Footprints: An Online Soap -- Episode #45

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Episode #45
Christmas Eve, A Few Days After #44



The room is decked out for the holiday season. The Christmas tree glows with lights and ornaments; a large pile of gifts has already built up beneath it. The six stockings of the family hang on the mantle, plus an additional one for Claire. The room is filled with the sounds of a CD playing “White Christmas.”

The doorbell rings. JASON, wearing a floppy Santa hat, dashes into the room. He opens the door, letting SARAH and BRENT in. As they hang up their coats, they gaze around the room in wonder.

SARAH: This place is looking pretty good.

JASON: It better! I spent hours helping Mom and Dad with it.

BRENT: Well, it was definitely worth the effort.

JASON: Come on into the dining room. Mom’s almost got everything all ready.

They follow him.


JASON, SARAH, and BRENT enter. The table is decorated and covered in a green-and-red tablecloth. The nine places are set at the table, and some of the food is already out. BILL sits at the head of the table.

BILL: Hey, guys!

SARAH: Hi, Dad. Where’s everyone else?

BILL: Tim and Claire just called. The baby was sleeping, so they just left a few minutes ago. They’re on the way over.

SARAH: Oh, okay. What about--

She stops mid-sentence as MOLLY comes into the room. She first makes eye contact with Sarah and then with Brent. Hold on their transfixed gazes.



SHANNON enters the station, which is mostly empty, and approaches a specific locker. By her quick pace, she seems to know exactly where she is headed. Upon reaching the locker, she inserts the key and then pauses. She removes a ROLL OF FILM from her jacket pocket.

SHANNON: (sotto voce) This is the only good place to stick this. I can’t let Jason or Courtney ever find it -- otherwise they’d be able to prove that I hired Dave to attack Courtney.

She turns the key and the locker opens. She gasps when she sees its contents.

SHANNON (CONT’D): Oh, crap! This can’t be happening!

The locker is completely empty.



The multitude of GUESTS are mingling, circulating throughout the extravagant room with glasses of champagne. KATHERINE and ANDY enter.

KATHERINE: This is one tradition that I have always loved.

ANDY: I know ... it reminds me of Father.

KATHERINE: (suddenly upset) I know. It always serves to bring back memories of the happy times the three of us shared.

Andy places an arm around her.

ANDY: Don’t let that ruin your evening, Mother. It’s a time of celebration.

KATHERINE: I know, Andrew. You’re right. (beat) It’s just so hard sometimes.

ANDY: I understand. But we’ve made it this far, Mother. There’s no point in giving up now. Believe me, I miss him just as much as you do.

KATHERINE: I’m sure you do.

ANDY: Now let’s stop this moping and try to enjoy ourselves.

KATHERINE: You’re right. Thank you, dear.

ANDY: Any time, Mother.

A WAITER comes around with a tray of champagne glasses. Katherine and Andy both take one.

KATHERINE: I’m surprised you didn’t bring a date, Andrew. Normally we all enjoy critiquing your Christmas Eve date every year. It’s practically a tradition in itself.

ANDY: Well, haha, Mother. Actually, I plan on spending a good portion of the evening with a certain lady.

KATHERINE: Who would that be?

ANDY: Well, she was actually already on the guest list.

KATHERINE: So, who is this special lady?

Andy looks past his mother into the doorway of the hall, where DANIELLE has just appeared, dressed in an elegant evening dress. Her hair is swept up and every touch of makeup looks perfect.

ANDY: Here she is now.

Katherine turns to see Danielle and immediately looks dismayed.



MOLLY and BRENT break their stare. SARAH, JASON, and BILL are also in the room.

MOLLY: Oh, uh, hi, Brent -- and Sarah.

SARAH: Hi. How’s everything going?

MOLLY: Pretty well, I guess.

BRENT: Are you finally starting to feel better about this whole Craig thing?

MOLLY: I just keep telling myself that no matter how bad it hurts, I’ve got to go on. I already lost my job because of this mess; I can’t lose my entire life. I’ve just got to get myself back on track and move on.

BRENT: I’m glad you have that attitude.

Jason seems to sense some of the tension in the room.

JASON: Yeah, Molly, why don’t you tell them what you did on Saturday night?

BRENT: What’d you do?

MOLLY: Oh, it’s nothing, really.

JASON: Molly--

BILL: Jason, calm down.

MOLLY: No, Dad, it’s fine. (beat) I had a date on Saturday night.

SARAH: Really?

BRENT: With who?

MOLLY: Oh, this guy Brian. He works with Tim.

SARAH: That’s good to hear.

BRENT: Yeah ... really good.

He seems less than enthusiastic as he says this.



SHANNON rushes away from the empty locker. She marches up to the booth where the ATTENDANT is sitting, half-asleep.

SHANNON: (frantic) What happened to Locker 274?

The attendant jerks awake.

ATTENDANT: (annoyed) What do you mean?

SHANNON: What I mean is, why the hell is it empty?!?

ATTENDANT: Calm down, lady.

SHANNON: No! Something of mine is missing! (beat) Did it get emptied out? Because it shouldn’t have ... I had it paid up through the end of this month.


Shannon groans, annoyed, and clutches her head in her hands.

The attendant pulls out a list and flips through a few pages before stopping to read.

ATTENDANT (CONT’D): Nope, doesn’t say anything here about it being emptied out.

SHANNON: You mean somebody stole it?!?

ATTENDANT: Hey, they don’t pay me to guard the lockers ... I just sit here.

SHANNON: (her voice dripping with sarcasm) Apparently it would be dangerous to entrust you with much more.

She goes back over to the locker and takes a final look inside it.

SHANNON (CONT’D): I don’t believe this! Damn it!

She slams the locker closed and charges out of the building.

Having watched this outburst of annoyance, the attendant shakes his head and then tips it back, closing his eyes again.



Seated around the table are BILL, MOLLY, SARAH, and BRENT. JASON walks in, followed by TIM and CLAIRE, who is carrying TRAVIS.

TIM: Hey, everyone!

MOLLY: Hey, guys!

BILL: You two are looking awfully happy tonight.

CLAIRE: We definitely are.

She hands Travis to Tim as she reaches into her purse to get the baby’s bottle.

SARAH: Hey, did you two end up checking out that letter that James sent to Diane?

BRENT: Yeah, I was wondering about that. What happened?

TIM: Now this is a good story.

He puts Travis down in his high-chair and then he and Claire sit down.

TIM (CONT’D): I pretended that Claire and I had broken up, so I convinced Diane to let me move in with her. When she went out, I searched for the letter. I found it hidden in the bedroom ... so I called Claire. Diane came back--

CLAIRE: And we pretty much burst that little bubble of hers.

BILL: Sounds like fun. (beat) I’m glad that you two have gotten all of this worked out.

MOLLY: What do you plan to do about the baby?

CLAIRE: Diane’s baby?

MOLLY: Yeah.

CLAIRE: We’re gonna sue her for custody.

JASON: Really?

TIM: After the crap she pulled, she doesn’t deserve to be a mother. (beat) I am gonna keep her from raising that child if it’s the last thing I ever do.



ANDY leads DANIELLE into the crowded room. KATHERINE stares at them for a moment before regaining her composure.

ANDY: Is something wrong, Mother?

KATHERINE: Oh, no, nothing at all. (beat) If you don’t mind, I’m going to go talk with some of the guests. Enjoy the evening, Danielle.

DANIELLE: I will. Thank you, Mrs. Fitch.

Katherine circulates into the crowd, leaving Andy and Danielle alone.

ANDY: Would you like a drink?

DANIELLE: Maybe in a little while, but no, not yet.

ANDY: All right, fair enough.

Danielle surveys the tremendous room and the throng of guests.

DANIELLE: This really is quite an event, isn’t it?

ANDY: It’s become quite a tradition in our family. This is about the only time of year that we get all these people into one room together ... It gives us a chance to catch up with everyone.

DANIELLE: Well, I’m definitely glad to be a part of it this year.

ANDY: And I’m definitely glad you are, too.

They exchange smiles.

From across the room, Katherine sees this. She throws back her head and downs the remainder of her champagne in a single gulp.



The entire family (BILL, PAULA, TIM, CLAIRE, TRAVIS, SARAH, BRENT, MOLLY, and JASON) is seated around the table.

PAULA: Who would like to say grace before we start eating?

She looks around the table.

TIM: I got it. (beat) In the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.

The others follow, making the Sign of the Cross.

TIM (CONT’D): Lord, we thank you for all the good fortune you’ve bestowed upon us in the past year. It’s true that we’ve all had some difficult times, but the blessings far outweigh the negatives ... especially the birth of this little guy here.

He pats Travis on the head.

TIM (CONT’D): We all understand how fortunate we are to have not only all the opportunities you’ve given us, but also how fortunate we are to have each other. It’s this family, as a whole, that has gotten all of us through those bumps in the road in the past twelve months ... In the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.

The rest of the family makes the Sign of the Cross as well.

BILL: Well said, son.

TIM: I do what I can.

CLAIRE: You definitely did a good job. (beat) Now let’s eat!

They all begin to dig into the food, passing the plates around and discussing the enticing aromas. This wonderful family holiday scene continues as the sound of “White Christmas” overtakes the voices.



Seen only from the back, a WOMAN with red hair rings the doorbell. The sounds of the soiree emanate from within.


WALTER, the butler, proceeds to the door as the doorbell chimes once more. He opens the door.

WALTER: (shocked) What are you doing here?



PAULA leads the rest of the FAMILY into the room.

PAULA: Now, we have something very important to do tonight.

JASON: What’s that?

PAULA: It’s something we haven’t done since the year Tim married Claire.

CLAIRE: Ah … I think I know what you’re getting at.

Paula bends down and reaches into a cardboard box sitting at the foot of the fireplace. She pulls out two STOCKINGS.

PAULA: This year, we welcomed two new members into our family. Not only was our first grandchild born, but Sarah also married Brent. This is our official way of welcoming both Brent and Travis into our family.

She hangs the stockings on the mantle; one has Travis’s name on it, the other Brent’s.

Bill turns to Brent and Sarah.

BILL: I know I was opposed to this marriage at the beginning, guys … but now I see that I was completely mistaken. I’m sure that this marriage will last – your love is so strong. (beat) Welcome to the family, Brent.

He extends his hand to Brent. They shake on it. Then Bill and Sarah hug. Brent looks on, forcing a smile as he considers Bill’s blessing.



WALTER stands before the open door, looking stunned.

WALTER: What are you doing here?


The WOMAN, her face unseen, steps inside the house. WALTER, holding open the door, looks perplexed.


WALTER looks at the WOMAN, who is only seen from the back.

WALTER: Why are you here?

WOMAN: I need to see Mrs. Fitch – immediately.

WALTER: In case you didn’t notice, she’s busy right now.

He stares at her face, still disbelieving, but less formally than he normally does.

WOMAN: I want – I need to see her right away. (beat) Come on, Walter.

WALTER: I’ll try and get her. Hold on.

Walter heads offscreen.


KATHERINE is talking to an affluent-looking MAN and WOMAN.

WALTER enters, looking distraught. He approaches Katherine, weaving his way through the crowd.

WALTER: Mrs. Fitch—

KATHERINE: What is it, Walter? Can’t you tell I’m in the middle of something?

WALTER: Yes, ma’am, I’m sorry, but … there’s someone here to see you.

KATHERINE: Tell them I’m busy! It’s Christmas Eve, for crying out loud!

WALTER: No, I think you really should come see who it is.

Katherine deliberates for a moment.

KATHERINE: All right. (to the man and woman) I’m sorry about this; I’ll be right back.

She follows Walter out of the room.


WALTER leads an annoyed KATHERINE into the foyer. The red-haired WOMAN, her face still unseen, is waiting for them. Katherine sees her face and gasps.

KATHERINE: What in God’s name are you doing here?

WOMAN: We have some unfinished business to discuss.

Katherine seems confused by this comment.

The woman looks Katherine directly in the eyes. Her face is seen to be that of SHANNON!



BILL, PAULA, JASON, SARAH, BRENT, MOLLY, and CLAIRE are gathered in the room. TIM comes down the stairs.

TIM: All right, Travis is asleep.

CLAIRE: He could use it. It’s been a long day for him.

TIM: Yeah, I know.

PAULA: If you’ll all excuse me, I’m gonna go clean up some of the dishes.

SARAH: Don’t worry about it, Mom. I’ll handle it.

JASON: Hey, I’ll come with you.

Jason and Sarah exit. Bill and Paula move over to talk to Tim and Claire.

Brent is left sitting on the couch. Molly comes and sits down next to him.

MOLLY: So, are you enjoying your first Christmas Eve as a member of this family?

BRENT: I am. I’ve gotta tell you, your parents did an awesome job with that food.

MOLLY: Well, my dad runs a restaurant. He’s gotta have some kind of expertise in that area.

BRENT: Rest assured, he definitely does. (beat) This reminds me a whole lot of Christmas Eve in my house growing up.

MOLLY: I guess we just have a lot in common – our families, I mean.

BRENT: You’re right. The holidays are some times I will never forget about my childhood.

MOLLY: It’s such a magical time, especially when you’re young. (beat) But I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying yourself tonight. You’re blending right in.

BRENT: Thanks. (beat) I hope I’ll be a part of this family for a long time to come.

Having said this, he sits back and looks at Molly. She ponders the possibilities this statement suggests.



SARAH is rinsing the dishes and then passing them to JASON to dry them.

JASON: This is great, isn’t it?

SARAH: Not the most exciting thing in the world, but it’s the least we can do to help out Mom and Dad.

JASON: No, I just mean the whole night. It’s been terrific.

SARAH: Yeah, it has been nice. Relaxing – normal!

JASON: It’s been a nice little break from “real life,” if you know what I mean.

SARAH: Why do you say that?

JASON: I don’t know … everything’s just been so crazy lately.

SARAH: Are you having problems?

JASON: What do you mean?

SARAH: With Courtney, maybe?

JASON: How’d you guess?

SARAH: It’s pretty obvious, Jay.

He tosses the dish towel down on the counter.

JASON: Okay, you got me.

SARAH: What’s wrong, exactly?

JASON: Where do I start? To begin with, I haven’t even spoken to her in over two weeks.

SARAH: Did you guys have a fight?

JASON: A big one, apparently. You see, she told me that she suspected Shannon was the one who hired to hitman to hit her in the knee. I told her and Lauren that I needed proof other than just their word … after all, Shannon is my career at this point.

SARAH: Right.

JASON: So Courtney got all mad. I went over to see her the night before I had the car crash … I overheard her telling Lauren that she never wanted to see me again.

SARAH: Ow. I’m sorry, Jason.

She puts her arms around him.

SARAH (CONT’D): That really sucks. But who knows? Maybe once this mess with the hitman gets cleaned up, the truth will come out, and you and Courtney will be able to get everything out in the open.

JASON: I’m hoping that we figure this thing out soon. I talked to Helen a few days ago, and she told me that the police found the hitman guy – Dave Roberts is his name – but he’s not talking.

SARAH: He was the guy who clubbed her? We’ve been after him forever! (beat) Don’t worry, Jason, it’ll all get sorted out eventually.

JASON: It gets worse.

SARAH: What do you mean?

JASON: That night … promise you won’t tell Mom or Dad any of this.

SARAH: I promise.

JASON: I trust you. Anyway, that night it snowed, the night before the crash … I went to Shannon’s. I guess we got carried away …

SARAH: You slept with her?!?

JASON: I didn’t say that!

SARAH: You did, didn’t you? You slept with her!

JASON: Yes, I slept with her. But the thing is, it meant nothing. I—I was just confused. And now everything’s awkward with Shannon because she thinks we could have a relationship – not to mention the fact that I pretty much betrayed all my feelings for Courtney.

SARAH: Wow. That is some mess you’ve got there.

JASON: Tell me about it. (beat) And it doesn’t look like there’s any safe way out at this point, does there?



KATHERINE has come face-to-face with SHANNON, who is wearing a red wig. WALTER stands nearby.

KATHERINE: And just what business is it that you are referring to?

SHANNON: I left a box of my things here after I left ... I need to know if they were thrown away as I asked.

Katherine pauses to think for a moment before responding.

KATHERINE: I’m sure it was.

SHANNON: Are you positive?

KATHERINE: Yes, absolutely. It was disposed of not long after you left.

SHANNON: That’s all I needed to know.

She turns to leave.

KATHERINE: Don’t you ever come back here, you ungrateful little snob!

SHANNON: I don’t plan on it.

She opens the door and steps outside. She slams it behind her as she leaves.

KATHERINE: The nerve of that girl ...

She exits, heading back to the party.

Walter looks after her, shaking his head at the ridiculous scene that has just transpired.



The string quartet, unseen, is playing a soft piece of music in the background. Among the crowd on the dance floor, ANDY and DANIELLE are slow-dancing.

DANIELLE: I’ve had a wonderful time tonight. Thank you so much for inviting me.

ANDY: It wasn’t entirely my doing, I have to admit. Mother did put you on the guest list to begin with.

DANIELLE: Maybe so -- but I don’t think your mother is the reason I’ve enjoyed tonight so much.

She gazes into his eyes. After several seconds, they instinctively lean in and begin to kiss.

KATHERINE reenters the hall in time to see this. She grits her teeth, obviously disturbed by this turn of events.



SHANNON walks away from the front door. As she does so, she pulls off the wig.

SHANNON: Hopefully this will be the last time I ever wear this stupid thing ...

She continues down the walkway.

SHANNON (CONT’D): But I had to come here tonight. I had to know if somebody got their hands on the spare key to that locker. But it must be okay. Someone must have broken into it randomly ... there’s no other explanation.

She runs a hand through her hair, trying to straighten it out after having had it stuffed under the wig.

SHANNON (CONT’D): I’ll have to find somewhere else to hide the film, but that’s a small issue. At least I can be certain that no one got their hands on the contents of that locker -- and I can’t let anyone get ahold of this film, either.

She pats the pocket of her coat that contains the film as she stops walking for a moment. She looks up at the starry winter sky and sighs.

SHANNON (CONT’D): I can’t let anyone figure out any of my secrets. No, I’ve come too far to let that happen now.

Hold on her determined face.


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