Leo escorted Rae Cummings to a table at The Valley Inn. As was typical of most of his encounters with females, Leo gushed praised at Rae every chance he got. Rae was flattered, but she knew that Leo must want something from her. She was right. Leo confessed that he wanted to pick her brain for possible guests on Tad's new show. Rae was a bit perplexed by Leo's request since he was only an assistant on the show. Before the two could discuss specifics, Vanessa and Palmer strolled into the dining room and demanded to know why Leo was not at work at Cortlandt Electronics. Rae cocked her head to one side and mentioned that she thought Leo was working for Tad. "I think I prefer working [directly] with Tad," Rae said softly ad she rose from her chair. After Rae left, Vanessa scolded her son for disregarding his duties for Palmer's company. Leo confessed that he'd taken on a second job --- a part-time job --- working at WRCW. Palmer smiled broadly and praised Leo's decision to work two jobs. It wasn't clear if he admired Leo's drive or if he was secretly hoping that Leo would quit his post at Cortlandt Electronics. Since Palmer wasn't throwing a fit, Vanessa figured that she'd support Leo in his new venture. Leo quickly filed out of the restaurant on what he claimed was business. Palmer and Vanessa continued towards their table, but stopped along the way to greet Erica. A waiter appeared alongside the table and informed Erica that David had called to say that he'd not be able to keep their lunch date. Vanessa smiled smugly and informed Erica that "David can be so inconsiderate." Palmer excused himself to call his office. In the meantime, Vanessa took some time out to toy with Erica. Vanessa insinuated that David was probably busy chasing his "beautiful new partner." Erica rolled her eyes and assured Vanessa that David had no designs on Alex. "Try as you will," Erica replied coldly. "But David finds her absolutely charmless." Palmer returned, but by now Erica had grown tired of her banter with her former houseguest. Palmer asked Erica to join them at their table, but Erica politely declined. Palmer kissed Erica's hand and asked her to stay in touch.
David took it upon himself to find office space at the hospital for the Andrassy Foundation. He pulled Alex into his office and showed her that he'd had a second desk placed in his office. Alex shook her head to show his disapproval with the idea. "I'm not sharing an office with you," she grumbled. David explained that Joe had only allotted a few hundred square feet of space to the foundation. That space, he said, would be better served as a research area. Alex reluctantly agreed that David was right and sat down behind her new desk. David also announced that he'd taken the liberty of contacting several prestigious university hospitals in the hopes of finding lab technicians for the foundation. Alex was a bit miffed that David had moved ahead without her consent, but again she ceded that David had done the right thing. "When I put my mind to it, I can be irresistible," David chuckled. Alex's face suddenly grew pale. "Not to me," she mumbled as she raced towards the door. David told her that he was just joking, but the remark had already upset Alex. Alex raced out of the office and collided with Rae in the hallway. Rae had actually been looking for Alex so that they could discuss a mutual friend. David poked his head out of the office and asked Alex not to leave. Alex look positively mortified as she ran down the hallway.
Barry dropped by Chandler Mansion with some confidential papers for Adam. The papers, though, were merely an excuse to get him inside the mansion. Liza greeted him at the door and said that she'd be sure to give the papers to Adam. Barry refused, stating that it would be unwise to give Adam's soon-to-be ex-wife urgent business papers. Winifred poked her head into the foyer and told Liza that she had a call from WRCW. Barry sauntered into parlor and announced that he would wait for Adam to return. Liza went to her upstairs office to handle the call from the station. With everyone gone, it was safe for Barry to search around for his boss. Adam scurried out of his hiding place and told Barry to keep his voice down. "Liza fell for the phony invitation," Adam chuckled. Barry informed Adam that proving his paternity was going a bit slower than he'd anticipated because he hasn't been to get a blood sample from Colby. Adam had a way around that. He said that David must still have the DNA test he'd ordered on file in his office. All Barry had to do, said Adam, was break into David's office and retrieve the file. Barry wasn't going to commit a crime for Adam. "I could be disbarred," Barry argued. "This is lousy time for you to discover ethics," Adam snapped. Barry again refused to go to David's office. That meant that Adam would have to get the information himself. Barry filed out of the house, but Adam lingered around to mull over how he'd slip into David's office unobserved. When the doorbell rang, Adam had barely enough time to race to his secret passageway before Liza started walking down the steps. Jake and Gillian had dropped by to give Colby back to her mother. Liza was pleased to hear that Gillian was once again able to speak. Gillian took Colby to the nursery while Jake and Liza had a heart-to-heart talk. Jake surprised Liza by asking for her blessing of his relationship with Gillian. "She's kinda grown on me," Liza smiled. She asked Jake if he'd made it official by proposing to Gillian. Jake blushed slightly and told Liza that marriage was still a ways away. "That's what people do," she teased. To make him feel better, she smiled warmly and assured him that their relationship had her blessing. Liza told Jake that she and Colby would be going away for a few days. "Time away from Adam is time well spent," Jake stated. Gillian returned downstairs and lit up upon hearing that Liza was headed to Monaco. The princess still had many friends in Monaco and she told Liza that she was sure they'd love to have her for dinner. Liza smiled, but said that she wouldn't have much time for anything other than business.
Alex returned to the hunting lodge and promptly poured herself a glass of brandy. Before she took a sip, she undressed and headed for the shower. Shortly after she stepped into the bathroom there was a knock on the door. After several knocks, the doorknob slowly turned. David poked his head inside and called out to Alex. He heard the water running and decided to wait around until Alex was done. He sought out a vase for some roses that he'd brought as a peace offering. A short time later, the sound of running water ceased and a robe-clad Alex wandered out of the bathroom. It took her several moments before she realized that she was not alone in the lodge. Alex jumped upon seeing David and asked him why he'd broken into her home. David explained that he had knocked several times before letting himself in. "Why is it that everything I do sets you off?" he asked. Alex accused David of "invading [her] privacy" and asked her partner to leave. David argued that they could never function as a team if the were unable to spend any time together. He knew that something was bothering Alex and urged her to open up to him. Alex refused. Again she asked David to leave, this time threatening to call the police. "You're being irrational," David snapped. Alex's soft tone suddenly faded away. "I am not being irrational," she shouted. David made his way towards the door. He turned around once to look at Alex, shook his head, and then left. Alex sat on the sofa in a near catatonic state. She had yet another New Year's Eve premonition. This time, though, after the countdown concluded, a voice shouted out in horror.
Adam looked up and down the hall before slipping into David's office. Adam rummaged through several drawers in the office before finding a locked drawer that presumably contained most --- in not all --- of David's confidential paperwork. With the help of a file, Adam picked the lock and found what he was looking for: the DNA test results that proved he was Colby's biological father. File in hand, Adam was prepared to leave the office. Before he could leave, though, Erica wandered into the office and demanded to know what Adam was doing. Adam said that he was looking for some information from his file. Erica didn't have a problem with Adam wanting information, but she was concerned that Adam had broken into a locked drawer. She plucked the file away from Adam and looked at the papers inside the folder. She shook her head and stated that she should have known that Adam was after the DNA test results. Adam didn't flinch when Erica talked of Colby's paternity. His composure did crack slightly when Erica informed him that she was not going to give him back the papers. Adam pleaded with Erica, appealing several times to her maternal instincts. He told Erica that he was "ready to go public" with the news that he was really Colby's father. Erica was more than slightly confused. Adam had previously said that Liza would leave him if she learned the truth and Erica had no way of knowing that Liza already knew about the swap. Adam pleaded with Erica to help him keep his daughter. Erica sighed deeply and made Adam promise that David wouldn't get into any trouble from whatever it was that he was going to do with the test results. "I swear on my daughter's life," Adam replied. Erica handed over the file and Adam raced towards the door "You owe me," Erica said. Adam nodded in agreement. "Ask and you shall receive," responded Adam before heading on his way.
Janet paged through the morning newspaper looking for anything that might hint that a body had been found in the dumpsters behind the mall. Seeing nothing, Janet began to breathe easy. She walked over the fireplace, but froze in her tracks. Someone had placed her pendant --- the same one that had been returned with Amanda's costume on Halloween --- on the mantle. Janet called to Amanda and asked if she'd been playing with her jewelry. Amanda shook her head. Suddenly, Trevor called out to Janet and told her that she'd never guess what he'd found in the trash. A few seconds later, Trevor entered the house toting a large, plastic candy cane --- the same type of candy cane that Janet has used to bludgeon Sophie. This decoration, however, had been given to Amanda as a gift for appearing in The Nutcracker. Trevor asked his wife how the item had ended up in the trash. Janet shrugged and stated that it must have gotten mixed up with the wrapping paper. Janet quickly changed the subject and told her husband that she wanted to spend New Year's Eve in Paris with Tim. Trevor liked the idea of going to France, but he couldn't clear his schedule in time for a New Year's trip. In the spring or summer, he said with a smile, the entire family could travel to see Tim. Alone again, Janet placed a call to the sanitation department. She asked someone there about the disposal method for the trash collected in the alley behind the mall. Mirror Janet called out to her and warned her that the call could be traced and used as evidence if Sophie's body was ever found. Janet's alter ego, though, was confident that Sophie's body would never be recovered. "She's probably landfill by now," she cackled. "Dead as disco." Mirror Janet warned Janet that Trevor would catch on to her strange behavior if she wasn't careful. "Stop acting guilty and start enjoying yourself," warned Janet's reflection. "Look at me," she added. "The hard part is done. Sophie can't hurt you any more." A tapping sounded on the window. Janet turned around and looked outside. There stood Sophie draped in white.
Several post-it notes on his computer monitor made it clear to Edmund that Brooke needed to see him. He waltzed into Brooke's office and asked her about her emergency. Brooke started to tell her partner about her need for a date to the Crystal Ball, but the chat was cut short by a phone call. David phoned to tell Edmund that he'd had yet "another strange encounter" with Alex. Edmund asked that he drop by his office so that they could talk in more detail. Edmund rejoined the conversation with Brooke and learned of the bet Brooke had made with Jack. Edmund rattled off a list of names of co-workers that would make suitable escorts, but Brooke shot everyone down. Edmund reminded Brooke that she couldn't be too picky because the man would only be on her arm for one date. Brooke mentioned that Phoebe chides her about her unwillingness to find a partner and her dire warning that Brooke would die a single woman. Edmund asked Brooke if her aunt was right. For obvious reasons, Brooke wanted to change the subject --- and she did so. She asked Edmund how he'd enjoyed his holidays. Edmund said that he had enjoyed watching the kids have a good time, but that it was difficult without Maria and Dimitri. It was likewise hard, he said, for Alex. The mention of Alex's name reminded Brooke of a file that had come across her computer. During a systems check, she found a file she'd requested when Edmund was still suspicious of Alex. Edmund told Brooke to trash the file, but he still wanted to take a peek at it. The information that had been compiled all seemed to be in order. It was what was not listed in the file that troubled him. There was a gap of several years in which there was no trace of Alexandra Devane.
Rae urged Alex to take a deep breath to avert hyperventilating. "What are you doing here?" Alex gasped as she struggled for air. "I'm nosy," Rae confessed. She poured Alex a glass of water and told her that she was worried about her. Alex stated that she was "under a lot of pressure at work." Rae didn't buy it. Rae looked down at the floor and noticed the shattered crystal vase. The talk show host told Alex that she's "no Martha Stuart," but she's sure that she could have found a better way to display the bouquet of flowers. Alex told Rae that David had brought the flowers. "His mere existence does something to me," she grumbled. "What can I do for you?" Rae asked. As she did, the clock on the mantle chimed four o'clock. Alex put her hands over her ears and begged Rae to "make it stop" chiming. "I can't stand it," Alex gasped. The two women sat down on the sofa. Rae offered her ear to Alex, but Alex was not willing to spill her guts to the therapist. "I'm not looking for an hour on your couch," she mused. Alex labeled herself a "very controlled person" with a dislike of radical change in her daily routine. Rae wondered if David was trying to hard to endear himself to Alex. Alex nodded slightly and pointed to the gifts he'd been giving her. Rae found it more than a bit peculiar that one of David's gifts was a clock --- an item that seemed to cause a great deal of fear in Alex. Finally, Alex told of her New Year's Eve premonition. Rae determined that Alex might not be angry or upset with David at all. Perhaps, she suggested, David reminded her of someone. Alex nixed that idea as she grew less and less interested in sharing her feelings with Rae. Rae told Alex that she'd be around if she ever needed to talk again. "Everything that we've ever felt, seen, or touched is in our minds," Rae said philosophically.
David finally caught up to Edmund at Tempo. He told Edmund about his latest encounter with Alex at the hunting lodge. Edmund thought little of the run-in, reminding David that it might have something to do with the fact that Alex doesn't like him. David confessed that Alex is not one of his most favorite people either. He said that he's tried to put their differences behind them so that they can work together amicably. Perhaps, he offered, the stress of working out the foundation was getting to her. He waited for a response from David before continuing on with a suggestion that Alex should resign and allow David to run the foundation by himself. Of course, by now David knew that Edmund was being sarcastic. "Alex has a problem --- and it's not just me," David said coldly. He turned and walked away. Once alone, Edmund had time to reflect on the bizarre way that Alex had reacted to the clock on the mantle at the lodge.
Greenlee and Leo sat at a table in The Valley Inn discussing their New Year's Eve plans. Ryan arrived a short time later and joined the pair at their table. Greenlee proudly announced that she'd devised a way for them to spend the night together. Leo, she stated, would be her escort to the Crystal Ball. After they'd put in an appearance, Greenlee would sneak into the wine cellar where she and Ryan could enjoy each other's company. Greenlee's smiling face froze when Ryan told her that he disliked her idea. Leo cleared his throat and said that he'd leave to give the couple a chance to come up with another plan. Ryan told Greenlee that her plan "sounds like fun --- for a ten year-old." Ryan was momentarily distracted as he watched Jake and Gillian stroll into the dining room. "I'm too blue collared for [Millicent's] blue blood," Ryan added. Greenlee confessed that her grandmother did have a bit of a problem with "that rape thing." Leo returned hoping that everything was patch up. Ryan told Greenlee to go ahead with her plans, but that he would not be part of them.
Gillian was still a bit nervous to be out in public, but she was happy to have Jake by her side. Jake asked the princess if she'd accompany him to the Crystal Ball. Gillian smiled broadly and accepted the invitation. Ryan walked up to their table and told Gillian that he was glad to see that she was feeling better. Back at the other table, Greenlee looked on with a frown. She told Leo that she was determined to find out if Ryan and Gillian had any chance of getting back together. Leo tired of the dull atmosphere of The Valley Inn. "I can feel my arteries hardening," he grumbled, telling Greenlee that he was headed to SOS. Gillian excused herself to use the restroom. Ryan was about to leave, but Jake called him back. Jake wasted little time getting to the point. "Are you still interested in Gillian?" he asked. Ryan was surprised by the doctor's straightforwardness. Ryan denied having any ulterior motives. In fact, he praised Jake for being there for Gillian and stated that he's never seen Gillian happier. Gillian returned just as Jake received a page from the hospital. Again, Ryan was ready to go on his way. This time, though, Gillian asked him to stick around for a bit. The briefly discussed their New Year's Eve plans. Gillian could see that Ryan was hurt when she told him that she was going to the Crystal Ball with Jake. "Go," she said softly. "Take someone new." Ryan closed his eyes and nodded his head. He forced a smile before heading on his way.
Across the room, Jack sat down with Opal to tell her of his dilemma --- no date for New Year's Eve. "Brooke insisted on this crazy bet," he said. Opal couldn't understand how an attractive man like Jack was having difficulties finding a date. She offered to browse through her address book for someone suitable. Before she could find a name, Jack spotted Brooke by the entranceway. Opal planted a kiss on Jack's cheek and scurried away. The lipstick mark, she thought, would convince Brooke that Jack had someone special in his life. Brooke sat down with Jack, who claimed that she'd just missed his date. Brooke asked for the woman's name. On the spot, Jack had a hard time thinking of a name --- so he grabbed the first thing that came to mind. "Chardonnay," he replied. Brooke rolled her eyes and joked that she wondered if the woman had a brother or sister named "Cabernet" or "Beaujolais." Opal scurried back to the table a short time later and told Jack that she'd just spoken to Chardonnay and arranged for her to have "the works" before the Crystal Ball.
Rae sat by herself at a table in the restaurant. She scribbled down some notes in her journal. She referred to Alex as a "conflicted" woman. "She reminds me of me," she noted. She said that talking to Myrtle had helped her a great deal and that she'd try to be like Myrtle for Alex. Rae looked up as David filed into the room. "He seems capable of anything," she jotted down in her book. "Not all of them nice."
Janet screamed in horror and raced to the porch to see if Sophie was still alive. She opened the door, but outside there was no sign of the escaped convict. Trevor raced to see if his wife was okay. Janet concocted a bogus story of having been scared by a mouse. Back inside, Hayley ran downstairs to see what was going on. Trevor decided that it would do both him and his wife well to get out for a night on the town. Trevor looked to his niece and told her that they were headed to SOS. Hayley puckered her lips and told Trevor to stop trying to fix her and Mateo up. "Don't let the past ruin your future," Janet warned Hayley. Shortly after Janet and Trevor left, Greenlee showed up at the house under the pretense of discussing New Year's fashion with Hayley. Before long, Greenlee quizzed Hayley about her plans for the holiday. She went to great lengths to bring up the many failed relationships Hayley has had over the past couple of months. Hayley ultimately decided that she could not keep herself cooped up in the house. She took Greenlee up on her offer to go to SOS for some cappuccino.
At SOS, Adrian and Mateo told Tina that she'd have New Year's Eve off. Tina had hoped to work that night to earn some extra money. The new partners looked at each other and smiled. In place of tips, Tina would be receiving a sizable holiday bonus. Mateo also told Tina that she was invited to the Crystal Ball. Tina thanked Mateo with a big bear hug. Janet and Trevor arrived at the club and sat at a table near the back of the establishment. Trevor wanted to know why his wife was so on edge. Janet grumbled that it was a "Y2K thing." Trevor assured his wife that she had nothing to worry about because he'd protect her. At the bar, unobserved by anyone, Sophie listened in on the conversation. Trevor headed off to talk to Mateo for a few moments. Tina wandered over to take Janet's order. Still unnerved, Janet knocked over a bowl of nachos. Tina cleaned up the mess and readied to take Janet's order. Tina looked around and realized that her order pad had disappeared. She told Janet that she thinks the club might be haunted. Janet's eyes widened and she asked Tina if she really believed in ghosts. Tina nodded her head confidently. She explained that she'd once lived in a house haunted by a man who'd been murdered by a knitting needle. For years afterward, the residents of the house would inexplicably find knitting needles all over the house. Sophie smiled devilishly and made her way towards the exit. Over at the bar, Mateo griped about Adrian and Trevor interfering in his love life. Both men insisted that they had no part in getting Mateo and Hayley to the beach on Christmas Eve. Mateo politely asked Trevor to mind his own business even though he had a good time with Hayley. Trevor returned to his table, but by now Janet was just about out of her mind with fear. Janet told Trevor that she was tired and wanted to return home. Trevor took this as a sign of his wife's friskiness and said that he'd be glad to go back home for some private time.
Tina was having trouble mixing Leo's drink. Mateo stood behind her, wrapped his arms around her, and helped her shake the drink mixer. As he did this, Greenlee and Hayley arrived at the club. Hayley took one look at what was going on and knew that she had to leave. "There's too much drinking," Hayley said to Greenlee. Hayley was just about at the door when Mateo noticed her. He called out for her to stop, but Hayley continued on her way.
Inside the Dillon home, Sophie played around with the Christmas tree. "Being a ghost is just too much fun," she chuckled. She was long-gone by the time Trevor and Janet returned home. Trevor opened the door and flicked on the lights. He and Janet both stopped dead in the tracks. The entire house --- the tables, sofa, floor, and basically everything else in sight --- had been littered with candy canes of all shapes, colors, and sizes.
December 31st --- the end of a year. Not only does the date mark the end of a year, a decade, a century, and a millennium, but it also signals the start of Pine Valley's Crystal Ball. With most of the townspeople getting ready for the big ball at Wildwind, problems seemed to take a back seat.
At the Martin home, Joe gently pressed Jake for information about his intentions towards Gillian. There was a certain amount of concern that Gillian had fallen in love with the doctor who'd saved her life rather than for Jake. "This is the real thing," Jake replied with a smile. "And it's not a rebound [romance] either." Joe wasn't trying to be a downer, but he didn't want to see his son's heart get broken. Jake praised the two girls in his life --- Gillian and Colby --- for making him "see the world through fresh eyes."
With the club closed for a private party, Sounds of Salsa was a virtual ghost town. Adrian, Scott, Tina, and Adrian sat around discussing their plans for the evening. Hayley walked into the restaurant and headed directly towards Scott. Hayley explained that she was going to need Scott's help at the ball. Scott's face crinkled up as he informed Hayley that he was already escorting someone to ball. Hayley smiled and explained that she actually needed Scott's help with filming the event. Greenlee, she said, had given her the idea that the ball would be a great segment for her style show. Scott nodded his head and agreed to lend a hand. Hayley took a deep breath and slowed her pace a bit. She moved towards Mateo and, with a wry smile, asked her former lover if he was going to be attending the gala. Mateo nodded and said that he would be there because the ball honored his sister's memory. Seeing Mateo and Hayley together drove Tina absolutely crazy. Adrian asked Tina to promise him that she would not cause any trouble for Mateo and Hayley. Tina admitted that she planned to pull out all the stops to win Mateo's interest, but she stopped short of saying that she wouldn't cause any trouble. "What are you going to do? Pop out of the crystal ball?" Adrian chuckled.
Barry made an appearance at Chandler Mansion claiming to need to speak to Adam about urgent Y2K matters. Liza thought little of Barry's urgency, but she agreed to try to track down her errant husband. While she was out of the room, Adam snuck into his office for a tete-a-tete with his attorney. Adam praised Barry's performance, saying that he'd had just the right level of urgency in his voice. In his hand, Adam held a taped up remote control, the same one he'd broken in a fit of rage when he realized its batteries didn't work. Barry warned Adam that he had "a bad feeling" about what he was doing, but Adam could've cared less. Adam explained that he needed Barry to tie up Stuart with bogus business matters so that he could go to The Crystal Ball with Liza as Stuart pretending to be him. Barry's head began to spin. "There are too many variables," Barry groaned. He was sure that something would go wrong. Adam asked that the attorney be more optimistic. He snarled that he's been "bedeviled by Marian and Tad's bile" for too long --- and this was his chance to strike back. The pair headed for the safe room. Marian and Liza returned to Adam's study, but by then there was no sign of Barry. Marian told her daughter that she did not want Stuart to pretend to be Adam. Liza argued that Stuart had to continue the charade even if they were tired of it. Marian reluctantly agreed, but she complained about not being able to kiss her husband at the stroke of midnight. Liza warned her mother to steer clear of "Adam" for fear they'd raise suspicions. "They're going to line up in hell to buy snowcones," Liza remarked. The two Colby women headed off to get ready for the ball. Adam, meanwhile, tiptoed back to his office and looked longingly at a photograph of Liza. "Our future is just about to begin," he said sinisterly.
Later, Marian and Liza took turns helping Stuart look Adam-ly in his tuxedo. Stuart again grumbled about having to wear a tie. As promised, Barry stormed into the office with a stack of papers for Adam to review. Not wanting Stuart to get himself into trouble, Marian and Liza announced that they'd wait until Adam and Barry were done talking business. Stuart assumed the proper posture and instructed the women to head along to the ball without him. Stuart sat behind Adam's desk and waited to hear what was so urgent. Barry plopped a stack of papers in front of him and asked him to read, date, and sign everything. Stuart threw his hands into the air and grumbled that he saw no reason why the papers couldn't wait until later. Stuart rose to his feet and ordered Barry to have his driver waiting to take him to Wildwind by the time he got to the front door. Adam returned to the office just after Stuart left and told Barry that he had a "plan B." Adam smiled deviously as he hoisted a small brown vial into the air. "I will not murder your brother!" Barry gasped. Adam rolled his eyes in disbelief. The bottle contained a sedative, not poison. Adam poured two glasses of brandy and administered a small dose of the sedative to one of the drinks. He instructed Barry to give the brandy to Stuart. Barry was still a bit nervous, but he agreed to go along with Adam's plan. Adam ducked back into his hiding place. A few seconds later, Stuart returned to the room and demanded to know why Barry hadn't contacted his driver. Barry bowed his head and explained that Adam couldn't leave until they had their traditional New Year's Eve toast --- to toast another successful year. Stuart took the glass of brandy, but stopped before drinking it. He sniffed it several times and crankily announced that he knew something wasn't right. "This is the cheap stuff!" he grumbled. Stuart downed the liquor in two or three gulps. Almost immediately, he began to suffer the inebriating affects of the alcohol. A few seconds later the sedative kicked in. Stuart fell onto a nearby chair and giggled giddily. He was out cold by the time Adam showed up. Adam handed an envelope containing the results of the DNA test. He asked that Barry give the envelope to Jake after he and Liza leave the ball. Before he headed to the ball, Adam proclaimed, "It's time for Colby's life as a Chandler to begin."
Alex totally immersed herself in preparations for the ball. Edmund knew that she was trying to drown her sorrows and pains. Rae dropped by to see if there was anything she could do to help Alex and Edmund. Mateo also dropped by because Edmund had papers for him to sign. Suddenly, the front door swung open and a very cold David hurried inside. "It's freezing out there!" David shivered. Alex froze in place --- and Rae and Edmund both sensed that Alex was on the verge of a breakdown. Alex wanted to know why David had arrived so early. David explained that he wanted to go over their "fundraising strategies" before the guests arrived. Edmund stepped in to avert a catastrophe. He asked to speak to David in the next room. Edmund also managed to get rid of Mateo by asking him to go to the study and sign the necessary paperwork. That allowed Rae to help Alex deal with whatever she was feeling. Rae warned Alex that she had to face whatever it was that was bothering her before her attempts to remain calm backfired. "It's nothing really," Alex asserted. After a pause of several seconds, Alex said that for a moment she'd felt as though she and David were in another place and time. In the next room, Edmund refused to believe that anything was wrong with Alex. He again implied that Alex's troubles were brought on by David coupled with the fact that she was still mourning the loss of her husband. Edmund asked that David keep his distance and not to anything to intentionally or unintentionally set off Alex. Hayley and Scott arrived at the castle and Edmund granted them permission to film the party. He asked only that they do their best to keep a low profile.
Upstairs, Eugenia presented her granddaughter with a beautiful, lavender ball gown. This was the same dress Eugenia had been wearing when she first met her late husband, Alexi. "I thought I found my Alexi," Gillian said softly. She was referring to Ryan. "You fall in love and you think this is the love of your life --- and it ends." It left her with a question to which she knew no answer. "How do you know if you're in love with a man and not in love with love?" she asked Eugenia. "Love is not a puzzle that you can fit together," the duchess replied. "It's in the heart." Eugenia headed on her way so that Gillian could finish getting ready. A little while later, Jake knocked on Gillian's door. Gillian gladly let her escort into her room. Before long, the pair was engaged in a passionate kiss. Slowly, they made their way towards the bed. As they lay there, Eugenia called out to her granddaughter. Gillian's eyes grew wide and she motioned for Jake to hide. Gillian answered her grandmother's knock. "You're flushed," Eugenia said in concern. Gillian lamely offered that she'd taken a quick nap to get ready for the ball. Eugenia nodded. Before leaving, she had a few words of advice for the princess. "Tell Jake that he'd be infinitely more comfortable having an amontillado with Edmund and me than hiding in the dressing area," she grinned. Both she and Gillian shared a laugh.
Just about everyone had now arrived for the ball. Edmund took center stage in the ballroom and thanked everyone for coming out and supporting Maria's foundation. Across the room, Alex cast a glare at David. For just a moment she didn't see David's face --- she saw that of another, much older man. She was still daydreaming when Edmund called her to join him in the first dance of the evening. Alex shook loose the cobwebs and agreed to join Edmund. One by one other couples took to the floor --- and the Crystal Ball was officially underway.
"I know that I have love on my side," Adam stated as he made his way towards the door. He stopped momentarily and reminded Barry to hand over the DNA test to Jake after he and Liza left the party. Barry still feared that Adam was taking far too many chances. He also foresaw Adam being forcibly ejected from the plane without a parachute once Liza learns what he's up to.
Hayley stood alone at the punchbowl, unaware that Mateo was watching her from across the room. She turned slightly and their eyes locked. Everyone else around the couple froze in time as if they were simply visitors in their space and time. Now face to face, Hayley smiled nervously as Mateo moved closer. Out of nowhere, Scott appeared and told Hayley that they had work to do. Hayley let out a deep breath and sadly informed Mateo that she had to get back to work.
In the foyer, Jake told Gillian that he had something he wanted to ask her. At the last moment, he got cold feet and assured Gillian that he'd ask her later.
Edmund and Alex continued their waltz around the ballroom. Suddenly, David tapped Edmund on the shoulder and asked if he could cut in. Edmund smiled broadly and told David that this dance was all his. David insisted, saying that the guests would by more likely to give donations if they saw him and Alex getting along. "I can't do this," Alex grumbled. She breezed past David and raced out of the room. Edmund looked angrily at David and reminded him that he'd asked him "to stay the hell away" from Alex.
Alex's flight took her to an upstairs room where Erica had been touching up her makeup. Erica, looking at herself in a mirror, muttered that she was surprised to see Alex in attendance. Alex grumbled that David was making her life miserable by constantly following after her and giving her gifts. For just a moment, Erica's face flashed concern. She quickly regained her composure and asked Alex what she was talking about. Alex recounted how David had broke into the hunting lodge with a bouquet of flowers. Erica called David's actions "a magnanimous gesture to placate a very difficult co-worker." Alex shook her head in disbelief and warned Erica that David was "really making a fool" out of her.
Downstairs, Marian was frustrated that Barry's late-night business talks were keeping Stuart from the party. Only "greedy industrialists," said Liza, would want to conduct business as usual on New Year's Eve.
Rather adorably, Jack danced around the room with a phantom partner. He stopped when he passed Brooke and asked her why she wasn't dancing. Brooke dodged the question by noting that Jack was dancing with air. Chardonnay, the name he'd had devised for his bogus date, had come down with the flu Jack explained. Brooke smiled slightly and said that she was sorry to hear of his misfortune. As for her date, Brooke assured Jack that he'd be along soon.
Leo and Greenlee made their grand entrance, but it wasn't what Leo had expected. "The party didn't come to a grinding stop when we made our entrance," he remarked, perhaps only half in jest. Greenlee assured him that everyone who matters noticed them. On cue, Millicent and Palmer and Vanessa scooted up to the couple. The women seemed overjoyed that Greenlee and Leo had found each other. Palmer, though, was quite reserved and seemed totally uninterested. After the young couple left, Millicent remarked that they looked like her and her husband when they first fell in love. Vanessa asked her friend if wedding bells might be in their future. "It's a question of timing and breeding," Millicent chortled.
Hayley interviewed Leo and Greenlee for her style program, but cameraman Scott had his sights set on someone else --- Becca. Leo smiled slightly as he told Greenlee that she'd been "upstaged." Hayley next interviewed Becca. Hayley was impressed to learn that Becca had made her gown and done her hair and makeup. In the background, Greenlee face crinkled up as though she was about to be ill.
Erica argued that it was Alex was a fool, a fool to keep up with her "incessant badmouthing" of David. Erica shifted her weight to one foot as told Alex that she knew all about David had rebuffed her sexual advances while they were in medical school. Alex laughed to herself. She clarified that it was she who'd turned down David. "You should have been a romance writer for the criminally insane," Erica snapped. Alex asked Erica if she's ever considered that David was using her --- using her like he'd used Siobhan. The room fell quiet when David entered. Alex took one look at her colleague and raced from the room. As she did, she dared Erica to asked David for the truth.
Greenlee continued moping around the party, convinced that Ryan was not going to show up. Leo pointed towards the other side of the room and Greenlee's face lit up. She quickly scurried to Ryan with a wide smile on her face. "Dance with me," she begged Ryan, "and maybe we can liven up this wake."
Adam --- the real Adam, that is --- finally arrived at Wildwind. Edmund walked over to the billionaire and praised him on his recent charitable contributions. Adam accused Edmund of "pandering for another donation," but Edmund assured him that that was not the case. "Congratulations on a job well done," Edmund smiled warmly. Adam then assumed his Stuart posturing and joined Marian and Liza. "You've never looked more beautiful," said Adam of Liza. Marian took her finger and tickled "Stuart's" "secret tickle spot." Adam jumped and angrily snapped for Marian to get her hands off of him. Adam took a deep breath and explained that he didn't want anyone to get suspicious of their interaction. Adam stepped away for a few moments, prompting Liza to remark that Stuart seemed tense. Marian chalked it up to being in character. Nevertheless, she vowed that when the clock struck midnight, she and her husband would share a kiss.
"You lied to me," Erica snapped at David. She blasted him for having canceled their lunch date under the guise of needing to care for a patient. In actuality, Erica now knew that he'd been with Alex. David wondered if Erica was jealous of his relationship with Alex. Erica implied that there was something else that was troubling her, but she didn't feel the time and place were appropriate to discuss it. David nodded and asked Erica to join him downstairs. Erica shook her head defiantly and proclaimed that the night was over as far as she was concerned. "At this moment," she growled. "I wouldn't trust you to treat a hangnail."
Edmund found Alex alone in the parlor. He tried to coerce her to rejoin the party --- even if it meant simply coasting along and smiling at partygoers. Alex said that she was feeling a bit claustrophobic and wanted to stay in the parlor. Joe strolled into the room and told Edmund that the guests were "clamoring for a toast." Edmund bowed his head and reluctantly left Alex's side. From the doorway, Rae looked on curiously.
Liza walked over to a dancing Jake and Gillian and politely pointed out that the music had long since stopped. They smiled and explained that they don't need music to dance. Jake told Liza that his future was looking brighter now that he had Gillian and Colby in his life. Jake headed off to get some champagne, allowing Liza and Gillian to discuss Colby. Gillian assured Liza that she would not tell Jake the truth about Colby. Liza warned her that it might be hard to remain silent --- or even problematic --- now that she was involved with Jake. Gillian was sure she that everything would work out. She also told Liza that David had sworn secrecy as well.
Dixie and Tad scurried up to "Stuart" and asked him if he'd made a New Year's Resolution. "Stuart" smiled and told them that he'd resolved not to pretend to be Adam any more. Tad smiled and told "Stuart" that he had "one more gig for the new and improved Adam Chandler." Tad suggested that as Adam, "Stuart" donate Chandler Mansion to a charity that would turn it into a homeless shelter or orphanage. "Stuart" smiled and said that he wasn't sure that he could give away his brother's home. Tad patted him on the back and asked that he think about it. Adam forced a smile, but all the while he was privately thinking about how the Martins were going to "shatter like glass" when the learned that Colby was actually his daughter.
Edmund took to center stage and offered a toast "to an evening we'll never forget."
Back at Chandler Mansion, a groggy Stuart slowly sat up. A blanket had been placed over him in the belief that he'd be out all night. Stuart looked at his watch and realized that he was late for the party. "Marian and Liza are going to expect Adam to be there to snarl in the New Year," he chirped.
Leo found Becca wandering around the ball by herself. He approached her and tried to put the moves on her, but she politely rebuked his advances.
Tad asked Liza where Adam was spending his New Year's Eve. "Six feet under?" he mused. Liza told Tad that his joke wasn't funny --- and warned him to stop asking questions for which he'd regret knowing the answers. Liza walked away and Dixie quickly appeared by her husband's side. She agreed that Liza might be right. "Let's just hope that what we don't know won't hurt us," she commented.
Jake told Gillian that he'd have to cut their evening short because he had to get up early in the morning for work. As they talked, Barry Shire walked passed and "accidentally" bumped into Gillian. In doing so, the envelope containing the results of the DNA test fell to the ground. Barry nervously picked up the letter and headed on his way.
Adrian and Hayley shared a dance as Tina and Mateo did the same. "There's somewhere you need to be," Adrian grinned as he positioned himself closer to the other couple. He looked at Tina and announced that the band was playing their song. He and Tina danced off into the crowd, leaving Mateo and Hayley in an awkward position. Mateo asked how Hayley's filming was going. Hayley grinned and explained that all was well, but that she needed to take a breather. Mateo returned the smile and said that since she was free there was no reason why they couldn't share a dance.
Edmund returned to the parlor and was surprised to see that Alex still lingering just a few feet away from the party. Alex announced that she was going to call it a night. Edmund respected her request even though he really wanted her to stick around. Opal popped in and laughed as she told Edmund that Sam and Maddie had found their way to the dessert table. Edmund smiled and went off to pluck up the little ones. Alex's arm trembled violently. Rae appeared in the room and asked Alex if she'd like to talk about what's bothering her. Alex refused and raced out of the room. A split second later, David ran through the room after her. Rae called out to David, but he ignored her and continued on the chase.
Jack again quizzed Brooke about her missing date. Luckily for her, Edmund happened to be standing by prepared with an excuse. He handed her a note and sadly stated that her escort had had to cancel. Brooke read the note and muttered, "appendectomy." It wasn't his, rather one of his patients; Brooke's imaginary date for the evening was a doctor. "Through no fault of our own," Jack noted, they were both dateless on New Year's. He asked Brooke if she'd mind dancing with him. Brooke nodded her head and the pair waltzed onto the dance floor.
Adam approached Liza and asked her if she'd like to share a dance. Liza smiled and reminded "Stuart" that she and Adam were divorcing --- a shared dance was hardly appropriate. "Dance with Adam," Adam said passionately. "for Auld Lang Syne." Liza agreed and placed her head on Adam's shoulder.
Greenlee remained obsessed with spending time with Ryan. She made no attempt to hide that she was less than thrilled to have Leo as her escort. "It looks like Ryan only has eyes for his ex," Leo said snidely.
David raced into Alex's room and lectured her on her erratic behavior. Alex gasped. "Let me go! You're hurting me," she said painfully. David's eyes widened. He was at least three feet away from Alex and was not touching her. He accused her of trying to set up him up so that he'd be fired from the foundation. "Can you just leave me alone?" she sobbed. Alex bolted from the room and again David followed after her.
Downstairs, Jake finally got up the nerve to ask Gillian what he'd been wanting to ask her all night. "Will you marry me?" he asked seemingly out of nowhere. Gillian wrapped her arms around Jake. Ryan, who had been looking on, bowed his head sorrowfully. He walked over to Greenlee and asked her if she still wanted to dance. "So you want to party," he said unenthusiastically. "Let's party."
Mateo and Hayley were still dancing as the countdown to midnight drew closer. Mateo asked Hayley if she was sure that she wanted to be dancing with him because of the midnight kiss tradition. "Are you sure you don't want to change partners?" he asked. "At midnight, you have to kiss the person you're with." Hayley made no effort to walk away.
Liza was definitely enjoying her time with "Stuart." The crowd shouted out that only ten seconds remained in 1999. Liza urged him to find Marian so that he could be with his wife at midnight. "I'm right where I want to be," said Adam as he shed his Stuart persona. Without warning, Adam leaned over and kissed Liza on the lips.
In the parlor, the real Stuart arrived and waddled over to Marian. As the clock struck midnight, he gave her a kiss. Marian pulled away for fear that the roomful of people would spot their locked lips.
In an upstairs hallway, David assured Alex that he'd never hurt her. He did, however, ask that she stop trying to ruin him. Alex looked at David, but she no longer saw his face. Instead, she once again saw the face of an older gentleman. "You won't say a word," the man told her coldly. "No one will believe an irrational woman." Alex pushed David away and scurried towards the steps. David followed her. A brief scuffle ensued and David teetered on the edge of the top of the steps. Alex refused to look David in the eyes. Instead, she extended her arm and gave David a final push down the staircase.
All My Children will be pre-empted so that ABC News can provide coverage of the millennium celebrations around the world. On behalf of everyone at Soap Opera Central, allow me to extend to you wishes for a safe, happy, and healthy New Year. Thank you for your patronage over the past five years --- and we look forward to seeing you in 2000!