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- Jason asked Natalie to move in with him.
- Molly told Brent that Danielle has been drinking. They were nervous about Danielle being responsible for their children. Brent asked to be the one to broach the subject with his sister.
- After a rough first day at work, Travis had a run-in with Rosie, who was initially unsympathetic but wound up offering a listening ear.
- Brent was forced to place Molly under arrest for Philip’s death.


“Wow, you didn’t waste any time,” Jason Fisher says as he sets the paper takeout bag down at the breakfast nook of Natalie Bishop’s apartment and looks around at the assortment of half-packed cardboard boxes.

“I don’t have any time to waste,” Natalie says as she rests her hands on her stomach, which seems to Jason to protrude a little more with each passing day.

Jason wraps his arms around her and pulls her close to him. “And you shouldn’t be doing all this physical labor, anyway. You’ve got a baby to take care of. I told you I’d hire movers."

“And I’m holding you to that,” she says with a grin. “Do I look like I want to move all this crap?"

“I can’t even picture it. Now what do you say we eat this food before it gets cold? Then I’ll help you pack up some more."

Before Natalie can respond, there comes the ding of a message notification from Jason’s phone. It happens once, twice, and then a third time, in rapid succession.

“Who the hell is blowing up my phone?” he mutters as he pulls it from his pocket. But he stops when he sees his mother’s name on the screen. Quickly he opens the messages and reads, his expression growing more and more severe as he goes on. 

  Natalie Bishop

“What’s wrong?” Natalie asks when she can’t stand the suspense any longer.

“It’s my mom,” he says. “Molly’s been arrested."


Above the King’s Bay Police Department, the sky is a tenuous shade of pink, a half-expressed color that is only peeking out, as if it knows that the navy of night is coming to swallow it shortly. As Paula Fisher hurries up the stairs in front of the building, she swears that she can see the world around her growing darker with each second that goes by. 

“I hope we aren’t too late,” Paula says as she pulls open the front door of the precinct.

“They’re only booking her,” Sarah says as she follows her mother inside. “And Brent will make sure everything’s okay."

Paula lets out a heavy sigh as she pauses in the lobby and glances around. “You didn’t have to come. Are you sure Tori will be okay watching Billy?"

“They’re fine. And yes, I did have to."

Paula’s lip twitches, as if preparing to question her daughter, but she loses focus when Brent emerges through a door and moves swiftly toward them.

“Is she okay?” Paula asks. “What’s going on? Why is this happening now?"

“Molly is fine,” Brent says. “The twins didn’t see anything. I wanted to make sure of that."

“Good,” Paula says. “She shot that man in self-defense, Brent. He was going to kill all three of us. How can you arrest her for that?"

“The D.A. has been pushing for it. I can’t control that."

“You’re the police commander!"

“That doesn’t give him veto power,” Sarah says. “All this means is that we have to go through the proper legal channels to clear her. And then it will never be an issue again.” She looks toward Brent. “You know this is BS, though, don’t you? Philip confessed to being a serial killer. He murdered our father minutes before. No jury on Earth is going to punish Molly for having shot him under those circumstances."

“That’s what I’m hoping,” Brent says, though the lines of worry on his face trouble Paula. “I really thought this was a closed issue."

“So did we all.” Paula clutches the lapel of her winter coat. “Oh my!"

Sarah touches a hand to her mother’s shoulder. “What?"

“I have a feeling I know what this is about. Your brother — Tim — he went to see that horrible Loretta Ragan at the prison not too long ago."

Brent fills in the rest: “And you think he stirred Loretta up and she pulled strings to get the D.A. to push for an arrest?”

“It would explain why this is happening now, wouldn’t it?” Paula asks. 

Sarah and Brent exchange an uneasy look. 

“That woman is so awful!” Paula says. “Where’s Molly? Is she okay?"

“She’s being booked now,” Brent says. 

“Brent,” Sarah says gravely. “I need you to do something for me."

322 Bar & Grill

The bar area of 322 Bar & Grill has been steadily filling up as the afternoon has progressed into happy hour and now dinner time. Travis Fisher, however, is hardly aware of the other patrons and the increased volume of the music; all around him is a warm, comfortable glow. The embarrassment and frustration of his first day of work haven’t exactly disappeared, but they have receded, like an ice cube slowly but steadily reduced to a drippy pool by that radiating warmth.

And it probably has something to do with those tequila shots Rosie Jimenez ordered for them a few minutes ago.

“Wasn’t really planning on getting drunk tonight,” Travis says, “but I’m not totally mad at it."

Rosie laughs. “You’re drunk? From that?"

“What? And you’re not?"

She looks down at the empty shot glass and discarded wedge of lime. “I mean, I walked here, so I’m not really worried about it."

“Where’s your place?” he asks, focused on a few strands of black hair that have strayed toward her lips, which are shiny with a barely noticeable pink gloss that, now that he has noticed it, he cannot un-notice.

Her eyes settle on him. He can’t tell whether it is reality or the alcohol, but he suddenly has the sense that he is staring at her too hard. A hot rush courses through him.

“A few blocks away. On Whitsett,” she says, giving no indication that she took notice of his noticing. “It’s a studio. Kind of a hole in the wall. And a dump, sort of. But it’s mine."

“That’s something.” He is attempting to formulate his next words, debating whether they should be a confession that he still lives in his father’s house, when her phone both lights up and vibrates atop the bar. His gaze goes to it for a split-second out of pure reflex, and Rosie’s does the same — but whatever she reads on the screen gets her attention, and she picks up the phone. 

“Oh shit,” she says, staring at the phone.

“What? What’s wrong?"

“Uhhh…” Rosie takes a second to gather herself. “Another officer just texted me. Your aunt was arrested."

“What?” Travis springs forward on the stool, bracing himself against the bar. “Sarah? And why would someone text you about that?"

“No, the other one. The one who was engaged to Philip Ragan."

“For what? Molly?"

“For shooting Ragan, I guess."

“Shit. Okay, I should— I need to call my dad, or get down there, or something.” He stands, careful to give his feet a second to find the ground.

“I’m coming with you, if you’re going to the station."

He pulls out his wallet. “Here, let me—"

“No way.” She produces her own wallet from her purse. “I said I was buying you that beer and that shot, and I am."

“Oh, come on, just—"

“Just what?” Her expression is a challenge that he decides not to take.

“I’ll get the Uber to the station,” he says as she flags down the bartender.


Cinder-block walls surround Molly Taylor as she waits in the interrogation room. There is no lone bulb hanging from the ceiling, casting shadows over an otherwise dark room; the room is evenly, if garishly, lit by overhead fluorescents. The once-subtle buzz of the lights seems to be growing louder and louder as she waits, twisting her fingers together atop the table. 

Her heart has been thudding steadily ever since Brent declared that she was under arrest. No matter how much downtime there is, no matter how mundane this process becomes, her heart will not slow down. Her stomach is wrenched, too, and dread — in the form of a tingling sensation — has crept through all her limbs.

When the door opens, she turns with a start. But instead of a police officer, or a lawyer whose face she has never seen before, it is her sister.

“What are you doing?” Molly asks as Sarah enters the room.

“I asked Brent to give me some time with you. We need to talk about lawyers. That kind of thing,” Sarah says as she closes the door behind herself.

  Molly Taylor

“Mom said she would call someone…"

“We’re finding someone.” Sarah takes a seat across the table from Molly. The metal chair scrapes against the floor as she pulls it out and then scoots back in. “What we actually need to talk about is what the hell you’re doing."

“I’m not doing anything! I came home from work early, and they came to arrest me—"

“Molly. I mean, in general. Are you sure you want to do this?"

“I don’t want to—” Sudden panic clamps an invisible hand over Molly’s mouth. “Should we…?” She gestures around the room.

“This room is used for suspects to meet with their attorneys. It isn’t bugged. Believe me, I know."

“Okay.” Molly isn’t sure that she would believe that if her sister hadn’t actually worked for this police department — but even so, the reassurance still makes her jumpy. How can they be sure?

“If you want to recant, the time is now,” Sarah says. “Under the circumstances, it’d probably be a slap on the wrist."


“I can’t predict what a judge is going to say. But the further down this road you go…"

“I’m not going further down it. I’ll get a lawyer, we’ll have the charges thrown out, end of story. Philip was a serial killer. He had the three of us trapped out on that balcony."

“And you still need to convince a judge — or a jury, if it comes to that — that the act of shooting him was in self-defense."

“He had just murdered our father! Is it that inconceivable that he was trying to hurt you or Mom or both when I picked up that gun?"

“No. It isn’t.” Sarah rests her elbows on the table. “But that video is out there."

“I’ve been thinking about this. All that video does is…” Molly pauses and gives the room’s corners another series of nervous glances before continuing in a whisper. “It clears me. That doesn’t benefit anyone but me."

“But it could cause bigger problems.” Sarah widens her eyes to indicate the underlying implication, and Molly is relieved that her sister has joined her in trying to talk in code. It feels safer, no matter how certain Sarah might be that the room isn’t bugged.

“So either those problems happen now, because I recant, or later, because someone decides to release that. I’m going to…” She has to steady herself with a deep breath. “I have to do this."

“You don’t have to."

“Yes, I do.” Thinking of the alternative — of her mother being tossed in jail — Molly’s resolve hardens. “Now do me a favor and find me an attorney."


Clutching Natalie’s hand in his, Jason hurries through the front door of the police station. He sees his mother standing near a row of chairs against the far wall.

“Mom,” Jason says. “How are you? Where’s Molly?"

Paula waves a hand to indicate the vast back area of the station. “Your sister is with her now."

“Okay. Tim just texted me — he’s on his way from the office."

Paula nods uneasily. Her insides quiver in anxious anticipation of what’s to come — or what might be hiding around the corner. The ringing of phones throughout the station provide a steady backdrop for her thoughts. 

“Listen,” Jason says. “Does Molly have an attorney yet?"

“Brent was going to make some calls. And Sarah knows some people. We’ll find someone good."

“You don’t want someone who’s just good,” Natalie says. “You want the best."

Paula regards her with confusion. “Yes. Of course—"

“I called my ex-husband,” Natalie explains. “Conrad Halston. He’s an incredible defense attorney. I don’t even like the guy, and I still think he’d be a great asset for Molly to have in her corner."

“He’s licensed to practice in Washington, too,” Jason adds.

“We met in Spokane, when he was working there. And he’s supposed to fly up this weekend to spend time with Bree,” Natalie says. “He can be on a plane in two hours if you want him here."

“Oh, I… yes, maybe that’s best,” Paula says, clutching her stomach. “Thank you so much. I’d prefer not to have Molly’s fate in a total stranger’s hands, and if you think Conrad is the best, then…"

“I’ll make the call."

“Thank you, Natalie.” Paula reaches out with open arms for the younger woman. “This means a lot to me, and I’m sure it will to Molly, too."

“It’s the least I can do for family,” Natalie says, happy to return the embrace.

“What’s going on?” comes a familiar voice from the entry. All three turn to see Travis rushing toward them, with Rosie right behind him. 

Paula and Natalie separate.

“Natalie here is calling in an attorney for your aunt,” Paula explains. 

“Let me go make that call.” Pulling her cell phone from her purse, Natalie steps away.

“I don’t understand why this is happening now,” Travis says to his grandmother and uncle. 

“Neither do we.” Jason looks from Travis to Rosie and back again. “Did you guys come together?"

“We ran into each other,” Rosie says before Travis can get an answer in. It might be the tequila, but it sounds to him as though she is trying to downplay the fact that they were having drinks together before coming here. He is surprised to feel something inside him sink at that realization. 

“Is there anything you guys need?” Rosie asks. “If there’s information, I can find out, or…"

“Brent has been keeping us updated, but thank you,” Paula says. 

“We’re going to deal with this,” Jason says as he slides an arm around Paula. “Everything’s going to be fine. Just watch."


After showing Sarah to the room where Molly has been waiting, Brent escapes to his own office at the other end of the building. His palms are sweaty as he holds his cell phone in his hand and paces the floor. Finally, he forces himself to dial.

Danielle picks up before the first ring is over. “Brent. What’s happening? Did you get this sorted out yet?"

“Not yet. She’s been booked.” He runs a hand over his face. “Listen, I was gonna slip out of here and go pick up the boys—"

“Why? I was about to leave the house. Stay at work. You have a million things going on."

“It’s fine,” he says, launching into what he ran through in his head before he placed the call. “I want to tell the boys about Molly myself. I don’t want them hearing from someone else — it’s going to be on the news — and I don’t want to put you in that position."

“It’s my job."

“I know, but… I think Caleb and Christian should be with one of their parents tonight. I’ll take them to my house. Give yourself the night off, okay?” As soon as he says it, he worries about the implications: is he giving her permission to drink? Will she take it? He hates the thought of leaving her alone that way, but he also can’t deal with the anxiety that would come with having her drive the kids around and be responsible for them all night. Not with what he knows. 

“Are you sure?” Danielle asks.

“Yeah. Just relax. I’ll keep you posted on Molly, okay? Guessing they’ll arraign her in the morning."

“So she has to stay there overnight?"

“Yeah. I’m gonna make sure— she’ll be okay. And we’ll get this worked out. All of it. I’ll talk to you later, Danielle."

“Okay. Give Molly my best."

He ends the call. He thought it would be a relief to have this conversation out of the way, but now he is racked with a different set of fears. Will Danielle be all right tonight? And how the hell is he going to help her? He doesn’t know, exactly, but his sons have to be the priority right now.


Danielle sets her phone down on the kitchen counter. The house is quiet all around her. No television, no voices, nothing. She can’t shake the sense that there was more to that call than what Brent was saying. Does he not want her picking up the boys? Does he— could he—? 

The fear rises up like a tidal wave in her throat. She barely manages to hold it down. 

How could he know?

She looks around. This house, the house where she has lived for years now, somehow feels foreign. It isn’t hers. It belongs to another family. She has been staying — staying because they pay her to, staying because she works for them. But it isn’t her house, and it isn’t her home. 

  Danielle Taylor

Her mind flashes to the bottle in her closet. No one will know. No one will be home tonight. No one will care.

She hurries up the stairs.


After she learns that the attorney her family arranged is on the way and that she will be arraigned tomorrow, Molly is brought to a holding cell to spend the night. The temporary blue clothing she has been given reminds her more of the paper gowns from the doctor’s office than the orange jumpsuits she has seen on TV and in movies; the cell, which is grouped with a handful of others, is drafty, and she wishes she had a sweater to put on. The other inmates — suspects, she supposes — in the adjoining cells are luckily quiet, except for a man muttering words to himself that Molly can’t quite make out. But even that sound bounces off the cement floors and the cinder-block walls, somehow making it even more apparent how empty the entire space is. 

She lies down on the thin mattress, which rests on a simple metal frame. The lights are dim, so she curls up in the fetal position and pretends that she will be able to sleep. Brent assured her that he would pick up the twins, take them to his house, and calmly explain what is going on, but all she wants is to see them now. She closes her eyes and tries to forget where she is.

“Molly… Molly…"

The voice rises up out of the air, a subtle call that grows tougher and tougher for her to ignore. Finally, she has no choice but to open her eyes — and there he is.

“Philip,” she whispers.

“I’m here.” He moves toward her, and she flinches. 

“It’s okay,” he says, in that way that she used to find so measured, so calming. Now it just sounds terrifying. 

He lowers himself until he is seated on the edge of the mattress. She feels it shift under his weight.

“I know you didn’t do this,” he says. “You didn’t hurt me.” He reaches out a hand to touch her hair.

She pulls back, scrambling to sit up against the wall. “You killed them. My father— RyanCameron. You killed them."

“You made me do it."

“No, I didn’t! I didn’t!"

“Because you expected me to be perfect. You expected me to be as perfect as you. But I couldn’t, Molly. No one can. You made me do it."

“Stop!” She tries to back up more, but the solid wall is right behind her. “Get away from me!"


The bark, so commanding, rousts her from her sleep. It takes her a moment to realize that she is still lying on the mattress, that the guard is right outside the bars, and that she is alone in the cell. There is no Philip. 

“You were shouting in your sleep,” the guard says. He is a large man, his nose and cheeks somehow as thick as his trunk, but his voice is much gentler than she would have expected. “You okay?"

“I… Yeah, I’m fine. I’m sorry.” She brushes her hair out of her face. “I’m fine."

With a nod, the guard returns to his post at the end of the block.

He isn’t here, Molly reminds herself. Philip is dead.

But the words stay with her: she caused this. She caused Philip to snap. Her father, Ryan, and the others are dead because she pushed too hard. Maybe Philip was crazy before — he must have been, he had to be — but Molly let him into her life, into all of their lives, and then she was stupid enough to allow him back in even after he nearly killed Tori.

She did this. And she has to be the one to take care of this. She can’t let her mother pay for trying to avenge their loved ones, for trying to keep them safe from that maniac. If Molly had done that in the first place, none of this would have happened.

She lies back down and draws her knees to her chest, shivering as she wills the hours to pass as quickly as possible.


Will Natalie’s ex-husband be able to help Molly?
Does Sarah have another trick up her sleeve?
Did Brent do the right thing with Danielle?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum now!

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

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