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- Jason and Natalie announced their pregnancy to Paula — and Helen, who attempted to take the news in stride. 
- Tempest was working alone at the ice arena when a man with a gun came in and demanded she lead him to the safe.
- Travis and Rosie came face-to-face for the first time since Bill’s funeral, where he accused her of causing his grandfather’s death. After their tense confrontation, Travis received a troubling text from Tempest.  

Edge of Winter Arena

“Three… two…"

The man’s voice on the other side of the door might as well be the actual ticking of a bomb, as far as Tempest Banks is concerned. Her nervous fingers chatter as they tap — as quickly as they can, but somehow not quickly enough — on the screen of her phone.

“One! Come on, you little bitch! What’s taking so long?"

“Nothing,” she calls out, an attempt at stalling that fails to slow the milliseconds that are racing past her like runaway horses. She shoves her phone the rest of the way back into her pocket and grips the doorknob. 

“Here’s the key,” she says. She holds it up as proof — of what, she isn’t exactly sure. That she isn’t playing him? That he shouldn’t shoot her just yet?

“Took you long enough. Come on."

She is unable to keep herself from staring into his face, from trying to see a real human being beneath the beard. But all she sees are mean, angry eyes and chapped lips twisted up in a permanent expression of annoyance. Hatred rises up inside her, burning and defiant, and it takes all the willpower she can muster not to reach out and smack him in the face.

“Let’s go.” He jabs her in the back with the barrel of his gun, which is now mostly concealed within the sleeve of his Seahawks jacket.

The man is right behind her as she begins shuffling around the corner and toward the stairs that lead up to Jason’s office. With every step she takes, her brain jumps back to the text message. Did it send? Does Travis have his phone on him? Will he get what she means? 

They are nearly at the stairs when the man breaks her from her thoughts. 

“Hey, what happened to your limp? You were faking on me, huh?"

Tempest’s heart nearly stops as she realizes that she forgot all about the alleged injury that she claimed made it impossible for her to climb over the skate counter. 

“I, uh— it must be—"

She doesn’t even have the time to spit out an excuse, any excuse, before he drives his boot into the back of her left knee.

“Shit!” She hears her voice bouncing off the walls and ceiling and exposed ducts of the big, empty arena. 

“Shut up!” He prods her in the lower back with the gun again. “You want a hurt knee? You got a hurt knee. Now take me up to the safe."

With her knee throbbing and her blood boiling, Tempest grasps the wooden railing and begins climbing the stairs. 


“What’s wrong?” Diane Bishop asks as she looks over the counter of Thaw Coffee & Tea.

Travis Fisher stares at the cell phone in his hand, then toward the door that connects the shop to the arena. “It’s from Tempest. She just texted me ‘911.’"

“Huh? Let me see.” Diane reaches for the phone, but before she can take it, Travis turns it around so she can see the message on the screen. “She’s inside working?"

“Yeah…” He shakes his head, as if to loosen it up so he can actually process what is happening. “You call the police, okay? I’m gonna go—"

But he doesn’t even finish the thought. He flies out from behind the counter and rushes for the other door, the one that leads outside.

“Hey! Wait up!” he shouts.

Rosie Jimenez stops in the middle of the parking lot. 

“What?” she asks, her irritation clear.

“I need your help.” He hurries toward her, as pinpricks of rain hit his face and his bare forearms. “It’s— it’s an emergency."

Her demeanor shifts noticeably. “What’s going on?"

“It’s Tempest.” He holds up his phone, with the text already on the screen. “She just sent me this."

  Rosie Jimenez

Rosie takes the phone, and although his initial instinct is to grab it back, he doesn’t. 

“Should I text her back?” he asks. “I don’t get why she didn’t call."

“She’s inside?"

Travis nods.

“She would’ve called if she could,” Rosie says. “Or called 911 herself."

“Maybe she’s hurt. Come on, we have to go."

“We? No."

She casts him a disapproving look and then turns to walk in the opposite direction. 

He tails her uncertainly. “Where are you going?”

“Calling for backup. And then I’m going in."

“I’m coming with you."

She throws him a sharp look. “Don’t be an idiot."

He listens as she radios for backup. All he can think about are the seconds passing and how Tempest must be in some kind of trouble. She could have fallen— but if she has her phone on her and is able to text, she would have called him, right?

“What’s going on in there right now?" Rosie asks.

“I don’t know! You saw the text—"

“I mean on the ice. Is there a practice or something?"

He has to think for a moment, and he can see her getting more frustrated, which makes it even harder to think clearly. 

“Figure skating should be done,” he says. “Too early for the lunch hockey crowd, though. Probably nothing."

“Okay. And how do I get in there?”

Now it’s his turn to look at her like she’s the stupid one. “There’s a door inside Thaw—"

“No. I can’t just go walking in there. Is there a back entrance?"

He feels like a moron blathering his way through an explanation of where the back door is, and before he even finishes, she is racing around the side of the arena.

“You have to help her,” he says. “Please."

Rosie holds up a hand, he guesses either as acknowledgement of what he’s said or as a way of telling him to shut up, before she disappears around the corner. Travis watches her go and then goes back to the coffee shop, where Diane is waiting.

“That’s that cop, right?” she asks. “What did she say?"

“She’s going in. She thinks there has to be a reason Tempest texted instead of calling.” He listens for the sound of sirens approaching, even though he knows it’s far too soon. “I just hope she knows what she’s doing this time."

Vision Publishing

Phones ring, fingers clack against keyboards, and voices fill the air all around Spencer Ragan as he weaves his way through the main floor of Vision Publishing. Sometimes, it is still strange for him to realize that this is how he spends his day, in an utterly normal workplace, doing utterly normal tasks. Growing up, he never saw a life like this for himself — but, he realizes with more than a hint of surprise, it is all somehow comforting after the wild events of the past several years. 

He stops at the open door of Tim Fisher’s office. His father sits behind the desk with a manuscript open in front of him.

“You wanted to see me?” Spencer asks.

Tim looks up. “Hey. Come in. And shut the door, would you?"

Spencer obliges and opts not to sit down; rather, he hovers behind one of the two chairs across from Tim, his hands gripping the leather back.

“What’s up?"

Tim leans back, and the manuscript flops closed awkwardly. “Nothing too serious. But I have to head out of town tomorrow—"

“Where are you going?"

“New York. They need me to sort something out in person…” He waves a hand through the air, as if signifying some vague mission that he barely understands. “I have a favor to ask. Karen is supposed to have the Underhill contract signed and notarized tomorrow. And you know how she is with deadlines."

“About as good as the Seahawks were against the Panthers?” Spencer says with a smirk.

Tim groans. “Thanks. Keep rubbing that in.” He folds his hands together atop the desk. “I need you to be Karen’s shadow tomorrow. She does not leave the building until that contract is done. And I’m putting you in charge of making sure it’s sent out before the end of business. Can you handle that?"

“I’m on it."

“Thank you."

Spencer feels the tone in the room shift as Tim levels a serious gaze upon him.

“How are you doing?” Tim asks. “Have you found an apartment yet?"

“No. Still looking. It’s honestly not a huge priority."

“You can’t live out of a hotel forever."

“It isn’t forever. Just a few weeks. And the lawyer says there’s all this stuff to sort out with Philip’s estate, anyway."

Tim nods somberly. “Well, if you get tired of the hotel life—"

“I know. I appreciate the offer. Just not sure that would work out too well for everyone.” He can tell from Tim’s expression that he understands the ‘everyone’ to mean Travis, but truthfully, the idea of moving into Tim’s house makes Spencer a little nervous regardless. They have gotten close since he began working at Vision, but sharing living space with someone is an entirely new level, and he doesn’t think that he wants Tim trying to parent him at home or keeping track of his activities outside work.

“Normally I’m sure your grandmother would be happy to have you,” Tim continues, “but she has a full house now with Sarah and Matt and the kids."

“Yeah, I need to go over there and visit Tori soon."

“Oh!” Tim’s eyes widen with realization. “I guess there was some excitement there this morning. Jason called me a little while ago — he and Natalie went over to tell your grandmother that they’re expecting a baby."

Spencer feels as if the floor has dropped out from underneath him. “They’re what?"


Pain pulses around Tempest’s left knee as she lifts it up and then plants it on the next step. She tries not to wince as she places pressure on the leg, which sets her nerves on fire in every direction.

The gun jabs her in the back again. 

“Could you move any fuckin’ slower?” the man says.

She almost apologizes but bites her tongue. Fuck this guy. He isn’t going to shoot her as long as she’s leading him to the safe. 

An urge rises up inside her, fast and ferocious like a flame that suddenly catches the air and explodes. She could spin around and kick his ass down the stairs. He wouldn’t even know what hit him. And then she could...

  Tempest Banks

She could get up the stairs and lock herself in the office. But what if he held onto the gun and shot before she could make it? Or what if he could shoot through the door? Gritting her teeth, she tosses a bucket of water on that fire inside her and keeps trudging up the stairs. 

But she still hates the thought of this asshole getting his hands on the arena’s money. It isn’t fair. She just hopes Jason isn’t mad at her — or doesn’t fire her. 

As they near the top of the stairs, she lets her eyes slide to her left. Across the gleaming ice surface, she can see the double doors at the rink’s main entrance. They are still and closed. No one is—

“Police! Lower your weapon!"

The voice is so close to them that Tempest thinks it has to be inside her head at first. But she feels the man behind her stiffen up, and when she allows herself to look over her shoulder, she sees that cop who was guarding Tori’s hospital room right behind them, her gun held firmly on the man.

“Lower your weapon,” the officer repeats.

Tempest sees the panic in the man’s eyes. Not knowing what he might do, she backs away, up the steps. She sees the cop watching her, but the man seems to be frozen.

The man’s mouth sputters. “She was just showing me…” He wheels around toward Tempest. “Tell her!"

Tempest just stands in place, unmoving, maybe unable to speak.

“Hand me the gun,” the cop says. "This’ll be a lot easier for you if you don’t threaten a police officer, I can promise you."

And, miraculously, he hands it over. Tempest watches from the platform outside Jason’s office, her entire body quaking, as the man submits to having his wrists placed in handcuffs.


“Natalie’s pregnant,” Tim repeats, his words a little slower.

Spencer gives himself a mental kick, urging himself to pull it together. “Whoa. Wow. That’s…"

“I’m a little surprised, too,” Tim says, “but Jason seems happy with her, and if you had seen how he was after Courtney died…"

“It sounds like he had a really hard time.” Spencer manages to push out the words even though his head is spinning. His stomach, which felt fine seconds ago, is now twisted and knotted. 

“Do you, uh, know when she’s due?” he asks.

“May something-or-other. I can’t remember the exact date."

“Oh. Okay.” He hopes that Tim can’t see him doing the math inside his head. “That’s… that’s exciting."

“Yeah. It is.” Tim furrows his brow. “Are you okay?"

“Me? I’m fine. Yeah. Great.” Spencer takes a breath to steady himself. “It’s just weird— that they’re having a baby. I mean, it’s the first time someone in this family is having a kid and I’ll actually be around for it. You know?"

Tim grins. “Yeah. And I’m glad you are."

“Me too.” Spencer knows that he has to get out of here so that he can process the news on his own. “I need to get back downstairs…"

“Of course. Remember: you are Karen’s shadow tomorrow until that contract is in the mail."

“Don’t even worry about it.” Without saying goodbye, Spencer grabs the door handle and gets out of the room. He tries to act as normal as possible as he makes his way back through the office toward the elevator, but he keeps re-checking the math in his head. Nine months before May would be… 

Stop being so paranoid, he tells himself as he pushes the button for the elevator, but his brain keeps reminding him that this isn’t just paranoia: the numbers are real, and they tell a story — and it’s a story that scares the crap out of him. 


The slapping of pucks and the shredding of ice downstairs reverberates through the arena. Tempest waits up in the office, staring at the wall as she holds a cup of hot chocolate between her hands even though she has no interest in drinking it. Travis sits a few feet away and watches her intently. 

“You’re sure you’re okay?” he asks.

“I’m fine, man.” The throbbing in her knee feels weird and distant, like an injury that happened to someone else. She figures that it must be the adrenaline. “How much longer we gotta wait up here?"

Travis shrugs. “Do I look like I know?"

Jason Fisher appears in the open doorway. “Okay, we’re all set downstairs."

“You remembered how to do the sign-in sheet?” Tempest asks with a smirk.

“Hey, I invented that sign-in sheet.” He regards her with concern as he strides into the office. “You’re sure you don’t want to go to the hospital?"

“What for? No!"

“As long as you’re okay.” Jason lets out a heavy sigh. “I shouldn’t have left you alone here. It was really stupid of me."

“You don’t have to babysit me,” she says.

“It isn’t babysitting. It’s being smart. There’s been so much press about the arena and how the murders hurt business and what our schedule is like — I should’ve seen something like this coming."

“So this guy was, like, staking out the place for downtime so he could rob you?” Travis asks.

"I guess." Jason moves behind his desk and pinches the bridge of his nose. "Tempest, I'm just so sorry this happened. I'll of course cover anything you need -- if you're hurt, or if you want to see a therapist--"

She shakes her head. "Nah. I'm fine." She pauses and studies him, as if looking closely enough might reveal the hidden layer that she has been waiting for since he showed up. "You're really not mad?"

"Mad?" Jason says incredulously.

"I don't know. Cuz I... I was gonna let him into the safe. I didn't want to, but I didn't know what else to do."

"That's exactly what you should have done. I would much rather lose the cash from the safe than have you hurt. There isn't even a question there."

She can tell that he is completely serious, and she wonders why she even doubted that he would have any other reaction. Even after all the time she's spent in King's Bay, though, she isn't used to people giving her the benefit of the doubt -- or being compassionate like this. She is still trying to figure out what to say in response when she hears footsteps coming up the stairs. 

"Okay, he's out of here," Rosie says as she comes into view. She turns her attention to Tempest. "How are you? Feel up to giving me a statement?"

"Yeah. I can do that."

"You guys can stay in here for that if you want," Jason says. He digs through the scattered mounds of paperwork on his desk before finding one particular folder. "I can go work on this downstairs."

Travis stands. "I should get back to work."

Jason crosses to the door but stops beside Rosie. "Thank you. Sounds like you really saved the day."

"Just doing my job," she says, though she is unable to keep a hint of a grin from appearing on her face. 

  Travis Fisher

"Check in with me when you're done," Jason tells Tempest, "and then I want you to go home and rest. No arguing." He exits the office and descends the stairs.

Travis lingers behind. Even if she were blind, Tempest swears she would be able to feel the way he's watching her, as if she might crumble into a million pieces at any instant. 

"I'm cool," she says. "Seriously. Don't worry about me."

He looks skeptical but keeps his mouth shut -- at least toward her. Instead he addresses Rosie. 

"Listen," he says, his eyes jumping between her face and the floor. "Thanks for everything you did today. Especially how you knew what the text meant and that you shouldn't go in the front door and stuff. It was... really cool."

Rosie takes that in for a long moment, and from what Tempest can tell, she looks far more satisfied at hearing this from Travis than she did when Jason said almost the same thing a minute ago. 

"You're welcome," she says at last, a little too firmly. 

Tempest makes a mental note to ask Travis what that was all about later. 

"I'll, uh, let you guys do what you have to do," he says as he heads for the door. 

"Why don't we sit down?" Rosie suggests to Tempest. As Tempest moves for one of the chairs nearby, she can't help but notice the way Travis lingers in the doorway for a hair too long... or the way Rosie glances back over her shoulder as he is leaving. 

Thaw Coffee & Tea

"That's all I know so far," Diane says as she stands inside Thaw by the front windows, her arms crossed in front of herself. 

"As long as Tempest is okay," Claire Fisher says, though the tension roiling inside her shows no signs of abating. She doesn’t think she will feel any more at-ease until she sees Tempest herself. “What are you doing here, anyway?"

Diane’s eyes roll up toward the ceiling. “I was getting coffee when Travis got the text. Not a crime, as far as I know."

“I didn’t say it was. Have you told Samantha what happened yet?"

Diane’s short, layered hair bounces as she shakes her head. “She’s in class for another 20 minutes or so. I didn’t want to freak her out by sending her a text that something happened."

“That’s smart."

The door that connects the shop to the arena opens, admitting a sharp gust of frigid air. Travis follows it and beelines for Claire.

“Oh good. You made it. I think Tempest is gonna be really glad to see you."

Claire instinctively reaches out to him for a hug, and he lets her, knowing that it must be what she needs right now. 

“She’s really okay?" she asks as she holds her son. 

"She seems fine. Honestly. She's giving her statement to the police right now."

"Good. Oh, I can't imagine what I would have done if something had happened to her..." Claire squeezes Travis even tighter.

“Do you have any idea how long she’ll be?” Diane asks.

“Not really,” Travis says. “It was nice of you to stay, but I’m sure Tempest wouldn’t be offended if you left."

“Oh, I’m fine.” Diane takes a sip of her coffee and gazes toward the now-closed glass door as a crowd of hockey players skates out of view. “I’ll just hang out over here."

Diane moves to a table several feet away, sits down, and takes her phone from her purse. Claire watches her uneasily.

Travis misreads her suspicions — which she isn’t even able to articulate to herself yet — and says, “I really do think Tempest is okay. You don’t have to worry."

“It’s hard not to. But I believe you.” Claire forces a smile. “What in the world happened, anyway?"

Travis recounts the story as best he understands it, and a few minutes later, Tempest comes through the door. 

“Oh, thank god,” Claire says as she hurries over to her. “I’m so sorry you had to go through that."

“It was no big deal."

“It sounds like a very big deal!” Claire wraps her arms around the young woman. “He didn’t hurt you, did he? I can take you to the hospital—"

“I don’t need the hospital.” Tempest winces. “Maybe some ice for my knee, though."

“What happened to your knee?” Claire asks.

“He kicked me. That’s all."

“Why didn’t you say anything before? I’ll go get you some ice right now,” Travis says. 

“Because I knew y’all would flip out,” Tempest says with a grin. 

“I think I can scrape up some ice somewhere around here,” Travis says before he heads back into the arena. 

Diane appears beside Claire and Tempest. “I’m so relieved you’re okay,” she says. “I haven’t said anything to Samantha yet. Don’t worry."

“I’ll call her in a little bit,” Tempest says. 

“She has class for another 15 minutes. But in the meantime…"

Claire’s entire body tenses before Diane even completes the thought.

“Would you mind giving a little interview?” Diane holds up her phone. “You’re sort of a hero."

“Diane!” Claire exclaims.

“Hero?” Tempest says. “I didn’t do anything."

“You did plenty. You were really quick on your feet, from the sound of it,” Diane says, ignoring Claire.

“I knew you were lurking around for a reason,” Claire says. “Diane, this is totally inappropriate—"

“People are going to be talking about it,” Diane says. “This will give Tempest a chance to be heard on her own terms — without some stranger shoving a camera in her face."

“How altruistic of you."

“Nah, it’s cool,” Tempest says. 

Diane flashes a look toward Claire. “Great. I can just record it on my phone, and I’ll play it on the radio in the morning. It’ll be your little 15 minutes of fame."

“Are you sure you’re all right with this?” Claire asks Tempest.

Tempest shrugs. “Yeah. Why not?"

“Then come with me,” Diane says, and she takes Tempest by the arm to lead her back to the table. 

Claire goes to the counter to order herself a coffee, reasoning that she might as well keep herself busy while she waits to break up Diane’s premeditated interview session.

Some things never change, she thinks to herself as she steps up to the barista.


Was Diane out of line requesting an interview?
Have Travis and Rosie turned a corner?
What will Spencer’s next move be?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

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Friday, February 05, 2016

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