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- Cameron accused Alex of being more devoted to Jason than to their relationship. 
- Samantha, using her access code from her work-study job, checked the university's system and learned that Elly's study-abroad application was never received. She told Travis, who pleaded with her not to reveal this information to Elly. 
- Spencer invited Samantha for drinks, grilled her, and then "accidentally" revealed to Elly that her study-abroad application was never turned in. 


Elly Vanderbilt can't remember the last time the clouds looked so airy and carefree. It feels like it has been raining forever in King's Bay--and it has, more or less, ever since fall began and ushered in the kind of deluge that seems like it has no shut-off valve and a tank that will never empty. But today, for some reason, the sky is a clear blue and the clouds are so white and clean, a far cry from the gray, angry ones she has grown so accustomed to seeing. What a weird time for that to happen, she thinks as she stares out the window of her dorm room. 

Inside of her, there is a type of storm raging that she has not experienced in a long, long time. It began with Spencer's proclamation that her study-abroad application--the one she entrusted to her boyfriend, who swore he mailed it--was never turned in. She was hoping Samantha would deny it, would call up the record in the school's system and clear the whole thing up, but all their talk showed was that Elly's friend and roommate has been keeping something from her, too.

She picks up her phone from the window ledge and checks her texts again, even though there is no way she wouldn't noticed an alert. She re-reads the last exchange between herself and Travis:

  Elly Vanderbilt

I need to talk to you ASAP.

Still in thesis. Whats up

Come over when you're done.

?? Everything ok?

She started to type at least five different responses before giving up. What was she supposed to say? Everything is not okay, but it's far too much to type out--and she wants to ask Travis to his face, anyway.

She checks the time again, which is pointless since she already knows it, and then tries to figure out how to keep herself occupied fro the next 13 minutes, which is at least how long it will be before Travis gets out of class. She decides to do something that she has been putting off for a few days and gets her spare set of sheets from the closet.

Between stripping the bed and fighting with the fitted sheet, she nearly manages to forget her troubles for a few consecutive seconds. And then comes the knock on the door.

Even though she has found waiting for this moment unbearable, she still hesitates. Then, leaving the bed a tangled mess of sheets and pillows, she opens the door. 

"Hey. what's going on?" Travis says, moving immediately into the room.

Elly remains by the open door. "I need you to be honest with me."

Travis furrows his brow. "What?"

She hesitates before she can force it out. "Did you actually mail by study-abroad app?"


Today's shift in the Student Affairs office gives new meaning to the term "endless," though Samantha Fisher is pretty sure that has less to do with the job than it does Elly's unexpected drop-in a little while ago. Samantha can't shake the feeling that she is going to vomit, so she asked another student to cover the front desk and retreated to the supply closet to do inventory. Now, though, she kind of wishes she were out in front, being forced to put on a polite face and interact with people, rather than trapped in here with her thoughts. 

She doesn't know what to feel when her phone vibrates in her pocket. It could be a reason for relief--or cause for even further nausea. Or something totally unrelated. 

She sees Spencer Ragan's name on the screen and tenses. She wasn't sure if she should say anything to him; she certainly didn't expect to hear from him first. She opens the text:

Sorry, I think I really screwed up

Phone in hand, she stands perfectly still as she works through that. She didn't want to believe that he'd do this out of malice--what would he even gain from that? So she types her response:

It's my fault. I shouldn't have said anything in the first place.

Spencer's reply comes almost immediately:

Still sucks. I hope I didn't cause too much trouble.

Me too, Samantha thinks, her stomach sinking. 


The garage door rumbles closed behind Jason Fisher. He hangs his keys on the peg in the laundry room and makes his way into the house, where he finds Sophie on the couch watching Dora the Explorer and Alex on the floor amidst a colossal pile of laundry. 

"Wild night?" Jason says as he takes off his shoes.

Alex pauses in the midst of folding a t-shirt. "The wildest." 

Jason goes over to the couch and grabs his daughter, who squeals but doesn't take her eyes off the television. "Hi, monster!"

"Hi, Daddy!" she yells. Jason wraps his arms around her, eliciting a fresh round of giggles.

"So where'd all this laundry come from?" he asks.

  Jason Fisher

"I ran two loads, and yours was still in the dryer, so I figured I'd fold it," Alex says with a shrug. "How was your day?"

"First of all, thank you. And it was good." Jason lies back on the couch and lets Sophie roll onto her side and keep watching her show. "Actually, I stopped in to see Molly, and something kinda weird happened." 

"How so?"

"It was Cameron."

Alex pauses mid-fold. "What happened?"

"Nothing, really. That's the weird part. He was just, like, so cold to me. Wouldn't even look me in the eye. Did something happen with you guys?"

"No." Alex focuses on the laundry for a few long seconds before he continues, "We had kind of an argument, that's all."

"I hope it's not too serious."

"It was weird." Alex makes a face that's awfully close to a grimace, as if even the memory is too uncomfortable to tolerate. 

Jason lowers himself onto the floor and scoots closer to Alex. "Weird how?" he asks in a quieter voice--not that Sophie is paying any attention to them, anyway.

"He wanted me to go out with his friends," Alex says, "and I said I was going to spend the night in and make dinner and…" He trails off, but the rest fills itself in for Jason.

"Gotcha. So that explains the cold shoulder."

"Yeah." Alex sighs. "Listen, I know I moved in here under kind of weird circumstances… so if you ever feel like I've overstayed my welcome…"

"Alex. Shut up." Jason picks up a t-shirt from the pile and smacks him with it. "You have been more of a help to me than I ever imagined anyone could be. Not just a help--a support system. My rock, kinda. And if Cameron has a problem with that…"

"I know. Thanks." Alex grabs the shirt from him, quickly folds it, and adds it to the growing pile. 

"I'm so happy to have you here," Jason says before climbing to his feet. "But you don't have to fold my laundry, I promise."

"Don't worry," Alex says, a smile finally crossing his lips. "This is a one-time-only deal." 


"Tell me the truth," Elly says. 

Her face is stone-cold, but her eyes burn with rage. Travis can't remember the last time he saw her so mad. It must have been the night she found out Danielle had lied about being her mother.

"Why would you even ask that?" A full-body anxiety washes over Travis.

"Because Samantha checked the system, and it said my application was never turned in."

"She told you that?"

"I was just at her office." 

"I don't know what you expect me to say." Travis's gaze flits to the unmade bed. It isn't like Elly to leave a mess like that. "Of course I mailed it."

He watches her, feeling as breathless as if he were gripping onto the edge of a cliff with only the tips of his fingers. Finally, her shoulders drop, and her entire body appears to soften. 

"Are you sure?" she says.

"Yes!" Travis sits down on the mattress and grips the edge of her pillow. "Why would you even think…" He can't finish the question, partly because he doesn't even want to put the words out there. If she doesn't know it happened, it didn't happen.


Samantha says goodbye to her coworkers and makes a quick exit from the office, promising herself that she will stay late after her next shift on Tuesday to double-check the inventory report; she was so distracted that she must have made some mistakes. Seeing that there are two students waiting for the elevator, she decides to skip it and takes the stairs instead. 

When she pushes the front door of the Student Center open, the cold air greets her with open arms. She didn't realize how badly she needed it until she feels it, breathes it in. The stale air in that building might have choked her to death if she hadn't gotten out. It makes her want to return to her dorm room even less--especially knowing that Elly is probably waiting there, or will be back there soon, and Samantha is going to have to face her. 

She gets thrown off-course, however, when she sees her brother coming toward her.

  Travis Fisher

"What the hell?" Travis says as soon as he spots her. He rushes to close the gap between them. "Are you nuts?"

"You saw Elly?" she asks, even though she already knows the answer.

"Why would you tell her that?"

"I'm sorry, Travis. I'm so, so sorry." 

His eyes wide, Travis shakes his head in disbelief. "Why would you say anything to Elly? What did you think that was gonna do?"

"I didn't tell her. It was Spencer."

"What?! How in the hell did he know?"

Her hands nervously grasp the straps of her backpack. "I was… I'd had something to drink, and I just slipped--Travis, I'm so sorry…"

Travis's head looks even more like it is going to explode than it did a minute ago. 

"You were drinking with Spencer," he says flatly, as if he can't even believe the words enough to infuse them with emotion.

"He apologized to me--"

"For what?"

"For being mean to me that day he came into the office," she says, feeling like she can't speak fast enough to explain this and make everything okay. Maybe there is no explaining this. "He asked me to meet him so we could talk."

"Oh my god. And what, you just couldn't resist selling me out?" Before she can answer, he gets even closer, right in her face. "I thought you were different. I really did."

"Travis--" She has never seen him look at her this way. It's the way she has seen him look at Claire, and at their dad, at different times, but never at her. "I'm so sorry."

"You're sorry. Great. What am I supposed to do with that?"

"What else do you want me to say?"

He sputters and then lets out a heavy sigh. 

"Why is this such a big deal?" Samantha says. "It got lost in the mail, right? It happens. I'm sure Elly will understand that."

Travis opens his mouth to speak but stops. And Samantha understands. Her eyes lock with Travis's.

"You never mailed it," she says.


"That's what this is about. You lied to me, too. You never mailed the application. How could you do that?"

"Yeah," comes another voice. "Travis, how could you do that?"

They both turn to see Elly walking around the corner of the brick building. 


What will Elly do now that the truth is out?
Will Travis blame Samantha for her role in this?
Did Cameron have a point about Alex and Jason?
Talk about this episode and more in the Footprints Forum!

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Thurs., April 03, 2014

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