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- Diane was shocked when the head of the KBAY radio station offered her a trial run as cohost of the station's morning program. 
- Travis was upset when he learned about Claire's relationship with Jimmy, his ex-girlfriend's father. Claire told him that she already ended it but that she is free to live her own life. 
- Philip covered for Spencer and claimed that he was the one who drove the car into Molly's house. 

Thaw Coffee & Tea

The dishtowel wipes the brown ring right off the countertop. Travis Fisher sets the towel aside, but when he glances back, he sees that there is still a faint shadow of brownish-gray, a ghost of the coffee stain marring the otherwise pristine white expanse of counter. He is pulling out a spray bottle when he senses a customer approaching the register.

"Double espresso?" he asks when he sees that the customer is his uncle.

"I'm that predictable?" Ryan Moriani says with a grimace.

"It basically happens within a 15-minute window every morning." Travis moves over to the espresso machine and begins grinding the beans.

"How's everything going?" Ryan asks.

"Fine. I dunno." 

Ryan moves down the bar and talks over the plexiglass divide. He keeps his voice low even though the shop is strangely empty for this time of the day.

"I'm sure you're still upset about Elly," Ryan says, "but I promise it will get easier."

"Yeah." Travis sighs as he pulls the shot, watching the espresso drain into the cup, first a dark brown and then a more golden one. "It's just, like, one thing after another."

"What do you mean?"

Travis looks around. "Maybe I shouldn't say."

"Travis. You can talk to me." Ryan sets his arms on the top of the plexiglass. "What's going on?"


"So, Diane, what else do we need to know about you?"

Diane Bishop sits behind the glass in the radio station's broadcast booth, her new--at least for the time being--cohost beside her. Luke Berman is around Diane's age, perhaps a little younger, and although there is something very PTA-dad about his plaid shirt and khaki pants, he also bears the distinct air of a guy born and raised in Washington state, with the days-old scruff on his face and the relaxed manner in which he has poured his body into his chair.

"I have one daughter," Diane says, looking out at the bevy of onlookers on the other side of the glass, which includes the Head of Programming, Warren Croft. He assured her that, most days, it would only be the morning show's producer and a few tech people and PAs in the studio, but given that today is the first program of Diane's trial run, plenty of others have found reason to be here.

"How old?" Luke asks.

"She's in college. She actually goes to King's Bay U. She's a smart kid. Someday she's going to win a Nobel Prize and people are going to be like, 'How did that kid come out of you?'"

  Diane Bishop

Luke chuckles at the remark, and Diane can see--but not hear--the people across the glass divide doing the same. Despite the unfamiliar feelings of lightness in her stomach and tingling in her limbs, Diane senses that it's going well. She doesn't have much clue what the various lights and abbreviations that keep flashing on the screen in front of her mean, but Luke is an old pro at this, and he is keeping the show moving while Diane holds her weight in conversation. The rest will come in time, she figures.

"And what about her dad? You a married woman?" Luke asks.

"Not even close."


Normally she'd tell him that's none of his business, but part of the gig seems to be revealing personal information, or at least using it as a springboard for entertainment. 

"No. I mean, yeah, but--not from my daughter's father. It's a long story."

"How long can it be?" Luke wears the faintest trace of a sneer, one that Diane expects she will someday want to smack right off his face. There is something cocky about him, like he's taking pleasure in the fact that the listeners can hear one thing in his voice but aren't able to see what he's really doing.

"Well… it involves a kidnapping--no, wait, two kidnappings--and a murder investigation and a hostage situation at a wedding. For the record, none of those were my doing."

Luke whistles, seeming genuinely thrown by this short recap. "Sounds like we've got a lot to learn about you, Diane."

"You don't even know," she says, pleased to have turned that around on him.

She watches him check something on his own screen, and then he leans forward. 

"One thing I've been meaning to talk about is the new car I picked up last weekend," Luke says. "Everyone listening knows how tired I was of the old one--something always acting up, always having to take it to the damn shop and stuff. So I finally bit the bullet."

"What did you get?" Diane asks, figuring she should do her part to keep this weird diversion going.

"I went down to Sullivan's Subaru right off Baron's Creek and got a brand-new Subaru Outback. It's a 2015, and you wouldn't believe it, but they're practically giving these things away--"

Diane cuts him off with a snicker. "You got a station wagon?" 

Luke pauses with surprise. "I mean, I'd call it more of a crossover--"

"It's totally a station wagon. And those people down at Sullivan's are crooks. The first car I ever bought out here was a used Honda, I think, and I went there--"

"You haven't even let me tell you about the amazing financing deal they worked out with me."

"Who gives a rat's ass about the financing?" Diane says. "I'm sure they ripped you off."

Luke glowers at her and then puts a finger to his lips, telling her to stay quiet. "No, I'm pretty sure I didn't get ripped off at all. Matter of fact, I was in and out of there in two hours. They worked with me on the trade-in for my old car…"

Diane continues to listen as he prattles on about the MSRP and interest and whatever else, until Luke quickly segues into a commercial break. As soon as he presses the button to switch over to the ads, the door to the booth flies open, and Warren Croft comes barreling in.

"What in the hell is wrong with you?" he demands, staring angrily at Diane.

She removes her bulky headphones. "What do you mean?"

"That was a damned placement," Warren says.

Diane looks to Luke for help. "What?"

"Product placement," Luke says, eyes bulging as if it's the most obvious thing in the world. "The dealership paid for that to be integrated into the show. You think I give two shits about interest on a Subaru Outback? They were paying me to talk about it on-air."

"Oh," Diane says, her breath feels as though it has stopped coming entirely.

"And you just blew it all to hell," Warren says, his rage still fixed firmly upon Diane. "Nice work, lady." 


Philip Ragan can practically hear his back groaning as he holds the coffee table at waist heigh, growing more desperate each second.

"Right there," Molly Taylor says, and the instant the words come out of her mouth, Philip leans over and does everything he can to place the table atop the area rug without blatantly dropping it.

"What do you think?" Molly asks Danielle Taylor, as Philip tries not to let them see that he is catching his breath.

Danielle stands back, her hand held to her chin, and studies the room. "I think it looks good."

"Me, too. I'll get the tape measure just to be sure. Thank you," Molly says to Philip.

"How much do we have left?" he asks.

"Just lamps and knick-knacks and all that. Why don't I get some water for you, too?"

  Philip Ragan

"That sounds good," he says, stretching his mouth into a smile.

Molly leaves the room, and Danielle waits a few seconds before she busts out into a laugh.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Danielle asks in a loud whisper.

"I'm fine." Philip takes a few hard breaths and moves his hand to the small of his back. "Just tired."

"I know she can be a little bit of a taskmaster with stuff like this. You've been a real trooper, helping out this much."

"It's the least I can do, considering…" He shakes his head. 

"Accidents happen," Danielle says. "Although I'm glad I wasn't sitting in here when you drove through the wall."

"Yeah. Me, too. I'm just glad the house is fixed and everything can go back to normal."

Danielle picks up one of the throw pillows resting on the floor and tosses it onto the couch. 

"It's weird how stuff like that happens, isn't it?" she says as she moves the rest of the pillows onto the couch. 

Philip's stomach tightens. "What do you mean? Driving into a house isn't--"

"Just the chance of it all. If you and Spencer hadn't traded cars that day…"

"Yeah, it's weird," he says, trying his hard to put on his most casual tone. "I'm sure I never would've had an accident like that in my own car."

"I'm just glad you're okay." Danielle starts arranging the pillows, back into the familiar order that Philip remembers. "Why did you guys switch cars?"

Suddenly feeling antsy, Philip busies himself by adjusting one of the armchairs by invisible millimeters. "It just happened to be more convenient that day."

"It's just weird," Danielle says, standing up straight. "Spencer had been here a little bit before that--and he drove his own car, right?"

"He did." Philip allows himself a split-second to acknowledge the nervous energy pulsing through his body before he blinks his eyes and shuts it out. "He parked behind me when he got home, so it was just simpler to take his car. One of those things, I suppose."

"Yeah. Wow." Danielle takes a step back to look at the pillows. "Look okay?"

"Everything looks fantastic," Philip says, looking around the restored room and praying that Danielle decides not to think any more about the logistics of who was driving which car that day. 


Ten minutes later, Travis takes his break, grabs a bottle of water, and joins Ryan at a small table by the front window.

"So what's going on?" Ryan asks.

Travis takes a moment to knot his hands together and then undo the knot before he speaks. "I don't know if I should say. It's not really about me."


"I just found something out that bugged me," Travis explains. "And it's like… everything is always crazy now. Nothing is normal. Ever."

"Since you found out about you and Spencer?"

"Yeah. Pretty much." 

"You've been through a lot in the past few years. You're allowed to be upset."

"I guess. But I don't want to be."

"What do you mean?"

Travis toys with the cap of his water bottle. "Like… I just get annoyed at stuff even though I know there's no point. I wish everything would just go back to normal, but I know it won't."

Ryan takes a moment to deliberate, then says, "There will be a new version of 'normal' eventually. The problem is that it takes time."


"Listen, I don't mean for this to sound patronizing," Ryan says, "and I know it doesn't magically undo all the confusion of the past few years--but you have a fantastic family. And you're so lucky to have them. They don't want to replace you with Spencer."

"But my dad gave him a job."

"You can't expect them to want nothing to do with him--" Ryan sees Travis about to protest and cuts him off: "Even if you don't."

"He sucks. And he purposely fucks with me," Travis says, his voice rising in volume just a tick.

"Imagine how your dad must feel about me."

Travis starts to answer and then stops before any words come out. Ryan interjects a laugh, eager to lighten the moment.

"He didn't deserve any of what I did to him," Ryan says, "but he's found a way to be okay with me being a part of the family, and for that, I'm more grateful than he will ever know. Try and look to him as an example of how to be. He's a pretty incredible guy."

"I know he is." Travis takes a drink of his water. "Maybe I'm just being a brat."

"You're allowed to have feelings. Travis, when I found out Nick and my mother had adopted me, I was completely lost. And then Stan came to find me…"

"So I'm just going to keep finding out worse and worse things?" Travis says,  his face twisting up.

"No! My point is, eventually I found my mother--your grandmother--and I discovered that I had this whole wonderful family I had no idea existed. And they changed my life. If I had known Paula earlier in my life--or Jason, or Molly, or Sarah, or Bill, or hell, even Tim--I might have turned out a different man."

Travis's eyes brighten. "You think I should try and find my… biological parents?"

"I think you should do whatever makes you feel comfortable," Ryan says. "All I'm saying is, you're so focused on feeling displaced in the only life you've ever known--but there are things out there that could enrich your life in ways you haven't even imagined."

"My mom said she met the--my real mother once," Travis says. "When she and Brent were trying to figure out what was going on."

  Ryan Moriani

"Then maybe you should ask her for more information." Ryan picks up his cup and finishes the last of his espresso. "You have an amazing family, Travis, and you're so lucky. One day, all of this will start to feel normal again. But in the meantime, I think you owe it to yourself to look for positives where you can find them."

Travis finds himself nodding. "I think you might be onto something," he says as he looks out the window.


Diane makes it through the rest of the program without cramming her foot any further into her mouth than she already has, though she is incredibly distracted and misses an opportunity for an easy joke about Luke's wife being a fan of Elisabeth Hasselbeck. When Luke does the stupid, corny sign-off that Diane recognizes from the times when she'd catch it during her morning commute, she removes her headphones and picks up her purse.

"Nice meeting you," she says as she slings the purse over her shoulder. "Sorry about the Subaru thing."

"Maybe learn to read the schedule before the next time someone puts you on the air," Luke says.

Diane glances at the confusing grid on her screen. She can see the word "Subaru," but there's no way that a normal person would have any way of knowing that was a paid spot. If she weren't in such a crappy mood, she would tell Luke as much, but all she wants to do is get out of here.

"Yeah. Thanks for the tip," she says as she breaks for the door. But as she reaches for the handle, the door bursts open.

"You can save it," Diane says to Warren Croft, who is now blocking her escape route. "I pretty much know what you're going to say."

"I'd be surprised about that," Croft says, "since I can hardly believe it myself."

"What do you mean?"

"Mr. Sullivan from Sullivan Subaru just called," Croft explains. "He thought it was 'clever' how we integrated the ad into the show. Said that next time, we should run it by them so we don't call them crooks or anything, but he thinks it was smart of us to hire a--how did he put it--'new comedian' to liven up the show."

Luke swivels around in his chair. "Are you kidding?"

"No sir," Croft says. 

Diane's brain can hardly process the words that she is hearing. 

"Looks like it's gonna be good business for us to keep you on the air," Croft says as he extends his hand to Diane. "Welcome to the team."

"Oh. Wow. Thank you," she says as they shake. "I promise that won't happen again--at least not that way."

"Better make damn sure of it."

"Oh my god," Luke mutters.

"Looks like you're gonna have to teach me about that schedule," Diane says as her new cohost drops his head into his hands.


Will Diane be a good fit for the radio show?
Will it be good for Travis to meet his birth mother?
Is Danielle suspicious about the accident?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to talk about it all!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

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