Previously in Picket Fences…

The F.A.C.T. fundraiser was beginning and, upon arrival, Angela offered Connie two choices: in a blue folder, a contract declaring the fundraiser their last con together, after which Connie would leave town for good; in a red folder, a piece of blackmail that will put Connie in Martin Kray’s crosshairs.

Guests start to arrive at the event, some eager to show off their clothes and fine jewelry, and others for a more nefarious reason; meanwhile Angela and Connie are wrapping up unfinished business.

“You must be proud of yourself. And you should be,” Connie says, grabbing the blue folder and signing the document inside. “However, I may have to take my leave after the party…  it would be rude to leave so early in the evening, don’t you think?” “Fine, I’ll extend you that courtesy… but after that, we are done,” Angela proclaims.

Xavier pulls up in front of the Foster residence and waits for Saraya.

He calls Payton to check in. “Where are you?” Payton asks. “Waiting for Saraya to come out so we can go, what about you?” “I’m getting the art ready for the auction. We have some great pieces, I don’t know how we snagged them,” Payton replies and takes a pause. “I bet you look amazing in your tux. I wish…”  “Wish… what?” Payton replies with anticipation. The two sit in silence for what felt like hours, though it was merely seconds. “So, I’m thinking we can leave while the auction is going on. That would give us about an hour to see what Connie’s hiding in that house,” Payton says, trying to kill the awkwardness of the moment. “Are you sure we’ll have time?” Xavier asks, suddenly becoming distracted by headlights in his rear view mirror. The car stops and Saraya gets out. “Hey, I’ve gotta go, she’s here; we’ll talk later.” She approaches the window of Xavier’s truck and knocks on the glass. “I’ll be out in 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes. I’m so sorry,” she says, running into the house.

Saraya enters to find her mother, Diahann Foster, sitting in her light grey bloom chair that’s trimmed in gold.

The sight of her mother in that chair always meant she was in trouble. “Where have you been—or do I even want to know?” Diahann asks, getting up to confront her with a vodka neat in her hand. “I was out… mother,” Saraya hisses back. Diahann takes a seething sip from the glass then proceeds to let it hang in her perfectly manicured hand at her side, swirling it ever so slightly. “I don’t ask much of you… hell, I don’t even expect much from you, but tonight, of all nights… I needed you to come through. I needed you to hold up your end of the bargain.” She takes another pointed sip from the glass. “I just got off the phone with Olivia and she gave me a tongue-lashing that I had to take. Do you know what it took to get that boy to ask you to go to this event? I am trying to build something here and, for the life of me, I don’t understand why you keep sabotaging me,” Diahann orates. Shaking her head, Saraya begins to speak. “Ever since Daddy died and we had to leave San Francisco because your society friends knew we ran out of money, you’ve become so pathetic; so desperate to get a life back that was never really real, so desperate that you would pimp out your own daughter like it’s the 1700s. Tell me, mother. Please tell me.  What will I go for these days? I’d like to know… nothing to say? I thought not.”  Diahann, after taking a beat, sputters out: “If you’re going to give it away, you might as well get something in return. Fair exchange.” Saraya freezes on the steps, then slowly descends with determination towards her. “A ‘fair exchange,’ Mother?” Saraya grabs her mother’s precious vodka and states, “I really don’t think that I am Xavier’s type.” With that Saraya gulps down the rest, proclaiming, “Mmm… smooth.”

She defiantly heads upstairs once more to get dressed and then proceeds out the door, passing her mother (who has since retreated to her chair) and jumps into the truck with Xavier. With the party getting under way and a steady flow of guests arriving, old and new, this event is shaping up to be one event that no one will forget.