the stands. Jason turns back to watch Bree finish her laps. As much as he hates to admit it, he knows what he needs to do.


Ryan simply drops the bomb and then waits for some indication of how Danielle is going to react. She isn't the screaming, table-flipping type, not by a long shot, but she wears her hurt on the outside. He remembers all too well the way that she looked at him after Natalie interrupted their wedding to announce that he and Diane had drunkenly eloped. Even then, Danielle didn't yell and scream, but she was firm, her anger and pain visceral, as if she had some way of ensuring that he could physically feel it, too.

"You got her pregnant," she repeats slowly. "Were the two of you… in a relationship…"

"No. It happened once. We were--" He cuts himself off. It sounds even weaker when he has to admit it to her. But he makes himself do it. "We were drunk."

He watches that land on her. The only reaction that shows is a subtle twisting of the lips and raise of the eyebrows, but he can read it clearly: Doesn't that seem to be the cause of most of your problems? It is only half-true--he has gotten himself into plenty of terrible situations that had nothing to do with drinking--but silent point taken nonetheless.

Ryan presses onward. "The point is, Diane didn't tell me that she was pregnant. For all I know, she wasn't going to tell me at all. Then she miscarried, and I only found out by accident."

"I'm sorry," Danielle says as she folds her hands on top of the small oak table.

He isn't sure what the proper response to that is--thanking her seems so weird--so he merely bows his head in a slow nod.

  Danielle Taylor

"I've just been thinking about it a lot," he says. "That child was… mine. I've never had the chance to be a father--and even though it came about under such screwed-up circumstances, it still feels like maybe this was supposed to be my chance… Does that make sense?"

"Yes. Absolutely."

"And if not for an accident, I wouldn't have even know. Maybe ever. I ran into her earlier, and I just feel--I'm so angry."

She forces him to make eye contact, in that same familiar way that she always has. "Are you angry that Diane never told you about the pregnancy? Or are you angry that she miscarried?"

"I don't know. Both."

Now it is Danielle's turn to lean back in her chair and look around, giving her thoughts a moment to breathe. Finally she says, "When I got pregnant, I wasn't sure if I was going to tell Jimmy, either."


"My life was… not stable at that point. Let's put it that way. And part of me just wanted to make it go away. I knew he wasn't going to be a father, and I didn't think I could be a mother, and it just seemed like telling him would make it real in a way that I didn't want to face."

Ryan listens intently, nodding for her to go on.

"I don't know Diane very well," she says, "and there's clearly no love lost between the two of us, but based on what I know about her career at the moment, and the fact that she has a daughter in college, I'm pretty sure she wasn't expecting a pregnancy."


"It was happening to her. In her own body. And the fact that she miscarried…" She shakes her head, her blonde hair swaying softly back and forth. "It probably made it both more and less real at the same time. It was over, but it was still a loss she had to deal with. And bringing you into it at that point would have opened up a whole new world of hurt for her at a time when she probably just wanted it to go away."

Ryan stares at her for several seconds. "How in the hell are you able to be so compassionate?"

Danielle shrugs. 

"I'm sorry I brought any of this up to you," he says. "It's so unfair. It's like a slap in the face--"

"I told you. I make a point of not holding grudges."

"Well, in this case, I wouldn't blame you for holding one. And yet you sit there and you're so understanding and you can even empathize with the woman who more or less ruined your wedding--"

"Hey. It takes two to drunkenly elope," she says, pointing a finger at him. It's a little playful and a lot scolding.

"I know. I'm just--thank you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being you."

"I'm sorry for your loss," she says.

"Thanks." Ryan picks up the still-full coffee cup from the table and cradles it in his palm. "How are you? How are things with Matt?"

A subtle smile appears on her face, a smile that would make Ryan go blind with rage if he had any right in the world to do so. 

"Things are good," she says. "Calm. Matt is a really great guy."

"He is. I'm happy that you're doing well."

"Thank you." She picks up her tea and stands. "I need to get moving on those errands. It was good to see you, Ryan. Hang in there."

"It was good to see you, too," he says, and with one last wave, he watches her walk away from the table and out into the morning sun, wondering how he ever got a woman like that to agree to marry him in the first place.


"Sorry I left you waiting!" Diane says as she unlocks the door to her condo. "The traffic on 202 was abysmal."

"Don't worry about it. I caught up on a few e-mails on my phone," Sarah Fisher says. She follows Diane inside and sets down her purse.

"Samantha has training for her new work-study job," Diane says, "so we have all the time in the world to bitch and moan and whatever." She begins unpacking the grocery tote. "I picked up some bagels at that shop downtown. And guess who I ran into?"

Sarah cringes. "Do I want to know?"

"Your brother."

"I'm guessing that means Ryan."

"You saw the look on my face, right? I don't make that face at Tim." Diane takes out two bagels and grabs a knife to slice them. "He had to let me have it all over again, so that was a nice start to the day."

Sarah falls quiet as she sets about making the coffee. Diane cuts through one bagel and then lets the knife drop to the cutting board.

"Sorry," she says. "I know you have to see his side of it, too."

"He's my brother," Sarah says, almost apologetically.

"I get it. And I see his side of it, too. I do. But I can't hop in a time machine and change what I did. Ryan making me feel like shit about it isn't going to change anything."

"Maybe he just needs some time to grieve. It was obviously a big shock, especially to hear it all after the fact."

"I know." Diane slices the second bagel. "I got pregnant. I lost it. Whether he knew about it before or after, there still isn't a baby, which he obviously thinks would fix all the mistakes he's made in his life."

"That isn't it," Sarah says. "Okay… it kind of is."

They are so busy moving around the small kitchen that neither hears the front door open. Diane doesn't notice a thing until Samantha is standing there, in the living room, staring at her over the kitchen counter.

"I thought you had orientation," Diane says, her heart beating faster now.

Samantha's face is frozen with shock. "You were pregnant with Uncle Ryan's baby?"


Will Samantha be upset at Diane for her secret?
Will Ryan be able to forgive Diane?
Are Molly and Philip ready for marriage?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to talk about it all!

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Saturday, August 31, 2013

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