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- Spencer surprised the Fishers by showing up to offer his support at Ryan's burial.
- A grieving Molly was comforted by Philip's presence at Ryan's wake. 
- Tori informed Sarah that she had a date with Ian, a fraternity guy at King's Bay U.
- Devastated over the recent murders, Jason pushed Natalie away -- resulting in an argument that ended bitterly. 


When Tori Gray arrives on campus, she texts her date that she will be at the fraternity house in a few minutes. But she has barely made it out of the parking garage when she receives a text from Ian in response: 

Sry running late!! JUST woke up from my nap. Can u give me a few mins?

She huffs in annoyance, replies that it's fine, and changes course toward Warner Hall. Using her student ID, she lets herself into the dormitory and beats the familiar path to her friend Felicia C's room on the second floor (as opposed to Felicia M's up on the fourth), where someone is blasting a Nicki Minaj song down the hall. She sees a light in the crack beneath the door and knocks. 

Then it is as if the world itself inhales sharply.

Tori swears that she can hear voices -- albeit quiet, whispery ones -- from inside the room. She knows that Fee's roommate is out of town for the weekend, so something is up. Maybe Fee has a guy in there. 

"Fee, it's Tori!" she calls through the door. "I have a few minutes to kill before my date, so I thought I'd come see you. But if you're busy--"

She is interrupted by the sudden opening of the door. 

  Tori Gray

"Hey," Fee says. Her cheeks look flushed and her brown hair is messily pulled back into a ponytail. 

"You okay?" Tori asks.

"Yeah. Sorry. I was on the phone with my mom. She's being such a bitch about that family reunion thing."


Tori tries to step into the room, but Fee seems to be blocking the doorway and gives no indication that she is going to move. 

"Do you have any vodka?" Tori asks. "I'm actually a little nervous about my date."

"Oh, you'll be fine. Do you know where you guys are going?"

"No. Ian just said dinner somewhere." They stand there in an awkward face-off for a few seconds. "Can I come in, or...?"

"Sorry. My room's a total mess. I feel gross."

"Oh my god, Fee. Like I care."

Tori tries to push her way into the room, and this time, Fee physically blocks her. 

"Dude," Tori says. "What the hell's up?"

As Fee flaps her mouth in search of an answer, Tori's eyes wander around the room -- and that is when she sees it. 

"Wait," she says, suddenly numb with shock. "Is that Ian's Sigma Chi sweatshirt?"


Spencer Ragan elicits a mechanical whine from the heavy door as he slides it closed.

"Sorry to drop in like this," Tim Fisher says as he places a paper grocery bag on the counter, "but I've been charged with delivering this to you."

Spencer side-eyes the bag. "Should I be nervous?"

"No," Tim says with a laugh. He reached into the bag and pulled out one, then another, and then a third Tupperware. "Chocolate chip cookies, fudge, and… some other cookies, I forget what."

"Where'd these come from?" Spencer asks as he pops open the lid of one of the containers.

"Your grandmother. She wanted to send some things over to thank you for coming to the burial."

Spencer inspects the chocolate chip cookies. "I get cookies just for showing up to family events? Not bad."

"I was just over there for dinner," Tim explains. "She had wanted me to bring you, but I didn't want to pressure you like that, so she insisted on sending you some stuff."

"That's nice of her." Spencer takes a bite of a chocolate chip cookie and nods approvingly at the gooey warmth. "Very nice."

"She isn't so bad. I know she's probably come off a little pushy, but--"

"No, I get it," Spencer says as he continues to chew. "They seem like good people. I don't know if I'm ready to be all-in yet, but I'm willing to give it a shot."

Tim smiles. "I'm really glad to hear that."

Spencer takes the paper bag, folds it, and sticks it in the pantry where Philip keeps the other bags to reuse. Tim slides onto one of the leather-upholstered bar stools. 

"What made you decide to come to the burial?" Tim asks.

Spencer closes the pantry. "Philip kept saying I should go. But I kept thinking, I didn't really know the guy -- Ryan, I mean -- at all. So why would I go to his funeral?"

Tim nods along.

"But I was thinking about it, and I never knew him, but there's this whole other group of people I barely know -- except for you, I guess -- and they could also be gone tomorrow, too, so…"

"I'm glad you're seeing it that way," Tim says. "I know I've told you a little about the time I was… when everyone thought I was dead, but the strangest part of it is that I came back and life had gone on. Travis and Samantha had grown up a lot, Claire had been through all this stuff, and I had missed so much of life." He falls silent for a moment. "And then there are all the years I lost with you."

He looks up, fearful that he has gotten too direct and that Spencer will retreat behind the wall that is never far away. Instead, Spencer bobs his head thoughtfully.

"Yeah," he finally says.

"I'm glad you're starting to see things differently," Tim says. "We all are."


Natalie Bishop sinks back into the blue tufted sofa. She attempts to focus on the two Real Housewives of New York screeching at each other on the television, but her mind is clouded with thoughts of her fight with Jason Fisher earlier.

She knows that Jason is reeling from the brutal murders of Sandy and Ryan. Of course he is. But he was so clearly attempting to push her away -- probably out of some misguided sense of nobility -- and all she wanted to do was make him see that he didn't need to do that. 

Granted, she probably should have stopped before she used the word "melodramatic." Or "asshole." But, in the moment, neither was exactly inaccurate.

She grabs her glass of red wine from the coffee table and takes a big slug from it. She is grateful that Bree is away on her Girl Scout trip -- because there is no way Natalie would be able to be a decent mother right now, given her mood. 

  Natalie Bishop

Her head buzzing from the wine, she reaches for her cell phone. Maybe she should text Jason and at least apologize for going as far as she did. She knows that he has been on-edge, to say the least, the past few months.

But as she tries to compose a message, words fail her. The argument replays in her mind. He's the one who snapped at her. He's the one who told her to get lost and resisted her attempts at helping him. 

"Screw him," she mutters as she begins a new message. 


Several patrons are already waiting in line at the host's stand when Molly Taylor enters the restaurant. Looking around and seeing how busy it is, she realizes that she should have thought more before placing a takeout order tonight; with it being a Saturday night, of course the place is packed. 

A minute later, the door opens behind her. She turns instinctively at the slight draft from outside and sees Philip Ragan standing in the entry. He wears dark jeans and a white button-down shirt, and he looks, per usual, like he has somehow stepped straight out of a magazine. The quiet moment between them seems to stretch on for an eternity.

"Hi," he finally says. 

"Hi." She folds her arms awkwardly. "Picking up dinner?"

"Yeah. I had some work to do today, and Spencer said he's staying in tonight, so I thought I would get something on the way home. How about you?"

"Same. Well, not the working. But the boys are at home, and…" She sighs. "I'm trying to take as much off Danielle as I possibly can."

"Of course. How's she doing?" 

"As well as could be expected, I guess. I really need to thank you again for coming to the wake. It meant a lot."

"You don't have to thank me," Philip says. "It was the right thing to do."

The hostess returns and, after conferring with a man at the front of the line, looks to Molly. "Two for dinner?"

"Oh, no, I'm just picking up an order," she says. She gives her name, and then the hostess leads the large party off to their table, causing the line to dissipate quickly.

"And how are you doing?" Philip asks once they are alone. 

She shrugs. "Fine. I feel weird even saying that, considering that my brother is dead, but… I'm okay. I didn't even grow up with him, which makes it stranger. We were never super-close, but we'd gotten to know each other -- he even worked at Objection for a while when Camille was still alive--"

"I remember you telling me that."

"Anyway, it's weird. When we thought we'd lost Tim, I remember barely being able to get out of bed for days. I kept thinking about all the things we'd done together as kids, and all the milestones we'd gone through together, and I didn't have that with Ryan, but still…"

"He's still your brother," Philip finishes for her.

"Yeah." She sighs. "I really want to make sure that Danielle and the boys are all right, though. This has been a really difficult time."

The hostess returns with Molly's order, packed into two white bags. She hands Molly a receipt for her signature. Molly thanks the hostess as she takes the bags. 

"Well, I don't want to impose, but if there's ever anything I can do for you, please let me know," Philip says, looking at her hopefully. "Including helping you with those bags."

"I think I've got them," she says, pushing the door open with her shoulder. "But thank you, Philip. I mean it." 

He smiles warmly as he watches her leave the restaurant.


Fee's mouth gapes open, and she swivels her head to examine what Tori has seen. 

"It totally is," Tori says. "The letters are in that weird plaid fabric."

"Maybe someone loaned it to me after the party the other night," Fee says weakly. 

"What the hell?" Tori forcibly pushes past her friend. "Was Ian here?"

She bends down to pick up the sweatshirt -- and as she does, she sees just a flicker of something out of the corner of her eye. 

"Tori," Fee says. 

Tori drops to her knees. Sure enough, there he is: Ian, wedged under the bed, arms pulled close to his body, wearing only a pair of black boxer briefs. 

"What the hell?!" Tori says, grabbing him by the arm and attempting to drag him out. When Ian resists, Tori punches him in the arm. 

"What? You can't even come out and face me?" she demands. 

"I can explain," Fee says. 

Tori leaps to her feet and plants her hands on her hips. "Really? I've gotta hear this."

"Ian just came over to -- he wanted to pick up his sweatshirt -- and then you showed up and we knew it would be weird--"

"Oh, bullshit, Fee. Did Ian just take off his shirt and pants so he'd be more aerodynamic getting back to the house to meet me?"

As Fee attempts to produce an answer, Ian scrambles out from under the bed.

"You ass," Tori says. "You said you were still in your bed, but you were really rolling around in Fee C's!" 

"Look, it's not like we're married," he says.

"You know what? You're right. I actually don't give a shit what you do. But you--" She spins back toward Fee. "You're supposed to be my friend."

"I am your friend. I just--"

"You're just also a slut and a bitch, and those always trump 'friend.'" Tori draws her hand back and then cracks it hard against Fee's face. Fee squeals in anguish. 

"Chill out!" Ian shouts.

"Oh, I'm chill," Tori says, bolting for the door. "Or at least I will be, now that I don't have to think about the two of you anymore." 

She even manages to hold it together until she gets back to her car. 


Tim can hear the roar of the NBA finals on the television as soon as his brother lets him into the house. 

"Sorry I missed tip-off," Tim says as they wind their way toward the family room. "I had to do an errand for Mom on my way here."

"Everything okay?" Jason asks.

"Yeah. Sophie seemed to be slowing down by the time I left their place, by the way. She must've been exhausted from ordering Billy around."

"Glad they asked to take her tonight." Jason pulls open the refrigerator and grabs two bottles of beer. "And sorry I missed dinner. I really wasn't in the mood."

Tim accepts one of the beers and uses the opener mounted on the side of the refrigerator to crack it. "If you're struggling that much over losing Ryan, please don't lock yourself away--"

"It isn't that." Jason falls silent as he pops open his own beer. "Just had a shitty day."

  Tim Fisher

"What happened?"

Letting out a weighty sigh, Jason leads the way into the family room, where he drops down into an armchair. 

"I had a fight with Natalie," he finally says.

Tim seats himself on the couch. "I'm all ears. If you want."

"Thanks." Jason glances at the score on the screen, sees that Golden State has pulled out an early lead, and then refocuses. "It was stupid."

"Stupid how?"

"I went in to do some work today, just because stuff's been piling up, and she came by with lunch for me. And I told her she shouldn't be there…"

"Why not?"

"Because everyone around me is getting murdered!" Exasperated, Jason downs a sip of his beer. "Courtney, Sandy, Ryan -- it's like there's a curse on that place. Or on me."

"We don't even know that this has anything to do with you," Tim offers.

Jason shakes his head.

"Jay, seriously. Don't go down that rabbit hole. What happened to Sandy and Ryan might not have anything to do with Courtney."

Jason is silent for several seconds. "I know," he says at last.

"So then what happened with Natalie?"

"It was all so quick. She told me I was being melodramatic -- which, come on, people are getting killed -- and I told her I didn't want her there, and she called me an asshole, and… it wasn't great."

"Have you called her? Texted?"

Jason's gaze drops to the carpet. "No."

"Then that might be a good place to start," Tim says.

"Yeah. I just -- it freaks me out to think that I'm bringing her into this batshit crazy situation, and if something were to happen to her, or to Bree--"

"Brent's on top of it. Everyone needs to keep being cautious. But…" Tim trails off.


"It's just…" Tim looks his younger brother in the eyes. "The way you are with Natalie -- I haven't seen you this happy since before Courtney died. She brings out something really good in you. Don't throw that away because you're trying to be--

"Don't you dare say 'a martyr.'"

"--selfless," Tim says swiftly. "Or because you're freaked out. We're all going to get through this. Together is easier than alone."

Jason takes a moment to turn over that thought in his head. "Yeah. You're right."

"Go give her a call. I can watch the game by myself for a few minutes."

Jason reaches to his pocket for his cell phone but, not finding it there, looks over and sees it on the kitchen table. "You know what? Let me give it until morning. I get the sense that it might be better to let everything cool down first."

"If Natalie's anything like her sister, you might be right there," Tim says. "But call her first thing in the morning, okay?"

"Deal," Jason says as they settle in to watch the game. 


A lavender-scented candle burns atop the coffee table, throwing a flickering light against the far wall of the otherwise dim room. Standing at the kitchen counter in her pink silk robe, Natalie refills her glass of wine just as there is a knock on the door. 

"I was beginning to think you weren't coming," she says as she opens the door. 

"I 'm here now, right?" he says, entering the apartment.

"That you are." Natalie sizes up her visitor. "Want some wine?"

He shakes his head. "Smoked a joint on the way over here."

"Charming," she says with a roll of her eyes. 

He peels off his jacket. "I was kinda surprised you texted me, though. I thought you had some new boyfriend…"

A confusing ball of rage and guilt twists in her stomach. She takes another gulp of wine to dissolve it. 

"That didn't work out," she says before reaching up to unbutton the next button of his chambray shirt.

A sneer crosses Spencer's face.

"Come here," he says, pulling her closer and then bringing their mouths together in a heated kiss.


After leaving the campus, Tori realizes that she can't go home yet or her mother will know that her date was a disaster. She hates herself for crying over this, but she let herself get her hopes up over Ian -- and, even worse, she considered Fee a true friend. She doesn't even know how to process a betrayal of this magnitude. Hoping to kill time and gather her bearings, she stops at Cassie's for a coffee.

She is curled up in a cozy chair, not paying much attention to the young man strumming an acoustic guitar onstage, when she recognizes a familiar face at the counter. She thinks of hiding but knows it would be incredibly obvious if she made a break for it. Instead, she lowers her head -- but it is already too late.

"Tori. Hi," Philip says as he approaches her. "Everything okay?"

She realizes that she must look like a mess, her eyes puffy from crying and her makeup running all over her face.

"I'm fine," she says.

"Are you sure? I don't mean to intrude, but you seem upset."

She picks up a paper napkin and wipes her eyes. "It's a long story."

He surprises her by squatting down next to the chair. "Want to talk about it?"

"No," she says, but there is something so sincere about his eyes, and all these thoughts about Fee and Ian are whooshing around inside her head. "It's stupid. It's about a guy. And my best friend."

"That doesn't sound stupid."

"Well, they're stupid. Whatever. I don't need either of them."

"I bet you don't." He offers a kind smile, and Tori can feel it restoring at least a little of the spark within her. She has always known Philip was handsome, in a grown-up kind of way, but she hasn't ever given him too much thought aside from the fact that he was going to marry her aunt and then didn't. But he really is gorgeous. 

"Whatever happened with your friend and this boy," he says, "try not to give it another thought. You're a beautiful, clever young woman, from everything I've seen, and you're much better than people who would ever dare to treat you that way."

She feels her mouth curling into a grin. "Thanks, Philip."

"I have some work to do, so I'm going to go get myself an espresso," he says. "But I hope your night gets better."

"Thank you. You, too. I mean -- have a good night."

He flashes another one of those dazzling smiles at her and then heads to the counter. Tori feels her entire being brighten. He's right. Who needs a boy like Ian -- or a terrible, flaky friend like Fee -- when a real man can recognize what she has to offer? She pulls her knees to her chest, the coffee warming her hand through the cup, as she watches Philip order his drink and then waves goodbye to him.


Will Tori bounce back from her heartbreak?
Will Jason find out what Natalie has done?
Are you glad Spencer changed his mind about the Fishers?
Discuss it all now in the Footprints Forum!

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Friday, June 12, 2015

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