Episode 859

- Just as the verdict was about to be read in Molly’s trial, Paula burst into the courtroom and announced that she was the one who shot Philip.
- The judge had no choice but to declare a mistrial. The D.A. vowed to bring charges against Paula,  as well as against Molly and Sarah for their roles in the cover-up.
- Travis and Rosie grew closer after he invited her to the Fishers’ for Thanksgiving dinner, and they began spending more time together. 

Paula Fisher can hear Nat King Cole’s voice singing “Silent Night” from the living room stereo as she finishes dressing in a red sweater set and slacks. She crosses her bedroom and stands in front of the mirror above her credenza, where she straightens her clothes and checks her hair. As hard as she has tried to make this feel like any other holiday, she feels distinctly un-festive tonight as she prepares for Christmas Eve dinner.

She looks to the framed portrait of her late husband that sits atop the credenza. Bill looks so happy, so carefree -- in fact, the photo is a candid one that the photographer snapped at Sarah and Matt’s wedding last year. After his passing, Paula decided to have it framed, because it so perfectly conveys the positivity and joy that her husband carried with him every day of his life. 

“Oh, Bill,” she says, picking up the photo. “How could things have come to this?"

She stares at his smiling face, almost expecting to receive a response. She cannot imagine what Bill would have to say about her having shot a man to death. She can hardly believe herself that she did such a thing -- and yet, as she gazes at the image of the man she loved, the father of her children, her partner for life, she is filled with a sudden fury that makes her wonder if she could do it again. For now, however, all she can do is wait out the holiday to see what the District Attorney will decide to do about her confession. 

“I hope you’re watching over all of us,” she says quietly as she sets down the photo. “I think we’re going to need it this year."


Downstairs, Sarah Fisher Gray finishes setting the table. She takes a step back and admires the simple red-and-gold color scheme of the chargers, napkins, and napkin rings. There will only be five of them dining tonight, as the Fishers save their big celebration for Christmas itself, but she felt the need to make things special this evening -- as if the spirit of the holiday might be evoked and rescue them all from the recent chaos. 

She lights the two pillar candles at the center of the table and then slips into the kitchen, where her husband has been preparing dinner.

“How’s everything coming?” she asks.

Matt Gray answers without turning to face her. “Should be ready in fifteen,” he says flatly.

“Can I do anything to help?"

“Nah. I’ve got it."

Sarah stands in the doorway, a burning anxiety rising up in her chest. It has been like this between them ever since Paula burst into the courtroom during Molly’s trial and confessed that she, not Molly, was the one who shot Philip Ragan. Sarah stayed out of the judge’s chambers, hoping that if she didn’t implicate herself, she might skate by, but of course it only took the D.A. minutes to ascertain that if Molly covered up their mother’s role in the shooting, then Sarah -- as the only other person out there when it happened -- must have been a part of the deception, too. And as soon as Matt was brought up to speed on the entire tale, he became frosty to her.

“It’s Christmas.” She takes a step toward him. “Can’t we put all this aside and act normal?"

Silently, he adds a touch of chicken stock to the Brussels sprouts and places the lid back atop the pan.

“Matt,” she says. 

She watches his shoulders heave up and down with the weight of a sigh. 

“Act normal?” His tone is almost mocking as he spins around. “I thought that’s what we were doing the last year. Turns out you were lying to your mom and the police and me and everyone."

“That’s kind of an oversimplification, don’t you think?"

“What? You weren’t lying?"

“I was protecting my mother and my sister,” she says, unable to keep a note of annoyance out of her voice. “Look at the position I was in. If I told the truth, Molly would’ve been in trouble anyway, and our mom -- who had just had her husband murdered -- would’ve been arrested for shooting Philip."

“And now that’s happening anyway, and you could wind up in jail."

“I’m not going to go to jail.” But she folds her arms against a sudden chill; she knows there is no guarantee of that. 

“Say Paula had gone on trial. Would that D.A. still have gone out of her way to try and prove Tori was having an affair with Philip? What our daughter got put through--"

He clamps up as they hear footsteps descending the stairs. Matt goes over to the roast, which is resting on a cutting board atop the counter, cooling so that it can be carved. Sarah leans against the refrigerator.

“It smells so good in here,” Tori says as she enters the kitchen, clad in a black sweater dress and leggings. 

“Dinner will be ready in a few minutes,” Sarah tells her. “Where’s your brother?"

“He’s playing in the living room."

“Tell him to go wash his hands. And tell your grandma we’re almost ready."


Tori exits the kitchen and heads back through the dining room. Sarah waits until she is out of sight to speak again. 

“Matt,” she says.

“I have to go get something from upstairs,” he says. “Don’t let the Brussels sprouts burn."

Before she can plead her case any further, he moves past her and walks out of the kitchen.


“Shoes!” Molly Taylor exclaims as her sons bustle through the foyer. They stop, just like criminals who’ve just been caught in a police spotlight, and grumble as they remove their boots, which are wet with dirt from the rain and mud outside. 

“Go wash up, and you can set the table,” she says. “And wish your dad a merry Christmas."

“Merry Christmas,” Brent says, grabbing Caleb and then Christian for quick hugs. “I’ll see you guys at your grandparents’ tomorrow."

“Merry Christmas,” Christian says, and Caleb echoes his twin. Then, with four boots scattered on the floor, they disappear toward the back of the house. 

“You’d think I asked them to cook dinner for all of us from scratch,” Molly says with exasperation.

“Hey,” Brent says. “Taking off muddy boots and washing your hands? That’s a lot of work.”

She feels a grin creeping through the stony visage that has overtaken her face in the last several months. 

“How are you doing?” he asks. “I’m assuming there hasn’t been any more news."

“There won’t be until later this week. Maybe not until after New Year’s. That’s what Conrad says."

“I figured as much."

“On one hand, I’m relieved. I could be spending Christmas in prison. But at least all the uncertainty would be over."

“Yeah. I still can’t believe you did all that.” He shakes his head, and Molly can’t tell if his expression is disapproving or impressed. “The fact that you even thought to wipe off the gun…"

“Hey. I was married to a cop for a long time,” she says. “I’m sorry if this reflects badly on you. It’s why I never even considered telling you the truth, let alone asking for help. I didn’t want to put you in a compromising position. And now I probably have, anyway…"

“Maybe.” Brent stuffs his hands in the pockets of his dark jeans. “I don’t think it’ll be too bad. I wasn’t part of the investigation, and there’s no evidence I had anything to do with your little cover-up."

“Well, I’m sorry. I was an idiot to think I could get away with it. I just-- after what my mother went through, I couldn’t stand the thought of her going on trial -- or winding up in prison."

“I know."

“You’re welcome to stay for dinner. I’m sure you’d rather be down in California with your dad and Danielle and Josh--"

“Work has been too crazy for me to take time off this year,” he says. “And besides, I wouldn’t want to be away from the boys, and they need to be near you this year."

“Thank you. We have more than enough food -- I can have the boys set an extra place--"

“Actually,” he says, pausing for a great big sigh, “I have plans."

It takes Molly only a moment to grasp the full meaning of his statement.

“With Claire."

“Yeah. I’m heading over there right after this."

Molly suddenly feels very self-conscious, so she forces a smile and a warm expression. “Things are going well for the two of you, then?"

He nods. “Yeah. Seems like it. We’re just trying to keep things quiet until-- you know. Everything dies down."

“That’s smart. I’m happy for you, Brent."


Awkwardness coats them like holiday molasses, and Molly finds it difficult to think, let alone speak or move.

“We’ll see you at my mom’s tomorrow, right?” she asks.

“Yep. Wouldn’t miss it.” He opens the door. “Merry Christmas, Molly."

“Merry Christmas. Drive safely."

With a nod, he dips back out into the already-dark night. Molly backs up against the closed door, her head spinning as she tries to sort out -- even though she knows she will not -- how her Christmas came to this.


The white drum mounted above the table bathes the dining room of Alex Marshall’s bungalow in soft light. 

“I still can’t believe Paula had it in her to shoot that man,” Don Chase says.

Seated beside him, his wife shrugs. “I’ve seen her lose her temper a few times."

“I think those were incredibly extenuating circumstances,” Alex says from across the table. He removes the white napkin from his lap and places it on his nearly empty plate. “And I’m stuffed."

Helen takes another bite of her salmon. “This was delicious, Trevor. And thank you both for having us."

“You guys have always been so good about having us for holidays at your house,” Trevor Brooks says. “We’re more than happy to return the favor."

“I wish your father could’ve been here,” Don says, “but I’m sure he’s glad to be in California with your sister and the baby."

Trevor nods. “Thrilled. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if he moved down there sometime soon. I think it’s a lot for him, living in the house that he shared with Mom…"

A solemn air comes over the table as the four of them think of Trevor’s departed mother. 

“Why don’t we move into the living room for coffee and dessert?” Alex suggests. 

Helen springs up from her seat. “That sounds lovely. Can I help you with anything?"

“Just meet me in the living room,” he says. “I put up some coffee a while ago. How many?"

All three of them raise their hands. While Alex heads into the kitchen, Trevor leads the Chases across to the living area. Out the large picture window, the neighborhood’s Christmas lights can be seen twinkling against the night sky. As Don and Helen seat themselves on one of the pair of matching loveseats, Trevor hands them a box wrapped in silver paper and topped with a crisp white bow. 

“You didn’t have to get us anything,” Don says.

“It’s our pleasure.” Trevor grabs the large wrapped gift that the older couple brought when they arrived. “And you got us something."

“Of course we did! You hosted us for dinner,” Helen says.

Trevor grins. “Then we’re even."

Alex comes into the room carrying a tray with a coffee pot, four stacked cups, a small, stainless steel milk pitcher, sugar, and a plate containing an assortment of fine chocolate truffles. He sets the tray on the oblong coffee table and begins pouring the coffees. 

“Go ahead and open your gift,” Don says.

Trevor eyeballs the package. “I have no idea what this could be."

Alex shoots him a look. “Seriously?"

“What?” Trevor furrows his brow. “How do you know?"

“Just open it,” Alex says with a grin. 

Trevor tears at the paper until the edge of a frame comes into view. 

“Ohhhhhh,” he says as he pulls out a vivid painting depicting a lush arrangement of flowers. “Did you paint this, Don?"

“I did! We thought you might have an empty wall that needed filling somewhere in this house."

Alex looks over the painting. “We definitely do. You have no idea how surprised I was by how much stuff I need to get this place fully decorated. Thank you."

“Yeah, this is really nice,” Trevor adds. “Thanks.” He props the painting up against the loveseat. “Your turn."

Don hands their gift to Helen, who makes quick work of the silver wrapping and pulls out a rectangular white box. She opens its lid to reveal a long, skinny serving platter with a faded blue print of the King’s Bay waterfront on it. 

“Oh, this is lovely!” Helen exclaims. 

“I saw it at an art fair a few weeks ago,” Alex says. “And you’re always complaining about that cracked Pike Place Market platter you have…"

“I hate that dish!” Helen says. “This will be so much nicer for serving. Thank you!"

“Thanks, you guys,” Don says. 

Alex hands out their coffees and then bends down to pick up a square gold box from beneath the tree. He hands it to Trevor.

“What’s this?” Trevor asks in confusion. 

“One more that I think you should open tonight,” Alex tells him. 

Trevor sets the box in his lap. “Do you want to open one of yours?"

“Nah. Just open this one."

Don and Helen exchange an excited look.

“Oh my god, are these Hamilton tickets?” Trevor says as he feels the box’s weight. “How did you--"

“Just open it!” Alex says through a laugh.

“Patience, darling,” Helen says. 

Trevor undoes the gold paper and looks at the plain black box. Alex watches intensely, his stomach churning nervously, as Trevor pulls off the top of the box.

A gasp escapes Trevor’s throat. “Oh my god."

Don and Helen beam as they watch Alex get down on one knee. 

“Trevor,” he says, taking his boyfriend’s hand, “getting back together with you has been the most incredible gift I could have gotten this year. And I know a Christmas proposal is cliché, but this is the only thing I truly wanted to give you this year…” 

He reaches into the box and removes one of the two silver bands inside. 

“Trevor Brooks, will you marry me?"

Trevor is still for a long moment. His bottom lip begins to quiver, and an unexpected rush of hot tears fills his eyes. 

“Yes. Of course I will,” he says. “Yes!"

Alex slips the band onto Trevor’s finger and then takes the other one. 

“I thought we should both have one,” he explains. He lets Trevor slide it onto his finger and then stands. Trevor rises with him, and they come together in a kiss.

“Congratulations!” Don says as he begins to clap. Helen joins him. 

“We’re so happy for the two of you,” Helen says.

Trevor regards them with a warm smile, tears still in his eyes. Then he looks back to Alex.

“I can’t think of a better gift,” Trevor says before giving his fiancé another kiss.


“This is what I told you to save room for,” Travis Fisher says as he emerges from the galley kitchen, a plate in each hand.

Rosie Jimenez’s eyes go wide as she watches Travis set the plates down on the small, circular table that sits in the corner of her studio apartment. 

“You made cheesecake?” she asks as she looks over the pair of desserts.

“Eggnog cheesecake.” Travis seats himself in the dark wood chair across from her. “Had to keep things seasonal."

“I wouldn’t even know how to begin making cheesecake."

“And I wouldn’t know how to bust up a robbery, so hey, we both have our skills."

A smile stretches over Rosie’s lips. “Fair.” She cuts her fork through the dollop of whipped cream and into the slice of cake. Travis watches expectantly as she takes her first bite.

“Oh my god,” she says with the cake still in her mouth. “This is amazing."

Travis exhales loudly. “Thank god. I was worried it would suck."

“No way. Everything at dinner was amazing, too. You’re really, really good at this."

“It’s fun for me."

“Well, I’m glad,” she says. “This is the best Christmas Eve I’ve had in a long time."

“Good.” Travis is unable to keep the grin off his face as they enjoy their dessert. “So: question."

Rosie pauses, her fork in midair. “Uh-oh."

“Nothing bad. I’m just wondering -- you said you’re from King’s Bay, and your family’s here, but you weren’t with them on Thanksgiving, and you didn’t have Christmas Eve plans."

She sets her fork down on her plate without taking another bite. 

“I don’t wanna pry,” Travis continues, “but I felt like I should ask."

“We don’t get along. That’s all. Not everyone has a family like you have."

“What, a family where the grandma just confessed to murder?"

“Okay, as far as I know, my grandmother never shot anyone,” Rosie says. She fiddles with her fork as she considers her next words. “We just don’t get along. It’s better if we don’t see each other. That’s all."

“Got it.” Travis watches her carefully, hoping for some clue as to how to proceed. “Sorry if my asking made you uncomfortable."

“It’s fine.” She scoops up another forkful of cheesecake and eats it in silence. After she swallows, she tells him, “This is seriously so good."

“Thanks. I’m glad you liked everything.” He picks up the open bottle of red wine that sits between them. “More wine?"

She thinks it over for a split-second. “Sure. Why not?"

He refills both their glasses. 

“Thanks for doing all this,” Rosie says. “I’m sure you’d rather be with your family tonight."

“Nah. We usually do really mellow Christmas Eves. It’s all about the actual day.” He feels a smirk crossing his face. “Besides, this is exactly where I want to be."

Her face glimmers as she leans forward over the table. “Really?"

“Really.” Travis feels a knot twisting in his stomach. He catches her eyes, and a lump rises into his throat. They have shared several of these moments, but before Travis can summon the courage to do what he knows he has to do -- what he wants to do -- he always chickens out.

Not this time. 

Everything seems to move in slow motion as he closes the gap between them. Rosie’s face looms in front of him, her pale, pink lips so close...

Finally, he presses his lips against hers. She tastes of honey, like the lip balm she has been applying every twenty minutes or so all evening long. He lets his mouth rest on hers, savoring the moment, before he parts his lips and catches her upper lip between them.

And then he feels her kissing him back. They stay like that for minutes on end, and by the time they stop, Travis doesn’t want to open his eyes, because he fears that he’ll find that this was all a dream. But when he does open them, he sees Rosie right there, smiling back at him.

“I thought you were never gonna do that,” she says.

“What? Why?"

“I mean, you’ve had the chance…"

His cheeks grow hot. “And I just did it."

“Yeah. Finally.” This time, she leans over and plants another kiss on his lips. “I’m just teasing."

“I think we should talk less and do more of this,” Travis says, and he reaches out a hand to touch her cheek as he kisses her again.


The next day, cheerful Christmas music and the din of conversation fills the Fishers’ house. Paula holds a short glass of eggnog in one hand as she crosses through the busy living room to answer the door. 

“Merry Christmas!” Samantha exclaims as she gives her grandmother a hug.

“Merry Christmas, dear,” Paula says. She looks over her granddaughter’s shoulder at Diane Bishop, who waits in the doorway.

“Hi, Paula. Merry Christmas,” Diane says. 

Paula sips her eggnog. “Merry Christmas, Diane."

“I’m sorry about that whole keeping-you-in-the-shed thing."

“And I’m sorry for locking you in there. I was only doing what I had to do."

“I know. And I was kind of impressed, honestly."

“Come in, please,” Paula says, waving the other woman into the house. 

Across the room, Sarah and Molly stand by the fireplace, each holding a glass of white wine. 

“Mom seems like she’s doing all right, all things considered,” Molly says.

Sarah nods thoughtfully. “Yeah. I just want her to enjoy this Christmas."

The sisters trade a look, but neither wants to voice the rest of it aloud: Because we don’t know where any of us will be next Christmas.

As they stand there, Matt moves toward the stairs with a dishtowel slung over his shoulder. 

“Can I help you with anything?” Sarah asks.

Matt barely pauses. “Nah. All good."

The two women watch him ascend the stairs. 

“Everything all right with you two?” Molly asks.

“Everything is fine.” Sarah takes a big slug of her wine. “I’m going to go say hi to Diane."

Molly holds her glass by its stem as she looks over the stockings hung upon the mantle. They are the same six that Paula has been hanging ever since the children were little -- plus one for Ryan that she had made after he was revealed to be her son. She touches a hand to the first one in the row, the one that bears her father’s name in white stitching.

“I’m missing him a lot today, too. Even more than usual,” a voice says from behind her.

She turns to see her older brother standing there.

“Yeah,” Molly says somberly. “It’s hard to comprehend how it can be Christmas and he just isn’t here."

“He’s here. In his own way,” Tim says.

She nods as her eyes suddenly become misty. 

“He’d be proud of you,” Tim adds. “What you did for Mom--"

“Is insane."

“Yes. But it’s also an act of love. You were willing to sacrifice everything to spare her. Dad would approve."

Molly watches their mother, now holding baby Peter as she chats with Jason and Natalie. 

“I just want everything to be okay,” Molly says.

“It will be. We will be.” Tim wraps an arm around his sister’s shoulders. “Because we have each other. The rest, we’ll figure out as we go."

She sighs as she rests her head against him. “I hope you’re right."


What will the new year hold for the Fishers?
Will Matt remain angry with Sarah?
Are you excited to see Alex and Trevor marry?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum now!

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