While lurking outside Sarah's apartment in Nashville, Eric contacted Roman and vaguely revealed that Sami wasn't responsible for Marlena's shooting. "Oh, good -- you saw the news report. Not only is Sami in the clear, but they got an APB out on the real shooter -- Xander Cook Kiriakis," Roman replied.
Roman explained, when asked, that John had identified Xander as the shooter after reviewing surveillance footage of the crime. "The only thing that's got me stumped is why [Xander] would want to shoot Marlena," Roman added. "Maybe he was aiming for somebody else," Eric helpfully suggested. The theory intrigued Roman, who seemed eager to run with it. Managing a quick chuckle despite a foul mood, Eric mused that it hadn't taken much to reawaken Roman's investigative side. Roman conceded that it was in the blood.
"[Anyway, I gotta take care of a delivery, but] listen -- fight for your happiness, okay? And if that is Nicole, don't let anything or anybody get in the way," Roman advised. "That's the plan," Eric replied before ending the call.
Meanwhile, inside the apartment, Xander showered then emerged from the bathroom, wearing only a pair of jeans, and watched as Nicole sulked on the couch. "Penny for your thoughts?" he eventually began as a way to announce his presence. "Could hear you sighing all the way in the bedroom. [Still pining for] your first true love -- who just happened to drive drunk and kill one of your many ex-lovers?" he teasingly continued. "Go to hell," she spat.
"I'm sure that's exactly where Eric is right now," Xander cheerfully countered. "[And] if you think that [he] is gonna swoop in here and save you, you're sadly mistaken, 'cause the only way you're ever going to get out of this marriage is if you're dragged off to prison for murder," Xander added while reaching out to caress Nicole's cheeks, as if the words that were being exchanged were merely sweet nothings.
"Don't," Nicole sternly warned, stopping Xander's hands in midair. "You could at least try to make an effort," Xander grumbled. "You're blackmailing me with prison, [and] you threatened to kill Eric. You can't expect me to do anything other than hate you," Nicole insisted. "Oh, but I do enjoy a challenge..." Xander replied with a grin.
"You know, the only reason I didn't shoot Eric [earlier] is because of what you said [about] Holly [being] asleep in the next room. I couldn't do that to her. [I've actually] grown quite fond of the wee girl. I've known her since Greece -- fed her, rocked her to sleep..." Xander added. "Because you had me locked in a cage!" Nicole pointed out. "That was your fault," Xander matter-of-factly countered, shrugging unapologetically. "[Anyway], all I'm trying to say is, as father figures go, I could be right up there," Xander continued with an air of pride.
"And you know I'll be a good husband to you. The only question is...when are you going to start being a good wife to me?" Xander concluded while again reaching out to caress Nicole's cheeks. She began caressing his bare chest in response and pretended to lean in for a kiss. "When hell freezes over," she seductively replied before shoving him away in disgust.
"I'd settle for Misty Circle. Always been a big fan," Xander grumbled while donning a shirt. "Go to hell," Nicole spat again.
"What is the big deal? I mean, you've slept with...how many Kiriakis men? Daniel, Deimos, Brady, Victor... Am I leaving anyone out?" Xander argued. "This is how you charm a woman into your bed?" Nicole asked incredulously. Ignoring Nicole's point, Xander forged ahead. "I'm in much better shape... I'm not a drunk, or ancient, or dead... Come on! I just want to know what all the fuss is about! You put out for all of them; why not for your husband?" Xander wondered. "Sorry, honey -- I have a headache," Nicole replied with a shrug.
"Pity," Xander conceded with a sigh before starting to exit the apartment. "I suggest that you find yourself in the mood sooner as opposed to later...or Hope Brady is going to hear your confession. [Maybe] do yourself a favor [and] find a bottle of aspirin," Xander advised, giving Nicole a wink. She shut the apartment door behind him and locked it with the security chain then breathed a sigh of relief.
As soon as the coast was clear, Eric approached the apartment and knocked on the door. Nicole opened it, leaving the security chain in place, and peered through the crack.
"You can't be here. [Xander] will kill you," Nicole warned. "He's not here. [Look], just tell me when he'll be back," Eric countered. "I don't know. He went to 'work'...wherever that is," Nicole reported. "Okay, then let me in," Eric requested. "No. I already have Deimos' blood on my hands; I don't need yours, too. Just...forget you ever knew me," Nicole replied before starting to shut the door.
"We beat Xander before, [and] we can do it again. We won't let him win," Eric argued, holding the door open. "He already has," Nicole sadly countered. Eric insisted that wasn't true, but Nicole couldn't think of any way to neutralize Xander. "I have some ideas, but we can't make a plan until you let me in," Eric reasoned. Sighing, Nicole reluctantly unlocked the door then locked it again once Eric was inside the apartment.
"I don't know why I'm doing this. [I mean], this is an impossible situation!" Nicole maintained. "We escaped a Greek island [together]. Nothing is impossible [for us]," Eric countered. Nicole wondered why Eric was feeling so optimistic about the matter. "Well, for one thing, there's an APB out on Xander for shooting my mother," Eric revealed. "But that's horrible! If they arrest him for Marlena's shooting, then he'll give me up to the police!" Nicole fretted. "He won't [be able to] if we find [the recording] and destroy it," Eric pointed out. "I've [already] looked everywhere. It's not here, [and] I have no idea where Xander's hidden it," Nicole replied.
Eric sighed in response to the setback. "I heard that creep [through the door] earlier. He thinks he can sleep with you [because you're married, but] there's no way in hell I'm gonna let that happen," Eric protectively assured Nicole. "Trust me -- I'll kill him before I let him put his hands on me," Nicole vowed. After a moment of thought, Nicole added, "Maybe that's the only way out of this -- for Xander to die."
Meanwhile, Xander -- holed up in what appeared to be an abandoned morgue -- unlocked a drawer and removed a recording device from it. "Long as I have this little gem, Nicole, you can never leave me -- Eric or no Eric," Xander mused with a wicked grin while playing the recording of Nicole's confession.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan daydreamed about Gabby once again. Eve soon arrived for a meeting about Basic Black. "You're late. [As is] Brady. Where the hell is he?" Stefan angrily demanded to know. "I have no idea," Eve admitted. "Aren't the two of you...?" Stefan began to ask, confused. "Doesn't mean I keep tabs on his every move," Eve vaguely replied. "Well, call him!" Stefan impatiently ordered Eve.
"Why don't we resolve [whatever you're all worked up about], and I will fill Brady in on it later?" Eve evasively suggested. "Okay, fine," Stefan agreed, shoving a document in Eve's face. "The numbers you gave me when I bought Basic Black are inflated, and your recent performance is lackluster, to say the least, which has pushed DiMera's stock into a freefall, and the board wants answers," Stefan explained. "Well, there must be some kind of mistake here..." Eve began while reviewing the document. "Yes -- mine, apparently, for going into business with you!" Stefan countered.
"[Those numbers] don't add up, [so] it looks like fraud!" Stefan continued. "Well, it's not fraud, all right?" Eve defensively insisted. "[Look], when I inherited this company from Deimos, [it] was struggling, and Brady and I were [just] beginning to turn it around, [so] the numbers that we gave you [were] just projections," Eve explained. "Those 'projections' are wishful thinking, and that doesn't satisfy the board!" Stefan countered. "Well, if DiMera's tanking, maybe the board should look at the man on the top," Eve suggested with a shrug. "Oh, the guy at the top will turn DiMera around," Stefan vowed.
"But that guy needs answers [in order to do that], so I suggest that you locate your boyfriend -- now!" Stefan impatiently added. Sighing, Eve reluctantly dialed Brady's cell phone number.
At that exact moment, Kristen was in the process of trying to determine if Brady was truly ready to leave the past behind. Brady ignored Eve's call as a way of answering Kristen's question. "Bitch cost me my son. I'm over it -- done with her," Brady muttered. "Good answer," Kristen raved, satisfied. Meanwhile, Eve recorded a voicemail message for Brady, aware that Stefan was listening: "Give me a call when you get this, Brady, 'cause it's important, okay? And, uh...I love you. Bye." After ending the call, Eve started to remind Stefan that Brady was dealing with multiple family crises at that time. Stefan guessed that there was more to the story.
Sighing, Eve reluctantly admitted, "Brady and I had a huge fight, [and] he packed up his stuff [and] walked out on me, so I don't know where he is." Realizing that Eve was serious, Stefan suggested, "Maybe he's with Kristen." Scoffing, Eve dismissively insisted that Brady hated Kristen. "Well, you know what they say about love and hate, don't you? [Plus, there's] all that, uh, passion and history there, of course...from what I understand," Stefan argued. Eve maintained that Kristen had hurt Brady one too many times and would never be able to repair the damage. "[But he's also] hurting right now from the breakup and all, [so] what if my sister's there to pick up the pieces?" Stefan countered. "Are we here to talk about my love life or do business?" Eve asked, getting annoyed. "Fair enough," Stefan conceded, turning back to the troubling document.
"The valuation you gave me [months ago] was based on [findings] that looked sound at the time, but I need fresh numbers. Do you have a current market value?" Stefan asked. "Well, Brady oversees that..." Eve hesitantly began to explain. Sighing, Stefan wondered, "What about transaction comps from [that recent deal you two made]? Weighted averages? Do you have any of those?" Eve admitted that Brady had been handling all of that, too. "I deal with the creative aspect -- the marketing, the product development..." Eve started to add. Furious, Stefan interrupted and summarized, "So, basically, what you're telling me is [that] you don't have anything!" Eve asked for a couple days to find the answers to all of Stefan's questions. "I don't have a couple days! The shares are plummeting!" Stefan shouted.
"Okay, you know what -- I take full responsibility for this," Eve began with sincere regret. "I have made a lot of mistakes lately, and I thought I was doing what was -- what I thought was -- best, but I messed up! I messed everything up!" Eve continued. Softening slightly, Stefan replied, "I get it. Getting your heart broken is never easy. That said... Find. Brady. [And] in the meantime, I'll try and stall the board until I can figure out how to reverse this." Nodding, Eve thanked Stefan for understanding then slinked out of the mansion after promising to find a way to fix everything.
Meanwhile, Kristen spontaneously suggested to Brady, "What if I had a way to, uh...make up for all the questionable things I've done to you [in the past]? Let me help you take back your son! [I mean], Theresa stole that little boy from you, and...you know, we should go out there and steal him back! We'll fly out to California, and...you know, we'll just whisk him away in the middle of the night..." Brady rejected Kristen's proposal, insisting that it wouldn't be right to snatch Tate away from Theresa. Kristen was quick to point out that Theresa hadn't had any qualms about snatching Tate away from Brady, but Brady remained unwilling to do anything that could hurt Tate. "When I hear you say that, it makes me love you even more...[but] will you do me a favor [and] promise to think about it?" Kristen asked seductively. "All right, I'll think about it," Brady agreed.
Satisfied, Kristen gave Brady a kiss then started heading toward the bathroom. "Where you going?" Brady asked while trying to pull Kristen back into bed. "I'm gonna take a shower and get dressed, [because] I have a few things I need to take care of," Kristen vaguely explained. Brady tried to probe for more details, but Kristen was only willing to elaborate, "[It's] just some unfinished business. You can't start a whole new life without, you know, wrapping up some of the details in the old one. [Look], I will tell you everything eventually, [but] I need you to trust me." Kristen gave Brady another kiss then stepped into the bathroom.
Once the coast was clear, Brady contacted John, who happily reported, when asked, that Marlena and Paul were both getting stronger with each passing day. "You okay, son? Where are you?" John asked curiously. "I'm just out of town for a couple days," Brady vaguely explained as Kristen began eavesdropping from the bathroom doorway. "Eve with you?" John wondered. "No. We had a falling-out, and...I just need some time alone," Brady replied. "Understood," John said before changing the subject, informing Brady that Xander was the person who had truly shot Marlena at the wedding. "We got an APB out, [and] we're hoping for an arrest soon," John added as Brady absorbed the unexpected news. "[Anyway], I gotta run. I gotta check in on Hat...excuse me, Marlena," John continued, faking a cough to cover the mistake. "Don't stay away too long," John urged Brady.
After ending the call, Brady realized that Kristen was back. "Fastest shower in the history of the world," he noted. "Water in this lame hotel takes forever to heat up," she explained before giving him yet another kiss -- one that was much more passionate than the others had been. "What was that for?" he asked after she pulled away. "You could have ratted me out to your father, [but] you didn't...which means I can trust you," she happily declared before playfully pulling him into the bathroom with her. After they showered and dressed, he tried to convince her to let him tag along as she dealt with her unfinished business. She insisted he would be bored.
Brady didn't bother to press the issue, secretly deciding to instead tail Kristen and find out exactly what was going on.
At the hospital, Hope called out to John, who was about to enter Hattie's room. "I hear from Abe that congratulations are in order -- [you and Marlena are] finally husband and wife again, officially? [I'm] so happy for you two! You must be thrilled!" Hope began. "Over the moon..." John replied, forcing a smile. Hope started to rush off to present Marlena with a bouquet of flowers, but John insisted it wasn't a good time. "Did she have a relapse?" Hope asked worriedly. John assured Hope that wasn't the issue. "It's just that they, um...they just, uh...they just took her downstairs [to run another] battery of tests," John claimed. Hope was disappointed but understood.
"Marlena must be very...relieved...to know that it wasn't Sami who shot her," Hope hesitantly began to add. "You bet she is. Hell, we all are," John confirmed. "Yeah... You know, everything pointed to Sami... John, I'm sorry to say [this], but...between that and what happened with her and Rafe, I just... It may...it may have clouded my judgment," Hope awkwardly admitted. John told Hope not to worry about it. "Sami's always been kind of a wild card. Hell, if I had to admit it, [I was kind of prepared] for her to shoot me when Kristen dangled the idea that E.J. might be alive," John continued with a chuckle.
After Hope left, John entered Hattie's room -- and discovered that Hattie was gone. "Damn it, Hattie -- where the hell are you?" John muttered. Meanwhile, at the Brady Pub, Roman looked up from the bar and saw a woman approaching, wearing a jacket in a poor attempt to hide a hospital gown. Roman sighed and quietly guessed, "Hattie?"
Sami went to the police station to try to convince Rafe to find a way to drag Stefan in for questioning. "That's not the way I work," Rafe insisted. "Since when?" Sami countered. "Watch it," Rafe warned with a hint of amusement. Undeterred, Sami reasoned, "[Look], cops arrest innocent people all the time -- I would know -- [but] Stefan DiMera's definitely guilty of something, [so just] catch him [in the act of] littering, or jaywalking, or...I don't know -- who cares? The point is, you get him in here, [and] you sit him down, [and] you ask him some real questions [about Kristen and E.J.] -- with the weight of the badge behind you!"
"I want to help you, [but it] has to be legal," Rafe maintained. Rafe wanted Sami to do things legally, too, because ending up back in jail wouldn't be good for the kids. "You're right, [but] I'm running out of time, [and] I just need --" Sami began to protest -- just as Hope arrived. Sami braced for another showdown, and Rafe preemptively tried to keep things civil, but Hope simply said, "I'm sorry."
"You were innocent, [and] I let my feelings get in the way and made it personal, and...sincerely, I -- I apologize. I am truly -- I am so sorry, Sami," Hope continued. Changing the subject, Hope assured Sami that catching Kristen and Xander would be a top priority. Stunned, Sami thanked Hope then rushed off. Rafe was impressed, but Hope dismissed the praise, explaining with a shrug, "I was wrong. I can admit when I'm wrong."
"I'm surprised that you didn't tell [Sami] to butt out of the investigation," Rafe admitted. "Why bother? We both know she won't," Hope reasoned, shrugging again.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan wrapped up a phone conversation with an angry Shin, promising the man, "Until Basic Black starts to perform -- and I have all the confidence that it will -- I will find the funds to cover our losses." After ending the call, Stefan pounded both fists against a desk and released a cry of frustration.
"Someone having financial problems?" Sami asked curiously, joining Stefan in the living room.
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