Episode #798

- Tim discovered a tube of red paint in Spencer’s car and feared it could be connected to the footprints left near Cameron’s dead body. He asked Sarah to fish with Brent and find out what the police knew about the paint. 
- The Fishers resolved to take extra precautions and not be at home alone until the killer is caught.
- Danielle continued to spiral further as she relapsed again and drank in private. 

The rain comes and goes for the remainder of the afternoon,  leaving the streets and sidewalks of King’s Bay slick. Danielle Taylor is extra-careful as she maneuvers her car into the narrow parking lot between two buildings; luckily, there is one spot left, so she parks her car and walks out toward the street. She tries to keep under the awnings of the downtown businesses as she walks toward her destination, but she makes it only two storefronts before she sees a familiar face approaching.

“Matt. Hi,” she says.

Matt Gray wears a navy windbreaker with the hood pulled over his head. 


They linger awkwardly in front of one another, and Danielle can tell that Matt is as unsure as she is about whether they are supposed to hug. She decides to move the interaction along.

“How are you?” she asks.

“I’m all right. Running a few errands before I head into work.” His expression settles into something more somber. “How about you?"

She shrugs. “Getting by. Just finished teaching some lessons. I was going to get myself a quick bite before I go home.” She swallows hard. “How’s Sarah? And the kids?"

“Everyone’s fine. We’re making Tori live at home ’til they catch the killer. I don’t like the idea of her in some dorm room all alone, walking around at night and stuff."

“It’s smart to be careful.” Danielle feels as if she is trapped in muck, in quicksand, and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t move at full speed, can’t get the conversation to spark and feel normal. “I’ll let you get to your errands."

He nods. But as Danielle starts to move past him, Matt places a hand on her arm.

“You’re really doing okay?” he asks. 

She looks up at him. His expression is one of genuine sympathy, maybe even concern, and she wishes that she could appreciate it. He’s a good man; she knows that much. But she cannot clear her head of thoughts about how much has happened in the past year, since their split. Matt and Sarah reunited and remarried in a beautiful wedding with their family and friends around. Danielle and Ryan found their way back together, too… only to have him die after a quickie hospital wedding. It isn’t fair. 

“I’m getting by,” she says. “Thanks. I’ll see you soon."

She doesn’t even wait for him to offer a goodbye before she heads toward 322. The restaurant is moderately busy, and as she wipes her shoes on the mat, she scans the place and sees several seats at the bar. 

“Ordering food?” the bartender asks as she seats herself on one of the stools.

“Yeah. Thanks.” She takes the menu from him, unable to push out the bitter thoughts that her encounter with Matt stirred.

* * * * *

Tim Fisher sits behind his desk at Vision Publishing, a pen in hand as he signs off on what seems to be an endless pile of paperwork. He keeps glancing over at his cell phone, which rests on the desk, as if looking at it will magically induce it to ring. 

It has only been a few hours since his lunch with his sister, when he asked her to speak with Brent and find out whatever she can about the paint that the police found at the scene of Cameron’s murder. The tube of paint that he found in Spencer’s car is now sitting in Tim’s own glove compartment, where he reasons that no one is likely to see it before he has some more information. All he wants is for Sarah to call him with news, one way or the other, so that he will at least know what he is facing. 

He shoves the paperwork into a manila envelope and, after pocketing his phone, cuts through the familiar corridors of the office. When he enters the lobby, he heads directly for the receptionist — but stops when he sees who is waiting in front of the desk.

“Hi, Tim,” the other man says, a bit sheepishly, with his hands stuffed into the pockets of his skinny jeans.

“Liam,” Tim says with surprise. “I had no idea you were back in town."

* * * * *

The house is eerily quiet when Bill Fisher returns home from work. If he hadn’t seen his wife’s car outside, he would think she had gone out. But when he opens and closes the front door, there is no call from the kitchen, no enthusiastic hurry to greet him. His heartbeat and his steps quicken as he hurries to the living room.

He finds Paula there, on the sofa, with a photo album spread open in her lap.

“Where’s Gloria?” Bill asks.

Paula looks up at him, and there is no mistaking the redness in her eyes or the dried tears on her cheeks.

“We finished what we had to do for the fundraiser,” she says. "I felt silly monopolizing her time."

“That’s good of you, but you shouldn’t be alone in the house right now, with everything that’s going on."

She nods distantly. Bill sits down beside her. 

“I got to thinking, and I couldn’t entertain anymore,” she says, choking back a sob. Bill glances down at the photo album. It is open to a spread of photos from Sarah and Matt’s wedding last spring — the last time all five of Paula’s children would ever be photographed together. 

He encircles an arm around her. “What are you thinking about?"

She sweeps a hand over the photo album, as if it were necessary to draw his attention to it. “Ryan. Everything."

“Oh. Sweetie.” He squeezes her closely to him, knowing that there is nothing he can say or do to take away the pain of having lost her eldest child. 

“I don’t even have many photos of him,” she says, her voice growing thick and muddled as fresh tears fall. “There were so many years we lost…” 

“Punishing yourself for things that happened in the past won’t bring him back."

“I know. But I gave him away. I gave my son away. It isn’t as if I couldn’t have raised him…"

Her voice has grown more forceful, and Bill feels something familiar boiling within himself — something he has to remind himself to suppress. He doesn’t want to put words in her mouth, especially when she is hurting so badly, but as has happened too often over the years, she is perilously close to blaming Bill for her decision to give Ryan — the child she conceived with another man — up for adoption. 

“But you did find each other,” Bill says softly, “and even though you didn’t have all the time you would have wanted to have, you created a real bond with him. Ryan loved you. He died knowing that you loved him. Never overlook that."

“I’m trying,” she says, but the tears continue to come, so she rests her head on her shoulder. Bill knows there is nothing he can do but be here for his wife. 

* * * * *

Tim looks at Liam Cassel with great surprise. After saying something to the receptionist, Liam steps away from the desk and toward Tim. 

“I had to come back and sort out a few things for my visa,” Liam explains. “Red tape and all that."

“Makes sense.” Tim nods slowly, attempting to buy himself some time. He has no idea how to react to this man after what he did to Alex, getting him fired as co-writer of the film based on Alex’s own book. He cannot resist tackling the issue head-on. “Does Alex know you’re here?"

“No. Frankly — Tim, I know you must be peeved with me for the way I maneuvered that situation,” Liam says, his English accent rounding the edges of his words. “I apologize for that. Not for what I did, but for undermining our professional relationship. It was a pleasure working with you."

“But not with Alex."

“Alex betrayed me on a very personal level. I wouldn’t have been able to trust him as a writing partner moving forward. To be honest, he’s also a novice screenwriter. I’m perfectly equipped to handle the studio’s notes on future drafts."

There is a coolness to him, almost as if these are rehearsed talking points, and it only fuels the anger rumbling inside Tim.

“It was underhanded,” he says flatly.

“Perhaps. But my number one concern has to be my own career.” Liam stands up a little straighter. “Not that you owe me anything, but I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t tell anyone — especially Alex and Trevor — that I was here. I only want to get my paperwork taken care of, and then I’ll be off to Los Angeles again."

Jaw held tight, Tim simply says, “Fine by me.” He pushes past Liam, hands the envelope to the receptionist, and exits the lobby to return to his office without another glance at the man.

* * * * *

Danielle studies the menu, but it takes several reads for it to penetrate her mind enough so that she can make a decision. She knows that Matt meant well. But people should be asking her how her husband is, what their plans are — not how she’s coping. This is all wrong. It isn’t how it was supposed to be at all.

Or maybe this is exactly how it was supposed to be.

As she sets down the menu, the bartender appears in front of her again.

“What can I get for you?"

“I’ll have an iced tea and the Thai chicken salad,” she says, and her voice hitches for only a second before she adds, “and a double shot of tequila."

She waits for him to react, to flinch, to judge her. But he doesn’t.

“Coming right up."

Seconds later, a wide glass full of amber liquid, along with a lime, sits in front of her. She swivels her head around, making sure that there is no one here who knows her, no one would who care that she is doing this. Then she lifts the shot glass and, the pungent aroma of the tequila stinging her nostrils, throws back the liquid. It burns in her throat and chest as she bites into the lime to cut the taste.


“Here’s your iced tea,” the bartender says as he places the drink in front of her. “Your salad should be up in a few minutes."

“Thanks.” The glass thumps as she puts it back on the bar. “And let’s do another tequila."

“One of those days?” the bartender, a guy a few years younger than her with curly hair, asks with a knowing grin.

“One of those years,” she says, her entire body itching for him to fill up that glass as quickly as he possibly can. 


Can Danielle pull out of her spiral?
Will Liam see anyone else in King’s Bay?
Will Sarah have information for Tim?
Talk about it now in the Footprints Forum!

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