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- Matt ended his relationship with Danielle.
- Matt confessed to Sarah that he is still in love with her. Sarah admitted that she loves him, too, but feels guilty for having married Graham anyway.  Matt convinced her not to waste any more time. They decided to keep their reunion a secret for the time being.
- Brent brought in Diane for further questioning regarding Keith's drug ring at the bookstore. Diane continued to deny involvement and hoped the police wouldn't find out that she extorted money from Keith in order for keeping quiet.
- Ryan gave Diane the idea to call a radio advice show and talk about how the King's Bay PD has been "harassing" her. Brent was appalled to hear her telling her version of the story on air. 


Diane Bishop tenses as she looks through the peephole in her front door. She knew this moment was coming, either as an in-person visit or a phone call; she isn't sure which has worse implications. She briefly considers not answering the door at all, hoping he'll go away, but she doesn't think she could stand the accompanying anxiety. After drawing a deep breath that does little to calm her nerves, she opens the door.

"What is it?" she says before Brent Taylor can even get a word in.

"I heard your little performance on the radio," he says. "Can I come in?"

"Do I need to ask to see a warrant?"

"I'm just here to talk, Diane."

With a huff, she steps aside and lets him into the condo. She can't even remember the last time Brent was in her home, but she's willing to bet it was less stressful than this current occasion.

  Diane Bishop

"I've got to hand it to you: that was pretty damn clever," he says, still surveying her decor, hands in the pockets of his chino pants. "Quite a convincing little act."

"I'm really upset about what's been going on." She adopts an innocent tone, one that she is sure he can see through--not that it matters, so long as she speaks the words. "I needed to vent and get some advice. This whole thing has been so stressful."

"You knew exactly what you were doing."

"Yeah. Trying to figure out how to deal with you harassing me."

"It's not harassment, Diane. It's an investigation."

She folds her arms. "I don't know how many more ways I can tell you: I had no part in whatever Keith was doing. I quit as soon as I started feeling weird about working there. If you're dying to take a look at my bank records--"

"I'm not."

She's ready to roll on with her rant, but his simple statement stops her cold.

"What?" she asks, not sure that she understands.

"That's what I came by to tell you." He punctuates the thought with an exasperated sigh. "I might've seen through your little act, but we're catching a lot of flack for going after an innocent, unemployed single mother."

Diane resists the urge to smirk. She never thought she'd be so happy to be referred to that way.

"So you're off the hook," Brent says. "For now, anyway. But if I were you, I'd work really hard to keep my nose clean--because the next time you get mixed up in something like this, I'm going to be all over you."

"Yeah, yeah," she says, waving her hand. She pulls the front door open. "Lovely seeing you, Brent. Thanks for dropping by."

He moves toward the door but stops to give her one more harsh glare. 

"I'm serious, Diane."

"I'm sure you are. I promise you won't even have a reason to think about me from here on out."


He exits, and Diane quickly shuts the door behind him. Only when it is locked and bolted does she allow herself to let out a squeal.

"It's over," she says, leaning against the door as muscles that she didn't even realize were clenching finally relax. "It's really over."

King's Bay Park

"Slide! Slide!"

The coach's voice, backed by the furious roars of the rest of the Little League team, carry to every end of the park. In the bleachers, Danielle Taylor tenses with anticipation--anxiety?--as she watches her nephew race a ball to third base. Everything seems to fall into slow motion as Caleb hits the dirt, feet first, kicking up a cloud of brown, while the ball sails through the air. The ball connects with the third baseman's mitt with a decisive slap--but not before Caleb's cleat tags the edge of the dusty base.

"Nice, Caleb!" the coach, a team dad named Mick whom Danielle can never pair up with the correct kid, shouts with a hearty clap.

Danielle's hands come together reflexively, but she catches herself before she makes too much of a scene and manages to restrict her applause to a polite little clap. Caleb and Christian have warned her and Molly plenty of times about not "embarrassing" them if they're going to stick around and watch practice.

Nevertheless, she flashes Caleb an encouraging smile as he takes his place at the back of the line and another player takes his turn at the drill. The boy looks to her with a delighted gleam in his eye, but it's the tiniest of gestures, one none of his teammates will see.

"Not bad," comes a voice from behind the bleachers. Danielle, as well as another mother sitting several feet away, turn to see Ryan Moriani standing  there.

Ryan smiles at the other woman and then comes around to the side of the bleachers, standing so that only a railing separates him and Danielle.

"I had a meeting with the Parks Department about a partnership with the arena," he explains. "I was walking back to my car and stopped to see what all the ruckus was--"

"Your nephew," Danielle says. "I get so nervous for them, and it's only practice. The games are torture."

  Ryan Moriani

"They're lucky to have you, Molly, and Brent all being nervous for them--even if they claim it's embarrassing."

Danielle laughs. "They do. Often."

"How are things going?" Ryan asks. "You must be so proud of Elly. I heard about Stanford Law."

"She's a remarkable kid. Proud doesn't begin to describe it."

"Yep," Ryan says, nodding. "Travis was pretty upset at his graduation party.  He's taking the whole thing really hard."

"I know. It's a shame what happened. But the way Elly's standing her ground… I wish I'd been that self-assured when I was her age."

"I wish I were now."

Danielle sees the regret pass over his face--perhaps regret over how their relationship ended, perhaps over all his mistakes. It lingers there in the silence between them as the team whoops and cheers for another kid.

"How are things with Matt?" Ryan asks, slapping a cheerful look on his face.

"Actually…" She stares off at the field for a long moment, focusing on a plume of dust drifting away into nothingness. "We aren't seeing each other anymore."

"Really? I'm sorry to hear that." 

It is a perfectly polite, measured response, and something about that annoys Danielle. They used to be on far less informal terms. 

"Me, too," she says. "Kind of sucks, actually."

Ryan clasps the railing with both hands. "Mind if I ask what happened?"

"What I knew was always going to happen, if I'm totally honest with myself. He said he isn't completely over Sarah--after she got shot--"

"Then why was he dating you? That's shitty--"

"He was a gentleman about it," she says, hating that she has to defend Matt because it's the right thing to do. "That's how dating is, right? You try something out, and sometimes you find it doesn't quite work. I'm glad he was honest with me."

"I guess. But you're right--it does kind of suck."

She forces a grin. "Yeah. Anyway, better that it happened sooner rather than later. I think I could use a break from all of that."

"I hope you don't feel like this was about you doing something wrong or not living up to some standard," he says. "Because I'm sure it isn't. I know how Sarah and Matt are--"

"So do I. But I just keep getting into these things that aren't meant to work out--no offense--"

"I don't get to take offense after the way I messed things up."

"That's fair," Danielle says. "My point is, I clearly don't make good decisions in that department--never have, really--so maybe it's best that I stop trying altogether."


As soon as the doorbell rings, Sarah Fisher races through the foyer to answer it. 

"Sorry, had to stop by the restaurant to pick up my check," Matt Gray says as she lets him into the house. But she can't focus on anything but the beautifully wrapped bunch of red roses that he is carrying.

"These are for you," he says as he hands them to her.

"Roses. Wow. Very romantic." She stretches up on her tiptoes to give him a kiss. "Maybe we shouldn't ever tell people about us."

"No promises. I'm too excited." He returns her kiss with a longer, deeper one. Sarah doesn't know what is coming over her; every time they are together, it's as if she has no control, as if she is under some kind of spell. It's been so long since they were able to be this way--maybe it's simply pent-up anticipation.

Sarah breaks it up long enough to ask, "You parked around the corner, right?"

"Yeah! I'm kinda liking this whole sneaking-around thing. It's dangerous."


Their lips meet again, and before Sarah knows it, they are lowering themselves onto the stairs, Matt's hand on the small of her back and his body hovering over hers.

"Do you feel okay?" he stops to ask.

She grins up at him, running a hand along his firm chest. "I feel great."

"I mean the… wound and all that."

"I'm better. Bandages are off. I'm not really in any pain. So…" Instead of finishing the thought, she kisses him again. Her heart thumps as her fingers work down his torso and reach his belt buckle. It has been so long for the two of them, but feeling him this close, being with him like this--

The doorbell rings, and they instantaneously freeze. Though the kiss stops, their mouths linger mere millimeters apart, their bodies unmoving.

"Ignore it," Matt says quietly.

"Yeah," Sarah says, and she is about to resume kissing him when the bell sounds once more.

He stares right into her eyes, lust brewing in his face. "It's probably UPS."

Before he can kiss her again, though, another voice jumps into the fray:

"Sarah! It's Diane!"


"That's not what you should be taking from this," Ryan says.

Danielle immediately feels stupid for being so self-pitying. She knows from years of AA that it is neither attractive nor conducive to taking care of herself. But the failures of her personal life--Jimmy, Andy, Ryan, Matt--all seem to be adding up to one very valid point from the universe.

"Weren't we just talking about how great Elly has turned out?" he asks.

"That's different," Danielle says. "And I didn't even raise her. Tom and Melanie deserve the credit there."

"That's not entirely true. She's got your spirit. And that girl has matured so much since she moved to King's Bay. You've been a big part of that."

"It's been really great to have a second chance with her." Danielle leans forward, resting her elbows on her knees as the summertime sun beats down on her back. "Sorry to be such a downer."

  Danielle Taylor

"You aren't being a downer," Ryan says. "It's okay to be upset. And hey--you are amazing. You have no idea how you affect people in ways you don't even know."

She can't help but raise her eyebrows at him. 

"I'm serious. Want to know something?"


"I stopped drinking," Ryan says.

The news hits Danielle in a physical way, as if she's suddenly looked up to see a foul ball headed straight for her. She jerks upright, not quite sure that she has heard him correctly.

"You what? Have you been going to meetings?"

He shakes his head. "No. Maybe I should have. But I stopped buying booze, stopped letting myself wander into the bar after work because I had nothing better to do… It's been tough to break the routine, but you were right. I was self-destructing because of it. I was using it to self-destruct. But I'm done with that now."

"Wow." She has to give the information another few seconds to process, like a chemical reaction that has to settle and simmer before any actual effect becomes noticeable. "How long has it been?"

"One hundred and forty two days," he says without hesitation. 

"That's impressive. Congratulations, Ryan."

"Thanks. But I'm serious: I wouldn't have ever been able to do it if not for you. I only wish I'd been able to figure it out sooner."

"But you did figure it out, and that's the accomplishment."

"Yeah." Ryan checks his watch. "Listen, I need to get back to the office. It was good to see you. I'm sorry about Matt."

"Thanks. And Ryan--I really am proud of you. If you ever need to talk to someone or want to go to a meeting, you can let me know."

"Thank you." A smile on his face and gratitude in his eyes, he takes a step back from the bleachers. "Take care."

"You, too."

With that, he turns and continues up the walking path to the parking lot. Danielle hears another bout of wild shouting from the baseball diamond, but she continues to watch Ryan go, amazed that she really did have some effect on him, even if it took all this time. 


Sarah and Matt hover on the stairs, his body poised over hers, as the doorbell and Diane's voice echo in both their ears.

"Get up," Sarah whispers. "My car's in the driveway. She knows I'm home."

Matt stares down at her in disbelief. "So? Maybe you're in the shower."

"It's Diane! She'll probably break the door down."

She weaves her way out from under him, drawing a prolonged grunt from Matt.

"Go hide!" she orders him in a frantic, hushed voice. Matt scrambles to his feet, hesitates on whether to run up the stairs or not, and then darts into the study and pulls the wooden doors closed.

Sarah wants to tell him to pick one of the rooms upstairs, one Diane won't go anywhere near, but it's too late. She spots the roses on the console table and grabs them. 

"Coming!" she shouts toward the door.

Her gaze darts around before she sees the storage bench in the living room. She races in there, shoves the flowers inside, and then hustles back to the foyer--still trying to tame her breathing as she pulls the door open. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if Diane found out, but she's only a step away from Samantha, and for the rest of the family--especially Tori--to know before she and Matt are ready would be a disaster. 

"Hey," she says, pulling a smile across her face. "Everything okay? I was actually--"

"I just had a visit from your ex-husband." As Diane speaks, she marches into the house and drops her purse on the console table.

"You what?" Sarah says, trying not to look at the closed study doors.

Diane turns and plants her hands on her hips. "Yeah. He came to talk to me about the damn bookstore."

Sarah tries to suppress her enormous sigh of relief and only marginally succeeds. "Oh. Brent."

"Yes, Brent. Have you been getting into the Bloody Marys?"

"What happened now?" Sarah asks. "Was he pissed about that radio stunt you pulled?"

"Pissed! It was great!" Diane says, beaming.

"How is antagonizing him great?"

"Because the department caught so much flack for the bad P.R. that he's dropping the investigation." Diane clasps her hands together with glee. "Isn't that amazing?"

"Yeah! That's terrific."

"I had to tell you ASAP," Diane says. "What are you up to for the rest of the day?"

Sarah can't help but swipe her eyes toward the study again. "Oh, I have a meeting with a client…"

"Okay. Maybe we can--" But before Diane can finish whatever she is about to propose, her cell phone rings loudly from within her purse.

"I should check that," she announces. "God willing, Brent hasn't changed his mind."

Sarah waits anxiously as Diane retrieves her phone. She frowns in confusion at the screen and then answers.

"Hello?" she says. "Yes, this is her…"

Sarah indicates the kitchen. "Go in there," she mouths. "Take your time."

"Thanks," Diane mouths back, before she responds to whomever is on the phone, "Really? That sounds very interesting." She dips into the kitchen, and Sarah hurriedly slides the pocket door closed behind her. 

As soon as Diane is secured in the kitchen, Sarah scrambles toward the study. She cracks the door and whispers, "She's in the kitchen. Go!"

"You sure?" Matt asks.

"Yes! Go!"

Sarah keeps an eye on the kitchen door as Matt hurries from the study to the front door. She pushes him out as fast as she can, then quickly slides through the opening herself.

"Hey, one more thing," she says, grabbing him by the shirt.


"I love you." She plants one final kiss on his mouth.

"I love you, too," Matt says before moving in for another kiss.

"Now get out of here! I'll call you in a bit!" she says, pushing him away and slamming the door. She is still locking it when the kitchen door opens and Diane, her hand over the phone, looks at Sarah curiously.

"Everything okay? Were you talking to someone?"

"Nope. Everything's fine," Sarah says, holding out her open palms as if she'd just been accused of smuggling contraband. "Go back to your call."

Diane ducks back into the kitchen, and Sarah finally lets out a heavy sigh. One thing is for certain: she and Matt have to come clean sooner rather than later.


Are Sarah and Matt wrong to hide their reunion?
Will Diane learn her lesson this time?
Did Ryan's revelation about his sobriety surprise you?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum now!

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

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