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- Claire and Brent admitted to one another that they both enjoyed their kiss, but before it could happen again, Tim interrupted them. Brent later texted Claire about having dinner together.
- Tim told Claire that he had found a tube of red paint in Spencer's car and feared it could be connected to Cameron's murder.
- Tori forged a friendship with her cousin, Spencer, and felt she was making inroads in her quest to land older man Philip.

Harbor Boulevard

As if aware of the turning of the calendar’s pages, the autumn rain has come to King’s Bay to replace the summer sunshine. A gray sky looms over the town, and raindrops fall lazily and intermittently from the sky. The windows that take up an entire wall of the Harbor Boulevard restaurant look out at a dreary street, as cars coast over the slick pavement and people rush in and out of store entrances, covering their heads with an arm or an umbrella. 

Inside the restaurant, Bill Fisher leads two of his grown children to a table beside the windows. Tim Fisher waits for his sister to take a seat before sitting down himself, and Bill sets menus before them on the rustic wooden table.

“What a nice surprise to see you both,” Bill says. “Any special reason for this lunch?"

The siblings share the quickest of conspiratorial looks. 

“Just catching up,” Sarah says, picking up her menu. “Everyone’s been so busy lately."

“Well, I’ll send a server over,” Bill tells them, “and I’ll come sit for a few minutes before you leave."

“That’ll be nice,” Tim says with a smile, and they wait until Bill has returned to the kitchen to get down to business.

Sarah sets her menu down on the table. “Okay, now that he’s gone — want to tell me what’s up?"

“I need you to do me a huge favor."

“Maybe I should’ve let you butter me up with lunch first,” she says with a wry grin.

“It’s important.” He glances around to be sure that no one is listening in; thankfully, the restaurant is still fairly empty, given that it is the very beginning of the lunch hour. “It’s about the murders."

“Tim, what’s going on?"

He opens his mouth to answer, but before he can get any words out, a perky redheaded woman in a crisp white shirt and black pants arrives beside their table.

“Hi, I’m Cassie,” she says. “I’ll be your server today. What can I get you to drink?"

With tense jaws and forced smiles, they exchange the appropriate pleasantries and order a pair of iced teas. As soon as Cassie moves away from the table, though, it is as if she never existed.

“The footprints they found near Cameron’s body,” Tim says, his voice lower, “they were made with paint, not blood."


“I need to know what kind of paint it was."

“What? Why do you need to know that?"

He hesitates for a painful moment. “I need you to trust me on this. I can’t ask Brent myself. He probably wouldn’t tell me. But if you can find out…"

“Let me see what I can do,” she says. “Tim, what is this about?"

“Nothing, I hope.” He pauses, as that tube of red paint flashes through his mind for what must be the millionth time. “And if it is something, I promise I’ll tell you more when I can."

“Okay.” She continues eyeing him warily as she leans against the back of her chair. “Now I’m worried."

“I wish I could tell you not to be,” Tim says, “but I can’t even tell myself that until I know more about the paint."

* * * * *

“It’s so good to see you,” Molly Taylor says as she wraps her arms around Trevor Brooks’s much taller frame. His long arms settle over Molly’s shoulders.

Trevor takes a deep breath. “You, too. This has been hell."

“I know. I can’t tell you how sorry I am about your mom.” Molly closes the door to her office and moves back around the desk, where she seats herself in the plush chair. “How are you doing? How’s your dad?"

“I feel like I’m still in a fog,” he says, the tired tone of his voice underscoring the comment. “My dad seems okay. Really quiet. Sad. But he’s doing his best to be strong."

“If there’s anything I can do…"

  Molly Taylor

“Thanks.” Trevor sits across the desk from her, in one of the elegant dining chairs that Molly recently brought in to warm up the space. 

“I’m sorry I missed the funeral,” she says. “After I got back from Dallas, I needed to be with the boys, and Brent felt that he and Danielle should go for Josh…"

Trevor holds up both his hands. “Totally understand. The flowers you sent were beautiful. I think everyone’s burnt out on funerals by now."

She nods solemnly. “To say the least."

He looks around the office, which has been such a familiar destination over the past few years but now seems strange and foreign, in light of everything that has happened. 

“I’m hoping it’ll help to be back at work and busy,” he says, “but being here is really weird."

“I know.” Molly stares at the fresh gray carpet, which she insisted on having replaced before she came back to work. Still, she cannot get the horrifying image of Cameron’s body, lying right there in the middle of her office, out of her mind. “Part of me keeps expecting to see Cameron out there at his desk, or to have him pop his head in with a question or a joke about someone who was just here."

Trevor barely suppresses a shudder. “I keep thinking about how I was here that night. How maybe I could’ve stopped it."

“Don’t do that to yourself."

“It’s hard not to."

“Yeah.” Molly sighs and passes a hand over the mound of paperwork waiting on her desk for approval. “I don’t quite know how we go back to normal."

“If you figure it out, let me know,” Trevor says, “because I don’t have a clue."

* * * * *

Tori Gray sits cross-legged on her bed, her MacBook and iPhone in front of her, as she listens to the restless patter of rain against the house. She checks the time on her phone and is mentally calculating how many more minutes she can stall when her father appears in her bedroom doorway. 

"Gonna leave for class soon?" Matt asks. 

"Yeah, I have plenty of time," she says, unable to keep an edge of annoyance out of her voice. "Although it would be a lot easier if I didn't have to drive to campus..."

"We know you're, uh, not happy about having to live here this semester. Once this killer gets caught and it's safe again, we'll get you back into the dorms."

"I know, I know." She lets out a load groan and picks up her phone. "I'll leave in five minutes. I swear."

"Good," Matt says, and even if he doesn't quite believe her, he has the sense to head back downstairs. 

She goes back to scrolling through her Facebook feed, annoyed at all the campus activity she sees people from KBU posting about. It isn't fair that she has to live at home. She's already so cut off from everything because of her rift with Fee, but to be out of the dorms, too... it'll be a miracle if anyone even remembers that she exists by the time spring semester rolls around. She hates feeling like some little kid.

She is still scrolling when one particular post catches her attention. The heading alerts her, Spencer Ragan was tagged in a post, and she goes on to read the post from a guy named Griffin Wells about how he, Spencer, and four other people are "ready to not feel our faces with The Weeknd tonight!" She almost keeps going, but then a thought hits her. 

Wait. If Spencer is going to Seattle for a concert tonight... 

"It has to be tonight," she whispers, and a renewed sense of energy and excitement courses through her. It's perfect. Let her parents keep thinking she's some little kid if they want to -- she knows otherwise. 

She quickly hammers out a text on her phone: Need to see you ASAP. 

* * * * *

By the time Tim and Sarah have finished their meal and Bill joins them at the table, the restaurant has filled up considerably. A steady layer of chatter and of silverware clinking against plates fills whatever empty space is left. 

“Okay, I need to get home so that Matt can come in for his shift,” Sarah says as she pushes out her chair. Her father and brother both stand to give her goodbye hugs.

“I’ll call you,” she tells Tim with a meaningful look that fills in the unspoken remainder of the statement: as soon as I know anything at all.

“Thanks,” he says, and he and Bill return to their chairs.

  Tim Fisher

“How’s Mom doing?” Tim asks, picking at the French fries left on his plate. “As much as we talk, I think she’s still reluctant to mention Ryan too much in front of me."

“She’s getting by. I don’t know how much better she could be doing, I suppose.” Bill lets out a heavy exhale and stares out into the rain. “I would just like all of this to be over. It’s impossible to move on when this crazy person is still running around murdering people."

“I know."

“I just wish there were something I could do,” Bill says. “Something to make this easier for her. For everyone. Or put an end to it."

Tim thinks again of the tube of paint — and of the fears it has raised about Spencer. He cannot imagine how horrifying it would be for the Fishers to find out that he was the one who killed Ryan, along with Sandy, Cameron, and Roz. 

“They’re going to catch whoever it is,” Tim says glumly, trying not to think about the horrifying possibility that, no matter what he does, he has not been able to put out of his head.

* * * * *

Claire Fisher is just turning off the shower when her cell phone rings. She hurries to towel off enough so that she can step out of the shower, taking extra care to dry her hands so that she won’t get the phone wet. She reaches to the countertop, where the phone has been sitting, but hesitates when she sees Brent Taylor’s name on the screen.

With the phone still calling out with its sharp ring, though, she steels herself and answers.

“Brent. Hey,” she says, continuing to towel off her hair.

“Hi.” There is a note of searching in his voice, as if he expected Claire answering the call to answer some question for him. She has a fairly good idea what that question is.

“What’s going on?” she asks uneasily.

“I wanted to follow up on dinner tonight,” he says. “Never heard back from you…"

“Yeah, sorry about that. I got caught up…” The sentence trails off as her stomach sinks, riddled with guilt. “They called me to come in to work tonight."

“Oh. Okay. We can rain-check it, then."

“That sounds good.” She tries to sound as pleasant as possible; she doesn’t want to give him the impression that she doesn’t want this dinner to happen. Their kiss — and all the promise it brought with it — filled her with an excitement she hadn’t felt in some time, and if not for Tim’s interruption with some very disturbing news, she would still be on Cloud Nine.

“When’s good for you?” he asks.

“Can we plan on next week? My shifts at the hospital are all over the place this week. By then, things should calm down."

“Sure. Okay.”

She can hear the hint of rejection in his voice, as if he is getting a message that she doesn’t actually want to send — but there is no way that she can go to a romantic dinner with him and not mention Tim’s concerns about Spencer and the murders. She can’t lie to his face about that, but she also can’t sell out her son. Not until they know more. 

“Let me look at my schedule, and I’ll let you know what days are best,” she says, hoping that the offer reassures him. She hastens to add, “I’m looking forward to it, Brent."

“Me, too,” he responds, his tone a little lighter now. “Let me know, okay?"

“I will. Talk to you later."

They end the call, and Claire sets the phone back on the counter as she dries herself off. Please get an answer, Tim — and soon, she thinks, although if the answer is that the paint he found in Spencer’s car matches the paint used at the scene of Cameron’s murder, she doesn’t think she will ever be ready to hear it.

* * * * *

The Student Center at King’s Bay University bustles with activity when Tori makes her way there after class. With her hair and sweatshirt damp from the continued drizzling outside, she climbs the stairs up to the Student Affairs office, where she finds her cousin stationed behind the front desk.

“Is everything okay?” Samantha Fisher asks as Tori walks up to the desk. “Your text sounded urgent."

“I need your help."

Samantha swivels away from her computer. “You’re scaring me."

“No, it’s for something good.” Tori leans her elbows on the top of the desk. “I need you to cover for me."

  Tori Gray

Her brow creasing with concern, Samantha asks, “Why?"

“Because there’s a guy I wanna go out with tonight. And my parents are being total Nazis about letting me leave the house."

“You shouldn’t say ‘Nazis’ that way,” Samantha says. “It’s  offensive—"

“Yeah, okay, Captain Planet."

Samantha raises an eyebrow in confusion, but before she can correct her cousin, Tori steamrolls ahead:

“All I need you to do is say we went to dinner if my mom asks."

“But won’t my mom know that I was home the entire time?"

“Don’t be home. Duh. You can find something to do for a few hours, can’t you?"

The shrill, simultaneous ring of multiple phones fills the office, but someone at another desk answers it before Samantha even has the chance to move for it. 

“I guess,” Sam says. “Who’s this guy? Are you sure it’s safe?"

“I promise. This isn’t some dumb, sketchy college boy."

“Okay.” Samantha hesitates for the briefest of moments. “Can you at least check in with me? Text me a few times to let me know you’re okay?"

“Yeah. Fine. Thanks, Sam. I owe you.” Tori steps back from the counter. “I’ll text you the details of where we can say we are. Need to keep our stories straight."


“Thanks a million!” Tori says as she hurries out of the office. She has a lot to do in the next few hours, but she has no doubt that adrenaline will carry her through it. The idea of finally being with Philip is too exciting to let anything get in her way.


Will Tori’s dream come true?
Should Claire come clean with Brent?
What will Sarah learn about the paint?
Come on over to the Footprints Forum to chat about it all!

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Monday, October 12, 2015

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