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- Tempest was shocked when her mother, Yvette, showed up at the arena. She refused even to speak with her.
- Jason offered Tempest a promotion: a job working in the administrative office of the arena. After observing Tempest and Yvette’s interaction, he called Claire to tell her about Yvette’s surprise arrival. 
- Brent tried to speak with Danielle about her drinking, but when she became defensive, the confrontation turned nasty.


The glass slams into the hardwood floor and explodes. Shards scatter across the kitchen.

Brent Taylor steps toward the mess. “Here, be careful."

His sister moves right along with him. “I’ll get it! Stop trying to be such a damn hero, Brent. Is that what this is? Trying to come to the rescue because you feel guilty about your little romps in the sack with Claire, of all people?"

When Danielle looks up at Brent, shame still burning inside her, she sees the shock in his face. But his stare is not directed at her, but rather past her. And when Danielle turns, she sees why: Molly, Caleb, and Christian are all standing there, having just arrived home.

“Boys, take your stuff upstairs,” Brent orders in a tone that doesn’t even allow for the possibility of debate. The twins comply, though Danielle sees them linger on the stairs for a few seconds before Brent again shoos them away.

Molly surveys the shattered glass. “What in the world is going on here?” she asks, though it’s apparent to all that she is talking about more than the mess on the floor. 

Danielle suddenly feels very cold. She folds her arms across her body.

  Danielle Taylor

“I came over to talk to Danielle,” Brent says. “Things got a little…"

“You went through my closet,” Danielle says to Molly.

Molly’s eyes flare. “It wasn’t like that. I was in your room — which is in my house, by the way — and your shoe had fallen out of the closet. I went to put it back and saw…"

“Well, great. So now you guys know. I’m a big failure.” Danielle lifts her hands and then lets them fall to her sides in defeat. “I messed up. I slipped a few times. It doesn’t mean I’m a different person—"

“We know that,” Molly says. “We want you to be okay."

“I am okay!"

“Have you been going to meetings?” Brent asks, a little more gently.

Danielle feels herself flinching, even though she doesn’t want to. “I haven’t been good about that. That’s all it’ll take — I just have to go. Actually, I’ll go to one tonight.” She checks the clock. “There’s one in 40 minutes."

She heads for the foyer and grabs her purse. Molly and Brent tail her.

“You don’t have to bolt out the door this second,” Molly says. “We can talk about this—"

“There’s nothing to talk about.” Danielle grabs a jacket off one of the hooks near the door and slips it on. “I slacked off on my meetings, and I got careless about maintaining my recovery. The first step is to get back into a meeting ASAP."

Brent and Molly exchange a look that Danielle isn’t sure how to interpret: skepticism? Concern? Uncertainty?

Brent is the one to speak. “Let me drive you. I can even come in—"

“I’ll be fine,” she says as she places her purse over her shoulder. “Thanks for your concern. I appreciate it. And don’t worry — I’m fine to drive."

Before either of them can concoct a response, she is out the door. They stand there in pained silence.

“Should we follow her?” Molly finally asks.

“I don’t think that’s going to do any of us any favors,” Brent says. “Maybe this was… I don’t know, the wake-up call she needed to get her back into meetings."

“I hope so."

The open-endedness of the confrontation hangs in the air, but there is something even heavier pressing down upon Brent, and he cannot ignore it.

“But I think there’s something else you and I need to talk about,” he says.

Harbor Boulevard

“To new opportunities."

Samantha Fisher lifts her cocktail glass over the table, and Tempest Banks reaches across to meet it with her own. The young women clink glasses and then take their first sips of their drinks. They sit at a table against the long window of Harbor Boulevard; the restaurant bustles with the excitement and energy of the dinner rush. 

“Ooh, that’s strong,” Samantha says, flinching.

Tempest laughs. “You think every drink is strong."

“I do not.” 

“You do.” Tempest grabs the glass from Samantha and tries it. 

“See?” Samantha says as she watches her girlfriend recoil.

“That’s a strong damn drink. Guess they knew we were celebrating."

“Good thing we Ubered, then.” Samantha slides the menu in front of herself and gives it a cursory look, although she has been here so many times since her grandfather opened the place that she generally knows it by heart. She refocuses on Tempest. “So tell me everything. When do you officially start?"

Jason’s gonna redo the schedule and give the other attendants my shifts as much as he can, but I might have to pick up a couple ’til he can hire someone else,” Tempest says. “But aside from that, he wants me up in the office as soon as possible."

“That’s so cool. You must be so excited."

“Hell yeah, I’m excited. It’s, like, a real job. With a desk and everything.” Tempest takes a slug of her drink, and Samantha tries to follow suit, though she can only manage the slightest pull of hers without seriously wincing. 

“You guys made it!” Travis Fisher says as he approaches their table. The girls turn to see him in his white chef’s jacket and black pants.

“Don’t you get one of those puffy hats?” Tempest asks.

“Only the people in charge of the kitchen wear those here,” Travis explains. 

Samantha looks up at her brother, her hand wrapped around her aggressively prepared drink. “How’d you manage to slip out?"

“Matt’s running the kitchen. He said I should come out and say hi.” Travis picks up one of the water glasses on the table. “I hear we need to do a cheers?"

“You don’t ‘do a cheers,’” Samantha says. “It’s a toast."

Travis rolls his eyes. “Whatever.” He holds up the water glass. “Cheers to the new job."

The three of them clink their glasses. 

“Thanks, man,” Tempest says. 

They make small talk for another minute or two, and then Travis glances behind him toward the swinging door that leads to the kitchen. 

“Okay, I need to get back in there before the mean guy in the puffy hat comes to track me down,” he says. “But hey, I only screwed up one thing so far today, so…"

“We’ll ‘do a cheers’ to that later,” Samantha says with a laugh, and then Travis darts back to the kitchen.

“How was your day?” Tempest asks her. “I’ve been sitting here talking about myself—"

“You have big news! And nothing very exciting happened today. I went to class and worked on my thesis."

“How many pages you got now?"

“Eighteen. So only four thousand or so to go."

Tempest cringes. “I don’t know how you sit there and do all that writing."

Samantha shrugs. “What about you? Did anything else exciting happen today?"

“Nah.” Tempest picks up her drink and quickly takes another sip. “Not a damn thing."


Molly stares back at Brent silently for what feels to him like an outrageously long amount of time.

“We don’t have to,” she says, brushing past him to return to the kitchen. 

He follows her. “Yeah. I think we do."

Molly roots around in the pantry and emerges with a broom and dustpan. “What’s there to talk about? We’re divorced. You’re an adult. You can make whatever choices you want."

He watches quietly as she sweeps up the broken glass.

“Let me help,” he says.

“I’ve got it.” She continues sweeping in silence — but, to Brent, it sounds like the kind of silence he remembers all too well from the time they were married, as if it isn’t so much the absence of sound but instead a quiet, incessant whisper commanding him to follow up and dig deeper. 

“That’s not how I wanted you to find out,” he says. “I wanted to have a conversation with you…"

“And what? Tell me that you and Claire just couldn’t help yourselves any longer?"

The sharpness of her tone catches him off-guard — though he realizes that he has been expecting it ever since he saw her standing there, having overheard what Danielle said. 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Brent asks.

  Brent Taylor

Molly stops sweeping. “Come on. This has been brewing for a long time. When the two of you were running around the country investigating Clayton and Loretta and all of that—"

“To protect our family!"

Molly grimaces. “Just be honest with me: how long has this thing between you and Claire really been going on?"


Danielle pulls into a parking space outside the community center. Though she tried to put on music while she was driving, she found it too overwhelming, so now all she hears is the light hum and rattle of the car around her. Looking across the lot, she sees the community center’s squat, two-story frame with the Northwest sky turning dark behind it. 

Her hand moves for the key in the ignition — but before she can turn it, she sees two figures walking from their cars toward the building’s entrance. She met Patty and Edward during the very first AA meetings she attended when she returned to King’s Bay, now so many years ago. They’re almost legendary at these meetings for their reliability, their strength, and their sobriety. It is almost difficult for Danielle to imagine them ever drinking in the first place — except, of course, for the fact that they go out of their way to remind everyone at these meetings, themselves included, just how bad things got for them once upon a time, probably as a way of reminding themselves, too.

Danielle watches Patty and Edward pass through the community center’s front door. She imagines walking in there… standing up in front of the meeting, with so many people she knows… and telling them that not only did she slip, but slipped repeatedly, tossing away her near-decade of sobriety like a sack full of old trash. She pictures their faces — too practiced to betray their pity for her, but instead conveying it through concern, words of encouragement, and forced smiles. 

“I can’t go in there,” she mutters.

You have to, a voice inside tells her. You have to go in and stop this.

Again she reaches for the key, intending to turn off the engine, but she can’t find the strength to do it. Not when turning that key means she’s going to walk in there and prove to everyone what a failure she is.

Instead, she puts the car in reverse, navigates out of the parking lot, and steers her way — her body and mind at war the entire time — toward the nearest liquor store.


When Tempest arrives home, she finds Claire Fisher flitting around the living room of their apartment in her light-blue nursing scrubs.

“Oh, good! I thought I might miss you,” Claire says, looking up from filling her purse with whatever it is that she’s always putting in her purse.

“Nope, I’m here,” Tempest says, feeling the pleasant glow of the celebratory drink she had with dinner. “You working the graveyard?"

“We don’t really like to call it that around the hospital, but yeah. How was your day?"

“Well…” Tempest unzips her jacket. “I got some news."

Claire’s eyes widen. “Go on."

  Tempest Banks

“Guess who got a promotion!"

“Oh my gosh! That’s wonderful. Tell me everything.” Claire drops into one of the chairs at the dining table and motions for Tempest to do the same. 

“Jason wants me to come work up in the office with him,” Tempest says excitedly. “I can’t do all the stuff Ryan did, but he said he needs someone to help out. It’s a raise and everything! And no more of wearing that big heavy coat and freezing my ass off next to the rink all day."

“That’s so great, Tempest. I’m so proud of you."


Claire picks up a hair band from the table and pulls her dark brown hair into a ponytail. “How soon do you start?"

“Pretty much right away. We’ve gotta hire someone to replace me downstairs, but… yeah.” Tempest feels herself smiling almost involuntarily.

“That’s really great news."

“Yeah, Sam and I got dinner to celebrate. Travis even got out of the kitchen for a hot minute to come say hi. I’m real happy."

“You should be! Congratulations.” Claire levels a strange stare upon her. “Anything else?"

“What do you mean?"

“I mean, I guess that was the high point of the day… Did anything else interesting happen?"

Tempest tenses. In a way, her mother’s surprise appearance at the arena feels like it happened days and days ago. Jason’s surprise announcement of her new job overshadowed everything — well, almost — for the rest of the day, and it felt like there was no room for thinking about Yvette. Felt like it… even though it was there, all day, in the back of her mind, ready to leap out like a monster from under the bed. 

“Nope,” she says. “Just that."

Claire’s gaze lingers on her for another moment, and then she stands and picks up her purse. “I need to get to the hospital. Can I give you a congratulatory hug before I go?"

“I guess so,” Tempest says, grinning as she stands to hug Claire. 


“Are you asking if I cheated on you with Claire?"

Brent feels something bubble up inside him and boil over. Molly averts her eyes and returns to sweeping the broken glass.

“That’s insane, Molly,” he says. “You divorced me. You decided you didn’t want to be married to me anymore."

“Not because I wanted to!"

“Yes, because you wanted to."

“You were running all over the country — with Claire — obsessed with finding Loretta—"

“I wanted justice! For all of us."

“No, you wanted to find and punish whoever helped Nick blow up that restaurant so you could get revenge for your leg,” Molly says. 

Brent sets his jaw. “Maybe. But we caught her. We got her thrown in jail. We stopped her."

“Yeah.” Molly wraps a hand around the broom handle and stands it up straight. “You’re an adult, Brent. We’re divorced. You can see whomever you want."

“Then why does it feel like you have a problem with it? Why are you accusing me of having cheated on you with Claire?"

“I’m not.” She looks down at the hardwood floor again. “It’s just… it seems tacky. In poor taste. Okay?"

“In poor taste? You left me for a serial killer!"

Molly gasps. “I did not."

“You actually did.” He throws up his hands. “You know what? This is not productive. I didn’t want you to find out this way. And I don’t want to hurt you. But I’m a grown man, Molly.” He crosses to the doorway. “I’m gonna go check on our sons, and then I’m gonna go home."

“Great.” Molly resumes sweeping.

Brent lingers in the doorway and then turns back toward her. “For the record, I waited. I waited — I hoped — for you to come back to me. And you didn’t."

Before she can even process that, let alone respond, Brent heads for the stairs, leaving her there amidst the scattered pieces of broken glass.


Will the Fishers accept Brent and Claire?
Will Tempest tell anyone about her mother?
Will Danielle ever get help for her drinking?
Sound off in the Footprints Forum now!

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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