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- Molly was arrested for Philip’s murder.
- Natalie called her ex-husband, Conrad Halston, to come represent Molly. 
- After Tempest survived a violent break-in at the arena, Diane recorded an interview with her, which she played on the air and posted online. 


Molly Taylor is aware of the dread that she is never going to fall asleep in this chilly, dark holding cell — but the next thing she knows, she hears her name and opens her eyes to find the lights on.

“Mrs. Taylor. Your attorney’s here."

The voice belongs to a gruff female guard, one Molly does not remember from last night. She squints her eyes against the lights as she attempts to orient herself.

“I’ll walk you to the meeting room,” the guard says.

The disposable blue jail garments crinkle as Molly sits up, realizing that she must have managed a few hours of sleep after all — which goes to show how exhausted she was from the shock of yesterday.

The guard grips the bars of Molly’s cell. “Come on.” Despite Molly’s weariness, the guard’s tone is enough to get her on her feet.

A minute later, she finds herself back in the room where she met with Sarah last night. Seated at the table is a man in a dark gray suit and navy tie. He stands as soon as Molly enters.

“Conrad Halston,” he says, extending his hand to her. He is older than Molly envisioned; she had imagined that Natalie’s ex-husband would be Jason’s age, but judging by the flecks of gray in his hair and the soft creases around his eyes and mouth, he might be older than Molly.

  Conrad Halston

“Molly Taylor,” she says as they shake. “Thanks for coming."

She sees Conrad’s eyes divert toward the door. He waits until it is fully closed and the guard is gone before he responds.

“I want to help you,” he says. “This is a high-profile case, to say the least. I know I can’t be the only one who thinks it’s insane for the D.A. to be pushing for second-degree murder charges.”

Molly doesn’t know what to say. She can’t even believe this is happening. 

“It was self-defense,” she blurts out. 

Conrad holds his mouth in a tight line as he seats himself at the table. Uncertain, Molly follows his lead.

“What happened on that balcony?” he asks.

“I— Philip was holding a gun on Sarah — that’s my sister — and me. My mom came out and said that he had killed our dad. And when Philip turned, I knocked the gun out of his hands."


“I kicked him.” She feels panic inside her chest like a balloon. “He dropped the gun and I got it. And he grabbed Sarah. He was going to throw her off the balcony. And I…” She shudders at the thought, even though it isn’t a real memory; she can so clearly see the bullet that her mother fired tearing into Philip and killing him right before their eyes. “I shot him."

Conrad leans back in his chair and folds his arms. 

“What?” she says. "It was self-defense."

“You said that.” He stares at her for an excruciatingly long time. “Don’t lie much, do you, Molly?"

“What? What are you talking about?"

“The statement that you gave the police on the day Philip died,” he says. “You told them that your sister was the one who knocked the gun out of Philip’s hands."

The fact comes at her like a stabbing knife. “I— It’s such a blur. But he grabbed her, and I went for the gun, and—"

“My job is to get you off,” he interrupts, “not to judge you."

“It was self-defense,” Molly repeats. 

“With all due respect, Mrs. Taylor... Don’t bullshit a bullshitter. Philip Ragan was a serial killer. He murdered your brother and your father. Frankly, I wouldn’t blame you for picking up that gun and shooting him dead in cold blood."

“I didn’t—"

“But the D.A. cares, and a judge and jury will,” Conrad continues. “So let’s get your story straight, shall we?"


“Frostbite in my damn drawers… frostbite in my damn drawers… frostbite in my damn drawers!"

Claire Fisher enters the living room of her apartment to hear the strangely digitized voice emanating from the speakers of a laptop computer. Before she can ask what’s going on, the voice is replaced by a blast of high-energy dance music.

“Did you see this yet?” Tempest Banks asks from her spot on the couch.

“I don’t even know what it is. Is that your voice?"

“Yeah! Someone made one of those Autotune songs out of my interview.” Tempest spins around the laptop so Claire can see the screen, which shows footage from the interview Diane shot on her phone, filtered and edited so that it skitters along with the frenetic music. “It’s already got 1.7 million views!"

Claire eyes the screen suspiciously for a few more seconds. “How do you feel about this?"

“It’s cool as shit! I’m basically famous. Hey, do you think somebody’s making money off this?"

“It’s the internet. Somebody’s always making money off things, somehow."

Tempest sets the laptop on the couch. “Hmm. Maybe I’ve gotta get myself a lawyer."

“I wish I knew more about how these things worked,” Claire says distractedly. She picks up her purse from the end table and grabs her coat from a peg by the door. “I can do some research, if you’d like."

“Thanks. I will, too. Are you going to Molly’s thing at the court?"

Claire shakes her head as she wriggles into the coat. “I think it might be better if I give everyone some space. It’s so strange — if you had told me that someone was going to be arraigned for shooting and killing my brother, I’d say I would be there in a minute to make sure justice was served. But after everything Philip did…"

“Sounds like Molly was trying to save Sarah and Paula."

“I know. And I’m glad she did. It’s just… it’s still difficult for me to think about Philip having been so evil.” She slings the purse over her shoulder. “I shouldn’t be too long."

“Where you going, if you aren’t going to court?"

“There’s something else I need to take care of,” Claire says. “Something else important."


Tim Fisher takes the steps in front of the courthouse two at a time, eager to be out of the drizzling rain. Once inside the doors, he empties his pockets and removes his belt and shoes. He places them in a plastic tub, passes through the metal detector, and gathers his belongings. He is fastening his belt when his sister comes toward him, her heels clicking against the linoleum floor.

“You’re already here?” he asks. “I thought I was running ahead of schedule."

“Neither Mom nor I could sleep last night,” Sarah explains. “We were both up before the crack of dawn. So we figured we’d get here. She’s in the ladies’ room."

“Is Molly here yet?"

“Haven’t seen her. She was supposed to be meeting with her lawyer this morning."

  Tim Fisher

They move toward the opposite wall to get away from the guards at the entry.

“I feel terrible about this whole thing,” Tim says.

Sarah raises her eyebrows. “I’m guessing you talked to Mom."

“It was probably stupid of me to go see Loretta. But I was hoping she would… I don’t know, give me some insight into what the hell happened. It’s still hard to believe that the Philip we knew was capable of everything he did."

“Nothing surprises me after Graham,” Sarah says.

Tim pauses, concerned at having stepped on a potential mine.

“But I get what you mean,” she continues. “Like by talking to her, you might understand why. But it isn’t like Loretta brainwashed Philip. Maybe she encouraged him to lash out, but he did what he did because of who he was."

Tim sighs. “I just hate that I might’ve antagonized her and made this whole thing worse for Molly. I really thought that the chances of them bringing charges against her were zero now."

“Me, too. But don’t beat yourself up over this, okay? If Loretta was going to use whatever influence she has to have charges pressed, she was going to do it regardless. From everything I’ve heard, that woman never met a grudge she didn’t want to see through to the bitter end. And I say that as someone who’s held her share of grudges in her time."

Tim manages a shadow of a smile at the self-deprecating crack, but the solemnness of the day quickly overtakes it.

“Let’s just hope this can be cleared up quickly,” he says, “and Molly and the rest of us can move on with our lives."


Outside the courthouse, light pinpricks of rain dot the asphalt of the parking lot. Jason Fisher parks his car as close to the entry as he can, and he and Natalie Bishop hurry through the light downpour toward the building.

“Natalie!” a voice calls after them. 

They both turn back. Striding quickly toward them from the lot is a sharply dressed man with a leather briefcase in one hand. Jason and Natalie huddle under the cover of the building, just outside the front door, and wait for him to catch up.

“Jason, this is Conrad,” Natalie says. “Conrad, Jason."

Jason can hear in her voice that she is straining to be polite. He sizes up Natalie’s ex-husband; he has seen a few photos of the man in passing, but his physicality is different than Jason imagined. They are about the same height, but there is something imposing about Conrad — perhaps the air of confidence that he exudes. 

“It’s nice to meet you,” Jason says as they shake. “Thank you for coming up here to help my sister."

“I’d be lying if I said I was doing it out of the goodness of my heart,” Conrad says. “It’s a very intriguing case. But don’t worry — I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure these ridiculous charges are thrown out."

“Conrad never loses,” Natalie says wryly. “Ever."

“You do pretty well for yourself, too, Natalie.” He looks to her bulging stomach. “I know I said it over the phone, but congratulations. To both of you."

“Thank you,” Jason says before Natalie can get another word in. The tension between the exes is palpable. “And I hope you know how much I adore Bree."

“She speaks highly of you, too,” Conrad says. 

“She’s a great kid. One of the most promising students I’ve ever worked with, and a hard worker on top of it."

“She really is, isn’t she?” Now a more genuine joy manifests across Conrad’s face, though it lasts only a moment. “I should get inside."

 “Thanks again for your help,” Jason says.

With a nod, Conrad disappears into the courthouse. Natalie holds onto Jason’s sleeve as they watch him go.

“Shouldn’t we go inside?” he asks.

“Yeah. Of course.” But she continues eyeing the closed doors. 

“You’re really okay having him here? He seems like a nice guy."

She lets out a guttural noise before saying, “He’s fine. He’s a good lawyer. And what’s important to me now is making sure that you’re happy — and that means making sure your family’s happy. If Conrad can help Molly, then I’m all for it."

“And that,” he says, planting a kiss atop her auburn hair, “is why I love you."


Claire moves through the luxurious lobby of the King’s Bay Metropolitan Inn and takes the elevator up to the 11th floor. She scans the door numbers as she searches for the right number and finally finds it, at the end of the hallway on a set of double doors. She knocks, and a moment later, Spencer Ragan opens the door.

“Hey,” he says, stepping out of the way so that she can enter. Claire’s first instinct is to greet him with a hug, but she knows that they aren’t quite there yet.

What she steps into isn’t a regular hotel room, but the sitting area of a much larger sweet. She takes in the ochre-colored carpet and drapes.

“I hope you aren’t going into work late on my account,” she says. “I could’ve met you at the office."

“Nah. Tim is taking today off because of Molly’s thing, so I decided to use one of my sick days. I was a little surprised when you texted, though… Don’t you want to be at the arraignment?"

“I think everyone could use their space, considering…"

“That it’s your brother she shot? Yeah, I had the same thought."

“I wanted to make sure you’re doing all right,” Claire says, holding her purse in front of herself. “It has to be strange, having everything about Philip dredged up again."

“It is. Like, why did they even arrest her? Everyone knows what Philip did."

Claire chooses to bite her tongue on the subject of Loretta. Tim made it very clear during a phone conversation last night that he thought she was the one who had applied pressure to the D.A. and who knows who else, but Claire doesn’t suppose she will score any points with Spencer by bashing the woman.

“These things work in mysterious ways,” she says instead. “Are you doing all right living here? Have you made any inroads on finding a place?"

He shrugs. “I’m waiting for the lawyers to sort out Philip’s estate. Once I know what I’m getting, I can make an offer on something. I’ve found some amazing places, though."

She can’t help but wonder how much this suite is costing him per night, or who is going to help him manage all that money — and make sure he doesn’t run through it too quickly. As much as it should be her place as his mother, she knows that it isn’t. 

“If you need any help — anything at all — I hope you know that you can ask Tim and me,” she says instead. 

“Thanks.” He grabs a sweatshirt off the back of an armchair. “Would you want to grab lunch? The restaurant downstairs is good."


“Yeah. I wouldn’t… This whole Molly thing is making me think about Philip a lot. It would be good to talk about him."

“I’m sure there’s a lot I haven’t heard. A lot I want to ask you,” she says. “So yes. Lunch sounds great."


Molly has only been in a courtroom a few times in her life: when she contested a speeding ticket during college; the two times she has been up for jury duty — neither of which resulted in her being selected for a jury; the time her family rallied behind Claire when Diane sued for custody of Samantha. She expected that this time, when she is being arraigned for on second-degree murder charges, would be different, more dramatic, but everything proceeds at a quick, perfunctory clip. She hears the charges against her, she enters her ‘not guilty’ plea, and the judge accepts it.

The only spark comes when the matter of bail arises.

“Mrs. Taylor is in no way a flight risk,” Conrad explains in a tone so assured that this sounds less like an argument than an edict. “Her entire family is in King’s Bay. She has two minor children living here, and she shares custody of them with her ex-husband, who is the Police Commander. And her business is headquartered here. The charges against her do not imply premeditation or forethought. I respectfully request that you grant bail so that Mrs. Taylor can attend to her day-to-day life while she awaits trial."

  Molly Taylor

With that, bail is granted and set at half-a-million dollars. Tim and Sarah assure Molly that they are taking care of it, and the courtroom empties out into the hallway. Molly lingers behind with her attorney.

“Thank you,” she says. “I can’t imagine what I would’ve done if I’d had to spend the next few weeks or months in jail."

“It would have been asinine for them to deny you bail. Now we can focus on what’s important: having these ridiculous charges tossed out."

Paula, Jason, and Natalie approach them. 

“I just texted Brent an update,” Jason says. “He really wanted to be here."

Molly shakes her head. “It’s better for him to be with the kids. And he would have been caught between the two sides being here, anyway.” She turns back to Conrad. “What happens next?"

“I’m going to file a motion to have the charges reduced, first of all,” he explains. “And I’m going to need to talk to everyone who was anywhere near that hospital that day: your mother, your sister — and your niece, because of what happened between her and Philip."

Molly tries not to flinch at the idea of him grilling Paula about the day of the shooting. 

“We can handle all of that soon,” she says. “In the meantime, I want to see my kids."

“Let’s take you to them,” Paula says. “I think that would be good for everyone."

“Thanks, again,” Molly tells Conrad, and she allows her family to lead her out of the courtroom. She has to see her boys now. She has to make sure they are okay. And she has to have faith that Conrad will be able to ensure that these charges do not stick.


After she and Tim take care of paying Molly’s bail, Sarah gets into her SUV and heads back to her parents’ house. She wants to get home before Matt leaves for work at the restaurant so that Tori isn’t responsible for Billy on her own; she knows that her daughter is still recovering from her coma, and taking care of a toddler requires more energy than she probably has right now. 

She is just pulling into the driveway when her phone pings with the sound of an incoming text message. She glances down at the phone in her cup holder and sees that it is from a number she doesn’t recognize. After putting the car in park, she picks up the phone.

A chill surges through her body as she reads the message.

Congratulations to your sister! Since she was able to make bail, it should be no trouble for you to come up with another $100,000. If you don’t want that video to see the light of day, that is.

Sarah sits there, the car’s engine still running and the vehicle vibrating gently, as she processes the message. This can’t be happening. 

She considers her play for a full minute before she responds:

Who is this?

The answer comes far too quickly.

Does it really matter? $100,000 by the time Molly’s trial starts, or that video goes public. 

“Dammit!” She slams her free hand on the steering wheel. 

“You can figure this out,” she tells herself, but as she watches the light drops of rain tapping on her windshield, she cannot help but fear that they all might be in over their heads.


What should Sarah do about the blackmailer?
What will Conrad’s presence in King’s Bay mean?
Will Claire continue to make inroads with Spencer?
Talk about it all now in the Footprints Forum!

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

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