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- Elly left King's Bay to attend Stanford Law School.
- Before leaving town, Elly summoned Spencer in order to tell him off for the way he exposed Travis's deception and hurt her, Travis, and Samantha. Her comments sent Spencer into a tailspin.
- Spencer accidentally put his car in reverse and drove into Molly's house. Taking advantage of the fact that no one else was around, Philip sent Spencer away and pretended that he had been the driver. 


"More coffee? Or orange juice?"

"Mom, you don't have to wait on us," Molly Taylor says with a laugh. She and Philip Ragan sit at the dining table on her parents' deck, its large blue umbrella shielding them from the morning sun.

"Oh, it's fun. I never get to have you here," Paula says as she tops off both their glasses of orange juice without prompting.

"I'm sure you'll be tired of me by the time I move out," Molly says.

Paula waves the thought off into the air. "Nonsense. The food is all right?"

"It's wonderful. Thank you," Philip says.

"Okay. Just holler if you need anything!" Paula says as she disappears back into the kitchen, closing the sliding glass door behind herself.

"I didn't realize asking to stay here for a few weeks meant I was asking her to be my servant," Molly says as she picks at her half-eaten slice of wheat toast.

  Molly Taylor

"I really do think she's enjoying herself," Philip says. "Be grateful you have a mother who cares so much."

"I am." Molly finishes chewing the piece of toast before continuing: "Thanks for coming over. This was easier than trying to meet for breakfast someplace before my meeting."

"Better service, too, probably. Have you gotten official word when the crew can start?"

"They promised Monday. I'm trying to have faith in that. Not that the boys are too upset about staying at Brent's… but it will be nice to have our house back in one piece and to be back in our routine."

"I'm still mortified about what happened," Philip says.

"I'm just glad you're okay, and that no one was hurt. If anyone had been at home…" She shakes her head. "But it's all going to be fine."

"I think so."

Philip takes a sip of his coffee, the steam still rising from it, and then turns to his fiancée with a thoughtful expression.

"I'm so lucky to have you," he says. "Plenty of women would have threatened to call off the wedding because of an accident like that."

"It's a house. It can be fixed. No one got hurt. And like you said, it was an accident." She lifts her orange juice to her lips, then pauses. "But if you even think of plowing a car into our wedding, you've got another thing coming."

Philip holds up his hand as if taking an oath. "I promise: no more cars crashing into anything. My days of attempting to drive a manual are over."

"Then we're good." 

Molly takes a drink of her juice, and Philip gazes out at the lawn, a vibrant green beneath the sun's rays. Molly believes his story. The house is going to be fine. And no one ever needs to know the truth about what happened.


Tim Fisher proceeds down the hallway cautiously as he finishes knotting his tie. He pauses outside the closed door of his son's room and listens for a moment before knocking.

"Come in," comes the faint, disengaged voice from inside.

Tim turns the knob and cracks the door open. He expected to find Travis still asleep, but instead, he finds his son lying on top of the covers in a tank top and a pair of basketball shorts, staring at the ceiling while he scrolls through something on his iPhone. The room is dim and the blinds are closed, but slivers of light peek through on the sides of them.

"I'm about to leave for work," Tim says. "Figured I'd make sure you were up."

"I've been up for hours." Travis's voice is flat, and he keeps his focus on the phone's screen.

"Have you eaten anything yet?"

"Nah. Not hungry."

"Travis." Tim sighs. "You can't stay holed up in here forever."

Travis sets the phone down. "I work at 3. I'm gonna go to that."

"I know. But…" Tim crosses the room and twists the wand to open the venetian-style blinds just a crack. "All you're doing is going to work and sleeping. It's not healthy."

"Not true. I went to the movies with Landon on Wednesday."

"That's a start. But I'm worried about you, buddy."

Travis lets his head loll back onto the pillow and stares up at the ceiling. "Why?"

Tim takes a few seconds to gather his thoughts and choose his words carefully.

  Travis Fisher

"I'm sorry about Elly leaving," he says. "I know how crappy this has been for you. But your life isn't over. You should be getting out there, meeting people, figuring out what you're gonna do with yourself--"

"I have a job."

"Which is good. But you're a college graduate now. Do you want to be a barista forever?"

Travis shrugs. "What does it matter?"

"It matters because you have your entire life ahead of you. I know you miss Elly, but you need to start picking up the pieces--"

"Just stop it," Travis says, sitting up abruptly.


"Stop acting like you even care. If it weren't for you, none of this would've even happened."

Tim crosses his arms across his chest. "Excuse me?"

"You gave Spencer that job. You're the reason he got to stay in King's Bay. If you had just let him go away, none of this ever would have happened."

Cassie's Coffee House

The coffee shop is chaotic when Spencer Ragan walks in. He should have expected this; it is the height of the mid-morning rush. He thinks of backing out the door and continuing on his way to the office, but he isn't sure he can take another morning of the crap they brew in the break room at Vision.

He gets in line, silently cursing the woman at the front of the line who appears never to have ordered coffee before, based on how long it takes her and how perplexed she seems by the options. He senses another customer settling in behind him in the line but thinks nothing more of it until she speaks.

"Um, Spencer," she says. "Hi."

He turns to find Danielle Taylor standing there.

"Hi," he says as a tidal wave of conflicting thoughts and emotions comes pounding over him. He can't resist addressing the elephant in the room--it's weirder if he doesn't, right? "Sorry about, uh, what happened at the house. Philip said it was a mess."

"Yeah, it was pretty shocking to come home to. But everyone's all right." She hikes her purse up on her shoulder. "You must be upset about your car."

He shrugs--a little too hard; every movement feels forced and fake and he's terrified that she will see right through him. 

"It's okay. I mean, Philip's fine, and that's what's important, and insurance can take care of the car and the house and--" He feels himself rambling and hits the brakes. "Do you have to stay in, like, a hotel?"

"The boys and I are staying at Brent's," she says. "My brother. So it's been pretty easy."

"That's good."

The overly confused woman finally finishes ordering, and the line moves up. Spencer isn't sure if he can keeps this going until it's his turn, but bolting mid-conversation, when it's almost his turn to order, would look really strange.

"Is, uh, is Elly doing okay?" he asks.

Danielle's surprise at his question is apparent. She screws up her face, then seems to catch herself and pauses before answering.

"She's doing well, yeah. She's spending time with her parents until school starts."

"Oh, cool. Good. Stanford Law--that's impressive."

"It is. I'm really proud of her."

He can feel Danielle evaluating him, as if she's trying to take a laser scan or something to figure out why he's suddenly being so polite. Blessedly, the person in front of him finishes ordering, and Spencer pounces at the chance to give the barista his order. He orders a plain coffee so he won't have to wait at the end of the counter for it and risk any more small talk with Danielle.

"Take care," he says to her as he takes his drink and hurries out of the shop.


Annoyance flares inside Tim's chest, but he reminds himself to keep it in check before he responds to Travis.

"Like I said, I'm sorry about what happened with Elly," he begins slowly, "but I'm not sure how giving Spencer a job makes all of this my fault."

"Because you gave him a reason to stick around!" Travis says.

"I didn't force you to throw Elly's application in the trash and then lie to her about it."

Travis recoils; clearly he wasn't expecting such a forceful rebuttal. While he regains his bearings, Tim pushes onward:

"I've apologized to you for the awkwardness of having Spencer at Vision. But he is my son, like it or not. I'm not going to turn my back on him completely--just like I'm not going to turn my back on you."

Travis lets out a loud, frustrated sigh. 

"And I am sorry about how awful this whole transition has been," Tim says. "It's weird. Believe me, I get it. Do you think I wanted Ryan around at family holidays after he tried to send me to prison for murder?"

"Everyone cut him off," Travis says. "For a long time."

"Yeah. And then they forgave him, so I had to make my peace with it. Buddy…" Tim walks over and takes a seat on the edge of Travis's bed. "You need to stop blaming Spencer for what happened. That's going to make it impossible to move on."

"See? You're defending him!"

"I'm not defending him," Tim says, careful to keep his tone calm, "but this isn't productive for you. You made a mistake. It's over. Whether or not Spencer works at Vision--they don't really have anything to do with one another."

"I guess not," Travis says, dropping back to a fully horizontal position. The bedding lets out a whoomf beneath his weight.

"And just for the record, I did speak to Spencer about what happened," Tim says. "Do I think he handled it as well as he could have? No. But was it malicious? Not necessarily."

"Dad. Come on. Spencer knew exactly what he was doing--and if you don't believe that, you're as dumb as I was to throw out that application in the first place."

Travis picks up his phone and returns to whatever time-wasting activity he was doing earlier. After another several seconds of being frozen out, Tim rises from the bed and makes his way to the door. This isn't a battle he is going to win--or a situation he is going to resolve--right now.

"I'll have some dinner ready when you get home from work later," Tim says before he exits the room.


After he leaves the Fishers', Philip is driving to a meeting downtown when his phone begins chirping through the car's speakers. Seeing his brother's name on the dashboard display, he answers on the first ring.

"Hi, Spencer," he says.

"Hey. Are you alone?"

"I'm in the car by myself, yes."

"Listen, I just ran into Molly's sister-in-law or whatever--"


  Philip Ragan

"Yeah. Elly's mom. She--are you sure this is a good idea?" 

"What? The accident?" The edge in Spencer's voice is apparent, and it makes Philip's blood pressure rise, too.

"Yeah. This whole thing." Spencer sounds like he is frantically pulling words out of the air, like they are flies flitting wildly around him. "What if someone figures it out?"

"No one's going to figure it out," Philip says, careful to keep his attention on the traffic slowing ahead of him. "There's nothing to figure out. Elly saw you leave. Molly knew I was going over there. No one knows you went back."

"But it's, like, insurance fraud. Can't we get in big trouble?"

Philip's stomach turns over at the mention of this reality, but dwelling on that isn't going to calm Spencer down.

"No one is going to find out," he says firmly.

"You're sure Molly has no clue?"

"None. I promise. It isn't as though I'm covering up a murder you committed, Spencer. It's a car accident. The insurance company would pay for the damage regardless of who was driving."

He can hear the question floating between them, even though it remains unspoken: Then why are we bothering with this whole cover-up? But Philip doesn't even want to entertain the thought of how Molly would have reacted if she knew that it was really Spencer who backed the car into her family's home.

"They would probably all think I forced you to lie for me," Spencer says.

Philip hesitates a tick. "Maybe. But it doesn't matter, because they aren't ever going to know."

Spencer's only response is uneasy silence. The faint hum of static buzzes on the line.

"Spencer, I don't want you to think any more about this. It's done. The repairs to Molly's house begin Monday, we'll replace your car, and no one will be in any trouble. Do you hear me?"

"Yeah." Spencer's attempt at ease sounds reluctant, troubled. "Okay."

"Good. Now go to work and don't even think about this situation any further."

"I'll try."

"Excellent. I'll see you this evening."

"Okay. Hey, and Philip?"


"Thanks," Spencer says before the line goes dead.


Is it foolish of Philip to take the fall for Spencer?
What would happen if Molly found out the truth?
Will Travis finally change his attitude toward his father?
Discuss it all in the Footprints Forum now!

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

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