Lulu, Dustin, Charlotte, and Rocco arrived at Metro Court, talking about their night spent ice-skating. Charlotte and Rocco ran off to a table, and Lulu thanked Dustin for spending his day off with them. He loved the kids, but he admitted that he wouldn't mind some alone time with her. They walked over to the kids, and Lulu reminded them that they were just there for ice cream, as Lulu had to get Charlotte to Valentin's, and Rocco had a sleepover. Charlotte wondered if Lulu was going to have a sleepover with Dustin, as she knew that that was what boyfriends and girlfriends did. As Lulu stammered, Dustin handed the kids some money and suggested they eat their sundaes at the bar.
When Charlotte and Rocco were gone, Lulu apologized to Dustin if Charlotte's question had embarrassed him, but he reminded her that he worked with teenagers. Dustin thought that they were getting more serious, but he wondered if he had the wrong idea after catching "a flash of panic" in her eyes. She remembered that they had "skipped a few bases," and he insisted that they could take it slow. He told her that they'd been seeing each other for three months, and she thought they'd taken things slow enough. She asked if he wanted to sleep over, and he nodded and kissed her.
Charlotte and Rocco ate their ice cream at the bar and continued bickering about their ice-skating abilities. She knew that she could attempt whatever moves she wanted, as her bodyguard would make sure that nothing happened to her.
Later, Lulu, Dustin, Charlotte, and Rocco arrived on the docks, and Lulu observed that the launch wasn't yet ready. She warned the kids not to get too close to the water, and they ran off to play. Dustin suggested that he grab a few things at his place and meet her back at hers. Seeing the kids with their heads together, he took the opportunity to kiss her. The kids got up to skip rocks, and Charlotte pulled Rocco back from the edge of the dock. He teased that her "imaginary secret bodyguard" would save him. She vowed to prove that her bodyguard was real, and she took a running start and jumped into the water.
Peter watched as Andre checked in on Franco. Andre spotted Peter through the window and motioned for him to enter. Peter asked about Franco, and Andre answered that Franco's vitals were strong, so all they could do was wait to see if and when Franco regained consciousness. Andre shook Peter's hand and thanked him again for saving his and Franco's lives. Andre observed that someone was putting in a lot of effort to interfere with his work.
Anna looked in the window as Peter and Andre talked, and Finn joked on the phone that Andre had "more lives than a cat." He invited her to Kelly's for dinner with him and Violet, but she replied regretfully that she had something to take care of. When she hung up, Peter and Andre emerged from the room. Andre owed Elizabeth an update, so he excused himself. Anna wondered how Peter was feeling about the previous day's incident, and he admitted that he didn't want blood on his hands. Anna hoped that the man would pull through so they could find out who had hired him to kill Andre.
Anna continued that it was lucky that Peter had been there, and she wondered why he hadn't sent a reporter to cover Franco's story. He replied that he'd handled it himself out of consideration for Franco and Elizabeth. She asked him more questions about his presence there, and he asked about the third degree. She explained that the police would want to do an extensive follow-up, so she wanted him to know what questions to anticipate.
Elizabeth was asleep on a couch in the hospital waiting room when Cameron arrived and covered her with his coat. She woke up and apologized for falling asleep, but she wanted to be there the second Franco woke up. Andre approached and informed the two that Franco's vitals were good, so they just needed to wait for him to wake up. Andre also divulged that Franco had signed a DNR before the procedure. Cameron was upset, but Elizabeth reminded him that Franco had won the right to make his own medical decisions. Andre excused himself to return to Franco, and Cameron held Franco's phone and thought back to when Franco had given it to him.
A short while later, Andre emerged from Franco's room, and Peter followed him down the hall for an update on the hit man. Anna followed, as well, and they ended up in Elizabeth and Cameron's company. Andre revealed that he did have an update on the hit man. He said that the man hadn't made it through surgery, so they would likely never find out who had hired the man. Andre excused himself, and Elizabeth and Cameron trailed after him. Anna wondered how Peter was after hearing the news, and he replied that it was a lot to process. Anna suggested that he take comfort in the fact that he'd saved Andre and Franco's lives.
In Franco's room, Andre divulged that Franco's heart rate had spiked, which meant that he was closer to consciousness. They saw Franco's eyelids flutter, and Andre advised them to talk to Franco to "help him find his way." He left, and Elizabeth sat on the bed next to Franco. She told him that they loved him, and they were there waiting for him. Just then, Franco's eyes opened.
At Kelly's, Chase knew that Willow had had a rough few days, and he wondered what she was thinking about. She answered that she was trying to focus on things she could control, which left only Harmony's desire to rebuild their relationship. She missed her mother and could forgive her, but it didn't change everything she'd had to give up because of Shiloh. She spotted Finn and Violet enter and said that they could talk about it later.
Finn and Violet sat down with Willow and Chase, who was very happy to see his niece. Willow abruptly excused herself and said that she wanted to go see Brad and Lucas before visiting hours at the hospital were over. She kissed Chase and left. "Was it something I said?" Finn wondered. Chase related that Willow had a lot going on, and Finn urged Chase to talk to him about it. Chase told Finn about Willow's pregnancy scare and that, while he wanted a future with Willow and to be a father, he'd been relieved to find out that it had been a false alarm.
Finn knew that Chase would be a good father one day, but he wasn't sure what Willow's problem was if it had been a false alarm. Chase guessed that the scare had made feelings surface for Willow about Wiley. He thought that he might have overestimated how well Willow had been coping with giving Wiley up and also having to see him frequently. Finn related that Anna was still dealing with her feelings about giving Peter up years before.
Willow was taking a breather outside of Kelly's when Maxie approached with James. They talked about Lucas and how they were trying to keep their minds off the situation. Maxie commented that she'd been going through all of Georgie and James's old clothes to donate, and she couldn't believe how much James had grown in the past year. Suddenly, Maxie apologized for her tactlessness in rambling on about her kids. Willow promised that she was fine, and Maxie didn't have to walk on eggshells around her.
Maxie related that she somewhat understood how Willow felt, and she briefly talked about the "messy custody situation" she'd gone through with Georgie. Willow insisted that she would never regret what she'd done to keep Wiley safe from Shiloh, and she was grateful that he had two loving parents. Maxie figured that it probably didn't hurt any less, and Willow confirmed it. Willow excused herself to go visit Brad and Lucas.
Ava walked through her packed gallery and greeted her guests. Trina observed that "anyone who's anyone" in town had shown up, but Ava noticed that not everyone was there yet. Laura and Curtis entered, and Jax approached them. As they looked at the portrait, Jax's phone went off, and he excused himself. Laura was glad that Jax was on their side, and Curtis knew that there was no way anyone else would get the portrait. "I'm not so sure about that," Laura muttered as she saw Nina and Valentin arrive.
Ava talked to Laura, Curtis, Nina, and Valentin about J. Garrin, and the rivals got more heated. Nina offered to get drinks for everyone, and Ava accompanied her to the bar. Laura asked Curtis for a moment alone with Valentin, so Curtis walked away. Laura had a legitimate concern about Charlotte, and she thought that Valentin should have told Lulu about Charlotte's bodyguard. Valentin was confused and insisted that he would have told Lulu had he hired a bodyguard for Charlotte.
At the bar, Nina asked Ava if they were "all set," and Ava replied that "None of these fools will know what hit them." They clinked their glasses together, and Curtis approached and wondered what they were toasting to. He needed to talk to Nina, but she answered that it wasn't a good time. Ava excused herself to ready the auction, so Curtis took Nina aside. He revealed that he had proof that Valentin was lying about Sasha. He told her about the DNA test he'd redone, and he thought that Valentin had given Sasha a prepared DNA swab and that they'd had help from someone who knew their way around a lab. "Aunt Liesl," Nina muttered, and Curtis remarked that Nina didn't seem surprised. "I'm not," she shot back, and she returned to the gallery.
Jax entered the storage room at the gallery and found Nikolas. Jax chided Nikolas for not hiding out at Jax's house, but Nikolas wanted to make sure that they got the portrait. "Stop interrupting me so I can make it happen!" Jax yelled, calling Nikolas a liability. Nikolas showed Jax a tablet and said that he was streaming the gallery's security footage. He looked at the footage and wondered what Laura and Valentin were talking about.
Nikolas revealed that he was prepared to take the portrait home that night "by any means necessary." He continued that he had contingency plans just in case Jax failed. Jax insisted that that wouldn't happen, and Nikolas challenged Jax to prove it. Jax left in a huff, and Nikolas went back to watching the security footage.
Laura was looking at Helena's portrait when Trina greeted the mayor. She wondered if Laura had known the woman, and Laura briefly explained her connection to Helena. She added that she was bidding on it for her son and grandson's family legacies, and Trina hoped that Laura won it. Jax and Valentin signed in for their auction paddles, taking numbers seven and thirteen respectively. "May the best man win," Valentin said. "I always do," Jax replied coolly, and he walked away.
Ava addressed the crowd and presented the auction's "centerpiece," the portrait of Helena. She introduced the auctioneer, Mr. Keyes, who began the bidding at $10,000. Valentin and Jax put in bids back and forth. Nina entered just as Jax was about to raise his paddle to bid again, but she stopped his arm and advised him to stop. As Nikolas watched, Nina pulled Jax out of the room. As Valentin was about to be declared the winner, Laura raised her paddle with a bid of $450,000.
As Nina and Jax returned, Ava approached Laura and quietly asked if she was sure, as it was "quite a bid." Just as Valentin was about to raise his paddle to put in another bid, Trina purposely bumped into a server, who dropped a tray of hors d'oeuvres on Valentin, effectively distracting him. Mr. Keyes declared Laura the winner, and Curtis fist-bumped her as Trina laughed behind Valentin. The room erupted in applause until the portrait suddenly went up in flames, appearing to shock everyone but Nina and Ava.
At the pier, Charlotte jumped into the frigid water in order to convince Rocco that she really had a bodyguard who would save her. Dustin quickly jumped into the water after her as Lulu frantically put through a phone call to 9-1-1. Lulu was hysterical but managed to give dispatch an accurate accounting as Dustin pulled Charlotte out of the water. He put his jacket around the little girl. Rocco was upset, but both Dustin and Lulu assured him that Charlotte would be okay.
Laura bid $450,000 on Helena's portrait at the art gallery auction, but before Valentin could outbid her, Trina bumped into a waitress who bumped into Valentin. He was sidetracked, and Laura won the bidding for the portrait. Before anything else could happen, the portrait went up in flames. Almost everyone in the gallery looked on in shocked silence except for Ava and Nina. Valentin smiled broadly.
Jax remarked that no one was laughing. "Almost no one," Laura retorted. Ava suggested that the artist might be behind it. Curtis noted that the artist was long dead, but Ava revealed that the estate had known about the auction. A horrified Nikolas looked on from his tablet in the storeroom. Ava announced that the event was over and claimed she hadn't known about the painting's subsequent demise. Laura didn't believe her.
Jax remarked that the sale of the painting was null and void, and Ava agreed. She added that she didn't care because she'd gotten it out of the trash, anyway. As Valentin happily mixed himself a drink, he made it clear that while he hadn't wanted the painting, he hadn't wanted Jax and Laura to have it, either. Valentin declared that Ava had taught him a lesson, but she'd done him a favor. The painting and its secrets were gone.
Valentin called the painting a curse, and he announced that he would be able to move on to happier times like his wedding. Nina hoped that everyone with invitations would attend.
Inside the storeroom, Trina found a very upset Nikolas. He kept his back to her as they chatted, and he claimed to be a collector who had been participating in the auction via his remote tablet with a proxy. Trina suspected he had been the person who had broken into the storeroom earlier, and she announced that she would call the police. Nikolas fled, and Trina returned to the gallery to tell Ava about the man. Ava deduced that it was their "mystery arsonist" or a "disappointed art lover."
Nina and Valentin headed out. Ava thanked Trina for her work and handed her a large bonus. She suggested that Trina spend it in one place. Trina left, and Jax and Laura followed. Outside, Valentin received a phone call from Lulu, who refused to answer his questions about Charlotte. She told him they were at the hospital.
Inside the gallery, Ava told the lone remaining guest, Curtis, that it was time to go. He wanted to talk about Helena's portrait. He was sure that Ava had been the one to destroy it, but he wondered who had been the recipient of her gesture. Ava wanted him to leave.
Jax met with Nikolas at the pier. He pointed out that Nikolas had been lucky that Trina hadn't identified him, and they had lost the chance to overturn Mikkos' will. Jax admitted that he was relieved, and he thought they should cut their losses. Nikolas made it clear that it wasn't over, but Jax suggested that Nikolas let his family know he was alive. Nikolas was determined to destroy Valentin first and maintained that he and Jax were allies. Jax reminded him that it would only be until New Year's Eve.
Anna, Finn, and Peter congregated in the hallway at General Hospital to talk about the gunman who had died at Peter's hand. Anna thanked her son for saving Franco, but Peter thought it all depended on whether Franco would be himself when he woke up. Finn told Peter that Anna was proud of him, but Peter didn't want to hear praises any longer. He insisted he wasn't a hero because he'd still taken a life. He had merely been looking for a story. Finn pointed out that Elizabeth and her sons would feel different about it.
Inside Franco's room, Elizabeth spoke to her unconscious husband as Cameron looked on. She wasn't sure what to say, but she told Franco she loved him. As she turned to face Cameron, her son noticed that Franco had opened his eyes. "Tell me it's you," she said. "Elizabeth," Franco said weakly as his eyes slowly began to focus.
Franco was happy to see that Cameron was okay, and Elizabeth began to cry. "Yeah, I'm Franco. Who else would I be?" Franco asked. Elizabeth fell into his arms on the bed. Andre arrived to examine Franco, and Franco wondered what the doctor was doing there. Franco was full of questions and asked what month it was. Cameron revealed that it was December and pointed out that Franco would hear it eventually.
Andre announced that he wanted things to go slowly, and he left. Franco revealed that the last thing he recalled was having been in the chair with the needle. Franco laughed and asked if the cafeteria was still open. Cameron tearfully told Franco that Franco had been wrong when he'd said the world would be a better place without him. Franco stopped him, and he asked about Jake and Aiden. He wanted to hear everything he'd missed. Cameron told Franco that Elizabeth had never given up.
Elizabeth made it clear that Scott had never given up, either. Franco felt that Elizabeth and Cameron were being evasive about something, but he thanked them for not giving up on him. He stated that it was the first time that had happened to him. Cameron hugged his mother and offered to give her and Franco alone time. Franco asked if there was anyone else he needed to thank.
Elizabeth sat beside Franco, and he told her he had a new vow to make. He declared that he would spend the rest of his life making it up to her for fighting for him.
Andre found Finn, Anna, and Peter and announced that Franco was back. Peter stated that he was glad, and he pulled out his phone in order to get Lulu on the story. Finn suggested he find someone else to write the story, as he'd been notified that Charlotte had been admitted to the hospital. He headed to Charlotte's room.
Anna exclaimed that the good guys had won because Franco had returned, and the gunman was dead. Cameron approached them and told Peter that Franco wanted to see him. Peter entered Franco's room, and Franco revealed that he was aware that Peter had saved his life. Peter admitted he was having difficulty because a man had died, and he didn't think anyone owed him anything. Elizabeth insisted they did because her family was whole again. Peter wanted an exclusive for the Invader.
Valentin, Laura, and Nina arrived. Valentin went into Charlotte's room and spoke gently to his sleeping daughter. He told her he would fix everything. Lulu told Nina and Laura what had happened, and Valentin emerged from the room to hear the story, too. Rocco blamed himself because he hadn't believed that Charlotte had had a bodyguard.
Laura and Lulu reassured Rocco, which caused Valentin to demand to know if people were blaming Charlotte for jumping into the water. Lulu had an aide take Rocco to the family center to wait. Valentin thanked Dustin, and Finn arrived to check on the patient.
Laura told Lulu she'd heard Charlotte talk about the bodyguard, but she'd believed it to be an imaginary friend created after the trauma of her kidnapping. Valentin and Lulu began to argue and blame each other. Finn finished examining Charlotte and announced that she had no infection but wanted to see Laura. Finn added that Charlotte could rest awhile and go home.
Valentin wanted Nina to step into the room with him, but she refused. Inside Charlotte's room, Valentin spoke to his daughter. She wondered why her bodyguard hadn't saved her. Lulu and Dustin went off to check on Rocco, and Jax arrived to find out about Charlotte. He was happy to hear Nina tell him that the little girl would be okay. He asked Nina why she had stopped him from bidding on the portrait, and he wondered if she'd known it would go up in flames.
Valentin walked out of Charlotte's room and demanded to know why Jax was there. Nina remarked that he'd wanted to check on Charlotte. Lulu and Dustin returned, and Valentin admitted that Charlotte had backed up their story. He pointed out that Charlotte had jumped while Lulu was supposed to have been watching her. Nina frowned as Valentin proceeded to lash into Lulu and blame her for something happening to his daughter on two different occasions.
Nina tried to calm everyone down as tempers flared. Valentin declared that Lulu could not take Charlotte home because it was his week to have her, anyway. Shouts and yelling began again as the arguing ensued. Valentin announced that he planned on filing for full custody of his daughter.
Laura sat with Charlotte, and the little girl insisted that she'd thought her bodyguard would have saved her. Laura tried to get Charlotte to admit the bodyguard was just pretend, but Charlotte declared that he wasn't. She'd even seen a photo of him on Lulu's phone. Lulu's purse was sitting nearby, and Laura retrieved the phone and went to the photos. Charlotte found the photo of Nikolas and showed it to Laura.
Curtis found Trina sitting at a table at the café and counting her bonus money. He sat down at her table and introduced himself, although Trina knew who he was. He noted that there were "bad guys" everywhere, and he asked if she had recognized the intruder in the storeroom. He suggested that the huge amount of money she had might be to pay for a cover-up.
Trina asked if Jordan had appointed Curtis a deputy, but he continued to ask questions about the incident at the gallery. Trina advised him to ask Ava. Their conversation was interrupted when Trina received a text message and announced that she had to leave. She added that she was sorry that Curtis hadn't liked her answers, and she concluded that Ava had kindly given her an internship.
Back at the hospital, Finn saw Anna and informed her that Charlotte would be fine. Anna revealed that she'd spoken to Jason, who believed that Peter had been behind Shiloh's escape, the attempts on Franco and Andre, and the gunman's killing. Finn wondered what the incentive would be, and Anna pointed out that maybe it had been to stop Andre and prevent Franco from remembering something.
Finn asked why Peter had killed the henchman. He joked that he had even said that word. Anna thought that Peter might have been covering his tracks, or perhaps he had developed a conscience. She was worried that Jason had been right. Finn assured her that Peter was still her son, and it wouldn't change. They saw Peter rush out of Franco's room as he spoke to Maxie on the phone. He was looking forward to getting home.
Trina showed up for Cameron after receiving his text message. He was happy about Franco, and he thanked Trina for forcing him to be there on the momentous day. He hugged her.
Andre viewed Franco and Elizabeth through the room's window as they lay in the bed together. Franco wanted to hear everything, and Elizabeth just wanted to look into his eyes and see her husband. They shared a kiss. She was glad he was back, and he was offended. He reminded her that he'd told Cameron he'd return, and Elizabeth confirmed that Cameron had shared Franco's last thought. It had kept them going. Franco added that nothing would ever keep him away from her.
Ava poured herself a drink at the gallery and toasted Helena Cassadine. In the solitude, she heard a door open. She declared that she had known the person would show up because he had been predictable for a dead man. She turned slowly and pointed her gun at Nikolas.
PREEMPTION: General Hospital did not air
Due to ABC News coverage of the House Impeachment Hearings, General Hospital did not air. The episode originally scheduled to air was broadcast on Thursday, December 19. There were no "lost" episodes as a result of the programming change.
Ava admits she has the codicil
Sonny and Jason talked about work and shipments in the living room at Sonny's house. Sonny was concerned that mistakes could be made, and Jason promised to keep on top of it. Suddenly, Sonny went off topic. "What the hell is going on with Carly?" he asked. He was convinced that Carly was hiding something, and after Jason confessed that he had no idea, Sonny worried that she was doing something on her own.
Sonny revealed that Carly had picked a fight with him after Josslyn had wanted to move in with Jax. Jason reminded Sonny that he and Carly often fought, but Sonny thought that Carly had started arguments in order to distract him. He believed that Carly had been protecting Jax, who was probably into something bad.
Jason asked if the fights had involved anything real, and Sonny admitted that they'd also disagreed over Mike and the possibility of treatment. Sonny added that Griffin had offered to check into it, but Sonny wanted Jason's opinion. Jason asked Sonny what he would want if he were in his father's place. Sonny stated that he would want his kids to be at peace with their decisions. Jason was sure Mike would want the same thing.
Jax provided Carly with a smoothie at General Hospital and revealed that he had a nice bottle of wine for her after everything was over. Carly had believed it already was over, but Jax told her about the auction and the painting that had burned. Ava had claimed she hadn't been responsible for the fire, and he figured that either the codicil had burned or Ava really had it.
Carly didn't think things would turn out the way that Nikolas wanted, and Jax admitted he'd only gone along with Nikolas in order to help Spencer. Carly stressed that Spencer was happy and well taken care of, and Josslyn would be the one to be upset if Jax was deported again. She suggested that Jax call the cops and turn Nikolas in.
Jax preferred to let it "play out" because he believed that Valentin would have a "reversal of fortune" soon enough. He couldn't say any more on the subject, but he thought that Nikolas would have his opening. Carly was angry, and she wanted Jax to provide her with the additional details. As she shouted at him, Jason arrived and overheard. He asked whether everything was okay.
Jax quickly declared that he and Carly had been arguing over the smoothie, and he left. Carly told Jason that Jax was in trouble. Jason reminded her that he would do anything for her and Josslyn, even if it meant he had to help Jax. Carly merely stated that Jax was involved in something illegal; she couldn't let Sonny find out, or Jax could get deported again. Carly pointed out that Sonny had been grieving over the issues with Mike, and he would be apt to "lash out."
Curtis joined Lulu, Kevin, and Laura at a table in Charlie's Pub. They talked about Charlotte jumping off the pier into the water and the bodyguard she'd presumed would save her. Kevin pointed out that the bodyguard was imaginary. Lulu revealed that she wanted Curtis to "dig up dirt" on Valentin due to a possible custody fight. She added that Valentin had blamed her for Charlotte's incident and wanted to amend the custody agreement.
Curtis was certain he'd be able to get something on Valentin. Laura pointed out that people would line up to testify on Lulu's behalf. Kevin stressed that Charlotte's life had been full of upheaval and uncertainty, and she had created the bodyguard as a need for safety and a cry for help. Lulu jumped up and announced that she had to talk to Valentin right away. Curtis offered to accompany her for support and as backup, but Lulu declined his offer.
Curtis promised to get the dirt on Valentin, and Laura stressed how lucky they were. Curtis headed to the bar. Laura told Kevin that she had seen a photo of the man on Lulu's phone who Charlotte had believed to be her bodyguard, and it had been Nikolas.
Laura and Kevin discussed the bodyguard further and the fact that Charlotte believed he was real. Laura wasn't sure how much Charlotte knew about Nikolas, but Kevin was certain the little girl had recognized him and had chosen him for a reason. He thought that Charlotte considered Nikolas a hero who would naturally decrease the tension between Lulu and Valentin if he were alive.
Jax arrived and met up with Curtis at the bar. Jax revealed that he still had a plan, but the tactics had changed. Curtis disclosed that there could be a custody battle between Lulu and Valentin, and he would love to get dirt on Valentin. Jax asked Curtis to locate Claudette.
At Wyndemere, Liesl asked about Charlotte's condition, and both Valentin and Nina assured her that the little girl was doing well. She had fallen asleep as she had listened to a story. Liesl condemned Lulu, but Valentin revealed that Charlotte had jumped into the water. Nina assured Liesl that Charlotte did not have hypothermia as Liesl insisted.
Valentin left to check on Charlotte, and Liesl made it clear that while Valentin was a good father, he was still a manipulator. Nina announced that she was aware that Liesl had been involved in the scam with Sasha, and she would give her aunt one more chance to come clean. "Ignorance really can be bliss," Liesl said as she tried to worm her way out of any discussion. She asked if the truth was more important than family.
Nina stressed that she would decide the worth herself, and she asked if Liesl had helped Valentin to fake the original DNA tests. Liesl confessed that she hadn't helped, but she knew how Valentin had done it. She proceeded to tell Nina how she'd been dressed as a homeless person at Madeline's funeral and had watched Valentin take a swab from Madeline with a DNA kit that he'd had.
Nina began to cry and accused Liesl of knowing it had all been fake from the beginning. She had thought that Liesl loved her. Liesl insisted she'd needed leverage and had blackmailed Valentin. It had been too late to do anything, and Sasha had seemed like an ideal daughter. Nina had been in love with her. Then Lulu had snooped. Nina asked if Liesl was at all sorry.
Liesl admitted that she was sorrier than she could say and offered to make amends. She gave Nina a plastic bag that contained strands of Madeline's hair in order to run her own DNA test to prove mother and daughter.
After checking on Charlotte, Valentin stopped to answer a knock at the front door. It was Lulu, who announced that they had to do better for Charlotte. She explained that Kevin had referred to Charlotte's act as a cry for help because she had needed a safe world. Valentin pointed out that Lulu had just admitted to being part of the problem.
Lulu reminded Valentin that Charlotte had been kidnapped because of him, but Valentin insisted that Charlotte had gotten into trouble twice on Lulu's watch. They began to argue and shout. Lulu called Valentin selfish and indulgent, and they admitted they hated each other. Valentin was determined to fight for full custody. Lulu left in a huff, and Valentin returned to Liesl and Nina.
Valentin admitted it had been an upsetting evening. Liesl excused herself to head to bed, and Valentin and Nina shared a hug. Valentin stated that Charlotte had insisted her bodyguard was real, and she needed them more than ever. Nina suggested he check back on the little girl in case she'd heard the arguing, because Nina had a phone call to make before joining him. After Valentin was gone, she removed the plastic bag of her mother's hair from its hiding spot.
At a table at Metro Court, Lucy sat with a potential investor and raved on and on about Deception. The woman, Alyssa, declared that she couldn't invest in nostalgia. Just then, Lucy spotted Michael and Sasha walk in and head over to the bar. Lucy excused herself and went over to the young couple. She asked Sasha to go along with her, and she pulled Sasha over to the table to meet Alyssa.
Soon after, Sasha and Michael were seated with Lucy and Alyssa. They all made small talk as Lucy talked up Deception. Michael spotted Sonny arriving, and he excused himself to talk to his father. Alyssa was impressed and asked if the man was the Sonny Corinthos. Lucy assured her he was.
Michael and Sonny took a spot at the bar. Sonny asked Michael what he would do if Sonny was in Mike's place and Michael was in Sonny's place. Sonny wondered if Michael would look for further treatment, even if it was a long shot. Michael didn't know and wondered if it was worse to suffer or wonder if one could have been saved. Sonny admitted that he and Carly didn't agree, but Michael thought his parents should talk about it.
Back at the table, Sasha made it clear that Deception would use its history in order to target the current generation. Alyssa agreed to invest in the company, and Lucy walked her over to the elevator. Once Alyssa was gone, Lucy shrieked and did a little dance in her excitement. She was ecstatic as she told Sasha about all of the subsequent steps.
Sasha announced that she had no intention of going along with Lucy unless she received a stake in the company. Michael had returned, and he and Sasha began to negotiate with Lucy, who wasn't willing to give up very much. Sasha asked Michael to represent her, as she would be more motivated with a good offer. They finally settled on a return of 30 percent. Lucy called Michael a "baby-faced shark," and the women shook hands.
At the hospital, Jason offered to fix things for Carly just as Sonny stepped off the elevator. He spotted Carly and Jason in an animated discussion, and he walked away before they saw him. Carly hated to ask Jason to help, but he replied that he had offered. Carly promised to tell him everything if it wasn't squared away by New Year's Eve. Sonny made a phone call and told someone he needed help because Carly was in trouble.
Ava mixed a drink at the gallery and drank a toast to Helena. When the door opened behind her, she was not surprised. "I knew you'd show up. You're awfully predictable for a dead man," she said to Nikolas as she turned around. Nikolas suggested that Ava didn't need the gun she was holding, but she reminded him that she'd needed it when he'd entered the gallery previously. She might have been able to shoot him then if she hadn't fainted, she said. She added that she was feeling steadier.
Ava asked Nikolas why he was there, and he asked her if the codicil had burned. Ava preferred to have an apology from him, but she assumed it would be a lie. Nikolas retorted that he had almost died, but Ava snapped that he had let her believe that he had. She pointed out that he'd let his entire family down twice with his faked deaths. She'd kissed a prince, but he'd been a liar and a user, Ava said. She wanted to be the one to decide the ending of the fairy tale.
Nikolas maintained that Valentin had shot him in Greece, but Ava stated they'd been struggling. She had grown to see it as a case of self-defense. Nikolas accused Ava of selling out to Valentin after she'd promised to help Spencer prove that Nikolas had died a wrongful death. Ava shouted that he wasn't dead, and she'd wanted her new face. She asked Nikolas where he'd been after putting everyone through hell.
Ava continued to hold her martini glass in one hand and the gun trained on Nikolas in the other. Nikolas explained that he'd been shot and bleeding, and it had been a miracle for a yacht crew to find him. He had traveled to Piraeus, where he'd received medical attention, but he had still been a fugitive. Ava remembered that he had been facing criminal charges after having faked his death the first time.
Nikolas insisted he'd been waiting for Valentin to "stake his claim" after he had forced Nikolas to sign papers. Ava recalled Nikolas being "chivalrous" when they'd been held at gunpoint but not after he'd called Kiki damned when he'd visited her as a ghost. Nikolas was sorry. He continued that Valentin had never used the papers, but the codicil would have proven to disinherit Valentin -- and it had been in the portrait that Ava had destroyed.
Ava thought that Nikolas should have told her, and she asked how long he'd been watching her. Nikolas claimed that he'd been watching his mother, and Ava was sad that he hadn't thought of her instead. Nikolas declared that he'd thought of everyone he loved and missed, but he couldn't allow Valentin to get everything. He declared that the codicil would have fixed it. Ava thought it was too bad that it was in ashes. "Is it?" Nikolas asked.
Ava taunted Nikolas because Valentin had gotten to the gallery ahead of him, and neither of them had been able to locate the portrait. She revealed that it had been "hiding in plain sight" in the original frame with a "pedestrian abstract" placed over it. Nikolas asked Ava if she'd found the codicil, and she admitted she had.
Finally, Ava put the gun down. She knew that Nikolas wouldn't hurt her. She poured herself another drink and said that both Valentin and Nikolas were bastards, but Spencer had a right to the family fortune. Nikolas declared that he wanted the codicil, but Ava told him that "terms have to be met."
Nelle sees Wiley
Elizabeth bumped into Julian at the hospital, and she asked about Lucas. He informed her that they were waiting on Lucas' latest test results. Amy passed through and expressed her happiness to Elizabeth for Franco's homecoming. Julian congratulated Elizabeth and wondered if Kim knew, but Elizabeth wasn't sure. As Julian asked if Franco was aware of all that had happened when he'd been Drew, Franco listened in from down the hall. Julian wished that everyone could forget about their past mistakes. Franco approached, ready to go home. Elizabeth gave him his wedding band, which he put on, and they shared a kiss.
A few minutes later, Amy apologized to Elizabeth and Franco, and she assured them that his paperwork would be ready soon. Jordan arrived and showed Franco a picture of the gunman to see if he recognized the man. He didn't, and he suggested that Jordan talk to Drew, as that was technically who the gunman had been after. The women shared a knowing look until Elizabeth asked if Jordan needed anything else. She didn't, so she walked away. Amy returned with Franco's paperwork, so the couple headed out. He wanted to know what was going on with Drew, and she promised to tell him everything at home.
When Elizabeth and Franco arrived home, he was delighted to see a "Welcome Home" banner made by Jake and a chocolate cake made by Aiden. She informed him that Aiden was spending Christmas in Ireland with Lucky. He'd been torn about going, but Cameron had convinced Aiden that Franco would want him to have new experiences. Franco was impressed with Aiden, and Elizabeth credited Franco in part with Aiden coming out of his shell.
Franco was sorry for what he'd put the family through, but Elizabeth was just happy to have him back. Franco wondered where Drew was, and Elizabeth solemnly told him about the plane crash. Franco blamed himself for Drew being on that plane and moaned that he'd tried to save Drew years before. Elizabeth revealed that Franco's actions as a child were what had made Franco with Drew's memories decide to go through the procedure. Franco decided to honor Drew's life by living his own.
Elizabeth talked about how unbearable the previous few months had been and how happy she was to have him back. They exchanged I love you's and shared a kiss. Elizabeth suddenly stopped and backed up. He urged her to tell him what was wrong and said they could get through it. Elizabeth blurted out that when Drew's memories had been in Franco's body, he'd had sex with Kim.
At the hospital, Peter couldn't believe that so many kids had to spend the holidays in the hospital. Maxie replied that that was why the hospital did its best to make the holidays special for the kids. He remarked that Maxie had made the kids smile. Maxie wished that Lucas was awake to see everything, and she figured they would be getting an update on his condition soon. Peter commented that it was the time of the year for miracles, and he wondered where their next stop was.
Anna was looking through file folders full of papers when Finn entered the living room. He'd put Violet down for a nap and remarked that he could use one, as well. He wondered what Anna was doing, and she replied that she was doing research on Peter. She couldn't get her conversation with Jason about Peter's potential crimes out of her head, so she'd been trying to debunk Jason's claims. She talked about the European connections of Bryce and David, the gunman Peter had killed. The two had been associated with numerous companies that were known fronts for the DVX. She hadn't yet found a connection, and Finn warned her that, if she couldn't find any proof, she might need to decide who she believed more.
The doorbell rang, and Finn let Peter and Maxie into the house as Anna hid her mess of papers. Maxie revealed that she had some of Georgie's old toys and clothes for Finn to use for Violet, and Anna suggested that Finn help Peter carry them in. When the men were gone, Anna asked how things were going between Maxie and Peter, and Maxie related how happy she was with Peter. Maxie added that Peter seemed to have moved past his baggage, and Anna was thrilled for the couple.
Finn and Peter returned, and he thanked Peter and Maxie for the toys and clothes. He asked how Peter was doing after the incident at the hospital. Peter replied that it was horrible that a man had needed to die, but he was relieved that Andre was all right and happy that Franco was back. The couple had to leave, but they promised to be back for Christmas. When they were gone, Anna revealed that she was going to give Peter the benefit of the doubt. Finn went upstairs to check on Violet, so she went back to her research. She looked at Peter's résumé and suddenly realized that he'd been at a company called EuroTech at the same time as David.
Brad sat with an unconscious Lucas and wondered how he could possibly do the right thing by sending Wiley back to his real father. He didn't know what he would do without Lucas. Julian entered the room and told Brad that Lucas' test results were in, and the doctor wanted to talk to them outside. Brad kissed Lucas and left the room. The doctor wondered if Bobbie would be there, but Julian answered that they would fill her in, as they'd just convinced her to go home for some rest.
The doctor divulged that the swelling in Lucas' brain had gone down, but Lucas had slipped into a coma. He continued that Lucas would need to be moved to a facility that could provide long-term care as soon as possible, and he recommended Turning Woods. Julian wondered what the rush was. Brad spat that the hospital needed the bed, so they were kicking Lucas out, and he ran off.
Amy bumped into Brad after having heard about Lucas. Brad muttered that it should be him and not Lucas in the hospital bed, and Amy refused to let him talk like that. Brad reasoned that everyone knew that, between the two of them, Lucas was the better person. Amy countered that everyone also knew how much Brad and Lucas loved each other. She wondered if some gossip would cheer him up, and she told him about Nelle being at the hospital. He suddenly excused himself and ran off, confusing Amy.
Julian sat with Lucas and urged him to take his time to rest and to not worry about Wiley. He vowed to fix everything and promised that everything would be "back on track" by the time Lucas woke up. "And you will wake up. You have to," he concluded.
Nelle was handcuffed to her hospital bed and pulled at the cuffs, trying to get out. Martin entered, incredulous that her plan to get out of Pentonville had been to get stabbed. She commented that she probably didn't need Martin, as she'd gotten herself out and could find a way to stay out. He growled that her only chance of parole was if she did exactly what he told her to do. She wondered why she should trust him, and he replied that her release was his only chance to get paid.
Jordan entered Nelle's room and asked how she was feeling. When Nelle gave a sarcastic thumbs-up, Jordan revealed that Nelle would be returning to Pentonville, much to Nelle's chagrin. Jordan thought that the Pentonville infirmary could easily meet Nelle's needs. Martin intended to discuss the issue with Jordan, so the two left the room.
A few minutes later, Brad entered the room, and Nelle was happy and "impressed" to see Brad with all that he was going through. "And it's all your fault!" he bellowed at her. He believed that getting under her thumb and not having the guts to get out had caused the situation he found himself in. He talked about doing what best for Wiley.
Jordan bumped into Julian after having heard about Lucas. Julian revealed that he'd just gotten off the phone with Bobbie, and Lucas would be settled into Turning Woods that afternoon. Jordan told him that the final forensics report on Brad's car had returned, and there had been too much damage done to the car to determine what had caused the brakes to fail. She wished him luck with Lucas' transfer, and she left.
At Sonny's, Michael opened the door to Willow, and he informed her that he'd wanted to include her in his fun plans. Moments later, they were playing with Wiley, and he knew that it could sometimes be awkward for her to be around the baby when Brad and Lucas were there. She wondered how he was so good with kids, and he told her the long, unflattering story about how he'd had custody of Avery for a few months. She commended him for being able to right the situation. Michael's phone went off, and he answered it to Amy. She told him about Lucas and how hard Brad was taking the news. She thought that seeing Wiley might cheer Brad up.
A short while later, Michael, Willow, and Wiley arrived at the hospital. Michael figured that a heads-up to Brad would be better than blindsiding him, so he gave Wiley to Willow and walked off. He was looking down at his phone to call Brad when Martin approached him. Martin introduced himself as Nelle's lawyer and insisted that she had turned her life around. Michael advised Martin to stay away from her, as she destroyed anyone who crossed her path. Michael finally found Amy and asked where Brad was. Brad returned as Michael was looking in on Lucas, and Michael revealed that someone was at the hospital who could cheer Brad up. Brad was upset that Wiley was at the hospital.
As Willow waited for Michael to return, someone remarked to her, "What a beautiful baby boy." Willow turned and saw a smiling Nelle approaching in a wheelchair.