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- As Tori lingered in a coma, Philip realized that he would have to kill her to ensure that she never wakes up and identifies him as the Footprint Killer. 
- Molly and Philip continued to move toward a reunion and made love for the first time since calling off their engagement. 
- Natalie continued to hide her pregnancy from Jason, which led to tension in their relationship. 

KB Memorial Hospital

Despite the cheerful voices of the daytime hosts coming from the television, it feels nothing like a holiday to Sarah Fisher Gray. Perhaps it is the sterile, impersonal feeling of her surroundings: the dull, white walls of the hospital room; the machines and tubes that dominate the space; the stagnant air that never seems to move. Most likely, though, it is the sight of her daughter lying in the hospital bed, the same as she has been for days and days, like a wax figure of the young woman whom Sarah knows so well.
“Look who’s here to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!” announces a voice from the doorway.
Sarah dares to remove her focus from Tori’s comatose form long enough to look back at her husband and young son. Matt has Billy held aloft in his arms, as if they have been playing a game of Airplane, and the toddler is kicking his limbs wildly.
“Mommy!” Billy cries out.
“Come here, sweetie,” Sarah says as Matt hands the boy off to her. She watches as his small eyes trace their way over Tori, his little face tightening with concern. Initially, she didn’t want Billy to see his sister this way at all, but at a certain point, it became easier to let him see that Tori is all right and appears to be sleeping than it was to explain that she went away for a little while.
“Wake up!” he tells his sister in his usual manner, with no regard for modulating his volume at all. When she doesn’t obey the command, Billy looks up at his mother. “Why won’t she wake up?”
“Because she still has those boo-boos we told you about,” Sarah explains calmly. “She has to sleep until they get better.”
“Can I see them?” he asks, focused intently on Tori, whose body is mostly covered by the white sheet of the hospital bed.
“They’re inside her, mostly. That’s why they’re so bad. Her body just needs rest.”
Matt steps up behind Sarah and places a strong, comforting hand on her shoulder.
“Tori’s gonna be fine,” he says in that firm, direct tone he does so well, making it sound as if there is no question at all about the outcome of her condition. Though the words are ostensibly directed at both Sarah and Billy, Sarah knows that Matt is speaking primarily for her benefit right now.

When there is a series of quick raps upon the door, they all turn to see Paula Fisher standing there.
“Grandma!” Billy shouts, loudly enough that Sarah briefly wonders if it might be enough to wake Tori, after all.
“Happy Thanksgiving,” Paula says as the little boy runs into her arms and she scoops him up.
As Matt throws Paula a quizzical look, Sarah asks, “What are you doing here?"

  Sarah Fisher Gray

“Well, I wanted to come see you all, and we thought…"

Sarah sets her jaw. “Mom, we said we’d come by the house in a few hours. You can trust me to show up for Thanksgiving dinner. You don’t have to check up—"

“I’m not checking up on you—” 

“Then what are you doing here?"

“Let her finish,” Matt says, squeezing Sarah’s shoulder.

“The more your father and I discussed it, the more it seemed cruel to pull you away from Tori today. And we should all be with her,” Paula explains. "That’s why we’ve decided to celebrate Thanksgiving here instead.”
“Oh,” Sarah says. “That’s… nice."

“Yeah, it is,” Matt adds. 
“What are we going to eat?” Sarah asks. “Won’t everyone be annoyed?”
“Everyone wants to be together today while we pray for Tori,” Paula says, “and Bill has a special helper in the kitchen with him putting together a Thanksgiving picnic for all of us.” She bounces her grandson on her arm. “Regardless of the hand we’ve been dealt, we’re going to make this a special Thanksgiving – for Tori’s sake.”

* * * * *

“Are these okay?” Travis Fisher asks from his post at his grandparents’ kitchen counter.

Bill Fisher closes the oven door, though the scent of roasting turkey — and all the herbs and vegetables that have joined it in the pan — wafts out and fills the kitchen. Travis inhales deeply as he waits for Bill to set aside the oven mitt and come to take a look.

“A little smaller, but those are good,” Bill says. 

“I don’t remember you ever doing the yams like this for Thanksgiving."

“I made some adjustments this year because the food is traveling. The cubes will be a lot easier to package up — and when they caramelize…” Bill trails off but kisses his fingertips in anticipation of the delicious side dish. “And those are actually sweet potatoes."

“What’s the difference?"

“Yams are actually hard to find. They’re sort of scaly, and they’re more white or even purple inside."

“No way. I thought they were orange."

“No, sweet potatoes are orange. I bet you’ve never even had a real yam.”


Bill begins peeling one of the many russet potatoes that he will soon mash. “I really appreciate you coming to help out, kiddo. Matt should be with Tori, and you know how stressed your grandmother can get for these big family meals.” 

Travis looks up from his chopping. “I kinda like doing this stuff. It’s, I don’t know, relaxing?"

“That’s how I feel when I cook, even after all these years. You have a task, you get it done, and you have something to show for it — and, if you do a good job, you make people happy. What’s not to like?"

Travis smiles back at him. “I never thought about it that way,” he says before returning his attention to the sweet potatoes. 

* * * * *

It has been a long time since Natalie Bishop enjoyed Thanksgiving. During the years she was married to Bree’s father, he expected her to cook a meal and host his extended family in their home. It was always a day fraught with panic and stress for her, as the Halstons judged every single one of her decorating and cooking choices, and there was always some near-catastrophe with one item of the menu or another; the only year she had any semblance of peace of mind was when she covertly had the meal catered, but even that came with the stress of sneaking it into the house and answering a thousand questions about how she had prepared this or that.

Since their divorce, she has let Bree spend Thanksgiving with Conrad and his family, since it’s such a big damn deal to them. Besides, that means she gets to be with her daughter for Christmas. Some years, she goes to spend the day with her parents — as long as Diane isn’t doing the same. Others, she has taken trips with friends or men she’s been seeing. This year, she was sure that she would spend the day with Jason and his family… but, in light of recent events, she decided to turn down his invitation.

Now she lies on the couch in her apartment, the blinds parted to reveal the rainy gray day outside. Her entire body feels tired, just as it did for most of her pregnancy with Bree.  What she wouldn’t give for a glass or three of wine to pass the time today — but even that is off the table now.

She cannot help but rewind and replay her conversation with Jason from the other day over and over again.

“Huh?” he asks, pulling back with a befuddled expression on his face.
“What? I’m just… I’m not in the mood.”
“Okay.” Jason sits back, legs folded under himself. “What’s going on?”
“What do you mean?”
“These last few weeks, every time I make a move, you’re suddenly tired or have a headache or don’t feel well or something.”
“We were just watching TV…”
“Even you don’t love the
Real Housewives that much,” he says. “So be honest with me: why don’t you want to have sex with me?”

She thought that she covered all right, making it clear that the problem was with her and not him, but their lunch that followed brimmed with awkwardness, and aside from a few text messages and quick phone calls, they haven’t spoken since. It isn’t even that she doesn’t want to have sex with him; it’s that her body reacts in the moment, making her too uneasy to go through with it.

And you’re going to lose him because of it, she thinks bitterly. 

She thought of terminating the pregnancy, but she is already too far along to do that. But things have been good between her and Jason — aside from that one little blip earlier in the year — and she doesn’t want to ruin that. Nor does she want to be a single mother to two children. 

Maybe the baby will bring us closer, she thinks. That voice has been whispering in the back of her mind for weeks, but only now does she let it through.

There is another voice, one that she pushes down. She isn’t going to think like that. No. This child is Jason’s.

With a rush of energy moving through her, she grabs her phone from the table and taps out a text message:

Is that invitation still good?

* * * * *

The elevator doors close in front of the Ragan men, and with a lurch, the elevator begins its ascent.

“Having Thanksgiving in a hospital is weird,” Spencer Ragan says as he adjusts his burgundy sweater. “What are we going to do, sit there shoving turkey in our mouths while they do those paddle-things on some old guy?” He mimes pushing the defibrillator paddles against an invisible person and being jolted by the current.

Molly said that her parents — your grandparents,” Philip Ragan adds, for emphasis, “felt it would be wrong to have a celebration at the house while Tori was hospitalized."

  Spencer Ragan

“Yeah, but we can’t even drink here."

“We’ll survive. Besides, you haven’t even been to see your cousin since her attack. If she doesn’t pull through…"

“Is that what they think?” Spencer asks, a note of legitimate fear in his voice. 

Philip shakes his head sadly. “I don’t know. I would imagine it isn’t an unrealistic outcome for a person in a coma, though."

The two men continue to ride quietly, and Philip stares ahead at the smudged metallic doors, in which he can see a blurry, distorted reflection of himself. He is all too aware of the syringe and the vial of powder in his coat pocket; though he had hoped to be able to outsource this task to one of Loretta’s hired hands, it’s far too risky to have anyone else in the know. And he has to make sure this is done properly. 

“Things must be better between you and Molly if you scored an invite to Thanksgiving,” Spencer comments.

“They are. I’m optimistic."

“Let’s try and make it less of a disaster than last year's,” Spencer says as the elevator arrives at its destination and settles. “Though I don’t think it could get much worse than that."

“I would hope not,” Philip says, swallowing hard as his stomach turns over. 

* * * * *

“Happy Thanksgiving,” Molly Taylor says as she embraces her mother in the middle of the ICU’s waiting area. “Has there been any change?"

“I’m afraid not,” Paula says. Her dress is more casual than it would normally be on a family holiday — simple, beige slacks and a loose pink sweater, with no jewelry in sight — and the lines in her face seem to have deepened significantly since last Thanksgiving. 

“I think it’s a great idea to do this. Where are we going to eat, though?"

“Your father and Travis are going to bring everything to the cafeteria. They wouldn’t allow of us to be in Tori’s room at the same time, anyway. We can take turns visiting.” She sighs and forces a smile. “Did you get to speak to the twins yet?"

“Yeah, if you can call forcing them to answer a few questions  a conversation,” Molly says. “Brent said they behaved on the plane, though."

“As much as I wish they were here, it will be nice for them to spend the holiday with the Taylors. And to be away from King’s Bay for a few days."

Molly nods before waving to the cluster of other family members waiting across the room: both of her brothers, Samantha, Sophie, and Diane. She is about to go greet them when she sees Philip and Spencer enter the waiting area. Paula turns and lights up at the sight of her grandson.

“Happy Thanksgiving,” she says to the new arrivals. “I’m so glad you could join us."

“Yeah, Happy Thanksgiving,” Spencer says, with palpable awkwardness. “Guess I’m going to go say hi to Tim and everyone."

Paula beams as she watches him move across the room.

“Thanks so much for including me,” Philip says as he takes Molly's arm. "I think it’s wonderful what you’ve all decided to do this year.” 

“We’re hoping it will, I don’t know, help Tori somehow,” Paula says. “That she’ll sense the positive energy. I know it sounds silly…"

“It doesn’t,” Molly assures her.

“Not at all,” Philip says. “‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way,’ and all that.” 

On the other side of the waiting room, Spencer approaches the rest of the family.

“Hey, man,” Jason says warmly.

“Happy Thanksgiving,” Tim says as he slings an arm over Spencer’s shoulders. Spencer is surprised at how natural it feels — at how normal it feels to be bonded to this person he didn’t even know a few years ago, this person who is his actual father. 

“You guys, too,” he says. He sees Samantha eyeing him with an inscrutable expression, her face held motionless as if waiting for something.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Samantha,” Spencer finally says.

“You, too,” she responds, and the simple words come as more of a relief than he anticipated. They haven’t seen one another much since last year, and no matter how much he insists that he didn’t purposely ply Samantha for information to use against Travis and Elly, he knows that she knows the truth.

“Are we allowed to see her?” he asks. “Tori, I mean? I don’t want to intrude…"

“Sarah and Matt are in with her,” Samantha says. “I’ll take you. I bet they’ll be happy you came to see her."

She starts for the double doors that lead to the patient rooms, and Spencer follows. 

Sophie tugs on Jason’s hand. “When are we eating turkey?"

“As soon as your grandpa and Travis get the food here,” Jason says. “Speaking of which…” He pulls his phone from his pants pocket and sees a text alert.

“Are they here? We can go down and help,” Tim says.

“No, it’s Natalie,” Jason explains as he reads the message. “She’s feeling up to joining us after all."

“That’s the worst news I’ve heard all day,” Diane says with a roll of her eyes. 

Tim cocks his head. “I’m sure the two of you can handle one holiday together."

Diane huffs and crosses her arms. “Let’s just say it’s probably a good thing we’re already in a hospital.” 

* * * * *

Samantha leads Spencer through the hospital’s corridors, but Spencer finds the silence between them unnerving.

“From the way Tim explained it, it sounds like you and Tempest saved Tori,” he says.

Samantha shrugs as they turn a corner. “We just happened to be there. I wish we had seen who did it, but…” She shudders at the thought of how wrong the encounter could have gone.

When they reach Tori’s room, the young, female officer posted outside the door nods at Samantha.

“This is my brother, Spencer,” Samantha says. “He’s fine to go in."

“Go right ahead,” Officer Jimenez tells them.

Sarah has already noticed them and moves from the bedside toward the two young adults. 

“Thanks for coming,” she tells Spencer. 

“Yeah. Sorry I haven’t been sooner. It’s…” He looks past her, at his cousin lying so motionless in the bed.

“It’s hard to see her like this,” Matt says as he hoists Billy into his arms. “Why don’t we give you guys some time with her? We should go see everyone else, anyway."

Sarah nods, but instead of moving for the door, she plants herself in front of Spencer.

“She really never said anything to you?” she asks. “You have no idea who this guy was?"

He shakes his head. “No. Just what I told the police — she said he was older. Not a college guy. That’s it.” 

“I can’t figure out where she even would’ve met someone,” Sarah says, her voice craggy with tiredness and frustration. “There’s nothing in her texts or her e-mails."

“I wish I knew something,” Spencer says. 

Sarah and Matt exit the room with Billy, and Spencer takes a few cautious steps closer toward Tori. 

“I can give you some time alone,” Samantha says.

“No. Stay. Please.” He continues to study Tori, so still and small in the bed. He has no idea what most of the machines are or what they do, but the overall effect is disturbingly serious — like these machines might be the only thing keeping her alive.

“I just started to get to know her,” he says, partly to Samantha and partly to himself. “She always seemed so full of life."

“She is full of life. She’s just healing right now.” Samantha joins him at the bedside. Spencer moves his gaze from his cousin to his sister, again wondering how it was possible that these people — his family — were out there for so many years, and he never had any idea that they were related. 

“She's going to get better,” Spencer says. “She will."

* * * * *

Diane offers to go with Tim to help Bill and Travis bring the food from the car to the cafeteria, while Jason remains upstairs to wait for Natalie. He is chatting with Molly, watching Sophie play with Paula and Billy out of the corner of his eye, when Natalie walks in. She is dressed more conservatively than usual, in a knit black poncho, and she stops in the entrance in a way that Jason would almost call meek — which is the last word he would ever use to describe Natalie Bishop. He excuses himself and goes over to greet her.

“Happy you could make it,” he says after giving her a kiss on the cheek. “Feeling better?"

“Mostly, yeah.” She slaps a smile on her face, though it doesn’t take much effort; seeing him, being here with him, really does fill her with joy. “Thanks for letting me crash."

“You were invited.” He takes her hands. “I’m just happy to see you."

“You, too.” She shifts her weight from one foot to the other, and Jason notices that she is wearing flats — also uncharacteristic. “Listen, could we go someplace private and talk for a minute? I know I’ve been kind of off lately, but I promise there’s a good explanation."

  Jason Fisher

“Yeah. Of course.” His brow wrinkles as he studies her for some kind of clue. “Is something wrong?"

“No! Not at all. Just something I want to— something you need to be in the loop about.” 

“Let’s go out to the balcony, then.” He turns to Paula. “Mom, can you keep an eye on Soph? We’ll be right back."

Natalie assumes that Paula says yes, but her gaze never makes it over to Jason’s mother — because, at the same moment, someone walks into the waiting room whom she never would have expected to see here.

Spencer spots her immediately, too, and stops in his tracks.

“You coming?” Jason asks Natalie, ready to lead her by the hand.

“Who’s that?” she asks. “With Samantha."

“That’s my nephew, Spencer. Why?"

Natalie’s blood runs cold as the puzzle pieces — pieces that she didn’t even realize existed — zoom together inside her head. 


Will Natalie tell Jason about the baby?
How will she and Spencer handle this realization?
Will Philip go through with his plan?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum!

Next Episode



Monday, Nov. 23, 2015

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