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- Sarah and Molly deposited the money where the blackmailer specified — but Sarah had a secret plan to turn the tables.
- Tempest was irked when her mother, Yvette, showed up with an entry for the chili cookoff.
- Tori
and Spencer encountered Tori’s former friend, Fee C., who picked a fight with Tori and then flung chili at her.

Tori Gray jumps backward, but the hot chili meat and liquid still slap her in the face and chest. Shocked, she stands there for a moment, mouth agape.

“You did not just do that!” Tori shouts as she lunges toward Fee C.

“Hey!” Spencer Ragan shouts from behind Tori, but the two young women are already tussling. Tori shoves Fee into the table behind them, which holds a variety of entries for the chili cookoff. Bystanders gasp and holler as the girls vie for control, tugging on one another’s hair.

psycho!” Fee shouts.

“You’re the one who threw chili at me!"

Up by the judges’ dais, Travis Fisher looks up from the sign-in sheets with alarm. “What the hell is going on?"

“Is that your cousin?” Paula Fisher asks as she bursts out of her chair.

Realizing what is going on, Matt Gray hops off the dais and, seeing his daughter in the thick of the fight, runs over to intervene. Before he gets there, though, Spencer manages to get a hold of Tori’s arms and pulls her away. 

“Leave her alone!” he barks at Fee.
  Tori Gray

“She’s the one who came at me!"

“What’s going on here?” Matt asks as he steps up to the scene.

Helen and Don Chase watch from only a few feet away, where they stand with their chili entries. 

“That’s that horrible Fee C. girl from the party down on the beach last year,” Helen says. “I knew she was trouble from the first time I laid eyes on her.” 

“Knock it off — both of you,” Matt says to the girls. 

“She threw chili at me!” Tori says.

Matt looks at his daughter, with chili on her cheeks, in her hair, and on her clothing. 

“You should probably go,” he says to Fee. 

Fee balls her fists and stomps her foot, but she can’t get a protest to come out. Then, suddenly, she turns around and grabs the nearest crockpot full of chili — and hurls its contents in Tori’s direction.

“Whoa!” Matt shouts.

The chili cascades all over Tori and Spencer.

“You crazy bitch!” Spencer yells.

“That was my Five-Alarm Chili!” Helen says. “Oh, dear."

“Fee, you’re outta here,” Matt says, forcefully stepping between the girls. “Get moving."

Fee drops the mostly empty crockpot onto the ground. She sneers at Matt and then at the chili-covered Tori and Spencer. “Have fun with your chili, weirdos."

Spencer tries to wipe chili off his t-shirt and arms. “This is so fucking gross."

Tori pulls chunks of chili out of her long, dark hair and watches as Fee recedes into the distance. 


Elsewhere on the winery’s grounds, away from the site of the chili cookoff, Claire Fisher and Brent Taylor huddle. Each holds a glass of white wine.

“What did they say we were supposed to taste here? Basil?” Brent asks.

“I think so.” Claire sips her wine. “But I’ve always been so bad at picking out notes in wine and all that."

“Me, too. Cheers to our unrefined palates."

They clink glasses.

“It’s nice to have a few minutes together,” Claire says, “though I wish we didn’t have to hide under a tree to do it."

“It won’t be like this forever."

“I know.” She sighs. “But the day of an event my son is throwing is probably not the right time to go public."

“Absolutely not. I’m thankful Molly has more or less kept the news to herself, though."

“Yeah. I guess she has more pressing things to worry about…"

Brent nods solemnly. “I wish I weren’t nervous about this trial. But the D.A. seems hellbent on making an example of her, or building a reputation on this case. And there’s only so much I can do without being accused of favoritism."

“They don’t have a case, though. Not really. And I sent her a note offering to testify on her behalf, as Philip’s sister. She thanked me and said her lawyer would be in touch."

“That was nice of you,” Brent says. “I just don’t want to imagine that there’s a way my kids’ mother will end up in prison — but if the past few years have taught me anything, it’s that you can never underestimate what’s coming down the pike."


“I’m really sorry about your chili, Mrs. Chase,” Tori says as she uses paper towels to wipe off her face. 

“It isn’t your fault,” Helen says. “That Fee C. picked up my crockpot and dumped it all over you! What’s the matter with her?"

Tori shakes her head. “I can’t believe I used to consider her a friend."

Sarah hurries up, holding an orange sundress on a hanger. “Here, I bought this for you at one of the booths. Are you okay? You’re still recovering--"

“I’m fine.” Tori looks down at her pink tank top. “I think this is ruined, though."

“Same here,” Spencer says, eyeing his stained t-shirt. He reaches for its bottom and pulls it over his head, revealing his toned chest and stomach. “I’ll go buy some piece of crap."

“Thanks for jumping in there,” Tori tells him. 

“I just wish I could’ve gotten the pot out of her hands before she doused you."

“And I wish you didn’t have to take that bullet for me."

“It’ll be a funny story to tell… in like five years."

“Yeah,” Tori says as she takes the hanger from Sarah and studies the dress. “You know, this isn’t even that hideous, considering…"

“I think it’s cute,” Sarah says. 

“You’ll look radiant in anything!” Helen declares. “Certainly better than that troublemaking former friend of yours."

“It’s lovely,” Don adds. “Very summery."

“Thanks,” Tori says. “I really do feel bad that you can’t enter the contest now, Mrs. Chase."

“It’s okay, dear. It will give my Don his time to shine. He didn’t stand a chance with me in the contest."

“Keep telling yourself that,” Don says with a laugh. 

“Where’s your dad?” Sarah asks Tori. 

“He took Billy to the bathroom,” Tori says. “I guess I’ll head that way and change.” 

“And I’m gonna go find another shirt.” Spencer pitches his ruined t-shirt into a nearby trashcan and heads off into the depths of the festival, and Tori departs for the restrooms. 


When Brent makes his way back to the cookoff area, he finds his sister setting up her chili for judging, while his twin sons wait nearby.

“You made it,” Brent says as he gives Danielle Taylor a hug. “How was your lesson this morning?"

“It was good. Yeah.” She pauses and adds, a little quieter, “I went to a meeting, too. I needed it."

“Good. Good for you.” He gives her a comforting rub on the shoulder. “I’m proud of you."

“You wouldn’t be if you had seen me at that Open Mic Night.” 

Caleb grabs Brent’s arm. “Dad. You missed it."

Brent looks at him questioningly, then turns back to Danielle. “It happens. You got a little stage fright. The important part is that you didn’t give in and drink. That’s huge, Danielle."
  Brent Taylor

She lets out a heavy exhale. “One day at a time, right?"


“Dad!” Caleb says.

“What is it?” Brent asks. “What did I miss?"

“Tori’s friend dumped chili all over her. It was awesome!"

“I don’t know if it was awesome,” Danielle says. “Tori could’ve gotten hurt or burned."

Caleb rolls his eyes way back in his head. “It was funny. Come on."

“Let’s not get any idea from Tori’s friend,” Brent says. “You guys all ready for the contest?"

“Mom and I are gonna win,” Caleb says.

“No way,” Christian counters. “Aunt Danielle and I are."

Caleb twists up his face. “Tofu is gross. I bet you guys get last place."

“Hey, hey,” Brent says. “Let’s leave the judging up to the judges, okay? The point is everyone showed up to support your cousin Travis."

“Your dad is right,” Danielle says. “It doesn’t matter who wins."

“You guys are so lame,” Caleb says. Over his head, a look passes between Brent and Danielle.

“Dealing with preteens is so nice, isn’t it?” Brent says with a laugh.


“Yvette,” Claire says as she returns to her station for the cookoff and finds Tempest’s mother only a few spots away from her. “Hi."

Yvette looks up, her eyes busy, searching. “Hi. Feel like I should thank you again for getting me to the hospital that day. That was real kind of you."

“It’s what I do for a living.” 

Claire focuses on setting out small servings of her chili for the judges. 

“What kinda chili did you bring?” Yvette asks.

“It’s a lean turkey chili. I tried to put a healthy spin on it.” Claire tries to resist the nagging instinct to follow up but can’t. “How about you?"

“I did up this whole deal with pineapple. It’s real good."

“That’s interesting. Good luck."


Awkward tension hangs between the two women, coating the silent seconds.

“I know you don’t want me nowhere near here,” Yvette finally says. 

Claire considers her words carefully before replying. “I didn’t say that. Frankly, it isn’t up to me."

“It’s just… I know I messed up. I let Tempest leave. Hell, I let things get bad enough that she thought she had to. You think I don’t know that? You think that doesn’t hurt me?” She beats a fist against her chest. “It hurts my heart and my soul every damn day."

Unsure what to say, Claire remains quiet.

“I miss my girl,” Yvette continues. “And I know y’all think I’m doing the most now. That I’m doing too much. So what? I didn’t do enough for how long? I’m gonna make this right. I am."

Claire takes a deep breath. For as much as she thinks the timing of Yvette’s arrival is conveniently timed, between Tempest’s viral video and Yvette’s pregnancy, there is also a part of her that understands exactly what the woman is saying. The specifics of her separation from Spencer are far different than Yvette’s separation from Tempest, but both women have biological children whom they were unable to raise, and who felt — or feel — that they were wronged. 

“Like I’ve said, I’m not the one you have to convince,” Claire says. “But if that’s the truth, then be available to Tempest — but don’t pressure her. Give her space. It isn’t just that she doesn’t want you around. She’s hurt by whatever happened in the past. And I’m not going to let her get hurt again — but if there’s a chance of mending those old wounds, I want more than anything for her to have that closure."

Lips pursed, Yvette nods.

“If you’ll excuse me, I need to go check in with my son. Good luck with the contest.” Claire heads for the judges’ table, hoping that she didn’t just overstep her bounds. 


Relieved that her daughter is all right, Sarah moves away from the crowd and pulls out her phone. She taps a blue icon and launches an app that brings up a grainy black-and-white video feed.

“What are you doing?” asks a voice from behind her.

“God, Molly. Creep up on me, why don’t you?” Sarah says with annoyance. 

“You’re standing in a public place,” Molly says. “Did you get a text from the… you-know-who?"

“Not yet.” Sarah glances around and then huddles in closer to Molly. She holds up the phone. “See this?"

Molly focuses on the screen. “Is that the men’s room…?"
  Molly Taylor

"Remember that pen I put on top of the toilet?"

“It’s a camera?” Molly’s eyes go wide. “Isn’t that kind of a violation of people’s privacy?"

Sarah frowns. “Sort of. I set it so the camera aims up — so all we’re seeing is if someone stands on the toilet to get up to that ledge. See? The bag is still there."

“Still. You put a camera in a men’s room during a chili cookoff. That’s…"

“I’m a little worried about seeing things I can’t unsee, yes.” Sarah shudders. “But this is how we’re going to take back control of this thing."

“And what if he — or she — figures out you put a camera there? Didn’t they say that if we tried anything clever, that video would get released?"

“Yeah. Which is why it’s a pen. Who touched a random pen sitting on the back of a public toilet?"

“Umm… whoever’s in there now.” Molly points to the screen, as the frame goes shaky and the camera moves.

“He’s there,” Molly says. “He found it."

“Shit. Shit."

They hold their breath and wait. But when a face comes into view, it’s the last one either of them expected to see. 


Has the blackmailer caught on to Sarah and Molly?
Should Tori pursue revenge against Fee C.?
Is Yvette pulling a fast one on Claire?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to discuss it all!

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Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016

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