In Madison's hotel room, Madison handed Brady his Christmas gift. Brady was underwhelmed by the small envelope, but his jaw dropped when he read the card that was tucked inside. Brady incredulously noted that Madison had purchased a star for him.
Madison explained that she had purchased a star that was close to Andromeda, so that Brady's star would be close to Isabella's star. Brady was visibly moved by the gesture. Brady thanked Madison, then he watched as Madison excitedly opened her gift.
"Oh, my God. How did you find this? This is -- this is me, with my mom, when I was just a little girl. These pictures were all lost...I thought," Madison said, as she stared at the ornate picture frame. Brady shrugged, and he recalled that Madison had mentioned that she had lost all of her old photographs. "I have trolled the Internet more hours than I care to share, looking for something -- just...for anything," Madison admitted.
Brady explained that he had used the Kiriakis name to get the search moving in the right direction. "There are people I've known forever who would never think to do this for me. I've known you for a couple of months, and you find the one thing that I've been looking for, the one thing I want more than anything in the world. I've been looking for it for half my life," Madison said.
Later, Madison handed Brady another gift, and she suggested that they could share the gift. Brady was shocked when he realized that Madison had managed to get two tickets to the best ski resort in Switzerland. Brady noted that the resort boasted a two-year waiting list. Madison explained that one of her distributors had given her the tickets. Meanwhile, Brady received a text message, and he announced that John had been released from prison.
At Sami and Rafe's apartment, Sami marveled at the romantic atmosphere that Rafe had managed to achieve. The apartment was dimly lit, and the living room was covered with rose petals and candles. Rafe said that he had wanted to rent a hotel room, but the prices were insane due to the holidays. Sami assured Rafe that everything was perfect.
Sami and Rafe reminisced about the vows that they had made earlier that night. Sami referenced Tom and Alice's marriage, and she admitted that she wanted a marriage that was just as strong. Rafe wondered if Sami was thinking about E.J. Sami was shocked, but Rafe quickly explained that E.J. had tried to break them up earlier that year.
"When I think about what he did, it drives me crazy...just to think that because of him, you slept with someone else. It's okay, because I know...in a million years, you would've never done that if you'd have known the truth," Rafe added. Sami promised that she would never take Rafe for granted. Later, while Rafe was sleeping, Sami quietly sobbed as she struggled with her guilt.
At John and Marlena's townhouse, John, Marlena, and Will were playing a board game. Marlena thanked Will for including her and John in Sami's vow renewal ceremony, and she wondered if Will had enjoyed the ceremony. Will said that he could think of better ways to spend Christmas Eve, and he added that Sami only cared about herself. Marlena said that she was worried about Will's anger.
Will assured Marlena that he was fine, and he matter-of-factly stated that Sami was a hypocrite. "I'm sorry, but you both heard her vows, right? You know, about new beginnings, and starting over, and 'F is for forgiveness' crap. Has she forgiven you?" Will asked. Marlena said that she and Sami had a complicated relationship, and she urged Will to give Sami a second chance.
Will insisted that Sami did not deserve a second chance. Marlena said that she hated seeing Will upset. "I know it's hard for you, being at the loft -- you know, with all the kids, and Sami, and Rafe...kinda running around all the time," Marlena added. Will assured Marlena that he did not have a problem with Rafe, and he added that he did not have a problem with his siblings, either.
"Yes, I do know that. And with college, you know, you're so busy all the time, sometimes studying late...and wanna sleep in. I know that you were hoping to move out, looking for a little more space. We...have space here," Marlena said. Will was visibly moved when he realized that Marlena was offering him a place to stay. "You wanna help me get away from mom?" Will asked.
"No, I wanna give you some perspective so you can find your way back to your mother. I want you to know...we want to be one of your options. Honey, when things go wrong, what you do is...you step back and get some distance, and then you try to fix it," Marlena said. Will sighed, then he said that he wished that Sami could be more like Marlena.
Marlena laughed, and she assured Will that Sami was a lot like her. Marlena said that was probably why she and Sami argued so often. Will shook his head doubtfully, and he insisted that Marlena was amazing. Will wondered if John would mind having Will as a guest. Marlena assured Will that John's top priority was his family. Will tearfully hugged Marlena.
Later, Brady and Madison arrived at the townhouse. Marlena noted that Brady and Madison were carrying several bags, and Madison explained that they were going to take some food to the local women's shelter. Marlena said that Maggie had given her a lot of food earlier that day, and she offered to let Brady and Madison take some of it to the shelter.
Marlena, Madison, and Will excused themselves so that they could get the food packed up. Meanwhile, John asked Brady about his relationship with Madison. Brady said that Madison was amazing, and he told John about the star that Madison had purchased. Brady hugged John, and he said that he was glad that they were going to be able to make up for lost time.
As everyone started to carry food out of the townhouse, Madison received a phone call. Madison excused herself so that she could take the call. "Hello? Yeah, hi...I, uh, I got your gift. Thank you. It's, uh, lovely. Merry Christmas. It's just really busy right now, and, um, I don't think I'm gonna be able to get away, but -- but thanks. Okay, yeah. Merry Christmas to you, too. I gotta go," Madison said, and she abruptly ended the call.
Later, Will, Brady, Madison, John, and Marlena returned to the townhouse, and Will noted that they had forgotten the pies. Will jokingly blamed Brady, and Brady blamed Will. As everyone started to leave the townhouse again, Will glanced out the window. Will grabbed everyone's attention, and he pointed at the sky.
"It's like the two brightest stars I've ever seen -- they're right next to each other, 'cause that's Andromeda, and that -- I've never seen those two before, so...I guess it could be a reflection or something," Will said. Madison suggested that Will might have spotted Brady and Isabella's stars. Brady and Madison made a wish on the stars.
John wondered if Marlena wanted to make a wish. Marlena smiled, then she kissed John. "I've got everything my heart can bear right now, right here," Marlena said.
At the Horton house, Bo struggled to assemble a bicycle that he had purchased for Ciara. Hope smiled as she watched Bo, and she wondered if he was ready to give up yet. Hope recalled that Bo had taken the bike for a test drive, and that he had damaged the bike when he had tried to do a wheelie. Hope told Bo that it was time to admit defeat.
Bo ignored Hope's advice, and he proceeded to drop the bike on his foot. "Oh, my God. Okay, you know what? Enough. I've had enough. That's it, okay? This is our daughter's first bike without training wheels, and she's not sleeping right now because she knows it's coming, and I will not deliver it to her in...five hundred and sixty-three pieces, Brady!" Hope said. Bo agreed, and he wondered what Hope wanted him to do.
Hope said that she wanted Bo to find an identical bike that was already assembled. "On Christmas Eve? The elves are three cups into the nog by now," Bo pointed out. Hope suggested that she and Bo could go to Sherman's, and she said that the owner owed them a favor. Hope reminded Bo that they had arrested the kids who had vandalized the owner's store.
Bo reiterated that it was Christmas Eve, and he wondered what Hope was going to do if the owner refused to help. "If he says no, then I will blame you for this whole debacle, and have our daughter talk about it in therapy for the rest of her life," Hope jokingly stated, as she grabbed the phone. A short time later, Hope gloated that she had worked her magic, and that the owner had another bike that was already assembled.
Hope added that the owner had offered to take their bike pieces and assemble them into another bike that he would donate to a girl who really needed one. Bo shook his head skeptically, and Hope told him to cheer up. Hope said that Bo couldn't be good at everything, and she warned him not to do wheelies in the future. Bo tried to protest, and he said that he lived for doing wheelies.
Later, at the Horton Town Square, Bo teased Hope about the store owner. Bo claimed that the store owner had a crush on Hope. Hope insisted that Bo was wrong, and she said that she was just persuasive. Bo and Hope traded their bike pieces in for the assembled bike, and Hope protectively grabbed the bike to keep it away from Bo. Hope said that she didn't trust Bo around two-wheeled vehicles.
Bo jokingly pouted, and he said that he didn't have to take that kind of abuse from Hope, even if she was cute. Hope playfully taunted Bo, and Bo started to chase Hope. Bo reached out to grab Hope's arm, but Hope dodged him, spilling a cup of coffee that she had been carrying in the process. Bo slipped on the puddle of coffee, and he landed on the ground next to Alice and Tom's memorial plaque.
Hope gasped as Bo tried to stand up, unaware that he had knocked the plaque off of its pedestal. Hope picked up the broken pieces of the plaque, and she sighed as she realized that she and Bo had ruined it. Bo assured Hope that the plaque could be fixed, but Hope insisted that it was irreplaceable. Hope noted that it was odd that the plaque had shattered that easily.
"It's just something...you know, things break. But...what it symbolizes isn't broken, Hope," Bo said. Hope wasn't convinced, and she suggested that it might be a bad omen. Bo said that it wasn't like Hope to believe in superstitions, but Hope countered that it also wasn't like her to break something that was as important as Tom and Alice's plaque.
Bo pointed out that Hope was always saying that Alice was sending them messages. "What, you think this is a message? That...what? We're idiots?" Hope asked, as Bo inspected the plaque. Bo noticed that something was sticking out of the broken edge of the plaque. Bo gently removed the item, and he handed it to Hope.
"Maybe it is a message. What in the world does it open?" Hope wondered, as she inspected the small key that had been hidden in the plaque.
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As Jack and Jennifer cleared the Horton living room of the wrapping paper from Christmas morning and put away the family ornaments, Jack declared that it had been a great blessing to be home with his family for Christmas. Jennifer was just sorry that J.J. hadn't been there, but Jack asserted that video chatting with their son had been the next best thing. Putting his arms around Jennifer, Jack added, "Whether near or far, we'll always be family." Jennifer assured him that she felt the same way, but acknowledged that the two of them were not where Jack wanted them to be, because she wanted to take things slowly.
Jack then produced a gift that he'd hidden, and instructed Jennifer to open it. She was stunned to find four tickets to Hawaii in the box. Jack noted that he'd gotten separate rooms for them, and reassured her that he wasn't trying to push her. Jennifer pointed out that a trip to Hawaii didn't work with the family's current schedule. Jack said that he'd taken that into consideration, and had found a time that would work for everyone. He explained that he was trying to atone for years of not making family time a priority. Jennifer somewhat reluctantly agreed to go, and Jack hugged her gratefully.
Jennifer admitted that she had always wanted to go to Hawaii, and she knew the kids would be excited about the trip. Jack wanted to call the kids right away, but Jennifer thought they should finish taking down the Christmas decorations first, because she wanted to put the family ornaments back in the attic for safekeeping. As Jack carried a box into the other room, Jennifer picked up Daniel's ornament and gazed at it pensively. She carefully placed it back in the box, and then closed the lid.
A while later, Jennifer closed up the last box of ornaments, as Jack set up a stepladder to take down the garland over the entrance to the living room. Jennifer hurried over to help him, and she was about to stow the garland away until the next year when Jack pointed out that she was under the mistletoe. Without getting down from the ladder, Jack noted, "It's tradition; what can I say? We don't want to risk another year of bad luck." Jennifer agreed that neither of them wanted that, so Jack leaned down to kiss her -- but fell off the ladder, and somehow pulled the Christmas tree down with him.
Jennifer rushed over to see if Jack was all right, and then helped him to his feet. Jack yelped in pain, but insisted that he was fine. Both were glad that they had taken down the family ornaments before Jack had knocked over the tree. After Jack caught his breath, he said that they had one more chance to avert a year of bad luck. Jennifer looked uncomfortable as he leaned in and kissed her.
At the spa, Quinn gave kickboxing lessons to Daniel. Brady entered from the locker room while Quinn was switching out equipment, and asked how Daniel was doing. Daniel quipped that he was just working off some stress, but he needed to get in a few hundred more kicks. As Daniel and Quinn resumed their session, Maggie and Melanie arrived. The women watched the shirtless men with enthusiastic approval, and Melanie joked that she would sign up for more classes if more instructors looked like Quinn.
After the lesson was over and Quinn headed for his office, Melanie asked Daniel why he wasn't on the surgery schedule for the week. With a glance across the spa at Maggie, Daniel insisted that he was just taking a little break from surgical rotation. Melanie spotted the glance -- and the tremor that had just returned to Daniel's hand -- and assumed that he had tested positive for myasthenia gravis. Daniel reassured his daughter that his test had been negative, but his hand had begun shaking a short while back, and he couldn't risk his patients' lives by performing surgery when he didn't know when the tremor might return.
He added that Lexie had run some more tests to find out what was causing the tremor, and he was still waiting for the results. Melanie was upset that other people had known about the problem before she had, but mostly because Daniel said that he had kept it from her because he'd wanted to protect her. Daniel promised that if something did turn out to be wrong, they would deal with it together, as a family.
Maggie returned with Brady from taking a tour of the spa, and then Melanie and Maggie left together. Brady then said he could tell that something was bothering Daniel, and asked if Daniel wanted to talk. Daniel replied, "Well, since you brought it up... What would you do if suddenly, you couldn't do the one thing you dreamed of doing your entire life?" Brady urged Daniel not to give up on his career before he learned his test results, because even if it were bad news, there were plenty of other things Daniel could do in medicine besides be a surgeon. Daniel admitted, "You're right; I'm just trying to wrap my head around all that's happening, and how I'm going to change my life on a dime."
Quinn returned just in time to overhear, and declared, "Trust me, mate -- if I can do it, you sure as hell can." Daniel pointed out that Quinn had chosen to change his life. Quinn explained that it hadn't been much of a choice, because he'd lost all his money and had never established a career. He'd decided to try to reinvent himself in Salem because it was comfortable and familiar, and he'd realized that if he didn't love what he was doing, he would end up in trouble again. "I got into my last profession because I had no shame and I needed money. I got into this to make peace with myself," Quinn elaborated. Brady acknowledged that he had never given Quinn a chance.
After Quinn left, Brady asserted that if anyone could turn his life around, it was Daniel, although it might not be easy. Brady asked if Jennifer knew what was going on with Daniel, but Daniel maintained that he didn't want Jennifer to feel sorry for him. Brady opined, "You're an ass for letting Jennifer go, and I think she's a fool for taking Jack back."
A bit later, Daniel and Brady had changed back into street clothes and were headed out to get something to eat when Daniel got a text message. After reading it, he told Brady, "It's my test results."
As Maggie and Melanie arrived at the Kiriakis mansion, Maggie tried to soothe Melanie's hurt feelings over not knowing about Daniel's tremor. Melanie admitted that she had been trying to figure out what could be wrong, and none of the possibilities were good. Maggie asserted that regardless of whether the news was bad or good, they would deal with it as a family. "Love always wins in the end," Maggie optimistically maintained.
Maggie then declared, "Having you and Daniel as my family has made this the best holiday season I've had in a long, long time." Melanie asked how Maggie's first Christmas as Mrs. Victor Kiriakis had been. Maggie admitted that the previous few holidays had been difficult, but Santa had delivered everything she could have ever wished for and more.
Maggie asked how Melanie and Chad were. Melanie confessed that she had lied to Chad that she'd only said she had feelings for him because she'd thought they were going to die. Maggie asked about Chad's feelings for Melanie. Melanie replied that Chad had said that he didn't have feelings for her, either -- and neither of them wanted to hurt Abigail. Maggie hugged her granddaughter comfortingly, and acknowledged that love could sometimes get very messy. Melanie asserted lightly that she would get over Chad.
Fresh from the shower, John awakened Marlena with a kiss. Marlena beamed at him, and asked him to kiss her again. John happily obliged, and declared how glad he was to be home, and how grateful he was to Marlena for never giving up on him and working to clear his name. He climbed back into bed. After they made love, John told his wife that he had no idea what had happened to free him from prison.
"Carrie and Rafe realized that the photograph in Paris had been altered, so they began to question the timeline. When they pulled that thread, everything else unraveled," Marlena explained. John was still in awe about how many people had tried to help him. Chuckling, John noted that his release had to have ruined Christmas for Stefano and E.J. John and Marlena laughed heartily at that thought.
At the Brady Pub, Abe conferred with a reporter and a photographer as they prepared for a press conference. When John and Marlena arrived, Lexie and Abe greeted them warmly. John thanked the Carvers for their friendship, especially since being associated with John could have cost Abe the election. Abe asserted that he would never abandon a friend. Marlena echoed John's gratitude. Abe then introduced John and Marlena to the reporter, Taryn Noone, who worked for Titan TV and was covering the press conference at Brady's request.
Stefano entered the living room of the DiMera mansion, and noted irritably to E.J., "I just finished reading the morning paper. Seems everybody is lined up to apologize to our Mr. Black." E.J. couldn't figure out how "those village idiots" had found the information necessary to clear John, because E.J. had covered his tracks meticulously. With a shrug, Stefano said that E.J. simply had to figure out where he'd erred. E.J. angrily pointed that he could not possibly have known that the French government would shut down the Internet at the exact moment he was faking John's transactions.
E.J. asserted that since no one on John's legal team was smart enough, someone else had to have pointed them toward investigating possible Internet outages. Stefano asked what E.J. would do if he learned someone had done so. E.J. replied that he would take care of it personally, adding, "You know what that means, right?" Stefano suggested that a better use of E.J.'s time might be to figure out what to do about John's freedom. Stefano asserted, "You are a capable man. You are a DiMera, after all. I am absolutely confident that you have got it in you to be able to turn this back into your favor."
E.J. agreed that he had learned from the master. Stefano cautioned his son that the window of opportunity was about to close, and turned on the television. Over a live shot from the Brady Pub, the announcer stated that John Black was about to make his first public statement since being exonerated. Stefano asserted that unless E.J. could figure out how to turn things around, the election would go to Abe.
E.J. and Stefano watched from the mansion as Abe introduced John at the pub. John spoke directly into the camera, and announced that he was a free man again because his legal team had proven that he hadn't embezzled a cent. He continued that it had sickened him to learn that his investors had lost billions of dollars, since he considered them family. He had already been trying to recover the stolen money when he'd been arrested, because he had known that he had been framed. Someone in the crowd asked John whom he suspected, and Abe quickly stepped in to answer that the FBI, the SEC, and the Salem police were all investigating the matter.
Marlena then stated that she would like to answer the question, then stepped behind the microphone and looked into the camera. "I know you're watching. When you set out to attack my husband, you attacked me as well," Marlena declared. She promised to spend the rest of her life making the person responsible pay for hurting her husband, family, and friends, and for robbing innocent people of their life savings. "And you know me; you will pay dearly," Marlena concluded.
John took the microphone again, and divulged that he had regained control of his assets, which had been frozen while he'd been in prison. He continued, "Therefore, until the investigators locate the billions stolen from Basic Black's financial arm, I intend to liquidate not only Basic Black, but all my personal assets to repay every dime to every investor who trusted me with their money." As a shocked murmur went through the crowd, E.J. vowed that he would not let John look like a hero for long, and strode determinedly out the door.
John was outlining his plan for repayment when E.J. entered. John stopped cold, so E.J. took the opportunity to congratulate him -- and get on camera. John thanked him sarcastically. E.J. stated, "I'd just like to add that once you replenish the money to the pensions, I'll be happy to drop the lawsuit. If it turns out I'm wrong, John, I'm certainly a big enough man to admit that." As he put his hand on John's shoulder with fake sincerity, E.J. apologized if he or his family had caused any harm to John and his loved ones.
While Stefano watched proudly from home, E.J. added, "When I first heard that John had defrauded these investors, I found it very hard to believe that a man of such high regard would stoop so low. The evidence against him was overwhelming." John emphasized that he had been framed, and reiterated Marlena's promise to find the people behind the setup and make them pay. As John clapped a hand on E.J.'s shoulder, E.J. applauded and declared, "Hear, hear."
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Bo and Hope cuddled in bed as Hope read poetry aloud from a book Bo had given her. After the two made love, Hope ordered Bo to make her breakfast. While Bo was in the kitchen, Hope stared at the key she had found. When Bo returned with breakfast, he counseled Hope not to obsess over the key. Hope countered that she could not help but feel like the key was connected to Alice, and that she needed to determine what the connection was.
Bo informed Hope that he had called the man that had made the original plaque, Mr. Brown, and explained that he needed a replacement. "How come you're always reading my mind," Hope said with a grin. After getting dressed, Bo and Hope met Mr. Brown in Horton Town Square to talk about the plaque. Mr. Brown informed them that he was molding a replacement plaque, as it was covered in the original agreement for purchase.
With a raised eyebrow, Bo asked whether it was normal for an agreement to cover the cost of a replacement plaque. Mr. Brown shook his head and said that he had been paid handsomely for the work and did not ask why the original agreement had covered the costs for a replacement plaque. Hope held up the key and noted that she had found the key in the plaque when it broke. With a sigh, Mr. Brown explained that he had been instructed to put the key inside the mold for the original plaque.
"I figured it was special to her," Mr. Brown said. Hope asked Mr. Brown if Alice had asked him to put the key inside the mold. Shaking his head, Mr. Brown noted that Ms. Hewitt had instructions from Alice about the plaque. Mr. Brown added that he had not been told any information other than to place the key inside the plaque. Visibly shaken, Hope wondered aloud why her grandmother who was so open and honest in her life, had kept so many secrets.
Bo counseled Hope to rethink her vision of Alice in light of all the secrets Alice had left behind. Hope wondered aloud whether Alice was leading her to something, but Bo countered that they should leave the trail alone. "Some secrets are not meant to be uncovered," Bo said. "That's what Stefano said," Hope responded.
Bo and Hope studied the key and agreed that it looked like it belonged to either a safe deposit box or a locked desk drawer. Bo suggested they talk to the lawyer Ms. Hewitt and see if she had any answers, but when he called her office, he learned Ms. Hewitt was out of town. Hope was impatient to find out about the key. "At least wherever it leads, we're together," Hope said.
In Madison's room, she and Brady played video games, and Brady was shocked when she beat him at the game. Brady and Madison were late for work, but enthralled with one another, they began to kiss. After making love, Madison worried about being late, but with a smile, Brady said, "So what." Madison thanked Brady for teaching her to make time for things in her life other than work.
At the penthouse, John returned from a run and went into the bathroom to shower while Marlena talked with Carrie and Rafe. With a sigh, Marlena admitted that she did not think she would be able to tell John the truth about Stefano's involvement in John's release. When John returned to the living room, Carrie explained to him that she had arranged to sell John's stock in Basic Black. When Carrie noted that the money for the shares would leave John barely enough to pay off the debts, Rafe interrupted to remind John that he had been framed.
Worried about the people who had been hurt by the theft from the pension fund, John refused to wait to pay off the debts. Rafe noted that John did not need to give up his company if they determined where the money had gone. John said he understood, and he countered that the sacrifice was necessary.
Carrie reviewed the agreement for sale with John and explained that any agreement for assets acquired by the DiMera family would be null under the agreement for the sale of John's stock. Rafe assured John that he would not stop looking for the missing money. With a grin, John noted that if he regained control of Basic Black, he would hire Rafe as his head of security.
"Proving that those transactions couldn't have happened because of an Internet outage? Who in the hell would have thought of that in a million years?" John joked. As Marlena, Carrie, and Rafe nervously shifted their eyes to stare at the floor, John grew suspicious. "All of you are looking very uncomfortable all of a sudden," John said. When everyone remained quiet, John pleaded with them to tell him the truth. Nodding, Marlena asked Carrie and Rafe to leave so that she could talk to John alone.
Once Rafe and Carrie were gone, Marlena announced that John was right to praise Rafe and Carrie for their work on his case. "But they had some help," Marlena whispered. Marlena explained that she could not stand by and watch John disappear from her life. When John pushed Marlena to tell him the truth, Marlena explained that Bo and Hope had found a promissory note among Alice's belongings. When John pushed Marlena for details, she admitted that the promissory note was from Stefano.
Marlena explained that if the roles had been reversed and she had been in prison, John would have reached out to Stefano and used the promissory note. When John gritted his teeth, Marlena added that Stefano had provided a cryptic clue, but it was Rafe, Carrie, Bo, and Hope that had cracked the code and found the evidence they had needed to free John.
"But Stefano is the reason I'm standing here right now," John said tersely. "How could you do this without talking to me first?" John asked. Marlena argued that she had known John would say no to the plan, and she could not bear to see John rot away in prison for a crime he had not committed. John was furious and yelled that Stefano did not do anything without expecting something in return. "Now it's just a matter of time," John noted.
"How can you do this to us?" John asked quietly. Marlena defended her decision, but John worried aloud that he was indebted to Stefano. Marlena reminded John that Stefano had owed a debt to Alice, so John did not owe Stefano anything for the information that had set him free. "I would have dealt with the devil himself," Marlena said in defense of her decision. "That's what you did," John countered.
Upset, John noted that he did not want to talk to Marlena. John pulled on his coat and announced that he was going to deal with "the mess." When Marlena offered to help, John gruffly said, "You've done enough."
At the loft, Kate stopped by and asked if Sami was going to work for her. "I would like to think that you are smart enough to know a good thing when it's staring you in the face, because I am offering you an opportunity here," Kate said. Sami was nervous and did not want to trust Kate. "After our colorful history, why do you want to work with me?" Sami asked. Kate explained that she had studied Mad World and determined that the work Sami had done at the company had boosted sales.
Still unsure, Sami pointed out that Kate's offer felt like it was a "deal with the devil." "So let's cut to the chase. Why are you doing this? You hate me," Sami said. Narrowing her eyes, Kate noted that Sami had broken her sons' hearts and that it had upset her. Nodding, Sami said that as a mother, she understood why Kate would hate her. Kate reminded Sami that she had put her relationship with Stefano in jeopardy in order to help Sami.
"Because you're the mother of my grandchildren. Because we're family, whether we like it or not. And because I see something in you," Kate said softly. "What?" Sami asked. "Me," Kate said with a sigh. Kate advised Sami to either embrace their similarities or ignore them.
With a groan, Kate added that Sami was quick-witted and good at her job. Shaking her head, Sami noted that they could not stand one another and should not work together. "I do respect you, and I suspect that after you work for me, I'll respect you even more," Kate said. Sami did not believe that Kate respected her, so Kate argued that her offer to double Sami's current salary showed that she respected Sami.
Kate slipped a piece of paper into Sami's hand that contained a guaranteed offer. Kate added that she did not like to hand-hold her employees, so Sami would have the freedom to execute her new position in the manner of her choosing. Sami noted that Madison was a control freak, and Kate countered that unlike Madison, she was only a control freak outside of work.
"Rafe is out of work. I need this money," Sami said firmly. As Sami reached out her hand, a smile spread across Kate's face, and she shook Sami's hand. When Kate asked Sami how soon she could start, Sami noted that she was working from home because Johnny was not feeling well. Eager to steal Sami away from the competition, Kate offered to watch Johnny so that Sami could give Madison her notice. "I hope I don't regret this," Sami said. "That makes two of us," Kate replied.
When Brady and Madison arrived at Mad World, they saw Sami. Noting that Sami looked upset, Madison worried aloud that the sales figures were low. When Sami said that she did not have the sales figures ready, Madison reminded her that she had asked for the sales figures to be prepared the last time they had spoken. With a solemn gaze, Sami announced that she quit.
Stunned, Brady asked Sami if Rafe had been hired at a job out of town. Shaking her head, Sami noted that Rafe was still looking for work. Madison announced that if Sami were having difficulty at home, she would give Sami time off to help her family. Sami apologized for quitting abruptly. Madison was furious that Sami was jumping ship at a critical point for the company. Sami promised to give Madison two weeks to wrap up loose ends and to help train the new vice president.
"I thought this was your dream job? That's what you said," Madison said. When Sami admitted that the job was her dream, Madison asked why she was leaving. Sami admitted that she was going to work at Countess W. When Brady reminded Sami of Kate's cruelty, Sami noted that Kate had offered to double Sami's salary. "I need the money," Sami said. When Sami asked how she could turn down the opportunity, Brady noted that she should have turned to him for help.
"I don't need a loan. I need a career," Sami responded. Madison countered that Sami had her career because Madison had taken a risk in hiring Sami despite her lack of experience. Madison was furious that Sami was taking her ideas to the competitor. Sami apologized, but it angered Madison further.
"Just go. I don't need your two weeks notice. In fact, I don't want you here another two minutes. I'm not giving you anything else to hand-deliver to Kate DiMera on a silver platter," Madison said. "I would never do that," Sami said firmly. "Well I never thought you would betray us. I should have fired you when I had the chance," Madison countered. Sami thanked Madison for all she had taught her. Angry, Madison ordered Sami to be out in five minutes, then she stormed out of the office.
"How could you do that to her?" Brady asked. Sami explained that Kate had needed an answer, and Sami needed to look out for her family. When Sami noted that Madison would have done the same thing in her situation, Brady defended Madison and argued that she was too loyal to do what Sami had done.
"I can't believe what a huge disappointment you are," Brady said. Brady yelled that Sami was selfish and ordered her to leave. Without a word, Sami left. When Madison returned to the office, Brady apologized. Shaking her head, Madison said that she was to blame for hiring Sami. When Brady noted that he was worried about Madison, she countered that she was fine as long as she had Brady at her side.
At the loft, Kate talked to Johnny in the living room while he drew a picture. Johnny admitted that he missed his father, and Kate promised to tell E.J. that Johnny missed him. While Kate watched Johnny draw, Stefano called her cell phone. Kate informed Stefano that Sami was giving her notice at Mad World. "Oh yes, everything is going exactly as we planned," Kate said with a grin.
When Sami returned home, Kate informed her that Johnny's fever had dissipated. With a grin, Kate asked Sami how things had gone with Madison. When Sami announced that she had resigned, an eager Kate chirped that she and Sami had a lot of work to do.
In Horton Town Square, Rafe and Carrie drank coffee and talked about her decision to stay in Salem and open her own law firm. Carrie was worried about Marlena and how John would react to the news about Stefano's involvement. When Carrie said she needed to go look at office space, she asked Rafe if he had time to join her. Rafe joked that he had all the time in the world. With a look of concern, Carrie asked Rafe how his job search was going.
Rafe announced that he was opening his own private investigations firm. Rafe explained that he was excited to be his own boss. With a shrug, Carrie asked Rafe if he was interested in partnering up with her and handling investigative work for her new law firm. Thrilled, Rafe told Carrie that he was interested but that he needed to consult with Sami before formally accepting Carrie's offer.
Rafe added that he believed Sami would support him working with Carrie because Sami understood that their family needed the money. Eager to get back to work, Rafe used his cup of coffee to toast the future with Carrie.
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At the Horton Town Square, Melanie, Sonny, and Gabi greeted Austin, Abigail, and Chad. Gabi noticed that Austin was carrying a copy of Break Free, Break Up, and she explained that it was a book about ending relationships. Abigail's interest was piqued, and she wondered why Austin was reading the book.
Austin laughed, and he said that one of the professors at the university had written the book. Austin added that the professor had given everyone a copy at an earlier staff meeting. Gabi anxiously wondered if the author had included any tips for getting over a breakup. Austin said that the parts that he had read had been about choosing the right time to break up with someone.
"The author says a lot of couples stay together for the sake of the other person, which is sheer insanity, 'cause it makes it harder on everyone. Look, this is common sense -- if you're not with your soul mate, and you know it, the best thing you can do...is end it," Austin added, as Chad and Melanie exchanged glances. Gabi was relieved, and she said that she had done the right thing by breaking up with Will.
Gabi remembered that Austin was Will's uncle, and she quickly added that she had never meant to hurt Will. Austin said that he understood, and he assured Gabi that she would find the right guy eventually. Sonny excused himself so that he could meet a friend at the Brady Pub. Meanwhile, Austin received a phone call from Carrie. After Austin left, Abigail hugged Chad. Melanie glanced at Chad, then she quietly walked away.
Later, Gabi said that she was going to download a copy of the professor's book. Austin told Gabi that she could have his copy, then he excused himself. After Austin left, Chad walked away so that he could answer a phone call. While Chad was distracted, Abigail asked if she could borrow the book. Gabi agreed, but she wondered why Abigail was interested in the subject.
Elsewhere, Kate overheard Daniel talking to a colleague about his tremors. After Daniel ended the call, Kate observed that his condition sounded serious. Daniel asked Kate to leave, but Kate insisted that she didn't want to desert Daniel in his hour of need.
"I wouldn't confide my grocery list to you, so what makes you think I'm going to tell you something remotely personal?" Daniel asked, as he tried to hide his tremor. Daniel started to leave, but Kate stopped him. Kate assured Daniel that she was genuinely concerned about him. Kate reminded Daniel that he had saved her life, and that he had also saved Philip's life.
"Who else are you gonna pour your story out to, huh? Is that gonna be Maggie 'I can't believe my last name is' Kiriakis? Is that gonna be your wise and wonderful daughter-slash-nurse-slash-Botox specialist? Because those two women, you see, they're never gonna tell you the truth, because they don't want to hurt your feelings," Kate added. Kate assured Daniel that she wasn't going to sugarcoat the truth.
Daniel reluctantly told Kate about the tremors, and he revealed that his latest test results had been inconclusive. Daniel said that he was going to have to schedule another round of tests. Kate told Daniel to remain optimistic, but Daniel insisted that the odds were not in his favor.
"You know, doctors are all alike. You really are. I mean, you're cautious with your patients, but when it comes to you, you just, like, leap -- leap to the worst-possible-case scenario. Why don't you just take your ego out of it? Take it out of it, and assume that it's not complicated, that it's not incurable," Kate suggested. Daniel stared at Kate, and he wondered when she was going to start smiling.
Daniel told Kate to cheer up, and he pointed out that he was finally being punished for stealing Chloe away from Lucas. Kate dryly stated that Daniel had already been punished by falling in love with Chloe in the first place. Kate wondered if Daniel really believed that she enjoyed seeing him in pain. Daniel shrugged, and he said that was the DiMera way.
Kate assured Daniel that she wasn't a monster. Kate pointed out that she had been in love with Daniel a few years earlier. Kate warned Daniel not to get ahead of himself, and she told him to wait for a proper diagnosis. Daniel was still skeptical, and he wondered what Kate was really up to.
"I owe you. When I was ill, and scared, and alone...you were there for me, and you were kind, and you were supportive. I haven't been shown that kind of compassion very often in my life, and I want you to know...I want you to know that I'll never forget it," Kate tearfully stated. Kate promised to support Daniel. Before Daniel could respond, Melanie arrived, and Kate quickly excused herself.
After Kate left, Melanie wondered what she had missed. Daniel shrugged, and he said that he was going to have to add hallucinations to his list of symptoms. Daniel changed the subject, and he demanded to know what was wrong with Melanie. Melanie reluctantly admitted that she had started to develop feelings for Chad. Melanie added that Chad did not feel the same way, and that she was trying to forget about him.
At John and Marlena's townhouse, Will greeted Marlena. Will could tell that something was wrong, but Marlena claimed that she was just distracted because of the holidays. Will said that he had watched John and Marlena earlier, and he noted that they had never taken their eyes off of each other. Will added that John and Marlena were an example of true love.
Marlena changed the subject, and she wondered if Will had made a decision about moving in with her and John. Will said that he would love to live with John and Marlena, but he added that he didn't want to bail on Rafe. "Oh, I get it. You're deflecting...because what you're struggling with has nothing to do with where you live. Am I right?" Marlena asked.
Will shook his head, and he pointed out that experts were always saying that moving was one of the most stressful things that a person would ever have to deal with. Marlena noted that Will had a habit of changing the subject as soon as he started to feel uncomfortable. Will sighed, and he conceded that Marlena was right.
Marlena reminded Will that he had tried to talk to her earlier about some confusing feelings that he had been dealing with. Will said that it was normal for people in his age group to be confused, and he insisted that it wasn't a big deal. Marlena wondered if Will would feel more comfortable talking to someone else about his concerns.
"No! Are you kidding? You're the only person in my life that I can talk to...not that there's anything to talk about," Will said, but Marlena wasn't convinced. Marlena warned Will not to keep his emotions bottled up inside. Will admitted that he didn't know what to say. Marlena urged Will to tell her what was on his mind, but Will said that he couldn't do that.
Marlena gently recalled that Will had told her that he was going to use the breakup as an opportunity to reexamine his options. Will reminded Marlena that she was the one who had suggested that, but he admitted that he had agreed with her. "And apparently, Gabi had also said that she broke up with you because there was something lacking...some kind of intimacy that was lacking," Marlena added.
"Okay, can you stop, please? Please stop trying to figure me out. I'm not your patient. I'm your grandson, and I'm fine," Will insisted, as his voice started to crack. Marlena paused to give Will a moment to calm down, then she gently touched his shoulder. Will apologized for his outburst, and Marlena assured him that it was all right. Marlena said that was what happened when things were left bottled up inside.
Marlena explained that the pain would eventually surface in hurtful, destructive ways. Will nodded, and he recalled his earlier outburst at Maggie's house. Marlena added that he had also snapped at Sami, but Will quickly replied that he didn't want to talk about Sami. Marlena agreed, and she wondered if Will understood what she was referring to. Will said that he didn't want to think about those things. "I think...you can't think about anything else," Marlena countered.
"Oh, I just want to -- I want to be able to feel like I can breathe again, you know? Okay...Gabi was right when she broke up with me, because things weren't...the way they were supposed to be with us, you know? And I knew that...but I kept making excuses for it. And she thought that I didn't care about her, but I did, and I do...a lot...just...not the way that she needed me to, you know? And I tried...I wanted to be the boyfriend that she wanted, you know? But it felt so fake, and she knew that, and she called me on it...at Maggie's house, and...she probably -- she probably knew how I really felt better than I did," Will admitted.
Marlena asked Will to elaborate. Will struggled to say something, but then he stopped himself. Will shook his head, and he said that he couldn't say anything else. Marlena assured Will that she understood, and she promised that she would be there to listen as soon as he was ready to talk. "And whatever you tell me, please remember...I will always love you, and I will never, ever judge you," Marlena added.
Will tearfully hugged Marlena, and he said that he loved her, too. Will apologized, then he abruptly excused himself. Marlena watched as Will exited the townhouse, then she started to sob.
At the DiMera mansion, John barged into the mansion, and he demanded to talk to Stefano. Stefano wondered why John wasn't with Marlena, and he suggested that someone needed to talk to John about his priorities. John ignored Stefano's comments, and he said that he knew about Alice's voucher. Stefano jokingly stated that John had an odd way of expressing his gratitude.
John said that accepting help from Stefano was like trading one jail cell for another. John vowed that he would kill Stefano if he ever tried to target John's family again. "You are either a big fool, John Black...or you're the most selfish man alive," Stefano said, as he feigned disappointment. John pointed out that Stefano was the one who had framed John. Stefano conceded that he was the reason that John was at the mansion.
John was shocked that Stefano had admitted the truth. Stefano laughed, and he warned John not to make assumptions. Stefano claimed that he was referring to the fact that he had given Bo and Hope the necessary information to clear John's name. John wondered why Stefano had done that.
"Simple...a long-held debt with Alice Horton. She saved Elvis' life when he was a baby, and I wanted to keep a promise. Look, believe me -- I would never have paid her back for her good deed by saving your wretched rear end, okay? No, no...but, alas, I am a man of my word, so...I wanted to keep my promise," Stefano explained. John refused to thank Stefano, and he said that he had never asked for Stefano's help.
"I gave you your life back! Yeah, expecting any kind of gratitude from you is a joke, of course, because the only thing that you want from me is for me to take my last breath, so...the only way for you to thank me for saving your life...is for you to take mine," Stefano said, as he handed John a gun. John pointed the gun at Stefano, and Stefano urged John to pull the trigger.
"I'm giving you the chance of a lifetime. Take it...my well-trained killing machine," Stefano said. John pointed the gun at Stefano's head, then he relaxed his grip, and he said that Stefano was insane. Stefano shrugged, and he said that he wasn't afraid to die. Stefano joked that it would be a wonderful way to ring in a new year, and John agreed that a lot of people would celebrate.
Stefano added that some people would mourn his death, and he suggested that his queen of the night would be one of them. John pointed the gun at Stefano's neck, and he warned Stefano not to talk about Marlena. Stefano again urged John to pull the trigger, and he wondered why John was hesitating. Stefano suggested that John had realized that he would never be able to survive without Stefano.
John pulled the gun away from Stefano, and he slammed it down on Stefano's chessboard. "Whatever you tried to turn me into...I'm better than that, Stefano. Otherwise, I would have killed you in a heartbeat," John said. John started to leave, but Stefano stopped him.
"No, John...the reason that you cannot pull that trigger is pride. Oh, I know that you would not accept my help to get you out of jail, but what really, really pains you is that someone did...and they did not tell you. Even though she helped save your life, as far as Marlena is concerned, she will always be a traitor to you. Now...I am not the object of your fury, am I? No, that happens to be your wife," Stefano observed.
Stefano added that he and Marlena shared an unbreakable bond that John would never be able to understand. "Tell me something -- why is it that she accepted my help so easily? And why is it that she didn't tell you? Because the truth of the matter is, every time that there was a very difficult moment in her life, Marlena always turned to the one man that she knew would be there for her. That man...sadly, is not you," Stefano said.
John calmly picked up the gun again. Stefano urged John to do the one thing that he had been dreaming about doing for years. "I know all your tricks. I've seen them...how many times? You plant doubts in people's minds, then you manipulate them, and you would stop at nothing to tear Marlena and me apart, and a bullet to your brain would do just that, so this...is done. You failed, Stefano, and now, I don't owe you a damn thing," John said. John placed the gun back on the chessboard, purposely scattering the pieces in the process, then he abruptly exited the mansion.
At the Brady Pub, Sonny greeted Will, and Will tried to hide his pain. Sonny invited Will to the town square, but Will declined the invitation. Sonny could tell that something was wrong, and he offered to sit somewhere else so that Will could have some privacy. Will claimed that he was all right, and Sonny explained that he was just waiting for a friend to show up.
Sonny said that Gabi had been at the town square earlier, and he wondered if Will was having a hard time dealing with the breakup. Sonny added that he had experienced a few difficult breakups, and he assured Will that things would get better. Will said that he was glad that he wasn't going to feel like an idiot forever. Sonny wondered why Will felt like an idiot.
Will said that he had never expected Gabi to break up with him. Will added that he had not been able to feel what he was supposed to feel. Sonny urged Will to elaborate, and Will made a vague statement about the fact that things had not been right. Will admitted that he had foolishly expected everything to work itself out. Sonny asked Will to talk about the things that weren't right.
Before Will could respond, Sonny's friend, Tyler, arrived. Tyler apologized for being late, and he claimed that the traffic had been a nightmare. Sonny laughed, and he told Will that Tyler was always late. Tyler jokingly stated that being late was his only flaw. Sonny doubtfully agreed, and Tyler asked Sonny to buy him a beer. Sonny added that Tyler was always broke.
Tyler shrugged, and he joked that he only had two flaws. Will paid close attention to the easy rapport between Sonny and Tyler. Later, Tyler teased Sonny about his haircut, and he claimed that it looked like moose roadkill. Sonny tried to defend himself, but Tyler jokingly begged Sonny to get his hair fixed before the party that they were planning to attend the next day.
Sonny invited Will to the party, but Will claimed that he had already made plans for that evening. Tyler urged Will to reconsider, and he said that the party was going to be the bomb. Sonny gave Tyler a look of embarrassment, and he wondered if Tyler had really just used that phrase. Will watched enviously as Sonny and Tyler continued to tease each other.
Back at the townhouse, John opened the door, and Marlena braced herself for a fight. John silently approached Marlena, and he whispered that he was sorry. John admitted that Marlena had been right, and that he would have done the same thing for her. Marlena tearfully embraced John.
Meanwhile, at the DiMera mansion, Stefano chuckled maniacally as he looked at an envelope. Stefano's name and address had been written in the center of the envelope, and Alice's name and address had been written in the upper left-hand corner.
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When Brady found Madison working at Titan, she complained that she was behind because of Sami's resignation. Brady urged her to take a break, because it was New Year's Eve, but Madison insisted that he go out and have a good time without her. Brady pretended to take her at her word, and headed for the door, but stopped when Madison protested. He popped into the hallway, and returned wheeling in a table laid with white linens and dinner for two. Touched, Madison threw her arms around him gratefully.
After they'd eaten dinner, Brady stepped back out to get something else. While he was gone, Madison's cell phone rang. She hesitated when she saw who was calling, but then answered, and wished the caller a happy new year. Madison claimed that she was very busy with work and couldn't talk, just as Brady returned with a bottle of champagne and two glasses. When Madison hung up, Brady asked who had been on the phone. Madison maintained that she had decided to take the rest of the night off, and she'd just been informing her assistant.
Brady declared that he was going to take Madison someplace special. "I thought this was our special place," Madison noted. Brady lightly stated that the room had been good to them, so when they planned their wedding, they could have the ceremony there. Madison visibly stiffened. Brady urged her to relax, because he wasn't going to ask her to marry him, at least not right then. Madison still looked a little tense when Brady grabbed their jackets and announced that they were leaving.
Bo, Hope, Doug, and Julie shared a table at the Brady Pub, which was festively decked out with gold and silver balloons. Doug proposed a toast to a wonderful evening, and Hope chimed in with a toast to Caroline, who was babysitting the grandchildren. Everyone was looking forward to hearing Doug sing, and he asked Julie to join him at the microphone later in the evening.
Later, Bo and Hope stepped outside, and Bo guessed that his wife was thinking about Zack. "Always," she admitted. Hope wondered aloud if the pain of his death would ever ease, and added that she wanted some sort of peace and understanding -- for both of them. The Bradys agreed that they should finally talk to someone. Hope acknowledged that she had been putting it off because she knew how much it would hurt to dredge up all of those memories, and it frightened her.
"But if we don't, I'm afraid we'll end up back in the same place again," Hope admitted. Bo reassured her that wouldn't happen. "We'll do whatever we have to do to stay strong -- for Ciara, for Zack, and for us," Bo declared.
Bo and Hope had returned inside and were seated at the bar when Brady led Madison to a table a bit later. Brady explained that he didn't want Madison to miss the performance that was about to happen. Doug then took the microphone and introduced himself and Julie to the crowd, and the two of them invited all the lovers in the room to dance. As Doug and Julie sang, "You Belong to my Heart," Bo and Hope, Madison and Brady, and other couples took the dance floor.
Later, Doug counted down to midnight, and then everyone shouted, "Happy new year!" The crowd launched into "Auld Lang Syne." Brady and Madison shared a kiss on the dance floor, while Bo and Hope sneaked outside to smooch.
As E.J. and Nicole lay in bed together at the DiMera mansion, E.J. proposed that they stay right where they were to ring in the new year. Nicole reminded him that they were supposed to make an appearance at the party in Horton Town Square. As she tried to get out of bed, E.J. pulled her back, and began kissing her again. Nicole pointed out that if he wanted to be mayor, "schmoozing" would be part of his job description. E.J. acknowledged that he was running so that his children could be proud of him, and reluctantly permitted his wife to get out of bed.
Abigail and Chad were at the Horton house, where they planned to spend a quiet New Year's Eve, eating pizza, drinking champagne, and watching a movie. While they played cards, they talked about their resolutions for the new year. Chad then mentioned the relationship book that they'd seen Austin with. After a moment of uncomfortable silence, suddenly Abigail and Chad said simultaneously, "We need to talk." Abigail went first, and explained that the book stated that one shouldn't stay in a relationship out of obligation.
"If it doesn't feel right, then..." Abigail began, and Chad finished the sentence, "You should end it." Chad admitted that things between the two of them had felt "off" for a while, and Abigail concurred. Each agreed that the other had done nothing wrong. "So what does this mean?" Abigail asked. "I think it means we should break up," Chad replied. He assured Abigail that he cared about her, and he hoped they could still be part of one another's lives. Abigail asserted that they would be great friends. Chad gave Abigail a goodbye kiss on the forehead, they wished each other a happy new year, and then Chad left.
Carrie and Austin prepared to go to Sami and Rafe's for games and dinner before they all headed to the party in Horton Square. Austin admired her wife in her New Year's Eve finery, and declared that he was going to have to remove the dress she'd just donned. He unzipped the dress, and Carrie shoved him playfully onto the bed.
At the loft, also decorated with silver and gold balloons, Sami was setting the table while Rafe opened a bottle of champagne, when Will emerged from his bedroom. Will informed Rafe and Sami that he was going to the party in the square with Melanie and Sonny because none of them had dates. Rafe offered Will a plate of food, but Will declined, so Sami divulged that she'd gotten everything from Chez Rouge. Rafe worried that they couldn't afford it. Sami assured him that they could, because she'd just taken a new job that paid twice what she'd been making before.
Rafe handed his wife a glass of champagne and congratulated her, but noted that perhaps she should have discussed it with him first. Sami revealed that the job had more responsibilities and great benefits -- but it meant that she would be working with Kate DiMera. Rafe was taken aback, but Sami pointed out that they could really use the money, since he had been out of work for a while. Rafe then informed Sami that Carrie had offered him a job as lead investigator and a partner at her new law firm.
Sami remarked that she still didn't get along with Carrie very well. Will, who had been listening from the kitchen, blew up. "Are you kidding me? Rafe gets offered a great job, and all you can think about is how it affects you? I'm sorry -- I keep thinking that you can't get any more selfish than you already are, but you keep proving me wrong!" Will exclaimed. Rafe admonished Will not to talk to his mother that way, and Sami begged her son to talk to her about why he was so angry with her.
Just then, Melanie and Sonny banged on the door, and when Will opened it, they blew noisemakers and shouted, "Happy new year!" Will wanted to leave with his friends right away, but Sami invited Melanie and Sonny in for some food first. While the guys were in the living room, Sami privately asked Melanie if Will had seemed upset around his friends. Melanie said that Will had been upset and a little temperamental ever since he'd broken up with Gabi. Sami tried to be optimistic that once Will got over the breakup, he would return to being his usual sweet self.
When the kids were ready to head to the square, Sami asked to speak to Will in private for a moment, so he reluctantly followed her into the living room. "I know we've not been getting along well lately, but I know why now," Sami said, and explained, "I know it's been hard for you since you've broken up with Gabi, and I know that I haven't been there for you to talk to me about it -- and I promise I'm going to do better, okay? I'm going to be a better mom, and I will be there for you. You can talk to me about it anytime you want. I love you." Will just shook his head, and announced to his Sonny and Melanie that it was time to leave.
After the kids had gone, Sami acknowledged that it was hard for her to know that Will was upset with her, and she hoped that Rafe wasn't upset with her, too, for taking the job without checking with him. Rafe reassured his wife that he was proud of her -- and he was glad that she had a steady job. He asked if Sami were mad at him for taking the job working with her sister, but before Sami could answer, Carrie and Austin knocked on the door.
Rafe informed Carrie that he'd just told Sami about their new firm. "Sounds amazing," Sami declared, handing glasses of champagne to Carrie and Austin. The foursome toasted Carrie and Rafe's new business venture. They then played a party game, with Rafe and Carrie on one team, and Austin and Sami on the other. Rafe and Carrie won, and then gloated about their victory to the losers.
When they had finished dinner and their game, Carrie and Austin said their goodbyes and left for the square. As Rafe sat on the couch, Sami knelt behind him so that she could rub his shoulders. Rafe noticed that she kept checking her watch. Sami asserted that she was just ready for the new year to begin, because she wanted to start fresh. Rafe declared that he didn't care what year it was as long as he was with Sami -- and he knew that the next year would be the best one ever. The Hernandezes were making love when the new year arrived a little while later.
E.J. and Nicole arrived at the town square, and drank their champagne on a bench by the fire. Nicole asserted that the title of mayor would soon be E.J.'s, and marveled that the two of them were back together and in love after everything that had happened between them. E.J. proposed a toast, "To a new year -- a fresh start. Here's to me not being stupid enough to let you go again."
Melanie, Sonny, and Will stepped into the square from the party they were attending to get some air. After just a minute, Sonny was ready to go back inside to dance some more, but Melanie and Will wanted to stay outside a bit longer. After Sonny had gone, Melanie told Will, "Your mom's kind of worried about you." She offered an ear if Will needed to talk, but he insisted that he was fine. Melanie then left to get a soda for Will and a glass of champagne for herself.
E.J. was across the square on his cell phone when Sonny and Tyler burst out of the club with their arms around each other. While E.J. watched the group curiously, Tyler made fun of Sonny's dance moves. It was clear that, even though they weren't a couple, Sonny and Tyler were very comfortable with each other, and with their sexuality. When Tyler pointed out a guy who had been checking Sonny out, the guys asked Will if he wanted to go back into the party with them. Will declined, but promised to catch up. "I'll save you a dance," Tyler lightheartedly promised Will.
Right as the other guys left, Melanie returned with the drinks for herself and Will. Still watching Will, E.J. frowned thoughtfully as Will stated that he was going home. Will then left Melanie holding both drinks and bemoaning that she would spend New Year's Eve alone.
E.J. delivered a glass of champagne to Nicole, who was pouting that he'd left her alone for so long. E.J. assured her that he didn't want to miss getting to kiss her at midnight, but then decided not to wait that long, and planted one on her. When the clock struck midnight, they had returned to the bench by the fire, and enjoyed a New Year's kiss.
Abigail arrived at the town square just in time to see Carrie sitting on Austin's lap while the two shared a happy kiss to welcome the new year. With a sigh, Abigail averted her eyes.
Around midnight, a dejected Melanie was sitting solo on a bench, nursing a drink, when Chad arrived. He stood in the archway and gazed at her for a moment, but entered when Melanie rose to leave. She gave him a shy smile as she headed past him to the exit, but Chad grabbed her by the hand to stop her -- and then pulled her to him for a kiss.
John and Marlena lounged on the sofa at home, relishing that they got to spend New Year's Eve together, something John admitted he feared he'd never get to do again. Marlena suggested that they order some Chinese food, but when she checked her computer, she discovered that their debit card had been declined.
John made a phone call, after which he informed Marlena that because he'd paid back all of the missing money, the two of them were flat broke. Marlena calmly stated that they'd known doing the right thing would not be easy, but pointed out they were lucky, because they had each other. She declared that she would make something special for dinner, which apparently scared John, because he offered to help as he followed her into the kitchen.
As they ate dessert later, John thanked Marlena for being optimistic and understanding when he had given away everything they'd worked so hard to build. Marlena firmly declared that she loved the choice he'd made, and she loved that he was a man of honor and integrity. John promised that he was going to rebuild Basic Black, and Marlena had no doubt that he could. He then yanked the fork out of her hand, tossed it onto the table, and began to kiss his wife passionately.
A bit later, Will arrived. John made an excuse about having to make some overseas calls, and went into the other room. Marlena asked Will why he'd left the party. Will became emotional as he declared, "My life is a complete mess. I can't even act normal around my friends anymore. I can't control my emotions. My life is spinning out of control." Marlena asked if Will were ready to talk about what was going on, and he said that he was.
Will paced agitatedly, and when Marlena urged him to calm down, he made her swear never to tell anyone what he was about to tell her. Marlena assured him that he could trust her, and promised that she would see him through whatever it was that was causing him so much pain. Will was still unwilling to divulge what was going on, so Marlena grabbed him and demanded, "What is it?" Finally Will blurted, "Mom cheated on Rafe! Mom cheated on Rafe -- and I saw her having sex with E.J.!" The angry tears flowed as Will continued that his mom had lied to Rafe, to Marlena, and to Will. "She's a selfish slut, and I cannot stand that she's getting away with it!" Will declared.
Although clearly disconcerted, Marlena gently asked if Will were certain about what he'd seen, because it was very difficult for her to believe that Sami would do such a thing. Will swore that he was sure about what he'd seen. Marlena reassured him that she believed him. Will thanked his grandmother, and tearfully admitted that he didn't know what to do. "I'm so sorry," Marlena whispered, and then put her arms around her grandson, and held him as he wept. John then emerged from the bedroom, and Marlena managed a tearful smile and a nod over Will's shoulder.
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