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- Helen was displeased to learn that her late daughter's husband, Jason, was dating again. 
- Claire suggested that Tempest invited Samantha to join them on an upcoming weekend trip. 
- Diane was irritated when Samantha eagerly accepted Tempest's invitation. 

Edge of Winter Arena

"Give me three laps and you're done!"

Bree Halston is still catching her breath when she hears the command come from the side of the ice. Steeling herself, she launches into a series of powerful strokes down the ice. Her coach glides over to the barrier, where Bree's mother is waiting. 

"That program looked pretty good," Natalie Bishop says.

"Yeah. We just need to get that double Lutz-double toe cleaner," Jason Fisher says as he takes off his heavy black gloves. "She's still cheating the landing."

"It looked clean to me."

"That's because you don't have my eyes."

"Yeah, but I get much better parts of you," Natalie says with a grin.

Jason's face spreads out in a mixture of amusement and alarm, and then instinctively looks around to be sure no one overheard them.

Natalie laughs. "Oh my god, no one heard that. Calm down."

Meanwhile, the double doors of the arena open. Helen Chase leads her granddaughter in by her hand.

"Where's Daddy?" Sophie asks, taking in the overwhelming scene: the ice surface with skaters racing around, the piece of classical music playing over the stereo system, and the rush of cold air that has just hit them. Helen scans the arena, but her expression darkens as her sights fall upon Jason and Natalie across the ice, their foreheads practically smushed together as they giggle in one another's faces. 

"Come with me," Helen says, again taking Sophie's hand. They round the end of the rink and, as they walk nearer to Jason and Natalie, Helen clears her throat.

"There he is," she announces, ostensibly to Sophie but loudly enough to make the couple aware of their presence.

Jason virtually leaps backward from the boards. 

"Sophie! Hey there, Princess. What are you doing here?" He skates back to the boards as Sophie rushes up to him. "Helen. Hey."

  Helen Chase

"Hi, Mrs. Chase," Natalie says with an uncharacteristically shy wave.

"Hello," Helen says. 

"How was your sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa?" Jason asks as he leans over the railing to grab Sophie's little hands. "Did you have fun?" 

Sophie responds with an overly enthusiastic, hyperactive nod. 

"We were going to have breakfast before I drop Sophie off with Alex, and we drove by and she wanted to see you working," Helen said. Her eyes cut sideways toward Natalie. "I didn't realize I'd be… interrupting." 

"I just finished teaching Bree," Jason says, doing his best to keep his tone even, "and Natalie and I were discussing her lesson."

Helen purses her lips. "That certainly looked like an intimate discussion."

Natalie's eyes flare, and Jason places a hand on her wrist to warn her to stay calm. At that moment, Bree arrives at the boards, breathing hard.

"All done," she announces.

"Great lesson," Jason says. "We're going to spend some serious time on that combination next time, okay?"

Bree groans.

"Here, Bree, why don't you show Sophie that new spin you were working on?" Natalie suggests, already ushering the girls down the ice to give Jason and Helen a moment alone.

Jason waits until they are out of earshot before he speaks. "Look, Helen, I understand that it's difficult for you to see me with Natalie. But I don't know how many more ways I can justify this--"

"You don't have to justify anything," Helen says. "But the way you two carry on in public--it's distasteful. Especially in front of your children!"

"Helen," comes a stern voice from behind her. "That's enough."


Samantha Fisher sits at her desk, two textbooks open beside her as she types up the quotations that she needs for her American Renaissance paper. She is so engrossed in the wording of an excerpt from Herman Melville's Typee that the knock on her dorm room door barely registers at first. But it stomps its way into her consciousness, and as she finishes typing up the quotation, she realizes that she needs to address her unexpected visitor.

"Just a second!" she calls out, springing from her desk chair. When she yanks open the door, she is surprised to see her mother standing there.

"Is everything okay?" Samantha asks, confused.

Diane Bishop beams at her. "Yeah! I was driving home from the station and had some exciting news."


Dressed in dark jeans and a simple, black leather jacket, Diane strolls into the room. She surveys the Harry Potter posters on the wall.

"We really need to get you some nice art," she says.

"I like having these up," Samantha says, annoyed at having to defend her choice of decor yet again. "They make me happy."

Diane shrugs. "Let's at least get them framed nicely when you move out of here, though."

Samantha doesn't really see what's wrong with the black plastic frames she picked up at Target, but she supposes that more professional framing couldn't hurt. 

"Anyway, what I came by to tell you," Diane says, "is that the station is sending me to New York for a few meetings next weekend. I'm going to make a long weekend of it."

"That's exciting!"

"Yeah. And there's something I've been meaning to ask you about…"

Samantha's stomach tightens. "What?"

"I know coming to school here was a compromise--"

"I like it here."

"I know you do. But you had your eye on plenty of other colleges back when you were in high school, and no matter what you say, I know the fact that I lost my job was part of your decision to come here. And I love you for that. But things have gotten better."

"What does this have to do with New York?"

"You still have a year left here, and there's graduate school to think about," Diane says. "Now that money isn't such an issue, I thought you could come with me--check out NYU and Columbia…"

"Oh. Wow." The proposal catches Samantha entirely by surprise; graduate school has been on her radar for some time, but she hasn't given specific programs much consideration yet, and she certainly didn't expect her mom to suggest such a trip so soon. 

"That sounds nice," she says. "But I already agreed to go to the San Juans with Claire and Tempest. Remember?"

"I know, I know. But airfare is cheap this weekend, and I'm not sure when's the next time we'll be able to do a trip like this. You can take the ferry to the San Juans anytime."

"Well, that's true." She has been looking forward to the trip, even though it will be a little weird figuring out how she and Tempest should act when they're spending so much time with Claire--but her mother does make a point.

"I'm sure they won't be mad at you for going to visit schools," Diane adds. "And if they are, then they obviously don't have your best interests in mind."

"We really can't do it the weekend after next?"

"I'm not going to fly across the country twice in two weeks if I can help it. Come on, Samantha. Live a little!"

"Okay. I guess it is important. Thanks, Mom," Samantha says as she moves in for a hug.

"This could be really good for you," Diane says as they embrace, finally allowing her facial expression to betray her relief that Samantha has agreed to the trip. 


Ryan Moriani strides quickly over to where Jason and Helen are talking.

"Excuse me?" Helen says as she turns to him.

Ryan looks past her. "Jason, I was just coming down to remind you that I have to slip out in a little bit for that thing with Danielle, so if we could go over the payroll stuff--"

"I'll be up to the office in a few minutes," Jason says, nodding. "Just finished my lesson."

"Great." Ryan clasps his hands together. "Helen, could I speak with you for a moment?"

Both Jason and Helen make no secret of their surprise.

"I don't see why not," she says. Hoisting her purse up on her shoulder, she follows Ryan several feet away, while Jason moves down the barrier to join Sophie, Natalie, and Bree.

"I know we don't know each other very well," Ryan begins, keeping his voice at a careful volume, "but Jason is my brother and Sophie is my niece. I want so badly to see them happy--"

  Ryan Moriani

"So do I!"

"Then why are you giving him such a hard time?"

Helen's mouth flutters open and closed for a few seconds before producing a response. "I don't think it's right for him and Natalie to be carrying on like that in front of the kids. They don't understand what's going on, especially Sophie."

"I think she understands that her dad is happy. After all Jason has been through--"

Her eyes suddenly go wild with rage. "Do you think I don't understand that? You can't even imagine the hell that the last few years have been for Don and me. Sophie is all we have! I'm not going to stand back and watch that woman try and take Courtney's place--"

"Of course that's what this is really about," Ryan says. "I am no fan of the Bishop sisters, but Natalie makes Jason happy, and that's what matters. On top of that, she's actually somehow managed to raise a really great daughter. Give her a chance. No one is trying to replace Courtney." 

Helen fumes silently. 

An unmistakable tone of sadness overtakes Ryan's voice as he goes on: "Everyone loved Courtney. And I am so, so sorry for the loss you and Don have had to experience. But trying to regulate Jason's life the way you are--that can't be good for him or Sophie. That's all I'm trying to say."

As he turns to go, Helen grabs his forearm. "Don't you dare try and tell me how to feel!"

Ryan shakes loose from her grasp. "Helen, stop it. You're acting like an absolute beast."

She gasps. "Beast?! How dare you!"

"Please," Ryan says, already backing away from her and toward the stairs, "just respect Jason's decisions. That's what will be best for Sophie, in the end."

* * * * *

Down the ice, Jason stands against the boards, with Natalie and Sophie on just the other side of the barrier, as Bree shows off her spin.

"Do it again!" Sophie says, clapping excitedly. 

With the little girl's focus firmly on the ice, Natalie leans in toward Jason and whispers, "What do you think is going on over there?"

Jason risks a backward glance just in time to see Ryan pull his arm away from Helen. "I'm not sure I want to know," he says, followed by a weary exhale. 

A moment later, Helen hurries over to them. "Sophie, come on," she says. "We have to hurry if we're going to have breakfast before I take you home."

Jason bends over the railing to give Sophie a goodbye kiss. "Have a nice time at breakfast." He makes eye contact with his former mother-in-law and adds, "Thank you for taking care of Sophie."

"You're welcome," Helen says, her tone nevertheless a bit frigid. 

Neither Jason nor Natalie speaks until they see Helen and Sophie exit the arena, the slam of the door echoing throughout the vast space.

"I wonder what Ryan said to her," Natalie says.

"No clue," Jason says, "but I hope he didn't just make things worse."


Diane is heating water for a cup of tea when there is a knock at the door. Hoping that it is the package she is expecting from Amazon Prime, she hurries to the door--only to be very disappointed when she sees who it is.

"To what do I owe this pleasure?" she says to Claire Fisher.

"I got a text from Tempest saying that Samantha won't be coming on our trip with us," Claire explains, "because you sprung a trip to New York on her."

Diane folds her arms. "And?"

"And I thought that was a little strange, so since I was driving by, I figured I'd stop in and have a chat with you."

"Great." Annoyed, Diane steps out of the way and lets Claire into the condo. 

While Diane shuts the door, Claire takes a moment to look around, drinking in the sight of this place where she hasn't been in years and years. 

"Now what in the hell are we supposed to be chatting about?" Diane asks.

"You knew Tempest had invited Samantha to come away with us next weekend," Claire says. "What makes it so imperative that you guys go to New York the exact same weekend, on such short notice?"

"As it turns out, I'm going for work. I don't know if you've heard, but I'm an important personality for KBAY now--"

"Believe me, I've heard."

  Claire Fisher

"Samantha and I had been discussing a trip out there for her to look at NYU and Columbia, and since the station is sending me, why not kill two birds with one stone?" Diane slides around the half-wall to check on her water, even though she knows it won't be ready yet. "I'm not sure why this warrants a visit, Claire."

"Because I know you, and I get the distinct impression you aren't a fan of Samantha and Tempest being close. Please tell me this isn't a race thing--"

"Oh my god!" Diane says, throwing up her hands. "Do you really think that poorly of me? Of course it's not a race thing."

"Well, excuse me for not having the highest opinion of the woman who tricked my husband into having sex with her while he had amnesia," Claire says, her words pointed, "but it isn't the most far-fetched idea in the world."

Diane sighs. "I guess not. But that is absolutely not what this is about."

"Okay. I'm going to take you at your word there."  

"How generous of you."

"Then what is it about?" Claire asks, peering at her over the breakfast nook with an intense gaze that seems to be challenging Diane--although to what, she is not sure.

"This is about me wanting Samantha to have the best education she can possibly have. Not that it's any of your business, but I still feel guilty that I wasn't able to send her to a more expensive school for undergrad. If I can make that up to her now that I'm back on my feet…"

Claire nods quietly, seeming to accept that. 

"Okay," she finally says. "As long as this isn't about you trying to keep Samantha and Tempest apart--"

"Keep them apart?" Diane interrupts with a cutting laugh. "They're adults. They can be friends with whomever they like. Frankly, I don't see why you have to be so involved with who chooses to spend time with Tempest--or not."

"Tempest has had a tough life," Claire says, "and I want to do whatever I can to make sure she's happy now--whatever form that takes."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"I think you have a pretty good idea."

The statement lingers in the air like smoke that refuses to dissolve, insisting upon making its presence felt. The women stare one another down, neither daring to take the conversation a step further. Finally, the kettle whistles, breaking the spell.

"Well, I'm sorry you have nothing more interesting going on in your life than figuring out who's free to join Tempest on a road trip," Diane says, "but if that's all, I think we're done here."

"Yes, we are." Claire moves toward the door. "Just remember what I said."

"You said a lot of things, most of which were either insulting or ridiculous, but I'll do my best."

"Good." With that, Claire opens the door and steps out.

Diane pours water from the kettle into her mug and then, the steam rushing up toward her face, sets the kettle back down on the range. Is it possible that Claire knows what's really going on between Samantha and Tempest, too? She can't be sure, but it certainly seemed that way--and if that is the case, she absolutely did the right thing by throwing together this New York trip.


What is Diane's problem with Tempest?
Was Ryan out of line in confronting Helen?
Should Jason handle his new relationship differently?
Come on over to the Footprints Forum to talk about it all!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

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