Kristen was alone in her hotel room, angrily punishing a pillow for John's decision to lie about what Theresa had done to him, when she received a phone call from Stefano. Kristen started to say that she was glad Stefano had called, since she needed someone to talk to, but he impatiently interrupted and painfully revealed that E.J. had died earlier that night after being shot in the park.
Stunned, Kristen managed to ask if Stefano was all right, and after he replied that he would be, she abruptly ended the call, stating that she needed a minute and would call him back later. "This can't be happening. I don't want you gone, E.J. I don't want you gone," Kristen tearfully muttered before beginning to throw glasses and decanters across the room, shattering them against a wall.
After trashing the entire room, Kristen paused to catch her breath as she recalled the moment she had met E.J. for the first time, as well as the more recent moment when she had warned that she would destroy him if he betrayed her. "I didn't want you gone. I didn't mean it. I never meant it," Kristen regretfully reiterated.
At the Brady Pub, Kate ordered champagne for herself and Chad so they could celebrate the impending destruction of Stefano and E.J. Chad seized the opportunity to raise his glass to Kate in appreciation for the way she had always looked out for him. Chad pointed out that he probably never would have known he was a DiMera if it hadn't been for Kate, but she wasn't sure if it had been a blessing or a curse for him to learn his true identity.
Chad admitted that he had really enjoyed having a brother and sisters -- at least at first -- and that he really loved his nephews and nieces. Chad was also willing to count Kristen as a family member he still loved, but that was where he ended his list, stating that he had absolutely no use for Stefano or E.J. because neither of them could think about anyone other than themselves. Kate agreed that the assessment definitely applied to Stefano, but Chad argued that E.J. was even worse. "I take a bullet for the guy, and how does he repay me? By sleeping with Abigail. And now he's trying to play the family card with me. [...] Yeah, E.J. is dead to me," Chad declared.
As Chad symbolically wiped his hands clean of his brother, he received a phone call from Stefano, who sadly reported that E.J. was dead. "Yeah, he's dead to me, too," Chad flippantly replied, but his smirk faded when Stefano clarified that E.J. had been murdered earlier that night. Chad suspected that Stefano might be playing some sort of prank, but Stefano insisted that he would never joke about the death of one of his own children.
As Chad stammered that he didn't know what to say, Stefano interrupted and explained that he had to take another phone call but would contact Chad again later. Chad lowered his cell phone from his ear in shock, and a concerned Kate wondered what the call had been about. "E.J. He's dead," Chad revealed. Kate also suspected that Stefano was playing some sort of sick game -- likely because he had figured out that she and Chad were working together -- but Chad was certain the news was true because, unlike Kate, he had actually heard Stefano's voice when Stefano had made the announcement.
Chad guessed that the shooting had occurred shortly after he had seen E.J. head into the park earlier that night. Chad groaned as he remembered that he had sent Sami into the park after E.J., and he started to leave so he could check on her, but Kate stopped him and reasoned that they needed to find out if the news was true first. Kate contacted Roman, who confirmed the news but stressed that she needed to keep it quiet because the kids didn't even know what had happened yet. After ending the call, Kate assured Chad that Sami was okay, but gently added that the news about E.J. was indeed true.
Kate told Chad she was sorry. "Are you? I mean, am -- am I? God, after everything I just said about the guy, I have no -- I have no right," Chad admitted with a heavy sigh. Chad laughed ruefully as he recalled that the last thing he had said to E.J. had been that if E.J. ended up dead, it would be a deserved death. Kate assured Chad that E.J. had known that the comment had been made in a moment of anger. Chad still regretfully thought of the remark as his parting gift to his brother, but Kate pointed out that Johnny and Sydney were going to need their uncle, and she reasoned that being there for them could be Chad's true final gift to E.J.
Chad sighed with concern as his thoughts shifted to the kids, and Kate mused that turning into a good father had been the one thing E.J. had done right in life. Chad thought it might be best for him and Kate to go over to the DiMera mansion, but Kate dismissed the idea, guessing that they were probably two of the last people Sami wanted to see at that time.
Kate ordered stronger drinks for herself and Chad. After Chad drained his glass, he wondered when he and Kate were going to go back to the DiMera mansion to pack their things and move out. Kate was confused, so Chad pointed out that Sami likely wasn't going to want them to continue living there. "Well, maybe she doesn't, but we're staying," Kate replied.
Chad didn't think he could do that, but Kate explained that they weren't going to do it for themselves -- they were going to do it for the kids, who would need to be protected. "Now that E.J.'s gone, there is no way in hell [Stefano's] going to let Sami raise his precious grandchildren, all right? He will do absolutely anything it takes to get control of their lives. But we...are not gonna let that happen," Kate added as she refilled Chad's glass.
Stefano ended another phone call after telling someone to call him back as soon as everything was in place. Stefano fought back tears as he grabbed a framed photograph of E.J. that was perched on his desk, and he regretfully recalled how he had stood and watched as E.J. had literally begged him the previous year to help Sami in exchange for taking back everything E.J. had stolen from him.
"I know that things were complicated between us, my son, but...I loved you," Stefano admitted as he recalled a happier moment, when he had proudly praised E.J. for framing John for embezzlement, declaring that E.J. had proven himself to be a true DiMera. Later, Stefano called Kristen back and told her he needed her help. "Listen carefully. Time is of the essence," Stefano cryptically added.
After the party at Will and Sonny's apartment, Roman took his three young grandchildren back to the DiMera mansion. The kids reported that they had enjoyed the party but would have had more fun if Sami and E.J. had been in attendance. Roman assured the kids that E.J. and Sami were sorry about missing the party, but he kept the details vague and quickly distracted them with games on their tablet computers.
While the kids were preoccupied, Roman received a phone call from Marlena, who had heard about Sami missing the party. Concerned, Marlena wondered if Sami was all right. Roman stepped into the foyer and quietly reported that Sami was at the hospital because E.J. had been shot and killed earlier that night. Marlena rushed off to find Sami, knowing that the loss would be devastating for her.
In the hospital morgue, Sami tearfully recalled meeting E.J. for the first time eight years earlier, and she mused that, in one way or another, he had been a part of every day of her life since then. Sami acknowledged that, while E.J. had always maintained that it had been love at first sight for him, she couldn't say the same -- in fact, after learning that he was a DiMera, she had grown to hate him more than she had ever hated anyone else.
Sami admitted that even when she had hated E.J., there had still been a part of her that had always known she had been meant to love him. Sami mused that if she had told E.J. that sooner, things between them might not have gotten as ugly as they had -- although she wasn't terribly confident about that because he had still had a mission to perform back then, regardless of his feelings for her, so things had always been destined to get bad.
"But that's why we needed now. I mean, that's why we need years and decades of now, and...after everything that we lived through, and everything that we did to each other, we deserve this, E.J. -- we deserve more time, and it's not fair -- it's not fair -- that we are here. And of all the lies that you ever told me, this one is the worst, do you hear me? This one is the worst! 'Cause you promised me -- you promised me 'now and forever,' and now look where you are. How could you do this, you selfish bastard?!" Sami demanded to know as she sobbed over E.J.'s lifeless body.
Regaining her composure, Sami fondly recalled a dance she had once shared with E.J., and she mused that, while his original motives had been less than pure, he had nevertheless given her a gift she had once thought she would never receive -- he had shown her that she could be first in a man's heart instead of being the consolation prize. Sami admitted that, while she had initially been a pawn in Stefano's war against her family -- and E.J. had taken full advantage of that fact -- she had understood E.J.'s tactics -- especially his worst ones -- because he had never done anything to win her that she wouldn't have been willing to do to win someone herself.
"I understood you better in two years than most people I have known my entire life," Sami acknowledged as she recalled how she and E.J. had once faked a marriage to fool an immigration officer. Sami grasped E.J.'s bare left hand and vowed that she was going to find his wedding ring -- the worst thing the "son of a bitch" who had killed him could have possibly taken.
"We worked so hard for these rings. I mean, the last couple days, they -- they felt like the final hurdle, you know? [...] We came really close to losing [everything], but these rings -- it was like the start of 'now and forever,' you know? We were gonna put away all the ugliness and move past all the betrayals, and -- and we were gonna start our 'now and forever,'" Sami sadly stated as she thought about her and E.J.'s recent private vow renewal ceremony. Sami started sobbing again as she climbed onto the metal table with E.J., rested her head against his chest, and wrapped his arm around her body.
Sami refused to let E.J. go, stating that, while she might not be able to take his body with her, he was still going to be a part of every day of her life because she was going to carry him and his heartbeat with her, keeping their love alive forever. Sami promised E.J. that she would raise their children the way they had planned to, ensuring that they would always know him and would always be safe from Stefano.
"You know, Johnny is already talking about racecars. I think he's gonna grow up to be just like his daddy. I don't know who's gonna teach Johnny about girls, and I -- and I don't know who's gonna walk Sydney down the aisle, and I don't know who's gonna help Allie finish those origami cranes, but whoever it is, you'd better be standing there with them -- with me. You have to stay with me, 'cause I can't do this without you. I can't -- I can't do this without you, E.J., so you're coming with me, okay?" Sami added between sobs.
Marlena quietly entered the room and placed a comforting hand on Sami's shoulder, and Sami gently kissed E.J.'s cheek before descending from the table and hugging Marlena. Sami said E.J. had been the only person who had ever truly known her and loved her completely. "Some people never even get to have that," Marlena pointed out. Sami nodded and admitted that she didn't know how to leave the room, since she knew what would happen -- to E.J. and to her -- once she did. Marlena stressed that Sami wouldn't have to go through the tragedy alone.
Sami asked about the kids, and when Marlena revealed that Roman had taken them back to the DiMera mansion earlier, Sami decided that she wanted to go home and be with them so they wouldn't overhear the staff talking about what had happened. Marlena gently pointed out that Sami would need to change into some fresh clothes first. Sami's face whitened as she glanced down and realized that E.J.'s blood was all over the clothes she was already wearing, but she managed to maintain her composure and nod in agreement.
Marlena wondered if Sami was ready to leave. "Never," Sami replied, but she nevertheless turned to face E.J. and give him a gentle goodbye kiss on the lips. "You were worth everything," Sami told E.J. before reluctantly leaving the room with Marlena, unleashing a wail of anguish as the door closed behind them.
In the waiting area, Abe informed Rafe that E.J.'s shooter was apparently a random junkie who likely had no idea he had shot and killed a DiMera. Stunned, Rafe admitted that he had never expected that to be the way E.J. would die. Abe spotted Marlena and Sami approaching, so he stopped Rafe so Sami wouldn't hear anything upsetting.
Marlena asked Abe to find an unoccupied room where Sami could change into the clean clothes Marlena had grabbed on her way to the hospital earlier. After Abe left, Sami thanked Rafe for being supportive earlier and for keeping E.J.'s death out of the news. Sami acknowledged that Rafe had not been obligated to show her that courtesy, especially since he had never liked E.J., but Rafe insisted that she and the kids were all that mattered.
Rafe stressed that if Sami needed anything from him, she just had to ask, and as they hugged, Abe returned to let Marlena know which room Sami could use. Sami wondered if Theo knew about what had happened yet, and Abe replied that he would tell Theo the following morning. "I think it might help him to know that his [uncle] is with his mom now," Abe reasoned. Abe promised Sami that E.J.'s killer would be found and punished.
When Sami returned home, everything she looked at in the foyer -- the staircase, the mirror hanging on the wall, the wall itself -- reminded her of moments she had spent there with E.J. As Sami sobbed, Roman quietly emerged from the living room, and they hugged as Marlena entered the mansion. Sami asked about the kids, and when Roman informed her that they were still awake, she decided that she needed to tell them the news right away, since they would otherwise wonder what had happened to E.J. because he had always talked to them before bedtime. Marlena and Roman assured Sami that they would be with her the whole time.
Sami composed herself and entered the living room, with Marlena and Roman in tow. "Where's Daddy?" Johnny curiously wondered when he looked up from his tablet computer. Sami joined the kids on the couch, and Johnny observed that she was acting weird. Sami started to explain that she had something to tell the kids, and she confirmed Allie's suspicion that the news was related to Sami and E.J.'s absence from the earlier party.
In response to Johnny's inquiry, Sami hesitantly admitted that E.J. wouldn't be returning home. Johnny guessed that Sami and E.J. had fought earlier, but she dispelled the assumption and clarified that something really sad had happened. Sami proceeded to tell the kids about E.J.'s death as they all hugged her tightly.
Meanwhile, Kristen sneaked into the hospital morgue and injected a syringe filled with an unidentified substance into E.J.'s right arm.