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- Tempest’s mother, Yvette, followed her around King’s Bay to glean information on her life and then visited Claire. In the midst of their heated conversation, Yvette fainted.
- After Natalie moved in with Jason, Alex decided it was time to move out and searched for a place of his own.
- While out to lunch with Jason and Sophie, Natalie went into labor.

Stacks of cardboard boxes and plastic tubs fill the living room of the small, bungalow-style house. Summer sunshine spills in through the open front door and the large windows, bathing the white walls and weathered oak floors in its glow.
“Where do you want this?” Trevor Brooks asks.

Alex Marshall places his hands on his hips and looks around. “Just put it in the corner. Everything’s going to move a million times once the movers get here with the furniture and I start making decisions, anyway.”
Trevor obliges and sets the floor lamp down beside a stack of boxes marked Kitchen.
“You have kitchen stuff?”
“It’s all a bunch of random crap,” Alex says. “Honestly, I should’ve left it at Jason’s, but he insisted that I take anything that was mine. I think he feels bad.”
  Alex Marshall

“Because he moved Natalie in and it was kind of like asking me to move out, I guess? He shouldn’t. It’s his life. And it was time for me to go."

“And now you have this awesome house.” Trevor gazes around the place; it isn’t large, but it’s attractive and clearly has history. “Have I congratulated you yet?”

“Lots of times. But I’ll take whatever I can get.”

Trevor’s arms slide around Alex’s torso, and their lips meet in a soft but lengthy kiss.

“You know you’re going to have to spend the night a lot,” Alex says. “It’s been years since I lived alone. I might get scared.”

“That’s a challenge I’m up for. Way better than helping you move.”

“Yeah, thanks for that.” Alex gives him another quick peck. “It really is going to be weird living alone, though. Not that there weren’t times having a kid around could be annoying, but…”

“You love Sophie. She’s basically your niece.”

“She is. And I do. I was kind of… I know it sounds silly, but I felt like I was another parent, in a way, with how I picked her up from school and watched her while Jason was at work and everything. I’m going to miss that a lot.”

“You’ll still see her. And we can have them over for dinner here.”

“I can’t wait.” They kiss again, and Alex feels Trevor’s fingers pulling up the back of his t-shirt and stroking the skin of his lower back. Laughing, he recoils. “Stop!"

Trevor grins back at him. “Why? You don’t like it?”

“No. I like it too much. And the movers are going to be here any minute.”

With a mischievous twinkle in his eyes, Trevor palms the front of Alex’s gym shorts.

“I feel like we might need to christen this place now…”

“We will. But not before the movers are gone.” Even as Alex twists his lower body away from Trevor, he leans in to kiss him once again.

“You’re right. They aren’t even hot. So that would be no fun,” Trevor says.

Alex opens his mouth in a show of exaggerated shock.

“You’re terrible,” he says.

“I am. And you love it.”

“I do. I love you.”

Their lips press together, and this time, the kiss deepens quickly. Alex finds himself wondering if they do have time to get rid of the shorts before the movers show up. But just as Trevor’s fingers move back to his waistband, Alex hears the disruptive jingle of his cell phone in his pocket.

He pulls back and sighs. “They probably got lost.”

As Trevor groans with frustration, Alex takes out his phone and sees the caller ID. The name of the caller alarms him and fills him with worry, so he hurries to answer.

"Hey, Travis,” he says with the phone to his ear. Trevor snaps to attention at the greeting, too; it isn’t exactly often that Travis Fisher would be calling Alex.
He listens to Travis’s fast-paced explanation, feeling his own heartbeat grow quicker.
“What’s going on?” Trevor asks as Alex hangs up.
“I need to stay here and let the movers in,” Alex says.
“What? Why?”
“Natalie went into labor. Sophie is at the restaurant with Travis and Matt. I need to go get her.”
“Whoa. Go, then! I’ll deal with the movers.” Trevor grabs Alex by the waist and pulls him close. “But FYI, I charge double for last-minute services like this.”
“I’ll think of creative ways to pay you back,” Alex says, raising an eyebrow as he leans in for one more kiss.

KB Memorial Hospital

Claire Fisher paces over the linoleum flooring of the hospital’s waiting area. She isn’t accustomed to waiting out here, and in fact, if it were any other patient she’d rushed to the hospital, she would be clocking in and trying to help out. But there are too many thoughts flying through her head, too many concerns about Tempest and doubts about Yvette’s convenient fainting spell earlier. 

She isn’t exactly predisposed toward liking the woman, considering that Tempest — although she refuses to talk about her life before King’s Bay in specifics — was living on the streets rather than with her mother in Los Angeles. Whether that was Tempest’s choice or Yvette’s, it does not strike Claire as a dynamic that she should force Tempest back into. And Yvette’s sudden appearance in town after Tempest’s interview went viral piques her suspicions, too. Did she expect to find a daughter who’d come into money? Or does she have some other motive?

Claire shakes her head and continues pacing. When she reaches one end of the room, she turns back to retrace her steps, just in time to see Paula Fisher and Sarah Fisher Gray entering. The women stop at the unexpected sight of her.

“Are you working?” Paula asks.

Ever since Molly caught wind of Claire’s relationship with Brent, Claire has been bracing for impact with regards to Paula finding out. She has enough experience with her former mother-in-law to know that Paula will have an opinion on the relationship, and it most likely will not be one that gives Claire the benefit of the doubt. Judging from the look on Paula’s face right now, however, it seems Paula still doesn’t know or that the storm has passed quietly. Probably the former, Claire assumes. 

“No, I— I actually had to bring someone in. I’m waiting for the doctors."

“It isn’t Tempest, is it?” Sarah asks.

Claire shakes her head. “Tempest is at work. Or was. She’s on her way here now. It’s a— a long story. What are you doing here? Is everyone okay?"

“Jason called us,” Paula explains. “Natalie is in labor."

“Oh! Wow. Everything’s going all right, I hope."

“From the sounds of it, yes,” Paula says with a nod. “Thank goodness. I just wanted to be here to welcome my grandson or granddaughter into the world. The rest of the family is on their way."

“That’s great. You must be so excited,” Claire says. She catches the curious side-glance that Sarah is giving her and, though she tries not to react too much or stare, she can’t help but wonder: does Sarah know? Why would Molly have told her, of all people?

She doesn’t have much time to fret over it, though, because in the next moment, Tempest comes rushing through the doors. 

“The hell is going on?” Tempest asks as she beelines toward Claire. “Scared me half to death. Are you okay?"

“I’m fine."

“Oh, hey,” Tempest says to Paula and Sarah as she processes their presence. “What’s going on?"

“There’s something I need to talk to you about,” Claire says. “In private.” Paula and Sarah graciously take a step back, and Claire leads Tempest toward the far section of the waiting room.


“This is worse than the outlet mall on Black Friday, and you know how I feel about Black Friday!"

“Eleven seconds,” Jason Fisher says.

Clad in a hospital gown, Natalie Bishop groans but nevertheless continues bouncing lightly on the exercise ball. She un-grits her teeth and attempts to focus on breathing through this latest contraction.

“Six… five… four… three… two… one.” Jason lowers his phone. “How are you feeling?"

Natalie glares at him as she stops the light bouncing motion. “I’m about to push a human being out of my body. How do you think I feel?"

“Why don’t we get you back up here and check how you’re coming along?” the labor nurse, a short, jolly woman, suggests. She and Jason each take one of Natalie’s arms and help her to the bed. The nurse slips out to grab the doctor.

Natalie tries to settle onto the bed. Her whole body feels at once as though it is on fire and yet totally exhausted. It has been years since she gave birth to Bree, but the sensation is so imprinted into her consciousness that it now feels as if she only did this yesterday. 

She feels the wave of the latest contraction finally ebb into nothingness and lets her body fully fall into the pillow and mattress. 
  Natalie Bishop

“You’re doing great,” Jason says as he grips her hand.

“I want the epidural now,” she says. “I’m ready."

He nods. “When they come back—"

The door begins to open.

“I want the epidural now!” Natalie announces.

The nurse and doctor enter the room.

“It sounds like we’re getting close,” the doctor says as he takes his station at the foot of the bed. “Let me check how dilated you are, and then—"

“And then the epidural."

“And then the epidural,” he agrees.

Natalie assumes the necessary position and waits, her discomfort almost overwhelming, until the doctor looks up and says, “You’re at a 7."

“Only a 7? I thought I was—" But before Natalie can finish the statement, another contraction rises up to take control of her. 

“Breathe,” Jason says, as he squeezes her hand rhythmically to guide her.

“Epidural!” she shouts before resuming her pattern of light, allegedly calming breaths.


Claire and Tempest huddle by the wall of the waiting area.

“You gonna tell me what this is about?” Tempest says. “I had to leave work—"

“It’s your mother."

Claire watches the news hit Tempest. It happens in stages, though they pass rapidly, almost imperceptibly. First there is shock, then confusion, and then, as Claire expected, anger.

“What’s she doing here?"

“She came to see me,” Claire says. “She said she tracked you down because of that video."

“I don’t wanna see her. I don’t want her here.” Tempest crosses her arms. “What happened to her?"

“She passed out. Fainted. I don’t know."

“She was faking."

“We don’t know that yet.” Claire has her own suspicions, but she wants to be as impartial as possible — and bringing Yvette here was the best way to find out, especially if something really is wrong with her. 

“She does that,” Tempest says. “She lies."

Claire swallows hard. “Let’s just see what’s going on."

Tempest shakes her head vigorously. “I don’t want her here. She’s not supposed to— This is my place."

Claire can see that the young woman is about to blow. She places a calming hand on Tempest’s arm.

“Let’s see how she is, and we’ll go from there,” she says. “I have no intention of forcing you to do anything you don’t want to do. And you haven’t told me exactly what happened back home, but if you ran away, I believe it had to be bad."

Tempest sets her jaw. “It was."

“Then as far as I’m concerned, we make sure she’s okay—"

“I don’t care if she’s okay! She never cared if I was."

“Okay.” Claire takes a moment to absorb Tempest’s reaction; one of her tricks in speaking with patients is to validate whatever they’ve said, regardless of how illogical or scared or angry it might be, and then allow that to settle before responding more completely. It tends to have a way of defusing a situation. “Then let’s hear what the doctor says, and that’s that."

“I can go back to work."


Claire is relieved to see Dr. Huang, a woman she has gotten to know rather well over the years, push through the doors and scan the room for her. Claire raises a hand, and Dr. Huang moves toward them.

“Dr. Huang, this is Tempest,” Claire says. “She’s the patient’s daughter."

“I’m not…” Tempest’s protest fades off into the air as she scowls.

“Hi, Tempest. Claire’s told me a lot about you over the years."

Tempest flashes her eyes toward Claire. “Good stuff?"

“Always good stuff,” Claire says before refocusing on the doctor. “Can you tell us what’s going on? How is she?"

“I think you should go see Ms. Banks,” the doctor says.

“She’s awake?” Claire asks.

“Yes. And we aren’t going to hold her overnight."

“Okay, that’s good.” Claire turns to Tempest. “Why don’t we go see her?"

“I don’t wanna see her! She’s awake, right? Let her get her lying ass on a bus back to L.A."

“Unless we physically put her on that bus, I didn’t get the impression she’d be leaving King’s Bay anytime soon,” Claire says. “If what she wants is to talk to you, maybe the easiest way to get rid of her is to let her say whatever she wants to say. You don’t have to respond. Just let her get it out. And then she’ll go."

“Can’t we just get a restraining order?"

“It isn’t that easy. All she’s done is knock on my door."

Tempest sighs. “She can say whatever she wants to say, and then I’m outta here."


The delivery passes in a haze for Jason. It goes much faster than Sophie’s birth, or at least it feels that way, but he has the sense that he is watching from outside his own body the entire time. The epidural calms Natalie somewhat, and she works with the doctor and nurse to get through the contractions and push. Jason helps coach as best he can, but he can still hardly believe that this is happening. For so long, he was sure that Sophie would be his only child — that his life would be about giving her the best upbringing he could, and running his business and being a good son and brother. He didn’t even allow himself to imagine getting back to this place. But now he is here, and his admiration for Natalie grows as he watches her dial down her sarcasm and focus on bringing their child into the world. And then the doctor announces it:

“Congratulations. You have a son."

The baby’s cries fill the room, and the next several minutes are a different sort of rush, as the infant is cleaned up and quickly placed in Natalie’s arms for skin-to-skin contact. 

“We have a son,” Jason says breathlessly as he hovers right over them. 

Natalie lets out a little laugh. “I can’t believe it."

Jason marvels at the baby: so small, so new to the world. His son. He studies his little face, trying to pick up any resemblance to either of them or their family members, but right now, the boy is little more than flushed skin, chubby cheeks, and squinting eyes. 

“We need to come up with a name,” he says. 

“I have some ideas."

“Anything you want to throw out?"

Before Natalie can answer, though, there is a light knock at the door. Jason defers to Natalie.

“Come in,” she calls out, her voice a little hoarse.

Paula peeks her head into the room. “Can I meet my grandson?"

“Yeah, come over,” Natalie says.

Paula nearly tiptoes over to the side of the bed and then gasps at the sight of the baby. “Oh, he’s beautiful. Another grandson!"

They all watch the infant silently for a few seconds. Jason notices his mother tearing up.

“Are you okay?” he asks.

“Yes.” She uses a hand to wipe her eyes. “Your father would be so proud right now."

Jason feels his throat closing up. “I wish he could be here."

Paula reaches for her son’s hand. “He’s watching over us."

“I hope so."

“Does Sophie know yet?” Paula asks. 

“I need to call Alex,” Jason says.

“I can do it. Or if you want to take a minute and do that, I’ll stay here with Natalie and this handsome boy."

Jason looks to Natalie for confirmation of how she feels.

“Go,” she says. “Your mom should have a few more minutes with her grandson."

Jason moves for the door — but before he goes, he gives one more glance back at the two women and his newborn son. His heart swells as he exits the room to pass the good news to his daughter.


After Paula goes in to see the new parents and baby, Molly Taylor takes a seat in one of the stiff waiting-room chairs and attempts to pass a few minutes with a tabloid magazine. She finds herself unable to focus and keeps having to double back to check things she just read. Even being in this hospital, waiting, gives her the creeps now. Memories of the day that Bill was killed creep around and over her like tendrils of smoke, too gauzy to brush away but too thick to ignore. She is on a different floor than she was that day, but the basic layout of the area is similar, and she hardly dares look toward the balcony, where Philip held his gun on her and Sarah before Paula got a hold of it and fired at him, killing him. The sight of her own mother, letting loose with gun in hand, is never far from Molly’s mind. By the time Sarah returns, cell phone in hand, Molly is grateful to put the magazine down.

“Is everything okay?” Molly asks, eyeing her sister.

“Yeah. I was just checking on Billy.” Sarah scans the room and then takes the seat beside Molly. “But we should talk."

Molly stiffens. “Here?"

Graham’s house is finally in escrow,” Sarah says quietly. “I’m having the money put into a separate account for Billy that’ll be his college fund."
  Molly Taylor

“And? It's great that you're doing that, but--"

"And then I’m having $100,000 of that shifted into another account that I just opened."

Molly searches for some sign that this is a joke or that she’s missing something, but she detects none. “I thought you said we weren’t going to pay whoever sent that…” She doesn’t want to say video aloud. 

“We aren’t."

“Then why are you stealing from your own son?"

“I’m not stealing, Molly. I’m borrowing. We need the actual money for this to work."

“For what to work?"

Sarah checks over her shoulder to be sure no one is there, then turns back to Molly. “I have a plan."


“He really is darling,” Paula says as she stares down at the rosy-cheeked infant. 

“He is.” With her free hand, Natalie quickly reaches up to push some of her sweaty hair out of her face; she can’t wait until one of the nurses comes to take the baby to the nursery so that she can shower and feel vaguely like a human being again.

Paula sits back against the chair that she has pulled over to the side of the bed. “Thank you for giving me another grandchild,” she says. “After last year, our family was in need of something this joyous."

“You don’t have to thank me."

“Yes, I do. You’ve made Jason very happy, dear. You’ve brought him back to us. He was nearly a zombie after Courtney died. And now he’s— he has a full life again. It’s best for him and for Sophie."

Natalie shrugs uncomfortably but pushes a smile over her tired lips.

“I know that we don’t know each other very well,” Paula continues, “but you’re the mother of my grandchild, and that means we’re family now."

“Thanks, Paula. That means a lot.” Even as she says it, Natalie’s stomach roils. She has been evaluating the baby’s face, trying to see if there is any sign that this could be Spencer’s son and not Jason’s. Of course, they share some of the same genes, anyway, and it’s far too early to tell much about what this boy will look like. But no. This is Jason’s son. That’s the end of the story.

“We’re all going to be very happy,” Natalie says as she cradles her son and smiles.


Claire holds open the door to the hospital room, but Tempest lingers out in the hallway. She isn’t sure what to expect inside, or even what she hopes she’ll see. Really, all she wants is for Yvette to be back in L.A., or wherever she’s been for the last few years, and out of Tempest’s face. But she’s here, right here, and when Tempest catches a glimpse of her through the doorway, she is surprised to see that her mother doesn’t look sick or frail or even tired. She looks exactly how she did when she showed up at the arena a few weeks ago, except she’s in a hospital gown.

“Baby girl,” Yvette says, beaming.

Tempest hardens her face even more. 

“How are you feeling?” Claire asks.

Yvette waves a hand through the air. “I’m fine. Got lightheaded."

“So nothing’s wrong with you?” Tempest asks. 

“Come here,” Yvette says. “Let me see you."

Tempest remains immobile. “Did they say you can go home?” 

“That’s why I wanna talk with you.” Yvette lets out a heavy sigh. “I missed you, Tempest. I’ve been worried."

“So what? You want a medal for giving a damn that your kid disappeared? You’re not getting it from me.” Tempest sees the concerned look that Claire throws her, but that’s as far as Claire’s intervention goes. 

“I wanna talk to you,” Yvette repeats. 

“Let me guess,” Tempest says. “You’re sick. You’re dying. Now you think I’ve gotta pay attention to you ‘cuz of that. That it?"

“Yvette, what’s going on?” Claire asks gently.

A smile stretches over Yvette’s face as she focuses on Tempest. “You’re gonna be a big sister, girl. I’m having a baby.” 


What will Yvette’s news mean for Tempest?
Is Natalie out of the woods?
What plan is Sarah cooking up?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to discuss it all!

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Monday, August 01, 2016

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