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Unraveling the Beth/Danielle/Tristan web:


In the Beginning: Tristan meets Beth in the first season

The very first Tristan/Beth meeting dates back to the first season, before Beth officially moved back to Schuyler Falls. She was visiting for her mother's birthday, and took a walk in the woods to reacclimate herself to her old hometown. Unfortunately, alternate "Lizzie" (who is approximately 4-5 years old) emerged due to a bad memory, and collapsed in tearful horror at having been brought back against her will to a town she hated.

Tris came upon a crying Beth while on his own aimless walk, which occured during his trial for murder. He realized at once that this woman was obviously disturbed, and tried to console her. Once Lizzie was calmed down, Beth re-emerged and was shocked to find Tristan holding her. She ran away in shame.

Beth first meets Danielle, Ep. #3-08:

Fast forward to the third season. Beth moved to town, and Chelsea discovered her talent as a designer. Chelsea was pleased when Danielle happened by during an outdoor brunch, recognizing the society woman as a potential mentor for Beth. As shown, Beth was impressed -- and noted the general similarity in appearance but vast difference in their personalities:

Beth watches the woman as she speaks with Chelsea. The curling reddish brown hair is much like her own, but where hers is untamed and frizzy, this woman's is perfectly styled, pulled into a loose chignon. The clothes are casual but expensive--a white silk shirt, coffee-colored silk skirt, and sandals revealing well-manicured toenails. There's an ease and confidence about this woman that even a stranger can notice on first sight.

A stab of envy fills Beth's chest.

(In this conversation, Beth also overheard Danny talking about her Lighthouse evenings.) Later this same episode, Beth had a run-in with Tom, who wondered why she hated him so much. He asked her if it was related to the night they spent together in high school (which occured during one of Beth's blackout periods). His goading traumatized her, and (as we'll see) events that highlight Beth's own helplessness and insecurity -- particularly with men -- are triggers for Samantha to appear. Samantha is the confident, careless woman Beth can't be; she takes on other personas that please her, and has a sense of entitlement that makes her desire everything she can't have.

Episode #3-09: Tristan meets Beth-as-Danny (or "Banny," as she's referred to in storyline plans!)

Later that day, Beth overheard Tom having an argument with Clark about Beth -- Tom thought the reason Clark wouldn't taking him back was Beth's 'irrational' prejudice against him. He called Beth a selection of nasty names and aggressively kissed Clark. This caused Beth to get physically ill. In the next scene, Clark shoved Tom away and looked for Beth to see if she happened to hear the conversation ... but she wasn't there.

That night, Tris arrived at the Lighthouse for the first time, looking for inspiration for his Boondoggles revamp. He spied a stunning woman with curling red-brown hair, and vaguely recognized her, though he wasn't sure why. Only when they were about to fall into bed did she "mischievously" reveal her name as Danielle Nichols.

Early the next morning, after they slept together, we saw the woman returning on the ferry and -- thinking about Tristan's sleeping face -- asked herself angrily, "what have you done now?" (This was Amanda regretting Samantha's deception.)

Episode #3-14: The day after Banny's first night with Tristan

The next day, Clark arrived home for lunch and found Beth sitting at home. He told her she looked exhausted, and asked if she was up all night. Beth's response revealed some tidbits about her nighttime activities:

"No." She places the sketch pad she's been holding on the floor and hugs her knees close to her chest, almost in a fetal position. "But I think I had bad dreams or something. I feel like I haven't slept a wink."

Clark nods, noting her red, glazed eyes and the dark circles beneath them. "Do you remember the dreams?"

Shaking her head, Beth lifts her shoulders in a shrug. "I remember being cold," she murmurs. "That's all. It was so real… When I woke up, my feet were like icicles."

Later in that same conversation, Beth mentioned that she met a potential client yesterday -- Danielle. Her admiration for the other woman's lifestyle and attitude was evident (and evidence!):

Laughing, Clark takes a long sip of his soda. "My oh my. What was she, some kind of middle-aged blue-blood, stiff upper lip and all that?"

"Not at all. She was young. Pretty. And not stiff at all, she had a lot of style and grace, and she's the sort of person who--"

Clark waits for her to finish, but she seems to have frozen in place. "Don't keep me in suspense, Bethy. The sort of person who…?"

His sister suddenly pushes her way up off the rocking chair, moving to the window and staring outside. Her voice lowers to a murmur. "Who people admire. Who people are drawn to, like a--like a magnet. She's powerful and confident, and--"

"You learned all that after meeting her once?"

"Chelsea Stanford told me."

"Ah, well then…" Clark smiles and wipes his hands with a paper napkin. "It must be true. That chick wouldn't compliment another woman unless she had no other option."

"I wonder what it's like, to be like that. To know exactly what you want, and get it." Beth shuts her eyes, frowning as if from some uncomfortable memory. "To do things just because you can. To feel no regret, or…" Her words fade away.

"Beth?" Clark watches her back stiffen, but she doesn't turn around. Brows furrowing with concern, he rises and walks to her side. "Bethy, are you okay?"

She turns to him. "I'm fine," she insists, despite her shaking form and the tempest brewing in her eyes. "I'm fine."

The affair continued through many subsequent episodes. Clues were sprinkled in now and again, including direct contradictions between what Danielle was doing, and what Banny was doing.

For example, in the Christmas episodes (3-30 through 3-32), Tristan was surprised to find faux-Danielle at Boondoggles, and mentioned that he thought she had a party to go to. Banny revealed that she decided to blow off the party at the last minute. Indeed, Beth did not attend the party at Rena's parents house that evening (a fact remarked upon by Clark). On the other hand, Danielle did attend the Nichols family party.

Note about the writing:

Throughout the storyline, the writing itself was carefully constructed to avoid ever calling Tristan's lover by name. The only person who refered to her as "Danielle" was Tristan; the narrative itself never identified her as such. It was a difficult rule to follow, as a writer, but imperative in order to play fairly with the audience.

(Similarly, Danielle never refered to her own dark-haired lover by name -- Alex.)

Other guidelines followed in order to make it a fair game was a) justifying scenes of Samantha/Amanda visiting Tristan by earlier ones, in which Beth's alters are triggered by arguments with Tom, Elaine, Clark; and b) ensuring that Banny's dialogue could logically be delivered by Danielle or Beth (well, her alternates, anyway).

Episode #3.31: Beth's alternates disagree about the situation, leading to Amanda confronting Tristan

Things heated up once the opera gala became imminent. Beth's double-life brought out her alternates' differences, and scenes depicted the unique reactions each had to the Tristan relationship.

From 3-31, after Samantha accepted Danielle's invitation to Beth for the opera gala:

Hamilton Park

Beth stares at the snow-covered pine needles on the ground. She feels and sees nothing at all. She's an empty shell, a shadow that's attached to -- but not a part of -- her body. And though the noises outside are muted, an argument is raging inside her mind.

You shouldn't have made those plans, Samantha, a flat, angry voice insists. I think you're in over your head.

The woman who currently has possession of Beth's body just laughs. " Do you know what I think?" she says aloud in the cold air, "You're jealous."

Don't be ridiculous. Jealous of the things you've done? They make me sick. You should just leave her alone. Don't you see what you're getting her into?

"Yes, she's having fun. Fun, for the first time in her pathetic life, I might add. What's the matter, old lady, can't you stand to think of her as being happy?"

She isn't happy -- she doesn't know the first thing about it. You're indulging your own needs, not hers. So don't you dare act so high and mighty with me, girly -- as if you're actually interested in helping her!

"What I'm not interested in is keeping her hidden away like a hothouse orchid. Just get off my back, why don't you? You may be the oldest, Moll, but you don't know every damn thing."

I know a good sight more than you do, for all your airs and graces and pseudo-sophistication. You know darn well that if it hadn't been for me, the whole lot of us would've been dead by now. You, me, her, Lizzie, Amanda, and even Bitsy--we'd all be at the bottom of the River years ago!

As the alters argued more and more about Samantha's forcing their involvement with Tristan, the deception started to fall apart. In Episode 3.31.2, a scene positively top-heavy with clues found Tristan arriving at the Lighthouse and found a sober "Danielle" waiting for him; this was actually Amanda -- who was feeling extreme remorse for what they were doing to Tristan. Her feelings, unlike Samantha's, go deeper than just sex. Angry at her 'sister's' behavior towards Tristan, Amanda also expressed her worries that Tris only knows her as a sex partner. Particularly relevant clues are in boldface, with comments:

The Lighthouse Inn
Room 3

..."What's wrong, Danielle?" [Tristan] says, closing the door and smiling at the woman sitting on the edge of the bed. "I'm not used to finding you so ... well, overdressed."

She looks up, returning his smile. Her cream-colored sweater dress hugs every generous curve of her body. [Beth will later be described as wearing a skin-tight white dress - kl.] "You don't mind, I hope."

[...] He examines her carefully. Something about her is definitely different, but he's not able to pinpoint it. Her bountiful wavy hair is pulled over her left shoulder, with only some spiral tendrils falling onto the right side of her ivory face. Her eyes sparkle with life as always, but there's something else he reads in their shining depths.

"I can't tell, exactly. You're so quiet. Calm. I mean -- not that you're usually bouncing off the walls, but normally you give off this energy..." Tristan lifts a hand, gently cupping her cheek. "Are you feeling sad tonight?"

She stands up, moving away from his reach and holding her arms close to her chest. "I shouldn't have come here. I shouldn't have made the appointment at all."

[...] When he kisses her, she relaxes in his arms, and for a moment she's as passionate as ever. But only for a moment. Too soon she backs away, peering into his face. "No," she breathes, "I want to talk, Tristan. Do you mind if we just talk?"

"Sure. That's fine. I'd be happy to talk. You're the one who usually won't let me get a word in edgewise before you start ripping my clothes off."

Tristan says the words casually, but he can't ignore the growing sense that he's about to get some bad news. He pushes his sweater sleeves up and rests his hands on his hips. "What do you want to talk about, Danielle?"

She blinks, almost wincing. [At his calling her by this name -- kl] "You and me," she says -- just as he expected.

"Let me get this over with. Is it Cameron? He doesn't know, does he?"

The expression on her face is pure surprise. "No! I mean -- I have no idea what he knows. [Obviously! - kl] This has nothing to do with anyone else. Just us."

"Well, that's something." He exhales at last, though his tension is far from relieved. "What about you and me?"

"I want to know how you feel about me."

He looks at her, noting how uncharacteristically vulnerable she looks, standing across from him. "I don't know how you can ask me that. I thought it was obvious."

She smiles, all too briefly. "The only obvious thing is that you're extremely attracted to me. That you're intoxicated with the act of having sex with me. But how you feel about me, as a person ... that much is far from obvious. You don't know me."

"Danielle, that isn't true!"

"You don't know the first thing about me. You know someone else, the woman who 'rips your clothes off,' as you just said." She raises an eyebrow, a cynical smile curling her lips. "That person isn't with you right now, and frankly, you don't seem all that thrilled." {She is describing Samantha, of course. -kl]

Tristan shakes his head, stepping towards her. "You're wrong. I'm just confused. To say I don't know you -- I know we don't talk all that much. But when we do ... I still know the kind of woman you are."

"Yes," she says, her eyes darkening. "A whore."

He inhales sharply at the ugly word. And though she's referring to herself, Tristan feels as if he's the one who's been slapped.

In the continuation of this scene, Amanda even resented Tristan calling her "Danny," and slipped up by referring to herself and the other alters as "us."

The Lighthouse
Room Three

[...] Tristan Campbell looks out the window, his blue eyes disturbed by what he just heard. "All right, Danielle," he says at last. "If you want to stop seeing me, tell me. Don't let this degrade into ugliness."

"That isn't what I'm saying."

"No?" He turns back to the woman opposite him, her face reflecting the approaching purple twilight. "What other reason could there be for what you just said to me?"

She tilts her head, lips smiling but eyes sad. "The reason is simply that it's true, Tristan. You know me only as a whore."

"Will you please stop using that word? It's got nothing to do with who you are. I don't even know whom you're trying to hurt. Are you implying that I'm using you?"

"I'm not implying anything. It's a statement of fact."

"Damn it, Danny, it's--"

"Don't call me that!"

Taken aback, Tristan stares at her in confusion. "That's what Cameron calls you, isn't it?" When there's no response, he continues: "Is that what this is about? You feel guilty?"

She seems about to laugh, but turns sober quickly. "I told you, this has nothing to do with anyone else. It's about our relationship, such as it is."

"'Such as it is'? What are you saying? That the past few weeks have been about only one thing?"

"Haven't they? Is there more between us than sex?"

Tristan takes her arm. "Of course there is. Don't you know that?"

"Tell me, then. What else have we shared besides our bodies?"

"I -- I've shared with you. The conversations we've had --" He shakes his head. "Look, I agree that I don't know much about your inner thoughts. But that's not for want of my asking you about them."

"I know that."

"Even so, I know the kind of woman you are. You're funny, smart, generous--"

"Oh, come on."

"You don't think you're generous? Do you know how much you've given me? You've freed me from inhibitions I didn't even know I had--"

"That's the sex again."

"No, not just that way. By listening to me, by offering advice..." Tristan gently pulls her closer to him. "Don't you remember? Doesn't any of this count?"

She seems genuinely surprised by his words. "I suppose it does," she says pensively. "I just ... I didn't realize that you cared this much about us." [Note the use of the plural, common with multiples. Tristan, not surprisingly, misunderstands.-- kl]

"About us? You mean our relationship? Of course I care. And I care about you, as a person. I want to know all about you. I've been waiting for you to tell me."

"All about me," she echoes, smiling. "That's a tall order. I'm more complex than you may realize."

"Trust me, I can handle a lot of complexity." He moves his hands to her shoulders. "I'm not exactly one-dimensional myself, am I?"

"No, definitely not. But -- oh God, I don't know what to do. You deserve more than ..." Her voice trails away. Rather than continue, she shakes her head in thought.

Looking down at her, Tristan can hardly believe this is the same confident, damn-the-consequences woman who seduced him on the dance floor of a nightclub. The contradiction only intrigues him more, melting away a layer of the protective shell he's worn throughout their relationship.

"Listen to me, Danielle," he says quietly, lifting her chin with a touch of his hand. "I don't know what I deserve. I'm just very grateful for what we've had together. You've changed my life." Hesitating, he then smiles. "The other day I literally thanked my lucky star for you. Can you believe that? Until I met you, I never thought I had a star, lucky or otherwise. A black cloud, maybe," he adds with a grin.

She takes a deep breath, then exhales. "I'm sorry, Tristan."

"In God's name, why? What do you have to be sorry about? Didn't you hear what I just--"

"I did. And thank you. You can't imagine what it meant to me."

"Then tell me." He cradles her face in his hands. "I want to know what matters to you. I'm sick of focusing on my plans and needs ... What about you? What do you need?"

She examines him with incredible intensity, as if seeing him for the first time. To his astonishment, her eyes shine with tears.

"I need you to hold me. Just hold me, tonight."

Episode #3.32: Molly meets Tristan

Further clues were dropped when Beth awoke in Tristan's arms. This time Tristan encountered not Amanda or Samantha -- but Molly. Note the references to her stiffness (old age) and bad vision; her flat tone of voice is also a big hint, as are her more judgmental, negative opinions; finally her treatment of Tristan as they say goodbye is almost maternal.

[...] Her eyes open, and she looks confused, disoriented after her nap. As she blinks a few times, Tristan kisses her a second time. "Sorry, looks like I interrupted a nice dream."

Lifting her head, she stares up at him as if trying to see through a fog. "What's going on," she says in a hoarse voice. "What is it?"

"Nothing," he murmurs, running a finger across her jawline. "Hope I didn't disturb you. It's just that I'm starving. Would you like to get some dinner sent up?"

She pushes herself up with some difficulty to stare across the room at the clock on the mantelpiece. "What time is it?"

"I can't see. Must be about ten by now. Why? "

"Ten! Are you sure?"

Tristan frowns, watching as she gets to her feet and walks over to the fireplace. With nothing in the grate but dying embers, he can't see her expression, but there's something tense and stiff in her movements. "What's wrong?"

"It's later than that," she reports. "It's ten-thirty."

"Sorry, I guess my internal clock needs winding. Is there a problem? You didn't say you had to leave at any specific--"

"I have to go."

"But why?"

"I shouldn't have to tell you, should I?"

Her flat tone startles him. "Danielle, did I do something wrong?"

"No, Tristan. You didn't do anything. Except for sleeping with someone you knew was married," she adds harshly, but quickly shakes her head. "No, you're a good man. If anything, you've been wronged, and I'm very sorry."

He pauses, swallowing. "Maybe you've just gotten up on the wrong side of the bed," he says slowly. "But I have to say this is sounding like a valedictory speech."

"I don't know what you mean. And I don't have time to argue, either."

"I'm not arguing! For God's sake, why are you so angry? What did I say?"

"You didn't say anything! Don't you understand, I shouldn't be here!"

"Isn't it a little late in the day to come to that conclusion?" He can't help the bitter words. "Your marital status hasn't changed since day one."

She ignores him. He watches her as she grabs her coat from the bed, pulling her arms awkwardly through the sleeves. Irritably, he reaches out to grasp her shoulders. "Look, will you stop for a minute and tell me--"

"Let me go this instant!"

Tristan releases her, astonished at her ferocity. For some time they stand and stare at one another in silence. Finally, she takes a deep breath and touches his arm.

"I promise you, Tristan. This has nothing to do with you."

"Then what is this about? Why are you acting so strangely tonight? God, I can't keep up with your mood changes!" He turns away, glaring at the chaise lounge where only moments before, they'd been so peaceful together. After a long moment he faces her again. "Just tell me, Danielle, will you please? Is this goodbye?"

She looks up at him. Her gaze, usually so magnetic and animated, is weary ... almost numb.

"No, it's not goodbye," she mutters at last, a sympathetic smile flashing on her tight lips. "But it should be. If you were lucky, it would be. But I ... I can't control this."

"I don't want you to control this."

When he bends to kiss her, she moves slightly and instead kisses him on the cheek. "Take care," she whispers in his ear. "Please try not to worry."

Tristan waits until she opens the door to go. "Danielle," he calls softly. "Will you call me?"

She doesn't even glance back at him -- her eyes concentrate on the floor in front of her. "I would say that's a certainty," she murmurs, and disappears down into the blackness of the stairwell.

More, including Beth's reaction to Tristan's phone call, and Tris's call to Danielle


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