As Marty sat on the floor of her house and wrapped a holiday gift, her phone began to ring. She turned the phone off and spoke out loud to an empty house. She surmised that it was Natalie, calling again to ask Marty to keep her mouth shut. Just then, there was a knock at the door. "How do you live with yourself?" Todd inquired when Marty opened the door.
He asked why Marty had killed Eddie, and he was certain that she had made it appear as though Todd had committed the act. Marty thought that Todd was "delusional." Todd accused her of breaking into his house and stealing his cufflink in order to frame him. Marty indicated that she'd read about the murder, and she believed that Todd had carried it out. She felt that Todd blamed Marty because he couldn't face the truth of his own undertaking, and he always blamed Marty for things that went wrong in his life.
Marty suggested that Todd had acted out because Eddie had reminded Todd of his own childhood. Todd insisted that Marty had set him up, because she was vindictive. He reminded her that Starr hadn't even revoked the restraining order against Marty, and he knew how Marty's mind worked. Marty was never able to let things go, he emphasized. He vowed to continue to try to locate someone who was willing to talk about Marty.
The phone rang again, but Marty ignored it. "Are you having me investigated?" she asked Todd. She wondered if Todd were having her followed. He confessed that Rex had been investigating Marty, but Rex had "botched" things up. Marty realized that was how Natalie had learned about Marty's possession of the paternity test results.
At the police station, John and Detective Price joked about the mistletoe hanging from the ceiling in front of John's office door. They surmised that Natalie had hung it there. The detectives discussed the possible suspects in Eddie's murder, and other than Todd, they were all members of the Ford family.
Natalie was unsuccessful in her attempts at reaching Marty on the phone, and she left multiple messages indicating that she had something to tell Marty. Natalie got to John's office as Detective Price emerged. She helped herself to a gingerbread man cookie, and John asked how long she planned to keep their engagement a secret. He spoke in a gingerbread man's high squeaky voice. Natalie thought it was fun to have a secret, but John suggested that they would have to tell everyone eventually.
He thought maybe they could even marry on their lunch break. Natalie stated that she had to stop people from interfering first. "Who's gonna interfere?" John asked. Natalie settled herself at John's desk, munching on her cookie and spied Todd's photograph on John's laptop. John ran down the list of suspects in Eddie's murder, and he informed her that Nate was dating Dani. "There's your motive," Natalie guessed.
Natalie wondered if Nora's kidnapping could also be a reason for Eddie's murder. John told her about James's statement, and he announced that he had work to do with the killer still on the loose. They moved towards the office door, but John stopped Natalie from going too far. He pointed to the mistletoe and leaned over to kiss her. "Let me know when you want to tell your folks," he informed her as he walked away. Natalie wondered why Marty was ignoring her phone calls.
Nate had a question for his mother. He inquired whether Inez had slept with Bo. Matthew had told him it was true, and Matthew had seemed pretty certain about it. Nate had found it curious that Bo had been at their apartment early in the morning, and Inez's excuse for it had seemed "lame." Nate had also spotted Bo's gun and holster hanging on the couch. Inez quickly changed the subject and informed her son that they had something else to talk about. She told him that Eddie was dead.
"Good," Nate replied. He couldn't begin to pretend that he was saddened with the news. Inez asked if Nate had visited Eddie's motel room. "Mom, are you asking me if I killed him?" Nate queried his mother. Inez promised that she'd never accuse her son of murder, but she'd known about the fight. She thought maybe Nate had gone to see Eddie or he had seen something.
Bo stayed with Nora in her hospital room. He informed her that he had something to tell her. Nora was scared as she looked at Bo's somber expression, but before Bo was able to say anything, Clint walked into the room with a get-well plant in his hand. Bo quickly updated his brother on the details regarding Nora's kidnapping and the subsequent car accident in Rex's car. Nora explained that Eddie had wanted to cause trouble in Bo and Nora's marriage, and Nora was certain that someone had put Eddie up to it. She believed it to be Inez, though Bo disagreed with her.
Clint wondered if Nora's kidnapping had anything to do with the murder, but Bo revealed that Rex had gotten Nora out of the room before the murder had occurred. The car crash had been related to an oncoming car. Clint wanted to pursue the reason for the kidnapping, and Nora thought the entire thing was "bizarre." Eddie had even sent Bo text messages pretending to be Nora, she told Clint. She couldn't understand how Eddie had known that she and Bo had fought, Nora continued. Inez had been familiar with it, Nora concluded.
Bo insisted that Inez wasn't a criminal. Clint noted that people didn't always think about the law when they were doing things, and Clint knew that Inez had a "thing" for Bo. It wasn't a secret, and that had been the reason for Clint and Inez's breakup, Clint said. He didn't think a few texts would end a marriage. Clint was certain that Bo knew the texts hadn't been real, and he knew that Bo would never sleep with another woman or break his marriage vows. "Right, Bo?" Clint asked his brother.
Nora went off for some tests, and Clint asked Bo what was wrong. He could tell by Bo's behavior that something was bothering Bo. Bo responded that his wife had been kidnapped and could have been killed. Clint asked about the arguments and fights with Nora, and he prodded Bo to confide in him. Bo agreed that Clint had turned to Bo after Clint's affair with Echo, so it was Bo's turn to do the talking. "I slept with Inez," Bo said. Clint appeared to be shocked.
Bo admitted that the text messages he'd received had "messed me up." He'd gotten drunk and had sex with Inez, but he didn't remember anything. Clint suggested that Bo had blocked it out. Bo had been about to tell Nora the truth when Clint had walked in. It was the same advice he'd given to Clint years before. Clint insisted that his situation had been different. He'd had an affair, but Bo's was just a "hookup" as the kids called it. Nora would think it was a payback for Bo's comment about Sam, and he was certain it would hurt Bo's marriage. He thought that Bo should remain quiet on the subject.
Bo was proud of the fact that he was always honest, but Clint was against Bo saying anything. Nora would laugh that Bo couldn't even remember the sex, and then she'd shoot Bo, Clint exclaimed. He thought that Bo should just put it out of his mind and talk to Clint if he needed to. Clint left, but he lingered behind until Nora returned to the room. He watched the couple through the small window next to the door. Nora was ready to resume their conversation, and she asked Bo what he'd wanted to tell her earlier. It had "sounded bad," she pronounced.
Bo took a deep breath and acknowledged that he'd been upset about the text messages, way more than he'd let on. He should have known they were fakes. Nora assured him that she'd never give up on their marriage, and she knew that he'd never sleep with Inez. "Are we good?" she asked her husband. "We're great," he replied. They shared a kiss, while out in the hallway, Clint sneered. "Keep lying to her, little brother. It's going to make it so much worse when she finally finds out."
Charlie and Echo returned to Llanfair after their visit with Rex at the hospital. Echo appreciated that Charlie had challenged Echo on her drinking problem and his offer to help. As Viki descended the stairs, carrying a huge box of Christmas ornaments, she watched as Echo gave Charlie a big hug. Charlie spied his wife and quickly enlightened her about Rex's car accident and the hospital visit. He assured her that Rex would be fine. "Why didn't you call me?" Viki asked. Charlie explained that he'd asked Echo to tell Viki when he'd called to inform Echo of their son's accident.
Echo tried to escape upstairs, but Viki stopped her. She was fuming, and she accused Echo of adding lying to her list of blunders. Viki had been standing there when Echo had received the call from Charlie about Rex's accident, but Echo hadn't said anything. Echo began to make excuses and claimed that she'd been unable to think at the time. Viki disagreed. Echo had made it sound like Charlie had been waiting for Echo to show up at a motel. "Charlie needs me," Viki said dramatically, reminding Echo of what Echo had said.
Charlie spoke up and maintained that it had all been his fault. There had been a miscommunication, he suggested. Viki noted that Echo had been drinking her breakfast, and it hadn't been orange juice. She had a child in the house and more on the way, and she was furious with Echo's behavior. Echo announced that Charlie knew about Echo's drinking problem. Charlie revealed that he planned on helping Echo get sober. Viki was extremely unhappy to hear the news. Echo explained that Charlie had caught her drinking at the hospital, and he'd made her see her problem.
Viki assumed that Echo would check into rehab, but Echo replied that she couldn't afford it. She also wanted to remain near her family. Viki gritted her teeth and noted that Echo didn't want to leave Chuckles. Echo just agreed that she should probably stop calling Charlie by the name of Chuckles, since that was the name they'd used when they were drinking. Viki demanded to speak to Charlie in private after she heard him say that he would be taking Echo to one of his Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
"She has a problem," Charlie said to his wife. Viki argued that Echo had many problems, including the fact that she wanted Charlie. While Charlie asserted that Echo wanted him when she was drunk, Viki was adamant that Echo would go after Charlie when she was sober, and she thought that Echo was manipulating him. Charlie agreed that was true, but that was what drunks did, along with lying and denying. He had to help Echo, he vowed, because that was what members of AA did. He would get Echo started and find her a sponsor. He'd keep an eye on her.
Viki was visibly upset, as Charlie continued that he wanted Echo to be a good mother and grandmother. "I'm losing you," Viki uttered. Echo was in their home and their lives, and Charlie was about to take her to his own program when there were many others around. "Trust me," Charlie told her.
Langston helped Ford to remove his shirt after they returned to his place after his stay at the hospital, though he confessed that he didn't own any pajamas. Langston reminded him that she intended to wait until spring before she saw him without any clothing. He wondered if she trusted him yet, but before they could continue their discussion, Starr and James walked in. James admitted that he'd spoken to the cops about Eddie's murder.
Ford knew that James didn't have anything to do with the murder. "How do you know?" James asked his brother. "You're not a killer, James," Ford replied. James confessed that he'd taken Eddie's gun, gone to Eddie's motel room, and pulled the gun on his father. Eddie had laughed, so James had shot the gun at the wall. He was happy to see that Eddie was finally scared, but James couldn't pull the trigger, because James would have lost his freedom and his life as he knew it. James had left the gun in the motel room when he'd left.
James was aware that Ford had always wanted to protect him, and he recalled that earlier, Ford had vowed that Eddie would never get near James again. Ford assured his brother that he had been in the emergency room all night. Langston looked at Ford strangely, but she didn't say anything. James agreed that they weren't the only people who wanted Eddie dead. After James and Starr left, Langston accused Ford of not being in the emergency room all night. She asked why he'd lied.
She had gone to his apartment to retrieve some of his things, and when she'd returned, Ford hadn't been in his room. Ford claimed he'd been out for tests, but Langston revealed that the nurses had no idea where Ford had gone. "Did you kill your father?" she asked. Langston made him aware that there would have to be a record of the tests, and the cops would be checking up. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
It was John, and he had some questions for Ford. He wanted to know where Ford had been between midnight and 6:00 a.m. Ford reminded John that Eddie had beaten him up, and Ford had been at the hospital all night. John wondered if there had been any witnesses, because the doctors and nurses were busy and might not recall Ford. Langston spoke up. She announced that she could vouch for Ford, as she'd been with him all night. She had taken him to the hospital, had waited, and then had taken Ford home.
John advised Ford that he would check Ford's story with the hospital. He wondered if there were anything to add. Ford noted that his father was a "nasty son of a bitch" who had lots of enemies. After John was gone, Ford turned to Langston. "Why did you lie for me?" he asked her. She knew that he'd do anything to protect James, and she was ready to protect Ford, Langston explained. "Did you kill your father?" she asked him again.
As Inez and Nate talked, there was a knock at the door. It was Starr and James. They wanted to check to make sure that things were okay. Inez agreed that she wouldn't miss Eddie, and she was aware that no one else would either. The murder was still a shock, she confessed. Nate asked James if he'd heard of any leads, but there were none to divulge. James and Starr left. "It wasn't James," Nate said to his mother. "I know," she replied.
Natalie turned up at Marty's house and ordered Todd to leave. She had to speak to Marty alone. "I was here first," Todd complained. "Get the hell out, Todd," Marty spoke up. She threatened to obtain a restraining order against him, and she suggested that he get a lawyer. Todd leaned over to whisper to Natalie. He remarked that Marty was over the edge, and he had no doubts that she'd resemble a homeless person in Angel Square soon. "Now what do you want?" Marty asked Natalie after Todd had gone.
Natalie confided that she and John planned on getting married. Marty was surprised, but she asked why Natalie was there. Marty knew why, Natalie reminded the doctor. She and John were happy, and she didn't want Marty to talk to John and reveal that Natalie's baby wasn't his.
Inez placed a call to Clint. She advised him that James had been cleared of any wrongdoing, and she wondered what son of hers had been seen at the motel. She asked if it was Bobby, but Clint suggested that maybe it was Nate.
John welcomed a stranger into his office. The man had been at the motel the night of the murder, but he didn't want his wife to be aware of it. He'd seen someone leaving Eddie's room, and he was ready to view the photographs on John's computer. He pointed to the photo as soon as he saw it and announced that it was the person he'd seen.
Langston waited for Ford's answer, but Starr and James returned, and the conversation ended. James indicated that they'd gone to visit Nate and Inez, and he thought that they were behaving oddly. Starr thought they might have been hiding something about the murder.
John showed up at Inez's place and announced he had questions. "Shoot," Nate advised him. "I mean sure," he added quickly. John asked what Nate had been doing at his father's murder scene.
At Marty's house, Natalie tried to talk some sense into her nemesis, but Marty was bitter. Natalie pleaded with Marty to remain quiet and not divulge the truth to John about the baby. Natalie wondered if Marty really wanted to destroy John. "Damn straight I'm gonna tell him, because John deserves the truth," Marty replied. Marty also thought that Natalie was a hypocrite, because Natalie had lied about her own baby while she'd told the truth about Marty's son. She ordered Natalie to leave because she was busy, even though Santa wouldn't be visiting Marty's house for ten years, Marty grumbled.
Marty accused Natalie of hurting her, and Marty couldn't even see her own granddaughter. Natalie pointed out that Todd had been behind that. Marty acknowledged that Todd had hired Rex to "dig up dirt" on Marty, and Marty was aware that Natalie had learned about Marty's possession of the test results through Rex. Marty had another copy, though, and she merely needed to figure out when to share it, Marty threatened. She ordered Natalie to stop begging, because Marty hadn't received what she'd asked for when she'd begged.
Natalie gave Marty an account of what had happened the night she'd gotten pregnant, and how she'd seen Marty and John kissing. She'd believed that Marty had hidden Natalie's letter to John. Brody had been miserable, too, and they'd both been drunk. Marty chuckled and wondered if it were her fault that Natalie was pregnant. She thought that Natalie might have found a more anonymous bed partner or at least used protection. She accused Natalie of using a tactic called "rationalization."
Natalie couldn't believe that Marty might want to hurt Jessica, Marty's best friend, and Brody too. Marty suddenly turned the tables and asked what Natalie would do for her if she remained mum. "What do you want?" Natalie asked with a glimmer of hope in her voice. She vowed to make it worth Marty's while. She wouldn't go to the cops and tell them that Marty had stolen Natalie's medical records.
Marty laughed again. She wanted Cole out of jail, and she wanted Natalie to find some way to make that happen. It was the only way. "You have your baby with John, and I have mine," Marty snapped, "Only if I get mine." Natalie reminded Marty that Cole had confessed. Marty replied that she'd be unable to keep her mouth shut, and she refused to carry Natalie's burden. Natalie believed that no one would thank Marty if Marty spilled the beans. In fact, John would hate Marty, but Marty preferred to take the chance.
Natalie thought Marty would lose her job and everyone's respect. Her life would be ruined right along with Natalie's. "All right," Marty finally said firmly. Natalie couldn't believe what she'd heard, but Marty said it again. Marty swore on her son's life that she wouldn't tell John about the baby's paternity. She ordered Natalie to leave. Natalie let go of her breath as soon as she was outside. She was able to be happy again.
Marty sat and spoke to Cole's photo. She was determined to tell someone about the paternity test even if it might not be John.
Inez demanded to know why John and Brody had shown up at her apartment, but John turned to Nate. He announced that he had an eyewitness who'd seen Nate leaving Eddie's motel room "in a hurry." Immediately, Inez shouted that the eyewitness was lying. Nate explained that he'd been at the gym, and then he had taken Dani home. John had a warrant to search the premises, and he ordered Brody to start looking around. Nate admitted that he hadn't arrived home until morning, and Inez added that Nate had stayed at Dani's.
John wondered if the Mannings would confirm Nate's story, but Nate declared that they wouldn't. They hadn't been home, and they were unaware that he had been there. After he left Dani, he had stopped at the motel, Nate disclosed. He'd been upset, because Eddie was supposed to have left town after the fight. He'd wanted to think up something to get his father to leave. The man only cared about himself, and he was a disgusting man, Nate continued.
Suddenly, Brody called out. He'd found something in his search and handed it to John. "I think you dropped something," John said sarcastically, as he held up a gun. He asked where Nate had obtained the gun. Brody noted that it had the same caliber as the bullet found in Eddie's body.
Dani thought back to her conversation with Nate regarding Eddie's murder, and she was suspicious of Nate's reaction to the news. Téa found her daughter deep in thought, and she teased Dani when she saw Nate's gift sitting on the table. Dani admitted that she still had to wrap gifts for her parents. "Hello, Sunshine," Téa greeted Todd when he somberly walked through the door. Todd claimed that he had been out shopping and hadn't been able to find what he wanted.
When they were alone, Todd confessed to Téa that he'd gone to see Marty about the cufflink that had been found in Eddie's room, because Marty had sought revenge on him in the past. James had been cleared, and Todd was the prime suspect in Eddie's murder. He was certain that Marty had framed him, though Téa didn't believe it was true. She thought his ideas were rather far-fetched.
Dani placed a phone call to Nate, but she received his voicemail. She advised him that she assumed he was in shock when he'd learned about Eddie's murder, but he didn't need to hide his feelings. She returned to her parents and mentioned talk of a cufflink that she'd overheard. Todd began to make up a story, but Dani had also heard "scene of a crime." She wondered if her father were finished lying, because she'd thought things had changed. Todd told her the truth about the cufflink found at Eddie's murder scene. "Dad you didn't do it for me, did you?" Dani asked.
Dani recalled Eddie being "creepy" at Nate's apartment, and she had realized that Todd might have gone after Eddie for that reason. Todd promised her that he hadn't killed Eddie. He had merely gone to see Eddie to warn him to stay away from his children. He might have mentioned something about a "wood chipper," Todd joked. He'd also hired Rex to investigate Eddie, but Todd hadn't gone to Eddie's motel room.
Dani reminded her father that she was still getting to know him, though she agreed that progress had been made. She announced that she believed what Todd had told her. She grabbed her things and headed out. Téa urged her to be back by curfew. "We have come a long way, baby," Téa remarked. Todd was happy that Dani believed him, and that was all he cared about.
At Llanfair, Viki mentioned that Echo had her hooks into Charlie, when Jessica asked about hooks for the tree ornaments. Joey and Aubrey arrived, and Joey introduced Jessica to Aubrey. The couple was loaded down with packages, and Joey admitted that while some were for Aubrey, there were gifts for family members too. Viki excused herself, because she wanted to deliver some gifts, and she asked the others to help decorate the tree. Joey found a clown ornament that he'd gotten when he was with Kelly. It produced lots of memories for him, and he looked at it longingly.
Joey and Aubrey began to kiss in front of Jessica, but suddenly Aubrey's phone started to ring. She tried to stop Joey from answering it, but he did so anyway. He said hello a few times, but the party hung up. The caller ID said "unknown caller." Just then, Aubrey dropped Joey's ornament, and it broke into lots of little pieces. She insisted on running off to fetch a broom. "It's nothing," Joey claimed to his sister. Jessica declared that memories always meant something, especially the good ones. She had to leave, and she left Joey alone.
As Jessica walked into the foyer, she found Aubrey on the phone. Aubrey had just stated that it wasn't a good time, but she hung up quickly when she spotted Jessica. Aubrey headed back to Joey and helped to clean up the mess. The mishap saddened him, but he shrugged. "It's time for new memories anyway," he said.
Dorian found Blair lingering around the tree at La Boulaie. Blair was annoyed that Jack had put Eli's box under the tree, but Blair admitted that she'd tossed the key out. Kelly returned from Llanfair and confessed that she hadn't revealed her true feelings to Joey. She had lemon in her eye, and it was "pointless," because Joey was in love with Aubrey. Dorian couldn't believe that Kelly had given up. Kelly recalled that Blair hadn't told Todd that he was the "love of her life" either, but Blair pointed out that Todd was with Téa, and Blair was hopeful that he wouldn't "screw" things up.
Dorian thought that Joey was a fool for choosing anyone but Kelly, and she suggested that Kelly forget about him. She planned to have a traditional Cramer family Christmas, Dorian exclaimed. Sighting David's Christmas stocking, Dorian was about to toss it into the fire, when Viki walked into the room with gifts for the kids. The two women sat for a chat, and Viki admitted that while Charlie had a good reason to be with Echo, Viki wasn't satisfied. Echo had discovered a new way to get close to Charlie, Viki stated.
Viki informed Dorian of Rex's car accident, and how Charlie had called Echo and asked that she relay the information to Viki. Echo had acted upset and hadn't said anything. Dorian assumed that Echo had just wanted Charlie to herself, so they could bond at their son's bedside. Viki noted that they would be bonding at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings next. Echo was playing the victim, and Viki wanted to strangle her. She wondered who would use alcoholism to get what they wanted.
Viki looked at Dorian, and they both recalled Dorian's previous attempt at getting to Charlie through his alcoholism. Dorian declared that made her qualified to get involved and take action against Echo. She had the inside track to the way that Echo was thinking. "Leave it to me," Dorian urged. Viki didn't want Dorian to do anything illegal, but Dorian responded that she was the mayor. Viki was worried.
Kelly found her clown ornament, looked at it wistfully and explained how she and Joey had secretively bought one for each other years before. She and Blair discussed Joey's impulsive marriage proposal. Kelly noted that Joey had claimed to know everything about Aubrey that he needed to know, but Blair pointed out that she'd felt the same way about Eli. She didn't want Kelly to obsess over Aubrey, and Kelly admitted that she had actually liked the young woman when they'd met. Blair suggested that Aubrey might have some skeletons too, before she headed out to run an errand.
Jessica paid Kelly a visit, explaining that she had to get away from Aubrey and Joey, who were sickeningly sweet. She revealed that she knew about Kelly and Kevin, though she knew that Kelly had wanted to keep it a secret. She thought that Kelly should go public with her news, because of all of the other weddings that were about to occur. She saw Kelly's clown ornament and mentioned that Aubrey had just broken Joey's. "By accident?" Kelly wondered.
Jessica replied that Aubrey had claimed that it was an accident. Kelly admitted she liked Aubrey, and Jessica joked that she'd only known the woman for about an hour. They'd had a weird moment though. She told Kelly about the phone call, and how Aubrey had seemed guilty when Jessica had caught her on the phone only moments later. She wondered what Aubrey could be hiding, and both women agreed that they only wanted the best for Joey.
Inez ordered the cops to stop harassing Nate, but they placed him under arrest. Just then, Dani arrived. "Nate, tell them you didn't do this!" Dani shouted. Both Inez and Nate remained quiet as Brody led Nate out the door in handcuffs.
Blair walked into Todd's house and proclaimed that Todd had better not be lying to Dani. If she found out that he was, she'd serve his cut-out heart for Christmas dinner, she added. Todd stated that he wasn't going to jail, and he'd had nothing to do with Eddie's murder. Blair handed a couple of gifts to Téa and asked about James. Téa revealed that the young man wasn't a suspect, and Blair heaved a sigh of relief. She couldn't envision Starr having someone else to visit in jail, including her father.
"Adiós Blair," Todd called out. Téa asked Blair about Eli's box, but all that Blair could respond was that she had thought about it, but she had gotten lemon in her eye. Téa was confused, but she was thrilled that her family would all be under one roof on Christmas morning. Todd was concerned about who might be framing him, and Téa had to agree with him. They had reason to worry.
Blair returned to La Boulaie, and Kelly mentioned that she had been thinking about skeletons in the closet, but she had changed her mind. "I just got lemon in my eye," she said. "I love that saying," Blair uttered. "Not good," Dorian said as she shook her head.
Joey hung a stocking for Aubrey and told her she was part of the family. Viki and Jessica both returned just as Aubrey and Joey were kissing again. Natalie arrived home, too, and Joey introduced her to Aubrey. Natalie exclaimed that she had gotten her last gift, and it was the "best one ever."
'Twas the night before Christmas in Llanview, and Jack and Sam rushed to Blair's side as Dorian presided over the annual tree-lighting ceremony in Angel Square. As Dorian lit the tree, the crowd went wild, and when Santa Claus made an unexpected cameo at Mayor Lord's side, Sam was in awe. "That's not Santa," Jack groused. "That's just an old guy in a crummy suit." As Jack prepared to crush his little brother's belief in Jolly Old St. Nick, Blair put a hand over his mouth and dragged her middle child away. She ordered Jack not to ruin Christmas for Sam.
In the nearby crowd, Clint ran into Vimal, the technician from Buchanan Enterprises. As Vimal began to ramble about his Christmas bonus and his gratitude for being compensated after his efforts to help Clint "protect the family," Clint ordered him to be quiet. Noticing Rex, Gigi, and Shane across the park, Clint reminded Vimal that he had paid for the technician's discretion.
Kelly and Joey rendezvoused in the park, as well, but they had only just greeted each other when Aubrey arrived, pulling Joey into a kiss. Kelly spotted Clint nearby, and Aubrey's first instinct was to hide from her disapproving future father-in-law. Seizing the moment, Joey asked Kelly to help him soften Clint up regarding Aubrey and the engagement. Kelly seemed less than enthused by the idea.
Nearby, Rex, Gigi, and Shane prepared to head to Llanfair to see Viki, Charlie, and Echo. Shane was excited to spend his first holiday with his new grandparents. As he stepped away to speak to a friend, Gigi and Rex pondered how quickly Shane had processed the changes in his family tree. Gigi reminded Rex that Echo and Charlie had been at the hospital after his accident, and made Shane happy. "So it's all good," Rex concluded, and said he was ready to go see "Mom" and "Dad."
As the Balsoms left the park, Rex passed by Clint and Vimal and shot a jibe at Clint about being the "Grinch who stole Christmas." When Clint told Vimal that the drive-by heckler had been Rex Balsom, Vimal grew excitable. "Vimal!" Clint snapped, "Rex is nothing to you, or to me!" Clint said he never wanted to hear about what Vimal had done for him ever again, and ordered Vimal to stop speaking of the hospital break-in.
Just then, Joey called out to Clint, and Clint walked over to Joey, Aubrey, and Kelly as Vimal made himself scarce. Distracted, Clint quickly accepted Joey's invitation to the holiday festivities at Llanfair and strode off into the night. "What's with him?" Joey wondered. "That's simple," Aubrey replied, "He hates me." Joey insisted that Clint was simply wary of outsiders, as Asa had been, and dedicated to protecting the family, but he promised Aubrey that his father would soon get to know her better. As Aubrey beamed, Kelly looked leery.
Kelly and Joey took a moment alone to exchange Christmas gifts -- Joey had gotten Kelly a pair of pink goggles to protect her from future lemon juice accidents, and Kelly had given Joey her old clown ornament, to match the ornament he had lost years before. Joey was touched by the gesture, and suggested they "share custody" of the little clown. Aubrey returned and interrupted the tender interlude, flashing the bracelet Joey had bought her. As Joey and Aubrey hurried off to Llanfair together, Kelly sighed.
Over at Llanfair, Viki prepared Christmas dinner and struggled to hold back her rage as she watched Echo and Charlie get cozy over a batch of non-alcoholic eggnog. Her calm exterior finally failed her as Echo interfered with her preparation of the turkey, and the great bird ended up on the kitchen floor. Furious, Viki stepped outside and phoned Dorian. "Help me!" she hissed.
Alone in the freezing winter cold, Viki begged Dorian to accelerate their plan to drive Echo out of town. "I would say such nice things about you," Viki pleaded to her nemesis, "even in public!" Dorian magnanimously agreed to move against Echo that very night. "Be of good cheer, Viki," Dorian replied coolly, "This is the season for miracles." After hanging up, Dorian ushered Blair, Jack, and Sam back to La Boulaie.
Viki reentered the kitchen, and Charlie apologized for Echo's clumsiness. Pondering Dorian's plan, Viki admitted she felt better already, and gritted her teeth as Echo informed her that the turkey had been saved. Just then, the Balsoms arrived. Watching Charlie share a tender moment with Echo, Rex, Gigi, and Shane, Viki grew anxious for Dorian's call.
In the living room, Natalie, Brody, and Jessica admired Bree's ballet moves as the "Sugarplum Fairy." Brody answered the doorbell, and welcomed John to Llanfair. He asked John about the Ford case, and John explained that the police had been forced to arrest Nate due to the ballistics match on the murder weapon.
Jessica took Bree and Brody upstairs as Natalie and John stole a moment by the Christmas tree. Producing a small box, he told her he had an early gift for her, and asked her to open it immediately. Natalie was stunned when she opened the box and discovered John's mother's wedding ring inside -- the ring he had been unwilling to give her several years before. John told Natalie he was ready to start a family with her, and said everything felt right. As John slipped the ring onto her finger, Natalie decided they would inform the family of their engagement that night.
At the Ford brothers' apartment, James and Bobby celebrated Christmas the Ford family way, with beer and pizza. Bobby promised his little brother that life would turn around in 2011 with Eddie gone, but James was consumed with worry for Nate, and suggested they cancel Christmas. The brothers differed on whether their younger sibling could have killed Eddie, and Ford said that Nate had never been pushed, and could well have snapped when faced with Eddie's brand of evil. Ford urged James not to feel guilty over being relieved by Eddie's demise and suggested he spend Christmas Eve with Starr, but James felt he had no business being with Starr's family over the holiday, while Ford feared Langston thought he was a murderer. James lightened the mood by re-gifting Bobby with his favorite shirt, and Ford proposed they go out on the town together and search for Santa.
At La Boulaie, Langston comforted a gloomy Starr after her difficult visit to Statesville Prison to see Cole. Starr couldn't get over Hope's hysterics at leaving Cole's side, or how the prison guards had torn Cole's presents apart. "Without Cole, it just isn't Christmas," Starr mumbled. Langston suggested they call the Fords and spend time with their friends, but Starr thought the brothers would be with Nate, and feared Danielle would lose Nate just as Starr had lost Cole.
Langston reminded Starr that it was Christmas, and urged her to shake off the doldrums and embrace the holiday spirit. Starr agreed to exchange gifts, and offered Langston a bounty of clothes and yoga lessons in order to ease Langston's sexless drought going into 2011. Langston admitted she wasn't sure if there was a future to pursue with Ford after she had suspected him of murdering Eddie. Emboldened by the gift-giving, she suggested they skip the usual "Cramer women" festivities and head to Angel Square to celebrate Christmas in their own way. Not in a partying mood, Starr agreed.
After the girls left, Jack and Sam rushed into La Boulaie, still arguing about whether Santa Claus was fact or fiction. "He's a myth invented by toy stores so they can make more money!" Jack declared, but little Sam was having none of it. Before Jack could elaborate on the "Christmas magic" of Logan's Department Store, Blair arrived, gagged Jack once again and sent Sam out of the room. Miffed, Blair warned Jack that if he spoiled Christmas for Sam, his presents would disappear too. As Dorian headed for the kitchen, she stopped in the living room and warned Jack not to open his presents too early. Jack insisted he was only shaking them to determine their contents.
Dorian returned to the foyer and called Echo, offering her ten thousand for a night's work on a photo shoot. Echo was intrigued by the offer.
Back at Llanfair, the holiday partygoers, who had increased to include Clint, began gathering in the living room as Natalie quietly informed Gigi and Rex that she and John were about to announce their engagement. Rex wondered what had changed her mind about Marty's threats, but Natalie had no answer.
Echo entered the living room and told Charlie and Viki she needed to step out. She offered to let a concerned Charlie accompany her, but Viki laid down the law and told Charlie to stay. Echo promised Rex and Shane dinner on her the following week. "Drive safely!" Viki trilled as Echo made her exit.
On her way out of Llanfair, Echo was intercepted in the foyer by Clint, who was full of barbs and insults for his old flame. Echo told Clint that what he was doing to Charlie was evil, but Clint jeered that Echo was milking Rex's false paternity for all it was worth in order to get closer to "Chuckles." "Where'd the old Clint go?" Echo asked him. "When did you turn into Asa? Because you're not one little bit of the man who made love to me." Clint said he had since wised up, but Echo told him he wasn't smart enough, because Clint was the only one left alone and bitter, having sacrificed an incredible son and grandson. Clint pondered Echo's words as she walked out on him.
Clint returned to the living room just in time to hear John and Natalie announce their engagement to the assembled guests. There were hugs and cheers all around, and Clint whispered in Natalie's ear that it was about time John popped the question. Brody and John compared notes on their surreal situation, sharing new babies and marriages at the same time. Charlie congratulated Clint on adding two cops to the family, and Clint cracked that he would have to be on his best behavior. As the men laughed, Rex glared at Clint from across the room.
Echo arrived at La Boulaie and met Dorian in the foyer. Dorian immediately ushered Echo upstairs to the roof.
In the drawing room, Jack continued shaking his gifts, unsatisfied to find several packages of what were obviously clothes. Watching closely, Sam continued to wonder when Santa would arrive. Jack was determined to prove to his little brother that Santa was made up, but Sam remained convinced Santa was the real deal. When Sam noticed Eli's mystery box, Jack stopped him from opening it and said it was from "Mom's serial killer husband." He figured it probably contained a shrunken head, and decided they needed to open it themselves in order to protect Blair. "Good idea," Sam declared, and the boys headed onto the patio, leaving Blair to return to an empty living room.
Starr, Langston, and Hope arrived in Angel Square, where they ran into the Ford brothers beside the giant Christmas tree. "Merry Christmas, Twinkle," James said softly.
Langston took Ford and Hope aside as Starr and James discussed their troubles. Starr told James of her difficult time at Statesville, seeing Cole, and James asked if his presence made her uncomfortable. He offered to leave, but Starr told him not to go. "I'm glad you can be my friend," she said, and nothing more, "because I really need you right now." James promised to always be there for her.
Nearby, Langston apologized to Ford for thinking he could have killed Eddie. Ford shrugged it off and cracked that he was the most trustworthy guy around, then asked Hope her opinion. "You're good with her," Langston noticed, and said she trusted him as well.
Back at La Boulaie, Dorian ushered Echo onto the roof of the Cramer mansion, where she said she wanted Echo to stage a Christmas photo shoot with Dorian dressed as Santa, bringing good tidings to all of Llanview. Dorian stepped back downstairs to tend to some last-minute details, leaving the Santa suit behind. As Echo grew cold in the frigid temperatures, she attempted to leave the roof, only to find the door locked. Horrified, Echo began screaming for help.
Downstairs, Dorian, acting casual, returned to the living room and Blair. Kelly blew into the house, bitching about Aubrey and Joey's engagement and calling the lovebirds "painfully cute." Sympathetic, Blair told Kelly that Joey had moved on, and suggested her cousin do the same before pecking her on the cheek. But Kelly couldn't shake the feeling that there was something off about Aubrey -- her perfect attitude, her strange phone calls. When Kelly decided to investigate her romantic rival, Blair suggested she back off, while Dorian cheered her on, and ignited the fireplace.
Over at Llanfair, Joey and Aubrey arrived for the family festivities, and were delighted by the news about John and Natalie's engagement. Joey was keen about himself and his sisters all getting hitched at the same time, but Clint chose to pointedly gloss over Aubrey's existence. As Jessica treated Aubrey to some eggnog, Joey confronted Clint in private. Joey warned Clint to treat Aubrey with respect, even if he couldn't share in their happiness. As Aubrey and Joey, and Brody and Jessica talked about their wedding plans, Clint fumed in the corner.
In the kitchen, Viki and Charlie tested Viki's dishes and enjoyed some time alone. Charlie told Viki it was nice to see her smiling, and said he knew how hard Echo's presence in the house was for his wife. Viki said that with her family home and happy, all was finally right with the world. Charlie couldn't help but worry about Echo's sudden exit, but resolved to let his ex go her own way while he enjoyed the holidays with his wife. Delighted, Viki embraced him, and they returned to the living room just in time to see Brody read The Night Before Christmas to Bree and the assembled guests.
On the roof of La Boulaie, Echo struggled to stave off the chill of the elements by donning Dorian's leftover Santa suit. As she howled into the winter night, her cries distracted Jack and Sam from their attempt to bash open Eli's mystery box. "Santa!" Sam cried, and he and Jack rushed through the drawing room, past the befuddled Cramer elders and up the staircase to confront their none-too-jolly guest.
"I need a drink," Echo moaned as she tottered about on the roof. Noticing the chimney, she hurried over to it, bent double and began calling down into the dark abyss.
In the drawing room, Dorian was horrified as Echo's cries for help began to reach Blair and Kelly's ears. "It sounds like an echo!" Kelly mused. Scrambling, Dorian rushed to the stereo and began to blare Handel's The Messiah to drown out her rooftop hostage.
Jack and Sam reached the roof just in time to see "Santa" bent over the chimney, as Echo lost her balance and fell in. "You see?" Sam cried. "I told you!" Rushing over to the chimney, the boys noticed that "Santa" had gotten stuck in the chimney. "Go, Santa!" Sam called down to "St. Nick." "The tree's by our fireplace!" Realizing that the fireplace was lit, Jack grabbed Sam and hustled back downstairs.
At Llanfair, Aubrey found herself alone in the kitchen, primping. As she turned to leave, she ran into Clint. The two locked eyes and shared a strange, silent moment before Clint wished her a merry Christmas. Smiling, Aubrey walked back into the living room.
In the foyer, Rex was pulled away from Brody's reading by a call from Kelly at La Boulaie. Kelly told Rex she needed him to find out everything he could about Aubrey Wentworth.
As Kelly spoke to Rex, Jack and Sam rushed back down to the drawing room, grabbed a pitcher of water and doused the fireplace flames. Blair was shocked by their behavior. "Mom, I'm saving Santa Claus's life!" Jack cried. "Oh, no," Dorian muttered, realizing the impending disaster, just in time for Echo to crash down into the fireplace. Her Santa suit covered in ash and soot, Echo glared at Dorian.
At Llanfair, Clint returned to the living room to listen to Brody's reading. As he spotted Charlie sitting with Rex and Shane, his face darkened. Beside him, Viki asked if he was all right. "Yeah," Clint said softly. "Just thinking about family."
In Angel Square Park, Starr, James, Ford, Langston, and Hope stood together by the great Christmas tree, and sang "O Come All Ye Faithful" to celebrate Christmas Eve.
Due to the extended Christmas holiday, ABC opted to air encore episodes of its entire daytime lineup -- All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital. This scheduling change was anticipated and there will be no "lost" episodes as a result of the scheduling change.
Regular programming will resume on Monday, December 27 and pick up where the Wednesday, December 22 episode concluded.
Due to the extended Christmas holiday, ABC opted to air encore episodes of its entire daytime lineup -- All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital. This scheduling change was anticipated and there will be no "lost" episodes as a result of the scheduling change.
Regular programming will resume on Monday, December 27 and pick up where the Wednesday, December 22 episode concluded.