Episode #793

- Family and friends gathered for Roz Brooks's funeral. Natalie pulled Helen aside and insisted it was in poor taste for her to show her face there.
- Spurred by Cameron's shocking death, Samantha came out to her father, Tim, and he assured her that her mother would be just as supportive.
- Tori set her sights on Philip, her Aunt Molly's former fiancé. 
- Danielle fell off the wagon but managed to cover her tracks without anyone being the wiser.


After spending time beside Roz Brooks's closed casket, Helen Chase returns to a seat in the middle of the room. With her husband by her side, she bows her head, closes her eyes, and offers up prayers for her departed friend. She and Roz were never the closest of girlfriends, perhaps because Roz was much younger than Helen when their daughters were born and, as a result, they were in different places in their lives by the time Courtney and Lauren became friends. Nevertheless, they always got along splendidly, and Helen looked forward to their lunches whenever Roz's travels brought her back to King's Bay. The thought that she is gone -- especially after Courtney and Sandy -- proves overwhelming, and Helen finds herself squeezing her eyes against the tears. 

"It's going to be okay, dear," Don says when she lets out a sniffle. "We have to believe that. Here."

Helen opens her eyes when she feels him placing a tissue in her hand. She uses it to wipe her face and blow her nose, not even caring about the dark streaks of makeup left on the paper. Dolling herself up has hardly been a concern of late, but she put on makeup today out of respect for Roz; she has wept too many times over her own lost daughter the past few years to care much about ruining her makeup, in public or not. 

But as she glances up, she sees exactly what she has been trying to avoid this entire time: the stares. She has almost grown used to them of late, to the people on the streets and in the stores who recognize her from the news and have no qualms about gawking openly, as if she were some kind of wild animal. She foolishly hoped it would end after the news crews got bored and stopped staking out their home, but the appetite of the general public seems to be more durable. 

She sees them whispering and so badly wants to shout, "I didn't do it! I didn't kill anyone!" But she knows that being confrontational would only make things worse. She is lucky that she mostly kept her cool when Natalie pulled her aside earlier, but now, with her emotions surging, she isn't sure that she would play it as wisely. 

And then she sees Natalie, standing up there beside Jason as he speaks with Patrick Brooks. 

"I'm going to go," Helen says suddenly.

Don turns with a start. "What?"

"Everyone will be leaving for the burial soon, anyway. I've paid my respects. And I just don't think--" Her focus flashes over to the cluster of people whispering again. "I can't be here right now."

"Let me just say goodbye to Patrick--"

"No, it's all right. You stay if you'd like." She picks up her clutch from the empty chair on the other side of her. "I can take a taxi."

"Helen, I don't mind bringing you home."

"I know. You're so sweet. But if you want to go to the burial, please go. For both of us. I... I need some time to myself, that's all."

Don begins to rise from his seat.

“You should stay,” she says, touching his shoulder, “unless you really don’t want to be here anymore. But if you stay, please give Patrick, Lauren, and Trevor my best."

He sinks back into the chair. “Call me to let me know that you got home all right."

“I’ll be fine,” she says, and she slips out of the room, not daring to look back and see them staring anymore.


“You don’t have to do that,” Samantha Fisher says.

“I don’t mind.” Tempest Banks grabs another of the stacks of paper, still warm from the Xerox machine. “And the sooner you get this done, the faster I can get you outta here. Right?"

Samantha grins. “Yeah."

She waits for Tempest to staple her set of papers, then does her own and sticks them inside one of the glossy orientation folders provided by the university.

“Only a few hundred more to go,” she says. The sound of the stapler clicking under Tempest’s hand reverberates through the otherwise empty office. The girls sit in two rolling office chairs at Samantha’s normal post behind the front desk, though it is unlikely anyone will be coming in for forms or directions or anything else today. Samantha is grateful for the campus security guard posted downstairs, which makes the emptiness of the campus a little less daunting in light of everything that has happened lately. 

“I can’t believe school starts up again so soon,” Samantha says. “Or that I’m a senior. I feel like it was only yesterday that I was checking in and getting one of these folders."

Tempest places another completed folder in the cardboard box at their feet that is rapidly accumulating them. “You mean to tell me they don’t have any way to give people all this crap on their iPads or something? You can’t walk two damn steps around this place without seeing some sign for sustainable this or that, and then they go on and waste all this paper so some dumb freshmen can figure out where the computer lab is?"

Samantha is already laughing by the time Tempest finishes her rant. 

“What are you laughing at?” Tempest says.

“It’s just funny,” Samantha says. “You’re right. It’s so wasteful. You have such a way of seeing things clearly."

“Yeah, it’s called not being a damn idiot!"

Laughter overtakes Samantha again, but she reaches out and places a hand on Tempest’s leg to steady herself. Tempest is wearing shorts thanks to the summer heat, and the skin-on-skin contact immediately sends a surge through Samantha. Their eyes meet.

“Hey,” Samantha says. “There’s something serious I wanted to talk to you about."

Tempest’s demeanor changes immediately. “What’s up?"

Samantha takes a breath, and then the words tumble out rapidly. “I told my dad. Not about us, but about… me. And he was really cool about it."

“Girl! That’s awesome. I’m proud of you.” Tempest leans in and plants a kiss on Samantha’s cheek. 

“Thanks. But now I know my mom has to be next…"

“Do you really think she’s gonna have a problem with it?"

Samantha shrugs. “No. I guess not. She’s never had anything negative to say about gay people. I know lots of kids have it much worse."

“You’ll be fine,” Tempest says.

“Yeah. I think so. I just want her — and my dad — to know about me first. Then I can let them know that I’m… well, whatever we’re doing."

“Yeah. Whatever we’re doing.” Tempest’s lips curl into a grin, and then she leans in and touches her lips to Samantha’s. Even though she is in her workplace, the sensation overrides Samantha’s common sense, and she gives in to the kiss. It is more tender than crude, but the warmth of Tempest’s lips excites her, and--

“What’s going on here?” asks a voice.

Dread fills Samantha as the voice registers. The two or so seconds before she turns tick by with the grueling slowness of an eternity in a prison cell.

Samantha sits up straight as she looks toward her mother, standing in the doorway with her arms crossed.


When the mourners move to the cemetery for Roz's graveside service, Danielle Taylor finds herself straggling behind the rest of the group. She thought that being at the funeral home would be bad, since it would bring back memories of Ryan's funeral, but she was able to get through it all right. But that was only a place she had to go once, on that one horrible day. She has been to Bayside Cemetery many times since the day Ryan was laid to rest; as they walk, her feet trace the familiar stones of the walking path, and when Roz's party diverges from Danielle's usual route, her gaze continues to follow it into the distance, right to the gravestone where she comes to sit and be with Ryan.

"Doing okay?" Brent Taylor asks as he falls into step beside her. 

Danielle nods dutifully. "Yeah. Just fine."

They follow the procession in silence until they reach the grave that has been prepared for Roz. Danielle watches as her younger brother wraps an arm around his sobbing wife, who is saying goodbye to her mother far too soon. A darkness settles over Danielle as she watches Lauren cry and remembers how it felt, all those years ago when she was just a girl, to see her own mother buried. 

"I can't tell you how many people have made comments over the past few days about how our mother always seemed so full of life," Trevor Brooks says, now addressing the assembled group, "and even though that might be, I don't know..." He pauses to search for the word and gets some kind of silent cue from Alex Marshall. "...ironic, maybe, it's also the truest thing anyone could say about her. Rosalyn King Brooks was the most enthusiastic, energetic woman I've ever known. She taught my sister, Lauren, and me that there wasn't anything you couldn't figure out with a smile and a sense of humor. Mom, I don't know if those things are going to get us through today, but I know I will always do my best to remember that about you, and how it helped you live such a happy life, and try to live my own life the same way."

Danielle's guts twist as she listens to Trevor's heartfelt eulogy. She can hear the pain in his voice, even as he attempts to be upbeat. It seems to her like only yesterday that she and the Fishers were saying goodbye to Ryan here, as she watched in disbelief as his casket was lowered into the ground. Sometimes it still doesn't seem plausible that she will never set eyes upon him again. And when that thought does hit her, it does so with the force of an atomic blast, throwing her so off-balance that she has no idea how to find her footing again.

She can see so clearly that moment when she walked into his house, expecting a romantic night fueled by the high of getting their marriage license that very afternoon, and instead finding Ryan bleeding to death on the floor of his study. 

She remembers so vividly the limp grip of his hand as they recited their vows in the hospital, mere hours later. 

She attempts to block out the noise of her memories and focus on Lauren, who is now speaking about her mother as she chokes back tears. It almost works.

After the service, she says the right things to Lauren and her family, and after a final check-in with Josh, she follows Brent to his car.

“Are you sure you’re still up for meeting Molly and the boys?” he asks as he starts the engine.

Danielle already knows the answer. She thought that spending some time with loved ones in a cheerful setting might boost her spirits… and that little voice in her subconscious keeps whispering that the festival is being held at a winery. But she knows that she would never be able to drink there — nor should she — and she certainly isn’t in the mood for the crowds or faking good cheer right now.

“I don’t think so,” she says. “I could use some alone time. I’ll text Molly."

They keep the conversation to a minimum as Brent pilots the car toward Molly’s house; he knows as well as Danielle is that there are no words that would be enough for today.

“Do you want any company?” he asks. “Happy to hang around for a while."

“I’m okay. But thanks.” She watches as he makes a right-hand turn, and something inside her issues a split-second verdict. “Could you stop at the convenience store on the corner? I need to pick up a few things. Actually, I can walk home from there. The fresh air might be good."

To her relief, Brent doesn’t regard the request as strange, and after leaving her with a hug and another offer to spend the afternoon together, he exits the parking lot. 

Inside the store, Danielle goes through the motions of picking out a few things she doesn’t particularly need — some gum, a bag of pretzels, a large bottle of coconut water — before she moves to the shelf about which she, or at least the demon inside her, really cares. The store’s selection of wine isn’t exactly inspiring, but that doesn’t matter much right now. She takes a bottle of pinot grigio from the shelf, pays for her items without attracting much in the way of attention, and walks outside into the bright afternoon, with anticipation and shame competing for top billing inside her veins.


The lush, green grounds of the winery buzz with the excitement of King’s Bay’s end-of-summer festival. In the busy vendor area, Molly Taylor carefully studies a series of photographs clipped artfully to the back wall of Philip Ragan’s tent.

“I love what you did with the light here,” she says, pointing a manicured nail at one photo in particular. “It makes the whole thing sort of unsettling."

“That’s precisely what I was going for,” Philip says, his face alight with pleasure. 

“They’re really great, Philip. I’m impressed."

“Thank you. That means a lot coming from someone with as practiced an eye as yours."

Molly rolls her eyes. “I’m not exactly an art critic."

“No, because art critics are normally imbeciles.” 

She looks behind her and is relieved to see Caleb and Christian now perusing the goods at a screen-printing stand.

“I should get back to the boys,” she says. “But it’s good to see you."

“You, too.” He pauses, lips frozen open with the potential of something unspoken. “Would it be too forward of me to ask you to have dinner sometime soon? No pressure, no expectations beyond enjoying a meal and conversation with someone I miss dearly."

For some reason that she cannot fully understand, Molly finds herself nodding. “Yeah. That sounds really nice."

* * * * *

In another tent across the winery’s grounds, Tori Gray sits on a stool across from the cousin whom she barely knows. A large barrel, acting as a table, rests between them.

“Okay, that’s the end of the free tickets,” Spencer Ragan says as he sets his empty wine glass down on the barrel.

Tori looks toward the large makeshift bar, where winery employees have been serving a steady stream of patrons since she and Spencer walked in.

“Should we buy more?” she asks.

“No way. That sauv blanc was totally grassy. I’m not drinking it if it isn’t free."

She laughs and sips her own wine, trying to detect the ‘grassiness’ that Spencer mentioned. In her limited experience, all wine more or less tastes the same. 

“But hey, there’s this party down at Grayson Cove,” he says. "Kind of an end-of-summer kegger a bunch of my friends from school are throwing. You want to come?”

“Yeah! That sounds great.” No sooner has she spoken, though, than does Tori remember something important. “You were in Sigma Chi, weren’t you?"

“Yep. Why?"

“I was hanging out with this guy, and when I went to meet him for a date one night — this was earlier this summer — I caught him hooking up with my best friend. Well, ex-best friend.” She slugs back the rest of her wine in annoyance. 

“Who was it?"

“This guy Ian."

Spencer racks his brain for a quick moment. “Ian Griffin?"


“That guy is a douchenozzle. For real. Forget about him."

Tori spins the wine glass around by its stem as she speaks. “I don’t care about him. I just don’t need to see him. Especially if he’s with Fee."

“Oh, hell, no.” Spencer stands up and smacks a palm on the barrel decisively. “You’re coming to that party with me, and we’re gonna tell Ian and your slutty friend off."

“I don’t know…"

“Come on. It’s cousin bonding time. Our grandparents would be proud, right?"

Something about his utter confidence is endearing, and Tori climbs off her own stool. 

“Let’s do it,” she says.

“That’s the spirit."

“Just one thing…” She fishes her phone out of her purse and checks the screen. The only notification is a single text from her mother, making sure that Tori made it to the festival with her friends all right; with this killer running rampant, even getting out of the house has been like completing an obstacle course. “I need to catch up with my friends for a minute."

“Oh. Yeah. Where the hell did they go?"

She shrugs. “I think they were playing some stupid games. Why don’t you go to the party, and I’ll take an Uber to meet you in a little bit?"

“Cool. Your friends can come if they want, too. Especially if they’re hot."

She forces a chuckle and then directs her attention toward the phone. “Here. Give me your number."

He does, and they part ways. With her head swimming a little from the wine, Tori’s mission is still clear in her head as she treks over the vast lawn. 


The walk home takes longer than expected, and Danielle realizes that she underestimated the heat, especially since she is still clad in the black dress she wore to Roz’s service. By the time she makes it to the house, she is parched and quickly takes a drink of the coconut water that she bought. Still in the bag, of course, is the bottle of wine, tempting her and taunting her.

Now that she has had time to think, her impulses have dulled somewhat, and common sense has been able to get something of a toehold. It was stupid to buy the wine. She leaves the bag on the console table and looks at herself in the mirror above it. 

She looks okay. Normal. Not like someone who is falling apart. And if she can reflect that on the outside, maybe she can make herself feel that way again on the inside.

She knows immediately what she has to do: get to a meeting. It is the only sensible choice. She just has to change, and then--

But just as swiftly as the solution came to her, it crumbles into dust. She doesn’t know how she can walk into that meeting, in a place where almost everyone knows her, and admit that she hasn’t had a drink in such a meager amount of days. Not after all those years and years she had accumulated. If she had gone to a meeting early in her sobriety and seen someone slip that way after such a long time...

There is no difference between a few days and one day, not when it had been so long since the last drink.

Overwhelmed, she grabs a plastic cup from the kitchen, brings the bottle of wine up to her room, and closes the door.


Samantha springs to her feet. “Mom. What are you…"

“I was out running errands and worried about you being here alone,” Diane says, her heels clicking against the floor as she strolls into the office. “Guess I should’ve called first."

“It’s not…” The denial flies off Samantha’s lips before she has even made sense of it, and once it registers, she knows that there is no point proceeding with it. 

Diane stares pointedly at Tempest. “Could I have a minute alone with my daughter?"

Samantha offers Tempest a pair of pleading eyes. With a terse nod, Tempest rises and exits the office. Arms still folded, Diane watches her go and then closes the door behind the young woman. 

“I’ve been wanting to talk to you,” Samantha says, stepping out from behind the desk. “I just didn’t know how…"

“Sam. All I want is for you to be happy. God knows I was somehow considered lucky enough to wind up with a brilliant kid who’s also fair and level-headed — which you must get from your dad — and if this is how you feel, it’s how you feel. I would never, ever think that it’s wrong or unnatural or whatever stupid things other people might be spewing. If this is who you are, it’s who you are, and I’m happy to know it."

A rush of relief floods Samantha’s being. “Thanks."

“You don’t have to thank me. You’re my kid, and I love you. That’s it.” Diane reaches out her arms and hugs Samantha. 

“Now what’s the deal with the two of you?” Diane asks, gesturing with her thumb outside the office.

“We’re still figuring that out. But I… I like her.” Even though she hadn’t planned on revealing that part just yet, Samantha’s heart soars at actually admitting to someone how she feels about Tempest. 

“Okay.” Diane takes a step back and places her hands on Samantha’s shoulders. “I know you might believe that right now, but I don’t want you to get in too deep with anyone yet. Not if you’re still adjusting."

“We aren’t getting married. We just like each other."

“Good.” Diane folds her daughter into another embrace. “Try and keep that part in perspective, huh?"

“Mm-hmm,” Samantha says, too relieved to have this over with to worry yet about what happens next. 


When Tori arrives back at Philip’s booth, her Aunt Molly is thankfully nowhere to be seen — but that other woman, Philip’s assistant, is lingering nearby. Tori decides to seize control of the situation and marches right up to the booth.

“Philip! Hi,” she says, a dazzling smile fixed on her face as she approaches. “I was wondering if I’d see you around here."

“Tori. So good to see you.” He reaches over the table and takes her hand, but instead of shaking it, he holds it warmly between both of his. “You remember Sabrina, yes?"

“Yeah. Good to see you,” Tori says politely. 

“You, too,” Sabrina says before she returns to marking something-or-other on a printed spreadsheet. 

“Are you here with Molly and the twins?” Philip asks.

“No. Are they here? I had no idea. I did run into Spencer, though."

“Is he still here? I haven’t seen him in hours…” 

“He left to go meet some friends,” she says. “We had some wine together, though. Kind of grassy, if you ask me."

Philip grins, but Tori can’t read the expression enough to know if she has impressed him or sounded like an idiot. 

“You know, I’ve been meaning to ask you something,” she hurriedly adds. “I’m thinking about taking some more art classes this year before I choose a major, and I was wondering if you had any advice. Maybe we could have coffee or dinner and you could explain a few things to me?"

He turns, looking a bit surprised, and she again fears that she has blown it.

“Of course,” he says. “Why don’t I give you my e-mail address, and we can set something up?"

“Great. Thanks.” She was hoping for something more personal, perhaps a phone number, but it’s no matter — all she needs is some face time to prove to him that what he needs to do is look forward, not into the past. She pulls out her phone and quickly types out the address as he spells it, reminding herself not to seem too excited or eager… at least until she makes it out of his sight.


Will Tori succeed in winning Philip’s affections?
Is Diane willing to accept Samantha and Tempest?
What will it take for Danielle to get sober again?
Discuss it all in the Footprints Forum now!

Next Episode