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- Helen and Diane commiserated over their dislike of Natalie and the fact that Jason is having a child with her. 
- The interview Tempest gave Diane after the near-robbery at the arena went viral. 
- After being charged with Philip’s murder, Molly was released on bail — only to be told that Objection Designs has put her on leave until her legal issues are resolved. 
- Brent and Molly resolved to talk to Danielle about her drinking. 


Helen Chase balances the two stacked Tupperware containers on her forearm as she rings the doorbell. Carefully, she moves the containers back to hold them securely between two hands as she awaits an answer.

Twenty seconds later, the door opens, revealing the bright, cheerful interior of the house. Natalie Bishop appears to be attempting to mimic that very mood as she fixes her gaze upon Helen.

“Helen. Hi,” Natalie says. She wears an emerald green hoodie and black yoga pants. “What can I do for you?"

“I was doing some baking this morning and went a little wild. I thought you all might appreciate some of my bran muffins and chocolate chip cookies. Those cookies are Sophie’s favorite."

Natalie holds out her hands and takes the containers. “Thanks. I’m sure everyone will love them."

Helen peers beyond Natalie and into the house. “How is your move-in going?"

  Helen Chase

“It’s good. A lot of work. I’m actually in the middle of—"

“Is my granddaughter home? I figured she must be back from school by now."

Natalie closes her eyes, as if to gather her strength, for a split-second before stepping aside. “She and Bree are doing homework in the dining room. Come in."

Helen does just that, and before the door is even closed, excited footsteps come thundering through the living room.

“Grandma!” Sophie yells before throwing her arms around Helen’s lower body. 

“Hi, honey.” Helen stoops down to give the girl a proper hug. “I brought over some fresh-baked cookies."

“Chocolate chip?” Sophie asks excitedly.

As Helen nods, Bree comes running into the foyer. 

“Cookies?” she asks, her eyes lit up. “Can we have some, Mom?"

Natalie frowns. “You girls had your after-school snack a little while ago."

“I’m sure one cookie wouldn’t hurt,” Helen says.

“Cookies have a lot of sugar,” Natalie says. “We’ll put them away for now, and you can both have one after dinner for your dessert."

Moooooom,” Bree whines.

Sophie stamps her foot. “I want cookies!"

“Whining will get you nowhere. Now go finish your homework before dinner."

The girls trudge back to the dining room. Helen waits until they are out of sight before she leans in toward Natalie.

“I think you and I need to have a little chat,” she says.


Jason Fisher maneuvers his car around the corner and begins scanning the buildings for the proper address. The block is lined with small apartment buildings in various states of disrepair — none of it requires urgent attention, but most of the yards appear unkempt, and the buildings themselves could all use some amount of repainting and exterior work. He is closing in on the right address when he spots her.

Sabrina Gage stands beside an older-model sedan parked at the curb. Its hood is open. Jason pulls over beside the car and rolls down his passenger-side window.

“Hey there,” he says.

Sabrina’s surprise is evident. “Hi…"

“Car trouble?"

“Changing my oil.” 

Jason puts his car in park but leaves it running. “Impressive."

She shakes her head. “The indicator light came on, and I’m not really in a position to pay anyone to do it, so I looked it up online… I’m hoping I did it right and the car doesn’t explode or anything."

“I’m sure you figured it out all right."

Sabrina shrugs. “What are you…"

“I actually came to see you,” he says through the window. “There’s something I want to talk to you about."

“You already apologized,” she says. “It’s fine. Really."

“I have an offer for you."

“You do?” She sets down the plastic quart of oil. “What do you mean?"

“I know Philip’s death put you in a terrible position. A lot of people are still dealing with the fallout—"

“Your family has it a lot worse than me. I’m just unemployed—"

“Still. I know you were hopeful about that job and you’ve been trying to rebuild your life,” he says. “And we have an opening at the coffee shop at the arena. My nephew just took a job at my dad’s restaurant, and we need a new barista. It isn’t the most glamorous, but if you’re interested…"

Sabrina clasps her hands together, and her face lights up. “Are you serious? I’ve applied to so many retail jobs, and waitressing jobs, and I… I don’t have the experience to get a call back. I’ve never been a barista before—"

“If you can teach yourself to change your own oil, I’m pretty sure you can figure out how to work an espresso machine,” he says. “Is that a yes?"

“It is. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you!” She covers her mouth with her hands. “I can’t believe it."

Jason can’t suppress his own smile at her relief and joy.

Spencer gave me your phone number and e-mail address,” he says, “so I’ll pass those along to the manager at Thaw and make sure she gets in touch."

“Thank you, Jason. That’s really nice of you."

“It’s the least I could do.” He listens to his own car humming as it idles. “I should, um, get back to work, but I’m glad I caught you."

“Yeah, this is… oh, thank you!"

“Good luck, Sabrina. And I guess I’ll be seeing you at the arena."


With a wave, he puts his car back in drive and continues down the block and around the next corner, convinced that he made the right decision by coming to see Sabrina today.


Ever since her arrest, Molly Taylor cannot shake the sensation that she is about to walk into a room, but at the last instant, a giant hand grabs her and pulls her back through the doorway. No matter what she is doing or who she is with, she cannot escape the iron grip of her impending trial and all the complications that come with it. The only thing she can think of is to keep busy — which is considerably more difficult in light of being placed on leave from her job. She has tried to sit down and refine her sketches for the upcoming collection, since she can pass them along to the design team whether or not she is actually at work, but inspiration is fleeting when she’s this distracted.

Fortunately, there are several projects around the house that she has been intending to get done, and with this amount of free time, she is finally able to tackle them. After dropping the twins off at school this morning, she sits down at her sewing machine and finally makes the new cushions for the kitchen chairs that she has been planning since last summer. Then she cleans out her closet and the boys’, packing the discarded clothes into bags that she will drop off for donation later. By the time afternoon rolls around, she hasn’t exactly managed to wipe away her anxiety, but she has at least been productive and kept her brain occupied. 

  Molly Taylor

She is tying up one of the donation bags when Danielle Taylor appears in the doorway of her bedroom.

“Here’s what I have,” Danielle says as she deposits a pile of folded clothes on the bed. “Not much, but at least it’ll go toward a good cause."

“Every little bit helps.” Molly finds herself forcing a smile at her former sister-in-law; all of their interactions have felt this way of late, at least on Molly’s end. 

“I’m going to jump in the shower, and then I can go grab the boys from practice,” Danielle says.

“It’s fine. I can do it. Need to keep busy."

“Are you sure?"

“Positive. Take some time for yourself. I heard you playing earlier — how’s the writing coming?"

Danielle sighs. “Slowly. I’m rusty. Sometimes showering helps loosen up my thoughts, though."

“Then go for it! Don’t worry about picking up the boys, seriously."

Danielle leaves the room and, a minute later, Molly hears the shower turn on. Knowing that Danielle will be in the bathroom for at least a few minutes, Molly finds it impossible to push down the curious voice that has been whispering in the back of her head since her arraignment: is Danielle still drinking? Molly  has been keeping a very close eye on her, and she has been careful not to let Danielle drive the kids anywhere, just in case — but she knows this can’t go on forever.

With the muted sound of the shower running in the background, Molly makes her way down the hall. The door to Danielle’s room is open, so she creeps in and makes a beeline for the closet. On the bottom, behind Danielle’s shoes, she looks for the bottle of wine that was there last time she checked.

It’s gone. But in its place is a fifth of vodka, at least a third empty.

Careful to leave everything exactly as she found it, Molly hurries back to her own room and picks up her phone. She quickly types out a text message to Brent:

It’s time to talk w/ Danielle. I found more. 


“That,” Trevor Brooks says as he tries to catch his breath, “was exactly what I needed."

Alex Marshall rolls onto his back in the king-sized bed at the King’s Bay Metropolitan Inn, his breathing as labored as Trevor’s as he stares up at the ceiling. “Same. Now aren’t you glad I convinced you to play hooky?"

“The way I remember it, it didn’t take that much convincing."

“I guess not. There’s something a little exciting about meeting up at a hotel, isn’t there?"

Trevor nods, his mussed brown hair rustling against the pillow. “Definitely. Not like we have much choice, though… You live with a straight couple and two kids, and I live with my dad. Are we adulting wrong?"

Alex turns onto his side, propping himself up on one elbow. “Based on what we just did? I’d say we’re doing something right."

“True.” A wicked grin takes over Trevor’s face. 

“And I’ll have my own place soon enough. Then we can do whatever we want, whenever we want…"

“That sounds really good to me.” Trevor reaches out a hand and runs it lazily over Alex’s bare chest.

Alex’s mind runs wild at the mere touch, but now that his head is somewhat cleared, he makes himself glance at the clock on the nightstand. “When do you need to be back at the office?"

“Doesn’t really matter. Everything’s kind of slow this week — especially with Molly out. They’re acting like it’s business as usual, but everyone in creative seems a little lost."

“I’m sure she’ll be back soon,” Alex says. 

“I hope so. I kind of feel like a traitor going to work there while they have her on leave—"

“She wouldn’t expect you to walk out in protest."

“I know. And we need to keep things running. Just feels weird. But I guess I should shower and get back before the end of the day."

“See? That’s good adulting."

Trevor pulls himself to a sitting position and then stands. Alex can never stop marveling at how perfect he looks naked, even now, years after his modeling career ended. 

“What are you doing?” Trevor asks.

“Just shamelessly staring at how hot you are."

“Not that. Lying there, I mean."

“I thought you said you were going to shower."

“I didn’t say anything about showering alone,” Trevor says, reaching out and grabbing Alex by the hand. “Come on."


Natalie closes the pocket door between the dining room and kitchen, then leads Helen further away into the family room. 

“Now what do we have to talk about?” she asks, folding her arms. 

“Frankly, it’s inappropriate the way you told the kids they couldn’t each have a cookie,” Helen says. “They’re children! A cookie won’t kill them."

“And that’s why we have such an obesity problem in this country."

“Oh, please—"

“It isn’t like I’m starving them, Helen."

  Natalie Bishop

“They’re children! Let them enjoy a treat."

“I will. After they finish their homework and have dinner.” Natalie pauses and then continues, a little softer. “I’m surprised you don’t see it the same way as me, actually. Your daughter was a skater—"

“We never deprived her!"

“I’m not depriving Bree. I’m teaching her self-control. This really isn’t any of your business, anyway."

Helen’s eyes flare. “Sophie is my granddaughter. I won’t stand by while you body-shame her—"

“Oh, come on!” Natalie’s eyes roll up into her head. “Jason and I are going to be raising our child together soon. He invited Bree and me to move in and be part of the family. That means he has some faith in how I handle Sophie."

“At least someone does,” Helen says, scoffing. “I’m going to go say goodbye to Sophie, and then I’ll be on my way."

“Good.” Natalie watches as Helen opens the pocket door and goes into the dining room. “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, you old bag."

Edge of Winter Arena

The sound of the heavy metal gates locking into place reverberates through the empty Edge of Winter Arena. Tempest Banks wipes the residual snow off her gloves and then removes them. She looks up at the large digital clock on the scoreboard and around the vast space; this is the first time she has been so alone in the arena since the attempted robbery, because Jason hasn’t yet returned from his errand. As much as she hates it, a shudder of nervousness runs through her at the memory of that day.

“Don’t be such a damn baby,” she mutters to herself as she heads back toward the skate counter.

The sound of the arena’s main doors opening and then slamming shut gets her attention. She looks across the ice to try and make out who it is, but she can make out little more than the person’s shape from this distance. From what she can tell, however, it isn’t Jason returning — and it appears to be a woman. 

She tries to busy herself by marking sessions off the punchcards of the lunch hockey players who signed in today, but she can barely focus on the binder as she awaits the arrival of whomever just entered the arena. Her hand shakes as she holds the pen in her hand. 

It occurs to her that she could bolt for the back door, or go lock herself up in the office, or something else, before the person gets to her.

“Well, well,” the woman’s voice says from behind her.

Tempest freezes, too thrown to turn around. 

“Excuse me, girl."

Slowly Tempest makes herself pivot around. “What do you want?"

Before the woman can answer, the main doors open and close again. The echoing noise helps fill the space between Tempest and the visitor. This time, she is able to see Jason on the other side of the ice, walking at a brisk pace. 

“You gotta go,” Tempest says.

“Why? I just got here."

“Because—“ Tempest picks up the pen again. “I got work to do."

“Doesn’t look that important to me."

Jason’s voice calls out as he rounds the end of the ice. “Tempest! Everything okay?"

“Yeah, all good!” she responds.

He half-jogs the rest of the way toward her. “Sorry, I hit traffic on the 202. I thought I’d be back before the session ended."

“It’s no trouble,” Tempest says. 

Now Jason sets eyes upon the other woman. He reaches out a hand. “Jason Fisher. Hi. I’m the owner."

“Nice to meet you,” the woman says as they shake. 

“What can we help you with?” he asks.

“I’ve got this,” Tempest says briskly.

Jason glances between the women uncertainly. “Okay. Uh, when you’re through, would you mind popping into my office? There’s something I want to discuss with you."

“Cool.” Tempest waits for him to head for the stairs, but each fraction of a second seems to last forever.

And then she does it.

“What’s the matter, Tempest?” the woman says. “Ain’t you gonna introduce your boss to your mama?"


What is Tempest’s mother doing in King’s Bay?
Will Natalie and Helen ever see eye-to-eye?
Can Molly and Brent help Danielle?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum!

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Sunday, May 08, 2016

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