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- Tempest’s mother, Yvette, tracked her down in King’s Bay. Tempest was anything but receptive to her overtures.
- Knowing that she was jobless after Philip’s death, Jason offered Sabrina an olive branch: a job as a barista at Thaw.
- Molly's attorney,
Conrad Halston, prepped Tori for her testimony at Molly’s trial — but Tori became upset and ran out after he questioned why she had been in Philip’s bedroom on the night she discovered he was the Footprint Killer.

Sarah Fisher Gray climbs the stairs of her parents’ house and moves swiftly toward the door of the bedroom that she and her sister shared for so many years, the same room in which her daughter now resides. She puts an ear to the closed door and listens; upon hearing nothing from within, she knocks.

Tori?” she calls out when no answer is forthcoming. 

A muffled voice travels through the door. “What?” 

“Can I come in?"

The silence between them stretches out like a piece of gum being pulled and pulled to its very limits. 

“Sure,” comes the response at last.

Sarah turns the knob and opens the door slowly, as if worried she might inflict physical pain upon Tori. She finds the young woman curled up on top of the bed, her arms wrapped tightly around a pillow. 

“Sorry that got so overwhelming downstairs,” Sarah says. 

“I don’t want to do it."
  Tori Gray

Sarah doesn’t even bother asking what; she already knows the answer. Tori looked as if she were being tortured the entire time Conrad Halston was prepping her as a witness in Molly’s trial.

Tori just grumbles and pulls the pillow closer. Sarah’s heart breaks as she studies her daughter, lying there so still and scared. So many times over the last few months, she has looked at Tori and felt an unbelievable sense of helplessness. All she wants to do is take away the pain and trauma of what Tori has gone through. 

Now all she can do is seat herself on the edge of the bed. What happens next causes her stomach to sink: Tori, as if by reflex, scoots a few inches away, a few inches closer to the wall. As if the threat of human contact is now terrifying to her on an instinctual level. 

Sarah draws a deep, labored breath. She has wanted to believe that she wouldn’t have to press this issue with her daughter — that the tests done after her attack, showing no physical signs of sexual assault, should be enough. But she knows that it’s more complicated than that, especially given the pointedness of Conrad’s questions about why Tori was in Philip Ragan’s bedroom on the night that he left her in a coma. So she pushes past her sticky tongue and dry lips and she asks:

“Did Philip try to rape you?"

She hates putting it out there. During her time as a police officer, she had to mine people’s pain in pursuit of the truth and of justice, and she was always uneasy about it — but doing it to her own daughter is even worse.

Tori winces. Then, incredibly, she actually moves her head just enough so that Sarah can see one eye, one brown pupil, looking back at her.

“No. I swear. He didn’t."

Sarah wants to let out a sigh of relief. But she still doesn’t know exactly what happened to Tori that night, and she might never know. But the hope that that one element might truly be off the table is all she has right now — that and the fact that her daughter survived at all.

“We can do this with Conrad and Molly another time,” Sarah says. “You just rest now."

“Why do we have to do it at all? I don’t want to talk about it anymore."

“Because the prosecution is going to subpoena you anyway. This is our way of getting ahead of that. We can prep you and bring you in as Molly’s witness. That way, we can control what’s presented to the jury."

“But they can still ask me anything?"

“That’s why we need to prep you. So you’re ready, and so you don’t have to be put on the spot."

Tori buries her face again. Anger flares inside Sarah. This is all because of Molly. But then her mind travels that same circuitous route it has been traveling for months: if Molly hadn’t claimed responsibility for Philip’s shooting, Paula would have, and then their mother would be the one preparing for trial, and Tori would still be in this position. 

No, they need to do this. And Sarah will do whatever it takes to protect her daughter from being hurt any further.

Thaw Coffee & Tea

Sunlight pours through the big front window of Thaw Coffee & Tea, bathing the lacquered white surfaces in its warm glow. Spencer Ragan enters the shop and removes his sunglasses. When he learned that Travis Fisher worked here as a barista, he started avoiding this place… except when he felt like stirring up a little bit of trouble. Since Tim informed him that Travis went to work at Harbor Boulevard, however, Spencer has begun stopping at Thaw more frequently. As he steps up to the counter, however, he is surprised to see another familiar face behind the counter, clothed in the icy blue t-shirt and black apron that all the staff wears. 

“What are you doing here?” he asks Sabrina Gage.

She stiffens at the sight of him. Her large, dark eyes flicker over him before dropping down to the cash register.

“I work here now,” she says.

“I figured. From the get-up. I guess this is why Jason asked me how to get in touch with you."

She nods. “It was nice of him to think of me. I wasn’t having much luck finding work."

“Yeah, well…” He turns his phone over in his hand as thoughts of Philip flood his mind. He hates when this happens — when he has to think about the man he knew for his entire life, who was an upstanding person and a passionate artist and, as much of a stick-in-the-mud he could be sometimes, a damn good big brother. And then he has to remind himself that it was all a fucking lie. That Philip was crazier and more fucked-up than even their mother. That he brutally murdered the people whom Spencer now knows to be his real family.

“Dry cappuccino,” he says, forcing the thoughts away.

“Okay.” Sabrina uses a marker to write the order on a cup and looks down the bar, but none of the other baristas are present. She hesitates and then says, “Dry. That means…"

“More foam. Less milk. Have they even trained you yet?"

"Yes. I’m just double-checking. There’s a lot to learn, and I want to be sure I get it right."

He huffs. “We’ll see how you do.” 

Sabrina again averts her gaze and starts for the nearby machines, but she stops and turns back. “Spencer,” she says, brushing a piece of her dark hair behind one ear, “I really am sorry about Philip. It must be hard for you, and I’m… I’m just sorry."

There is a sincerity in her eyes that he finds as grating as it is surprising. He hates that she must be able to tell how much the mere mention of Philip upsets him, even though it has been months and months.

“Thanks,” he says. “Now can you make my drink? I’m in kind of a rush."


Even with the windows rolled down, the small sedan fills with hot, stagnant air. Yvette Banks doesn’t want to waste the gas on running the air conditioner, especially not for as long as she’s been sitting here — not that the AC runs all that well, anyway. In truth, she wasn’t even sure the old car would survive the drive from Southern California, but she had to get here, to King’s Bay, and if a little baking in the sun is the price she has to pay to get things done, then so be it.

She wipes sweat from her brow as she watches one of those hybrid cars that looks like a spaceship pull up in front of the Edge of Winter Arena. From her vantage point toward the back of the lot, Yvette mutters a wish that the doors to the arena will soon open and she’ll be able to get on with her plan.

She is still surprised by how easy it was to figure out when her daughter would be here and when she’d be leaving work. All she had to do was call early this morning and ask if Tempest was working. When the bored-sounding man who picked up the phone said no, Yvette asked in her most polite voice when Tempest would be in today, and the man told her without even thinking twice. It almost made her snap — You’re gonna give out that information over the phone after she damn near got killed working there? — but she held it together. Eye on the prize.

The hybrid car lingers in front of the entrance for a while, and finally, just as the car’s green digital clock suggested, Tempest walks out of the arena. Instead of walking to her own car — Yvette passed some of the time scoping out the cars parked throughout the lot, wondering which one of them belongs to her daughter — Tempest goes straight for the hybrid and gets inside. 

What Yvette sees next causes her to forget all about the heat. She sits up ramrod-straight against the back of her seat as she watches Tempest greet the driver, another girl, with a kiss. And not just any kiss. A kiss right on the lips. The kind of kiss that lasts too long to be just a friendly thing. 

“What the hell is going on with you, girl?” Yvette wonders aloud as the hybrid starts moving away from the building.

She waits just long enough so that there’s some space between that car and hers, and then she starts her engine and follows the two girls out of the parking lot.


Tori lies on her bed, scrolling through her Instagram feed. Truth be told, she barely knows why she even looks at this stuff anymore. It’s like a window into a life that she used to have: people at parties, on vacation, with friends, being silly… and she gets to watch it all from this house, which she barely leaves besides to go to therapy, physical or otherwise. 

She cringes at the sound of the knock on her door. She considers setting down her phone and pretending to be asleep, but at least something she doesn’t want to deal with would be some kind of action. 

“What?” she calls out.

“It’s Spencer,” comes the surprising answer. “May I come in?"

She does a quick scan of her outfit, which is composed of leggings and a pair of long, layered t-shirts. She wouldn’t be quite as concerned if it were Samantha or Travis visiting — she’s known them since she was born — but Spencer is a weird hybrid of a family member and a friend.

“Oh, uh, yeah. Sure,” she says as she sits up straighter against the headboard.
The door opens with a slight creak.

“Hey. It’d been a while, so I thought I’d come…"

“I’m glad you did. I’m so bored.” She indicates the chair tucked beneath the desk. “Sit down."

Spencer obliges. “How are you? Feeling okay?"
  Spencer Ragan

"Fine. Getting better, I guess. I just feel like..." She sighs. "Like some psycho shut-in loser. At least being in a coma wasn't so boring."

“I’ll make a note of that. You look better — more like yourself, I mean."

“I’m getting there. That’s what the doctors say. I can even walk okay. I just get tired a lot."

“Do they think you can go back to school in the fall?"

“Yeah. Thank god. Missing this whole semester sucked. I never thought I’d want to go to school so badly, you know?"

Spencer laughs.

“How about you?” she asks. 

“I’m good.” There is a tightness to his expression and his words, however, that says otherwise. Tori is trying to figure out what to say to crack it when Spencer speaks again: “Sorry I haven’t come to visit more. It’s been weird—"

“I know. It’s okay. I thought maybe you hadn’t come because seeing me would remind you of Philip, and everything that happened."

“I don’t know. Maybe. But that’s not really right. You didn’t do anything wrong."

Her thoughts buzz back to the inquiries about her relationship with Philip and why she was in his bedroom that night. She still can’t believe that she was so stupid as to believe something might happen between them.

“I should probably tell you something,” she says. “They’re making me testify in Molly’s trial. Since I was the one who found out it was Philip. I don’t want you to think it’s something I want to do."

“No. You should. It’s bullshit that Molly has to go on trial for that, anyway. It was basically self-defense."

The weight of the topic sits over them, with neither knowing what to say.

“Once you’re better, I’m going to take you out partying,” Spencer says, forcefully brightening. “We’ll get you back into the swing of things."

“Please! I’m gonna die of boredom. Who let you into the house, anyway? Is Grandma home?"

“Yeah, she answered. She said she was making cookies. I’m supposed to convince you to come down and have some."

“Molly and the lawyer aren’t here?"

He shakes his head. “Didn’t see them."

“In that case, let’s go get some cookies. It’ll make Grandma happy to have us both there.” She swings her legs off the bed and leads the way.


The driver of the hybrid car — whoever she is — seems to take yellow lights as a command to stop, which would normally drive Yvette crazy, but it does make it a hell of a lot easier not to lose them. She follows Tempest and her friend, a heavyset white girl with black-rimmed glasses, through unfamiliar streets and into downtown King’s Bay. They park at a meter and go inside a restaurant labeled 322. Yvette circles the block once and luckily finds a metered spot just around the corner. It isn’t ideal, but if she cranes her neck, she can see the front of the hybrid. So she rolls down her windows and waits for the girls to come out of the restaurant.

As she waits, Yvette studies what she can see of downtown King’s Bay. It looks like the kind of city she’s seen on TV: a little too clean, a little too fake, mothers with strollers and expensive leggings walking around with their overpriced coffees. But nice. She can see why Tempest would want to live here — though she doesn’t have a damn clue how she found the place to begin with. 

After forty or so sweaty minutes, the girls exit the restaurant. They get back into the hybrid and take off again. As they pass Yvette, she starts her own car and pursues them. After a few minutes, the hybrid eases to a stop outside a four-story apartment building that looks like it was built in the last decade or so; the exterior is covered in gray-blue paneling and traces of wood. It all looks like exactly what Yvette always thought of the Northwest. 

“Got yourself a nice little place here,” she mutters as she watches Tempest get out of the car.

From her current angle, she can’t really see inside the car, but Tempest’s movements are enough to tell her that they are kissing again. Then Tempest closes the car door and heads into the building.

So she lives alone. Huh, Yvette thinks. How much can that job handing out rental skates pay?

Thinking fast, Yvette gets out of her car and waves her arms just as the hybrid moves away from the building and toward her. And it works: the girl driving pulls over.

“Excuse me,” Yvette says as sweetly as she can manage, “I’m new in town, and this damn thing—“ She holds up her several-generations-old iPhone. “—it’s not loading the map right. Can you tell me which way is downtown?"

“It’s that way,” the girl with glasses says, and she rattles off a bunch of directions that Yvette nods at even though she isn’t listening. She takes the opportunity to study this girl, who is prettier than she thought from a distance, even if she doesn’t look like any of the kids Tempest used to hang out with back in California. 

Yvette plasters a big smile on her face. “Thanks so much. You’re a life-saver, I tell you.” Then she goes for it: “You live around here? This is a nice spot. I’m still looking for a place of my own."
  Samantha Fisher

"No, uh, my girlfriend lives in that building." The girl blushes as she uses the word 'girlfriend,' and Yvette tries not to let her discomfort show.

“Looks pricey. She must do well for herself!"

“She lives with her mom,” the girl says. “Well, foster mom. It’s a long story. But yeah, it’s a really nice building."

“Interesting. Interesting.” Yvette purses her lips as she tries to contain her reactions. “Well, you’ve been a real help. Have a blessed day."

“You too,” the girl says, and she rolls up her window and drives off, the car near-silent as it moves. 

Yvette returns to her car and starts the engine, but she sits there and stares up at the gray-blue building. Foster mom, huh? 

“What have you gotten yourself into, girl?” she asks aloud. Soon enough, she’ll have the answers.


What is Yvette up to?
Will Tori’s testimony go all right?
What kind of life will Sabrina build in King’s Bay?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum!

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Saturday, July 09, 2016

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