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Surveillance footage tying Xander to Marlena's shooting vanishes
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Thursday, January 17, 2019
by Mike

Rex entered the Kiriakis mansion and found Eric and Sarah in the middle of an embrace. "What, are you stalking me?" Sarah asked Rex with obvious annoyance while pulling away from Eric. "No, I came to see my brother. I was worried," Rex replied. "I'm fine now. [Sarah] got here just in time to talk some sense into me," Eric said. "The cops arrested Xander, and he should be looking at a nice, long stretch behind bars," Sarah added.

Rex thought that was cause for celebration, but Sarah wasn't interested. "I don't want to go anywhere with you ever again," Sarah spat, glaring at Rex. "It's just a couple of drinks. [Eric's] hurting right now, [so] he needs our help and our support, and he really shouldn't be alone right now," Rex argued as Eric listened awkwardly. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but...you're right. I think getting out of here for a little bit is a good idea," Sarah conceded after a moment of thought. "You two should go," Sarah quickly added, dashing Rex's hopes. "Eric, you can call me anytime. [Rex]...lose my number," Sarah added before walking away.

"God, she really hates me...[and] she really likes you," Rex said to Eric once the coast was clear. "Dude, you have got to do a better job of helping me out!" Rex added. "I don't think I have any sway," Eric evasively stated. "I beg to differ. You two have crazy chemistry. [I mean], you two barely know each other, [and she already] trusts you," Rex countered. "I need you to use that to my advantage!" Rex insisted.

Rex quickly realized that it was a bad time to ask Eric for such a favor. "I'm going on and on about trying to get back the woman that I love, [and] you just lost the woman that you love," Rex acknowledged with a groan of embarrassment before apologizing profusely for the callousness of the earlier comments. Eric understood that Rex was simply desperate to win Sarah back. When Sarah returned a short time later, Eric pointedly argued that it wouldn't be right to celebrate without the person who had ensured that the earlier incident with Xander had ended on a positive note. Sarah sighed and reluctantly agreed to humor Eric and Rex for one day.

Thrilled, Rex immediately led Eric and Sarah to the Brady Pub for drinks and darts. After a few rounds of each, Rex decided that it was time to try talking to Sarah privately. "Maybe when she comes back over, you can fake getting a text and, like, look at it and say, 'Oh, my God, it's urgent,' and then you can go," Rex said to Eric while Sarah was getting refills at the bar. "I know, I know -- you used to be a priest, and lying is a sin," Rex acknowledged when Eric didn't respond right away. "But what about 'love thy brother'?" Rex reasoned. "Okay, fine," Eric agreed after a moment of thought. "Awesome!" Rex exclaimed just before an oblivious Sarah returned.

At the police station, Eli and Lani discovered that the surveillance footage that tied Xander to Marlena's shooting had been deleted. "If [that] footage is gone..." Lani began to fret. "Xander walks," Eli concluded for Lani.

Meanwhile, in Abe's office, Sheila heard shouting. Seconds later, Abe stormed into the office, clearly upset about something. "You know, when someone makes a mistake, they should admit it and face the consequences!" Abe complained. "What'd I do now?" Sheila asked. "This has nothing to do with you," Abe assured Sheila. "I shelled out big bucks [for] two VIP tickets to Sade [for Valerie, who] was supposed to fly in from D.C., but she [just called] me to say [that] she got the dates mixed up, and she has to cancel because of work," Abe explained. "Now I'm stuck with these very expensive tickets," Abe added with a sigh of irritation.

"Maybe I can sell them online," Abe decided. "Are you crazy? Sade is, like, everything! You can't miss the chance to see her live!" Sheila protested. "I don't want to, but I'm not gonna go alone. Maybe you'd like to go with me...?" Abe replied. "Man, I'd kill to see Sade...[but] is that even allowed? [I mean], you're my boss, and you just asked me on a date," Sheila pointed out.

"You did what?" Lani asked, entering the office with Eli. Abe started to explain everything but quickly decided that the matter wasn't important enough to warrant such an effort. Changing the subject, Abe wondered if Lani and Eli needed something. Eli and Lani told Abe about the missing surveillance footage. Abe insisted that it couldn't possibly have been deleted. "The only people with access to the municipal server [are from] my office and the Salem P.D. -- although I did give login credentials to John Black," Abe said. "He was here the other day, asking for the footage you're talking about," Sheila casually interjected.

"I remember because you never see grade-A beefcake walking around here," Sheila continued. "John is good-looking..." Abe conceded. "Oh, please -- 'good-looking'? Try 'smoking hot with a capital S,'" Sheila argued, ending the statement with a sound effect that conjured an image of a sizzling grill. "And he had the sexiest accent," Sheila added, puzzling the others.

"You didn't ask for ID," Abe guessed with a groan. "How incompetent do you really think I am? I'm not a moron, [so] of course I asked for ID!" Sheila defensively replied, adding that, unfortunately, John had left all forms of identification at home and wouldn't have had time to drive there and back before the end of the business day. "[So], I gave him access to the footage -- [which you'd] already said that he could see, so what's the big deal?" Sheila asked, confused. "Is this the guy?" Eli wondered, producing a photograph. "Yeah, that's him -- John Black!" Sheila confirmed while staring at Xander's mug shot.

After Eli and Lani left, Abe began lashing out at Sheila, who explained with a shrug that Xander was good at using certain qualities -- such as a handsome face and a killer body -- to distract people into making mistakes.

"If you want to fire me, I totally understand...but I don't know how that's gonna look at HR," Sheila pointedly added. "I mean, first you ask me on a date, and I ask you if that [is] even allowed or okay, [and] then you fire me," Sheila elaborated, stunning Abe. "I didn't do anything wrong!" Abe protested. "Well, see, now, that's up to HR. I mean, I'll just tell my side of the story. Lani and Eli can back me up, because they heard me ask you if it was okay," Sheila countered. Abe sighed and started walking away. "Does that mean I'm not fired?" Sheila wondered. Abe didn't respond. "I'm still gonna need those tickets," Sheila insisted.

Abe tossed the tickets at Sheila then left the office in disgust. "I wonder who I'm gonna ask on a date so last-minute. Maybe 'John Black'..." Sheila mused with a chuckle.

Rafe entered the Horton Town Square and found Hope and Ted shaking hands. "What the hell is this?" Rafe asked suspiciously. "Mind keeping your hands off of my wife?" Rafe added, glaring at Ted. "This is the second time in as many days [that] I have walked in and caught you two doing this...'hands' thing!" Rafe pointed out. "Rafe!" Hope protested. "Maybe the detectives of the Salem P.D. would be a little bit more successful if they didn't jump to conclusions without any evidence," Ted mused. "What does that mean?" Rafe wondered. "It means that Stefan DiMera was cleared," Hope explained. "Of course he was," Rafe grumbled.

"How?" Rafe asked. "Someone else, uh, confessed to using Steve's bionic eye to steal classified documents," Hope elaborated. "Convenient," Rafe said with a shake of the head.

"Stefan had to have gotten that guy to take the fall for him," Hope insisted. "Of course he did," Rafe agreed. "[And] forgive me if I am having a hard time believing that this other person just happened to come forward right around the same time that this guy signed on to represent Stefan," Rafe added, glaring at Ted again. "Ted had nothing to do with this!" Hope insisted. "[Well], I had nothing to do with this new person coming forward...but, as Stefan's attorney, I will take full credit for having him released," Ted proudly clarified. Unamused, Rafe impatiently ordered Ted to leave. Ted apologized to Hope for the loss then rushed off.

Hope started to explain that the handshake with Ted had simply been an innocent acknowledgement that they were even, but Rafe was no longer thinking about that. "Stefan was dead in the water, [but] then you threw him a lifeline by hiring [Ted]!" Rafe snapped. "Once again, Ted is not the reason that Stefan walked. [Look], this is on the Feds. Obviously, they screwed up," Hope argued.

"I can't even believe this right now! You are so blinded!" Rafe complained. "I see exactly the kind of person Ted Laurent is!" Hope insisted. "I'm not even talking about Ted Laurent [anymore]! You are so damn obsessed with nailing Ben Weston, you're not even thinking about justice for my sister!" Rafe snapped. "I cannot believe that you think I'd be okay with letting a guilty man go free. I told you my endgame -- Ben and Stefan behind bars!" Hope countered. "Your endgame," Rafe grumbled. "I thought we were a team," Rafe added. "We are a team," Hope insisted. "It doesn't seem like it," Rafe argued.

"Let me just make myself perfectly clear right now, okay? I want Stefan DiMera to pay for everything that he has done [to] everyone -- to Steve, to Kayla, especially Abigail --" Hope stressed. "I notice you left Gabi off of that list," Rafe said before walking away with a scoff of disgust. "You didn't let me finish..." Hope grumbled, but Rafe was already out of earshot.

Hope soon returned to the police station and learned, during a conversation with Eli and Lani, that Xander had posed as John in order to delete crucial evidence. Hope immediately confronted Xander, who feigned ignorance.

"We have an eyewitness -- Sheila Watkins -- [and] she'll testify," Hope warned. "Is that all you have -- the word of an ex-con?" Xander asked with a laugh. "Good luck getting [the] charges to stick [if that's the case]. Also, when word gets out that neither the mayor's office nor the Salem P.D. could keep critical evidence from disappearing off a secure city server...[well], I think that's gonna be really embarrassing for everybody involved," Xander added as Eli and Lani entered the conference room. Hope sighed and grudgingly instructed Eli and Lani to release Xander.

"We're already working on recovering that deleted footage," Hope warned as Eli removed Xander's handcuffs. "Search away, gang, but, uh, I'm certain that footage does not exist," Xander dismissively replied before leaving.

At the DiMera mansion, Stefan delighted in stunning Chad and Gabi with the news that the charges of treason had been dismissed. "I [already] have a call in to Shin [for] an emergency meeting with the board to reinstate me as CEO of DiMera, [so]...thanks for, uh, keeping my seat warm, Chad, but your time as head of this family is officially over," Stefan added while settling in a chair at the chess table. "I wouldn't bet on that. [I mean], even if you can convince the board that you're innocent -- which I highly doubt you are -- let's not forget what you've done. The board thinks you're poison," Chad countered. "Speaking of poison..." Stefan said, glaring at Gabi.

"What are you doing here?" Stefan demanded to know. "Business. [See], Chad decided to tear up my contract with DiMera and give me my company back," Gabi explained. "Over my dead body," Stefan vowed. "Don't worry about it. I'll call Shin. It's only gonna take two seconds to convince him and the rest of the board that reinstating [Stefan] as CEO is only gonna send the stock further into the tank," Chad assured Gabi.

Stefan laughed heartily as Chad exited the living room. "What is so funny?" Gabi wondered. "Eh, you know, Chad likes to parade himself around like he's, uh -- like he's a heavy hitter, [but] he's still learning to play the game. [I mean], he tries to compete, but I beat him every single time, [because] to be a champion, you have to, uh -- you have to see the whole board, and I'm always just a few moves ahead. That's how I know I'm gonna win," Stefan explained with a shrug while rearranging chess pieces. Fearing that Stefan was right, Gabi began pleading again for control of Gabi Chic, using the same arguments that Chad had heard earlier.

"[Gabi Chic] belongs to me. I started [it] from nothing, and I built it into a real brand," Gabi pointed out at the end of the plea. "[So], you're saying that I'm taking away your baby. Not your strongest argument," Stefan countered. "[It] means nothing to you!" Gabi protested. "But it means a hell of a lot to you, which is why I'm gonna hold onto it and destroy it, piece by piece, [just like] you took away everything that matters to me," Stefan replied with a shrug. Scowling, Gabi calmly walked over to the fireplace, picked up a fire poker, and swung it at the chess table, scattering its pieces. "Give me what's mine!" Gabi angrily demanded.

"Before you do anything stupid, think about your daughter," Stefan advised while backing away. "That is exactly who I am thinking about! [When] you threaten me, and then you threaten my livelihood, [that puts] my daughter's future at risk, [and] you're gonna stop terrorizing that little girl's mother right now!" Gabi countered, waving the fire poker threateningly. "Guess you don't care if you go to prison..." Stefan mused, dodging the makeshift weapon. "There is no one who would miss you if I put this metal through your skull!" Gabi dismissively argued. "He's not worth it," Chad insisted, rejoining Gabi and Stefan in the living room.

"Stefan's right. Everything's on hold until Shin can figure out which one of us is gonna run DiMera," Chad added, disappointing Gabi and amusing Stefan. "You are not gonna get away with this. You said the only way I'd get my company back was over your dead body. [Well], that works just fine for me," Gabi warned Stefan with a scowl before tossing the fire poker aside and storming out of the mansion. Unconcerned, Stefan began pouring a drink at the bar while dismissively ordering Chad to follow Gabi's lead. "I'm not going anywhere. You drove me out of this house once before. It's not gonna happen again," Chad insisted, angering Stefan.

Stefan gulped down the drink then tossed the empty glass at the fireplace. "I am done playing games with you!" Stefan snapped at Chad. "I'm taking back what's mine, and if you continue to get in my way, there will be blood!" Stefan added. Unimpressed, Chad made a point of getting in Stefan's way as Stefan tried to storm out of the living room. Stefan scowled and sidestepped Chad then continued walking away.

Gabi ran into Rafe while passing through the town square and seized the opportunity to ask about the circumstances that had led to Stefan's unexpected exoneration. "I don't know [how it happened]...but believe me when I tell you, I am as pissed off about it as you are," Rafe told Gabi before receiving a phone call. Gabi used the interruption as an excuse to rush off, ignoring Rafe's objections. Rafe sighed then greeted the caller -- Sami.

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