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Tim chewed out Spencer for his constant lashing-out at his biological family.
- During Molly’s trial, Fee C. testified that Tori had claimed to be having an affair with an older man. The prosecution used this testimony to suggest that Molly had shot Philip after finding out he’d slept with her niece, rather than in self-defense.
- After
the closing arguments were delivered, Molly’s case was handed over to the jury for deliberation.
- Jason remained unaware of Natalie’s fear that Spencer could be baby Peter’s father, or of the way she manipulated the paternity test to which Spencer forced her to submit the child. 

On the kitchen counter of the Fisher home, the iPad rests on a dock, a streaming radio app displayed on its screen. Sarah Fisher Gray scoops coffee grounds into the filter basket, fills the water receptacle, and then flips the button to brew the coffee.

“We’re on day two of jury deliberations in the Molly Taylor trial,” Diane Bishop’s voice says through the iPad dock’s speaker. “I know lots of people were hoping that the jury would return with a quick verdict yesterday--"

“The prosecution really threw everyone for a loop with that last thing about her niece,” Diane’s cohost, Luke Berman, jumps in. “Sounded like maybe she was getting it on with Philip Ragan after all."

“There was zero proof of that,” Diane says. 

Palms pressed against the counter, Sarah sighs as she listens. She never thought Molly’s trial would come down to such a tight margin -- she truly has no idea which way the jury is going to go -- and she hates hearing the rumor-mongering about her daughter in such a public forum, theories and gossip being bandied about as if Tori were some kind of Kardashian. She realizes that she should probably turn off the KBAY broadcast in favor of something like holiday music before Tori or Billy comes into the kitchen, although she feels compelled to keep listening, as if it might give her some clairvoyant insight into how this will all end. 

The choice is made for her when she hears the doorbell ring. As the coffee maker gurgles in the background, Sarah turns off the iPad and hurries into the living room.

“I’ve got it,” her mother says, though she currently has a string of white lights in her hands, which she is in the midst of winding around the bare Christmas tree. 

“Don’t worry, I’ll get it,” Sarah tells her. Nevertheless, Paula pauses, curious as to who might be ringing the bell at this early hour. 

“Hey,” Molly says when Sarah opens the door.
  Sarah Fisher Gray

Paula sets down the lights on the arm of the sofa. “Good morning. Is everything all right? Has there been word?"

Molly shakes her head. “No. I’m just-- I was feeling restless. I actually need to talk to you, Sarah."

“What’s up?” Sarah asks, clenching her jaw. As worried as she is about her sister, she’s still irked by the sight of her, after the way Molly seemed to buy into the D.A.’s theories about Tori hiding an affair with Philip -- and her apparent lack of concern about what else Philip might’ve done to Tori. Typical Molly, Sarah reasoned, but that hasn’t made her any less annoyed.

“Why don’t we go into the kitchen?” Molly suggests.


“Is the coffee ready yet?” Paula asks.

“I’ll bring you some as soon as it is,” Sarah says, and she leads the way back to the kitchen. 

“I wanted to say that I’m sorry,” Molly says as soon as the two sisters are alone. “The way I reacted about Tori and Philip-- I was in shock. And I’m scared."

“I know you are. But jumping to the conclusion that Tori is some homewrecking whore--"

“I didn’t say that."

“You acted like you believed it.” Sarah leans back against the kitchen counter. “It’s not cool. She was just as much a victim of that lunatic as the people he managed to kill. She could’ve died. She came very close."

“I know. I’m sorry. I’d like to talk to her, too. Apologize.” Molly allows that to land, and when no response comes, she asks, “Would that be okay with you?"

Edge of Winter

“I want you to run that program one more time before you get off the ice this morning,” Jason Fisher says. He stands by the boards at the perimeter of the ice, clad in a large parka. “Really focus on finding those chances to breathe between the combination spin and the double Lutz. Otherwise, that was an awesome program.

“Okay. I’ll do it again in a few minutes,” Bree Halston says. Her cheeks are flushed, but she smiles broadly at her coach’s praise.

“I’ll see you at home later,” he says. “Have fun at school."

As another skater’s music for the Christmas show, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You,” blasts over the arena’s sound system, Jason glides over to the door and picks up his plastic skate guards. He steps off the ice and is pulling the guard over his left blade when Conrad Halston approaches.

“I wanted to make sure you got this,” Conrad says as he holds out a folded check.

Jason takes the check and sticks it into his pocket. “Thanks, Conrad. She had a great lesson today."

Conrad smiles as he gazes out at the ice and watches his daughter skate into a layback spin. “It’s incredible to watch her skate now. I remember when she was four years old, just starting out -- she was so timid. Now she’s…"

“She’s an athlete. And a pleasure to teach. Really."
  Jason Fisher

“Well, you seem to have done a great job helping her along.” He watches Bree finish her spin and then turns back toward Jason. “Thank you for being so good to my little girl. Both here and at home."

“She’s a part of the family now,” Jason says. “And she’s amazingly patient with Sophie.” 

“I’m glad she has that sense of family. Frankly, I feel much better knowing she’s in your house than I did with her living alone with her mother."

Natalie is a good mother."

“I didn’t say she wasn’t."

Jason folds his arms. “I love Natalie. I love the life we’re building together. I know your marriage didn’t work out, but maybe she’s matured, or maybe you weren’t the right match -- or maybe it had something to do with your constant traveling for work."

Conrad’s only reaction is a brief, surprised leap of his brows before he returns to his usual composed, inscrutable self, a demeanor that he transfers effortlessly from the courtroom to real life. 

“All I’m saying is, keep your eyes open,” he finally says. “Thank you again for being so good to Bree. I’ll see you soon."

Jason watches Conrad walk off and then bends over to slip on his other skate guard, his ears still hot and his blood still rushing from the surprisingly tense conversation. 

KB Memorial

Claire Fisher waits by the nurses’ station of the emergency room floor, which is mercifully quiet this morning. She holds a paper cup of coffee in her hand as she finishes going over a patient’s chart. When she hears one of the nearby elevators open, she looks up to see her ex-husband stepping off the car.

“Hey,” Tim Fisher says as he approaches. “How are you?"

“Tired, but otherwise good. And worried about whatever it is you wanted to talk about."

“Yeah, I’m sorry to have caught you at work, but I wanted to fill you in."

“It’s fine. I’m on a break. What’s going on?"

“It’s Spencer,” he says. “I got a text from him yesterday saying that he needed to see me."

Claire furrows her brow. “That’s good. Right?"

“I thought so. He told me to meet at 322, so I left court to go. Let’s just say he wasn’t exactly thrilled to see me."

“Then why did he ask you to meet?"

“This is where it gets weird,” he says. “He wanted to know if we were aware of anything strange about him, medically, from when he was born."

“What? No. We have those records -- and if there had been anything, we would’ve looked for it in Travis. If he needs to see a doctor, I can get him in with one right away--"

“He said he’d had a blood test that showed something weird, but he was pretty certain the test had been contaminated or messed up."

She sets her coffee down on the top of the reception desk. “He wouldn’t tell you what it was?"

“No. And as soon as I told him that we hadn’t ever been aware of anything, he shut down."

“So he wanted to see you solely to get the information he needed,” she says with a sigh, “and then was done with you."

“Yeah.” Tim uses two fingers to rub his right temple, which has been quietly aching ever since his meeting with their son. “I sort of lost it on him."

“What do you mean?"

“I mean I went off on him. I’m tired of this, you know? It’s always one step forward, two steps back with him. And I told him -- he can keep taking his anger out on us forever, but that isn’t going to change the past or actually make him happier. He wanted to see me so he could show me how he isn’t forgiving us. It’s snotty and shitty."

Claire nods along. “You aren’t wrong.” 

“He’s angry that Loretta turned out to be a maniac, that Philip turned out to be evil, and that his whole life was predicated on a lie and a crime,” Tim continues. “And now he feels he’s justified in being angry at us for not having 100 percent, unblemished faith in him. I understand being upset, but--"

“Tim. You don’t have to explain it to me. I get it."

He leans against the desk and lets out a sigh. “I wanted to give you a heads-up -- and apologize for speaking on your behalf. Not that I really did, but I know he lumps us together."

“Thank you for that,” she says, “but you don’t have to apologize. Those are things he probably did need to hear."

“Yeah. But I worry that was the final nail in the coffin as far as actually having a relationship with him."

“Yeah.” More than a touch of sadness punctuates her voice. “But we can’t control that, right? I want him in our lives, but we can’t force him."

“I guess not."

“Maybe he’ll have a change of heart once he cools down,” Claire says. “I hope he keeps reaching out to Tori. She seems to be the only one he’s willing to trust."

“For now, maybe that has to be enough,” Tim says. 


Molly climbs the stairs of the house where she grew up and approaches Tori’s room, which was Jason’s once upon a time. The door is closed, but through it, she can faintly hear what she recognizes from the radio as an Ariana Grande song. She pauses for a moment and then knocks.

“I’ll be down in a minute!” Tori calls through the door.

“It’s your Aunt Molly. I was hoping we could talk."

The music stops abruptly. Seconds later, the door opens, revealing Tori in a hooded sweatshirt, her hair still wet from the shower.

“Hi,” the young woman says uncertainly.

“Can I come in?"

“Uh, sure."
  Tori Gray

Molly steps inside the room and looks around. The bed is the same full-sized one that has been here for years, with its dark wooden frame, and it is even in the same spot as it’s always been. So, too, is the waist-height dresser, made of the same wood as the bedframe; several of its drawers are currently open. But everything else -- from the furry white throw on the bed to the collage of a bunch of young men whom Molly doesn’t recognize at all -- is entirely new.

“I know this trial has been hard on you,” Molly begins, “and I’m sorry for that. I wonder every day if I’d seen what was going on with Philip earlier, if I could’ve saved your grandpa and Ryan, and if you would’ve been safe--"

“I’m fine,” Tori says.

The flatness of her tone gives Molly pause. She can’t tell if it is meant to dismiss Molly or an act of self-preservation. 

“Good.” Molly seats herself on the edge of the unmade bed. “I’m sorry you were dragged into any of this. But if Philip made you do anything -- if he manipulated you into--"

“He didn’t."

“Okay.” She can practically see Tori praying for this conversation to be over, but she knows there is one more element that she needs to fit in. “If he had, I wouldn’t blame you. It would’ve been his fault, not yours."

This time, Tori at least nods more seriously, as if there really is something burdening her. Molly’s breath catches in her throat, though she does her best not to let it show -- something she has become increasingly skilled at over the course of her trial. But her niece’s reaction hints at something more. Where there’s smoke, does there always have to be fire? Molly’s head spins as she wonders if Tori really could have been carrying on an affair with Philip. How could she not have known? How could they have hidden it? Philip was so focused on reuniting with her. 

But none of that matters now. Tori is alive and safe. Philip is dead and can’t hurt anyone else. And Molly knows that she is a fool for ever having trusted him at all, let alone having gotten back together with him after he killed all those people. She rises from the bed and moves to the door.

“Wait,” Tori says suddenly. 

Molly stops and turns.

“You were broken up. You called off the wedding."

As the words hit Molly, her stomach drops. 

“Nothing happened,” Tori hurries to add. “It was never… it was never anything. But I… ugh.” The groan stops her explanation in its track.

“What happened?” Molly asks carefully.

Tori’s gaze fixes firmly upon the carpet as she explains, “Philip was being really nice to me. Ian had just dumped me for Fee. And I guess I… I sort of thought I might have a chance with him. It was so stupid. I know. And I wouldn’t have ever thought it if you guys had been together. I only told Fee about an older guy because I didn’t want to look like a loser.” Suddenly she sounds as if she is going to cry. “Nothing ever happened. Please don’t tell my mom and dad."

In this instant, Molly can see so much of her own kids in Tori -- the child pretending to be an adult, now scared and unable to keep up the facade.

“No one needs to know,” she says, moving forward to embrace her niece. “It doesn’t matter now. As long as you’re okay."

“Why was I so stupid?” Tori asks, sobs racking her body as she leans against Molly. 

“You weren’t. You aren’t."

“I screwed everything up.” The words come out as gasps. “I’m so sorry."

“It’s okay,” Molly says, petting Tori’s wet hair. It doesn’t matter now what happened between Tori and Philip, not really. What matters is what the jury thinks that Molly knew at the time of the shooting. A 21-year-old girl admitting to possible perjury won’t necessarily help Molly at this point; it will look desperate and could cast even more of her defense into question. And she is relieved to know that her blindness to Philip’s true nature didn’t have even worse consequences than she’d thought.

Until the jury makes up its mind, there is nothing she can do, and so she stands there, embracing her niece and hoping that she’ll at least be able to help someone else feel a little bit better today.


Did you expect Tori to come clean with Molly?
How much longer can the jury deliberate?
Was Conrad wrong to speak about Natalie the way he did?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum now!



Monday, December 19, 2016

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