In Austin and Carrie's hotel room, Carrie and Austin were lying in bed together. Austin assured Carrie that they were going to be all right. Austin started to kiss Carrie, but Carrie hesitated.
Carrie suggested that it might be a good idea to take things slowly. Austin silently recalled his earlier encounter with Abby, and he assured Carrie that he understood. Austin wrapped his arms around Carrie, and he said that he just wanted to hold her for the rest of the night.
Outside the Brady Pub, Melanie noticed that Abby was crying. Melanie wondered what had happened. "I saw him with her...his wife! They were kissing. They were kissing at the town square, in front of everyone. He can't go back to her. He can't, because he and I...we're so right together, and it was finally gonna happen for us," Abby tearfully stated.
Melanie was shocked to learn that Abby's mystery man was married. Abby wondered why her mystery man had betrayed her. Melanie carefully asked if Abby and the unnamed man had slept together, and Abby claimed that they had.
Later, at the Horton house, Abby admitted that she had known about the man's marriage from the beginning. "Their marriage was in trouble. She didn't understand him, and she totally took him for granted, and then, when she really hurt him, that's when the two of us...came together," Abby explained.
"I wanted to help him, and he was so grateful. He appreciates me more than anyone ever has, Mel, and that's why we connected -- because I knew what he needed, and I gave it to him," Abby added. Abby insisted that she had tried to respect the man's marriage. Melanie gently stated that Abby had made the right decision.
"But then I saw him last night, and when he found out what she had done, it was over. It was over, and I just -- I don't understand how he could be with Carrie now," Abby blurted out. Melanie realized that Abby was talking about Austin and Carrie. Melanie gently pointed out that Carrie and Austin were in love with each other, and that they were happy together. Abby wasn't convinced, and she insisted that things had changed.
Abby admitted that she had never expected to fall in love with a married man. "The more time that we spent together, the more it just started to build, and...we had this connection, and we both felt it -- we both knew that it was there. And then we finally...made love, and...it was everything that I knew it would be, so after that -- to go back to her, after that, I just...don't understand how he could hurt me like this," Abby said.
Later, Melanie and Abby shared a carton of ice cream. Melanie noted that Abby was going to need a friend, and she said that she was glad that they had repaired their friendship. Melanie wondered if there was anything that she could do for Abby. "Austin...all I want is Austin. He doesn't want me," Abby whispered.
At the Brady Pub, Rafe sensed that Will was hiding something. Will claimed that he was just upset because Sami had kicked Rafe out of the apartment. Will insisted that the apartment was Rafe's, and that Sami did not have the right to do that. Rafe was still suspicious, so Will added that Sami had tried to blame Carrie.
"She said that Carrie has always tried to steal the men in her life, and it happened with Austin, it happened with my dad. To be honest, though, my mom was always the one trying to steal the man. Anyway, she said it's happened again with you, and that's what she meant by 'everything that's going on.' She just sees this as -- it's not an isolated incident for her," Will explained.
Will insisted that Rafe was the best thing that had ever happened to Sami. Rafe said that he was the lucky one, and he promised that he was going to fix everything. Will said that he didn't want Rafe to feel guilty about the kiss. "Look, if you're gonna be married to my mom, you can't sweat the small stuff, okay? She has no right to make you do that," Will added.
Rafe noted that he had made vows, and he insisted that he had let everyone down. Will shook his head impatiently, and he abruptly excused himself. Will explained that he needed to get a permit so that he could help out with the election. Rafe offered to drive Will to the police station. Will tried to refuse, but Rafe assured him that it wouldn't be a problem.
At the police station, Bo asked Roman for some time off, so that he could go to Alamainia. Bo quickly explained the situation to Roman. Later, an officer entered the room, and he announced that he had just arrested one of Alfredo Maroney's employees. Roman noted that Maroney was on the Salem Police Department's most-wanted list.
The officer explained that the man had tried to scare a store owner into paying for protection, and that the owner was willing to testify. Bo noted that the man was on his third strike. Roman suggested that the man might be willing to betray Maroney. Roman pointed out that the election was the next day, and that arresting Maroney would be a huge victory for Abe's campaign. Bo agreed to interrogate the man.
Later, Bo entered Roman's office. Bo was optimistic about the progress that he had made during the interrogation, but Roman did not seem pleased. Roman apologetically informed Bo that someone had threatened the store owner. Roman added that the store owner had changed his mind about testifying.
Roman said that the case was closed, but Bo wasn't willing to accept that. Bo insisted that he would be able to convince the man to confess. Roman said that Bo sounded like he wanted to crack the man's skull. "If that's what it takes, I'll do it!" Bo snapped, as he started to leave the room.
Roman stopped Bo, and he told Bo to calm down. "Now, I know you're frustrated about the whole John and Hope thing, and you want to take it out on a suspect, but he's not Stefano!" Roman firmly stated. Bo reluctantly admitted that Roman was right.
Later, Rafe and Will arrived at the police station. Rafe wanted to talk to Bo, so Will agreed to wait in the hallway. After Rafe left, Roman greeted Will. Roman noted that Sonny had filed for a business permit, and he explained that the paperwork had landed on his desk earlier. "I just want you to tell Sonny...if he has any trouble, he can come to me," Roman said.
Will wondered what Roman was talking about. "Well, Salem is a pretty tolerant town. We've got a lot of smart people who live here, but we also have our share of jerks and troublemakers. Sonny's a great kid, but he's out, and he's not shy about it, and now that he's opening a business...well, there might be some people not as accepting as we'd like," Roman tactfully pointed out.
Will said that Sonny was just opening a coffeehouse. Will insisted that Sonny wasn't going to have anything to worry about. "I hope not, Will -- I hope not. But when a business opens, if people think -- and the people we're talking about are the jerks and the troublemakers -- if they think that business is gonna cater to a certain clientele that they don't approve of, even if that's not the case, trouble can follow, and not just for them -- for their families, too. You tell Sonny...if anything like that does happen, do not hesitate to come to me," Roman said.
Will incredulously asked if Roman had forgotten what year they were living in. Roman assured Will that he had not forgotten. "Believe me, I hate it every bit as much as you do, but unfortunately, that is reality," Roman added.
Meanwhile, Rafe greeted Bo. Bo said that Carrie had already informed him that she and Rafe had decided to end their partnership. Rafe nodded, and he vaguely stated that it was complicated. Bo noted that Carrie had given him the same answer.
Rafe cryptically stated that working with Carrie had been a bad idea. Bo wasn't satisfied with that answer, and he wondered what Rafe was talking about. "All right, we kissed, okay, Bo? We made out, and it was a huge mistake. We feel terrible about it, and Sami and Austin walked in on us, and now it's a huge mess, all right?" Rafe blurted out, unaware that Roman and Will had entered the room.
"Why in the hell am I not rearranging your face right now? And what did Sami do to deserve this? Come on, she and Carrie have had troubles for a long time -- a lot of bad blood between 'em. They were working it out, and now this?" Roman snapped. Rafe apologized, and he promised that he was going to fix everything. Rafe and Will abruptly exited the room.
In Madison's hotel room, Brady was shocked to learn that Ian was Madison's husband. Brady assumed that Ian was joking, but Ian assured Brady that he was quite serious. Ian wondered if Brady was a colleague of Madison's. Brady ignored Ian, and he waited for Madison to explain the situation.
Madison feebly assured Brady that she could explain, but she seemed reluctant to say anything in Ian's presence. "You know, I'm getting a bit concerned here -- you're starting to sound as though you have a connection to my wife," Ian calmly observed. Brady said that he had never heard of Ian, and he realized that Ian had probably never heard of Brady, either.
"You're right, young man -- I do not know you, but my instincts are beginning to tell me a great deal. I go away; it's unavoidable, but when it's finally done, and I'm able to return to you, this is what greets me. Is it true? Is this man your lover? Have you betrayed me?" Ian asked Madison.
Brady told Ian to leave Madison alone. Brady pulled Madison aside, and he said that he wanted to hear her explanation. Brady reminded Madison that he had proposed to her earlier. "Oh, congratulations, but that is unfortunate," Ian dryly stated.
Brady demanded to know if Ian was Madison's husband. Madison started to stammer out a response, and Brady realized that Ian had been telling the truth. Madison begged Brady to let her explain. Brady stormed out of the room, and Madison started to chase after him.
Ian grabbed Madison's arm, and he said that she wasn't going anywhere.
At the penthouse, John gave Marlena a charm bracelet for her Valentine's Day gift. "To symbolize that this year is a new beginning for us," John said. John remarked that Marlena had not slept well, and he asked her if worrying about Stefano had prevented Marlena from sleeping. John apologized to Marlena for not protecting her from Stefano. Marlena countered that she was sorry she allowed Stefano to provoke her.
Marlena was worried that Stefano would tear her apart from John, but John assured Marlena that he would never leave her. "Stefano was different yesterday," Marlena said. John told Marlena that he and Hope would dissolve their marriage and that it would amount to no more than a small inconvenience in their lives. As John hugged Marlena, the smiles on both their faces fell.
Marlena led John to the couch and wondered aloud why Stefano had sent John and Hope out of the country to marry them. John shook his head and urged Marlena to stop worrying about Stefano. "Do you remember being with Hope?" Marlena asked. Marlena continued that if John had not resolved his feelings for Hope, he needed to work through them before he left the country to pursue his divorce.
John assured Marlena that his relationship with Hope was not a choice he made and that neither of them acted with any free will. Marlena argued that John and Hope experienced real feelings, whether it was of their own free will or not. Marlena urged John not to underestimate Stefano. John asked Marlena to trust him.
At the DiMera mansion, E.J. woke Nicole by kissing her leg. "Do you know what day is today?" E.J. asked quietly. "A lady never forgets Valentine's Day," Nicole purred. When E.J.'s face turned to horror, Nicole realized that he had forgotten that it was Valentine's Day. E.J. grew angry and cursed Will for failing to remind him of the holiday as instructed.
With a smile, Nicole told E.J. all was well since it was election day and she fully expected E.J. to be elected mayor. E.J. jumped out of bed and showered Nicole with rose petals and a bouquet of flowers. Laughing, Nicole said, "You didn't forget!" With a grin, E.J. grabbed a velvet box and handed it to Nicole. Nicole opened the box to find a diamond necklace. Nicole was stunned as E.J. put the necklace on her.
Smiling, Nicole climbed out of bed to model her new necklace, and dropped the sheet so that she was standing naked. With a grin, E.J. grabbed Nicole and pulled her into bed with him. "Abe is about to have a very bad day," Nicole said with a laugh.
At the Horton house, Lexie showed off her new earrings to Jennifer as Abe chuckled in the corner. When Lexie asked Jennifer if she was doing anything with Jack, Jennifer explained that she had no plans except to spend the day with her favorite mayoral candidate, Abe Carver. Lexie went into the kitchen and left Jennifer alone with Abe to talk.
Jennifer informed Abe that someone had approached her about adjusting the poll results to guarantee a win for Abe. "What do you want me to do?" Jennifer asked. Abe wondered aloud why someone would offer to fix the election for him. Jennifer explained that the man did not want E.J. to be elected to office. "He said he considers it an act of civil disobedience. He doesn't want his family raised in a town run by the DiMeras," Jennifer said. Abe argued that E.J. would not win, but Jennifer was concerned.
Jennifer told Abe that he had until the polls closed before he decided whether to take advantage of the election worker's offer. "Decide what?" Lexie asked as she returned to the living room. Jennifer stuttered that they were discussing Abe's tie. Lexie laughed and urged Abe to head out for some last minute campaigning. "There is no way that Abe is going to lose this election to E.J.," Jennifer said firmly.
In Horton Town Square, Chad ran into Melanie outside the day spa. Chad handed Melanie a Valentine's Day card and she beamed at him. "I still think about you all the time," Chad said. As Melanie stared at Chad, Abby walked up behind him and said hello. Chad started to leave, but Abby urged him to stay. When Melanie mentioned that the hot chocolates she ordered for her and Abby were ready, Chad offered to grab the drinks.
After Chad left, Melanie told Abby that she did not need to invite Chad to join them. Shaking her head, Abby insisted that she meant what she said and that she believed Chad and Melanie made a good couple. Abby thanked Melanie for being her friend and noted that she was unhappy that she could not talk to her mother about her relationship with Austin. When Abby asked Melanie if she was making a mistake with Austin, Melanie explained that she did not want to see Abby get hurt.
Abby and Melanie sat down at a table as Chad returned with their drinks. Abby informed Chad that she owed him an apology. "I was unfair to you after we broke up and I'm sorry. I hope you can forgive me," Abby said. "I already have," Chad said as he hugged Melanie. Melanie leapt to her feet, hugged Abby, and asked her to be her best friend forever.
Abby smiled as she looked up at Chad and told him that she believed he and Melanie made a fantastic couple. "Don't mess this up," Abby joked. Once Abby was gone, Chad wished Melanie a happy Valentine's day and kissed her. After they kissed, Chad suggested they watch "The Princess Bride" at the local movie theatre. Nervous, Melanie noted that it would be their first date.
Outside the town square, Will met with a man and assured him that he would be rewarded for his work. The man wanted assurances from "Mr. DiMera," but Will countered that his assurance was as good as one from the Dimeras.
At the polling booths, E.J. cast his vote and posed for photos. When a woman approached him with her baby, she informed him that her baby was named E.J. As the woman giggled and handed E.J. her baby, E.J. smiled and posed for pictures with the woman and the baby.
While Nicole watched E.J. gladhand the voters, she spotted Will and pulled him aside. "Did you take care of that thing I asked you to take care of?" Nicole asked. Will informed Nicole that everything was on track.
Across the square, Abe and Lexie cast their votes at the ballot booths. E.J. approached Abe, and chuckling, Abe stated that E.J. should refer to him as Mr. Mayor. "For today," E.J. retorted. Abe informed E.J. that he was not worried about losing because he believed the better man would be victorious. As E.J. smirked in response, his phone beeped with a text message.
Abe and Lexie went over to the reporters for interviews, and Lexie gushed over how proud she was to be married to Abe. When a female reporter asked Lexie about her brother, Lexie's face darkened and she growled, "No comment." Jennifer pulled Abe aside to quietly discuss the offer of the poll worker to change the votes. Abe admitted the offer was tempting but that he did not want to compromise his principles any further. Abe noted that if he stole the election he would be no better than E.J. With a sigh, Abe stressed that he wanted to be the man that Lexie believed him to be.
Nearby, Nicole slipped into an alcove in the square to take a phone call. "What? No that can't happen. It will cost E.J. the election. I don't know what you should do. I will have to think about it," Nicole said as she hung up her phone.
E.J. slipped outside of the square and met up with Will. Will informed E.J. that he had told Sami that he saw her have sex with E.J. Alarmed, E.J. menacingly stepped toward Will and demanded an explanation. Will noted, "It just happened." Furious, E.J. grabbed Will's arm and began to shake him and yell. Will apologized and noted that Sami had pushed him until he blurted it out.
Will added that he realized he made a mistake and that was why he told E.J. he had spilled the beans to Sami. "If Nicole finds out I had sex with your mother," E.J. said before trailing off. Will told E.J. that Sami had promised to stay quiet, but E.J. was uneasy. Will reasoned that Sami would not tell anyone because she did not want anyone to know.
E.J. was unsure, but Will explained that Sami had no one to tell about her affair. When Will noted that Rafe moved out, E.J. became alarmed. Will stressed that Sami kicked Rafe out of the loft after she saw Rafe kissing Carrie. Nodding, E.J. told Will that he hoped Sami would keep her word to Will not to tell anyone about the affair.
E.J. returned to the square to find Nicole. When Nicole seemed somber, E.J. grew worried. Nicole assured E.J. that everything was fine. As E.J. kissed Nicole, Abe stared at him from across the square. Abe noted that he had crossed the line during the debate, and that he did not want to repeat his mistake. With a sigh, Jennifer admitted that she was relieved that Abe had decided to decline the offer from the election official.
Austin woke Carrie up in their hotel room by caressing her face with a rose. As Carrie smiled and opened her eyes, Austin offered to get breakfast at the local bakery. "Everything is okay with us," Carrie assured Austin. Austin told Carrie that he planned to spoil her, then he left to get breakfast.
Austin was exiting the Brady Pub as Abby was walking by. Upset, Abby turned to walk away but Austin stopped her and asked her to talk to him. When Austin told Abby that he owed her an apology, Abby interjected to note that she saw Austin kissing Carrie. "I'm sorry that you had to see that," Austin said. Abby grabbed Austin's hand, but he delicately pulled his hand away.
Austin explained that he and Carrie wanted to work on their marriage. When Abby asked why, Austin countered, "Because that's what married couples do." Austin assured Abby that he was ashamed of his behavior and that he took advantage of Abby. "I'm not ashamed or sorry. Being with you was the most wonderful night of my life," Abby said.
Austin assured Abby that she was important to him but that he was not thinking when he spent the night with her. "I don't want to lead you on. You're an amazing person and you deserve to be with someone that can make you happy," Austin said. "That's you. You make me happy," Abby responded. Austin explained that his marriage was worth fighting for because he loved Carrie.
"Then how could you make love to me?" Abby asked breathlessly. Abby argued that the night they spent together meant something, and that Austin could not dismiss what happened. Hurt, Abby asked Austin if he had used her. When Austin denied the charge, Abby asked him if he loved her. Austin stared at Abby in silence. Embarrassed, Abby covered her face and began to cry. "Don't say you're sorry because you're not," Abby said. Upset, Abby walked away.
As Carrie sat in bed smelling the rose Austin left, Sami entered the room and slammed the door. "You bitch," Sami muttered. When Carrie got out of bed and asked Sami why she was in her room, Sami slapped Carrie's face. "What is wrong with you?" Carrie cried out. Stunned, Sami asked Carrie how she could ask such a question.
"You are a liar, a homewrecker, and a slut and it is time someone called you out," Sami said. Carrie swore that she was not a threat to Sami's marriage. "You have every reason to be upset with me," Carrie said as she turned away from her sister. Enraged, Sami shoved Carrie against the wall and yelled that Carrie could not fix the situation with an apology.
Carrie pushed Sami off of her and argued that she was not pursuing Rafe. When Carrie asked Sami what she wanted, Sami explained that she wanted Carrie to admit that she seduced Rafe because he was married to Sami. Carrie refuted Sami's accusation, but Sami argued that Carrie needed to stop pretending that kissing Rafe was an accident.
When Carrie countered that Sami had a questionable history, Sami argued that she had changed while Carrie was "the same spoiled brat." "You've been nothing but an insecure, jealous, manipulative witch," Carrie yelled in response. Carrie argued that Sami was the one who had made their sisterly relationship a competition, and she cited Sami's invitation to Austin to move into the loft as an example.
When Sami argued that she had made the offer to Austin to be nice, she noted that Austin would not have needed help if Carrie had not run out on her husband in order to help John. "John is more important than your husband. No wonder my mother likes you best," Sami joked. "Tell the truth for once in your life. You saw an opportunity to hurt me and you jumped on it," Carrie said.
Laughing, Sami said, "No, I was actually just trying to do something nice for Austin." Carrie accused Sami of being incapable of telling the truth and listed a number of lies that Sami had told in her life about Austin and Carrie. "How can you attack me for going after your husband after all the times and all the ways that you went after mine?" Carrie said. Carrie accused Sami of being self-destructive, but chuckling, Sami countered that Carrie was the one who screwed up this time.
As Sami warned Carrie that Austin would leave her, Austin returned to the hotel room. When Austin asked Sami why she was in their room, Sami remarked that she was there to tell Carrie how she felt. Carrie interrupted to say that Sami wanted to hurt her and blame her for everything. Carrie argued that she apologized, but that renewed Sami's anger.
When Sami said that neither she nor Austin were buying Carrie's act, Austin interrupted to state that he did not need Sami to speak for him. Austin explained that he and Carrie had decided to move on with their lives together and forget about what happened with Rafe. Confused, Sami argued that Austin did not understand what happened. Sami stressed that she witnessed the kiss between Carrie and Rafe and that it was not an innocent kiss.
"I don't care," Austin said. "You should care!" Sami countered. When Austin asked Sami to leave, she spun to face her sister and ordered Carrie to look into her face and say that she was not in love with Rafe. With pursed lips, Carrie looked at Sami in angry silence.
At Countess Wilhelmina, Ian crept into Kate's office as she was reading the riot act to someone on the phone, her back to the door. When Kate slammed the phone down, Ian said, "That poor underling has no idea in how many ways his life is ruined." Kate jumped up, startled to see him. Ian purred that Kate never changed, except to get more beautiful. She demanded to know why he was there, and reminded him that he had walked away from her years earlier with no explanation. Ian found her anger alluring and a bit amusing, but Kate grew impatient with his refusal to answer her question.
Ian took Kate's hand, and stated that life was too short to hold grudges. Kate insisted lightly that she didn't hold grudges -- and she had hardly thought about Ian over the years. Ian tried to remind her of a night they'd spent in Paris, but Kate noted that she had spent many evenings in Paris with many interesting men. Ian asked if Kate really wanted him to leave. Kate emphasized that she didn't have time to take a stroll down memory lane with Ian. "You have made me angry more times than I can count," she asserted.
Nuzzling her hair from behind, Ian said that he couldn't stay away from Kate, but she pointed out that he had been gone for a long time. As Kate turned to face him, Ian stated that no one had ever gotten to him the way she had. He seemed poised to kiss her, but she pushed him away, reminding him that she was married. Ian tried not to show his surprise when she informed him that her husband was Stefano DiMera. Kate warned Ian, "Do you realize that if he knew that you came anywhere near me, you'd be dead?" Ian noted that Stefano was older than Kate.
"I never thought you would ever need a sugar daddy. I find it very hard to imagine that he could satisfy you," Ian added. Kate strode over to slap him, but he grabbed her hand mid-swing, and kissed her palm. Kate yanked her hand away, and called Ian a bastard. Ian didn't buy her indignation, and pulled her close to him again.
Kate hissed that Ian was as arrogant and self-involved as ever. Releasing her from his grasp and stroking her cheek, Ian said ruefully that he never should have let her go. As he left, Kate asked how long Ian planned to stay in town. He informed her that he had moved to Salem. "It's not Paris, but it does have you," Ian added as he closed the door.
When Madison entered the living room at the Kiriakis mansion, Brady was not pleased to see her. Madison begged him to let her explain, but Brady snapped that her husband had already done so the night before. "Brady, I love you," Madison declared. "Get the hell out of here -- now," Brady churlishly ordered. Madison meekly refused to leave until Brady heard her out. Brady angrily accused her of lying to him since the beginning, because she had told him everything about herself except that she was married.
Madison quietly insisted that no matter how it seemed, she had never intended to hurt Brady. He argued that if that were true, she would not have let him fall in love with her. Madison said that as they had grown closer, she had really wanted to tell him the truth, but the truth was very complicated. Brady didn't buy it. Madison reminded him that she had tried hard to keep things "strictly business" between them, but then she had begun to fall for Brady. Beginning to cry, she declared, "I have never loved anyone the way that I love you, Brady. Not Ian."
Raising his voice, Brady asserted that he didn't want to hear anything else she had to say. Madison reiterated her plea to let her explain. Brady shouted, "There's nothing to explain here. It's inexplicable!" He tried again to throw Madison out, but she stated earnestly that she owed Ian her life. Brady countered that Madison had owed him the truth, but everything he had thought he knew about her had been a lie. Madison swore that she'd never lied about how she felt about him.
Fighting back tears, Brady complained that he'd gone back to Madison's hotel room to tell her that he didn't want to live without her, and he'd wanted to put the ring on her finger, but instead, he'd learned -- from her husband -- that she was married. Madison apologized sincerely for how she'd handled things. Brady believed that there had to have been a reason she hadn't told him that she was married.
Madison maintained that no matter what had happened, she loved Brady and didn't want to lose him. Brady wanted to know why she hadn't left Ian -- or at the very least, why she hadn't told Brady the truth when he'd asked her to marry him. He pointed out that he had worked very hard to get to know Madison, but he'd gotten to know a fabrication. He continued that perhaps she had picked him because she'd known he would be an easy mark -- but he should have seen the signs when she'd ordered Sami to spy for her. Madison reminded him that she had put an end to that plan, but Brady asserted that it was only because he had told her that he didn't approve.
Brady added that Ian probably didn't care about Madison's character flaw -- that lying was second nature to her -- so the two of them were a perfect match. "Why don't you go be with your husband and leave me the hell alone?" Brady spat. Madison tearfully pleaded with him to reconsider, but he was adamant. "If you see me on the street, I want you to turn around; I want you to walk the other way. I also want you to pretend that this little thing that we had never existed, because that is what I'm going to do," Brady whispered icily. Finally, a heartbroken Madison grabbed her coat and left, while Brady blinked back tears.
In Carrie and Austin's hotel room, an enraged Sami demanded of Carrie, "Do you have feelings for Rafe? I'm your sister; Austin's your husband. Don't you think we deserve to know the truth?" Carrie guiltily remembered her kiss with Rafe, but defiantly insisted that she was not in love with Sami's husband. Sami wouldn't let it go, and demanded to know why Carrie had been making out with Rafe if she wasn't in love with him -- unless it was because she couldn't stand to see Sami happy.
Carrie maintained that her so-called vendetta against Sami was all in Sami's head. "You're my sister and I love you. I do not want to fight with you about this," Carrie declared. Incredulous, Sami proclaimed, "I hate you. You haven't changed a bit. You are still the same selfish, fickle bitch that you always have been." She told Austin that he was an idiot if he couldn't see what Carrie was really like, and then stormed out.
Carrie insisted to Austin that nothing Sami had said was true. Austin reassured his wife that he was on her side, and said that he wanted to spend the rest of their Valentine's Day focusing just on the two of them. Carrie agreed.
Abigail was drinking coffee alone on a bench in Horton Square when Jack spotted her. He was surprised to see that his daughter was crying, but she tried to assure him that everything was all right. Remembering that it was Valentine's Day, Jack guessed that Abigail was upset because of her breakup with Chad. Abigail admitted that she had been seeing someone she went to school with. "I thought he was the one, but he doesn't feel the same way about me," she said dejectedly.
Jack wanted to know if the guy had led Abigail on. "Yeah. Maybe he did," she replied. Jack wanted to make the guy answer for what he'd done to Abigail. Although touched, Abigail pointed out that she had to fight her own battles. She added that she was sorry about the way she'd acted when Jack had first returned, but she was glad he was back. Jack gently suggested that maybe Abigail wasn't ready to be in a serious relationship. "Didn't you and Mom get together when she was in college?" Abigail reminded him. Jack reluctantly acknowledged that Abigail was right.
Abigail declared sadly, "I love him. And I'm not just saying this. I truly believe that if he would just open himself up and give us a chance that we would be great together." Jack asked why the guy didn't want to be with Abigail, and quickly deduced that the guy was with someone else. Changing the subject, Abigail informed her dad that she and Melanie had made up, and they were going to accept Madison's offer to model for Mad World.
Jack cautioned her that he still hadn't convinced Jennifer that Abigail could handle the job. He stressed that he and Jennifer only wanted to protect Abigail from anything that could hurt her. Abigail hugged her dad gratefully.
Just then, Carrie and Austin entered the square, holding hands. Carrie greeted Abigail warmly, but quickly realized from Abigail's expression that something was wrong. Austin apologized for interrupting, and said that he and Carrie would give Jack and Abigail their privacy, but Carrie wanted to stay, since Abigail was obviously upset. Staring pointedly at Austin, Abigail said that she was very lucky to have her dad to talk to about the guy who had broken her heart.
Austin looked extremely uncomfortable as Carrie hugged Abigail sympathetically. He reiterated that he didn't want to intrude on Abigail and Jack, and quietly reminded Carrie that they were supposed to spend the rest of Valentine's Day together. Carrie whispered to Austin that he was Abigail's boss, and Abigail needed to know that she had his support. Austin then told Abigail, "I am so sorry that you're hurting. I really am."
Austin added that he was sure the guy had never intended to hurt her. Abigail agreed, but pointed out that it had still happened. Carrie hugged Abby again. Jack noted that since there was some tension between Abigail and Jennifer, perhaps it was good that Abigail had Carrie to talk to. Carrie eagerly offered to do what she could to help. "Sit down, and tell me about this idiot. I mean, did he make promises to you he couldn't keep?" Carrie asked earnestly.
Her voice dripping with sarcasm that was lost on everyone but Austin, Abigail thanked Carrie effusively for her kindness. Austin suggested that Abigail might feel comfortable discussing her problems with someone closer to her age. Abigail noted that Carrie wasn't that much older, and she wanted to get Carrie's perspective. "You know, the more I think about it, you're the perfect person to help me understand why this guy did what he did," Abigail added to Carrie.
Rafe entered the Brady Pub, where Kayla was helping Sydney, Johnny, and Allie with their valentines. As soon as the kids saw Rafe, they all rushed over to greet him, and Rafe scooped the trio into a giant bear hug. The kids declared that they missed Rafe, and they asked where he had been. He dodged their questions, claiming that he had just been busy with work. Rafe produced valentines and sweet treats for the children. Kayla then suggested that the kids go to the kitchen to help Caroline decorate some cookies for Rafe.
Once the young ones were gone, Kayla asked Rafe if he wanted to talk about whatever was going on. Rafe confessed that Sami had thrown him out because she'd walked in on him kissing Carrie. He maintained that the kiss hadn't meant anything, and he loved Sami more than ever. Kayla noted that she had sensed "something" with Rafe and Carrie when she'd been teaching them the waltz for Sydney's party. "Are you absolutely sure there isn't something between the two of you?" Kayla asked. Rafe professed that he loved Sami, and he was going to fix things between them.
Sami walked in just then, but stopped abruptly as soon as she saw Rafe. Kayla hastily explained that the kids were in the kitchen with Caroline, and hurried off to check on them. Rafe wished his wife a happy Valentine's Day, but Sami didn't reciprocate. Rafe explained that he'd dropped off some cards and candy for the kids, because he missed them, and he didn't want them to think that he'd left because he'd wanted to. Sami just stared at him coldly.
Rafe asked what he could do to convince her that he missed her, too. Sami closed the gap between them, almost as if she were going to kiss him, but then replied angrily, "Stop kissing my sister." She stormed out, but Rafe chased after her. He caught up with her outside, and implored her to listen when he said that he was sorry for kissing Carrie -- and he would keep telling Sami that until she understood how sorry he was. Sami finally admitted, "I realize that there were two of you. I mean, I don't blame you for it entirely. In fact, I don't even blame you mostly."
Sami continued that she had been to see Carrie, "And let's just say she was not nearly as apologetic as you have been -- but then, of course, she loves to hurt me, unlike you." Rafe replied, "Well, I doubt that." Rafe's seeming defense of Carrie only infuriated Sami, so he pleaded with her to let him try to fix things, so he could be with her and the kids again. Sami said that she just wanted to know whether Rafe had feelings for Carrie.
Rafe declared that he loved Sami, and his commitment was to her and her family. Sami pointed out that he hadn't answered her question. When Rafe didn't say anything, Sami became angry again, and pointed out that she would not be so upset if she had caught him kissing anyone else but her sister. "She took Austin away from me... But that's not enough? She has to take you away from me, too?" Sami complained. Rafe argued that he loved Sami and no one else. Sami declared quietly that she could not get the image of Rafe kissing Carrie out of her mind, adding with finality, "I can't get past it. Ever."
Sami noted that she knew Rafe well enough to know that he wouldn't kiss someone the way he'd kissed Carrie unless he had feelings for her, and she didn't understand how he could expect her to be with him after seeing them together. Sami started to leave, but Rafe grabbed her gently by the arm, and refused to let her walk away. He softly declared, "I married you for better or for worse, and it's not over until we both say it's over -- and I will never, ever say that."
Sami wanted to know why. "Because, blue eyes, you're my everything, till death do us part," Rafe affirmed. He grabbed Sami and kissed her passionately, and she clung tightly to him as she returned his kiss. He then let her go, and walked away without another word.
At the Brady Pub, Jennifer met with the man who had offered to rig the election. Jennifer declined the man's offer. The man agreed to respect Abe's decision, but he added that the exit polls weren't promising.
After the man left, Abe joined Jennifer. Abe could tell that something was wrong, so Jennifer admitted that he had fallen behind in the exit polls. "But you know what, Abe? Most people, they're not even honest at the exit polls, especially in this election. Maybe they want Stefano to think that they didn't go on record saying they voted against his son," Jennifer optimistically suggested.
Lexie entered the pub, and Abe explained the situation to her. Lexie refused to accept defeat, and she assured Abe that everything was going to be all right. Before Abe could respond, Lexie excused herself so that she could check on Theo.
At the Horton Town Square, Austin reluctantly listened as Abby talked about her mystery man. Abby told Carrie that the man had kissed another woman. Abby admitted that she had known about the other woman the whole time. Abby claimed that the man had given her the impression that his relationship with the other woman had ended.
Carrie was sympathetic. "Don't feel stupid. You were in love, and he's older than you -- he had been around more than you. This is completely on him, Abigail. Can you believe this? What an ass!" Carrie exclaimed, as she looked at Austin. Austin squirmed in his chair, and he nodded uncomfortably. Carrie urged Austin to give Abby some advice.
"From a guy's perspective, I think that there's a distinct possibility that he's not quite as calculating as he sounds. I mean, maybe he didn't realize he was leading you on...and didn't mean to let things get so far," Austin suggested. Carrie groaned, and she wondered if Austin was being serious. Carrie reiterated that the man was older, and that he should have been more responsible.
"You know, the first time he kissed me, I could hardly breathe afterward, and I know he felt the same way -- I know he did. He wasn't thinking about anyone else but me," Abby insisted, as she looked at Austin. Austin pointed out that the man could have had a change of heart. Carrie said that the man was a creep, and she wondered why Austin was defending him.
Austin suggested that the man might have been feeling guilty about the whole ordeal, but Carrie wasn't convinced. "You know, I want to be mad -- I do, but I can't get there, 'cause I'm just really hurt. He wants to pretend like I'm this mistake that he has to sweep under the rug and forget about, but I was imagining spending my life with this man," Abby pointedly stated.
Carrie tried to comfort Abby, and she insisted that Abby deserved a better man. "Oh, God, I also feel so sorry for this other woman. She probably has no idea that this guy that she's with is complete scum," Carrie added, as Abby stared at Austin.
At the DiMera mansion, E.J., Nicole, Kate, and Stefano waited for the election results. Nicole was confident that E.J. would win, but Stefano and Kate weren't convinced. Stefano pointed out that Nicole and E.J. had squandered their opportunity to solidify a victory.
Later, Kate and Nicole talked about Will's internship. Nicole assumed that Kate didn't approve of the internship, but Kate admitted that it would give her a chance to spend some more time with Will. Nicole suggested that E.J. might be a good influence on Will. Kate laughed, and she noted that Sami and Lucas wouldn't be very happy to hear that.
Nicole started to leave, but Kate stopped her. Kate admitted that Nicole had been a good influence on E.J., too. "I'm sorry -- I think I've been working too many long hours. Did I just hear you say that I actually got the Kate Roberts-DiMera stamp of approval?" Nicole asked incredulously.
Kate explained that she hadn't changed her mind about Nicole, but she admitted that Nicole deserved some credit. Kate observed that E.J. had genuinely fallen in love with Nicole. Kate added that E.J. was a lot easier to get along with when he was happy.
"Okay, since we're being honest with each other...I can't stomach you, either, but it seems you've been a good influence on Stefano. He actually seems civilized, 'cause when I lived here before, that was so not the case," Nicole said. Kate and Nicole were shocked that they had managed to give each other a compliment.
Meanwhile, E.J. insisted that it had been necessary to distance himself from Stefano during the campaign. E.J. pointed out that Stefano had a bad reputation in Salem, and he claimed that it had been best for the voters to believe that Stefano had gone into retirement. Stefano admitted that he was pleased that E.J. was trying to legitimize the DiMera name.
E.J. bitterly noted that it would have been easier to achieve that goal if John had remained in prison. E.J. vowed to find out who had facilitated John's release, but Stefano urged E.J. to forget about John. Stefano said that E.J. was going to win the election based on the merits of his own good name. Kate entered the room, and she warned Stefano and E.J. not to turn into pillars of the community while her back was turned.
Stefano reminded E.J. that Lexie was married to Abe. Stefano noted that Lexie and Theo were going to be really disappointed about Abe's defeat. E.J. promised to be sensitive, but he added that Abe's time had passed, and that Lexie needed to accept that fact. Kate wondered if Abe was already aware that he had lost the race. Nicole entered the room, and she said that the officials were about to announce the winner.
At the Horton Town Square, Jennifer informed Abe and Lexie that the election commission was ready to notify the winner. Jennifer received a phone call, and she nervously excused herself. A short time later, Jennifer returned. "It was close, Abe. It was really closer than anyone predicted...but you did it, Mr. Mayor! You won! You just made E.J. DiMera an ordinary citizen again," Jennifer announced.
Back at the DiMera mansion, Nicole was crestfallen as she delivered the news. E.J. stammered out a response, and he insisted that someone had made a mistake. Nicole explained that the election commission had certified the results, and that they were about to make an announcement. E.J. feebly reiterated that the results had to be wrong.
"So...all the assurances that you gave me...that you did not need my help...and that the election was a foregone conclusion -- all of that, that's all wrong now, huh?" Stefano asked, as his temper flared. E.J. insisted that everything had been under control.
Nicole assured everyone that she was going to get some answers, then she abruptly left the room. Stefano sarcastically agreed that checking the exit polls would be a great way to handle the situation. E.J. impatiently guessed that Stefano would have recommended bribery, threats, and intimidation.
"You want to know something? Sometimes the old ways are the best ways," Stefano sagely stated. E.J. muttered that Nicole would get some answers. Stefano was doubtful, and he pointed out that E.J.'s defeat was a crushing blow.
"You did this not only for yourself, you know? You also did it for your children, and for me! Don't tell me. I don't want people going around saying that Stefano's son is not enough on the ball to become the mayor of this dinky little town. No! Your idea for the family was a great one, but what did you do, huh? What? You put it in the hands of a martini-swilling bimbo, just because you've been in bed with her!" Stefano snapped.
E.J. warned Stefano to back off. "I'm just getting started, because...Elvis, you botched it up, don't you understand? From top to bottom, botched it up!" Stefano shouted. E.J. refused to listen to Stefano's rant, and he abruptly left the room. Stefano muttered that Abe might be able to find a spot for E.J. on the school board.
Kate noted that Stefano had been quite critical of E.J. "Hey, listen...every time that he asks to be on his own, he lets me down," Stefano said with a sigh. Kate pointed out that John's case had been a crucial part of E.J.'s campaign strategy. Kate said that it wasn't E.J.'s fault that John had managed to prove his innocence.
"Why are you sticking up for Elvis, huh? I mean, this is something that he could have taken in stride; he could have proved to everybody that he was the man to run this town...instead of being a lapdog to the...Bradys and the -- the other bunch, whatever the hell their name is," Stefano angrily stated. Kate gently pointed out that E.J. was still a DiMera, even if he wasn't Salem's newest mayor.
Back at the town square, Lexie excused herself so that she could call the hospital. After Lexie left, a reporter congratulated Abe. The reporter introduced himself as one of Jennifer's friends. "I'm the guy who got you the debate questions in advance. I'm just sorry I couldn't send DiMera the fake debate questions, but, uh, it looks like you were able to do that all on your own," the reporter whispered, then he walked away.
Lexie was standing behind Abe, and she wondered if the reporter had been telling the truth. Abe sighed, and he explained that E.J. had been planning to rig the debate. Abe admitted that he had made a preemptive strike. "You know how sick I am of E.J.'s dirty tricks? How it feels to always be turning the other cheek? And for once -- for once, Lexie...I wanted to go one-on-one," Abe added.
"Yeah, well, you did that -- you acted just like him! I told Theo tonight that doing the right thing, that playing by the rules, that acting with honesty and integrity actually works, okay? I told him that that's what you did, Abe. It was a lie. You lied to the people who voted for you, Abe. You lied to me," Lexie quietly stated. Before Abe could respond, Jennifer interrupted, and she said that it was time for Abe's speech.
Meanwhile, at the DiMera mansion, Nicole placed a phone call to someone, and she demanded to know what had happened. Nicole ordered the person to fix the situation, then she abruptly ended the call. Elsewhere, E.J. turned on the television, and he noted that Abe was about to make his acceptance speech. Stefano sarcastically muttered that he didn't want to miss that.
"Thank you very much. I stand before you...filled with gratitude. I'm deeply grateful to you all for giving me the opportunity to serve as your mayor for four more years, and I promise that I will do my very best to live up to your faith in me. I'm also grateful for the support I've had during this campaign. I don't know what I would have done without the help and wise counsel of Jennifer Deveraux and her staff. Thank you, Jen. Thank you for...well, for helping me run a successful and straightforward campaign. And another person who inspires me every day...my partner for life, the mother of my son Theo, the woman who stands beside this man...Dr. Lexie Carver," Abe said, and he urged Lexie to join him at the podium. Everyone in the crowd started to chant Lexie's name, but Lexie remained stationary, as she glared at Abe.
Back at the DiMera mansion, Stefano, E.J., and Kate watched the news coverage, and they wondered why Lexie was just standing there. E.J. theorized that Lexie was probably stunned that Abe had actually managed to win the election. Nicole entered the room, and E.J. enviously muttered that they were the ones who should have been making the acceptance speech.
"It will be us...sooner than you think," Nicole cryptically stated.
As John wheeled their suitcases into the living room of the townhouse, he apologized to Marlena that they had to go to Alamainia. Marlena maintained that traveling with her husband was always a romantic trip, regardless of the destination. Bo and Hope then arrived with Roman, who was there to see the foursome off. Everyone was confident that once John and Hope's divorce was granted, all of them would be free of Stefano for good.
Hope suddenly remembered that she'd forgotten to tell Kayla about Ciara's science fair the next day. Frustrated, Hope complained that because she had to go to Alamainia, she couldn't help her daughter with the earthworm project they'd been working on together. As Hope went into another room to phone Kayla, Bo declared that Stefano should rot in hell for what he had done to Hope.
At the airport, John privately asked Hope if she regretted opening the envelope from the safe deposit box. Hope replied that she was grateful that Alice had tried so hard to protect her, but she believed that Alice had guided her to find the key. "I have to believe that Gran felt I was ready to know the truth -- and deal with it," Hope asserted. Bo and Marlena showed up, and announced that there was a problem with their visas.
"Leave it to Stefano to have pull in Alamainia," Hope muttered to Marlena a bit later. John returned and informed the women that he'd left a message for Vivian to see if she could help, since she was royalty in Alamainia. Hope said that Bo was trying to reach Carly, whose son Nicholas was also an Alamain. Marlena left to put in a call to a friend at the State Department.
Hope fretted to John that if they couldn't get into Alamainia, it meant they couldn't get a divorce. She flashed back to when she and John had been under Stefano's control; believing she was Gina, Hope had declared that no one could ever keep her and John apart, and John had kissed her passionately in response. Hope admitted to John that she was worried about the havoc Stefano could wreak in the lives of their loved ones.
On hold for her friend, Marlena recalled how John had confessed to having sex with "Gina" on his and Marlena's honeymoon. Bo's arrival snapped Marlena out of the unpleasant memory. He informed her that he hadn't been able to reach Carly or Nicholas, but Marlena vowed, "Whatever happens, Stefano will not win this time."
Bo and Marlena returned to where Hope and John were waiting. Marlena said that her contact had immediately called the Alamainian consulate, and had promised to get back to her as soon as he had an answer. Just then, a man informed the group that the problem with their visas had been cleared up. As the man left, John declared, "Good guys: one. DiMera: nothing." The four were gathering their things to board their plane when the man returned, and explained, "I apologize for the confusion, but I just received word. I'm sorry to have to tell you that only Ms. Hope Brady's and Mr. John Black's visas have been cleared to enter Alamainia."
At Victor's invitation, Madison arrived at the Kiriakis mansion. Brady was far from pleased to see her, but Victor didn't notice the tension between them. Victor explained that he was about to make an announcement, and he wanted both of them to be there for it. Maggie then escorted Ian in, much to Brady's consternation. "What the hell is he doing here?" Brady demanded contemptuously. When Victor chided him, Brady asked, "Do you even know who that man is, Granddad?" Victor announced to everyone that Ian McAllister was the new CEO of Titan Industries.
An incredulous Brady accused Victor of having lost his mind. Ian calmly asserted, "You don't care about Titan. You're jealous. I've taken your former job, and I've also taken my wife back." Without warning, Brady suddenly tried to punch Ian, but Ian's reflexes were lightning-fast. He nimbly used his walking stick to wrestle Brady into a chair, and then held the end of the stick threateningly against Brady's chest as he warned Brady to watch his temper.
Once Brady had shoved the walking stick away and stood up, Victor demanded to know what was going on. "You just made Madison's husband the CEO of Titan," Brady explained through clenched teeth. Victor and Maggie were utterly floored, while Ian feigned hurt feelings that Madison had kept their marriage a secret. "Granddad, you really need to improve your vetting process a bit," Brady complained. Victor was livid about Ian's duplicity and violent behavior, and declared that he was rescinding his offer.
Ian coolly countered that he had already signed the contract, so Victor couldn't get rid of him. While the others glared at him, Ian stated that he was eager to get to work, because he had some wonderful ideas for both Titan and Mad World. He promised to see Madison and Victor the next morning, offered Maggie a somewhat inappropriate compliment, and then strolled out. Victor growled that he was going to call his attorney, and Maggie followed him out to give Madison and Brady some privacy. "Brady, I had no idea--" Madison began. Brady cut her off, maintaining that they had nothing to talk about, and stormed out.
Madison followed him out the front door, and apologized for not having been completely honest with him. "Ian is not the man in my heart. You are," she insisted earnestly. Brady didn't want to hear it, but Madison continued anyway. She declared that even though she had lied and kept secrets, she loved Brady -- and she knew that he loved her, too.
On the phone, Victor ordered his lawyer to scrutinize the contract to find some way to get rid of Ian. After he hung up, Victor expressed his disbelief that he'd allowed himself to get taken in by Ian. "Brady was right; I should know everything about everyone," Victor conceded, then grumbled, "I had my guard down. It would have never happened to me before--" He stopped himself, but Maggie demanded testily, "Before what, Victor? You were going to say that this would never have happened before you married me, weren't you?"
In Horton Square, the crowd chanted for Lexie to take the podium next to her husband -- but instead, she turned and fled.
At the DiMera mansion, a disheartened E.J., Stefano, and Kate were watching the television coverage of Abe's acceptance speech with the sound off. Nicole cryptically reassured them all, "This nightmare will be over, and soon." Kate noted that something seemed to be going on in the square, so E.J. turned the sound back on. They watched as Abe thanked the crowd for reelecting him, and promised to do his best to live up to the trust they had placed in him.
Abe finished his speech and stepped down from the dais. Jennifer asked Abe if he knew why Lexie had left. He quickly explained that Lexie had found out about the debate questions, and then hurried off to find his wife to try to make her understand.
Meanwhile, the DiMera clan had noticed that Lexie had not been by her husband's side during his speech, and wondered why. Nicole hinted that she might have an idea about the reason. E.J. grouchily stated that he had to work on his concession speech, and then go congratulate Abe -- because no matter what Nicole had planned, E.J. had still lost the election. After E.J. had left the room, Stefano asserted that whatever Nicole was going to do to fix things, it had better be good. "Don't worry, Stefano. I'm not going to let E.J. down. Not now," Nicole assured him.
When Kate and Stefano were alone in the living room, Stefano worried about how E.J. would handle the loss after having entered the mayoral race for his children. Kate tried to comfort her husband, and then asked if he had decided whether to open the envelope from the safe deposit box. Stefano maintained that it was best to leave it alone.
A while later, Stefano tried unsuccessfully to reach Nicole on the phone. He noticed that Kate was staring pensively into the fire, and asked what was bothering her. Although she had been remembering her encounter with Ian in her office, Kate merely claimed that she had a lot on her mind about work. Stefano assured her that if the problem turned out to be something she couldn't handle, all she had to do was ask for his help.
"Tell me something I don't know," Kate replied, and kissed him gratefully. She asked if Stefano would mind if she went to the office, because she thought if she were prepared for the next morning, it might help to calm her down. Stefano consented. As soon as Kate had gone, Stefano unlocked the desk drawer, and removed the envelope that he'd gotten from the safe deposit box.
A little later, Kate arrived at Horton Square, but paused outside the entrance. Ian's words echoed in her head: "Nobody gets to me, Kate, not the way you do. Not then, not now -- not ever." She turned to go through the gate into the square, and was startled to see Ian behind her. Ian mused that Kate was out instead of at home at such a late hour because she was throwing herself into her work in an attempt not to think about him. Kate pointed out Ian's obvious egotism, but he merely noted that they still had very powerful chemistry. He leaned in to kiss her, and managed a tiny peck before she flinched away -- but then she kissed him back.
Abe caught up with an upset Lexie just outside the square. He tried to apologize, but she asserted that his politics had been just as dirty as E.J.'s. Abe argued that he had fought a fair fight until he and Jennifer had learned that E.J. had planned to get the debate questions in advance -- and that was after E.J. had stolen Abe's jobs plan. Lexie accused Jennifer of talking Abe into fighting dirty, but Abe vehemently insisted that it had been solely his decision.
Lexie reminded Abe that she had defended him when E.J. had accused him of tampering with the debate questions -- and Abe had lied to her face about it. Tears streaming down her face, Lexie declared, "God, I feel like such a fool. I was so sure that you were a better than my brother and my father. You're just like them." Abe understood that Lexie was disappointed, but tried to justify his actions as the only way he could have won against someone like E.J.
Lexie countered that she might have gone down the same path as her nefarious family had it not been for Abe. "My strength came from knowing that I was with a good, honest, decent man -- a man who would never turn out like them. I always thought you were the one person I could always trust, Abe. I was wrong," Lexie declared sadly, and then turned and walked away.
Nicole followed E.J. into Horton Square, and urged him to give her a little time before he made his concession speech. E.J. maintained that if he didn't concede, he would just look like a sore loser. Jennifer overheard, and declared that it was too late: despite all his money and underhanded plots, E.J. had still lost the election. Ignoring her, E.J. asked where Lexie and Abe were so he could congratulate them. Jennifer didn't know, so E.J. left to look for them.
Jennifer told Nicole somewhat smugly, "I will say, Nicole, that you really did as well as could be expected with an impossible candidate." Before she could argue, Nicole got a text message, and hurried off after an insincere suggestion that she and Jennifer should have lunch sometime, leaving Jennifer to wonder why Nicole seemed so "chipper." Jennifer then got a phone call. "What? You have got to be kidding me!" she demanded, alarmed.
E.J. spotted Lexie across the square, and trotted over to offer his congratulations. He noticed that his sister seemed upset, but she claimed that it had just been an emotional evening. When Abe arrived, E.J. congratulated him with as much sincerity as he could muster. Lexie excused herself to check on Theo. As E.J. was shaking Abe's hand, Nicole hurriedly approached them, and cautioned E.J. that it was too soon for congratulations. "According to my contact at the election commission, they found an irregularity in the ballots -- and now the results are being challenged," Nicole announced.
An anxious Jennifer found Abe, and asked to speak with him privately. Once they were alone, Jennifer whispered that the reason for the recount was that the election commission had found evidence of ballot tampering. She firmly assured Abe that she had refused her contact's offer to adjust the election results in Abe's favor. With a look over her shoulder at a smirking Nicole, Jennifer hissed that they had been set up.
E.J. quietly asked Nicole what had happened. "I told you not to worry. Just like I promised, I've taken care of everything," Nicole replied confidently.
Roman arrived with a uniformed officer, who had Jennifer's contact in handcuffs, and another man, evidently the elections commissioner. Roman led the group to where Jennifer and Abe stood, as E.J. and Nicole walked across the square to join them. Gesturing at the reporter in handcuffs, the commissioner explained, "It appears that someone had this man alter some of the election results. Therefore, we're going ahead with an inquiry, as well as a recount." He continued that they wouldn't have the new results for at least twenty-four hours, and then asked to speak with E.J. and Nicole in private.
As the commissioner walked away with Nicole and E.J., Lexie appeared in time to hear Roman say, "Partner, I know you had nothing to do with this. No way you had this guy stuff a ballot box for you." Lexie looked at the man in handcuffs, and remembered that she had seen him and Jennifer together at the Brady Pub. "Abe, what have you done?" she asked her husband incredulously. After Roman instructed the officer to escort the reporter out of the square, Abe tried to reassure Lexie that he hadn't done what he was being accused of.
"I didn't think you'd arrange to get the debate questions in advance. I didn't think you'd send fake ones to E.J., but..." Lexie's voice trailed off, and Roman gaped at her with disbelief. Abe swore to his wife that neither he nor Jennifer had asked the handcuffed man to do anything for them -- and in fact, they had told him not to. Lexie declared that she didn't know what to believe, because she didn't even know who Abe was anymore. She ran out of the square in tears. Abe started to go after her, but Roman stopped him. "Partner, I'm sorry, but you know we have to go down to the station and talk about this. And if it turns out E.J. is named the winner, this town is in big trouble."
As Nicole and E.J. watched Roman and Abe leave, E.J. noted, "Our incumbent didn't look very happy just now, did he?" Nicole reminded her husband that she had promised to take care of everything. E.J. hugged her gratefully.
Stefano contemplated the envelope for a long moment, then finally took out a letter opener and sliced it open. He removed the piece of paper from inside, and stared at it with disbelief. Shaking his head in shock, he murmured, "No. No. This can't be." He noticed some activity on television, and turned up the volume in time to hear the announcer state that because of alleged ballot tampering, there would be a recount in Salem's mayoral election.
Stefano managed a small smile when the woman added, "It looks likely that E.J. DiMera could be our next mayor." Stefano muted the TV, then returned to the desk. With trembling hands, he picked up the piece of paper again, and then quickly placed it, face down, on the desk, as his eyes filled with anguished tears.