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Spencer pushed Tim and Claire away after learning that they’d once suspected he might be the Footprint Killer. 
- Natalie switched Spencer’s DNA sample with one she’d taken from Samantha. The paternity test seemed to show that Spencer is not Peter’s father — and that he possesses two X chromosomes.
- After
the defense rested, the prosecution called Fee C. as a rebuttal witness in Molly’s trial. She testified that Tori told her she was seeing an older man but never named him.

The hallway outside the courtroom is chaotic, with observers and members of the press huddled in small circles, chattering and speculating. Matt Gray bursts out of the courtroom and looks in the direction of the exit. He sees his daughter pushing her way through the crowd, forcing her way toward the front doors. 

Tori!” he shouts, though he immediately realizes it was a mistake, because a nearby reporter -- one whom Matt has seen day after day, sitting in the gallery, taking copious notes on Molly’s trial -- immediately glances up and spots her, too. 

Matt shoves his way through the mass of bodies until he intersects with the reporter, a wiry guy a few years younger than himself. 

“Not now,” he says through gritted teeth.

“After what happened in there--"

Not now.” Matt grabs the front of the reporter’s shirt for emphasis, though he has no intention of following through on the implied threat.

“Jeez. Fine. Fine."

Matt lets go and turns to hurry after his daughter. He sees her passing through the courthouse’s exit and then down the steps.

“Tori! Wait,” he says, and this time, she hears him and pauses just long enough for him to catch up.

“I’m going home,” she says.

“How? We drove you here."

“I’ll call an Uber.” She storms out into the parking lot.
  Matt Gray

Matt stays right on her heels. “Come on. Get in the car."

“Dad, I’m fine."

He chooses his next words carefully. “I know you are. Your mom and I are glad you are. This all could’ve ended a lot worse. But that doesn’t mean we don’t worry. And what happened back there--"

She whips back around. “It was bullshit! Fee was making things up."

“She was?"

“Yes!” Tori insists, her voice suddenly racked with tears. “Nothing happened!"

Matt glances around and is relieved to see that no one is paying them much attention, since they are far enough away from the courthouse itself.

“Come on. Get in the car.” He uses the remote control to unlock his truck, which is only a few spaces away. She doesn’t move. “Come on, Tori. Before these reporters come after you."

That does the trick. She moves almost robotically toward the truck and gets in on the passenger side. Matt opens the driver’s door and gets in. He immediately presses the lock button. 

“I don’t care what happened between you and Philip,” he says, forcing himself to hack through the awkwardness like some wildly overgrown brush blocking his path. “Your mom doesn’t care. We love you."

“But now everyone thinks I was--” She covers her face and groans. “Everyone thinks I was, like, having an affair with my aunt’s fiancé. Like I’m some homewrecker."

“No one thinks that."

“Aunt Molly probably does! The jury might. You heard Fee."

Matt swallows hard. “Fee was lying?"

Tori hesitates and looks out the passenger-side window. 

“I told her there was another guy because I didn’t want her to think I was a loser,” she says. “Because Ian picked her over me. I never… Nothing happened between Philip and me. I swear.” 

“Okay.” Matt places his hands on the steering wheel, as if to steady himself. He isn’t always the best at reading into things, but he thinks he understands what’s going on here, how his little girl got in over her head and now she feels like a fool as the lie spiraled out of her control. 

He turns the key and starts the engine. “Let’s get you home. Away from this place.” 


Inside the courtroom, the Fisher family mills around in shock, no one able to grasp the full extent of Fee C.’s testimony or the damage that it might do to Molly’s case. Toward the back of the courtroom, Fee is huddled with District Attorney Audrey Tam and another member of the prosecution team. 

“Just stay calm,” Conrad Halston tells Molly, though he is addressing the others, as well. “We still have a closing argument to defuse what the prosecution just tried to do.

“It was smart of you to try and cut Fee off at the knees,” Sarah chimes in. “That was completely circumstantial.” She’s interrupted by the buzzing of her phone and pulls it out to find a text message from her husband. “Matt says he’s driving Tori home."

“It’s probably best for her to get out of here,” Paula says gravely. 

Noting that the jury has retired to a back room for the duration of the recess, Molly seats herself back at the defense table. She wants to drop her head into her hands; she knows, however, that she cannot let on weakness or anything that might appear to be an admission of guilt or of having been caught red-handed. But the D.A.’s attack on Tori’s testimony and the circumstances of Tori’s relationship with Philip have thrown her for more of a loop than she thought possible. She fears that it will cast her defense in the worst possible light. 

Seeing her sister, Sarah crosses through the opening in the railing and moves toward the table. 

“That entire thing was a Hail Mary,” she says as she leans with her palms atop the table. “You’re going to be fine."

Molly looks up at her, eyes stony. “Did you know about this?"

“Know about what?"

“About Tori and Philip.” 

“What about them?” Sarah stands up straighter and has to remind herself to keep her voice quiet. “Are you kidding? They weren’t having an affair."

“We don’t know that,” Molly says. “Only Tori does. Unless there’s some other witness out there…"

“My concern was that your psycho fiancé had raped my daughter before he beat her and left her for dead,” Sarah snaps, her voice barely a whisper. “But if you want to make this all about you--"

All of a sudden, Conrad and Brent are both at the table.

“Enough,” Brent says. “Not now."

“This is not the time,” Conrad adds. “Do not play into what they’re trying to do."

Sarah rolls her eyes and turns away to return to the rest of the family. As she does, Tim is checking a notification on his phone.

“That’s strange,” he says quietly. 

“What?” Paula asks.

“It’s from Spencer. It says he needs to see me right away.” With the phone clutched in his hand, he deliberates what to do.

“You should go,” Sarah says. “Be there for your son. Especially considering everything that’s happened lately."

Paula nods. “Sarah is right. There’s nothing more you can do here, anyway. And if this is Spencer’s way of opening back up to you -- to us…" 

“All right, I’m going to go,” Tim says. “But I want you all to keep me posted, okay?"

“We will,” Paula tells him as she reaches out a comforting hand to his arm. “With any luck, the only thing to report will be that this is all over and we never need to come back here."


Natalie Bishop cuts the engine as fat raindrops plop down against her windshield. She doesn’t move, doesn’t even unlock the doors. In the backseat of the car, Peter sleeps soundly in his carseat.

Natalie looks up at the house that she shares with Jason Fisher and their children. Unlit Christmas lights line the garage doors and the gutter above, and they weave their way around the adjacent trees and through the nearby shrubs. Even with all that they have on their plates this year -- a newborn baby, Molly’s trial -- Jason was adamant about getting the Christmas decorations up so that everything would feel normal to Sophie and Bree.
  Natalie Bishop

A year ago, she couldn’t have imagined that her life would feel so settled and safe. She was terrified about discovering that she was pregnant, and not only because of the baby’s questionable paternity; even in a world in which that weren’t an issue, there would have been so much worry about how Jason might respond to the news. They hadn’t been dating for very long, and he was already parenting Sophie on his own. But he stepped up, asked her and Bree to move in, and now they are their own, new family unit.

Unless Spencer ruins it all. Or until he does. She is relieved that her plan to switch the DNA samples worked and that the results showed that Spencer isn’t Peter’s father, but she totally disregarded the fact that the test might show that the sample given came from a female. At least the doctor presented it as a position medical condition Spencer was unaware of -- he seemed so thrown that it has to buy her some time, and he never questioned the test results themselves. But if he asks for another test… or figures out that she switched his sample for one she took from Samantha

“No,” she says aloud. She isn’t going to let that happen. Things are too good now. She and Jason are happy. The kids are happy. Jason is Peter’s father, and he’s far more prepared to parent a child than Spencer will ever be. There is no question. 

She steps out of the car and looks up at the house. This is her home, and she isn’t going to let Spencer take it away from her because of a completely innocent mistake she made one night. She’ll come up with a plan. Something foolproof.

She goes around to the other side of the car and carefully removes Peter from his carseat before heading inside. 

322 Bar & Grill

Tim pays the parking meter and hurries through the rain to 322 Bar & Grill. He ducks inside and scans the restaurant until he sees his son sitting in a booth across the way.

“Hey,” Tim says as he approaches, though Spencer Ragan has been watching him since the instant he walked through the door. “Is everything okay?"

“Yeah. Sort of."

Tim slides into the booth across from Spencer. 

“Okay,” he says. “I’m glad you texted me. I wasn’t expecting to hear from you--"

“When I was born,” Spencer cuts him off, “was there anything weird about me? Medically?"


“Anything abnormal they found on tests?"

Tim works the question over in his mind, even though he knows the answer immediately. Nothing occurs to him that would be relevant, though. 

“Not at all. No. You were perfectly healthy."


Spencer picks up the beer in front of him and takes a sip.

“What’s this about?” Tim asks. 

“I had a test run. The results came back weird."

Tim’s heart rate spikes. “Are you sick?"

“No. Nothing like that. Just something that didn’t make any sense. I’m pretty sure they messed up the test or contaminated the sample or something."

“Sounds like you should get a second opinion."

“Yeah.” Spencer continues drinking his beer in silence.

Tim watches him carefully for a few seconds. “How are you? Do you have a good place to stay? I’ve been worried--"

“I don’t need your concern. I needed an answer. I got one. Thanks.” The young man averts his eyes.

Tim feels something surprising welling up inside of himself. For weeks, he has been in knots, nervous that Spencer might never let him and Claire back in. The weight of it has been with him every day when he goes to the office, knowing that his son chose to stop working with him. But now, instead of sadness or anxiety, he looks at Spencer and feels a simmering rage. Spencer is being so callous, so purposely dismissive.

“You summoned me here entirely to ask me that question, and now you’re going to ignore me?” he says.

Spencer shrugs. That sends the simmer over the top and into a full-on boil. 

“I know you were hurt by what you overheard,” Tim says, “but that’s life. Your mother and I are very sorry. And if you want to punish us for the rest of our lives, I guess I can’t stop you. But I’ll tell you what--"

Spencer sets down his beer roughly. “You don’t get to tell me anything."

“Then why did you ask to see me?"

“I needed to see you because I needed specific information. I didn’t want to see you."

“Oh, really? You didn’t want me to come meet you and be concerned about you, just so that you could show me how little you care?"

Spencer stares back at him, stone-faced.

“If you hate us so much, why are you still in King’s Bay?” Tim continues. “Because you want to remind us over and over that we did wrong by you and you’ll never forgive us? If you really didn’t care at all, you would’ve moved out of that hotel and left town. I’m sorry you had to overhear what Claire and I were talking about. I’m sorry Loretta and Philip turned out to be what they were. I’m sorry you had the rug ripped out from under you when you found out who you really were. But it all happened. Sulking and lashing out at people isn’t going to change any of it. And if you want to spend the rest of your life making sure people know how much they’ve let you down-- well, then, good luck, because you’re going to have a very unhappy life."

He waits for Spencer to say or do something, to respond in any way, but it seems that he has shocked the young man into silence. The waitress floats up to their table.

“Can I get you anything?” she asks Tim.

“No, thank you,” he says as he slides out of the booth. “I actually have to be going.”  He offers Spencer one last look. “Merry Christmas.” 


Helen Chase and her husband stand in the hallway of the courthouse, watching the throngs of people buzzing about what just happened during the trial. 

“Paula must be a wreck,” Don says. “I never imagined the case against Molly would be even a little convincing."

“It’s very scary,” Helen agrees, though she continues to eye the door to the courtroom, which periodically swings open. On one particular occasion, it opens and a young woman with short, platinum blonde hair comes stomping out.

“Hold it right there!” Helen calls out.

“What are you doing?” Don asks.

Fee C. freezes in her tracks and turns back. Helen wastes no time marching up to her. 

“You should be ashamed of yourself, young lady,” Helen says. “Though I hesitate to call you a lady at all."

Fee rolls her large eyes. “I’m sorry about your chili, lady. But don’t blame me -- blame Tori."

“For what? Having the naiveté to befriend you in the first place?"

“For being trash. She’s the one who was hooking up with her aunt’s man."

“Frankly, I don’t see what that has to do with you starting a ruckus at the chili cookoff,” Helen says, “and what’s more--"

“Helen, calm down,” Don interrupts.

She brushes him off. “What’s more, there was no need for you to go up there and make both Molly and Tori look bad without any actual hard evidence."

“Whatever, you old bag."

“Watch your mouth!” Don exclaims. “That’s my wife you’re speaking to."

“I’m surprised you’ve managed to hold onto a man this long,” Fee sneers. 

Helen exhales loudly. “Clearly there’s no talking any sense into you. But I hope you’re aware that karma comes around. And you have it coming in spades, darling!"

Fee sticks out her tongue. “Whatever. I’m outta here."

“That’s the best news I’ve heard all day,” Helen says. “Goodbye, Felicia!"

The Chases watch as Fee struts down the hallway and exits the courthouse. 

“She seems charming,” Don says, his voice heavy with sarcasm. 

“She’ll get hers someday,” Helen says, narrowing her eyes. “In the meantime, we have to pray that the jury sees through her testimony and takes Molly’s side."


When the recess concludes, District Attorney Tam stands before the jury, her voice as self-assured as ever as she delivers her closing argument. 

“The defendant has admitted,” she says, “that she shot Philip Ragan, and her sister has supplied the same account of the events of November 27th, 2015. What remains in doubt, however, are the exact circumstances under which Molly Taylor pulled that trigger.” 

From her seat at the defense table, Molly watches and attempts not to betray any kind of reaction. The argument being set forth seems absolutely insane -- even if her entire defense is based on something other than the truth, as well.

“No one is arguing that a person who finds him- or herself in mortal danger should be punished for taking reasonable steps to protect him- or herself, even if that means the unfortunate taking of another life,” Tam continues. “Yet it’s unclear whether Molly Taylor truly believed that she and her family members were in danger to that degree. The weapon that she used to shoot Mr. Ragan, as we’ve established, didn’t even have his fingerprints on it. Is it possible that Mrs. Taylor, not Mr. Ragan, brought that firearm to the hospital on the morning of November 27th? The defense certainly hasn’t offered any compelling evidence to the contrary."

In the gallery, Paula leans over toward Jason. “This is craziness,” she whispers.

He nods subtly. “I know. But I’m worried it makes just enough sense…"

“Furthermore,” the D.A. tells the jury, “you’ve heard testimony from both Tori Gray herself -- Molly Taylor’s niece -- and Felicia Coleman that suggests there was an intimate relationship between Tori and Philip Ragan. Social media activity shows that Spencer Ragan was not at home on the night his cousin claims to have gone to visit him, and that she knew this before arriving. And her presence in Philip Ragan’s bedroom makes much more sense if there were a relationship taking place than if she were simply asking him for off-the-cuff advice on elective courses."

Sarah shifts uncomfortably in her seat. She wishes there were some way that she could get this woman to stop talking about her daughter, to stop providing grist for the mill that will no doubt have this all over the news in mere hours. 

"In the face of all this," Tam says, "I ask you, the jury, to consider the very serious question of whether the defendant needed to pull that trigger to save her, her sister's, and her mother's lives -- or if she merely acted in a jealous rage after learning that the man she planned to marry had deceived herself in deeply horrifying ways. The legal system exists for a reason -- for the fair treatment and protection of every citizen -- and it would be a wrong, dangerous precedent to condone an act of vigilante justice."


After Tim leaves the restaurant, Spencer finishes his beer. He then orders another, gulps it down, and pays his bill. Despite the calming hum of the alcohol in his ears and his head, it still fails to block out entirely Tim's rant, or the ridiculous things that doctor told him earlier. 

He looks through the glass pane of the door and watches the rain coming down. Suddenly he is filled with a hatred for this place. Certainly the northeast, where he grew up, saw its share of storms and snow. But he has never known this kind of constant, gray downpour until coming to King's Bay. It lasts for months on end, and everyone just goes about their business like it's perfectly normal. 

Still seated in the booth, he pulls out his phone. He opens the Internet browser and pulls up an airline's website. 


Molly sits at the table where she has spent the last several weeks, her posture upright but not rigid, her expression neutral but soft enough to convey concern and humanity, her hands folded gently in front of her. She cannot wait to go back to sitting like a normal person -- whatever that means at this point. A person who isn't constantly being observed by twelve people who are about to decide her fate, at least.

"The prosecution has presented a lot of evidence that appears on its surface to be meaningful," Conrad tells the jurors. "When examined more closely, though, that evidence quickly shows itself to be circumstantial -- dependent on this or that possibility, intriguing as individual units but not adding up to any kind of cohesive narrative. And that's because there isn't a cohesive narrative besides the one that Molly Taylor has put forth since the day of November 27th of last year."

Paula is immediately taken back to that horrible day, as she has been so many times over the past year. She recalls the doctor telling her that Bill didn't make it. She recalls the utter devastation that followed, the sense that the world might just open up beneath her and swallow them all into it, because a reality without Bill made absolutely no sense. She recalls rushing out to the balcony to tell her daughters what had happened...

And then there is nothing. Still. She knows it wouldn't make much difference for her to be another voice echoing what Molly and Sarah have testified to, and yet the motherly instinct in her is that if she could only explain it to the jury--
  Paula Fisher

The sound of a gunshot rips through her mind. She sees Philip stagger backward and hit the railing before slumping to the ground. But there is no more to the memory than that.

"Molly has been open and honest about the fact that she felt she had no choice but to fire that gun," Conrad is saying. "She was placed in a terrible position by a man whom she believed had just murdered her father. She chose to save her sister's life and to protect her mother from a madman."

In the gallery, Paula replays the shooting in her mind. But it remains so shadowy, just the sound of the bullet and the sight of Philip's crumpling form before everything goes black. 

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury," Conrad says, slowing as he makes eye contact with individual jurors, "what I ask you to do today is to acknowledge that this woman -- this respected businesswoman, this beloved daughter and sister, this devoted mother -- had mere seconds to make a painful decision, and she made the same decision that I would imagine each and every one of you would have made if you were forced into such an awful position. Thank you."

Molly thought that she would be relieved in this moment, relieved to have it over, but all she feels as Conrad returns to the table and the judge instructs the jury is one thing: helplessness. Because now there is nothing she can do but wait for those twelve people to decide what becomes of her. 


Will the jury buy into the prosecution's theory?
Will Paula ever recover her memory of that day?
Can Tori overcome her humiliation?
Where is Soencer planned to travel?
Talk about this episode now in the Footprints Forum!



Wed., December 14, 2016

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