Rafe hesitantly began to explain to Hope, "Ciara overheard me talking to someone..." Ciara quickly intervened, claiming that the conversation in question had been between Rafe and Abe. "And, well, it sort of sounded like [Rafe] was sucking up to Abe -- trying to get [Abe] to let him stay on as commissioner permanently -- [so] I thought he was trying to keep you from getting your job back," Ciara continued, adding that she had since realized that she had misinterpreted the conversation. "Rafe told me [that] he loves you [and] would never do anything to hurt you, and I believe him now," Ciara assured Hope while pulling Rafe into a hug.
"Ciara, I really, uh, appreciate you sticking up for me, but --" Rafe began to object. Interrupting, Ciara pointedly stressed, "But nothing, Rafe -- nothing." She then changed the subject, apologizing to her mother for her recent behavior -- behavior that, she explained, had mainly been a side effect of her concern for Theo's well-being. She promised to get her act together soon.
Relieved, Hope spontaneously decided to reward Ciara for the sudden change of attitude, giving her back the keys to Bo's old motorcycle. "But there are conditions, young lady: [for starters], you will not drink -- ever again -- [and] you will always wear a helmet, [and you will also] let Rafe teach you how to handle that bike correctly, [and] you will obey the rules of the road at all times and take every precaution," Hope instructed Ciara, who conceded that the demands seemed reasonable enough. As Ciara squealed with excitement, Hope received a text message summoning her back to the police station for the meeting that the district attorney had postponed earlier. Groaning, Hope pointed out that, on the bright side, Ciara and Rafe would have plenty of time to set up a schedule for riding lessons while she was gone.
Once the coast was clear, Rafe asked Ciara to explain why she had decided to lie for him. "I couldn't let you tell Mom tonight. I could see how much it would hurt her if you did," she began. "I know what it's like to lose the chance with the person you love, and I don't want Mom to hurt the way that I'm hurting right now," she continued. He appreciated her support but was concerned that he wouldn't be able to live with the guilt of keeping a secret from her mother -- and knowing that she was keeping that secret, too. "Eh. When you lie to stop someone from getting hurt, it's not really a lie -- well, to me, anyway," she reasoned with a shrug.
While passing through a secluded section of Horton Town Square, Tripp spotted Claire, who was clearly upset about something. She tearfully shared the news that Theo had received earlier that day. She fretted that she wasn't sure if she would be allowed to accompany Theo to South Africa -- and she simply couldn't bear to lose him again so soon after finally getting him back.
"Claire, you -- you have to start thinking about what's best for him, okay?" Tripp gently advised before trying to hug Claire. "Don't touch me!" she snapped, backing away from him. Confused, he wondered what he had done to upset her. "Um, you just told me to forget about Theo, and then you started moving in on me!" she replied, prompting him to protest that she was putting words in his mouth and misinterpreting an innocent attempt to comfort a hurting friend as something more calculated. "But if my being here bothers you, then I'll leave you alone," he added before starting to walk away.
Claire quickly stopped Tripp and apologized for jumping to the wrong conclusion, adding that she didn't blame him for his recent act of deception because she knew that Ciara had put him up to it. "I just hope you see her for what she really is now," Claire continued. Tripp pointed out, in Ciara's defense, that people sometimes did crazy things in the pursuit of love. Claire conceded that she had been known to do crazy things herself in the pursuit of love. "But that was only because I knew [I could] make Theo happy. And we were happy. We had such great plans...and now I don't know..." she added before starting to sob again. He tentatively extended an arm, unsure if she was going to back away again. When she gave him a nod, he wrapped both arms around her and patted her back as she cried on his shoulder.
After making sure that Claire was going to be okay, Tripp excused himself, guessing that she might want to be left alone for a while. When Tripp returned home a short time later, Ciara thanked him for his earlier advice and revealed that she had decided to take it. Pleased to hear that Ciara had made peace with Rafe, Tripp suggested that it might be wise for Ciara to make peace with Claire, too. "Um, no. This is -- this is different, okay? I'm actually happy for Mom and Rafe. I can't stand the idea of Claire and Theo being together," Ciara replied. "Well, actually, uh...they're not going to be together," Tripp hesitantly clarified.
Ciara excitedly concluded that Theo had finally wised up and decided to dump Claire, but Tripp insisted that wasn't the case. "But you said that Claire and Theo aren't gonna be together anymore," Ciara pointed out, clearly confused. Claire, who had returned home in time to hear what was being discussed, clarified, "That's only because Theo is leaving Salem."
At the DiMera mansion, Abigail turned away from Stefan in shock and demanded to know why he had invited her into his bedroom while he was naked. "Didn't think it was that big of a deal," he replied. "Well, it's a very big deal to me," she stressed, prompting him to wonder if that was meant to be taken as a compliment. Unamused, she didn't bother responding.
"I'd forgotten how many hang-ups you Americans have about nudity," Stefan mused while putting on a pair of pants. "I don't have any hang-ups about nudity; [I'm] just not real interested in seeing you that way," Abigail countered, adding that Stefan was of American descent, too. "Yeah, but I've spent most of my life in Europe, so..." he clarified before assuring her that he was no longer naked. Annoyed to see that he was still shirtless, she turned away from him again and insisted that she wasn't going to have a face-to-face conversation with him until he finished getting dressed. He donned a shirt then irritably asked, "Do I pass the inspection now?" She took another look at him and confirmed that she was satisfied then explained that she wanted to talk to him about what had happened earlier.
Realizing that Abigail was trying to backpedal on Chad's behalf so they could reclaim the positions within DiMera Enterprises that they had abandoned earlier, Stefan delighted in antagonizing Abigail into snapping at him then pointed out, "Telling me off in this moment is not the best way to smooth things out." To further amuse himself, he forced her to say that she believed his claim that he wasn't the company's saboteur -- and that it would be an honor to work with him. Once he was satisfied, he agreed to forget about what had happened earlier. "I will go tell my husband the good news," she said with a forced smile before walking away.
At Doug's Place, Kate told Chad about what had happened with Andre earlier. "You don't seem surprised," Kate observed. Shrugging, Chad wondered how Kate had responded when Andre had professed his love for her. "Well, I told him I would have to think about it," Kate replied, adding that she needed time to examine her own feelings. "I mean, we have a fairly acrimonious history, [and] it makes me wonder if it would even be possible to be genuinely happy with him, you know? To have a real marriage, you have to have absolute trust in your partner -- at least that's what I've heard -- [and] he's done terrible things to people I love," Kate continued. Kate conceded, however, that even when she was at odds with Andre, there was an undeniable spark between them, and she found it exciting that he viewed himself as her equal and would never allow her to walk all over him.
Chad warned Kate that sparks had a habit of fading over time -- and that real marriages were built on more than just chemistry. Nodding, Kate excused herself so she could continue contemplating the matter privately. A short time later, Abigail rejoined Chad and announced, after gulping down his glass of whiskey, "We're hired...but I'm gonna tell you something -- your half-brother is an arrogant jackass."
At the DiMera mansion, Andre warned Vivian to stop openly gloating about their success. "If [anybody] in my family ever found out that I gave you inside information to help you and Stefan take over DiMera Enterprises... Chad would never forgive me for such a betrayal, and Kate -- well, she would have me killed. No, no, no -- [actually], she would do the job herself," Andre predicted with a nervous chuckle.
Vivian didn't understand why Andre cared about maintaining a relationship with "that spoiled brat" Chad and "that insipid" Abigail in the first place. "Chad is the heir apparent; Abigail was a means to making him trust me," Andre patiently explained. "But they would never give you what you want -- to be in charge," Vivian countered, adding that she had recruited him as an ally for that very reason.
"With my help, you can have all your dreams come true," Vivian reminded Andre, who insisted that DiMera Enterprises would never stand a chance of returning to its former glory unless a truly ruthless person took charge of it. "Certainly, the board would never have given me that position," he conceded. "And that's the only reason I went along with [your] plan: [so] Stefan [could] be CEO -- in name only -- and I [could] be the power behind the throne," he continued, prompting her to point out that they had previously agreed to jointly share the power.
"You're not a DiMera," Andre argued. "But I produced the son who will be the figurehead on the throne," Vivian countered. Ignoring the point, Andre changed the subject, wondering if Vivian was confident that she would be able to keep her son under control. "Stefan knows who he is now -- and where he came from. I'm his mother. That's not gonna change," Vivian assured Andre.
"What I'm really concerned about is your feelings for Kate," Vivian continued. Andre tried to feign ignorance, but when Vivian insisted that everyone could tell that he was in love with Kate, he hesitantly admitted that was true -- and added, with a sly grin, that he was hopeful that it wouldn't always be a one-sided love. "Well, at least your desire for Kate is not as strong as your desire for power," Vivian mused.
Vivian expressed concerns that Andre wouldn't be able to continue deceiving Kate, Chad, and Abigail for much longer because his fondness for each of them would end up being a weakness, but he dismissively assured her that there was nothing to worry about. "I will keep [Chad and Abigail] in the dark, and as far as Kate is concerned, she'll never hear a word about this, [either], because all hell would break loose if Kate ever found out," Andre stressed -- just as Kate entered the living room. Chuckling nervously, Andre claimed, when asked, that Vivian had been trying to convince him to file for divorce then banish his so-called wife from the premises. "I refused, and I said that if you ever heard [about this], all hell would break loose," Andre continued. Playing along, Vivian told Kate, "I'm not afraid of you -- and I don't want to live under the roof of Stefano's whore."
Kate started to react to the insult, but Andre interrupted and made a show of defending her himself. "All right, I get it -- love is definitely blind," Vivian conceded before rushing off to check on Stefan. Vivian was horrified to hear that Stefan had rehired Chad and Abigail -- and was even more horrified when Stefan began talking fondly about Abigail. "Your brother's wife?" Vivian asked incredulously.
Meanwhile, Kate thanked Andre for defending her -- and admitted that she really appreciated the loyalty he had shown her lately. "You can get loyalty from a dog," he grumbled, adding that he wanted more than gratitude from her. "[But] I suppose I can't force you to feel something you don't," he conceded with a sigh. "It's not like I don't feel anything. I do. It's just that it comes as such a surprise to me," she clarified.
After giving Andre a kiss, Kate announced, "I'm going to go up to my bedroom now." She started to walk away from him then turned to face him again and added, "Why don't you grab a bottle of Champagne and meet me there?" He waited until the coast was clear then mused with a grin, "Oh, Father, it looks like I'm gonna get everything I want!" Sighing, he added, "Oh, my God...I hope nobody ever finds out what I did to get it..."
Kayla gives Lani alarming news
At the Horton Center, Eric was thinking about kissing Jennifer when she walked into his office, looking for flyers. Eric asked Jennifer to lunch, but she declined and rushed out. Jennifer walked over to the hospital and talked to Kayla about Theo's difficulties. Kayla said she was hopeful, and she congratulated Jennifer on her reconciliation with Abe. When Kayla asked Jennifer about Eric, Jennifer confided that Anna had told her that Eric was still hung up on Nicole. Jennifer said she felt like their date had made Eric realize that he was not over his ex.
Kayla warned Jennifer that she had jumped to conclusions from a secondhand source. Kayla suggested that Jennifer had only heard part of the conversation, and she firmly believed there was more to the story. Unsure, Jennifer said she was not interested in getting involved with someone that was not emotionally available. Kayla urged Jennifer to talk to Eric about his feelings. Jennifer refused.
Narrowing her eyes, Kayla called out to Dr. Shaw at the nurses' station. Jennifer thanked the doctor for saving Abigail's life. Kayla suggested that Dr. Shaw could volunteer at the Horton Center. When Kayla asked Jennifer to escort the doctor over to the center, Kayla added that Jennifer could talk to Eric while she was there. Jennifer raised an eyebrow, but she left with Dr. Shaw.
At the hospital, J.J. stopped by to visit Theo, but he found Lani sitting alone in his room instead. Lani told J.J. that Theo was not able to walk. J.J. was alarmed, but Lani said that Theo had been accepted into a South African clinical trial. Lani admitted that there were no guarantees that Theo would walk again. J.J. blamed himself, and he chastised himself for having believed that Theo was fully recovered. Lani reminded J.J. that everyone had been hopeful about Theo's recovery.
J.J. started to cancel his counseling session so that he could stay with Lani, but she forced him to keep his appointment. Reluctantly, J.J. walked to the Horton Center and met with Eric. J.J. worried aloud that Lani was pulling away from him. Eric cautioned J.J. not to jump to conclusions. When J.J. started to worry about his mother, Eric smiled. J.J. asked about Eric's relationship with Jennifer, but Eric demurred. Eric noted that he did not believe Jennifer was ready to date.
After J.J. left, Eric started to tidy up his office. He opened a file, and a batch of photos of Nicole fell out. Eric collected the pictures and threw them into the trash. As Eric took the trash bin out to empty, he overlooked one photo that had fallen onto his desk. Down the hall, Jennifer started her tour of the center with Dr. Shaw. When Jennifer pointed out Eric's desk, she saw the photo of Nicole. Taken aback, Jennifer paused then finished her tour. At the conclusion, Dr. Shaw asked Jennifer out to dinner. Looking over at the photo of Nicole, Jennifer accepted the invite. In the doorway, Eric listened to their conversation.
In the police station, Gabi visited Eli in the conference room to complain that the DiMeras had lied to her. Gabi was worried about Stefan hurting Gabi Chic. Gabi talked over her options with Eli. With a shrug, Eli said he would support Gabi's decision no matter what. Gabi thanked Eli for listening to her and not judging her.
Victor and Maggie were reading the paper in the Kiriakis living room as Will walked in and thanked them for their hospitality. Maggie noted that it meant a lot to Sonny that Will was willing to give their marriage a chance. With a sigh, Will said he was moving out. When Will said he and Sonny were divorcing, Maggie leaped to her feet and rushed over to Will. Victor was not surprised, and he grumbled that he had expected Will to break Sonny's heart again. Maggie warned Victor that he was not helping.
"I never set out to hurt Sonny," Will said. Will explained that he was not at a point in his life where he should be married to anyone. After Will left, Victor blamed Will for hurting Sonny. Maggie disagreed. Maggie argued that Will was confused and not yet capable of making informed decisions.
In the town square, an angry Sonny yelled at Paul for causing his divorce. Sonny blamed Paul for kissing Will. Defensive, Paul said that Will had reached out to him as a friend. Paul added that he had not initiated any kiss with Will. Sonny did not believe Paul. Sonny argued that Paul was angry and jealous. With a nod, Paul agreed that he was but said that he truly loved Sonny and wanted him to be happy, even if it was with Will.
"That is all I ever wanted for you, Sonny. Even if it breaks my heart. I just want you to be happy," Paul said. Hurt, Paul walked away. Paul met up with Steve at the pub, and he told him about his run-in with Sonny. Paul said he was eager to dive into work. With a grin, Steve reached for his folders then realized he had left one behind. As Steve rose to go out to his car, he swooned with dizziness. Paul helped Steve sit back down. When Paul asked what was wrong, Steve said he did not know.
Paul expressed concern, but Steve waved him off, noting that he’d had too much to drink the previous night. Paul suggested that they postpone their meeting. As Paul left, Steve stared quizzically at the floor. Steve picked up a folder and realized that his vision was blurry. "What the hell is going on?" Steve wondered aloud.
At the hospital, Lani rose from her chair in Theo's room and stumbled, dizzy. Lani sat back down. When Kayla walked in, she noticed Lani holding her head. Lani said she had almost passed out. Kayla examined Lani and noted that she did not have a fever. After a blood test, Kayla confirmed that Lani was pregnant.
Sonny returned home and found Will in the foyer. When Sonny asked Will if he had reconsidered moving out, Will said it was not good for either of them for him to stay. Will stressed that even though he did not remember his life with Sonny, he was sad. Will said he hoped they could be friends, but Sonny refused. "I do not want to be your friend, because I want to be your husband. I love you. I always have, and I always will," Sonny said. Without a word, Will left.
Sonny went into the living room, and Victor and Maggie told him they were sorry about his divorce. Victor urged Sonny not to take the job at Titan if he was not ready to run the company. With a nod, Sonny said he would think about whether he was ready, and he would let Victor know what he decided. Sonny left to think.
When Sonny returned, an angry Victor assumed that Sonny had decided to quit. Victor barked at Sonny to leave. Maggie yelled at Victor to let Sonny speak. Sonny said he was ready to take on the job, and he planned to fly to London to close a large deal. Victor was noticeably surprised. Sonny promised Victor that, aside from his daughter, Titan was the most important thing to him.
In the town square, Paul saw Will sitting on a bench. Paul noted that he knew about the divorce. Will nodded. "You let go of a really great guy who loves you a whole lot," Paul said. Will agreed. Will added that he could not stay with Sonny when he was attracted to someone else. After pointedly looking at Paul, Will got up and walked away.
Lani struggles to absorb life-changing news>
Steve was outside the Brady Pub, wrapping up a phone conversation with Joey, when his vision started blurring again. Startled, he ended the call then reached for a nearby bench and carefully sank onto it, wondering, "What the hell is wrong with me?" With a few hard blinks, he managed to get his vision back to normal. Shaking his head in confusion, he stood and began walking away, unaware that someone was watching him.
"Hey, partner," John called out, stopping Steve. "What's going on? You all right?" John asked, eyeing Steve curiously. Steve followed John into the pub and explained, after they claimed a table and ordered two cups of coffee, that he had been having issues with his vision that day; however, he downplayed the incidents, joking that he had probably just consumed too much alcohol during the previous night's festivities.
"[Or] maybe it's time that you admit you need some reading glasses," John suggested, retrieving a foldable pair from his jacket pocket to show them off. "Doc got 'em for me. Pretty nifty, huh?" John continued, modeling the eyewear proudly. "Yeah, they're nifty," Steve agreed with a chuckle. "Not so good over the patch, though. Maybe if they came in a monocle, I'd be interested," Steve added.
John jokingly advised Steve to think about designing and selling fashionable reading monocles as a way of taking advantage of a clearly underserved market. "But until you get that business off the ground, it looks like you're just kind of stuck here at Black Patch," John added as a way of changing the subject. "That's fine with me," Steve replied as John handed over a written summary of their newest case.
Steve's vision started blurring yet again while he was trying to familiarize himself with the details of the case, which John was eager to discuss with him. Steve slowly flipped through the pages of the report while casually telling John about an earlier encounter with Paul, hoping to hide the fact that something was wrong. John wasn't fooled but didn't seem too concerned, assuming that Steve simply needed another day to recover. "I think you need to stick to the Shirley Temples [in the future]," John jokingly suggested before standing to leave. Steve laughed and nodded in agreement, but his smile faded as soon as the coast was clear.
At the DiMera mansion, Abigail flirted with Chad, who had just emerged from the shower and was wearing only a towel. When she joked that she liked seeing him naked but didn't want to see any of the other DiMeras naked ever again, he curiously wondered when she had seen another DiMera naked in the first place. He was furious when she told him about what had happened earlier, but she insisted that he needed to let it go, reasoning, "If you start a fight [with Stefan over this], then you're gonna be doing exactly what he wants." Changing the subject, she teasingly revealed that she was fairly certain that they were no longer the mansion's only married couple who could honestly say that they had seen each other naked. "I saw Andre go into Kate's room [last night]," she elaborated with a giggle, making her husband cringe.
Meanwhile, in the living room, Vivian warned Andre that she had heard rumors that the "little felon" who had created Gabi Chic was having second thoughts about joining DiMera Enterprises. "We have to close that deal so you can launch the IPO!" she fretted. "And we shall have it," he promised her without a hint of concern. "We have to play this perfectly!" she insisted, not entirely reassured yet.
Andre suggestively joked that Kate was certainly being played perfectly. "Hmm. Was that you [two] I heard last night? Sounded like someone strangling puppies," Vivian mused. Chuckling unapologetically, Andre wondered if the noise had kept Vivian awake. "Oh, no -- slept like a baby," Vivian replied, waving a hand dismissively. "You know, maybe this is a very good thing between you and Kate -- keeps her distracted, and it's better for us... As long as you keep her on a short leash," Vivian added. When Kate entered the room moments later, Vivian exchanged a few insults with her -- and Andre, who took his wife's side -- then rushed off.
"Oh, God, that woman! She drives me crazy! We have to get her out of this house; we have to get her out of our lives!" Kate insisted. "Oh, but we will," Andre promised. "You know, I love saying 'we' now; it means so much more," he added, joining her on the couch. Nodding in agreement, she admitted that he had made her feel safe the previous night -- and had made her feel other things, as well. "I...almost...practically...trust you," she added, giving him a kiss on the cheek. He assured her that, together, they would soon get everything they had ever wanted.
Stefan ran into Gabi at DiMera Enterprises and immediately started flirting with her. "I'm very excited that Gabi Chic is joining the DiMera family of companies," he stressed. "Don't get too excited; it's not a done deal yet," she replied, clearly unimpressed. He assumed that she was simply trying to get him to make the terms of her contract even better, but she clarified that she was having second thoughts because she didn't know anything about him. "Ask me anything," he encouraged her, adding that he was an open book. Scoffing, she insisted that it would take more than a few smooth answers to spontaneous questions for her to feel like she knew him.
"I don't think your [sudden] lack of enthusiasm for working at DiMera is because you don't know me -- and, hence, don't trust me -- [at all; instead], I think it's because you're no longer [going to be] working under your ex-boyfriend," Stefan countered. Furious, Gabi insisted that Stefan was being extremely obnoxious -- and was completely wrong, in any case. "I built Gabi Chic myself! I created a brand that went from zero to six figures in record time!" Gabi stressed, adding that it was therefore offensive of Stefan to suggest that she was letting her love life dictate her business decisions.
Stefan offered Gabi a halfhearted apology then insisted that Chad didn't deserve to be CEO of DiMera Enterprises because he lacked the killer instinct needed to restore the company to its former glory. Gabi argued that Chad was trying to make the company legitimate -- and that was more important than making it slightly more powerful. "You know, you might be a little overly sensitive on the subject, given your own father's failures," Stefan suggested. "Don't ever talk about my father!" Gabi warned. "Look, I will take this company where it needs to go, and you can either come with...or not," Stefan continued with a shrug.
"But I think it would be wise to stick with DiMera and enjoy the ride, because it is about to get spectacular," Stefan advised before starting to walk away. Fuming, Gabi stopped Stefan and stressed, "If you knew anything about my company, you would know that Gabi Chic is about empowering girls and women to make strong choices so that they don't give a damn what any man has to think. So why don't you go find yourself some other corporate viper to listen to your take on killer instincts and legacies, and leave me the hell alone!" Stefan offered Gabi another halfhearted apology and hoped that, after calming down, she would reconsider her decision to back out of her contract. Kate and Andre arrived at that moment and chased Stefan off, hoping they would be able to do damage control if he wasn't around to continue making things worse.
"That man is insufferable!" Gabi grumbled. Kate promised that Gabi would never have to work with Stefan, and Andre added that Gabi would be treated like family at DiMera Enterprises. "I'm not sure that's a selling point, given your history," Gabi countered. Kate quickly dragged Gabi off to another room so they could talk privately, realizing that Andre, like Stefan, was more likely to make things worse instead of better.
Gabi was pleasantly surprised to see that the new room was filled with products she had endorsed through Gabi Chic -- as recently as the previous day. Kate made it clear that she had been paying attention -- and was completely committed to making Gabi Chic a household name. Gabi started to clarify that Kate wasn't the person she was worried about working with, but Kate was quick to assure Gabi that, together, they would be an unstoppable force. "If Stefan -- or anyone else -- gets out of line, we're just gonna throw them in the river," Kate joked, prompting Gabi to give her a playful smack of disapproval.
Meanwhile, Andre received a phone call from Vivian, who wondered how things were going. "Oh, everything's just going extraordinarily well -- except for your stupid son, who happened to just jeopardize all of our plans!" Andre replied. Vivian offered to talk to Stefan about the matter, but Andre insisted that wasn't a good idea. "[We can't] risk tipping our hand," Andre reasoned, adding that it would be best to just trust Kate to smooth things over with Gabi -- and hope that Kate would actually be able to do that.
Shortly after Andre ended the call, Kate returned with Gabi and announced that Gabi Chic was going to remain a part of DiMera Enterprises. "[But] just to be clear, I only answer to Kate," Gabi stressed. Delighted, Andre discreetly sent a text message to Vivian to assure her that everything was back on track, telling Kate and Gabi that he was instead sharing the good news with Chad.
After returning to the DiMera mansion, Stefan went upstairs and knocked on Abigail and Chad's bedroom door. Abigail opened it, wearing only a towel, and warned Stefan never to visit that particular room again. Meanwhile, Chad met with John in the park and asked him to try to dig up dirt that could be used against Vivian and Stefan to send them packing.
At the police station, Eli produced J.J.'s gun and explained how it had ended up in his hands. Eli was quick to apologize to J.J. for having jumped to the wrong conclusion about what had happened on Christmas Eve, but J.J. didn't think Eli owed him an apology. Eli claimed that he was simply apologizing for thinking the worst of another person. Nodding, J.J. stressed that infidelity was a mistake he would never make again.
Suddenly uncomfortable, Eli quickly changed the subject, wondering if J.J. was in the right frame of mind to reclaim his gun. J.J. confirmed that he was in counseling and was doing better as a result.
At the hospital, Kayla confirmed, when asked, that Lani was definitely pregnant. "J.J. and I haven't been together since my birthday -- the night Theo was shot," Lani hesitantly revealed. "That was November," Kayla recalled. "This is more recent; you are just barely pregnant enough to show up on a blood test. I'd say you've been pregnant for a couple of weeks," Kayla continued.
Horrified, Lani fought back tears while trying to assure herself that she hadn't just heard what she thought she had heard. Kayla made it clear that Lani was free to talk to her about what had happened, but Lani didn't think that would be appropriate because Kayla was J.J.'s aunt. "But I'm your doctor -- and anything you share with me is protected by doctor-patient confidentiality," Kayla pointed out.
Nodding, Lani regretfully admitted that, based on the timing, there was absolutely no way that J.J. could be the baby's father -- and without revealing a name, she added that the father was instead someone with whom she'd had a one-night stand after misinterpreting an innocent moment between J.J. and Gabi on Christmas Eve. Lani insisted that it wouldn't be appropriate to tell J.J. about the matter after everything he had been through recently -- and she couldn't tell the other guy, either, because he was in a relationship with another woman and really cared about that person.
Kayla advised that Lani needed to forget about what either guy needed or wanted and instead focus on what she wanted. "I love J.J., and I want to be with him. I don't want to have this other man's baby. I mean, he's a nice guy, but this would blow both of our worlds up, and he doesn't deserve that," Lani tearfully stressed.
"Again, let's focus on you...and what's best for you. And maybe that means exploring your options..." Kayla gently suggested. "An abortion?" Lani asked incredulously. "I don't think that's an option for me," Lani continued. "There's adoption..." Kayla pointed out, adding that, on the bright side, a decision didn't have to be made right away. Nodding, Lani thanked Kayla for the advice.
Later, Kayla joined Steve for lunch at the Brady Pub. When she handed him a menu, he tried to read it then set it aside and claimed that he was just going to have his usual meal that day instead of trying something new.
After leaving the hospital, Lani went to the police station to see Eli, who was talking to someone on the phone when she arrived. Lani tried to duck back out of the police station without being seen when she realized that he was making plans to spend the evening with Gabi, but he ended the call and spotted her before she disappeared from view. "Everything okay?" he asked.
Anna offers Steve a job
At Doug's Place, Chloe greeted Eve, dryly joking, "It's nice to see you...clothed."
Eve suspected that Chloe, as Brady's ex-wife, might be jealous, but Chloe insisted that wasn't the case, explaining that she simply cared about Brady -- as a friend -- and didn't want to see him get hurt -- again. Chloe added that Brady hadn't been in the best frame of mind lately, and when he was like that, he had a tendency to make bad choices. "Oh, right -- I'm a bad choice," Eve concluded with a hint of defensiveness. "No, I didn't mean that -- not necessarily; it's just...you know, you just lost your 'dear, beloved' husband, and with all the issues happening at Titan, I'm not sure that your bed is the safest place for Brady right now," Chloe clarified.
"Blunt much?" Eve grumbled. "Just being honest," Chloe replied with a shrug. Chloe, who had been under the impression that Eve and Brady hated each other, wondered how they had ended up in bed together in the first place -- and if the tryst had been part of some sort of agenda. Eve insisted that getting Basic Black back on track was her only agenda, adding that she had slept with Brady simply because she had wanted to sleep with Brady -- a sexy, charming guy she happened to like "a lot" -- and had been sick of feeling lonely. Eve made it clear that if the tryst had been part of some sort of agenda on Brady's end, things would not end well -- for him. "Especially if you've developed real feelings for him..." Chloe mused. Ignoring the comment, Eve finished her drink then abruptly excused herself.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Victor impatiently wondered when Brady was going to succeed in getting "that piece of garbage" Eve out of their lives for good. Brady poured himself a drink -- making a point of stressing that it was just club soda -- then proudly reported that he was making real progress. "Let's just say...I've wormed my way into her cold heart," Brady suggestively added.
Victor got the implication right away but wasn't particularly confident that seducing Eve was the best way to get rid of her -- especially since Brady wasn't exactly known for his ability to stay emotionally detached from the women he invited into his bed. Brady dismissively assured Victor that everything was under control. "I'm sure you think so, but you don't have very many things under control these days," Victor countered, adding that Brady was playing a very dangerous game. "Sometimes, even the most confident players get played," Victor warned. Scoffing, Brady smugly bragged that Eve was no match for him.
"I'm gonna do to her what she did to Deimos -- I'm gonna make her fall in love with me, then I'm gonna marry her, then I'm gonna take everything she has," Brady explained. Victor wasn't particularly impressed with the plan, believing that Brady was underestimating Eve, who wasn't likely to marry anyone without a prenuptial agreement ever again. Brady, however, was confident that Eve was so needy and desperate for attention that he would soon have her wrapped around his little finger, willing to do anything he asked her to do. "She's gonna cling onto me like a -- like a lifeline, and once she falls hopelessly in love with me, I'm gonna move in for the kill," Brady promised with a sneer. "Well, if she doesn't succumb to your charms, you may have to do just that," Victor mused. "What, kill her?" Brady asked incredulously. "I didn't say that; you did," Victor replied.
Chuckling nervously, Brady insisted that Eve was going to be taken out in a bloodless coup -- quietly and quickly. Victor remained skeptical that Brady's plan would work but advised him, "No matter what, you must concentrate on your endgame, not hers." Brady made it clear that Titan was his endgame. Victor noncommittally reiterated that the idea of putting Brady back in charge of the company would at least be considered if he managed to get rid of Eve. Victor's choice of words prompted Brady to recall Eve's recent warning that his grandfather could simply be stringing him along to keep him placated for the time being.
As Brady eyed Victor suspiciously, Henderson announced that Eve had just returned -- and would be entering the mansion shortly. "Up for some more theatrics?" Brady asked Victor. "If it means getting that harpy out of our lives for good, count me in," Victor replied. Grinning, Brady started a loud argument with Victor, making it seem like they were fighting about Eve, whom Brady respected and Victor despised.
After a few minutes, Brady abruptly ended the argument, leaving the living room in a huff. Brady acted surprised and embarrassed when Eve greeted him in the foyer. "How much of that did you hear?" he asked. "All of it," she replied. He sighed dramatically then began to apologize on his grandfather's behalf, but she stopped him with a passionate kiss, touched that he had defended her.
At the Brady Pub, Kayla informed Steve that he couldn't order his usual meal because it had been taken off the menu. Sighing, he reluctantly turned his attention back to the menu he had just set aside -- and stared at it blankly, unable to make out any of the words. "I have never seen you take such a long time to make a decision! It's just lunch! Come on!" she impatiently prodded him.
Meanwhile, Roman and Anna entered the pub. "Guess that explains why Roman upgraded the menu," Kayla mused with obvious disapproval. "Don't move a muscle. Maybe they won't notice," Steve suggested -- seconds too late to stop Kayla, who was already standing to greet Roman with a hug. Sighing again, Steve forced a smile and took his place at his wife's side.
Kayla was surprised to learn that Roman and Anna had just finished ice-skating together. "Since when do you go ice-skating in the middle of the day?" Kayla asked Roman. "Well, our grandson dared us," Roman explained with a shrug, referring to Carrie and Austin's son, Noah. "[And] I've never been one to pass up a dare. We even got a selfie [to send to him] to prove it," Roman continued.
Changing the subject, Roman wondered if Kayla and Steve had eaten lunch yet. "I was [just about to go] get Anna something special off the menu, and, uh, she loves seared tuna..." Roman continued. "Oh, that sounds good -- I'll have that," Steve quickly interjected. "Lovely! We'll join you," Anna replied before excusing herself, wanting to freshen up a bit before eating.
Once the coast was clear, Roman braced himself for the criticism he was certain he was about to receive from Kayla and Steve. "The last time we saw Anna, she was completely unhinged," Steve pointed out. "That's a little strong, don't you think?" Roman protested. "She shot Steve! With a -- with a gun!" Kayla reminded Roman. "Nobody's perfect," Roman countered, shrugging dismissively.
Steve and Kayla returned to their table, and Roman pulled two extra chairs over to it. "Just out of curiosity, have you checked Anna's purse?" Steve asked Roman, fearing that Anna might still be packing heat. "Be nice! We're having fun!" Roman protested. "She opened fire in a café," Steve reminded Roman. "She was having a bad day," Roman explained with another dismissive shrug. "So was I -- when she shot me," Steve countered.
Roman excused the incident as an accident and made it clear that being with Anna was fun. "And she seems stable?" Kayla asked skeptically. "She is stable," Roman insisted -- just as Anna returned. "We're going to need one more chair," Anna announced, confusing Roman, Kayla, and Steve. "[Though] I guess he'll be fine on the table," Anna conceded, reaching into her purse and pulling out the urn that contained Tony's ashes.
Chuckling awkwardly, Roman hesitantly admitted that he hadn't realized that Anna was still carrying the urn in her purse. "Well, not all the time; only when it seems appropriate," Anna clarified with a shrug. Kayla gently suggested that might not be the healthiest way for Anna to cope with Tony's death, but Anna dismissively reasoned, "Look, some people have support dogs -- emotional-support dogs -- and I have Tony. [And I'm not crazy]; it's not like I'm expecting him to answer me [when I talk to him]. And I don't have to take him on walks!" Anna added that the urn was a reminder of all the pain Stefano had caused over the years.
"Oh, here we go..." Steve tiredly muttered as Anna forged ahead, complaining that Stefano had never truly paid for his actions. "You know, you really need to let that go," Kayla gently advised, but Steve reluctantly admitted that Anna did have a point. Anna flashed Steve a smile and excitedly admitted that she'd had a feeling that he would see things her way -- and that was why she wanted to hire him.
"I want you to go after Stefano and bring him to justice," Anna explained as Steve squirmed uncomfortably, thinking about the elaborate ruse Shane had helped him pull off the previous year to get Hope off the hook for Stefano's murder. Roman pointed out that Stefano, who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness long before Hope had shot him, might have died of natural causes at some point, and Steve was quick to agree.
Anna insisted that Stefano was too mean to go out that way -- and, in any case, he hadn't seemed sick to her at all when she had seen him in Prague the previous year. "[Plus], this was taken a couple months ago in Turkey. He looks pretty alive to me," Anna added, retrieving a photograph from her purse. Roman and Kayla both agreed that Stefano was clearly alive and well in the photograph. Steve remained silent, recalling the doubts about Stefano's death that had cropped up in the final moments of the ruse. Anna hoped Steve would agree to help her but vowed, "I will get justice for Tony, with or without your help."
Meanwhile, Steve received a phone call from Hope, who wanted him to head over to the police station at his earliest convenience so she could get his take on a case. Steve reluctantly agreed then ended the call and asked Kayla to drop him off at the police station on her way back to the hospital. The couple quickly said their goodbyes then exited the pub.
Once the coast was clear, Anna apologized to Roman for having taken their casual lunch date with friends in such a dark direction. He made it clear that although he understood her need for revenge, he was at a point in his life where he was no longer interested in getting involved in such pursuits himself, so she was going to be on her own if she chose to move forward with her plan.
At the police station, J.J. joined Hope in her office and announced, while handing over his badge and gun, that he had decided to resign from the police force. "Internal Affairs cleared you of any wrongdoing," she pointed out. "That does not change the fact that I pulled that trigger and shot an innocent man. I never want to be in that position -- to kill -- ever again," he explained, adding that his decision was final. "That part of my life is over. I don't want to be a cop anymore. I want to find something else in my life," he stressed, smiling at the idea of searching for a new purpose. She said she was sorry to see him go but excited to see that he seemed to have hope for the future again. Nodding, he vowed that he was going to make every day of his life count. He hugged her and thanked her for everything she had done to support him.
After J.J. left, Steve arrived and asked Hope to tell him about the case she was working on. She refused, insisting that she wanted him to read the case file and form his own opinion. She handed him a folder then rushed off to take care of something, giving him time to go over the report. He waited until she was gone then sighed and closed the case file, unable to make out even a single word of it.
Eli took Lani to one of the conference rooms so she could tell him what was bothering her. She hesitantly explained that she was upset because her brother was going to have to move to South Africa to participate in a clinical trial and would probably be gone for at least a year. He suspected that wasn't all that was bothering her, so she reluctantly admitted that he was right.
"We need to talk about what happened between you and me on Christmas Eve," Lani told Eli, who insisted that there was no reason to talk about that ever again. She disagreed, fretting that it never should have happened -- and that she would never be able to forget about it. "That sounds like you want to punish yourself," he mused. "Maybe I do," she conceded with a shrug.
"We got lucky; we dodged a bullet. No one knows what happened between us that night, and they never will!" Eli assured Lani. "The sooner that we can forget what happened and move on, the easier it will be. You can go on, and you can be happy with J.J., and then I can move on and be with Gabi," he continued. "You act like there are no consequences to what we did," she grumbled, confusing him.
Fighting back tears, Lani fretted about having to keep a secret from J.J. for the rest of her life. Eli somewhat coldly insisted that Lani would have to because he didn't want to lose Gabi, who would never forgive him for his indiscretion if she ever found out about it. Eli then excused himself, having just received a text message from Gabi. Before leaving, Eli stressed that Lani needed to find a way to live with what had happened.
After giving the matter some thought, Lani contacted Kayla. "I've been doing some thinking. I made a decision about my pregnancy," Lani hesitantly began, unaware that J.J. was nearby.
J.J. pleaded with Lani to change her mind
At the police station, J.J. overheard Lani talking to Kayla on the phone about her pregnancy. Unable to contain himself, J.J. said, "Oh, my God! You're pregnant?" Caught, Lani ended her phone call. A jubilant J.J. hugged Lani. Realization washed over his face as J.J. realized that Lani had been talking to Kayla about an abortion.
Lani told J.J. that she was not ready to have a child. J.J. said he understood that Lani had felt like she could not count on him. Shaking her head no, Lani clarified that the decision had nothing to do with J.J. J.J. told Lani that he loved her, and he asked her if she still felt the same way about him. When Lani grew silent, J.J. said he felt like his resignation from the force was a sign.
"You don't know what you're talking about!" Lani yelled. Lani said she wanted to study for the sergeant's exam. Hoping to persuade Lani against her plan, J.J. told her that she would be an excellent mom, and he promised she would not have to raise the child alone. J.J. asked Lani if she did not want him as the father. Shaking her head no, Lani said she wanted to have kids with J.J. Confused, J.J. asked why not then. Unsure, Lani stared into the distance, silent. J.J. quietly asked Lani not to end her pregnancy.
In her office at DiMera Enterprises, Gabi was working when Eli showed up with a bouquet of flowers. When Gabi talked to Eli about her work, he asked her why she had decided to stay with DiMera Enterprises. Gabi said that she trusted Kate. Still feeling guilty, Eli apologized again for jumping to conclusions about Gabi and J.J. by not trusting her.
Shaking her head, Gabi said she only wanted to be with Eli. Eli thought about the night he had slept with Lani and the morning after. Shaking off the memory, Eli told Gabi that she was the only woman for him. Kate interrupted the couple kissing. Kate asked Gabi if she regretted her decision to join the company, and Gabi said she was glad to be there.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Eve kissed Brady as a thank you for defending her to Victor. Brady suggested that they head upstairs. As the two walked through the foyer, the doorbell rang. Brady was dismayed to find Vivian at the front door. Brady introduced Eve to his old nemesis.
Vivian informed Brady and Eve that Gabi had officially signed with DiMera Enterprises. Vivian promised to bring Titan to its knees. "Of course, that may seem like old times to you, Eve," Vivian joked. Vivian brushed past them into the foyer. Brady noted that Victor's wife, Maggie, was upstairs. Vivian fumed. Brady threatened that he would place Vivian back in a coffin if she hurt Maggie.
When Vivian protested, Brady grabbed Vivian by her neck and pulled her close. Vivian struggled to escape his grip. Brady released a choking Vivian and ordered her to leave. Furious, Vivian stomped off. Brady apologized for "putting [his] hands" on Vivian. Eve joked that Brady was welcome to put his hands on her. Giggling, Eve ran upstairs with Brady.
Chad was surprised to run into Abigail at DiMera Enterprises. Abigail explained that Stefan had summoned her into work. With a nod, Chad urged Abigail to use her charm to learn more about his new brother. Abigail said she planned to act as if Stefan was slowly winning her over.
When Abigail went into Stefan's office, he asked her if there should be a rule against public displays of affection at the workplace. With a sigh, Abigail reminded Stefan of when he had appeared nude in front of her. Stefan asked Abigail if she had told Chad about the incident. Abigail shrugged and told Stefan that it was none of his business.
Down the hall, Andre made out with Kate in his office. Chad walked in. When Chad mockingly expressed disgust at the sight, Kate explained that they were attempting to make their marriage work. Andre remarked on Chad's dour mood. Chad explained that he had learned that Theo had suffered complications and would need to leave town for rehabilitation. Kate gasped.
Chad said that whoever had undercut the company was the person to blame because if they had not sabotaged DiMera's deals, Kate would not have sent Theo to investigate the hackers. Chad said he was certain that Vivian and Stefan were to blame, and he wanted to get past his anger toward Kate. The three sat down, and Chad announced that he had hired John Black to investigate Stefan and Vivian.
Andre questioned the wisdom of using John. Suspicious, Chad asked Andre if he was interested in solving the hacking issue. Andre complained that John was part of the Kiriakis clan. Chad said he had made the decision, and he believed John would be professional. After Chad left, Kate asked Andre if he had a grudge against John. Andre said he just wanted to make sure they got enough proof to confront Stefan.
In Stefan's office, he asked Abigail to write a press release announcing his appointment as CEO. Abigail grumbled that she was not enthusiastic about announcing Vivian and Stefan's takeover. Really selling her resentment, Abigail grudgingly sat down and asked Stefan to talk about himself. Abigail noted that it would be difficult to humanize Stefan, and the only thing she had learned about him was that he was a chess champion. With an eye roll, Abigail remarked that Stefan had chess in common with his father. Stefan asked Abigail if he was anything like Stefano.
Abigail warned Stefan that Stefano was evil. Stefan called Abigail insensitive for saying something so harsh about his father. With a thoughtful look, Stefan said he believed he had inherited the best of his parents. When Stefan asked about whether Chad was like Stefano, Abigail said no. Abigail said that Stefan and Chad did not have anything in common. Abigail pushed for more information for her press release, but Stefan gave little details about his interests. Stefan joked that Abigail knew him "quite intimately" after seeing him naked.
Smirking, Abigail countered that Stefan liked to be provocative. Abigail added that provocative people were usually insecure. When Stefan stared silently at Abigail, she demanded information for the press release, or else she would just create it. Stefan said he did not want pity, but he would tell Abigail about his life. Stefan explained that he had been adopted from an orphanage and had been sent to a boarding school in the UK. When Abigail asked about Stefan's lack of accent, he affected one for show.
"Why don't you ask me what you really want to know?" Stefan probed. "Why did you leave a life full of glamour to come live in Salem?" Abigail countered. Turning the question around, Stefan asked Abigail why she stayed in Salem. Stefan noted that he had been alone his whole life, and he wanted to get to know his family. Abigail asked about Stefan's boarding school. Stefan made a Hogwarts joke, much to Abigail's annoyance. Stefan kept joking until Abigail laughed.
"God, you have a beautiful smile," Stefan commented as Chad walked in. Chad warned Stefan to watch what he said to Chad's wife. Stefan apologized. Stefan added that he was looking forward to working with Chad. When Stefan held out his hand, Chad reluctantly shook it then smiled broadly.
When Vivian returned to DiMera Enterprises, she went to visit Andre in his office. Andre warned Vivian that John was good at his private investigator job and that they should be careful. Andre asked Vivian to leave his office so that they did not look too chummy. Seething, Vivian promised to do her best to look like she hated Andre. With a scowl, Vivian left.
Abigail, Chad, and Kate met up with Andre in his office. Abigail said she had not learned much about Stefan. Nodding, Chad wondered aloud what else Stefan was hiding. Down the hallway, Stefan told Vivian that he was enjoying "the family stuff." Vivian warned Stefan that Chad had hired someone to investigate the sabotage. Vivian added, "Chad has hired a P.I. to investigate the hacking and the sabotage, and Andre is afraid that Chad will find out that he and I are playing you. Little does he know that he's the one being played," Vivian said with a devilish grin.