At the Abbott mansion, Jack informed Traci about the six months of payments to Andrew at Type A Consulting. Jack explained that Ashley had claimed it was for secret stuff to undo Billy's damage, but he thought it seemed suspicious. Traci argued that Ashley had been in charge of research and development, but Jack countered that the firm had no lab and no location, and Ashley had only dug her heels in more when he'd pressed to find out where their lab was.
Traci thought it sounded like accusations based on speculation, and she asserted that their sister would never do anything unethical. Jack worried that Ashley might be in trouble and wouldn't turn to him for help. Traci urged Jack to accept that Ashley was CEO, and she warned that she would fight him every step of the way if he tried to stir up trouble.
At Jabot, Phyllis received another letter in the mail and abruptly headed out.
At Crimson Lights, a blindfolded Kyle taste-tested some of Lola's dishes. He asked if he could have his eyes back, and Lola promised that the last one was really good. He said he was ready, and she planted a passionate kiss on him. He declared that they had a winner, and she removed the blindfold. He expected her to wow the festival organizer, and she exclaimed that the exposure would be huge if she got into the event. Kyle envisioned her food being bigger than Wisconsin cheese, and he was sure that she wouldn't miss.
Abby spotted Kyle and Lola flirting, and Lola headed out. Abby demanded to know what Kyle was doing with her boyfriend's little sister, since Arturo was very proud but very protective of Lola. Kyle marveled that Lola had wanted a food truck, so she'd made it happen because it was how her brain worked. Abby argued that Lola wasn't his type, since Lola wasn't flighty, fluffy, or pretentious. Abby contended that Lola got up early and worked hard every day and that she wasn't the kind of girl who got bottle service at every club in town.
Abby bet that Kyle had never dated a girl who knew how to drive a truck, and she considered Lola to be honest and direct with no B.S. Kyle figured that Abby meant Lola was unlike him, and Abby reminded him of the things that he'd pulled over the past year to get ahead. Kyle reasoned that it had only been business, but Abby refused to let him mess with Lola's head. He asserted that maybe he liked that Lola wasn't flighty and fluffy, and he thought it was awesome that she drove a truck.
Kyle realized that he'd never dated anyone like Lola before, and he didn't think he loved anything the way she loved cooking and feeding people. Kyle added that Lola knew that she was good at what she did, but she was confident rather than cocky, and she called him on his "crap" in a way that didn't make him feel stupid. Abby guessed that it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if Lola gave him a shot. Jack greeted Abby and Kyle, and Abby headed out.
Kyle inquired whether Traci had known anything about the mess with Type A, and Jack reported that she was convinced that there was an explanation. Kyle reasoned that Ashley had to have done something wrong if someone was blackmailing her. Jack theorized that maybe it had nothing to do with Jabot at all, but Kyle reminded him that Ashley had taken company funds, just like Billy. Kyle wanted to go to the board, but Jack argued that the CEO was at liberty to keep things from them. Kyle agreed, but he pointed out that the payments had started before Ashley had been in charge, and they deserved answers. Jack cautioned that they couldn't make it look like they were going after Ashley.
At the counter, Phyllis joined Victoria, who groaned that she cringed every time she saw Phyllis' name on her phone. Phyllis inquired whether Victoria had received another note, and Victoria replied that she hadn't, but she assumed that Phyllis had. They retreated to a table, and Phyllis showed her the letter, which said it would cost her if she didn't want anyone to find out. It further mentioned that the first digit was two. They contemplated whether it meant money or something else. Rey approached and asked what was so fascinating.
Phyllis testily asked if Rey sneaked up on people a lot to get involved in their business, and he replied that it was the definition of a detective. He swore that he'd just been saying hello, and Victoria snapped that she could tell him what they hadn't been doing -- reading an article about how he'd solved J.T.'s case. Victoria observed that Rey seemed to have a lot of time on his hands, and she questioned whether he was actually conducting an investigation. He couldn't discuss the case, and Victoria translated that to mean he hadn't made any progress.
Rey found it interesting that Phyllis would show up there, given that Sharon owned the place. Phyllis scoffed at the idea that he knew them well enough to comment, and he asserted that he and Sharon were coworkers who looked out for one another. Victoria barked that he seemed more interested in their personal lives than in doing his job, and Rey walked away. Phyllis was impressed by Victoria's assertiveness, and Victoria advised her to pull it together around Rey because Victoria had a history with J.T., whereas Phyllis had no excuse to flip out on a cop. Phyllis pointed out that it had been the second time Rey had popped up when they'd been reading the mysterious notes. Victoria chalked it up to coincidence, but Phyllis suspected that the sender wanted to see their reaction.
Phyllis imagined Rey arranging a drop-off with the cops in the bushes, waiting to tackle them. Victoria was pretty sure that blackmailers no longer used cash in suitcases, and Phyllis guessed that Rey was hoping to keep them rattled so that they'd turn on one another. Kyle approached them and notified Phyllis of a last-minute board meeting at Jabot. He hoped that she'd be there, especially since she wasn't a fan of the new CEO. Phyllis groused that she had other priorities, but Kyle urged her to trust him. She agreed to try to be there.
After Kyle left, Phyllis speculated that Rey might want money, since he was a detective living above a coffeehouse. Victoria doubted that he would jeopardize his career, but Phyllis thought he stood to gain more by squeezing money out of them than by solving the case. Phyllis pointed out that they knew little about him, and the fact that his brother was Abby's boyfriend and Nikki's former boy toy was hardly a ringing endorsement. Victoria argued that none of it meant he'd sent the letters, but Phyllis cautioned that they had to be on guard 24/7.
In her office, Victoria performed an online search for Rey Rosales but found nothing. A staff member delivered her mail, and she discovered another letter. It was identical to Phyllis', except that it disclosed that the third digit was zero.
Arturo playfully sneaked up on Abby at Dark Horse, and they kissed. He wanted to start planning their next date, and she suggested a double date with Lola and her new guy. Arturo was surprised to hear that his sister was dating someone, and Abby announced that it was her cousin Kyle. Arturo remembered Kyle as the guy who'd dropped his pants on television, and Abby recalled that she'd once ridden naked on a horse for the press.
Arturo worried that Kyle seemed like a player, and Abby conceded that she hadn't met any of Kyle's recent dates. Arturo surmised that Kyle hadn't taken them seriously, but Abby insisted that her cousin was a good guy. Arturo sensed that there was something she wasn't saying, and Abby admitted that some of Kyle's ethics were questionable, but not in his romantic life. Jack burst in and told Abby that a Jabot board meeting had been called, and their votes could be critical.
Later, Lola returned to Crimson Lights and could barely contain her excitement as she ended a phone call. Arturo entered the coffeehouse, and she enthused that she'd gotten into the harvest festival. She envisioned everyone falling in love with her food, and she would be swamped with catering gigs and might need to open a second truck. Arturo congratulated her, and he sourly imagined that she'd celebrate with Kyle. He asked why she'd never mentioned her new beau, and she countered that Arturo hadn't told her about the older woman he'd been seeing and that she hadn't met Abby for months.
Lola recounted that she'd told Arturo about a Jabot customer who was a fan, but Arturo said he'd thought she'd meant of her cooking, not her. He swore that he was just looking out for her, since he'd heard nothing but terrible things about Kyle, but Lola described Kyle as respectful and polite. Rey joined them, and Lola refused to let her brothers lecture her about her dating life. Arturo prompted Rey to run a background check on Kyle, and Rey looked Kyle up in the police database and learned that he'd been arrested for interfering with a burial ground.
Lola defended that the charges had been dropped, and Arturo dryly imagined that Kyle had simply found a coffin when he'd been planting a garden. Rey surmised that Kyle's parents had paid to cover it up, and Lola argued that it meant Rey's police buddies could be paid off. Lola was appalled that condemning Kyle was the one thing her brothers could agree on when they didn't even know him, and she chided Arturo for calling Kyle out on being an Abbott when Arturo was dating one. She admonished them for considering themselves to be strong, manly men who could make their own decisions, while she was just a girl who had to check in with them first. She flatly told them that they could kiss that dream goodbye.
Lola bemoaned that the day was a huge win for her and her truck, but her brothers had to grind her mood into the dirt. Arturo invited the gravedigger home for dinner, and Rey volunteered the use of his place. Lola assumed that she'd be doing the cooking while Rey and Arturo put Kyle on trial. She proclaimed that if and when she wanted them to meet Kyle, she would make it happen.
At the Athletic Club, Ashley informed Lauren that it would cost Jabot financially to kill the boutiques, and she grumbled that it was another thing to thank Billy for. Ashley insisted that Fenmore's had always been vital to Jabot's brick-and-mortar strategy, and Lauren was confident that she'd cast the right vote for CEO. Ashley anticipated that Jack and Kyle wouldn't let her run the company in peace, since they'd already been undermining her and questioning her judgment. Ashley declared her intent to take Fenmore's to new heights by boosting the budgets of all the stores, and Lauren voiced surprise because money was tight. Lauren felt that Ashley was trying to bribe her in some way.
Ashley insisted that her relationship with Lauren was important to her, since they were two women leading family-owned business that they'd inherited from their beloved fathers. Ashley frowned upon the way Jack had treated Fenmore's, and she pledged to stand behind the department store chain. Lauren still sensed that Ashley was pitching her something, but Ashley wrote it off as Lauren not being accustomed to getting the respect she deserved. Traci approached and requested a moment with Ashley, and Lauren hugged Ashley goodbye before departing. Traci proclaimed that she was very worried about their father's company.
Ashley complained that Jack and Kyle were trying to throw her off her game, but she vowed that it wouldn't happen because she had gotten rid of the blood Abbott clause and would take Jabot where it needed to be. Traci was concerned that things had happened so quickly, and she pleaded with Ashley to talk about it if she was in trouble. Ashley thought Jack was just resentful of her because he'd never wanted her to be CEO, and she griped that there was an issue of entitlement for both him and Kyle. Ashley compared it to how Victoria had undermined her at Newman, and she lamented that it angered and hurt her that Jack begrudged her.
Ashley reasoned that she had the education, the work ethic, and the last name, but nothing was ever good enough for Jack. Ashley added that she'd thought Traci had her back, but Jack interrupted. Ashley testily questioned how it was possible for him to get any work done at Dark Horse, but he informed the women that there was a board meeting scheduled that morning. They protested that they hadn't known about it, and he dared them to decline, since there would be a quorum of members without them. Ashley hoped he was prepared to walk away when she shot down his rumors and accusations, since she was done humoring him. "This company is mine," Ashley hissed, and she stormed off with Traci close behind.
At Jabot, Kyle noted that Phyllis was absent but that she was aware of the meeting. Jack was glad to see family and friends there, and Ashley taunted that it would limit his embarrassment when it blew up in his face. Jack demanded that Jabot stay financially transparent in the wake of Billy's embezzlement, and Kyle revealed that the books showed that the company had paid a lot of money for research work that Ashley had authorized. Kyle continued that the consulting firm was just a post office box and a guy who had implied that he had sensitive information that would be damaging to Ashley and Jabot.
Ashley headed to the door, and Kyle reminded her that she answered to the board. She opened the door and invited Dr. Andrew Lenford inside, and she announced that it was time that everyone found out the truth. Ashley asked what Kyle knew about the scientific process that went into cosmetic development, and she imagined that he was more experienced with disrobing to promote products. Kyle snapped that he'd read Jabot's lab reports for years, but she huffed that he was basing his experience on reports that had been simplified to layman's terms for non-chemists. She asked Andrew to tell everyone what he'd been working on.
Andrew launched into a highly technical description of how he'd been studying anti-cancer properties to develop the ultimate anti-aging product. Ashley added that it would take time, money, and secrecy to ensure that no one beat them to the finish line. Traci and Lauren were impressed, but Jack said it didn't explain the shell company. Kyle asked where the lab was, and Ashley chuckled at the idea of jumping on a bus to take a field trip to see where Andrew worked. Kyle questioned why Andrew had threatened him, and Ashley explained that Andrew had been upset because Billy had cut their funding.
Ashley stressed that they were finding drama where there was none, and she offered to explain the research in more detail as long as everyone kept it quiet. Ashley crowed that she didn't expect an apology, and she started to adjourn the meeting. Phyllis walked in and asked what Andrew was doing at Jabot, and she divulged that they'd worked together years earlier at a DNA lab. Ashley tried to wrap up the meeting, but Phyllis inquired whether Andrew was still running the DNA department at Memorial. Ashley claimed that he also worked on other projects, but Abby wondered why Ashley had hired a DNA expert to help with cosmetics.
Ashley described Andrew as a trained scientist whose expertise spanned different fields. Kyle asked what other cosmetics companies Andrew had worked for. As a member of the board at Memorial, Jack was thrown by the thought of Andrew moonlighting when he should be focused on hospital work. Ashley opined that it wasn't a crime to work on the side when one had a day job, but Jack objected to the secrecy. Ashley ranted that Jack kept asking questions and raising the bar when he got the answers, and she believed it was really about who was sitting behind the CEO desk.
Jack accused Ashley of making up a new truth every time the old one didn't work. He demanded a straight answer from Andrew other than chemistry technobabble, and he insisted on seeing the formulation and analysis of the project to support why Ashley had authorized payments to a DNA expert on the sly. Ashley ordered Jack to move on, and she declared the meeting adjourned. Jack protested, and Ashley threatened to call security. Jack demanded to know how much Ashley had paid Andrew, and he offered to pay ten times as much if Andrew spilled why she'd hired him.
Jack pulled out his checkbook and told Andrew to name a figure, and he'd put a zero on it for any information about the research. Ashley scolded that Jack was embarrassing himself, but Jack maintained that it had nothing to do with face cream. "Enough!" Ashley bellowed, and she told Jack that she'd tell him what he wanted to know for free. She confessed that she'd hired Andrew to handle Jack's paternity results, and the great news was that Jack could stop looking for his biological father. "You've been John Abbott's son all along," Ashley proclaimed.
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