Episode #729

- Spencer "accidentally" told Elly that her study-abroad application, which she had entrusted to Travis, was never turned in.
- Elly confronted Travis about the application. He lied that he had put it in the mail.
- Upset, Travis asked Samantha what she had told Spencer. Just as he admitted that he threw the application in the trash instead of the mail, Elly came around the corner and overheard the truth. 


The cold air stings Samantha Fisher's ears and cheeks as she stares down her brother, who is doing everything he can to avoid eye contact: looking at the brick wall outside the Student Center, running his hand through his hair, adjusting his sweatshirt. 

"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. 

"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 Vanderbilt walking around the corner of the building. She pauses, waiting for someone to say something, but when the words don't come, she ventures closer to them.

"I heard," she says, her gaze burning into Travis. "Don't even try to lie your way out of this."

Samantha can see that Travis is holding his breath. 

"I'm sure there's an explanation," Samantha says. She hates to see the two of them like this--and she can't help but feel guilty for setting it all in motion by blabbing to Spencer.

Travis remains silent, even under Elly's glare. Finally the brunette throws up her hands.

"You don't even have to say anything. At least now I know the truth." She turns to leave but then looks back at them. Seeing the hurt in her friend's face, Samantha wishes she could vanish into mist and be out of here--but Elly's focus swings sharply toward Travis.

"I can't believe you would do this to me," she says.

"Why were you so hell-bent on leaving me?" he exclaims suddenly. "Is being with me so damn bad that you had to go across the world?"

Elly recoils. It takes her a few seconds to string together a response. "This isn't about you, Travis. Or it wasn't."

She shakes her head and, this time, actually makes her exit. She disappears back around the corner of the building. Samantha and Travis stand in stunned silence, which gets prolonged even further as a pair of students exit the center. They seem to pick up on the weird vibe out here and scurry away quickly.

"Give her a little time to calm down," Samantha says. "I'm sure she--"

"Don't," Travis cuts her off. "This is all your fault. You just had to talk to Spencer about it, didn't you?"

"Travis, that's not--"

"Go to hell."

He storms off across the wet grass, leaving Samantha standing by the doors, her whole body overcome by the pricking and jumping of nerves.


The last wisps of Danielle Taylor's voice fade away, and her fingers linger on the strings of her guitar as the sound from those drifts off into the air, too.

The serenity that comes with playing is gone almost instantaneously, as if she needs the music to keep her out of reality--and maybe she does. She looks to Jimmy Trask, who already has a grin on his face. He breaks out into a clap, which begins slow and picks up in pace; a few of the nearby patrons in the coffee house do the same.

"Thanks," Danielle says, feeling her cheeks flush. 

"You just wrote that?" Jimmy asks. He sits in a chair a few feet away from her on the small stage used for intimate performances and Open Mic Nights.

"I've been working on it for a while. I still have some work to do--the bridge is a little flat--"

"Awesome, though. You've still got that Joni Mitchell thing going in your writing. When I read about that record deal you got, I kinda thought they'd shake it out of you, but you've still got it."

Danielle sighs and rests her hand on top of the guitar. "That was a lifetime ago." 

She always feels a bit self-conscious when people bring up her brief foray into the recording industry and the record deal that Katherine Fitch manipulated her into; after working so hard to earn something like that, she felt like a fool to learn that it had basically been a payoff to get her away from Katherine's son.

"Maybe, but you're still damn talented," Jimmy says. "Glad you're still writing. And playing."

"I could be doing it more."

"You should be."

Jimmy picks up his own guitar and slings the strap over his shoulder. He begins idly fiddling with chords and notes, not producing anything defined.

"As it turns out, I might have a lot more free time in the near future," Danielle says. "So maybe I'll take up giving lessons or something."

Jimmy keeps noodling. "What do you mean?"

"Molly's getting married, and her fiancé wants his younger brother to move in with them. He swears they can handle the twins by themselves--and it's probably a little weird for him, anyway, since I'm her ex's sister."

"I heard about them getting engaged," Jimmy says.

"You did?"

"Yeah, Brent told me."

Danielle sits up a little straighter. "You talked to Brent?" The information comes as a complete surprise; the two men barely tolerated each other back in the day.

"Long story," Jimmy says, with the kind of Jimmy-esque brush-off that means it is, in fact, a long story that will probably stress her out. Before she can press further, though, she feels her cell phone vibrating in her pocket. She pulls it out to glance at the screen, ready to send it to voicemail, when she sees who it is.

"It's Elly," she says to Jimmy. "I'm gonna take this."

She answers the call. "Hey, Elly." She stands, meaning to head outside so as not to disrupt the other people in the coffee shop, but she makes it only a foot before Elly's hysterical voice stops her mid-step.

"Elly. What's wrong?" she asks.

Jimmy looks up from his guitar. "What's going on?"

Danielle waits for her daughter to slow down so that she can understand her, praying that nothing terrible has happened.


"Just run these down to Priscilla for me," Molly Taylor says as she hands the expanding file to Cameron Kelley. "Make sure they go directly from your hands to hers. I don't want her to be able to make any excuses about not having gotten them."

"Done and done," Cameron says with a smile. He takes the file and heads out of the office. "I'll report back," he calls behind himself.

Molly returns to her desk and opens the to-do list on her computer. She's trying to figure out what on the monumental list of tasks she should tackle next when she hears the electronic jingle of her cell phone. It takes her a few seconds to realize that it's in her purse, and she scrambles to dig it out and answer.

She pauses when she sees the name on the caller ID. It's completely unexpected, and it fills her with a sense of panic.

"Hello?" she answers, standing bolt upright.

"Sorry to bother you," the caller says, "but I really, really need your help."


"It sounds like Travis had it coming," Diane Bishop says as she pours hot water into the mug. 

"Maybe." Samantha sits on the sofa, her hands folded between her legs. It pains Diane to see her this miserable. She's usually such a rock, this kid, and perhaps because she hasn't ever been the biggest social butterfly, Diane has rarely seen her this upset about friends or boys or anything. 

Diane watches the teabag bob up and down in the water for a moment before she walks the mug over to her daughter. 

"Here. Drink this and try to relax," she says.

"Thanks." Samantha takes the mug carefully and holds it between her palms. 

"I know you feel bad because of what happened between Travis and Elly," Diane says, choosing her words more carefully than she normally might, "but you aren't the one who didn't put that application in the mail. It's not your fault."

"Yeah… but I told Spencer about it, and he told Elly, and if I had just kept my mouth shut--"

"It isn't your job to keep other people's secrets. And it wasn't even a secret. It was a fact you found out through your job, right?"

"Right." Samantha looks down into her tea. "But I shouldn't have been looking in the system in the first place."

"Sam. Come on. Everyone does things like that. You weren't hurting anyone."

Samantha shrugs. "I knew Travis was worried about Elly finding out. I should have just shut up."

Diane seats herself in the slender, coral-colored armchair across from the sofa. 

"Spencer invited you to go to happy hour out of the blue?" she asks.

"He came in to my office and needed this form. He was kind of a jerk to me. So I guess he felt bad and wanted to make it up to me."

"You're sure that was all he wanted?"

Samantha's head snaps up. "I'm his sister! Why wouldn't he want to get to know me a little?"

"I don't know the kid at all. I haven't heard great things, but…" Diane sighs. "You've said that he and Travis kind of have it out for one another, right?"

"They don't really get along… It's not like they even know each other, but the whole situation is so screwed-up--"

"If this jackass used you to get information on Travis--"

"Mom." Samantha shoots her a stern glare. "Not everyone operates like that."

The comment almost stings, but Diane does her best not to let it penetrate. Besides, she knows that Samantha has a much more innocent view of the world and of other people than she probably should. She always wants to believe the best--which is no way to deal with people.

She decides not to force the issue right now, though.

"Travis will not be mad at you forever," Diane says. "He's upset because Elly found out, and he's lashing out at you. Remember that."

"I'm trying."

"Good. I'll order something good for dinner. Drink your tea."

"Thanks, Mom," Samantha says as she tests the still-steaming mug.

Diane stands and goes to the dining room table to grab her laptop and find a restaurant. If that kid used my daughter to screw over Travis, she thinks, he's about to get taught a serious lesson.


"I'm so sorry," Danielle says as she squeezes Elly in her arms. "I know how badly you wanted to go."

"Yeah." When Danielle finally releases her, Elly steps back and surveys the room, as if she isn't sure where she is. 

"It's not that I would've gotten in regardless," she says, toying with the sheets left twisted on the still-unmade bed, "but it wasn't up to Travis to make the decision for me. You know?"

"He's a jerk for doing that," Jimmy says. He stands a few feet away, arms folded sternly across his chest.

Danielle takes the sheet from Elly's hand. "Here, let me do that," she says.

Elly steps back as her mother begins making the bed from scratch, moving pillows to the desk chair and stretching the fitted sheet across the mattress.

"I don't even know what to do next," Elly says. "Samantha's going to be home in a little bit, and I'm… I still can't believe she told Spencer and not me."

"It might be more complicated than that," Danielle says.

"Maybe." Elly wanders over to the window and looks out at the campus several stories below. "I really don't know what to do. Just act like everything is normal?"

"Screw that," Jimmy says. "This kid screwed you over."

"He's not some kid," Danielle interjects. "They've been together for, what, five years?"

Elly nods.

"Yeah, well, he doesn't own her," Jimmy says. "He should feel like crap for what he did. And you don't need his sister all over you trying to change your mind. Sure you don't want to crash on my couch for a little while? Or--you can have the bed. I'll take the couch."

"Thanks," Elly says. "I don't know…"

Danielle, in the midst of tucking the flat sheet beneath the mattress, pauses. "I have a better idea. The guest room at Molly's house is open. Why don't you spend a few nights there? It might be good for you to be away from here."

She sees Elly brighten, just a few degrees but enough to make a difference.

The young woman turns back from the window. "I think that might be good."

"Then we're set. I'll text Molly, but I'm sure she won't mind at all," Danielle says. 

"We're gonna figure this out, kiddo," Jimmy says as he moves to slip an arm around Elly's shoulders. "I promise."

She leans her head against him. "Thank you guys."


The elevator doors open, and Molly leads the way toward Philip's unit.

"Thanks for doing this," Travis says as he follows her out of the elevator. "I wouldn't have known how to find him otherwise."

"Happy to help if I can." Molly stops in front of the heavy door and knocks. "I can't believe he would do this to you."

"I can."

The comment hangs in the air as they wait for an answer. Within seconds, the big door is sliding open. Philip stands there, looking surprised.

"What's going on?" he says.

"Where's Spencer?" Molly asks.

"He isn't here."

"Where is he? Off finding new ways to screw with my life?" Travis says.

Philip looks from Travis to Molly. "What's going on?"

"It's a long story," Molly says, "but essentially, Spencer got Samantha drunk so he could get secrets out of her, and then he turned around and used them to hurt Travis."

Philip hesitates. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure," Travis says. "And my girlfriend is definitely sure, thanks to Spencer."

"Well, he isn't here," Philip says, lingering in the doorway, as if blocking them from entering. "I'm sorry."

Travis and Molly trade a frustrated look.

"Tell him thanks a lot," Travis says as he spins on his heels and heads back toward the elevator. 

"Wait a second," Philip says before Molly can follow her nephew. "What do you think you're doing?"

"What do you mean?"

"Leading Travis over here on a witchhunt like this," he says, his voice quieter. "What did you think that would solve?"

"He wants answers from Spencer--and, quite frankly, he deserves them."

"Did you really expect that to solve anything?"

His anger is not what she usually thinks of anger as being; instead of yelling and rage, there is an upsetting intensity about him.

"I don't know," Molly says. "What I do know is that, yet again, everyone's lives are being turned upside-down because of your brother."

"Isn't that a little dramatic?"

"No." Molly glances toward the elevator, where Travis is waiting for her. "We can talk about this later." Without allowing Philip a chance to respond, she goes to join Travis as the elevator doors part, allowing them to make a swift escape.


Will Spencer continue to divide Molly and Philip?
Will Diane go after Spencer on Samantha's behalf?
What will Elly decide to do?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

Next Episode