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 Recaps for The week of January 23, 2012
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Monday, January 23, 2012
by Mike

At the Kiriakis mansion, Daniel assured Victor, Maggie, and Melanie that he would eventually return to Salem. Jennifer entered the mansion, and she was shocked to learn that Daniel was planning to leave later that day. Victor, Maggie, and Melanie exited the room, so that Daniel and Jennifer could have some privacy.

Jennifer assumed that Daniel had decided to leave Salem so that he could get away from her. Daniel said that Jennifer was wrong, and he insisted that he did not have any regrets. Jennifer hugged Daniel, and she tearfully stated that the feeling was mutual.

Later, Daniel thanked Victor for his support. "You went above and beyond the 'godfather' thing for me, and I wanna give you this. It's the pocket watch my dad gave you when you became my godfather, and you gave it to me -- said something like you wanted to earn it. Well, you have...with interest, you have," Daniel said, as he handed Victor a silver pocket watch.

"You know, after I lost my parents, and then I lost Rebecca, I think I traveled the world because no place really felt like home, and I'm not exactly sure when all this happened, but...this place, it feels like home, and you made me feel like I have a home, so I thank you for that," Daniel added. Victor nodded, and he said that he understood that Daniel needed a change of scenery.

Victor added that the point of an odyssey was that the hero always returned home in the end. Victor assured Daniel that Salem would always be his home. Daniel asked Victor to take care of Maggie and Melanie. Daniel wished that he had learned the truth about his biological mother earlier. "Well, Daniel, there's something I've been meaning to tell you...about Maggie being your mother. You see, I, uh...I knew," Victor said.

Daniel wondered what Victor was talking about. Victor hesitated, then he explained that he wasn't surprised that Maggie was upset about Daniel's decision to leave Salem. Victor noted that Maggie loved Daniel. Daniel said that he felt the same way, and he pointed out that he wasn't going to be gone forever. Before Victor could respond, Maggie, Melanie, and Jennifer returned, and Victor abruptly excused himself.

Maggie knowingly stated that Victor had left because he wasn't very good at handling emotional farewell scenes. "I want to give you this. This compass, it was -- it belonged to my father, and I hope that when you look at it, you'll think of me while you're gone," Maggie said, as she handed Daniel a compass. Daniel thanked Maggie, but he added that he wasn't going to need a compass to remind him of her.

Daniel promised that he would keep in touch with everyone. Daniel hugged Melanie and Maggie, then he started to exit the mansion. Jennifer rushed after him, and she kissed him passionately. Jennifer asked Daniel to return to Salem quickly. Daniel kissed Jennifer again, then he exited the mansion. After Daniel left, Jennifer started to sob.

At Countess Wilhelmina, Chad was surprised to learn that Kate wanted him to be a model. Chad refused Kate's offer, but Kate urged Chad to reconsider. Kate noted that Chad was extremely attractive, and that he had excellent bone structure. Kate jokingly added that Chad was already adept at brooding.

Chad guessed that Kate had some sort of ulterior motive, but Kate insisted that she just wanted to hire the right people for her campaign. Chad knowingly stated that Kate also wanted to get him back under Stefano's thumb. Kate laughed, and she said that she understood that Chad was convinced that the DiMeras always had a hidden agenda. Kate insisted that she did not have an ulterior motive.

"Well, we now know there's no ulterior motives, because she said so. Case closed," Chad dryly stated. Kate wondered if Chad could really imagine a scenario where Stefano would have said that he wanted Chad to be a model. Chad said that he wasn't interested in the job, even if it was a legitimate offer. Kate shrugged, and she admitted that she couldn't force Chad to accept the job.

Kate added that she would just have to find another couple, and she started to exit the room. Chad corrected Kate, and he pointed out that Kate just needed to find another male model. Kate shook her head, and she started to apologize to Gabi. "What the camera sees -- well, what it saw -- was the chemistry between the two of you, so either I hire both of you, or neither of you -- that's just the way it works," Kate said.

After Kate left, Chad warned Gabi that she wasn't going to be able to talk him into accepting the job. "Look, she's totally using you to get to me. I'm sorry...I didn't mean that like -- my father's company owns Countess Wilhelmina, so...if I do this, he'll own me, too, and that's what Kate's after. She's using you to put pressure on me," Chad explained.

Gabi sighed, and she admitted that she felt foolish for believing that she could be a model. Chad insisted that Gabi was gorgeous, and he said that she had to know that. "No, Chad, I don't know that. Will said he loved me, okay? But there was something about me that just...turned him off, and I thought that maybe with these pictures, he could see that he was wrong about me," Gabi explained.

Chad sighed, and he insisted that Gabi was beautiful -- on the inside and on the outside. Chad jokingly admitted that Kate probably didn't care about Gabi's inner beauty as much as he did. Gabi smiled, and she assured Chad that she would be able to accept the fact that she would not be able to start a modeling career.

"I haven't seen you this excited about something in a long time, so who cares why Kate's doing it? You and I could both use the money, and it'd be great to work with you. I've changed my mind; my new goal in life is to be a supermodel," Chad jokingly stated, as he stretched his neck to show off his excellent bone structure. Kate smiled as she returned to the room, and she said that Chad had made a very wise decision.

At the Intensity Day Spa, Quinn and Brady were in the middle of a workout session. Quinn interrupted the session, and he noted that Brady seemed agitated. Brady claimed that he was upset about John's situation. Quinn said that he understood just how hard it could be to try to regain everyone's trust.

"Give me a break. Your situation and my dad's situation were very different. He was a businessman who got set up. You pimped women out for money," Brady reminded Quinn. Brady added that Quinn had been indirectly responsible for Chloe's attack a few months earlier. Quinn agreed, and he said that he would regret that for the rest of his life.

Quinn insisted that he was trying to change, and he revealed that he had hired Marlena as his therapist. Brady admitted that he had made his fair share of mistakes, and he promised to refrain from passing judgment on Quinn. Brady noted that Quinn had written a letter of apology to Chloe. "She said that you helped promote her opening night in Chicago, made it a success -- is that true?" Brady wondered.

Quinn shrugged, and he said that he had just made a few phone calls on Chloe's behalf. Brady added that Melanie had mentioned that Quinn had been responsible for Carly's recovery. Quinn insisted that Carly deserved all of the credit for her sobriety. Brady nodded, then he said that he was willing to give Quinn a second chance. Quinn thanked Brady, and he hoped that the rest of Salem would feel the same way.

At the Horton Town Square, Abigail and Madison discussed the Mad World internship. Madison was concerned about Abigail's workload, but Abigail promised that she would be able to handle it. Abigail added that she enjoyed the pressure. Madison predicted that Abigail would be a great fit for Mad World, and she welcomed Abigail to the team.

Abigail enthusiastically promised that she would be the best intern that Madison had ever seen. Madison said that she was thinking about offering Abigail a different position in the company. Madison said that she would explain everything the next day. Madison added that she had very big plans for Abigail.

Later, Abigail bumped into Quinn. Abigail apologized, and she explained that she had been distracted because the battery in her phone had died. Abigail said that she had received some good news, and that she had been eager to share it with someone. Quinn offered to listen, and Abigail proudly informed him that she had been offered an internship at Mad World.

Meanwhile, Brady greeted Madison, and he wondered if she was going to be Titan's new CEO. Madison said that she was still thinking about the job offer. Madison explained that she had some things at Mad World that needed her attention. Madison admitted that she had been keeping a secret, and she added that she was ready to tell Brady the truth.

"Sami never quit Mad World; she is still working for me. Sami and I staged a number of arguments for Kate's benefit. We just had a feeling that if Kate saw us not getting along, she'd try to capitalize on it, and try to steal Sami to work for her, and we were, of course, right. Listen, you can never -- truly never -- underestimate the inherent sneakiness of this woman. So...Kate hired Sami, and then she coerced her into giving up Mad World secrets," Madison explained.

Brady realized that Sami had given Kate false information. Brady wondered if Madison was bothered about the fact that she was sinking to Kate's level. Brady added that Madison's tactics were unethical. "What's unethical about it, Brady? All's fair in love and lipstick -- I was just protecting my company," Madison said. Brady added that Madison had lied to him, and that she had placed Sami in a dangerous position.

Brady wondered if Madison had heard about Kate and Sami's history. Madison shrugged, and she noted that Kate had been Sami's mother-in-law, and that they did not get along with each other. "Right, but it's not like Kate criticized her pot roast one day. Did you know that Kate had Sami framed for murder? At any time, Kate would bury Sami. She would wipe her out, and take her grandchildren away from her, and you sent Sami right into the wolf's den, Madison!" Brady snapped.

Madison insisted that Sami had volunteered to help. Brady wasn't surprised, and he explained that Sami believed that she was invincible. Madison promised that she and Sami were being careful. "I hope to hell you are, 'cause the Kiriakis family owns your company, and now you're playing games with the DiMera family. The last time that these two families went to war, people almost died, Madison. Yeah, they used real bullets and everything," Brady said.

"I don't care who Kate's married to. You know, maybe I shouldn't have used Sami, but I didn't know any of this. I'd do anything to beat Kate. You have no idea how personal this is for me," Madison said. Brady wondered why Madison was determined to defeat Kate. Madison said that she and Kate had crossed paths before. Madison said that Kate had probably forgotten about it, and she claimed that it was just business stuff.

Madison added that Mad World meant everything to her, and that she was ensuring its survival. Madison wondered if Brady would be able to forgive her. Brady said that he hated the fact that Madison had lied to him, but he added that he didn't want to fight about it. Madison promised that she was done keeping secrets from Brady.

Brady warned Madison to be extremely careful, and he noted that her plan could easily backfire. Madison noticed that Quinn and Abigail were at a nearby table, and she wondered if Brady wanted to know another secret. Brady jokingly guessed that Madison was really a CIA operative.

Madison revealed that she was planning to offer Abigail a modeling position at Mad World. Brady agreed that Abigail was attractive enough for the job, and he suggested that Madison could ask Quinn, too. Madison cryptically stated that she had other plans for Quinn Hudson.

Elsewhere, Bo and Hope told Stefano that they had tricked him into meeting them. Hope demanded to know what was in the safe deposit box. Stefano admitted that he had shared a safe deposit box with Alice, but he added that the box required two keys. Hope smiled as she showed Stefano her key.

"Ah...you've been pretty hard at work, haven't you? I'm sure it's terrible for you to realize that I shared so many secrets with Alice -- secrets that she never shared with you. Well, I guess there's no reason to keep you in the dark any longer, so...come along, children -- let's get this over with," Stefano said. Later, in a private room at the bank, Hope and Bo impatiently waited for Stefano to retrieve the box.

"What in the world could justify Gran keeping secrets with Stefano DiMera? I don't like this; I don't have a good feeling at all about this, Brady. I mean, okay, all right -- I understand her helping to save E.J.'s life; I mean, my God, she'd do that for anybody, but...there's something more. There's something more, Brady. I don't like it -- any of it," Hope said, as she paced around the room. Hope noted that it was Alice's birthday.

Hope suggested that the date was significant, and she told Bo that it was going to be a big day for them -- and for Alice. Before Bo could respond, Stefano entered the room. Stefano placed the safe deposit box on a nearby desk, and he wondered if Hope was certain that she wanted to open the box. Hope inserted her key into one of the locks, and Stefano started to do the same.

"You know, before we open this box...there's a very important question that I think that you should ask yourself. If your grandmother wanted anybody to know about this secret, why did she go to such trouble to keep it hidden? Maybe she was trying to protect you, or someone that you love," Stefano said. Hope recalled that Stefano had made a similar statement before. Bo sighed impatiently, and he told Stefano to stop stalling.

Stefano inserted his key into the other lock, then he paused again. Stefano referred to the safe deposit box as Pandora's box, and he wondered if Hope was sure that she wanted to open it. Hope confirmed that she wanted to know what was in the box. Stefano started to open the box, but Bo slammed his hand down on the lid to stop Stefano.

Bo could tell that Hope was conflicted, and he reminded her that she did not need to rush into anything. Stefano urged Bo and Hope to give the matter some serious thought, and he told them to contact him after they had made their decision. Hope retrieved her key from the box, then Stefano carried the box out of the room. After Stefano left, Hope confirmed Bo's suspicion that she wasn't ready to open the box.

At the Brady Pub, Sonny introduced Will to two of his friends, Kareem and Dustin. Sonny explained that Dustin and Kareem were going to create a promotional campaign for the coffeehouse. Kareem said that he and Dustin had started a similar campaign for Unicorn Highway. Kareem added that the campaign had been extremely successful, and that Unicorn Highway had been turning guys away each night.

Will wondered what Unicorn Highway was. Dustin explained that it was a new gay club that had opened near Salem University. Dustin offered to put Will on the V.I.P. guest list, and he promised that Will would have a great time. Will laughed uncomfortably, and he stammered out an excuse about being swamped with homework.

Dustin and Kareem excused themselves so that they could order some drinks. After Kareem and Dustin left, Sonny lowered his voice, and he wondered what Will thought about Dustin. Will assumed that Sonny was asking if Will was interested in Dustin. Sonny clarified that he was the one who was interested in Dustin. Sonny explained that he had gone out with Dustin the previous weekend.

Sonny added that he was thinking about going out with Dustin again. Will breathed a sigh of relief, and he encouraged Sonny to ask Dustin out again. Sonny asked Will to put in a good word for him. Will shrugged, and he agreed to try, but he joked that it would be a really tough sell. Will warned Sonny not to make any jokes, because he wasn't funny at all.

Sonny laughed, and he insisted that Will was the one who wasn't funny. Will breathed another sigh of relief, as he and Sonny continued to tease each other. Later, Dustin and Kareem started to talk about how they had each chosen to tell their parents that they were gay. Dustin explained that he had chosen to tell his parents during a family dinner at a pizza parlor.

Dustin said that he had assumed that his parents would not have been able to freak out about the news if they were in a public place. Will wondered how Dustin's parents had reacted. Dustin said that his mother had known all along. Will wondered how Dustin's father had reacted. Dustin said that his dad had been really supportive.

Sonny said that his parents had been extremely supportive, too. "And what about you, Will? We've all told our stories; what happened when you came out to your parents?" Dustin asked. Will laughed nervously, as Sonny quietly observed the situation. Dustin and Kareem urged Will to reveal his story. Will started to stammer out a response, but Sonny stopped him.

Sonny pointed out that he wasn't finished talking about himself yet. Before anyone could respond, Dustin received a phone call, and he apologetically excused himself. Kareem agreed to join Dustin, and they quickly exited the pub. After Dustin and Kareem left, Sonny apologized for the way that they had pressured Will. "No, they just assumed I was gay, you know? Not a big -- not a big deal," Will said, as Sonny nodded.

Later, Will entered Sami and Rafe's apartment, and he sighed as he paced around the living room. Will stopped in front of a large mirror that was hanging on the wall. Will stood in front of the mirror and stared at his reflection for a moment, as he struggled with his emotions.

Will spat at his reflection, then he turned away in disgust.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

At the Brady Pub, Hope and Bo were chatting when Doug and Julie joined them at their table. Hope informed Doug and Julie about her run-in with Stefano and how he had offered to open Alice's safe deposit box. When Doug asked Hope why she had decided not to open the box, Hope explained that Stefano's argument that Alice had gone to great lengths to hide the contents from her family had made Hope second-guess her decision.

Hope admitted that she was worried the contents of the box would hurt her family. Julie advised Hope to trust her instincts and be cautious. When Hope got up to refill her coffee, Julie whispered to Doug and Bo that Stefano had provoked the reaction that he wanted out of Hope. "She'll find the right way to solve this mystery," Bo said.

When Hope returned to the table, Doug handed her a pile of papers showing a paper trail of wire transfers to a bank in Africa. Doug and Julie offered to go to Africa to look into the wire transfers. Hope took Julie aside and confided that she was worried what Julie and Doug would find. Shaking her head, Julie urged Hope to remember what kind of person Alice was and not to worry.

In Horton Town Square, E.J. stopped Lexie as she walked by. E.J. noted that despite the mayoral election, he and Lexie would always be family. "Think again," Lexie growled. As Lexie started to walk away, E.J. begged his sister to have an "honest conversation" with him. Annoyed by the word "honest," Lexie lit into E.J. and accused him of waiting to bump into her in the square. E.J. admitted that he had run into Lexie on purpose but that he had done it because he loved Lexie and wanted to repair their relationship.

Lexie told E.J. that her real family was Abe and Theo. "Even if you spent all your time and your energy on trying to become the kind of man Abe is, you will never succeed," Lexie said. Lexie noted that Abe's ethics and morals were foreign to E.J. Lexie added that E.J. had crossed the line when he ran for office against Abe, and E.J. forced her to choose her husband over her family.

Carrie was brushing her hair in her hotel room when Austin exited the bathroom, wrapped in a towel. Raising an eyebrow, Austin crossed over to his wife. "It's been too long," Austin whispered. As Austin began to undress Carrie, she pushed him away and said that she needed to head into work. Austin reluctantly let go of Carrie and started to get dressed. Carrie apologized for pushing Austin away.

"I got to be honest, Carrie. I just miss you. I miss being with you. I miss touching you," Austin said. Carrie noted that they both had a lot going on in their professional lives. Austin countered that if they were busy then they needed to schedule a date. Austin and Carrie scrolled through their calendars on their phones, but they had difficulty finding a date that they were both available.

"You and Rafe have a brand-new business and it doesn't have that much business yet," Austin said. When Carrie's mouth dropped open in shock, Austin asked her to be flexible. "So you are saying this is all my fault," Carrie noted. Austin corrected Carrie, noting that a husband and wife should be able to make time for one another. As an example, Austin explained that he had cancelled plans in order to meet with Carrie, and she had stood him up. Carrie apologized and noted that dinner was not as important as getting her business off the ground.

"Not important. Are we?" Austin asked with tears in his eyes. Carrie assured Austin that their marriage was important to her. Shaking his head, Austin argued that when Carrie was working 100 hours a week in law school, she had still managed to find time to be with him. "Why not now?" Austin asked. As Austin and Carrie reviewed their schedules again, Austin received an email that cancelled one of his appointments. With time free, Austin and Carrie made a date together.

Over breakfast at the loft, Sami confessed to Rafe that she was a spy for Mad World. "I hate it," Rafe responded. Rafe added that he was angry that Sami had lied to him. Sami argued that Rafe was not seeing her side of the story. "My boss told me to an,d for the record, I'm actually doing really well at it," Sami said. "So you're excelling at this new nine to five of deceit and betrayal! That's great," Rafe countered.

When Sami pointed out that police went undercover, Rafe argued that Sami was working in makeup and not in a life-and-death situation. "That sounds like something E.J. would do. Not you," Rafe said. Offended, Sami said that Rafe's comment was hurtful. Rafe justified his statement by noting that he wanted to wake Sami up. When Sami argued that Rafe should not lecture her about behaving in a manner her boss ordered, Rafe countered that he did not believe Madison felt that Sami needed to be a corporate spy.

Sami argued that she was not doing anything wrong. With a smirk, Rafe reminded Sami that when Johnny had told a lie, Sami had remarked that lying was always wrong. "What if they found out about this? How would you explain it to them?" Rafe asked. Laughing in disbelief, Sami noted that Johnny blaming his sister for his candy theft was a clear case of right and wrong, unlike what she was doing for Madison.

"You used to like that I was crazy and that I thought outside the box and that I'm unpredictable. You've told me a million times that that is one of the things you love about me," Sami said. "That is the Sami I love. Who I'll never stop loving," Rafe whispered. "You could have fooled me," Sami retorted. Rafe argued that he was supportive of Sami, but he did not want to celebrate her work as a corporate spy.

Rafe explained that he was worried about Sami because she was crossing a DiMera. When Rafe commented that Sami needed to put the team first, she spun around and asked him whether he put Carrie first. Rafe argued that he put Sami and the kids first. Sighing, Rafe commented that Sami was not comfortable with Rafe working with Carrie. "I didn't take the job to hurt you. I did it so that I could put food on the table," Rafe said.

Latching onto Rafe's argument, Sami noted that her motives were the same as Rafe's. Shaking his head, Rafe asked, "You don't see any difference at all?" Sami said she did not. Rafe grabbed his coat and announced that he was going to work. Once Rafe was gone, Sami broke down and cried.

At the DiMera mansion, Will dropped off an envelope for E.J. on his desk. Since no one was in the living room, Will attempted to sneak out of the house without being noticed. As Will opened the front door to leave, Nicole called out to Will and asked if he was avoiding her. Will feigned that he was busy, and Nicole counseled Will to make time for her. When Will joked that the only thing he could offer Nicole was a cup of coffee, she snapped at him.

Nicole informed Will that she knew he had stolen the jobs plan from Abe's computer for E.J. Nicole lectured Will that if he received any assignment that he needed to run it past her first. "Are you asking me to be your spy?" Will asked. "Back in the day when I was your stepmommy, I always knew you were a bright kid," Nicole joked as she patted Will's smiling face. Uncomfortable, Will explained that E.J. was his boss and that Nicole should talk to E.J. if she felt out of the loop on the campaign. Nicole countered that candidates did not always look out for their best interests.

"If E.J. gives you some future assignment, it could end up hurting his chances," Nicole explained. Nicole offered Will a receipt for a deposit into his checking account. Nicole explained that she would deposit more money if Will would agree to update her on E.J.'s plans.

As Will stared at the receipt, E.J. arrived home and yelled out hello. Nicole explained that she was delegating duties to Will, and Will backed up Nicole's story. E.J. took Nicole aside and asked her about the debate questions. Nicole assured E.J. that the questions would be delivered to him, then she went upstairs.

E.J. asked Will if there was anything he wanted to say. Shrugging, Will commented that he would not have trouble filling his car with gas now that he was "rolling in cash." With a grin, E.J. asked Will if things had gone as planned. Nodding, Will handed the deposit receipt to E.J. "It was kind of exciting. I've never been bribed before," Will said with a grin. Laughing, E.J. patted Will on the shoulder.

Will asked E.J. how he had known that Nicole would bribe Will. "Once you realize what women want, William, predicting their behavior is rather straightforward," E.J. said. With a chuckle, E.J. commented that the amount of the deposit showed him that Nicole cared. "It's so dysfunctional, but I really love her for it," E.J. said with a grin.

At the Horton residence, Jennifer asked Abe whether he was comfortable playing hardball with E.J. Jennifer explained that she had learned E.J. had a copy of the debate questions. With a smile, Jennifer told Abe that a journalist friend had tipped her off about E.J.'s plan but that the journalist did not have enough evidence to run the story in the paper. Jennifer explained that she wanted to get an advance copy of the debate questions from her journalist friend and beat E.J. at his own game.

Uncomfortable, Abe argued that he did not want to cheat. Jennifer counseled Abe to take the questions in advance and fight E.J. With a sigh, Abe admitted that he did not want to see what kind of damage a DiMera administration could do to the city. Abe asked Jennifer to call her friend and arrange for a copy of the debate questions. "Lexie can't know what we're doing," Abe said quietly. Jennifer agreed to keep their plan a secret from Lexie.

With a nod, Jennifer explained that she would obtain the questions and then quiz Abe on his responses. Shaking his head, Abe noted that Jennifer's plan would not work. "I want an advantage over E.J. the same way he wanted one over me," Abe said. Abe explained that in addition to rehearsing answers to the questions, he wanted to ensure that E.J. received a copy of the wrong questions.

When Jennifer reached for her phone, she asked Abe whether he was sure he wanted her to make the call. Abe grumbled that he was thinking like E.J., and that he was anxious for the election to be over. After calling her friend, Jennifer informed Abe that her friend would provide them with the questions but that he would not feed the wrong debate questions to E.J.

"We have to keep this quiet because the fallout could be catastrophic," Abe said as Lexie walked into the living room. "What fallout?" Lexie asked. Abe explained that he was worried about losing the debate. Lexie assured Abe that his character would outshine E.J. on the stage.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Austin and Carrie walked to work through Horton Square, and talked about restaurants for their upcoming romantic date. After they kissed each other goodbye and Carrie left for her office, Austin bumped into Abigail, and invited her to join him for a cup of coffee. As they sat down at a table, Austin apologized for having to cancel their dinner the night before -- even though Carrie had then cancelled on him. Abigail encouraged him to call her the next time that happened, because they had both ended up spending the evening alone.

Abigail then informed Austin that she'd gotten the internship at Mad World Cosmetics. Austin congratulated her with a bear hug, and offered to take her out to brunch to celebrate. Abigail politely declined, but accepted Austin's offer to buy her a muffin. She admitted she had been worried that she might not be fun to be around after her breakup with Chad. Austin reassured her, "I love spending time with you." Beaming, Abigail echoed his words.

Sami was still at home when Rafe returned to retrieve his cell phone. Sami tried to talk to her husband about the argument they'd had earlier regarding her corporate espionage for Madison. Rafe didn't want to discuss it except to warn Sami that she shouldn't mess with the DiMeras. "I can't concentrate when we're fighting. I want to find a way to make it right," Sami stated earnestly. She pointed out that they needed the money, plus she felt that Madison had given her the opportunity of a lifetime.

Rafe complained that the spying meant that Sami had needed to lie not only to Kate, but also to him. Sami apologized sarcastically for not being perfect, like Rafe was. She argued that she didn't want to have to ask E.J. or Lucas for child support, so she was doing her part to keep a roof over all of their heads. Rafe reminded her that he was working, and soon he hoped to be making as much money as he once had. "You want to make this right? Walk away from the job," he advised. Sami replied that she couldn't do that, and she just wanted him to try to understand. "I don't," Rafe declared, and abruptly left.

Rafe was still in a bad mood when he arrived at the office, but Carrie announced that she had news that was going to make his day. Carrie explained that she had been reviewing the case in which the son of one of Rafe's friends had been accused of arson. "There was a first responder who got a commendation for bravery from the fire department where he used to work. He got a disability settlement for smoke inhalation afterward," Carrie continued. "A firebug who wanted early retirement," Rafe deduced.

Carrie revealed that the first responder matched the description of someone at the scene who'd been acting suspiciously, and she had put in a call to the district attorney's office. Rafe was excited that the kid might end up getting cleared, but Carrie could tell that something was eating at her partner. Rafe claimed that everything was fine. After looking at the photo of the first responder, Rafe decided that they should pay the D.A. a visit. Carrie agreed, so Rafe helped her on with her coat, and they headed out.

When Carrie and Rafe returned, Carrie confessed that most "lawyer meetings" didn't go that well. While they waited to hear whether the D.A. was going to proceed with the arson charges against their client, Rafe and Carrie praised one another's intelligence. Carrie revealed that she had made some cold calls earlier that day in an effort to drum up some more work for them.

At Countess Wilhelmina, the photographer was getting set up for the photo shoot, while a makeup artist worked on models Chad and Gabi. Kate introduced the world-renowned stylist she'd hired for the shoot, Alexander Christian, to the assembled group. Kate enthused that the ad campaign was going to be featured on a celebrity website.

After Gabi and Chad were made up and dressed, she noted that he seemed uncomfortable. He admitted that he was, but the huge paycheck would more than make up for it. Gabi thanked him for agreeing to do it for her. Chad declared, "By the way, Will's a jerk. I mean, look at you. You're hot. He's an idiot for letting you get away." Gabi blushed.

Sami arrived just then, and raved about how amazing Gabi looked. Kate praised Sami for hiring all the right people. Kate announced that it was time to get to work, so everyone sprang into action. Through many costume, hairstyle, and makeup changes, Chad and Gabi posed seductively for the camera. Sami watched with surprise as her inexperienced models pulled off a very successful first photo shoot.

When it was over, however, Sami joined Kate in heartily congratulating the models and crew. After the room had cleared, Kate and Sami agreed that their models had handled themselves like a couple of pros. Kate admitted that she was happy she had hired Sami away from Madison, because it was working out even better than Kate had hoped.

On her way to meet with Victor, Madison conferred with someone by phone about whether to accept Victor's job offer. "If that's what you think I should do, then consider it done," Madison agreed.

At the Kiriakis mansion, Victor and Brady enthusiastically praised the delicious muffins that Maggie had baked. Victor asked Brady if Madison had revealed whether she planned to accept Victor's offer for her to become CEO of Titan, but Brady said that Madison hadn't informed him of her decision.

When Madison arrived, she was pleasantly surprised to find Brady there. She quickly got down to business, and explained that while her company was a pretty big deal, she was well aware that Titan was in a whole other league. She added that although she was honored and grateful for Victor's generous offer, she had to turn it down. Victor's temper flared, and he barked that Madison was making a very bad decision.

As Victor and Maggie left the room, Brady asked Madison if she were sure about her decision, and she replied that she had made up her mind. When Maggie and Victor returned, Maggie reassured Madison, "Your decision to turn down the job doesn't change the way we feel about you. You're always welcome here." Madison thanked Maggie, and reiterated her gratitude to Victor for his faith in her. Victor grumbled that he had to get in contact with a headhunter to fill the CEO position, and Maggie followed him out of the room.

Once they were alone again, Brady asked Madison what was really going on. He noted that she was willing to plant a mole at Countess Wilhelmina in order to beat Kate, but Madison was dismissing a chance to run a huge organization and have infinite power and control -- and it didn't make any sense to him. Madison maintained that her instincts in business had never failed her. She thanked Brady sincerely for his support, and for pushing her and wanting the best for her.

After Brady and Madison had left and Victor and Maggie were alone, Victor complained that Madison hadn't given him a reason for turning him down, and he could not figure out why such an ambitious woman had said no to an offer that could have done so much good for her career. Maggie suspected that Madison had fallen in love with Brady, and wanted to spend more time with him. "I also think that she's ready for a very different kind of challenge and reward than she has ever known before. I say good for her," Maggie declared.

As Brady and Madison walked through the square, he admitted he was worried that she and Sami would get in a lot of trouble for what they were doing. Madison reassured him that they were being careful. As soon as Brady stepped away to get both of them something to drink, Madison called Sami to see how the shoot had gone. As Sami looked over the photos on her laptop, she confessed that it had gone much better than she had expected, because Chad and Gabi had turned out to be more natural at modeling than Sami had predicted. Madison ordered Sami to do something about it, since that hadn't been their plan.

"What am I supposed to do? The photo shoot is over," Sami pointed out -- just as Kate walked in and asked whom Sami was talking to. Sami quickly covered that she had been talking to the wardrobe supervisor about some items that they hadn't ended up needing, since the shoot had gone so well. When Kate saw the photographs on the computer, she gloated, "When Madison sees these, she's not going to know what hit her."

Sami later called Rafe, because she hadn't been able to stop thinking about their disagreement. Rafe curtly replied that he couldn't discuss it right then, because he was awaiting an important call from the district attorney. Almost as soon as he hung up with Sami, the phone rang again. Once that call was over, Rafe announced, "They dropped the arson charges!" A thrilled Carrie jumped up from her desk, and Rafe ran across the office to hug her. The moment quickly turned awkward, so Rafe said that he was going to tell the boy's mother the good news. Carrie gazed pensively after him as he left.

When Brady returned, he noticed that something seemed to be bothering Madison. Madison insisted that everything was fine, and added softly that she cared a great deal about him. "Madison James, you ticked off my grandfather today -- but I hope you know that I'm behind you, no matter what," Brady declared. After kissing her goodbye, Brady left. Madison immediately made a phone call. "I did what you asked; I turned down Victor Kiriakis's offer. No, it wasn't easy. I feel like I just gave up the biggest opportunity of my life. I'm trusting you," Madison said to the person on the other end.

Sami was alone later as she reviewed the proofs from the photo shoot again. Her finger hovering over the "delete" button, she prepared to erase all of the images -- but Kate entered. She took the laptop away, and instructed Sami to follow her, because they still had a lot of work to do.

When Will joined Marlena for an early lunch at the Brady Pub, he was worried that she was going to lecture him about working for E.J. Marlena reassured him that she had no such plans, and declared lovingly, "There is one thing that I want to make perfectly clear, from the very bottom of my heart. Whatever choices you make in your life, as long as they don't hurt you -- well, I could never love you more than I do right this very moment."

Marlena added that she trusted him to make his own decisions because she knew who he really was inside, and she hoped that he would learn to trust and respect himself, as that was the only way to be truly happy. Marlena explained that if Will believed in his own integrity, no one could ever shame him. Will assumed that his grandmother was referring to the choices he'd made regarding his anger toward his mother and his job working for E.J.'s campaign, but she clarified that she was referring to neither thing.

Before Marlena could continue, Sonny arrived to talk to Will about plans for the coffeehouse. Sonny explained that he was meeting later with Dustin and Kareem, who had created some designs for the coffeehouse's logo. Will declined, citing his busy schedule. Sonny pressed Will to try to get together later, so Will politely excused himself to speak privately with Sonny. After the guys stepped away, Will claimed that the campaign was taking up too much of his time to be able to commit to anything, and urged Sonny not to wait for him to meet with Kareem and Dustin.

Will hesitated when Sonny suggested they could work on it after the election. Sonny asked, "I thought you wanted to be part of the project. Is there something you don't like about my friends?" Will insisted that wasn't the case; he just didn't have time. Although he Sonny wanted Will's input about the business, he understood, and told Will to call when his schedule freed up. "You know I don't mean to pressure you -- about anything," Sonny added, then said goodbye to Marlena, and left.

Marlena assured Will that it was all right if he wanted to spend time with his friends, but he maintained that he didn't. They briefly discussed the frozen-yogurt maker that Sydney wanted for her birthday, and then Marlena changed the subject back to Sonny and the coffeehouse. Marlena noted, "I just saw you shut down with your friend. He was trying to be friendly and inclusive." Will asked if they could just drop it, but Marlena wouldn't let it go. She gently stated that when she saw him struggling or in pain, she wanted to help him.

Will insisted that he was neither; he was simply busy. Marlena reminded him that she was always there if he ever needed to talk. Will thanked her, but said that he had to leave. As Will left, he brushed right past Gabi and Chad, who were a bit taken aback that he'd ignored them. Gabi and Chad asked Marlena if Will was all right. "He's got a lot going on right now. He'll be fine -- I'll make sure of it," Marlena reassured them.

As Will wandered into the town square, he took a piece of graph paper out of his pocket, and unfolded it. He stared gloomily at the floor plan for the coffeehouse that was drawn on it, then folded it back up and shoved it back in his pocket.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012
by Mike

At the Intensity Day Spa, Quinn tried to talk to Melanie about Abigail. Melanie shrugged, and she admitted that Abigail hated her. Quinn refused to believe that, and he urged Melanie to try to repair her friendship with Abigail.

Later, Madison and Abigail entered the spa. Madison said that she wanted to talk to Quinn about a new project. Quinn claimed that he had forgotten to lock the treatment room, and he asked Abigail to take care of it for him. After Abigail left, Madison wondered what Quinn was up to. Quinn replied that he was trying to do a good deed.

Madison announced that she wanted to use Quinn's spa for a national promotion. Quinn pointed out that Kate was already doing that. "No, I'm going to launch a successful campaign -- something Kate knows nothing about. Look, I'm offering you the opportunity to take your small, local business, and make it national," Madison said.

Meanwhile, in the treatment room, Melanie and Abigail realized that Quinn had set them up. A short time later, Quinn and Madison entered the room. "I was just talking to Quinn about a new campaign that I want to launch for Mad World, featuring the two of you. I want the spa to play a major role in a new ad campaign for a new Mad World product, and I was just thinking that maybe the two of you could be the faces of the new line," Madison announced.

"I'm sure you know that Kate is using local talent for Countess Wilhelmina, but it's my feeling that that boy-girl thing -- that's just very passť, those ads. My feeling is that I want to feature friends, you know? Best friends -- real friends -- who look like real people, who actually really like each other, make each other laugh," Madison added. Quinn pointed out that there was an obvious problem with Madison's plan.

Madison agreed, and she noted that Melanie and Abigail's friendship had ended. Madison said that she was going to need to think of a new plan. Madison added that Melanie was already juggling multiple jobs. Madison admitted that Melanie probably would not have been interested in the position anyway.

Melanie muttered that she was slightly interested, and Abigail added that she was very interested. Quinn reiterated that Abigail and Melanie's friendship had ended, then he excused himself. After Quinn left, Madison told Melanie and Abigail that they would need to repair their friendship first. Madison added that she was going to need an answer right away, then she excused herself.

After Madison left, Abigail and Melanie started to talk. Abigail was surprised to learn that Daniel had left Salem. Abigail started to say that Melanie should have called her, but then she stopped herself. Abigail recalled that she had said some particularly nasty things to Melanie earlier, and she admitted that she understood why Melanie hadn't called her.

"It's not what you said that hurt. I understand why you said 'em. I understand why you're upset with me. What hurt my feelings is that you weren't listening to me when I told you that your friendship with me means more than any guy, or Chad -- anyone," Melanie said. Abigail assured Melanie that she had been listening.

Abigail knowingly stated that Melanie still wanted to be with Chad, despite the fact that she had promised to stay away from him. Melanie quietly confirmed Abigail's suspicion. Abigail sighed, and she told Melanie that they were right back where they had started.

Meanwhile, in the lobby, Madison wondered if Quinn was ready to accept her offer. Quinn pointed out that Kate would be upset if he agreed to work with Madison. "Boo-hoo. Has she offered you national exposure? Is she gonna make you rich, Quinn? Replace all this junk with Mad World, I will make you the Warren Buffet of day spas. Yeah, I'll take that as a yes," Madison said, as she watched Quinn's expression change.

At John and Marlena's townhouse, Brady and John discussed the Basic Black relaunch. John said that he wanted to use the fashion magazines to launch the campaign, and he suggested that the slogan could be "Black is Back." Brady said that was a predictable move, and he told John that they needed to do something that would be new and edgy.

"Let me tell you something -- young women, who buy most of the clothes -- they're online, okay? That's where we have to be, okay? We need to get a Twitter account, we need to have our own application, okay? Maybe call it 'The New Black' or something like that," Brady added. John reminded Brady that they were starting from scratch, and he said that they couldn't afford to get edgy yet.

Brady insisted that John was wrong. Brady agreed that the company would need customers, but he added that it was also going to need investors. Brady told John that they weren't going to attract investors by being predictable. John countered that the company needed to prove that it was stable and reliable, not edgy and cool. Brady said that wouldn't work in the fashion industry.

John pointed out that he had founded a very successful company. "Right, and I was just handed Titan, so I don't know what the hell I'm talking about," Brady sarcastically replied. John happily admitted that Brady had done a great job at Titan. John told Brady that they could revisit his ideas at a later date. Brady insisted that waiting wasn't an option, and he said that the company wouldn't last that long.

John and Brady continued to argue with each other about the best way to handle the relaunch. John refused to take a passive approach, and he pointed out that his reputation was at stake. Brady noted that he had walked away from a CEO position at Titan, and he assured John that he knew exactly what was at stake. Brady wondered if John expected him to just agree with all of John's ideas.

"You know what? I'm gonna say something right now that you might find hard to take. I think you're acting like a jerk...kind of like I am right now," John realized, as he and Brady started to laugh. John admitted that he knew where Brady's stubborn streak had originated. Brady insisted that John was the stubborn one.

"See, we disagree, but we're still here. That's gotta stand for something. We can disagree on the big stuff, but I know that I can trust you, and that's the biggest thing of all," John said. John suggested that he and Brady needed to crunch the numbers for each of their proposed campaigns. Brady gasped, and he wondered if John was saying that they needed to compromise.

Later, Brady and John realized that they would be able to use both of their ideas, if they managed their finances properly. John said that Brady could promote an edgy line of clothing on the Internet, and he added that he would use the traditional media sources to reintroduce a classic line of clothing. John and Brady shook hands, and John happily announced that Black was back.

At the Horton Town Square, Marlena greeted Jack. "You remember...I told you that I'm meeting with some military veterans who have served overseas? Mostly, they've served in Iraq...or Afghanistan. Well, we've begun having weekly therapy sessions, and we're about to have one in the next ten minutes. I think it might be helpful for you to join us, even if you only just sit and listen," Marlena explained.

Jack was reluctant, and he insisted that Marlena's idea would not work. "The people in your group...they put their lives on the line to defend their country. I just wandered over there, looking for adventure and advancement, and...this pen is my deadly weapon of choice. It would be an insult for me to go in there and pretend that I went through anything like what they went through," Jack said.

Marlena said that she had already asked the veterans for their permission, and that they had agreed. Jack still wasn't convinced, and he started to walk away. Marlena stopped Jack, and she pointed out that he was running away again.

A short time later, outside the meeting room, Jack started to have second thoughts. Marlena insisted that Jack was brave enough to handle the challenge. Jack nodded, and he admitted that Abigail and J.J. needed a real father, instead of a broken one. Jack agreed to participate in the group therapy session.

Marlena and Jack entered the room. A woman greeted Jack, and she introduced herself as Leslie. Leslie was with a service dog, Isaac. Leslie introduced Jack to the rest of the group -- Mike, Paco, and Robert. Mike said that Jack was making him nervous, and he urged Jack to sit down.

Mike told Marlena that Paco was thinking about going back to Afghanistan, despite the fact that he had just returned home three weeks earlier. Paco admitted that his home didn't really feel like his home anymore. Mike wondered where Jack had served. Jack explained that he was a journalist, and Mike bluntly stated that he wasn't a fan of journalists.

Mike conceded that most of the journalists probably had good intentions, but he added that they usually didn't know what they were talking about. Marlena explained that Jack had actually been in Afghanistan. Leslie urged Jack to share his story with the rest of the group, and she advised Mike to give Jack a chance.

Jack explained that he had been in Kandahar, Afghanistan, working on a story about the drug trade. Jack nervously stood up. "I was kidnapped...they kidnapped me. They -- they kept me in a cave for about a year. And...what you said, I kinda feel -- I kinda feel that's right. It doesn't feel like home. It feels...it feels like I'm still back there, in that cave," Jack said, as he looked at Paco.

Mike shifted uncomfortably in his chair, and he reiterated that he didn't like to talk to people who were looming above him. Leslie invited Jack to join the group, then she started to talk about her experiences. Leslie started to fondly recall the people of Bosnia. Jack was amazed that Leslie was able to remain positive, in spite of everything that had happened to her.

"I lost my leg, but I can still walk. I lost most of my vision, but I can still see a little bit. So many of the people over there -- they lost their lives, their towns, their families...communities just decimated. And worst of all, they lost their hope -- their sense of freedom. I could see it in their eyes," Leslie said. Marlena invited Paco to share his story with Jack, but Paco quickly refused.

Mike said that Paco had earned a Purple Heart. Mike added that a roadside bomb had killed Paco's best friend. "Most nights, I wake up in a sweat. I can still hear the gunfire; I see the faces of the guys in my unit, and my wife...she keeps wanting me to talk about it, but how am I supposed to talk about those things? Then we'd just both have to live with it," Paco said.

Jack wondered how old Paco was, and Paco replied that he was twenty. Jack noted with sadness that Paco was just a kid, and he added that he had a daughter who was the same age. Paco assured Jack that he wasn't a kid anymore. Before Jack could respond, another woman entered the room, and she apologized for being late. The woman introduced herself as Pat.

The group continued to share their stories. "When I came home, I felt so disfigured. I realized I had to mourn my leg...and my vision. The person that I used to be. It's taken me a long time to get to where I'm at today, to be grateful for what I still have. Obviously, I'm still in therapy. But...you know, it's the small victories that keep you going. Like, for me? Walking in high heels again? Damn, that felt great," Leslie said.

"I think it helped Eric's mom to know that I was holding him when he died, so that I could tell her his last words were, 'Tell my mom I love her.' Eric, man, he was...he was my big brother. Guy could really make me laugh. I haven't laughed since that day. Sometimes...I don't think I ever will again," Paco said. Pat explained that her young son, Colton, was the person who had given her a reason to keep going.

Marlena wondered if Jack had anything that he wanted to say. Jack admitted that he was starting to realize that he wasn't the only one who had been through horrific experiences. Mike noted that there were thousands of people with similar experiences in cities, states, hospitals, and streets across the country. Jack laughed uncomfortably, and he promised that he was going to stop feeling sorry for himself.

Paco wondered what had happened to Jack in the cave. Jack struggled to compose his thoughts. "Time was weird. I knew it was important if I could just...remember what -- what day it was. If I knew...the day. I kept a calendar. I scratched it on a rock. It was hidden -- they couldn't see it. I just thought...if I could just remember the date -- the day -- I wouldn't go crazy. I know that's stupid. It's just so stupid," Jack said.

"They -- they beat us. They tortured us. But I kept saying...'I will go home -- I will! I will go home! I will make it home!' And...and then one day...they came, and they -- they killed one of the prisoners. They -- they took my -- a friend, and I could hear him screaming. I didn't wanna know that there were people who could do that to another human being; I didn't want to be in a world where there were people who could be like that. And now...that world, and those people, are more real to me...than any of this. It's like -- it's like I said, I feel like I'm still back in that cave," Jack added.

Jack admitted that he had never realized how difficult it would be to return to his old life. "I managed to scare the hell out of my wife -- my ex-wife -- and I kept freaking out. I kept freaking out. It wasn't the people back there, and it wasn't -- it wasn't everything that happened back there. It wasn't the fact that the world had moved on without me, and all the people I knew had moved on without me. It's because I couldn't. I couldn't, because I have a huge part of myself...that's back there...halfway around the world...in a cave," Jack said.

Jack sighed, and he added that he just wanted to be whole again. Marlena smiled sympathetically at Jack, then she informed the group that they were out of time. "You know, during the session, I was reminded of what a World War II vet said to me once. He said, 'For those who were there...no explanation necessary. For those who weren't...no explanation possible,'" Marlena added, as she said farewell to everyone.

Each of the veterans hugged Jack, then they exited the room. After everyone was gone, Marlena noted that Jack had made a lot of progress. Jack hugged Marlena, and he tearfully thanked her for inviting him to the therapy session.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

As Abigail knocked on Austin's office door, she began to fantasize about telling him that she loved him -- and he responded by kissing her. Austin's greeting snapped her back to reality. Abigail informed him that she'd been offered a modeling job at Mad World, in addition to her internship and her job as Austin's student assistant. She added that she wanted to make sure it was all right with him before she accepted. Austin enthusiastically urged her to take it, but asked if her parents were on board. Abigail reminded him that she didn't need her parents' permission.

Austin confessed that he still had a hard time not thinking of her as "Jack and Jen's little girl," then immediately realized that he'd offended Abigail. He apologized sincerely, and Abigail quickly forgave him. Austin asked for more details about the modeling job. Abigail said that one of the reasons she was considering it was that it involved a lot of travel, including to Europe, where she still had a lot of friends. Austin remembered that Abigail had already seen a lot of the world. "I told you -- I'm much more mature than you realize," Abigail declared.

Carrie arrived at the office and found Rafe trying unsuccessfully to glue mock jewels onto little tiaras for Sydney's birthday party. Carrie sat down across the desk from him, and volunteered to help. While she glued on the gems, Rafe passed along effusive thanks from the mother of the boy whom Carrie had gotten cleared of arson charges. Rafe then asked what Carrie's favorite birthday-party memory was.

Carrie confessed that like Sydney's, it had been a princess party, but the memory was special because it had been the last party her mom had thrown for her, and because it had made her realize that her mother really had loved her. "Thank you," Rafe said, and then explained, "For making me realize that all this...it's all worth it." After Carrie was finished, a very grateful Rafe thanked her. Carrie admitted that she and Austin had always wanted children, but school and their careers had gotten in the way. Rafe then got a phone call that obviously upset him. When Carrie asked what was wrong, he replied, "Everything."

Kayla was getting the Brady Pub ready for Sydney's party when Rafe and Carrie arrived -- in full prince and princess costumes. Kayla burst out laughing, and declared that the two of them looked adorable. Rafe explained that the people he'd hired to play Prince Casper and Princess Miranda from Sydney's favorite TV show had cancelled, so he and Carrie were going to step in. As Kayla grabbed her camera, Rafe grumbled that he would never live the incident down.

After Kayla was satisfied that she'd taken enough pictures of the prince and princess, she asked if they'd been practicing the dance. Rafe and Carrie had no idea what Kayla was talking about, so she explained that at the end of every episode, Casper and Miranda performed a ballroom dance. Kayla offered to teach the dance to them.

A little while later, Kayla watched while Carrie and Rafe waltzed around the pub. The dance ended when Rafe dipped Carrie practically into Kayla's lap, and Kayla applauded enthusiastically. Kayla then got a text message about her son Joey, who was running a fever, and had to leave, but she assured Rafe and Carrie that they would be a hit at the party.

After Kayla had gone, Carrie and Rafe confessed that they were actually having fun. They turned the music back on, and resumed rehearsing the dance. Even without Kayla's guidance, they completed the waltz successfully -- until the dip at the end, when Rafe nearly dropped Carrie. They laughed awkwardly, and agreed that they were ready to perform at the party.

Will arrived at the DiMera mansion, and asked what E.J. needed him to do. E.J. explained that Sami hadn't invited him to Sydney's birthday party, so he wanted to throw his own party for his daughter -- and he wanted Will to get the girl there. Will knew that his mom would flip out if she found out, but E.J. informed the lad that Sami and Kate were in Chicago until that evening, so Sami would never have to find out.

Will tried to refuse, but E.J. asserted that Sydney missed him and deserved to spend time with her father on her birthday. "But if I bring Sydney here, my mom's going to lose her mind," Will reiterated. "William, that's the whole idea," E.J. replied. Will agreed to ask Sydney if she wanted to go.

At the Horton house, Abe and Jennifer were reviewing questions for the mayoral debate. In a crisis of conscience, Abe admitted that what they were doing felt like cheating. Jennifer maintained that they didn't have a choice, because E.J. was playing dirty. She added that her source, Jacobson, had told her that the debate questions were going to be delivered to E.J. that afternoon; they just had to figure out how to switch the real questions with the ones they had written. Jennifer tried to reach Jacobson by phone, but couldn't.

Lexie's arrival just then startled both Abe and Jennifer. Lexie explained that E.J. had invited Theo to the mansion for Sydney's birthday party. Although Lexie had no desire to be around her brother, and she was worried that E.J. might try to pull something while they were there, she also didn't want her feelings to affect Theo and Sydney's relationship. Jennifer suggested that she could accompany Lexie and Abe, to ensure that everything went smoothly.

After the living room had been festooned with pink and white balloons, Nicole and E.J. carried in piles of gifts wrapped in pink paper, and trays of Sydney's favorite sandwiches. Although Nicole was concerned about the fallout for E.J. and Will when Sami found out about the party, she was more excited about seeing Sydney. She confessed, "I still love her so much. In my heart, I'll always think of her as mine." Laughing at E.J.'s expression, Nicole reassured him that she hadn't meant that in an obsessive way.

Just then, Will arrived with Sydney, who happily ran into her daddy's arms. Abe, Lexie, and Theo arrived not long after that, with Jennifer right behind them. As Theo darted over to sit next to Sydney on the couch, E.J. thanked his sister for being there. "I'm here for Theo and Sydney -- not you," Lexie snapped. Jennifer pulled Abe aside, and whispered that she'd spoken to Jacobson from the car, and he'd told her that the papers hadn't been delivered to E.J. yet. Abe seemed for a moment like he was having second thoughts about switching the questions, but then he declared determinedly that he could not let E.J. take control of Salem.

Jennifer was surprised when she noticed Will in the corner. Will hugged his aunt and shook Abe's hand. Will explained that he'd become the go-between for E.J. and his family since he'd started working for E.J. Abe and Jennifer were utterly appalled. When Will explained that Abe's campaign had been fully staffed, they assured Will that they would have rearranged things so that he could have worked for them. Will thanked them, but maintained that it would be unprofessional for him to break his commitment to E.J.

Lexie asked E.J. where their father was. He replied that he'd thrown the party together rather quickly, and had tried to call Stefano's cell phone, but hadn't been able to reach him. "You know what that means: he's up to no good," Lexie asserted.

Later, Nicole and E.J. contentedly watched Sydney sharing a cup of punch with Theo. E.J. quietly declared that he wanted to win the election because he wanted his children to grow up proud of him. Nicole cautioned him that winning the election could cost E.J. his relationship with his sister. E.J. insisted, "She'll come back; she always does."

As E.J. went into the other room to retrieve his camera, the doorbell rang. Jennifer and Abe watched as Nicole went to answer it. Nicole slid the envelope she received into the drawer of a table in the foyer, while Jennifer peered out from the living room. Abe joined Jennifer at the punch bowl, and in a whisper, she described where Nicole had put the questions.

While everyone watched Sydney rip into her gifts, E.J. asked Will, "See? Look what a good time she's having. Are you happy you brought her now?" Will replied almost gleefully, "You think this is fun? Just wait until my mom finds out she's here."

Meanwhile, Abe quietly slipped out to the foyer, while Jennifer stood guard just inside the living room door. Abe removed the envelope from the drawer, took out its contents, and replaced them with some papers from his jacket pocket. Jennifer stepped away, and suddenly E.J. appeared in the foyer. "Abraham? What are you doing out here?" E.J. asked.

When Bo and Hope invited Stefano to meet them in Horton Square, he arrived promptly. Stefano asked if the Bradys had made a decision regarding the safe deposit box he and Alice shared. Hope said she'd realized that the contents of the box had to affect Stefano somehow, or else there wouldn't have been two keys. She continued that since Alice would never have entrusted Stefano with an important secret, it meant that there was something that both Alice and Stefano had wanted kept secret.

Stefano claimed that he had nothing to hide, but Hope didn't believe him. Changing tactics, Stefano maintained that he was only trying to protect Hope from something her grandmother had never intended for her to know. When he referred to Hope as his "little art thief," she bristled, and declared that she would not fall for his mind games again. Turning to Bo, Hope said, "Whatever's inside that box may be just what we need to put Stefano DiMera away -- for good this time."

Stefano insisted that Hope was wrong, so she ordered him to prove it by opening the box. Stefano growled a warning, "You have no idea what you are talking about -- how many lives those two secrets could destroy." Hope couldn't believe her ears. "There are two secrets inside that box?" she hissed. Bo and Hope demanded that Stefano tell them about the secrets.

Stefano reluctantly explained that after Alice had helped save E.J.'s life, Stefano had vowed to pay her back at any cost. Despite her insistence that she'd wanted nothing to do with him, she'd obviously held onto his voucher. In relating the story, it was clear that Stefano had nothing but respect for Alice. Years later, Stefano had visited Alice again, because he'd learned something about the Horton family that he'd been sure Alice would not have wanted the public to know. He'd promised to keep it a secret as a way of repaying his debt to her -- but Alice had countered that she'd had something on Stefano.

The two had been at a stalemate, until Alice had suggested a compromise: each of them would take their information and place it into two separate envelopes, then lock them away in a safe deposit box, which could only be opened if both of them were present. Stefano added that neither he nor Alice had ever learned what information the other had. He then declared that they faced a very dangerous dilemma -- for all of them.

"I was not bluffing when I told your grandmother that what I found out should never be made public, and if I were you two, I would adhere to the same advice," Stefano warned. Hope replied that she would make that decision. Stefano stated ominously, "Fine; I have done my part. Now, you can either leave sleeping dogs lie, or you can awaken the beast. The choice is yours."

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