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- Matt continued to be cool toward Sarah after her role in covering up Paula’s shooting of Philip was revealed -- and after she was sentenced to probation and faced the loss of her P.I. license.
- Following the car accident, Conrad was expected to make a full recovery, in spite of having broken both legs and suffered other injuries. Molly visited him when he awoke.

- Yvette survived surgery but remained in critical condition. Her baby was delivered and given a positive prognosis.

- Tempest was furious when she overheard Alex saying that Diane had summoned him to the hospital because the baby had been born and Yvette was on the verge of death.

KB Memorial Hospital

Tempest Banks’s heart is still racing as she walks through the door of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. That phrase -- close to death -- keep echoing through her head. She can’t believe that Alex and Diane would even put it out there, like they actually want Yvette to die.

Her blood still boiling, she holds up her arm to show the wristband that Claire got her, which distinguishes her as the relative of a child in the unit, and then walks through the space in search of her half-brother’s incubator. The large room is set up in rows, with each incubator set up beside a slew of monitors and a leather recliner. Inside the boxes are babies smaller than she even thought possible; some of them are so small, so wrinkled and new, that it seems unreal that they are even alive. Their small bodies are hooked up to tubes and IVs and who knows what else, allowing machines to keep them functioning to give them a fighting chance at life.

She walks through two rows before a nurse turns to her.

“Can I help you find someone?” the nurse, a redhead only a few years older than Tempest, asks.

“My brother. Um, Banks. It’s a boy. He’s a boy, I mean."

The nurse has to think for only a split-second before pointing to the row just behind them. “He’s over there. Third, I think."

“Thanks,” Tempest says, unable to force a smile though she tries to sound as pleasant as she possibly can. She hurries toward the incubator and finds, as she gets closer, that it is indeed labeled with her own last name.

Inside lies a baby who appears to be considerably larger than most of the infants she saw as she walked through the NICU; he is still small, but in comparison to those babies, he looks downright sturdy. He is hooked up only to a single tube. Sporadic curls of black hair spring from his head, and his tiny hands are balled into fists.

“Hi there,” Tempest says, careful to keep her voice low even though she knows everyone who comes through here probably doesn’t whisper. But there are so many sleeping babies around that she feels that’s what she is supposed to do.

She stares down at the boy. Part of her can’t even believe that he is real. After all this build-up, after Yvette acting like her pregnancy gave her some right to barge back into Tempest’s life… there is a real child now. Her brother.

“You don’t know me yet, but I’m your sister,” she says, as she does a quick glance around to be sure that no one will hear her talking to this baby in a box who definitely cannot understand her. But, for some reason, it seems like the right thing to do.

His small eyes crack open, just enough for her to see some white and a hint of iris.

“Your mama is upstairs,” she says. “Our mama. She got hurt, but she’s gonna get better. I know she is.”

She feels her throat tightening. “She was gonna… She says she’s gonna try to do better for you than she did for me and Isaac. That’s our brother. I don’t know where he is right now. But things are gonna be okay for you. Mama said she would--” She stops herself; somehow it seems wrong to tell this innocent baby that the plan is for him to be handed off to strangers, even if they are all strangers to him as of yet. “We’re gonna make sure that everything is all right. Just believe me on that, will you?"

She still can’t fully believe that any of this is happening: the car accident, Yvette’s condition, the baby being here.

She touches a hand to the top of the incubator. “We need to get you a name. And we will, real soon. As soon as Mama wakes up.”


In the Intensive Care Unit’s waiting area, Alex Marshall looks at Claire Fisher and shakes his head sadly.

“I am so, so sorry,” he says. “I shouldn’t have come here.” 

“Alex, it’s okay. You didn’t know…” Claire watches the elevator bay, as if hoping that Tempest will materialize after her blow-up at them. She lets out a sigh. “So you and Yvette had a good meeting?"

“I think so. Yeah. It was a little awkward at first, but how could it not be? I was worried that the fact we’re a gay couple would be a non-starter, but she seemed open to it."

“Diane and I met with her not long ago,” Claire reveals. “Her initial reaction to having a same-sex couple adopt her baby was… not the most enthusiastic, but I was pretty sure we got through to her."
  Alex Marshall

“Good. Thank you for that."

Trevor didn’t get to meet her?"

Alex flinches. “No. I, um… it’s a little complicated."

“How so?” she asks, tilting her head. 

Before Alex can answer, Diane Bishop and Samantha Fisher step off the elevator. When they turn the corner and spot Alex, they increase their pace.

“I’m glad you were able to come,” Diane says, touching a hand to Alex’s arm.

“I’m not sure it was such a hot idea,” Alex says. 

Diane’s brow creases with concern. “Why?"

“Because he came in here and asked me if Yvette was really close to death,” Claire cuts in, “and Tempest walked in and overheard."

“Oh no,” Samantha, standing just behind her mother, mutters.

“Why would you say that?” Claire asks Diane. “You had to inject more drama into this whole thing?"

“More drama? The woman was in a car accident while nine months pregnant,” Diane says. “She went through an hours-long surgery and is in a coma. I wouldn’t exactly say she’s thriving!"

“No, but…” Claire grits her teeth in frustration. “You always have to sensationalize everything, don’t you?"

“I do not--"

“Where’s Tempest now?” Samantha asks. 

The two women freeze, both of their mouths wide open and ready to continue firing verbal missiles, and turn toward Samantha.

“She went up to the NICU,” Claire says, her tone considerably softer. “She wanted to visit the baby."

“I’ll go find her,” Samantha says, her stress already clear as she anticipates her girlfriend’s state. 

Alex steps forward, too. “And I’m going to go. Whatever happens, I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to be here right now."

Lips held tightly together, Claire nods. “I’m sorry about all that. I’ll keep you posted. The baby should be in the NICU for a few days--"

“Claire!” a voice says from across the room, grabbing the attention  of all four of them. The doctor from last night, in blue scrubs again but this time without a surgical cap over his graying hair, moves toward them with urgency. 

He scans the group. “Where’s Yvette’s daughter?"

“She’s up in the NICU,” Claire says impatiently. “What’s going on? Did something happen?"

His heavy eyelids droop. “I’m so sorry. Yvette went into massive cardiac arrest-- We did everything we could, but we couldn’t save her."

Samantha clutches her mother’s arm as the doctor’s words sink in. 

“Yvette was pronounced dead a few minutes ago,” the doctor says gravely. 


The first thing Sarah Fisher Gray is aware of as she drifts toward consciousness is warmth. There is the soft support of the mattress beneath her; there is the pleasant weight of the sheet and duvet on top of her. And around her middle is something so familiar, so comforting, that her hand goes instinctively to it--

And then she awakens with a jolt. Her now-opened eyes glance down to be certain. Matt’s arm is thrown over her, the way it has been a thousand times before -- the way it has not been ever since the truth came out about her role in covering up her mother’s shooting of Philip Ragan.

She lies there, motionless, her still-sleepy brain swirling with thoughts. Does he know that he’s cuddling with her? Did he just do it reflexively in his sleep? They have barely made physical contact at all since the truth came out. They have shared this bed the way two middle-school rivals would if forced to occupy the same bed on an overnight trip. 

She takes in the faint streaks of daylight coming in through the sides of the closed curtains. The pale blue display of the bedside clock reveals that it is nearly 9 a.m. She is surprised to realize that they have slept so late, but then again, the news of the car accident last night kept them all up talking about worrying much later than they’d normally stay up. 

She wonders what she should do about the arm draped over her. Should she lie here and enjoy it? Maybe this is Matt’s way of telling her that the chasm between them is beginning to close. 

Again she reaches down and rests her hand upon his. She takes a deep breath and feels her heart beating faster even as she attempts to relax. She has missed him so much.

A moment later, Matt stirs behind her. The mattress shifts slightly with his weight, and then there is a wordless groan, followed by the arm being lifted off her. 

“I figured you didn’t mean to do that,” she says, her back still to him. 

“I was asleep,” he says, his voice a hard croak. “Sorry."

“You don’t have to apologize. I just thought you might…"

She hears him sigh and then say, “Sarah."
  Sarah Fisher Gray

Steeling herself, she turns over to face him. 

“What are we doing?” she asks. 

“Waking up."

“Not that. Us. Like…” She lifts a hand to indicate the two of them, the bed, the room, their entire lives. “For months, we’ve been acting like a pair of barely civil strangers. Is this it? Is this how it’s going to be forever?"

She sees the concern register on his sleepy face.


“Then what do we do? What do I do? Because I can only say I’m sorry so many times. What’s done is done. I get why you’re mad, I do, but I can’t spend the rest of my life lying like a corpse next to a man who only touches me when he’s unconscious."

The next thing out of his mouth surprises her: “I love you."

She is so thrown that it takes her several seconds to formulate a response. “I love you, too."

“This whole thing, it shook me. I don’t know,” he says, the words ambling out with an unsteady gait. “I thought we were done with all that. With the lies. With not telling each other stuff. And then I find out…” He shakes his head in disbelief. “All that time, you were lying to my face about what was going on."

“There are only going to be so many times in life when I’m trying to protect my mother from going to prison,” she says. “At least I hope so. It isn’t like I’m lying about every little thing."

“I know. I just thought we were… more than that.” 

“Would you have wanted to know what was going on?"

His expression is flat. Instead of directly answering, he says, "Maybe the only fix is time. You know when things get to be too much for me, I…"

“Shut down."

“Yeah.” His green eyes, eyes that have always revealed more than Matt himself might care to let on, scan her face. “If I didn’t think this was fixable, I wouldn’t still be in this bed with you."

The words go straight to her heart, radiating a sort of warm relief that she hasn’t felt in months. 

“Then tell me what to do,” she says.

“Let’s give it time. Let’s work on it. That means me, too. I guess I need to learn to trust you again.” He leans in and kisses her on the nose, then pulls back and grins encouragingly. “We’re gonna figure this out."

“Good,” she says, and then he is sliding out of the bed and heading to the hallway. She hears the bathroom door close behind him. 

Sarah wishes that she could revel in his reassurance, at the promise of a clean and open future together, but her mind jumps immediately to Zane Tanaka -- to his put-on of a relationship with Tori, to his threat of only leaving her alone if Sarah pays him the original blackmail money. Should she just tell Matt? Can they deal with this together?

Or will learning that she covered up a blackmail attempt and tried to use money that is rightfully Billy’s to pay off the blackmailer be the final straw for her husband? 


“I promise you, I’m all right,” Conrad Halston says, his iPhone held to his face. He lies in his hospital bed, both of his casted legs in traction. “You don’t have to rush out here to see me. I don’t--"

He hears a soft knock at the open door. When he glances over, he sees two figures standing there. With his mind still a bit scrambled from the painkillers, it takes him a few seconds to recognize them as his ex-wife and their preteen daughter. He waves them inside.

“Dad?” comes the voice through the phone.

Only now does Conrad realize that he didn’t complete his thought. It takes him another moment to remember what he was in the middle of saying. 

“I don’t want you missing work,” he finally says. “The doctors say I’m going to be fine. Lots of healing and physical therapy, but I’ll be fine."

With Natalie and Bree hovering beside the bed, he quickly wraps up the call and sets his phone on the nearby table. 

“That was Grace,” he says.

“She isn’t coming?” Natalie asks with an accusatory raised eyebrow.

“I told her not to race here,” Conrad counters. “She has a new job. I’m not dying. She can visit when there’s more time."

Natalie folds her arms. “Mm-hmm."

Conrad pointedly turns his attention toward Bree. “Now you -- I am thrilled you came. Do you know how good it is to see you?"

Bree studies her father with an uneasy gaze, taking in the enormity of the casts and the gadgetry that seem to have absorbed him. 

“They said you’re gonna be okay?” she asks. 

“Very.” He sees the reluctance in her eyes. “I promise."

A tentative smile forms on Bree’s face. “Okay. Good.” She moves in to hug him but then hesitates. 

“It’s okay,” Conrad says. “You’re allowed to hug me."

Bree throws an arm over his chest and nuzzles up to his shoulder. 

“Does this mean you’re gonna stay for a while?” Bree asks. 

“We’ll see about all that,” he says, “but for now, I’m just grateful to have you with me."


Shock buzzes around the group in the waiting area like an electrical current.

Claire is the first to break the stunned silence. “I need to go find Tempest."

“Should I go with you?” Samantha asks.

“That might be good. Yeah,” Claire says with a nod. “Thanks, Doctor."

“Of course. I’m so sorry for all of your loss,” the doctor says before heading back through the swinging double doors. 

“Do you want to go downstairs?” Alex asks Diane. “Get a cup of coffee?"

“Yeah,” she says quickly. “I think that’s a good idea."

The four of them start toward the elevators -- but as they round the corner, one set of doors opens, and Tempest steps off. Her reaction shifts as she takes in first Claire and Samantha, then Diane and Alex.

“Honey, I need to talk to you,” Claire says. “Why don’t you come into the waiting room?"

“Why?” Tempest asks. “What is it?” But she barely finishes the question before the realization hits her like a boulder flying down a mountain. Her body stiffens, and her eyes widen.

“No,” she says. “No way."

“I’m so sorry, Tempest.” Claire moves toward the young woman, arms extended. “Come here."

Tempest accepts the embrace and nearly falls against Claire. Samantha stands by, watching helplessly, her face filled with anguish.
  Tempest Banks

“She went into cardiac arrest,” Claire says. “The doctors did everything they could. Her body had just been through too much trauma."

Tempest’s body begins to heave with sobs. 

“I am so sorry,” Claire says again.

Her breathing heavy, Tempest opens her eyes and stares at Diane and Alex. 

“I bet you two are happy now,” she says.

Diane shakes her head vigorously. “Not at all. I’m so sorry for your loss--"

“Shut up,” Tempest spits. “You wanted this to happen. Both of you. You couldn’t wait to snatch that damn baby out her arms. Well, you got what you wanted, didn’t you?"

Diane and Alex trade an alarmed look. 

“We should go,” Alex says. “You have my condolences, Tempest."

“Go!” Tempest shouts, and Claire pulls her closer. Alex stabs the button to summon an elevator, but the wait seems to last forever.

“Come on,” Claire says, trying to guide Tempest toward the waiting area. Samantha follows them, though she tosses an apologetic look back toward her mother and Alex.

“Just go!” Tempest screams again, and Claire pulls harder to get her around the corner and away from where she can see the two people waiting for the elevator.


What will happen to the baby now?
Will Tempest’s head clear once her grief settles?
Should Sarah come clean with Matt?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum now!



Friday, May 05, 2017

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