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Molly’s murder trial continued to dredge up painful memories of the day when Philip killed Bill.
- Tim asked for Tori’s help in getting through to Spencer, who froze Tim and Claire out after overhearing that they’d once suspected him of being the Footprint Killer.
- When
Rosie testified at Molly’s trial, Travis realized that she’s been pushing him away because she blames herself for not preventing Bill’s murder.

Most years, Paula Fisher looks forward to Thanksgiving Day with excitement. In spite of the chaos that comes with hosting an ever-increasing group of family and friends, she finds it comforting to have a full house, and it warms her heart to see everyone together, sharing laughter and stories over a meal. 

This year, however, she has been dreading the day in the weeks leading up to it, and when she opens her eyes on Thanksgiving morning, all she wants to do is clamp them shut again and stay in bed. This Thanksgiving will be so different than all the others over the past several decades. Her family will be still be gathering, and there will be turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing, but it will be the first one that she has spent without her husband since they married. Last year’s Thanksgiving was the last day that they ever spent together; the very next morning, Bill was murdered by Philip Ragan

Finally, she is able to pry herself out of the bed. She pulls on a housecoat and leaves her room. As she makes her way down the stairs, she can already hear the sounds of life in the kitchen. For the quickest of moments, her heart leaps -- for so long, she has associated those very sounds with Bill’s presence, with his love for cooking and for their family. But she knows that it is not him who is in there, already at work on today’s meal.

At the bottom of the stairs, she pauses near the living room mantle, where her and Bill’s wedding portrait sits among a slew of other framed moments from their family’s history. Her throat tightens at the sight of them, so young, so excited about their future together. They never could have known all that lie ahead: four children, nine grandchildren, so much joy -- and so much pain, too. But being together made the painful times somehow bearable. 

And now he is gone. Every day over the past year has been a struggle in its own way. Even when the initial, overwhelming grief -- the kind of grief that felt as if it would consume her, that made her certain that she might never even breathe again -- faded, a host of sensations have persisted: numbness at some times, stabbing pain at others.
  Paula Fisher

She forces herself to stop focusing on the photo and moves through the dining room and into the kitchen, where she finds her son-in-law setting out mixing bowls and pots.

“Good morning,” she says softly.

Matt Gray turns with a warm grin. “Morning. Happy Thanksgiving."

“Thank you so much for taking the lead on the meal this year. I don’t know if I could…"

“It’s my pleasure, Paula.” He nods toward the full coffeepot on the counter. “Coffee’s all ready."

“Thank you, Matt."

She retrieves a mug from the cupboard and pours herself a cup. 

Travis texted me,” Matt says. “He's gonna stop by the store in a little bit to grab a few last things, and then he’ll be over."

The mention of her grandson, and the reminder of what a responsible man he has grown into over the last few years, brings a smile to her face.

The sound of quick footsteps announce the arrival of another family member. Both Matt and Paula turn to look as Tori Gray hurries into the kitchen, already dressed in a faux-fur vest, skinny jeans, and boots.

“Is there coffee?” she asks.

Paula raises her own steaming mug. “It’s right over here."

“You do know what time it is, right?” Matt teases his daughter. “What are you ready for so early?"

Tori pours some coffee into a travel mug. “I have something to take care of before dinner."

“Sounds important,” Paula says.

“It is.” The young woman screws on the lid of her cup. “I’ll be back in time to eat, I promise."

“Everything okay?” Matt asks.

“Everything’s fine. There’s just something I have to do. I’ll fill you in later.” Travel mug in hand, Tori blows out of the kitchen.

Matt and Paula exchange a look.

“I wonder what that was all about,” Paula says.

Matt shakes his head. “I’m learning that sometimes it’s better not to ask."


The parking lot of J&M Supermarket is as unruly as Travis Fisher expected it to be on Thanksgiving morning. The erratic movements of some of the cars almost convince him to drive straight back out without ever parking, but he knows that he has no choice, so he chooses a relatively safe area near the back of the lot and walks through the cold November morning to the store’s entrance. 

Once inside, he grabs a basket and begins working through the short list on his phone. Dodging the traffic of wandering shoppers and misplaced carts, he finds the aluminum foil, picks up two rolls, and is headed in search of nutmeg when he stops at the end of the frozen foods aisle. 

He might not have noticed her if not for the uniform. But that was enough to catch his eye, and sure enough, it is Rosie Jimenez he sees, standing in front of the one of the freezer doors, examining its contents.

He hesitates for a moment. Since his conversation with Landon, he has been trying to figure out what the right way to show Rosie that neither he nor his family blame her for Bill’s death; it seems that telling her won’t convince her to let go of the guilt she is carrying. He still doesn’t have much of a plan, but he cannot resist walking down the aisle toward her. 

“Rosie,” he says when he is a few feet away.

She turns, surprise on her face. Her mouth moves around as it tries to find words. 

“Hi,” she finally says. 

“Happy Thanksgiving."

“Yeah. You, too."

The awkwardness feels so thick to Travis that it might smother him. But he pushes onward.

“You’re working today?” he asks, indicating her uniform.

“I worked an overnight. Heading home now."

He glances inside the freezer, where stacks of frozen dinners are on display. 

“This isn’t your Thanksgiving dinner, is it?”

“I worked all night. I’m just going to sleep for a few hours, then have a quiet day at my place. Catch up on TV, you know. I don’t want to bother with a bunch of cooking just for me."

“What about your family? Aren’t they in King’s Bay?"

“They are.” She folds her arms across the front of her dark blue police uniform. “I should get going."

“Wait. Please.” He lets out a heavy sigh. “I need to talk to you. Will you please listen?"


Tori’s car creeps slowly down a street in a section of King’s Bay that she knows well. It isn’t far from the extravagant house that her mother lived in with Graham Colville not too long ago. She tracks the addresses, watching as the numbers ascend, until she finds the one that she is looking for. It is a large, modern glass-and-cement structure, all clean lines and sharp edges. 

Though the driveway is empty, she opts for parking at the curb, since she doesn’t exactly know why she is here or what’s expected. She approaches the front door, which boasts a heavy aluminum bar as a handle, and a sheet of shaded glass takes up most of the door’s size. She eyes the doorbell but isn’t sure if she should ring it; she doesn’t even know who lives here or if they are still asleep. Instead, she sends a text:

I’m here. What do I do now?

She waits. Despite her vest, scarf, and beanie, it is pretty cold out, and she regrets not having put on a winter coat. Just as she is growing annoyed that her phone hasn’t dinged with a response, the front door opens. 

“What the hell is going on?” she asks Spencer Ragan, who stands before her in a heavy knit sweater and black sweatpants. 

He steps aside. “Come on in."

She enters the foyer and is immediately grateful for the warmth when Spencer closes the door. She gazes up at the ceiling that stretches up two full stories. A open, all-white staircase leads up to a second-floor landing. 
  Tori Gray

“Do you live here?”


“Why didn’t you just tell me that? I thought I was, like, walking into some stranger’s house."

“But you came."

“Of course I did. I wanted to see you.” She looks him up and down. “Are you okay? You seem okay."

“I’m okay. Come on.” 

He leads her over the nearly black hardwood to a spacious, open kitchen, where the bright whites and subtle grays contrast with the dark flooring.

“This is really, really nice,” Tori says. “I thought you were going to buy a condo or something. How did you get this so fast?"

“It’s a rental. When I decided I was sick of living at the hotel, I wanted to move into something ASAP. It’s dope, isn’t it?"

“It’s amazing.” She unwinds her scarf and removes it. “I know you’re mad at Tim and Claire. I get it. But you have to understand--"

“What? That they think I’m crazy?"

“They don’t."

“They thought I was a serial killer!"

“They didn’t think that. They were worried it was-- you know, a possibility."

He rolls his eyes. “Yeah, okay."

“They love you."

“I thought you’d be on my side."

“I am on your side. Spencer -- I haven’t even known you that long, but it totally feels like you’ve been my cousin my whole life."

“Same,” he admits quietly. “That’s why I told you where I was. You’re different. I figured that if you just wanted to sell me out and tell Tim and Claire where I was, then I could write you off, too."

“But I didn’t. I came alone. I wanted to at least see you on Thanksgiving. I was worried about you."

“Seriously, I’m cool. I’m good. Look how I’m living now."

“It’s an amazing place,” she says. “What are you doing for dinner?"

“Nothing. I ordered Indian food last night. I’ll eat the rest of that."

“No, you won’t.” She levels her gaze at him. “You’re coming back to Grandma’s with me, whether you like it or not."


“That must be Travis,” Paula says at the sound of the doorbell. She sets down the knife she is using to chop garlic. “I’ll get it."

“Thanks,” Matt says as he continues to peel potatoes. 

Paula wipes her hands and walks briskly through the dining room and living room en route to the front door. When she pulls it open, she is surprised not to see her grocery-toting grandson, but rather his father, carrying a box. 

“Happy Thanksgiving,” Tim says, giving his mother a hug.

“Come in, come in.” She closes and locks the door behind him. “What are you doing here? Dinner isn’t for hours!"

“I wanted to see you.” He holds out the box. “I brought donuts. I figured you guys might not actually make time to eat while you’re cooking for the rest of us."

“That’s so thoughtful of you. But you came by just to see me? That’s sweet of you. We’ll see plenty of each other later, though."

“You know how hard it is to talk when the house is full of people. Is Matt in the kitchen? Why don’t we bring him the donuts, and then we can go sit in the den?"

“I’ll bring the donuts in and meet you there,” she says. “Would you like any coffee?"

“That sounds great. Thanks."

She delivers the donuts to a grateful Matt, pours Tim a cup of coffee, grabs her own, and heads to the den to join him. 

“What’s this all about?” Paula asks as she hands Tim his mug and takes a seat on the same sofa as him.

“I know today is probably hard for you,” he says. “I just wanted to check in. See how you’re feeling. If you wanted to talk. That kind of thing."

“You’re so sweet. I’m fine. I am. It’s just…"

“You’re allowed to be hurting. I know I am. Thinking about having Dad with us last year…"

“Yes. It’s tough.” She nods gravely. “I miss him so much."

“I do, too."

“But I still have so much to be grateful for. Your father was taken from us too soon, but I’m lucky to have my health, and we all have each other…” She trails off, sounding somewhat unconvinced at her rationalization. 

“Of course we’re lucky for what we have. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fair he can’t be with us now."

“I know.” She places her coffee on the table and rests her hand over Tim’s. “I keep thinking, if we hadn’t gone to the hospital the next morning… if I hadn’t let him go to Tori’s room alone…"

“You can’t do that,” Tim says. “We can’t go back and change the past."

“No. We can’t.”

On the end table behind Tim, another family portrait -- this one from Sarah and Matt’s wedding -- sits. She zeroes in on Bill’s bright, proud face. 

“I still can’t believe that I’ll never see him again,” she says as a lump rises in her throat. She blinks against the tears that are suddenly welling in her eyes. “I miss him so much."

“So do we all.” Tim reaches out his arm and wraps it around her, pulling her close. “So do we all."


Time feels as if it stands still as Travis awaits Rosie’s verdict. At least she didn’t bolt immediately, he reasons. But her hesitance is troubling, too.

“Travis,” she says, “you’re a nice guy. But I told you: this isn’t gonna work out."

“Why not?” He is surprised by the firmness of the question.

“Because…” Rosie pauses to avoid a woman coming at them with a full cart and no apparent regard for others’ safety.

“Because of my grandpa, right?"

Her mouth tightens into a stern line.

“I saw it when you were up on the stand testifying,” he says. “I know you take your job very seriously, and you must see what happened as…"

“A failure."

He nods slowly, not wanting to repeat and therefore validate her choice of words. “Philip was a maniac. It isn’t your fault. My family doesn’t blame you, and I sure as hell don’t."
  Rosie Jimenez

He watches her take that in and process it. 

“I should go,” she says abruptly.

“Okay, that’s fine. But I want to invite you to my grandma’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, since you don’t have plans -- but honestly, I would’ve invited you anyway. I’ve had such an awesome time hanging out with you. I hate that you’re beating yourself up over something that wasn’t your fault.” He sees her about to interrupt and plows ahead: “I’m gonna text you the address. My Uncle Matt and I are cooking. It’s not a super-formal thing -- just the whole family and a bunch of our friends. We usually wind up with at least two people who are outright fighting. I got into a physical fight two years ago. Which I probably shouldn’t have told you, but the point is, everyone is welcome, and my family actually likes you, so I’d really love to have you there. Okay?"

“That’s really nice of you,” she says.

Recognizing that it isn’t a no, Travis pulls out his phone. “I’m gonna text you the address in a minute. I hope I’ll see you later. And regardless -- happy Thanksgiving."

Rosie nods and turns to go, but before she does, she looks back at him. “Happy Thanksgiving, Travis."


Spencer idly slides one of the light dimmers on the nearby wall up and down. 

“No way,” he says. “I’m not going there."

“It’s Thanksgiving,” Tori says.

“Is that a magical day where the Pilgrims told their parents they didn’t care if they were hypocrites?"

Tori suppresses the smirk that threatens to break on her face; she is not going to let him make her laugh now. “I don’t want you to spend the holiday alone."

“Then hang with me. We’ll order pizza. I’ll get a keg and Helen Chase can join us again."

This time, she loses the battle and lets out a chuckle. “Stop being funny."

“I’m half-joking. Spend the day with me if you’re so worried about me. Otherwise go be with your family. I won’t hold it against you."

“They’re your family, too."

“They sure as hell don’t act like it."

“They made a mistake. Everyone was panicking,” she half-pleads. “I was in a coma. Four people had been murdered. They didn’t turn you in to the police. They just checked out something that could’ve been a clue, and it wasn’t, so they dropped it."

Spencer remains tight-lipped. 

“It’s taken a long time for all of us to get to know each other and feel like a family,” Tori continues. “I’m really happy we figured out what your mom and James did, because I got another cousin out of it -- one I like a lot. Do you really want to throw all that away?"

“Everyone has lied to me,” Spencer says. “Loretta lied to me my entire life. Philip lied to me that he was this, I don’t know, upright citizen big brother type. And now Tim and Claire lied to me that they trusted me -- that they considered me their son. Because they don’t. They never would’ve believed that about Travis."

Tori exhales heavily. She can see what he is doing, and suddenly, it seems like an impossible uphill climb to stop him. 

“I hope you change your mind and come later,” she says as she picks up her scarf. “Everyone would be happy to see you. I mean that. Everyone."

She wraps the scarf around her neck. When Spencer still doesn’t respond, she heads for the foyer. 

“Happy Thanksgiving, Spencer,” she says as she goes. 


Hours later, the Fisher home is abuzz with the joy and excitement of the holiday. Family and friends are stationed throughout the living and dining rooms, enjoying conversation and drinks. 

“Thank you so much,” Paula says as she accepts a foil-covered pie dish from Claire Fisher. “Happy Thanksgiving."

“Happy Thanksgiving, Paula,” Claire says, placing a hand on her former mother-in-law’s arm. 

“Christian, we have more coats for you!” Paula announces. Her grandson comes rushing over to accept Claire and Tempest’s coats. 

Paula weaves through the crowd and brings the pie to the kitchen, where she sets it on the table alongside the other desserts that guests have brought. The aroma of turkey and the various side dishes tantalizes her. 

“We’re almost ready to eat,” Matt says from the counter, where he is busy carving the turkey.

Out in the living room, Claire finds Tim. 

“Have you heard anything from him?” she asks. 

Tim shakes his head. “No. I sent him a text."

“Me, too.” 

Tim sees Tori across the room, engaged in conversation with Tempest, and flags her over. 

“I tried,” Tori says when she makes it over to them, already knowing what this is about. “I really did. He didn’t say whether or not he’d come."

“Thank you for trying,” Claire says, unable to keep a note of sadness out of her voice. “I just wish he’d understand…"

In the dining room, Travis places the large dish of mashed potatoes on the table.

“Mmm,” Tempest says from behind him. “Everything smells so good."

Travis turns, wiping his brow with his forearm. “I hope it tastes good, too. Weird cooking all this without Grandpa."

“I bet."

He glances past the heads and bodies in the living room, scanning the crowd.

“Who you looking for?” Tempest asks.

“No one,” Travis says, even as his stomach drops with disappointment. 

“Everyone,” Paula calls from the entrance to the kitchen, “dinner is served!"

Excited chatter fills the air as everyone makes their way into the dining room and finds seats at the table. As the bottles of wine are passed around and glasses are filled, Paula picks up her own and stands at her seat at the head of the table. 

“I’d like to thank everyone for being here today,” she begins. Before she can continue, however, the doorbell rings.

“I’ll get it,” Tim says, as Claire, Tori, and Travis all sit up a little straighter in their seats. 

“Who else is coming?” Matt asks, looking around. But no one answers. 

A few guests make quiet small talk, while others wait to see who the new arrival is so that Paula can go on and the meal can commence. A moment later, Tim walks back in with the additional dinner guest behind him.

“Sorry I’m late,” Rosie says, raising a hand in greeting. “I got lost getting here."

“Don’t apologize! We’re just beginning,” Paula says. “We’re so glad you could make it."

Travis is already out of his seat and bounds over to her. 

“You made it,” he says with a smile.

“Yeah.” She takes his hand. “Thanks for inviting me."

As people shuffle down so that Rosie can have the seat beside Travis, Paula lifts her wine glass again.

“As you all probably know, this year is more difficult than the usual Thanksgiving,” she says, “because it’s the first without my dear Bill. But as I look around this room, I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have all of you. I’m so grateful."

“Hashtag blessed!” Caleb yells out, to a round of laughter.

“I’d like to believe that Bill is looking down on us, proud that we’re all together,” Paula says, “and that we managed to get what looks like a delicious meal on the table without him -- thanks to Matt and Travis."

Light applause and cheers ring out.

“So I’d like to raise a toast to all of you.” The guests join Paula is raising their glasses. “Thank you for the love and support over the past year and always. Thank you for all being there for one another. And to my Bill -- I love you so much, and I miss you every single day. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone."

“Happy Thanksgiving!” the guests announce in chorus, as the clinking of glasses fills the dining room.


Can you believe it’s been a year since Bill died?
Are you surprised that Rosie showed up?
Can Tim and Claire bridge the gap with Spencer?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum now!



Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016

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