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- Molly found a half-empty bottle of wine hidden in Danielle’s closet.
- Travis told Matt that he wants to come work at his late grandfather’s restaurant, which Matt is now running.
- Tim visited Loretta Ragan in prison to try and understand Philip’s killing spree.
- Sarah revealed to Molly that someone had anonymously delivered to her the security footage that showed Molly, not Paula, shooting Philip. Sarah suspected Denise Campbell, the guard who had been on duty at the building whose camera captured the footage, of the threat.


Bum-ba-dum-ba-dum! There he is!"

As Travis Fisher finds his way into the kitchen, still rubbing sleep from his eyes, his father greets his arrival with the same trumpet noise and pronouncement that he has been doing for as long as Travis can remember. Longer than he can remember, probably. 

“Hey,” Travis croaks out. His throat is still dry from sleep, and his brain remains cloudy. 

Tim stands at the kitchen counter in a blue dress shirt and striped tie, a mug of coffee in his hand. “All ready for your first day?"

“Do I look ready?"

Tim scans his son up and down. “You might want to do something about that rat’s nest on top of your head."

Travis reaches a hand up to his hair and ruffles it around, though he doesn’t suppose it does much good.

  Travis Fisher

“I’ll get there,” he says as he retrieves a mug from the cupboard and pours himself some coffee.

“Might be a good idea.” Tim downs the rest of his coffee. “I need to get to the office, but I’m glad I got to see you before I go. Good luck today."

“Thanks, Dad."

“You’re going to do great. Your grandfather would be proud of you, following in his footsteps and working in the restaurant…"

Travis resists the urge to tell his father not to get corny; the subject of his late grandfather is serious enough that it’s allowed.

“It’s still so weird that he’s gone,” Travis says instead.

“I know. I miss him every day. But I think it’d make him happy to see us all sticking together — he’d love the idea of you working in that kitchen with Matt. Those times you spent cooking with him made him really happy."

“I’m really glad I did."

Tim pats Travis on the back and places his mug in the sink. “Good luck, Trav. You’re going to be great."


Sarah Fisher Gray sits behind the wheel of her Jeep Grand Cherokee. The engine hums, and the car vibrates ever-so-slightly as it idles in the parking lot of J&M Supermarket. Sarah’s fingertips drum lightly upon the steering wheel as she continues to watch the blue Prius and wait.

Finally, the woman emerges from the store’s sliding doors. With a reusable grocery bag in one hand and a paper one in the other, she makes her way to the Prius. She sets down the bags, unlocks the car, and places her groceries in the trunk. Sarah draws a tense breath and shifts her car into Drive.

The Jeep creeps up the parking lot’s aisle. Sarah shifts her eyes around, watching for distractions or complications. The white reverse lights of a silver Honda Civic light up, and Sarah increases her speed just enough so that she can cruise past without having to wait for the Civic to back out, thereby ruining her entire plan. She continues coasting up the aisle.

“Come on,” she mutters, her attention fixed on the Prius. Just as Sarah hits her brake to slow down and bide time, it happens: the Prius’s reverse lights come to life. Sarah braces and waits — forces herself to wait, even as her foot twitches over the brake pedal. She allows herself to tap it only when she is sure it is too late. 

Sure enough, the Jeep slows almost to a stop… right as it rolls into the back of the Prius.

Even though she has braced for the collision, it still jolts Sarah. She allows herself a split-second to watch the other woman react, first by looking in her rearview mirror and then with a harried glance out the Prius’s back window. Then Sarah shifts into character.

One of her favorite parts of being a private investigator has always been the chance to act, to slip into another persona. She rarely gets the chance to do it — a lot of what she does is wait outside people’s homes, or sift through phone records, or skulk around online. But it always gives her a charge to do something so active. So she hops out of the car and gets down to business.

“Oh my god,” she says, leaving the Jeep’s door open. “I’m so sorry. I wasn’t…” She shakes her head as she surveys the damage. Luckily, it isn’t much at all, from what she can tell; her paint is scraped on the back of the Prius, and one of the Prius’s taillights has been smashed. Aside from some marks, the Jeep doesn’t appear damaged at all.

The other woman climbs out of the Prius. Even though Sarah knows her stats well, has been watching her for days and days, she still appears surprisingly short — but with a reverse of power to her, like she is a stick of dynamic that might go off at any moment. 

“Weren’t you looking out?” she asks, her annoyance apparent.

Sarah tries to split herself in two. One part of her is playing the role of the stressed woman who caused this minor collision; the other, her true self, is hiding behind a curtain, watching for any signs, any cues, that indicate that Denise Campbell knows what is really going on here.

“I’m so sorry,” Sarah repeats. “This is all my fault. I’m—” She pushes out a sigh. “I’m sorry about your car. Let me give you my information. I have insurance—"

“Good.” The woman folds her arms and again checks out the damage. 

“Here. Let me get my insurance card.” Sarah waits for a car to go around the blockage, then ducks into the Jeep and retrieves the card. She holds it out to the shorter woman. “Do you want to take a picture of it with your phone?"

“Guess that makes sense.” She snaps the photo and then dips into her car. She presents Sarah with a similar card. “There’s my info in case you need it."

Sarah quickly takes a photo of the card. “Thank you.” She cringes at the sight of the two cars crushed together. “I’m really, really sorry."

The woman shrugs. “Stuff happens. Thanks for not making this difficult."

“Take care,” Sarah says, and they return to their respective cars, pull apart, and exit the parking lot. Sarah waits to see which direction the damaged Prius goes, and then she turns to drive the opposite way. As she pulls down the visor to block the surprising morning glare, she is nearly certain of one thing: Denise Campbell had no idea who she was.


“This is a nice surprise,” Tim says as he ushers his mother into his office at Vision Publishing and closes the door.

“I hope I’m not interrupting too badly,” she says as she sits down on the microsuede loveseat against the wall. “I was doing errands and thought it would be nice to come say hello."

“I’m glad you did.”  He hangs her plum-colored coat on the back of the door. “And you can pop downstairs and see your grandson, too."

“Don’t think I hadn’t thought of that.” Paula frowns. “You don’t think he’ll mind, do you?"

“No, not at all.” He leans back against his desk. “If there’s anything good that’s come of all this, it’s that Spencer is finally starting to see some value in being a part of this family."

“Good. How is he doing? After everything that happened with Philip…"

“He’s coping. He isn’t exactly a talker, but he’s sorting things out. I’m glad I’m able to see him every day — keep an eye on him without him feeling like he’s being checked up on."

Paula offers a tight-lipped nod. “It’s more important than ever that we all stick together."

“Agreed.” Tim hesitates before continuing. “There’s something I should tell you."

She sits up straighter as alarm seizes her. “What? Did something happen?"

“No. Not in the way you’re thinking. Do you remember that business trip back east I took?"


“I made time for a detour. To visit Loretta Ragan."

Paula shoots forward, hovering on the edge of the couch. “Why would you do that?"

“I don’t know. I felt like I needed to see her for myself — like it might give me some answers."

“Did it?"

“I’m not sure."

“What does that mean?"

  Paula Fisher

“The woman is nuts.” He takes his weight off the desk and begins to pace. “Which we knew. I guess I was curious about whether she knew what Philip was doing — if she’d influenced him somehow—"


“I don’t think they were conspiring. I don’t think. For whatever reason, Philip snapped. There was something inside him — no surprise, considering who his parents were. But no, I don’t think that Loretta was actively pulling strings."

“That’s a relief,” Paula says, settling back into the cushions. “She shouldn’t be allowed to have any contact with the outside world, after the things she’s done."

“Agreed. I wanted to warn her to stay away from Spencer, too. He’s in a good place now — a better place, at least. The last thing he needs is her poisoning his mind. Especially now that she blames Molly for Philip’s death — as if he hadn’t killed her father and brother and a bunch of innocent people first."

Paula hears what he is saying, but an image, so vivid and loud, overtakes her consciousness. It comes in a hot rush of light and sound. An explosion fills her ears and her head — and then she sees it: Philip, a bullet tearing into him, his body crashing into the railing of the hospital balcony.

“Mom. Are you okay?"

Tim stands over her now, his face etched with lines of worry. It takes her a moment to reorient herself.

“Yes, I’m fine,” she says. The flash is gone, dissolved as quickly as it came, but its mist lingers in her mind.

“What’s wrong? Do you feel okay?"

“I feel fine. I just—” She touches a hand to her temple and closes her eyes. “It must have been the fact that we were talking about Molly shooting Philip. I remembered— I could see him being shot."

“That’s when you fainted, yeah?"


“Can I get you a glass of water or anything?"

“No, dear. I’ll be fine.” She takes another moment to compose herself and folds her hands in her lap. “Now come sit down and catch me up on everything else."

Tim joins her on the loveseat, and she does her best to focus, but that image keeps rearing its head, no matter how much she doesn’t want to see it or how badly she wants to force it out: Philip, a bullet ripping into his chest, his body going limp as it hits the railing and sinks to the ground.

Harbor Boulevard

In all his visits to the kitchen of Harbor Boulevard, the restaurant that his grandfather opened and operated, Travis wondered if the tight space felt larger to the people working in it than it appeared to an outsider. But now, stepping inside in the chef whites that feel more like a costume than actual clothes, he can tell that his initial impression was correct: the space is tight, almost impossibly cramped, but the entire staff — from the dishwashers to the prep cooks to the head chef, Matt, who navigates the kitchen with a grace Travis has never seen from him before — seems to know exactly how much space they have at any given moment and move as though this has all been choreographed.

The steam and heat seem to surround them as Matt leads Travis through the maze of counters, stoves, and assembly stations.

“The garde manger works over here,” Matt explains as he shows him to a spot at the end of a row. “When something you need to do gets called, you get moving. You studied the menu I gave you?"

Travis nods, though he feels a lump swelling in his throat. “Yeah. I think I’ve got it."

“Good. And you can use this cheat sheet at first.” Matt uses his forefinger to flick a stapled packet at the edge of the station. "Just try and keep up. Your knives are all set?"

“Yep.” Travis sets down his bag and removes the set of freshly sharpened knives.

“Take a minute to get set up. Cold appetizers tend to be pretty slow at lunch, so you might have some downtime. But try and keep your energy up."

Matt heads off to attend to other matters. Travis sets up the knives at his station and gazes around at the action surrounding him. He met many of the other kitchen staff — mostly men, he notices — during his training last week, but all the faces, names, and positions are running together for him now.

“Two deviled eggs apps!” comes a shout. The words poke into some corner of Travis’s overstimulated brain, and he looks over to see Hansen, a middle-aged sous chef with deep lines in his tanned face that make it look like an old leather boot, staring right at him.

“You got that, kid?” Hansen asks, though it somehow sounds more like an accusation.

“Yeah. Yep,” Travis sputters. A flash of energy slams over him, propelling his limbs into action before he even knows what he is doing. 

“Deviled eggs. Deviled eggs,” he mutters to himself, as an actual recipe begins to materialize in his brain. Within moments, he is channeling the energy into use — slicing the eggs, mixing the yokes, dicing the peppers. He pipes the rich yellow yoke mixture into the egg halves, tops them with the papers, and takes them over to Hansen.

He holds out the plates. “Two deviled eggs apps."

Hansen’s face twists into a snarl. “What the fuck is this?"

“I—” Travis looks to the plates, confused and wondering if he hallucinated the entire thing. But he isn’t — the deviled eggs sit right there on the plates. “They’re the deviled eggs."

“And what the fuck are these?” Hansen picks up one of the jalapenos and holds it between his index finger and thumb as if it’s an alien bug from another planet. 

“The peppers.” Travis’s pulse quickens. He half-expects the walls to start melting and Hansen’s head to turn purple; this feels like some strange trip in which nothing is what it seems. 

“These are jalapenos, Fisher."

Travis’s mouth hangs open. He distinctly recalls having seen this dish on the table in his grandfather’s restaurant before.

“Did you even put the roasted peppers in?"

The question hits Travis like a wrecking ball. Now he remembers: the deviled eggs here are made with roasted red peppers mixed in with the yolks, for an orange color to the filling. 

“I’m sorry,” he says, pulling the offending plates back toward himself. “I’ll fix it."

“Better do it fast,” Hansen says. “Table 4’s waiting."

“Yeah. Okay. Thanks."

“We used to make them with the jalapenos back at the Fisherman’s Pier,” Matt says as he approaches the pair. 

Travis’s stomach sinks. “I’m sorry. That’s what I was remembering. I’ll go—"

“It happens. Go remake them,” Matt says, though he doesn’t sound nearly as angry as Hansen. “And double-check the recipe next time."

Matt offers him a reassuring smile, but Travis feels as if every eye on the kitchen is trained angrily on him as he rushes back to his station to correct his mistake.

Objection Designs

Molly Taylor sets the baby blue colored pencil down on her desk and sighs. The sketch in front of her still doesn’t look right, no matter how many times she attempts to adjust the lines of the skirt. But she knows why: the problem might not be the skirt at all, but the fact that she is having to fight to keep the outfit at the forefront of her mind in the first place. 

Ever since she found it, she has not been able to shake the image of that half-empty wine bottle in Danielle’s closet. She watched Danielle closely when she returned from Brent’s with Caleb’s library book, but there was no indication that she was drunk or had been drinking. There wasn’t a hint of alcohol on her breath. But she wouldn’t have that bottle if she weren’t drinking — if she didn’t intend to think again. Molly was able to make an excuse to drive the boys to school herself this morning, but she knows she won’t be able to do that every day — and, as long as this worry is with her, the idea of putting her boys in the car with Danielle terrifies her.

She needs to do something, and soon. She just doesn’t know what. And whatever it might be, she knows that once that door is opened, there is no closing it.

The ringing of her phone rips her from her thoughts. 

“Mrs. Taylor, your sister is here to see you,” announces the receptionist.

“Send her in. Thanks.” Molly places the phone back in its cradle and prepares herself for Sarah’s arrival. They have never exactly been the sort of sisters to surprise one another in the middle of the workday, and Molly has a fairly good idea what the reason for this visit might be. Her stomach churns as she awaits the knock on the door.

“Come in!” she calls out when it finally comes.

Sarah pushes the door open and immediately closes it. 

“What’s going on?” Molly asks.

“I just had a run-in with Denise Campbell."

“The security guard?” Molly’s hands grip the arms of her chair. “What did she say? What does she want?"

  Sarah Fisher Gray

“That’s the thing,” Sarah says, placing her purse on a nearby chair. “She had no idea who I was."

“What? Then why did she come see you?"

“She didn’t. I went to see her — or, rather, I arranged an accidental run-in with her."

“What? Sarah, why would you do that? Are you trying to get us thrown in jail?"

“I think you’re the one who set that in motion when you lied to the police,” Sarah says, her tone harkening back far too easily to their teenage years.

“I didn’t know someone was going to have a tape of Mom shooting Philip!"

Sarah glances behind herself, at the closed door.

“My point is,” she says with a huff, “I watched Denise Campbell hard, and unless she’s a criminal mastermind moonlighting as a low-paid security guard in an office building, she clearly didn’t recognize me more than she did any other person in that parking lot."

Molly takes a deep breath. “So you don’t think it’s her?"

“No. Very few people had access to that security footage, but whoever stole it and sent me that flash drive, it wasn’t Denise Campbell."

“Then what do we do now?"

Sarah shakes her head. “I’m trying to figure that out. Look — if nothing else happens, then we don’t have a problem."

“Do you really believe that someone went to all that trouble just to not do anything about it?"

“Not for a minute. I’m kind of surprised they haven’t demanded money yet."

“But they could. And if they do… there are ways of coming up with it. Maybe that’s all this will be."

“Never pay a blackmailer,” Sarah says sternly, as if Molly just suggested that they hold their palms over an open flame. “Because it never ends. No, we’re going to figure out who’s doing this — and we’re going to stop them."


Will Sarah be able to head off the blackmailer?
Is Paula’s memory going to return?
Will Travis settle into his new restaurant job?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum now!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

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