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- Claire and Jimmy, who had been having an affair for months, were shocked to realize that they had another connection: Claire’s son, Travis, had been dating Jimmy’s biological daughter, Elly, for years.
- Diane quit her job at the bookstore after she suspected that there was criminal activity going on. Afterward, she manipulated Keith into paying her off in order to keep her mouth shut about his activities.
- Following the sting at the bookstore, Keith implied to Brent that Diane knew more about the operation than anyone realized. Brent warned Diane to hire an attorney because she was going to be brought in for questioning.


The interrogation room is not nearly as dramatic as the ones Diane Bishop has seen in the movies. There is no expansive two-way mirror in the wall; instead of a single, harsh lightbulb dangling over the table, two perfectly normal fluorescent tubes run across the ceiling. Four mismatched folding chairs are clustered around a long, thin wooden table. The place is hardly largely than a broom closet, but it’s so stark that it manages to feel cavernous anyway.
“This is ridiculous,” Diane grumbles to her lawyer, Julia Ortiz, with whom Sarah put her in contact after the sting at the bookstore. “I don’t see what else they could possibly need from me.”
“Follow-up questioning isn’t so unusual,” Julia says. She holds a ballpoint pen over a clean yellow legal pad, as if anticipating a scholarly lecture.
“I have nothing to tell them.”

“Then they’ll see that and we can be on our way.” There is something about the way Julia says this, her lips pursed just so, that reads as almost sarcastic to Diane; it’s as if the woman has decided that Diane is lying to her and is waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The door opens, and both women sit up a little straighter. Brent Taylor enters, a manila folder in hand, and closes the door behind himself.
“Diane,” he says as he pulls out a chair across from them. “Ms. Ortiz.”

  Diane Bishop

“What is this?” Diane asks. “That Detective Ramirez already took my statement--”
“And I felt a follow-up session was in order,” Brent says.
“And you’re doing it? Isn’t that a conflict of interest?” Diane turns to her attorney. “We’ve known each other for years.”
“I used to be married to her close friend. Years ago,” Brent explains. “I’m also the Police Commander. I’m following up on the statement Ramirez took. If you have an objection to that--”
“Let’s proceed,” Julia says, setting down her pen.
Brent consults his file for several seconds, which manage to feel like an hour.
“Now, Keith Huff insists that you were aware that drugs were being moved through the bookstore prior to the day of the sting,” Brent says.
“And I insist that Keith Huff is an idiot criminal who’s trying to spread the blame and take me down with him.”
Julia cuts in: “My client already gave a statement regarding Mr. Huff’s accusation. She admits that she quit her job after a number of suspicious individuals visited the store and she became uncomfortable with the bookkeeping practices. She removed herself from the situation. It isn’t her duty to investigate beyond that.”
“Of course not,” Brent says, barely suppressing an annoyed sigh. “However, Jimmy Trask came to me about the bookstore after a conversation with your client--” He turns to Diane with a pointed glare. “--in which she implied that Keith was running something much bigger than the real estate scheme that Jimmy thought was going on.”
Diane feels her chest tighten, as her brain swirls for a rebuttal.
“Again,” Julia says, jumping in before Diane can open her mouth, “suspicions mean nothing. Ms. Bishop has admitted that she felt something suspect was going on in that store. Implying that to Mr. Trask--after she had to quit her job because she felt unsafe--is not a crime.”
“Not in and of itself,” Brent says. He sets his gaze squarely upon Diane, as if forcibly ignoring Julia. “Why would you tell Jimmy that Keith was, uh, ‘screwing him over’ if you didn’t believe you knew more about what was going on than Jimmy did?”
Diane groans but remains determined to quash the jiggling feeling in her stomach. “Because I thought he was a moron for continuing to insist that they were just shifting real estate money through the store. I did the bank drops for long enough that I could tell there was way too big a discrepancy between the deposits and the merchandise we were moving.”
“I’ve had a look at their books, so yeah, not going to argue with you there,” Brent says.
“Then why are you bothering me?” Diane says, exasperated.
“Commander Taylor, with all due respect,” Julia says, “I don’t see what any of this has to do with my client, beyond the fact that she was employed by these men for a few months.”
“I can easily get a subpoena for your bank records,” Brent says.
“Knock yourself out,” Diane says, without hesitation. Not a cent of the money that Keith paid her went into her bank account--she kept some of the cash and used some to buy several pre-paid credit cards. There’s no paper trail, and it’s her word against Keith’s. At least she can have absolute confidence in that.
“I really don’t know what you’re hoping to accomplish here,” Julia says.
Brent folds his hands atop the table. “Keith wasn’t working alone. There’s too much money missing. And if I can’t get him to admit who he was working with, then it’s up to me to find out who it was--and if it was you, Diane, I’m going to find out sooner or later.”

KB Memorial Hospital

Claire Fisher is exiting a patient’s room when she hears her name over the intercom, a voice requesting her presence at the nurses’ station. She only has two patients left to see in this corridor, but she doesn’t want to rush through those check-ins, so she makes a right turn and hurries into the main hub of the floor.
Behind the desk, one of her favorite longtime coworkers, Patricia, is tending to a phone call. When she spots Claire, Patricia points across the room and mouths, “Over there.”
It takes Claire a moment to figure out what’s going on, but when she spots the man standing against the wall, hands in his pockets, she understands why she was paged.
“Hi,” she says as she approaches Jimmy Trask, who meets her midway.
“Hey.” He lifts his chin in a greeting nod. “How are you?”
“I’m fine. What’s going on?”
“Uh, nothing.”
There is something stilted and uncertain about his every movement, about every syllable he speaks, which convinces her that this is not just a casual visit.
“Nothing?” she says. “I’m in the middle of my shift--”
“I know. Sorry. It’s just, you haven’t called me back or answered my texts.”
“I’ve been busy.”
“Too busy to answer a text?”
“I’m sorry,” she says, glancing over one shoulder and then the other to be sure that no one is paying attention to them. “This all just got very complicated very quickly.”
“No kidding.” He raises an arm to scratch the back of his wavy, slightly overgrown brown hair. “I still can’t get over how our kids were dating and we didn’t even know.”
She can see that he’s making an effort, and she feels rude for having ignored his attempts to reach out. In reality, she hasn’t meant to shut him out; she simply hasn’t known what to say or do, and after a few days, responding to an unanswered text started to feel wrong, too.
“It’s insane,” she agrees. “I just… I wanted to keep things light, and it was going so well, and then to find out there was this whole extra layer--”
“Yeah. Crazy.” Jimmy shifts his weight and buries his hands back in his pockets. “Look, I know it’s not what either of us expected, but it’s not a bad thing. Not like we were doing anything wrong.”
“No. Of course not.” Claire draws a deep breath, knowing what she has to do. “But I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to see each other anymore, Jimmy.”

Diane’s heart thumps along at a rapid clip as she rings the doorbell and waits. Ryan’s Acura is in the driveway, so she knows that he is home. She didn’t want to risk doing this over the phone or, even worse, by text message, nor did she want to give him a heads-up and the chance to avoid her.

As she is questioning whether she should ring the bell again, she hears footsteps inside the house. When Ryan opens the door, dressed in a black polo shirt and olive-colored chinos, his surprise at seeing her here is evident.

“Oh, good. I was hoping for a visit from my favorite ex-wife,” he says.
“Shut up. I need to talk to you.” She forces her way past him and into the house, only to be assaulted by a chirping, slightly staticky female voice that she quickly realizes is coming from the stereo in the living room. "What the hell are you listening to?"

"I had the radio on while I was paying bills," he says, indicating the laptop and spread of envelopes and papers on the coffee table.

  Ryan Moriani

"It sounds like what you really need," says the radio expert, whose voice is probably meant to be soothing--and might be for those listeners still in preschool, "is to be clear with your mother about boundaries. She clearly doesn't have the same expectations as you."

Diane rolls her eyes. "Of course you're listening to some self-help idiocy."
Ryan shuts the door. “To what do I owe this lovely surprise?”
“I’ll be blunt: I need a favor.” She sees the creases of annoyance deepening in his face and hastens to add, “It requires nothing of you, really.”
He cocks an eyebrow dubiously. “What is it?”
“You heard what was going on at the bookstore the day Sarah got shot, right? Jimmy went to Brent and they set up a sting, and Keith got arrested.”
“I heard, yeah. What the hell does this have to do with me?”
“Keith was running his mouth to Brent about how I must have known more than I was letting on,” Diane says, “and Jimmy’s such an idiot that he accidentally corroborated that. So now Brent is breathing down my neck because he’s sure something is up.”
“Oh.” Ryan softens visibly. “That’s absurd.”
Diane relaxes ever-so-slightly; fortunately for her, Ryan knows nothing of the payout that she got from Keith, so as far as he knows, this is the truth. In the background, the radio caller drones on about her pain-in-the-ass mother some more. 
“So what do you want from me?” Ryan asks.
“Just keep your mouth shut. That’s it. If Brent for some reason comes to you, don’t say anything about how you helped me.”
He holds up both palms. “The last thing I want is to be in the middle of this. I didn’t help you--I just told you that it sounded like they were doing more than moving money from flipping properties.”
“Precisely. So let’s leave it that way. I know Sarah isn’t going to sell me out.”
“I remember when Sarah asked me to help you,” Ryan says. “You were genuinely freaked out. What are you worried about Brent finding out?”
“I don’t want him to have any more ammo, that’s all,” she says. “He’s like a damn rabid dog.”
“You don’t have to worry about me. I just want to be left out of this whole thing.”
"Good luck, Candace," coos the voice on the radio. "Here's wishing that you can reclaim your power." 

Diane snaps around. “Will these people shut up?”

She moves to grab the remote from the sofa--but before she can hit the button, Ryan’s hand grabs her arm and stops her.
“Wait,” he says. “I have an idea.”
Jimmy draws back, his eyes wide. Claire can tell that he is legitimately surprised by her declaration.
“It’s not like our kids are even dating anymore,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be weird.”
“It isn’t that,” she says.
“Then what is it?”
Claire opens her mouth to explain, but she thinks better of doing this right here. She leads him over to the row of chairs that line the wall. It isn’t entirely private, but at least they’ll be out of the way of foot traffic and not so close to the nurses’ station. She takes a seat and motions for him to do the same.

“I was engaged once,” she says, “after I was divorced from Travis’s father.”
“The guy--he was--” She swallows, pausing to choose her words carefully. “I knew he had some… criminal connections. He was actually involved in a bust at my sister-in-law’s store--he helped the police take down a pretty major drug operation.”
“I don’t have ‘criminal connections,’” Jimmy says. “At least not besides Keith. And I didn’t even know what he was doing.”

  Claire Fisher

“I know that. At least, as much as I can. Brent seems pretty confident that you’re on the up-and-up, too.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“I’ve been down this road. Ryan and I made it all the way to an actual wedding--and then his past came back to haunt us in a way more awful than I could have imagined.”
“What happened?”
“Our wedding basically turned into a hostage crisis,” she says, trying hard not to dwell too much on the images that still rise up and haunt her at the most unexpected moments. “The point is, I’ve been down a road like this, and I can’t do it again.”
“I’m not in the mafia,” Jimmy says. “Come on. I was helping Brent.”
“I know. But there are a lot of red flags. I need to protect myself, Jimmy.”
“You’re writing me off for helping the cops bust someone?”
“You were working with Keith, and…” She sighs. “It’s complicated--more complicated than I can handle right now. I’m sorry, Jimmy.”
He is still shaking his head in disbelief, frozen in his chair, as she stands up and, after one last look at him, walks back down the corridor to see her patients, determined to trust her instincts this time.


"I'm in the middle of something," Brent says as Detective Ramirez leads him down the hallway.

"You've got to hear this," Ramirez says over his shoulder, his stubby legs moving at a rapid clip. He turns into the small office-turned-bullpen where another detective, Marcy Wolfe, sits behind one of the several desks arranged throughout the space.

Ramirez nods his head toward the radio on Wolfe's desk. "Listen."

For the past several seconds, Brent has only been vaguely aware of the female voice coming through the radio--but now that he focuses on it, he recognizes it at once.

"There I am, a single mother trying to put a daughter through college," the voice is saying, "and I have to quit the only job I could find because it was clear there was something shady going on. I could have just pretended not to notice it and kept on working--but I couldn't let myself be an accomplice to that sort of thing."

Brent's jaw drops as he listens to Diane recount the story of the sting at the bookstore and the follow-up questioning she's had to "endure."

"What the hell is this?" he asks the two detectives.

"It's called Reclaim Your Power," Wolfe explains. "It's a call-in show."

"She's always listening to it," Ramirez says with a grimace.

"So now I'm jobless, I have a daughter to support, I've been dragged into the middle of an incredibly dangerous situation, and I had to see my best friend get shot in front of me," Diane says. "And the King's Bay police decide that the necessary thing to do is harass me about it!"

"That's really unbelievable," says the radio host in an even-handed, almost strangely serene tone. "I can tell you're a very strong woman for getting through this as well as you have."

"Thank you. But I just don't know what to do," Diane says. To Brent's ear, her tone sounds so calculated, so… not Diane. And yet...

"I'm so sorry for all that you're going through," the host says. "The police should be ashamed of themselves."


"My wish for you is that you can stay strong and reclaim your power," the host intones through the phone. "Best of luck, Diane."

"Thank you." Diane hangs up the phone, and a moment later, Ryan comes bounding into the room, the other cordless phone in his hand.

"That was perfect," he says.

"What a nitwit, though," Diane says with a groan.

Ryan shrugs. "She's not that bad."

She cocks an eyebrow at him. "Are you kidding?"

"Hey, lay off me at least for one day," he says. "Whose brilliant idea was that?"

"You really think it's going to work?"

"You just went on the radio and made the KBPD sound like a bunch of sadistic assholes. And they've got nothing on you. If this doesn't get them to back off, nothing will."

"I hope you're right," Diane says. "Want a celebratory drink?"

"I'm actually all out at the moment, but I can get you some coffee…"

"Forget it. I should get home." She grabs her purse and heads for the door, which she opens before turning back. "Hey, Ryan."


"Thank you. You're actually not as big of an idiot as I thought."

"I'm going to take that as a compliment," he says. "Now get out of here."

Diane exits the house, hoping that Ryan is right and this will be all she needs to get Brent to back off for good.


Will Diane and Ryan's plan work?
Is Claire being too harsh on Jimmy?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to discuss it all!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

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