Footprints: An Online Soap -- Episode #53

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Episode #53
Three Days After #52



The Fishers’ lawyer, GREG, is waiting silently. He is seated along one side of the table, next to JUDGE GRAHAM, a woman with dark red hair in her late fifties. Across from Greg is LUCINDA BARRETT, Diane’s lawyer.

GREG: I’m sorry, Judge, I don’t know where they could be. They’re almost five minutes late.

JUDGE: I really don’t appreciate when people--

The doors fly open and TIM and CLAIRE rush in, huffing and puffing.

CLAIRE: We’re so sorry we’re late, Judge.

GREG: What happened?

TIM: Travis is a little bit sick, and the neighbor who was supposed to babysit him decided she didn’t feel like babysitting a sick infant. So we called Sarah and Brent, but they weren’t home. Finally we got ahold of Molly, who offered to take him for us. (beat) And then we wound up in traffic on the highway for 15 minutes.

GREG: I’m surprised you made it so quickly, in that case.

CLAIRE: Are we almost ready to begin?

GREG: Not quite -- Diane isn’t here yet.

Tim and Claire look very surprised.



The building is filled with noise, including the hubbub of the crowd in-between skaters. Next to the rink, in a corner, SANDY is huddled with JASON and SHANNON, who are dressed in costume and have their skates on.

SANDY: How do you guys feel?

JASON: Pretty good.

SANDY: All stretched out?

SHANNON: It’s taken care of.

SANDY: Okay, good ...

She shakes her hands nervously.

SANDY (CONT’D): I’m probably more of a wreck than either of you at this point.

JASON: I’m actually not all that nervous -- much less than I was last night, especially.

SANDY: You two had a great short program. Now, I know you’re in fourth place, but that’s good enough to qualify for Nationals. Just go out there and skate your hardest and it’ll all turn out for the best.

Jason looks troubled, knowing he has no desire to continue skating with Shannon after this competition.

Across the building, in the stands, PAULA and BILL are seated as another pair’s music begins to blare through the building.

PAULA: This has to be such an exciting experience for Jason. He’s waited so long to have a shot at Nationals.

BILL: It should be.

PAULA: What do you mean?

BILL: He didn’t sound all that excited about it. More like incredibly nervous.

PAULA: I can understand that.

BILL: I think it’s Shannon. I get the impression that skating with her is making him miserable.

PAULA: Well, once this year is over, he can get back together with Courtney.

BILL: I hope so.

He glances toward the entrance.

BILL (CONT’D): I wonder where Brent and Sarah are.

PAULA: Did they ever say why they were coming?

BILL: Brent just said he had something really important to take care of down here, so they were gonna fly down in time for  Jason & Shannon’s long program.

PAULA: Well, they’d better hurry up or they’re gonna miss it.

She casts a final look towards the entrance of the packed arena.



TIM, CLAIRE, GREG, LUCINDA, and JUDGE GRAHAM are all seated around the table.

TIM: Where could she be?

He speaks in a hushed tone.

Claire checks her watch.

CLAIRE: I don’t know. I wonder if she’s playing another little gag to get sympathy.

TIM: She wouldn’t do that.

Claire raises an eyebrow at him.

CLAIRE: Think about what you just said ...

TIM: Good point.

Judge Graham glances at her watch.

JUDGE GRAHAM: If she doesn’t arrive in thirty minutes, we’re going to have to reschedule this hearing. I have another matter to take care of in an hour, and we simply won’t have time to get anything done, by the time we get under way.

They resume waiting in silence. An occasional head turns to examine the door, but to no avail.

Claire notices that Tim is biting his fingernails.

CLAIRE: Stop it. I hate when you do that, Tim.

TIM: Sorry.

He pulls his hand away from his mouth.

TIM (CONT’D): I only do it when I’m nervous, and I’m really nervous right now.

GREG: Do you think something happened to her?

TIM: Maybe ... which means something may have happened to the baby.

His face is suddenly drawn with worry.



On the ice, a PAIR is skating. They do a dramatic lift and stop, striking their final poses as the music thunders to its end. Applause engulfs the building.

By the side of the ice, SANDY is standing with JASON and SHANNON.

JASON: That was really good.

SANDY: But it wasn’t perfect. You guys can beat those two ... I know it.

JASON: I hope you’re right.

SHANNON: Don’t worry, Jason. We’ll do fine.

SANDY: She’s right, Jason. Just enjoy being out there.

SHANNON (THINKING): We need to do well so we can qualify for Nationals. Otherwise, our season will be over and you’ll go back to Courtney. And that is one thing I can’t let happen.

In the stands, PAULA and BILL are watching the competition.

PAULA: They’re gonna have to skate a perfect program to hang on to fourth place.

BILL: They can do it. I know they can.

He looks toward the entrance once more but still sees nothing.

BILL (CONT’D): I wonder what’s going on. Where could they be?

PAULA: I’m sure there’s a good enough reason for whatever’s going on with Brent and Sarah.

In another tightly-packed section of the stands, out of the Fishers’ sight, BRENT and SARAH are seated.

BRENT: It’s too bad we didn’t have a chance to talk to Jason before they went to get ready to skate.

SARAH: It’s probably better that way. If he had to skate after hearing what we have to say, he wouldn’t be able to concentrate at all.

BRENT: That’s a good point.

He looks around at the people surrounding them on all sides.

BRENT (CONT’D): It would’ve been nice if we could have sat with the others.

SARAH: Count your blessings. We’re lucky we found two seats next to each other.

Brent glances at the ice.

BRENT: Right after they skate, we’ve got to get down there and get this taken care of ... before someone else gets hurt.

His wife nods in agreement.



TIM is now pacing the floor. GREG and JUDGE GRAHAM are seated at the rectangular table. CLAIRE stands next to it. LUCINDA is in the corner, dialing a number on her cell phone.


He pauses.

TIM: I’m sorry. I’m just really nervous. Regardless of who Diane is or in what way she got pregnant, that is my child she’s carrying. I just pray to God that nothing’s happened to either of them.

Lucinda holds the phone up to her ear, but soon crinkles her face in frustration and flips it closed. She steps out of the corner.

LUCINDA: I can’t seem to get ahold of her. Her cell phone isn’t turned on.

TIM: (despondently) ... Or something happened that caused it to break.

CLAIRE: Tim, don’t talk like that.

Standing behind him, Claire begins to rub her husband’s shoulders. He closes his eyes in an effort to relax, but soon shifts uncomfortably and slips away from her.

CLAIRE (CONT’D): Please, just try to relax.

TIM: I can’t.

She takes him by the shoulders and turns him so they are face-to-face.

CLAIRE: Look. We are going to find out where Diane is, alright? She and the baby are going to be fine. Just have some faith.

TIM: I’d like to, I really would. (beat) It’s just so hard when my baby’s out there with the one person I trust least in this world.

His face is covered with gloom as Claire looks on, her face strained with the knowledge that there is nothing she can do to help Tim at the moment.



JASON and COURTNEY are standing at the entrance to the ice. SANDY is a few feet over, leaning on the side of the rink. Applause resounds through the building for the previous COUPLE, who step off the ice.

JASON: My mom and dad said Brent and Sarah might be coming down to watch us. I wonder if they’re here.

He quickly scans over the crowd.

SHANNON: Well, you’ll have to find out afterwards. There’s something a little more pressing going on right now.

He looks at her in partial confusion, still not used to the idea of not being able to confide in her as a friend, but instead having to view her as a threat.

ANNOUNCER (OS): Our next couple represents the King’s Bay Figure Skating Club. Please welcome Shannon Parish and Jason Fisher!

SHANNON: Here we go ...

They skate out onto the ice amidst applause from the audience.

PAULA and BILL are on their feet in the stands, cheering.

Elsewhere, BRENT and SARAH also cheer wildly.

Back down on the ice, Jason and Shannon assume their opening poses. Out on the tension in the air as they wait for the music to begin.



CLAIRE, TIM, and GREG are talking off to the side, away from the table. JUDGE GRAHAM and LUCINDA are seated.

TIM: Where could she be?

CLAIRE: I don’t know. I’m getting worried too.

TIM: I wonder if there wasn’t any accident at all.

GREG: What do you mean? Do you think she’d just skip the hearing?

TIM: Worse than that ... I wonder if she’d just skip town to avoid the hearing.

GREG: Do you think she would?

CLAIRE: Tim’s got a point. Diane has done much crazier things than that.

Meanwhile, Lucinda is nervously waiting with Judge Graham.

LUCINDA: Your Honor, I don’t understand where my client could be.

JUDGE: You know, it’s not uncommon for a parent to flee to avoid appearing at a custody hearing. Perhaps Ms. Bishop felt this was the only way she could retain custody.

LUCINDA: That’s nonsense. She has total confidence that she will be granted custody.

JUDGE: I just hope there wasn’t an accident of some kind. That would be a terrible tragedy.

LUCINDA: I’m beginning to fear that something like that has happened. Maybe we should--

DIANE (OS): I’m here!

All heads turn to see DIANE rushing into the room.

TIM: Diane, where were you?

DIANE: I got caught in traffic. There was a horrible accident on the freeway.

JUDGE: I hope that’s the truth, Ms. Bishop. I would hate to think you would purposely keep us all waiting.

DIANE: Of course not, Your Honor.

JUDGE: Well, whatever the case may be, we should get under way with this hearing. We’ve lost enough time already.

Everyone moves to take a seat.



On the ice, JASON and SHANNON are holding their opening poses. Their music, a dramatic piece from “Carmen,” strikes up and they begin skating.

Their program is seen in flashes. First, their feet are seen as they both turn backward and use their toe picks to launch themselves. After three revolutions in the air, two right feet set down firmly on the ice and continue gliding backward.

From above, they are seen traveling backwards holding hands. Jason pulls Shannon in and hoists her above his head. He turns several times and she returns to the ice smoothly.

Clips of footwork are seen as they step out of a spin and continue skating, their feet shuffling rapidly along the ice. Finally, Shannon settles into Jason’s arms as he throws her into the air. She spins three times and lands cleanly.

The music comes to an end on a strong note as they finish, standing back-to-back with arms up in the air. The crowd roars.

SHANNON: (under her breath) We did it!

Out on their exhausted but satisfied faces as they stand in position.



Seated at the head of the table is JUDGE GRAHAM. On her left are GREG, TIM, and CLAIRE. To the judge’s right are DIANE and LUCINDA.

JUDGE: Why don’t you begin, Mr. Thompson?

GREG: All right. (beat) My clients, Tim and Claire Fisher, have been married for over two years. They have an eight-month-old son, Travis. Over a year ago, when Claire was pregnant with Travis, Tim was hospitalized as the result of a shooting. When he awoke from a coma that lasted several weeks, he was suffering from amnesia. It was at this point--

He is interrupted by groans from Diane.

JUDGE: Ms. Bishop, please. Is there a problem?

DIANE: I don’t know. My stomach ...

She clutches her stomach tightly, her face suddenly looking pale.



JASON and SHANNON are walking away from the ice with SANDY. Another pair’s music is now playing over the arena’s sound system.

SANDY: That was amazing, guys.

JASON: I guess we just went out there and made it happen.

His speech reveals that he is less excited than he should be.

SANDY: Is something wrong? That was an excellent performance.

They step into a hallway.

JASON: No, I’m fine.

Shannon smiles sweetly at him as Sandy looks the other way. He turns away in silent annoyance.

SHANNON (THINKING): You can’t get rid of me that quickly, Jason. That performance was good enough to qualify us for Nationals, and you’d be a fool to turn down a chance like that.


Shannon turns to see PAULA, BILL, SARAH, BRENT, DANIELLE, and ANDY heading toward them.

JASON (CONT’D): (to Sarah and Brent) I wasn’t sure if you guys were gonna make it.

SARAH: Well, we did. I have to say, that was quite a nice job you guys did.

BRENT: I haven’t seen you skate in a while. I noticed a lot of improvement.

JASON: Thanks.

He turns to Danielle and Andy.

JASON (CONT’D): And you guys are here too? Wow! Thanks for coming!

DANIELLE: We had something to deal with--

She darts her eyes over to Shannon quickly, but neither Jason nor Shannon sees it.

DANIELLE (CONT’D): --so we figured the least we could do was come watch you skate.

ANDY: Nice job, Jason. That was incredible.

He sticks out his hand, and Jason shakes it.

JASON: Thanks, Andy.

Shannon is strangely quiet, looking nervously at Andy, who turns and stares into her eyes. Out on Shannon as her eyes widen with shock.



DIANE stands, groaning and grabbing her stomach in discomfort. JUDGE GRAHAM looks concerned; LUCINDA rises to give Diane stability; GREG looks on; TIM stands, looking nervous, while CLAIRE remains seated.

CLAIRE: (trying to keep her voice down) Please, Diane. You can’t delay this hearing anymore. Just cut it out.

DIANE: I’m not faking. I swear.

She groans again. Claire turns to whisper something to Tim, but before she can speak he has made his way over to Diane.

TIM: Sit back down, Diane.

Claire goes to stand beside her husband.

CLAIRE: (muttering) I wish she would cut this out.

TIM: (quietly, to Claire) I don’t think she’s faking at all.

He faces the rest of the people in the room.

TIM (CONT’D): I think she’s in labor.

Even Diane appears surprised at this news.



As PAULA and BILL are exchanging words with SANDY, JASON notices SHANNON’S reaction to seeing ANDY. DANIELLE gives BRENT and SARAH a knowing look, realizing that this only strengthens their theory about Shannon.

JASON: Shannon, you look a little stunned.

SHANNON: Oh, I, uh ...

She looks back at him.

SHANNON (CONT’D): It was nothing.

JASON: This is Andy. He’s a friend of Danielle ... who is Brent’s sister. I don’t think you’ve met either of them.

SHANNON: No -- of course not.

ANDY: That’s odd.

SHANNON: (caught off-guard) Why do you say that?

ANDY: We were all at the New Year’s Eve party, weren’t we? I’m surprised we didn’t meet then.

SHANNON: (nervously) I guess there were a lot of people there.

She moves slowly, as though in shock.

SHANNON (CONT’D): It’s nice to meet you -- both of you.

She shakes hands with both Andy and Danielle. Turning for a moment, her face shows the incredible shock she is feeling after running into Andy.

SHANNON (THINKING): What is he doing here?!?

DANIELLE: Anyway, we just wanted to tell you what a great job you both did. We’re really proud of you, Jason -- and Shannon.

VOICE (OS): Or is it “Lisa”?

Everyone turns to see COURTNEY standing on her crutches at the end of the otherwise empty corridor, her arms folded as she stares Shannon down.


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