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- Matt and Sarah nearly kissed when they got locked in the Fishers' attic together on Christmas day, but they were rescued before it could happen.
- Sarah told her therapist about Christmas. Her therapist gave her an assignment to address her confusing feelings about Matt.
- Tim re-hired Spencer to work in the mailroom at Vision Publishing.
- Unbeknownst to Travis, Spencer overheard him and Samantha discussing the fact that Elly's study-abroad application was never turned in. 


Dear Matt,

Too formal.


Too casual.


Sarah Fisher lets her pen fall on top of the pad of paper and rests her face in her hands. She closes her eyes and expels a groan. For all the words swirling through her head, she can't seem to find even the simplest beginnings of this letter. Not that she wants to write it in the first place--but if she shows up for her next session with Dr. Croft without having completed her assignment, she isn't exactly going to make things any easier for herself.

She regards the pile of sheets of paper that she has already torn off the pad, the false starts that have led her nowhere. She really thought this would be easier--painful, perhaps, but easier. It isn't as if there are no thoughts about Matt in her head, or nothing that she has thought about saying to him.

Her frustration mounting, she folds up the discarded sheets and walks them over to the recycling bin beside the refrigerator. Then she grabs her mug from the table, dumps out the tea bag, retrieves a new one, and refills the mug with hot water. She returns to the table, breathing in the soothing scent of the lemon-ginger tea that is now steeping, and tries to sort out the thoughts in her head. 

Finally, she sets down the mug and picks up her pen again. She holds it over the paper, its tip mere millimeters from making contact. With a deep breath, she forces herself to begin writing:

  Sarah Fisher

I have been lying to you.


Tori Gray stands at the vanity in her bedroom, a Miley Cyrus song playing off her wireless speakers as she grits her teeth at her mirror image and tries to get her ponytail to stop sliding toward the side of her head.

"Tori!" comes her dad's voice from down the hall.

She pulls the ponytail apart, clutching the rubber band in her palm like an exploded grenade. "What?"

"Weren't you supposed to be out of here five minutes ago?"

"I'm almost ready!" she yells back. She attacks her hair with renewed vigor and, thirty or so seconds later, has a proud, high ponytail to show for her efforts. She switches off the music, tosses her phone and some other items into her purse, and heads out to the kitchen.

Matt Gray sits at the table, reading an actual newspaper like someone from the 1920s or whatever. 

"Did you eat anything?" he asks.

She shrugs. "I'll grab something at Starbucks."

"At least take a banana."

She groans at him just as the doorbell rings. Matt hops up to answer it while Tori searches for her keys.

"Good morning. I brought bagels," Danielle Taylor says, a paper bag clutched in her hand, as Matt lets her into the apartment. "Hi, Tori!"

Tori locates her keys on the counter and grabs them. "Hey."

"Take a minute and say hi," Matt says.

Tori's first instinct is to snap at him, but instead, she takes a deep breath and affixes a smile on her face. "Hi, Danielle." She moves toward the blonde woman and gives her a half-hug and an air kiss somewhere in the vicinity of her cheek, just for good measure. 

"It's good to see you," Danielle says. "It's been so long. Since before Christmas, right?"


Danielle removes her coat. "How were your holidays, then?"

"Well, Christmas was an adventure…"

"Tori, do you want a bagel before you go?" Matt asks. He's already rustling around in the bag. There's something nervous about his energy and the way he cut her off, which Tori understands immediately. 


"Danielle was nice enough to bring them--"

"I just don't need bread on the day of a pep rally. I'll get a banana." She slides into the kitchen to grab one.

"What made Christmas such an adventure?" Danielle asks.

Tori casts a knowing look at Matt, who averts his gaze. 

"Just family stuff," she says as she heads for the door. "See you later!"

She swears she can hear her father's sigh of relief as she exits. So he never told Danielle about getting locked in the attic with Tori's mom on Christmas day? Interesting…


Travis Fisher steps off the elevator and navigates his way through the office without even having to think. For most people, the maze of cubicles and passageways would be baffling, but Travis has been coming here his entire life. He easily makes his way to his father's office, where he finds the door open and Tim seated behind the dark wood desk, holding the phone between his ear and shoulder.

"I can send it as a PDF," Tim says, holding up his index finger when he spots Travis. "Yeah, I'll do it right away. Thanks."

He hangs up and turns to his son, looking very surprised to see him. "Hey, kiddo. What, uh, what brings you by?"

"I kinda need to talk about something," Travis says. He feels his stomach flip over, all wobbly, and wonders if it would be better to keep his mouth shut. But this is driving him insane.

  Travis Fisher

Tim clocks Travis's troubled demeanor. "What's the matter?"

"Are you busy?"

"No." Tim shakes his head vigorously. "Kind of. Of course I have time for you, though. Let me just send this file off. Why don't you close the door?"

As Tim clicks away with his mouse, Travis kicks the little rubber wedge out from under the door. He wonders if this is a terrible idea. If he never tells anyone what he did with Elly's study abroad application, then he can just keep denying it. It could have gotten lost in the mail. That isn't his fault. But he got the distinct impression that Samantha saw through his story, and if she ever made a comment to Elly…

Thoughts of his personal crisis evaporate as he is about to shut the door and spots a familiar--and very unwelcome--face coming down the hallway.

Travis turns back to Tim, who is already eyeing him with concern.

"What's wrong?" Tim asks, half out of his seat.

Travis waits until Spencer Ragan arrives at the doorway. Spencer looks just as surprised to see Travis as Travis is to see him.

"I think you have a pretty good idea," Travis says to his father. 


There are words on the paper now, but Sarah feels no less confident in what she is writing. The thoughts make sense; they have been lodged in her head for so long that they have to. But, with every word that her hand traces along the page, she second-guesses herself, wondering whether what she is trying to express is an actual emotion or just something she told herself to explain all the confusion of the past several years.

She sets down the pen and re-reads what she has. She isn't even sure if it makes sense. She contemplates getting up and grabbing her laptop, but that felt so inorganic, which is why she switched to pen and paper in the first place.

She is still weighing this--instead of actually writing--when she hears the front door open.

"Mom! Hey!"

Sarah scrambles to cover what she's doing. She leaps to her feet, grabs the note she has been writing, and, after a split-second of deliberation, folds it in half. She has just shoved it into the recycling bin when Tori comes blowing into the kitchen.

"What are you doing here?" Sarah asks, fully aware that her tone is more defensive than curious.

"I need my cheer sweatshirt," Tori says. "It's gonna be freezing today, and I don't want to wear a jacket over my uniform all day."

"Luckily for you, I just washed it. It should be folded on top of your bed."

Tori lets out a sigh of relief. "Oh! Thanks, Mom."

"That's what I'm here for. Did you eat breakfast?"

Tori rolls her eyes. "Dad made me take a banana."

"Good. Do you want some toast?"

  Tori Gray

"Why does everyone think I need carbs today?!"

Sarah barely manages to suppress a laugh at her daughter's outrage. A cry comes through the baby monitor.

"That's my cue," Sarah says, already on her way to check on Billy. "Go get your sweatshirt, and don't be late for school."

"I'll be fine!" Tori calls after her. 

Once her mother is gone, Tori decides that a piece of toast doesn't sound so bad, especially if they still have that strawberry cream cheese. She moves toward the fridge and is about to open the door when something catches her eye.


She sees her father's name on top of the recycling. The handwriting is familiar--her mother's. The whole thing seems weird, considering that Matt doesn't live here and rarely comes here. Why would her mom have been writing him a note? 

Tori can hear her mother soothing Billy through the baby monitor. Unable to help herself, she reaches out and grabs the folded piece of paper from the top of the recycling bin--and, as she reads it, her eyes flare as wide as they possibly can.

Vision Publishing

Travis looks at Tim with disgust. "You hired him again?"

Tim fumbles for words, his jaw clapping open and closed a few times before he manages to say, "This has nothing to do with you, Travis."

"Oh, please. How does this have nothing to do with me? He's, like, pushing me out of my own family."

"Oh, god. Get over yourself," Spencer says. He shoves past Travis and deposits several envelopes on Tim's desk.

"Did you just think I wouldn't find out?" Travis asks.

Tim pushes his chair away from the desk and stands fully. "Travis, I know this is a complicated situation--"

"No shit."

"--but you're being a brat."

Travis feels as if his head is going to explode. How is this even reality? "I'm being a brat? Why? Because this kid stomps in and terrorizes our whole family--"

"Oh, come on," Spencer says. 

Tim keeps his gaze fixed squarely upon Travis. "Just calm down. Spencer needed a job. He did well when he was here before. I promise, this does not affect you at all."

"He's just everywhere!" Travis says. 

"Because I'm his kid!" Spencer interjects.

The fact that Spencer can even stand there and say those words with anything resembling a straight face makes Travis want to punch a hole through the wall. "Suddenly you're his kid? I thought you wanted nothing to do with any of us!"

"Boys! This is an office. Keep it down," Tim says. 

Travis holds up his palms. "Whatever, man. I'm outta here."

"Travis--" Tim doesn't even finish speaking the name before the young man is gone from the office.

Tim takes a deep breath and looks to Spencer, who stands frozen in the center of the room. "I'm sorry about that," he says. "I should have told him…"

"I get that it's all messy," Spencer says. "I just hope…" He struggles to force out whatever the rest of the thought is.


"That you won't reconsider having me here. I like the job. But if it's causing problems for you--"

"It isn't," Tim says, taking his seat once again. "Nothing you have to worry about. This has been hard on Travis--it's been hard on all of us. But we'll figure it out. Okay? Your job is safe."

Spencer nods. "Okay. Thanks… Tim."

"Of course."

"I've gotta go deliver the rest of these." Spencer waves the rest of the envelopes in his hand and then exits the office, too, leaving Tim alone to wonder if this entire twisted scenario is ever going to be any easier to navigate.


Was Travis wrong to blow up the way he did?
What is Tori going to do with the note she found?
Should Matt tell Danielle about Christmas?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to talk about it all!

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Friday, February 21, 2014

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