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- Ryan forced Jason to admit that he might be interested in Natalie after all.
- Travis struggled to move on after Elly broke up with him and left to attend law school.
- Liam returned to King’s Bay and paid his ex-fiancé, Trevor, a surprise visit, only to discover that Alex and Trevor were hanging out together. Alex made a quick exit, while Liam told Trevor that he has made peace with the end of their relationship.

Vision Publishing

Alex Marshall sits in one of the too-square armchairs in the reception area of the publishing company, trying to find a position that resembles comfortable. He uses his iPhone to flip through the e-mails that have accumulated in his inbox throughout the morning, deleting them one by one. He finally comes to one that warrants a response and--after uncrossing his legs and then leaning forward--begins to type it.

He is in the middle of a thought when he hears footsteps enter the lobby and then a familiar, accented voice tell the receptionist, "Liam Cassel. I have a meeting with Tim Fisher."

Alex tucks his phone away mid-draft. He waits for Liam to turn around and then smiles at him. "Good morning."

"Morning to you, too," Liam says as he takes the seat beside Alex. "My god, when are they going to replace these awful chairs?"

"If we sell this movie, maybe we can buy some and donate them," Alex says with a laugh. "How's being back in the States so far?"

"Nothing terribly noteworthy to speak of yet. I've found a room to rent for the month. It isn't quite as luxurious as the Metropolitan Inn, but it's less painful on my wallet…"

"Oh, cool. Where is it?"

  Liam Cassel

"I believe it's actually very close to your house," Liam says. "Spring Road? Not far from where it meets Snohomish--" He stumbles over the unfamiliar name.

"Snohomish Avenue," Alex jumps in. "Yeah. That's only a few minutes away."

"I thought so. That'll make it easier to get together and work, won't it?"


"It's really nice to see you." Liam stares straight ahead another moment, out the large windows that offer a view of the gray haze looming over downtown King's Bay, but before Alex can respond, the Englishman turns to him and adds, "I didn't expect I'd run into you on my very first stop back in town, of course."

An uncomfortable lump rises into Alex's throat. "At Trevor's? Yeah, that was weird. I was only there for ten minutes or so. Funny timing."

He is still issuing mental reminders to play it cool when Liam tosses another log onto the fire:

"I take it you and Trevor have gotten close again, then?"

Edge of Winter Arena

The forceful sounds of the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack boom out of the arena's state-of-the-art sound system. On the ice, a teenaged male skater races from one jump to the next, bothering with the program's choreography in only a passing sense. Jason Fisher stands at the side of the ice, trying not to be annoyed at the lazy effort, but the part of him that might be otherwise motivated to speak to the boy's coach is distracted waiting for the door to the ladies' room to open.

Finally, it does, and Natalie Bishop emerges. Jason stands as casually as he can, hands in his jacket pockets, as he watches the boy finish his program. Out of the corner of his eye, he spots Natalie heading back toward the bleachers. As if stretching his neck, he turns to one side and lets his gaze land upon her.

"Hey," he says as soon as they make eye contact.

"Hi," Natalie says curtly. She makes no move to stop as she walks past him.

"Natalie. Wait." He trails behind her for a few steps before she abruptly turns back toward him.

"I gave Bree the check for this week's lessons."

"I know. She gave it to me. Thanks."

Natalie folds her arms, which are clad in a stylish leather jacket. "Then what is it?"

"I, um, was hoping we could talk."

"About what?" Even the few syllables she chooses are all hard edges and impenetrable masses, like jagged icebergs suddenly popping up in front of him to block his path. 

"About the other day." Her cold stare challenges him to be more specific, to say the actual words as plainly as possible. It's almost enough to make him forget the whole thing and walk off. Instead, he spits out, "About Spokane."

Thaw Coffee & Tea

Travis Fisher stands by the bar nearest the front of the shop, refilling the canister of half-and-half, when the door opens. Reflexively, he glances up, only to encounter a very familiar face.

"Travis. Hi," Danielle Taylor says as she hikes up her purse on her shoulder.

"Hey," Travis says, awkwardness settling over him like one of the storm clouds waiting outside.

"I thought you were more of a Cassie's fan," he adds, eager to break the tension.

"I'm giving a guitar lesson up this way in a few minutes." Her whole posture seems to soften before she asks, "How are you doing?"

"Fine. Good. Keeping busy." He hesitates and then decides that he might as well address the elephant in the room. "How's Elly doing at school?"

"I think she's really enjoying it. At least as much as you can enjoy something where all you do is read and get called on to answer impossible questions."

They share a laugh, both relieved to have even the faintest hint of a joke to break the tension.

"You guys really haven't spoken?" Danielle asks.

"I'm trying to give her some space. I think she needs it." Travis feels himself turning inward. "I'm really sorry about what I did."

"I won't say it's okay, but I think you've gotten enough grief over it. And, for what it's worth, I'm sorry things ended as poorly as they did."

  Travis Fisher

"Thanks." Travis forces himself to brighten as he switches to filling up the nonfat milk. “My Aunt Molly said the house is all fixed up.”

“Yeah. It’s good to be moved back in.”

“I still can’t believe Philip drove a car through the living room.”

“It was more into than through,” Danielle says, “but yeah. I’m just glad no one was home. It wasn’t that long after Elly and I left for the airport.”

Travis stops mid-movement, the cap to the nonfat milk half-screwed-on. “It was the same day?”

“Yeah.” Danielle pauses, a thought perched on her lips for several seconds before she releases it. “Don’t tell Elly I told you this--but before she left that day, she asked Spencer to come by the house--”

Travis’s blood pressure spikes. “She what?”

“--and she ripped him a new one,” Danielle quickly finishes. “She let him know that what he did to you and Samantha was really crappy and that she didn’t buy his innocent act for a second.”

“Wow.” Travis turns this new information over in his brain, trying to get a feel for it. “I didn’t expect that.”

“Like I said, please don’t tell her that I told you.”

“Of course not.”

“But I thought you deserved to hear it. I hope you’ve learned a lesson from all this, but it’s okay to forgive yourself, too.”

Travis doesn’t quite know how to respond to that, so he simply says, “Thanks.”

Danielle nods toward the counter. “I should get my drink so I’m not late for my lesson. Take care, Travis.”

“Yeah, you, too.” He is so overwhelmed by what Danielle just revealed that he can’t even remember which milk canisters he already refilled, so he makes himself recheck each of them while he considers what he has just learned.


Alex searches Liam's face for some sign of accusation, but there is none--not in his voice, either. His expression and his tone are both perfectly pleasant, curious in a friendly way, but it is impossible for Alex not to detect some deeper probing in it all.

"I don't know if I'd say that," Alex responds with an awkward grin. "It's always weird with exes--you know that. It would be good to be friendly, though. It's been a really long time."

"He bought that candy for you from New York, no?"

Alex nods. He wonders again if Liam knows something more--not that there is anything to know. If he had any idea about the night Alex and Trevor spent together when Trevor first came back to King's Bay, he certainly wouldn't be sitting here making happy conversation, nor would he be showing up at Trevor's door so cheerily. 

"I think it was a bit of a peace offering," Alex says. "I haven't been too easy on him since the--since he called off the wedding. Maybe it isn't totally fair, but neither was the way he ended things with you."

"I appreciate that," Liam says. "But it's in the past now. I'd rather he called it off at the last minute than put me through the humiliation of a ceremony he didn't want."

"I don't think it's that he didn't want it…"

"But he didn't want it enough." Liam widens his eyes knowingly; there's an amused sparkle to them, as if he really has made peace with what happened--or is, at the least, making a deliberate effort to project that air in hopes of eventually internalizing it. 

"Well, I'm glad you're back, regardless," Alex says. 

"Same. And how are things with you and Cameron? I haven't seen him tag you in many photos on Facebook lately…"

"God, he loves tagging a photo." Alex laughs and shakes his head. "I guess that sort of sums up the issues between us, though."

"What do you mean?"

"He still loves to go out, and no activity really counts unless he takes a hundred selfies in the middle of it. And there's nothing wrong with that, but we just have different priorities."

"Does that mean you've backed off the relationship?" Liam asks.

"Sort of. Yeah."

"I'm sorry to hear that."

"Thanks. But it's fine. If it's going to work out, it will… and if not, then it wasn't meant to be."

"Hey, guys," comes a voice from the other side of the lobby. Alex turns to see Spencer Ragan, in khaki pants, a blue button-down, and a striped tie, coming toward them. "Tim's all ready for the meeting. Tim told me to come and grab you."

"Let's go," Alex says, as he and Liam rise and fall into step behind Spencer.

"Grab us, eh?" Liam whispers to Alex as they walk behind the younger man. "Can't say I'd mind that."

"Stop!" Alex says, unable to resist a chuckle as he elbows Liam in the side. 


The music pouring out of the sound system ends, and still Jason cannot find the right words, no matter how many times he has rehearsed versions of this in his head or, even more embarrassingly, in the mirror.

“You were saying…?” Natalie prompts him, a knowing sneer on her face.

“Do you want me to be nice or not?” he snaps back.

“I mean, it can’t be as bad as the time you told me I couldn’t ever dream of being half the woman your dead wife was…”

“Those were not my actual words!” Jason says. He forces himself to stop and calm down. “But I should apologize for what I said that day. I was out of line.”

  Jason Fisher

Natalie drinks that in slowly, as if contemplating how true it is--or simply savoring his acknowledgement of having been in the wrong.

“Well, thanks,” she says, before hastily adding, “Sorry if I was pushy.”

“It’s okay.”

Another piece of music starts up, and they both instantly recognize it as Bree’s short program and reflexively swivel toward the ice to watch. They do in silence until she completes her first jump, a double flip, and then Jason turns back to Natalie.

He feels his chest tighten as he begins. “About Spokane… maybe you were right.”

“Did I just hear you tell me that I might’ve been right about something?”

“Yeah.” His cheeks suddenly feel hot, a sensation he hasn’t experienced in years. “It might’ve been fun.”

“So you were into it.”

“I wasn’t not into it.”

“Why, Jason,” she says, “are you saying you’re into me?”

“I’m saying that it might not be the worst idea ever.” The teasing boosts his confidence, emboldening him to go through with the rest. “Maybe we should hang out outside of this place. Like dinner.”

“I think I could do that,” Natalie says.

“I think you might like it.”

“Don’t go crazy, okay?”

They turn back to the ice to watch Bree’s double-double combination, but even when she bobbles on the landing, Jason cannot wipe the grin off his face.


Could Jason and Natalie actually be a good match?
Will Travis be able to move on from Elly now?
Can Alex be friends with both Liam and Trevor?
Discuss it all in the Footprints Forum now!

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Wed., November 05, 2014

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