Second Time Around

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In the backyard of Grey House, Cassie drags the rake through the yard, gathering leaves into a pile. As she wraps up her yard work, Sam walks up to offer his help. Still dressed in a suit, Sam’s offer isn’t sincere, but it does serves as a useful pretense to start a conversation with Cassie. Sam and Cassie haven’t spoken about the night in the back of her store when they almost kissed. Sam wanted to kiss Cassie and he suspects that she wanted to kiss him too. With his heart on his sleeve, Sam asks if he’s just imagining the feelings that exist between the two of them. Cassie can’t deny the truth and tells Sam that he’s not imagining and that the feelings between them are real. But things between Sam and Cassie are far more complicated. As they talk, staring out from a first floor window, Sam’s ex-wife Linda casts an angry look at Cassie.

Later in the day, Grey House’s newest guests arrive. Beth and Larry are the couple that does everything together and now, they are having their traditional dream wedding at Grey House. They are so close and agree so much that Larry helped Beth pick out her wedding dress. Unfortunately for the couple, a mix-up with their booking means that for the next few days, they ‘ll be sleeping in separate rooms. Cassie promises that the distance will only make things better and, while not enthusiastic about the idea, Larry and Beth take their individual keys and head into Grey House.

Over at Sam’s office, his new receptionist Eve is busy with her normal routine, gossiping with patients. Annoyed, Sam stands next to her, phone ringing off the hook and Eve still chatting away. When it’s clear that Eve has no intention of breaking off her conversation, Sam picks up the phone just in time to hear the caller hang up. Just then, Martha Tinsdale bursts into the office, demanding Sam see her immediately. Before Sam can say two words Martha says that a she’s in need of immediate medical attention and promptly shows herself to an exam room.

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Through a hoarse and scratchy voice, Martha explains that she’s receiving an award at the end of the week and an acceptance speech is mandatory. And, despite Sam already telling her to rest her voice, Martha insisted on practicing her speech. Now she has full-blown laryngitis and can barely squeak out a word. Unfortunately for Martha, Sam’s recommendation is for her to stop talking or face the real possibility of losing her voice entirely. In classic Martha form she tells Sam that all her voice needs is a little herbal tea and she heads off to see Cassie.

Across town at Bell, Book & Candle, Cassie moves a “help wanted” sign into the front window. As she does, Abigail enters and begins touting her success as Stephanie’s newest bistro employee. Business has certainly picked up since Abigail arrived but Cassie advises that the cause may not be Abigail’s doing alone. But Abigail is convinced of her own greatness and believes that Stephanie owes her more than just a job. In fact, Abigail wants Stephanie to make her a partner in the bistro. Cassie is more than wary and suggests Abigail start by asking for more responsibilities. But Abigail reasons that if Stephanie wants to keep all the new business Abigail thinks she’s brought, then Stephanie has no choice but to make Abigail her partner.

Walking through the park one of Middleton’s newest couples, Ben and Stephanie, are playing a little game. Ben has a surprise weekend getaway planned and Stephanie is doing her best to guess where they are going. Stephanie runs down a list of fancy and romantic restaurants she’s been dying to try, but Ben’s idea is slightly more rustic. For this date, Sam is taking Stephanie someplace she’s never been: camping. Ben is thrilled, but Stephanie is much less than thrilled at the prospect. Looking for a way out, she suddenly remembers an appointment with an investor who’s interested in her planned expansion of the bistro. Undeterred, Ben says they can leave as soon as she’s done. But the look on her face tells Ben that Stephanie really isn’t into the idea. But when Stephanie realizes how excited Ben is, she agrees to go, but only for one night. The compromise makes Ben happy and he promises her she’ll have a good time.

Later that night at Grey House, Tara and Cassie put the finishing touches on dinner. As they talk, Tara accidentally knocks a salad bowl to the floor, sending lettuce flying. Cassie tells Tara it’s okay, but Tara responds in a way that suggests something much bigger is on her mind. Tara takes a deep breath and reveals to Cassie she thinks she might be pregnant. Cassie is excited for Tara and assures her that it will be ok, but Tara isn’t sure that she and Brandon are still on the same page about having kids. Being a mom is so much for Tara to process that she hasn’t found the right way to tell Brandon. Cassie calmly tells her that as long as they are together, she and Brandon can handle whatever life throws at them.

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On the heels of Tara’s revelation, Cassie moves into the dining room to set the table for her guests. Linda, who’s still staying at Grey House, is at the table working on her laptop, surrounded by paperwork. Seeing Cassie preparing to serve dinner reminds Linda that she needs to go get dinner ready for ‘her boys.’ As she prepares to go pick up the takeout she’ll be serving, she thanks Cassie for “giving her family some space.” Linda then goes on to explain that his mother’s presence is making things better for Nick and that having both of his parents around is helping him adjust. She then tells Cassie that she’s so glad they agree that Cassie will take care of her family and Linda will take care of hers. Through her thinly veiled politeness Linda’s point is clear: Linda has no intention of being replaced by Cassie.

At the bistro a stunned Stephanie explains to Abigail the ridiculousness of her suggestion that Stephanie take her on as a partner. Abigail only just started working for Stephanie and her previous restaurant experience is limited. Abigail tells Stephanie that the entire idea was Cassie’s, something Stephanie finds hard to believe. Plus, with an investor willing to help Stephanie expand her business, she really needs Abigail to help keep things running smooth at the bistro. Much to Stephanie’s surprise, Abigail accepts that’s she’s lost this round and for the moment, relents on the idea.

The next day, Cassie nervously prepares to give Grace her first driving lesson. It’s special for Cassie and Grace because this moment is one that Grace’s father would have loved. Grace is confident she can master the rules of the road and has studied the driving manual from front to back. But once the car starts to move, the lesson quickly turns into a disaster. Cassie’s nerves and Grace’s overconfidence result in an argument over the proper distance a driver must keep from a bicyclist. While they argue Grace loses focuses and nearly rear-ends another car. Just a few minutes into the lesson Grace angrily turns off the car, hands the keys to Cassie and tells her mother, “I’m going to turn in my learner’s permit and buy a bus pass.”

Later that night at the bistro, Brandon and Tara show up for date night. This evening Tara let Brandon choose the movie, the restaurant, and the dessert. Brandon is certain something is up and, unable to hide the secret any longer, Tara sits him down and tells her that she might be pregnant. Brandon assumes she’s joking at first, but the look on Tara’s face tells him she’s not joking. They both admit that are totally freaked out by the possibility of becoming parents. But, since Tara hasn’t confirmed her pregnancy, they take a deep breath and decide to hope for the best.

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Across from the bistro, in an empty store front the next afternoon, Stephanie, along with Abigail, shows her potential investor the space she wants for her expansion. As she lays out her plan, her investor Dale is excited and is ready to move forward. As they talk, Stephanie’s phone rings. While she takes the call, Abigail and Dale talk over Stephanie’s plans. At the end of the call, Stephanie says she needs to head to the bistro immediately. She and Dale agree to meet later to further discuss the expansion plan and Stephanie heads off, leaving Abigail and Dale talking. When Stephanie leaves, Dale turns to Abigail and asks her thoughts on the expansion. She says she has a few thoughts, piquing Dale’s interest. Abigail then asks if he’d like to hear her ideas over wine or dinner. Intrigued, Dale suggests they start with wine.

Later in the evening, Stephanie and Ben are surrounded by the forest at their romantic camping spot. The trip had a few missteps when Stephanie dropped her bag in the lake, plus her terrified response to a raccoon that she swore was a bear. Ben tries to put the best face on the situation, promising that her clothes will dry by morning and that anyone could mistake a raccoon for a bear. Stephanie is still not in the mood and suggests the pack it up and go home. Ben is disappointed and asks for one thing before they leave. He grabs her and passionately kisses her, saying he’s wanted to that since her first saw her. He then turns to break down the campsite and head home when a now gleeful Stephanie suggests that maybe they could stay. She may not be thrilled about camping, but she is more than happy with Ben’s company.

Back in Middleton, Sam and Linda sit in the bleachers to watch Nick’s first basketball game. Despite their differences, Sam and Linda both agree that Nick is finally starting to come into his own. As they watch the game, Sam keeps a watchful eye on the door, hoping that Cassie will show up at the game. Linda is very aware that Sam is looking for Cassie and her jealousy and anger begins to boil over. Sam is having none of it and tells her that Cassie is not the problem, and that Linda can no longer try to control him. Linda agrees that Cassie won’t be a problem, especially after she’s told her to back off. This is the first that Sam’s heard of Linda’s meddling and he is instantly infuriated. Just as he gets up to storm out of the gym, Linda tells Sam that Nick wants the three of them to go out to dinner together. As Nick waves to his parents from the court, Linda asks Sam, “What would you like me to tell him?” Faced with his son’s feelings, Sam angrily retakes his seat.

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Early the next morning, Linda stops at Sam’s office to talk to about the Cassie situation. Still fuming, Sam tells her she had no right to tell Cassie to back off. Linda argues that she was only doing what she had to do to protect her family. Sam fires back saying that Cassie helped him and Nick get settled and that she may be the one person Nick actually trusts. He also tells Linda that he doesn’t know what he would have done without Cassie. Linda can tell that Cassie has had a positive effect on Sam and it’s something she can’t compete with. Sam calmly looks at Linda and tells her that no one is expecting her to compete with Cassie.

Back at Grey House, Cassie bumps into Larry as he applies a healthy coat of sunscreen. Cassie offers him her organic sunscreen but Larry has allergies to just about everything, including the sun. With his severe allergies, Cassie is surprised to hear that Larry and Beth are spending their honeymoon in Hawaii. Larry says that he really wanted to go skiing but Beth loves the water, so they are going to Hawaii. On her way down the stairs, Beth overhears their conversation. She tells Larry he should have said he wanted to go skiing for their honeymoon, but Larry shrugs it off and says it’s no big deal; he just wants Beth to be happy. Just then Beth’s phone rings and, as she walks off to take the call, Cassie whispers to Larry, “You’re allowed to be happy too.”

Back at Sam’s office the nearly voiceless Martha returns in worse shape than before. Despite Sam’s instructions to stop talking, Martha has given her voice almost no break at all. With her big acceptance speech just days away, Martha has no choice but to beg for Sam’s help. Sam knew Martha wouldn’t stop talking and, if she doesn’t speak for another 72 hours, she may still be able to make it through her speech. That is, assuming Martha can actually pay heed to the doctor’s orders.

Across town at the bistro, Stephanie angrily slams menus on the counter. She confides in Abigail that Dale pulled out of the expansion plan. Stephanie was sure her business and marketing plan impressed him and she can’t figure out what went wrong. At that moment that Abigail hands Stephanie an envelope with her name official resignation. She then tells Stephanie that she’s leaving to start her own business. While Stephanie was camping with Ben, Abigail was at dinner with Dale and convinced him to invest his money in her new business.

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Later in the evening, Sam stops by Bell, Book & Candle for an after work chat with Cassie. After her argument with Grace, Cassie is deeply immersed in the latest edition of the driving manual. Sam on the other hand has had more than his fill of Linda’s stay in Middleton. Sam tells Cassie that despite Linda’s feelings or what she’s said, he wants Cassie in his life. As they talk, a distraught Larry walks into the store. He apologizes for tracking her down but he needs to tell Cassie something important. Larry’s come to the realization that he can’t marry Beth and he’s decided to cancel the wedding.

Back at Grey House Brandon finds Tara flipping through his old baby books. She somberly tells Brandon that her test results were negative and she’s not pregnant. Brandon sighs and tells Tara that honestly, he’s relieved. But Tara is consumed with an overwhelming sense of loss. What’s more, she’s taken aback by Brandon’s reluctance to have children. Brandon tries to explain that he’s just not ready, but tense emotions explode into a fight. It quickly becomes clear to both of them that they are not sure they are still not on the same page in their marriage.

After Sam and Larry leave Bell, Book & Candle, Cassie is finally able to close the store. After closing the store for the evening, Cassie turns and begins to walk down the street. She takes a few steps down the sidewalk when suddenly, a man stands appears directly in front of her. She steps back and the man says hello. Cassie immediately recognizes the man as her old friend John.