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- On Ryan’s advice, Diane called in to a radio advice program and spoke about how the King’s Bay Police were harassing her over Keith’s crimes at the bookstore.
- Brent told Diane that he was conceding defeat and dropping the investigation. Diane, knowing that she secretly took a payout from Keith, was relieved.
- Sarah and Matt finally reunited, but they decided to keep their renewed relationship a secret until they could tell Tori properly.


The station’s headquarters are not nearly as extravagant as Samantha Fisher had pictured. She imagined something more akin to a Hollywood studio, an expansive lot with guards who would check IDs and direct the car through a sprawling maze of stages. If not that, the studio could at least be located in a cool high-rise downtown, with sleek glass and state-of-the-art technology all around. The reality, though, is that KBAY is housed in an office park in one of the dullest parts of town, near an elementary school and a below-average grocery store. After Samantha and her mother check in with a bored-looking receptionist, they are directed down a hallway, where a woman with glasses and a hippie-style skirt waits for them.

“You must be Diane,” the woman says in a much higher-pitched voice than Samantha expected. “I’m Melody.”

Diane shakes Melody’s hand. “Nice to meet you. This is my daughter, Samantha.”

“Samantha! Hi!” Melody does that annoying thing adults tend to do, bending over and smiling aggressively as though addressing a five-year-old.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Samantha says, sticking out her hand so Melody has to shake it like a normal person.

  Diane Bishop

Melody brushes off her seeming confusion and asks if either of them would like a drink. They each request a bottle of water, and she scurries off to fetch them.

“I still don’t get why we’re here,” Samantha says.

Diane glances around the hallway, her gaze skipping from one generic poster of local scenery to another. “Because these people wouldn’t stop hounding me. Apparently they thought my story about being caught in that mess at the bookstore was--” Diane pulls out some air quotes. “--‘wildly compelling,’ and they needed to follow up.

“It might be fun to be on the radio,” Samantha offers.

“Here are those waters!” Melody announces as she returns.

“Must be a slow month in self-help bullshit,” Diane mutters to Samantha as they take their water bottles.


“You don’t have to walk me to the door,” Tori Gray says as she climbs the three stone steps. “I’m not gonna get kidnapped on the way.”

Matt Gray rings the doorbell. “Actually, I’m coming in, too.”

The teenager screws up her face. “Why?”

“We’re all having dinner together,” he says as the door opens, revealing Sarah Fisher dressed in a flowing, colorful summer dress that ties around the back of her neck.

Tori looks between her parents suspiciously, finally landing on Matt. “I should’ve known something was up when you put on a polo shirt. Whatever it is, I swear I didn’t do it.”

“You aren’t in trouble,” Sarah says as she ushers them into the house. “We’re just having dinner.”

The whole thing feels… off to Tori. She thought her dad was acting weird on the car ride over--at least, he had this strange energy going on, like he wanted to say something but had to keep stopping himself. When they get to the dining room, it’s even weirder: the table is set for the three of them, with a booster seat for Billy set up in the chair beside Sarah’s. They never eat in here, especially not since Graham died, and her mom never sets the table--with cloth napkins--for a random weeknight dinner.

“Okay, what’s going on?” Tori asks. “Oh my god. Are you guys finally getting me a car?” This does look awfully formal for some regular dinner; there has to be some kind of big news. “Is it that Mercedes convertible I found online? I told you there were ways to make the money work--”

“No, we didn’t buy you a Mercedes,” Matt interrupts.

Tori feels like a balloon that just had a needle stuck into it. “Oh. Then what’s going on? Why are we playing Downton Abbey in here?”

Sarah laughs, and then Matt does, too, and they trade a look.

“We were going to wait until dinner was on the table,” Sarah says, “but we might as well do it now.”

Matt moves closer to Sarah, and she loops her arm through his. Suddenly Tori understands what’s going on, even if it doesn’t make sense, doesn’t seem real.

“Your mom and I…” Matt begins.

It can’t be.

“We’re back together,” Sarah says.

Before Tori even knows it, her body has let out a squeal. “Oh my god! Are you for real?” She rushes over and hugs them both.

“Totally for real,” Matt says as the three of them squeeze together.

Tori can’t even believe it. Not after all this time. It’s always seemed so obvious to her that they should be together, but the two of them are so stubborn.

“This is actually cooler than the Mercedes,” she says as she presses into her parents.

They laugh again, but a loud beeping noise cuts into the moment.

  Tori Gray

“That’s the fish,” Sarah says. “Let me go make sure we actually have a dinner to eat now.”

She slips off to the kitchen. Tori takes a step back and just looks at her dad, whose grin is stretching from one end of his face to the other.

“I can’t believe it,” she says. “You look so happy.”

“I am happy.”

“Me, too. Dad, this is awesome.” Then a thought lands in her brain like a meteor slamming into the earth. She hasn’t really thought about it in weeks, but it’s so obvious. “Is this because of the letter I showed you? The letter Mom wrote? Is that why you broke up with Danielle and got back together with Mom?”

Matt nods.

“What letter?” comes Sarah’s voice from the doorway, as Tori’s heart feels like it has suddenly jumped into her throat.


The heavy, station-issued headphones are making Diane’s ears uncomfortably warm as she sits in the recording booth, listening to Penelope, the host of Reclaim Your Power, talk to a caller.

“I’m sure your husband and this secretary of his will eventually see how wrong they’ve been,” Penelope says in a soothing coo of a voice that is in sharp contrast to her unnaturally brassy red hair and loud printed caftan. She is pretty much the opposite of how Diane expected her to look. “Good luck reclaiming your power, Edith.”

Diane’s eyes flash to the computer display in front of them, of which she has now seen enough to understand. It lists the upcoming callers, who have been screened by the staff on the other side of the glass (where Samantha also sits, listening in), as well as a brief summation of their issues.

“Who’s next?” Diane asks as she scans the list. Truth be told, she is relaxing and beginning to enjoy this, since most of what her presence has entailed is simply being asked what she thinks about the callers’ problems. She points to one item on the screen, a call from a woman named Alexis with a tantalizing summary about a mother-in-law and a fire. “This one looks fun.”

“We’ll get back to the callers in a moment,” Penelope says. She swivels on her stool to face Diane, as though this were being recorded for TV and not radio. “I think a lot of our listeners are eager to hear how you’re doing, Diane.”

Diane’s body tenses, and suddenly the headphones feel even hotter.

“Like I said earlier,” she answers carefully, “things are much better. After I called into your show, the police closed their investigation, so--”

“Did they admit they were wrong for harassing a poor, innocent, single mother?”

“I mean…” Diane sees Samantha watching her proudly through the glass pane, and her entire body tenses. “It was a complicated situation. I’m sure they were just doing their due diligence.”

“That doesn’t exactly sound like you’ve reclaimed your power,” Penelope says. “It’s okay to be angry, Diane! You were the victim here!”

Normally Diane would jump at the chance to join a bitching session and swing this in her favor, but she knows it’s a miracle that her call to this show got Brent off her back; the last thing she needs is to insult the KBPD on air and reignite the entire thing.

“I don’t like to think of myself as a victim,” she says. “I’m just focused on moving on with my life.”

“Well, you have the right idea about moving on,” Penelope says, managing to sound pushy even with that soft voice that seems muted by a haze of Xanax. “But people need to know what the local police are all about. I was appalled by your story. They need to be held accountable! Don’t you agree?”

Diane is all too aware of the fact that this broadcast is going out live, that she has to respond somehow, and that this is only going to get worse if Penelope keeps pushing the issue. So she does the only thing she can think of: she reaches out a finger and stabs a button on the control panel.

“Alexis,” she says, as Penelope’s mouth goes wide with outrage. “Why don’t you tell us about this mother-in-law from hell?”


Matt and Tori both stand frozen in the dining room as Sarah stares them down.

“What letter?” Sarah repeats.

“It’s nothing,” Tori says, though she barely manages to choke the words out.

Matt can see how petrified his daughter is, which is only confirmed by the look she shoots him, which seems to say, I’m sorry. He shakes his head to tell her not to worry about it.

“Can we talk in the kitchen?” Matt says.

“Your brother’s in his playpen in the family room,” Sarah says to Tori. “Go check on him.”

Tori practically races out of the room.

“She was only trying to help,” Matt begins.

Sarah’s face is a stony mask. “What letter was she talking about?”

“I don’t know where it came from,” he says, “or what it was for. It looked like--it was a letter you wrote me and never sent.”

“My shrink had me write that as an exercise. How did Tori get it?”

“She said she found it in the garbage.”

Sarah exhales loudly, but it’s not so much a sigh as a huff of annoyance. “You were never supposed to see that.”

“I know. And I’m sorry. She only wanted to help.”

“That was private!”

“It was written to me.”

  Sarah Fisher

“You weren’t supposed to see it. It was for my shrink. I started and stopped a bunch of times--” She buries her face in her hands.

“Don’t be mad at Tori,” Matt says. “She wanted to help. I guess she thought if I saw what you wrote…” He can see that his words are having no impact on her, not cracking that stone façade at all.

“I’m not mad at her,” she says. “Well, I am--but I can’t believe you didn’t tell me that you’d read it!”


“It’s clear that your mother-in-law thinks of herself as the alpha in the relationship,” Penelope is saying to the caller. Diane has finally allowed herself to relax a little; her breathing has loosened up and she is leaning back in her chair ever-so-slightly.

“But what do I do?” comes the caller’s nasal voice through the headphones.

“You need to adjust the power dynamic,” Penelope says. “Recreate it. Become the alpha. You need to sit your mother-in-law down and tell her how things are going to be from now on.”

“I don’t know if that’s going to work,” Diane says.

Penelope whips her head over to stare at Diane. “What do you mean?”

“This mother-in-law is not gonna listen.”

“She will if Alexis here asserts herself and--”

“Reclaims her power. I know,” Diane says. She rocks forward, resting her elbows on the control console. “But seriously: this woman set Alexis’s wedding dress on fire. She’s a lunatic!”

“She swears it was an accident,” Alexis says. Diane can picture her perfectly based on her voice; she must be swimming in an oversized sweater, shrugging her shoulders so hard that they practically swallow her head.

“And no one else was in the room? Mm-hmm. I’m so sure it was an accident,” Diane says.

She can see a fire flaring in Penelope’s eyes, which for some reason only makes Diane want to push back harder.

“Well, what would you suggest Alexis do?” The way Penelope says it, it is as much a challenge as it is a question.

“She doesn’t need to tell this psycho anything--she needs to show her. She wants to drop by unannounced? Change the locks. She wants to criticize your driving? Strap her into your passenger seat and do 90 until she admits she’s been screwing with you. Scare the crap out of her.”

“I don’t know if that’s wise,” Penelope says.

“Think about it, Alexis,” Diane goes on. “Do you want to sit down and try and talk sense into this woman? Or would you rather let loose and get the last laugh? Hell, does she have a favorite dress?”

Alexis hems and haws for a second. “I guess she does. It’s this green one she always wears on holidays--”

“Set the damn thing on fire!” Diane says. “I’m serious. Let her see how it feels.”

Penelope slams a hand down on the console. “Diane, really--”

“I don’t know.” A giggle escapes Alexis’s throat. “It sounds kind of fun.”

Diane shoots Penelope a victorious look. “Of course it’ll be fun! Show this bitch who’s boss.”

“You really think I can do that?” Alexis says.

“I know you can,” Diane says.

“Thanks! I’m gonna go reclaim my power.”

“Alexis, wait,” Penelope says, but there is a perceptible shift in the air--the line has gone dead.

Diane catches sight of Samantha, wide-eyed from the scene she just witnessed, and then flashes a grin over at Penelope.

“That was fun,” Diane says as she adjusts her headphones. “Who’s next?”


Matt sputters over false start after false start before he actually gets any words out.

“What was I supposed to say?” he finally manages. “Tori took a picture of some letter she found in the garbage and showed me?”

“Yes! Exactly that, actually!” Sarah says.

Matt groans. “I just felt like it’d… I dunno.”

“What, embarrass me? Yeah, it’s pretty embarrassing, Matt.”

“Not that.” He forces himself to stop focusing on his hands and looks her in the eyes. “I should’ve gotten all that. It’s stupid I had to read a letter and have it spelled out for me.”

  Matt Gray

“Matt…” Sarah softens, her head lilting to the side ever so slightly. “I didn’t even fully get it until I wrote it out. I never should’ve married Graham--”

“That’s why I knew I had to break it off with Danielle. You were right.”

“We wasted so much time. And we kept pushing each other away…”

“So let’s not do that again.” He grabs her hands. “Let’s not waste more time. You want to be with me, yeah?”

The nod is reluctant at first, but once it gets going, it quickly grows in force until it is insistent.

“Then let’s do it. I’m sorry about the letter. I am. I should’ve said something. But it got us back to here.”


They fall silent, and Sarah leans in to rest her forehead against Matt’s. They stay like that for a while, several seconds at least, until he becomes aware of a presence across the room.

“Is it safe?” Tori asks timidly, shrinking away as she holds Billy’s hand.

Matt waves her over. “Come on.”

“Mom, I’m sorry about the letter,” Tori says. “I just saw it, and…”

“You should not have taken that,” Sarah says.

“I know.”

“But I’m sort of glad you did, because it finally made us get over ourselves.”

A smile breaks out across Tori’s face.

“Come here,” Sarah says, and she gives Tori a hug before kneeling down to scoop up Billy.

“What’s important is we’re all here now,” Matt says as he wraps an arm around Tori.

“And we’re gonna stay that way,” Sarah says. She leans over to press herself against Matt.

They enjoy the peaceful moment, finally a family again, before something occurs to Matt.

“Hey, what happened with the fish?”

“It needed another--oh,crap!”

“I’ll go check on it,” Matt says as he bolts.

“See? That’s why we need him around,” he hears Tori say as he rushes into the kitchen.


Did Sarah have a right to be upset at Matt?
What did you think of Diane’s stunt on the radio?
Has she made things even worse for herself?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to talk about it all now!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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