At Spencer, Brooke told Bill that he couldn't kiss her. Bill said he was just grateful, and nobody had been on his side besides her. He promised that it wouldn't happen again. Brooke was sure of it because she intended to stay a married woman.
Brooke grabbed her purse and said she'd been gone too long from the office. Bill advised her to say she'd taken a late lunch, but Brooke didn't intend to start lying to her husband. Bill asked her how mad she was, and she replied that she knew he was panicked about losing access to his child. Agreeing, Bill replied that he was feeling many things he couldn't vocalize.
Bill knew where things had gone wrong in his life. It had been when he'd had his sons working with him. Katie had made peace with the divorce, and Will looked up to his father. Bill had been happy and in love. Brooke asked what had happened, and Bill said that she'd left him.
Brooke defended her reasons, saying Bill had been obsessed with the tower, and she hadn't been able to be around that. Bill didn't blame her, but he wondered if he would have spiraled out of control if she'd been there to guide him. Bill believed he was paying the price for his actions.
Though Brooke didn't know how Bill had done the things he'd done, she sensed that the worst of it had passed, and he'd hit rock bottom. She believed that he loved Will and needed to be in Will's life. Brooke said she'd keep trying with Katie. As Brooke turned to leave, Bill thanked her.
Later, Justin arrived and was disappointed to hear that Brooke hadn't made headway with Katie. Bill quipped that one told Katie something on a Tuesday, and she actually heard it on a Friday. Justin suggested mediation, but Bill refused to play the "give a little" game. He'd given all he'd planned to give in the divorce, but Brooke would keep working on it.
Justin remarked that Brooke seemed loyal to Bill. Bill stated that he'd lost his head. Justin corrected that Bill had lost his head with Steffy, but Bill and Brooke had been good together. Bill replied that he'd meant he'd lost his head earlier that day by kissing Brooke.
Justin lambasted Bill for jeopardizing his best and only shot at keeping the custody issue out of court. He asked why Bill would risk Brooke telling Ridge and/or Katie that Bill had put the moves on her. Bill doubted Brooke would do that. Justin asked how Bill knew, and Bill said it was because he'd told her it would never happen again.
"Mm-hmm," Justin sardonically grunted and strode out of the office.
At Katie's house, Katie gasped at Thorne's marriage proposal. She asked if it was too soon and said they were only dating. Thorne liked to think of it as more than that, and Katie reasoned that she did love him more than she'd expected to. She just didn't want to be impulsive.
Thorne hadn't thought he'd get a chance like that again. He didn't want it to slip away. He didn't think waiting made sense anymore, and he asked Katie to marry him. Katie said she'd thought about what she'd say if Thorne asked her the question. He said he'd imagined she'd agree quicker. She impressed upon him that he didn't have to propose to her just to look good in court.
Figuring he'd done it all wrong, Thorne closed the box and sat on the sofa. He hadn't meant for the proposal to sound like a legal strategy. Though he loved Katie's son, he still would want the marriage even if it were just the two of them. He felt that, most times, he knew what she'd say before she said it. "I just wish this was one of those times," he murmured.
Two marriages and two divorces had made Katie doubt herself. She hadn't felt she was able to trust people or know them, especially ones she'd known all her life, because they could hurt her so easily. Over time, Wyatt had helped. Work had helped, and Thorne had helped.
Katie didn't know that she'd be able to go up against Bill again without Thorne's support. Thorne felt that Katie could handle the case on her own, but Katie replied that nothing was open and shut when Bill was involved.
Katie wanted things in her life. She wanted experiences, a fulfilling career, and a family life that fed her. She wanted it with Will, Thorne, and the children that they'd have. Thorne asked if she'd just given him an answer. Katie repeated that she wanted things in her life and said that one of the things was Thorne. They kissed, and she asked, "Did I say yes? Because I meant to say yes," Katie stated, and Thorne slipped the ring on her finger.
Later, Katie and Thorne were in bed, and Katie asked where he'd like to live if he could live anywhere in the world. Thorne stated that he already could live anywhere in the world, but he liked that bed. She asked if that meant he'd stay there. Thorne didn't think it was wise to uproot Will, and he wanted to remain close to his father.
Thorne had become tired of being the son who had to leave to prove himself. Katie replied that he never had to prove himself to her. In her prince charming, she wanted someone who knew right from wrong and treated everyone the same, and someone with whom she could share trust. Thorne believed that he wasn't perfect, but good things were in store for them.
At Forrester, Ridge met with Quinn and Eric about Ridge's allocations and what it meant for Thorne's job. Ridge said Thorne would still be designing for HFTF. Eric wanted to get Thorne in there, so they could see what he was working on, but Ridge said Thorne was playing hooky. Quinn believed it had something to do with their neighbor.
Ridge didn't want to nag about Thorne's absence because Thorne was helping Katie get ready for the custody battle. Eric figured that no matter how the case turned out, Bill would hover. Ridge didn't care as long as it wasn't near Ridge's daughter and wife.
Eric reviewed a press release and asked what it was about. Ridge replied that it wasn't very good, and Katie had to fix it. It was about Bill. Eric didn't see Bill's name anywhere in it. Ridge thought that was the brilliant part. He wanted to omit Bill's name because Bill loved seeing it in print. It was Ridge's way of letting Forrester's business connections know that Forrester was Forrester again, and the toothless dragon had been slayed.
Later, Brooke joined the meeting, and Ridge handed her some projections to look at. He assumed she'd had a long lunch, but Brooke replied that she'd been running errands. She asked what the projections were for. When Ridge said they were for Intimates, Brooke tossed them back on the table and said she didn't need to look at that.
Eric still thought Thorne might feel slighted by the decision not to bolster HFTF, and Ridge decided to call Thorne on speakerphone. Unbeknownst to them, Katie and Thorne were in bed when Thorne answered. Eric asked if they'd caught Thorne in the middle of anything, and Thorne replied that it was more like at the beginning of something.
Thorne announced that he had some news, and he'd asked Katie to marry him. Eric chuckled, and Brooke said it was rather sudden. Thorne asked if it really was. Ridge stated that Thorne had finally made a good decision, and he'd let Thorne to get back to whatever he'd been doing.
After the meeting, Ridge and Brooke were alone, and Ridge thought of sending Thorne and Katie flowers. Brooke didn't think it was a good idea and said the couple had just started dating. Ridge replied that Katie and Thorne had known each other "twenty-five years." Brooke asked what the rush was. Ridge stared at her, and she said, "You know..."
Ridge stated that he didn't know, and Brooke theorized that Katie and Thorne were doing it for the custody battle. Ridge asked why Brooke was being cynical, and she concluded that they just didn't agree on everything. He asked if they agreed that Bill had destroyed his relationships with his older sons and was doing so with Will, too. Brooke replied that people did change.
Ridge didn't believe Bill did. Ridge hadn't been able to protect Steffy, but he had to protect "this kid." Brooke exclaimed that Will didn't need protection from his loving father. Ridge stated that Bill eventually destroyed everything he loved. Brooke accused Ridge of sounding vindictive.
Ridge wondered if his sounding vindictive was because Bill had coerced Steffy into sleeping with him or because Bill had left Ridge to die in the gulf. Ridge ordered Brooke to open her eyes and see who Bill really was. He told her to stay away from Bill and to stop defending him.
Brooke's phone buzzed with a message from Bill. In it, he apologized for what had happened earlier and wrote that her support meant a lot to him.
Thorne and Katie tell Will they're engaged
At Spencer Publications, Bill told Justin that he'd had two meetings scheduled for the day, but Bill wanted Justin to handle them. Justin asked where Bill was planning to be, and Bill replied that he would be at Katie's to spend time with his son. Justin advised Bill to ask Katie if he could spend time with Will.
Bill got defensive and said he shouldn't have to ask to see Will. Justin countered that Bill needed to be friendly to Katie with the custody suit in play. Bill scoffed that he was always friendly. "Katie doesn't agree," Justin said. Justin added that he'd been consulting with family law specialists, and Bill needed to stay on good terms with Katie or face the real chance that Katie would win sole custody.
Bill scoffed, and Justin advised that Bill needed Brooke to convince Katie to stop the process of seeking sole custody. Bill was hopeful that Brooke would be successful. Justin warned that Katie had a great case as primary parent. Katie offered the best environment. Bill got angry and said there was no way that was happening. "No way in hell," Bill said.
At Katie's, Will ate breakfast, and Katie told him that Thorne would arrive soon to help Will finish building a spaceship. "You like Thorne, don't you?" Katie asked. Will agreed he did, and Katie started a discussion about the fact that she liked Thorne, too. She eventually explained that Thorne would be around more often because he'd asked her to marry him. She showed Will her engagement ring. Will wondered if Thorne would be living with them, and Katie responded that he would. "How do you feel about that?" Katie asked. "What about Dad?" Will asked.
Katie explained that Will's dad would always be his dad, but Thorne would be his stepdad. Will worried that his father would get mad. Katie explained that Will had nothing to worry about.
Thorne entered, and they all discussed the engagement. Thorne told Will that he loved Katie very much, and he loved Will, too. Will responded that Thorne made his mother laugh, and he made Will laugh, too. Katie and Thorne reiterated that their relationship as a family would not change Will's relationship with Bill.
"Dad forgot about me," Will said sadly. Katie quickly defended Bill and said that he was working on doing a better job at seeing Will. Then, Will worried that he would have to live with Bill. Katie explained that Will would remain at home with her. "This is your home," she said.
Will agreed it would be fun having Thorne around all the time. Bill entered and surprised everyone. Katie asked what Bill was doing there. "I wanted to spend some time with my son," Bill announced. Katie said she was glad Bill had shown up unexpectedly.
Katie and Thorne shared their plans to marry. Bill looked unhappily at Will and Thorne. Bill asked Will how he felt, and Will said it was fine. Katie urged Will to go upstairs and get everything ready so he and Thorne could build their spaceship. "Bye, Dad," Will said.
Bill glared at Thorne and Katie. Bill angrily chastised Katie for taking his son away from him. Katie said that wasn't going to happen. Bill looked at Thorne. "I have never said a bad word about you to him," Thorne said of his relationship with Will.
Bill angrily said he wanted to clarify that Will was his son -- not Thorne's. "My son is not part of the package. I love him," Bill said. Bill maintained that he wanted to be a strong presence in Will's life. He blamed Thorne for wanting to take advantage of Katie. Bill felt Katie had been vulnerable after her last engagement to Wyatt. "What's it been? Two weeks, four weeks?" Bill asked Katie.
Katie sighed and reminded Bill that she had known Thorne for more than 25 years. She encouraged Bill to accept it. Bill warned again that Katie should not try to take his son. Katie softened and said that she understood that he'd felt ambushed. She added that she wanted to take care of their son in the best way possible. She understood that Bill had been busy, but he had neglected Will for months.
Bill countered that he planned to make up for it. "I'm gonna make it right," Bill said.
Katie agreed, but she added that Will had to have security and stability. "That's what Thorne and I can give him," she said. Bill reminded Katie that he wanted a relationship with Will -- he didn't want to be like his own father. Bill refused to allow the pattern to repeat in another generation of Spencers.
Bill angrily said that Thorne would not step in and take his place. Katie and Thorne noted that Bill should be happy that Will had a loving family environment. Bill mocked them and threatened that that they would not keep him out of his son's life. "I love that boy, and I will fight for him with everything I've got," Bill said. Katie and Thorne looked sadly at Bill.
At Forrester, Steffy greeted Sally in the hallway and praised Sally's work. Sally was shocked. Steffy noted that Hope had "done a number on you." Steffy added that Sally wasn't a fit for Hope for the Future, but she was perfect for the Intimates line.
Steffy and Sally walked into an office where Xander was half dressed. They were all surprised. Xander explained that he had worked out and had to change at work. Steffy said it was fine. She asked him to turn around. Xander was surprised, and she said she was considering him as a model. Xander was shocked, but he turned around for Steffy.
Steffy told him he could have a job as a model if he wanted one because she was always looking for fresh faces. Steffy told Sally she wanted her on board, as well. Sally asked if she was a consultant, but Steffy said she wanted Sally to be a designer. Steffy welcomed both of them aboard and said they had paperwork to fill out. Sally and Xander were thrilled. Steffy reminded Xander that he would be working with Zoe, and she didn't want any issues because she knew they had history. Xander assured her there would be no problems.
At Forrester, Pam, Charlie, Ridge, and Brooke discussed that Pam would be catering another Forester wedding. Pam was happy and said that Katie and Thorne were obviously "madly in love." Pam noted that Brooke wasn't as excited as the others were about the wedding. Brooke and Ridge said that Katie had planned to sue for sole custody of Will.
Ridge and Brooke started a discussion, and Pam and Charlie decided to leave. Brooke and Ridge agreed they had a big difference of opinion. They discussed how to work it out, but Ridge reminded Brooke that he would never side with Spencer. "He was chasing my daughter," Ridge said. Brooke countered that Ridge had already agreed to testify for Katie. "Thorne would be a better role model," Ridge said. He added that Bill had ignored his son for almost a year.
"Limiting time with his son is not the answer," Brooke said. She felt Bill should have another chance. Ridge said Bill would compound his mistakes. Brooke was adamant that his son should not be taken away. Steffy entered and overheard the conversation. She agreed with Brooke. Ridge reminded her that Bill had "destroyed your life, your marriage."
Ridge was furious with Brooke and Steffy. They continued to argue about Bill's access to his son. Ridge maintained that Will deserved better. "How can you not see that?" he asked.
Steffy and Hope have an encounter
At Forrester, Thorne and Katie announced to Pam, Charlie, Ridge, Eric, Quinn, and Brooke that they had gotten engaged. Eric said that Katie was glowing, and he congratulated Thorne. Ridge hugged his brother and said he would be a great husband and wonderful father to Will.
Brooke asked if Thorne and Katie had told Will. Katie said they had, and Will was happy and excited. "He adores Thorne," Katie said. Pam said that Thorne, Katie, and Will would make a beautiful family. Quinn asked about Bill's reaction, and Katie quietly said he had been furious. Katie looked at Brooke.
The group agreed that Bill wouldn't give up custody of his son without a fight. "Bill doesn't negotiate," Ridge said. He worried that Bill had something up his sleeve. Ridge warned that the family had to be ready to fight and "fight dirty."
"What are you suggesting, Ridge?" Brooke asked. Ridge responded that Katie, Thorne, and Will were a family, and they had to band together as a family to help. Eric and Quinn felt that the court would rule in Katie's favor and added that her family had a stronger case with what was best for the child. Ridge argued that the case would never get to court because Bill would find a way to do something to prevent it. "You can't trust that guy," Ridge said, and he left.
Brooke talked to Katie in private and said a custody battle was going to hurt a lot of the family, including Katie and Will. "You don't need custody," Brooke said. Katie disagreed. Katie said she couldn't count on Bill, and neither could Will. She had to take control. Brooke was afraid it was going to be more damaging, and the situation was going to explode.
At Spencer Publications, Bill announced to Justin that Thorne and Katie were engaged. He added that the couple had announced it to Bill while Will had been present. Justin was surprised and said that telling Bill in front of Will was cold. He asked Bill if Will was happy, and Bill said he was. Justin wondered if Will had been coached. Bill blamed Thorne. Justin warned that the marriage would work in Katie's favor for custody.
Bill got defensive and said he could get married, too. He joked that he would marry Justin. Justin reminded Bill that he would always have visitation rights, but Bill argued that he would never jump through hoops and be living on Thorne's schedule to see his son. Justin said he'd talked to a family lawyer who said Katie offered the stability Will needed. "I will not lose Will. Whatever it takes," Bill said.
After Justin left, Ridge showed up, and Bill suggested Ridge had to have gotten time off from hemming dresses. The conversation became more derogatory. Ridge wondered if Bill was grumpy and having a bad day. Bill said he never had a bad day. Ridge believed Bill was falling apart and about to lose his son. Bill smirked and sighed.
Ridge maintained that Bill was getting what he deserved after chasing after Steffy and ruining her marriage. Ridge made a lot of accusations and promised that Bill would lose everything. "Look at you," Bill said. Bill added that Ridge was goading and baiting Bill into hitting him, but Bill wasn't going to do it. Ridge insisted that Bill was going to lose his son. Bill countered that Thorne was nothing "less than a zero."
Bill warned that he would "fight to the death to protect" Will. Bill also laughed and said that Ridge was always "three steps behind." Bill threatened that he was going to win, and he had a surprise for Ridge and his family. "Ain't a damn thing you can do to stop it," Bill said.
At Forrester, Xander met with the other models and asked if they called themselves the mod squad. Danny said they didn't do that. Steffy and Sally were present and took credit for discovering Xander. Steffy and Sally explained that Xander had had "an unexpected audition" when they'd found him changing his clothes. Steffy also announced that Sally would be designing for the Intimates line.
Hope overheard the news when she walked in and noted that it was news to her. Steffy asked the models to leave, but Hope asked Sally to stay. Hope asked what was going on, and Steffy reiterated that Sally would be putting her time and talents into the Intimates line. "Steffy, Sally is a member of my team," Hope said. Hope added that she should have been consulted -- it was a question of respect.
Steffy said that Hope had to have been upset about her hiring practices. Hope maintained it was more than that. Hope was curious about why Sally would want to design for Steffy. Hope remembered that Sally had an interesting portfolio. Sally agreed and said that it was because of her portfolio that Steffy wanted her. "I had my own line and ran my own company," Sally said. She added that Steffy had given her the boost she needed.
Hope argued that Sally had cost the company millions. Steffy agreed, but she said Sally had recently proven her loyalty, "and everyone deserves a second chance."
Hope and Steffy asked Sally to leave, but Steffy reminded Sally that she had been involved in a private conversation that was never to be repeated to anyone, "or you will be fired." Sally agreed and promised to be a valuable member of the Intimates team and Forrester Creations. Sally left.
"Now give me your best shot," Steffy said to Hope. Hope was upset that Steffy had shown little respect to Hope and her line. Steffy countered that Sally was a good designer, and Steffy remembered that Hope had only hired Sally because Eric had wanted her to do it.
Steffy and Hope argued about competition and successful lines, and Hope reiterated her opinion that Steffy had persuaded her dad to choose her line over Hope for the Future. Steffy maintained that life wasn't fair in love and in business. Hope shook her head. Steffy added, "My life does not revolve around you." Hope was unhappy and accused Steffy of showing her true colors; she said Steffy was out to get Hope, "and we both know why." Steffy shook her head.
In another part of Forrester, Zoe, Danny, and Xander discussed that Steffy had hired Xander "on the spot" as a model. Danny left, and Zoe cooed that she had always known Xander could be a model. Xander said they had to keep it professional. Zoe agreed. She added that they had always been good together and would continue to be good together "while wearing very little." She kissed him and promised to coach him, but she expected that he would be a natural.
Liam and Wyatt discuss if Bill deserves to win custody of Will
At Spencer, Bill ordered Ridge to stay out of the custody matter because it had nothing to do with him. Ridge claimed Will was family. Bill asserted that Will was Bill's son, and there was no way that Bill would lose custody to that gutless brother of Ridge's. Bill assumed Thorne, the spineless weasel, had sent Ridge, but Ridge denied it.
Bill asked Ridge to give Thorne a message. Bill said for Ridge to give it to Katie, too. Bill refused to bow down to their demands or let his son be raised by the second-rate wannabe. Bill said he would fight to the death for his son. Thorne and Katie would not win, and there was nothing they could do to stop Bill.
Later, Ridge had gone, and Bill was griping to Justin about having to put up with Ridge's gloating. Justin noted that Ridge liked to puff his feathers as much as Bill. Bill replied that his feathers were legit, and he had nothing in common with the glorified tailor. Justin cited the men's same taste in women. "Only he's married to her, and you're not," Justin added.
Bill didn't think he'd ever understand what Brooke saw in Ridge, who was worse than his little brother Thorne. Bill said everyone thought the engagement would make Katie and Thorne look better. Bill wanted Justin to find an angle that worked for them. Checking his phone, Justin said they had to do whatever they'd do quickly because the hearing date was the next week.
Justin didn't think he and Bill had much time because a judge was already assigned to the case. Bill asked if they knew him, but Justin said they didn't. "Well, I better get to know him," Bill said. Bill wanted to do something and to get creative about it. Justin warned that he liked Bill, but not enough to go back down disbarment road again.
"Come on! You say that every time we get down like this!" Bill quipped. He ordered Justin to looking into the contacts, pull some favors, and do some research. "Research?" Justin asked. Bill repeated it and said they had to find a way to get to Judge McMullen.
Justin left, and while he was gone, Bill flashed back on conversations with Katie that had led up to the custody fight. Justin returned, and Bill said they had to pull out all the stops. Justin tried to tell Bill to keep a level head, but Bill yelled that he'd merely asked Justin to put out feelers.
Justin said Bill wanted to track down the judge in his custody case, and if they got caught, they'd go to prison. Bill replied that no one would go to prison, and they'd be smart like they always were and wouldn't leave a paper or digital trail. Bill emphasized that they needed something on that judge. "You have lost your damn mind!" Justin roared, insisting, "Tampering with a judge is the last thing we need to be considering!"
In the Forrester CEO's office, Katie and Thorne discussed Brooke, who was still siding with Bill. Katie said that Brooke was wrong about leaving things the same because Will needed structure. Thorne suspected Katie was having second thoughts, but Katie said it wasn't that. She didn't want to take Will away from Bill and hated that Will was getting sucked into it.
Katie conveyed that Will had to see a custody evaluator, and he was overhearing their hushed conversations. Thorne reminded Katie that Will was the reason they were doing it, and it would be best for Will in the long run. Thorne said Brooke had a big heart and felt sorry for Bill. Thorne warned Katie not to let Brooke get to her.
Carter arrived. He congratulated the couple on their engagement, and he revealed that they had a hearing date for the custody matter. They had a judge, too, and they were ready to go. Thorne and Katie asked Carter's opinion of the judge. Carter thought the judge was good. He'd tried a few cases in the judge's court before.
Just then, Ridge stormed in, calling someone a "bastard." Thorne assumed Ridge had seen Bill. Ridge affirmed it and warned that Bill would do anything to win. Thorne replied that Bill was always grandstanding. Ridge said they needed to listen because Bill was liable to do anything. They informed Ridge that the hearing was in a week in Judge Craig McMullen's court. Ridge said to keep in mind that Bill fought dirty.
Agreeing, Katie hoped the facts would speak for themselves. She said that Bill had been an absentee father, and it was having a negative effect on her son. Ridge reassured Katie that they were all behind her. Ridge believed that Will was lucky to have Thorne and Katie, and Ridge would make sure Will stayed away from Spencer.
In an office, Ridge recalled Bill saying Ridge was always three steps behind him. Ridge flashed to falling from the helicopter, fighting with Bill in Bill's living room over Steffy, and Bill telling Ridge there wasn't anything Ridge could do to stop Bill.
Judge McMullen entered and enthusiastically greeted Ridge and shook his hand. Ridge said it had been forever, and it was good to see Craig. The men sat down, and Ridge asked about Julie and the kids and was amazed to hear that Craig's daughter had started college. Ridge shared that his daughter had just had a baby.
Looking at the judge placard on the desk, Ridge said, "Look at you. It's been too long." Craig apologized, saying it was his fault, and a judge's life could be consuming. Adding that it could be rewarding, Ridge mentioned that Craig was in family court.
Agreeing that it was, Craig stated that he'd never forget how he'd gotten there. He felt he owed his success to Ridge's generous support over the years. Ridge said he'd believed that Craig had been going somewhere, and Ridge had wanted to be on the journey. Craig conveyed that he didn't know where he'd be if Ridge hadn't loaned him money for law school, and Craig said that, if there was ever any way he could repay Ridge, he wanted Ridge to just say the words.
"Well, now, that's funny," Ridge replied. Ridge decided that there was something Craig could do to help a little boy and his family. Ridge brought up Katie and Bill's custody case and said it would mean the world to him if custody went to the mother.
In the design office, Liam and Wyatt encountered each other. The two were waiting for their significant others for lunch. Topic turned to Bill and the custody battle. Liam revealed that he'd been subpoenaed to testify for Katie, and Wyatt said he'd been subpoenaed to testify for Bill.
Wyatt couldn't believe it had gotten to that and wondered why there was no compromise. Liam asked when Bill had ever been known to compromise on anything. Liam believed that, as Will's mom, Katie would do whatever she could to protect Will from Bill.
Liam said that getting a morally bankrupt man like Bill for a father had just been the luck of the draw. Liam reasoned that he'd done things to hurt people, too, but Wyatt replied that it hadn't been on Bill's level. Liam didn't want to equivocate, but Wyatt said his brother's acts paled in comparison to their father's.
The brothers began cynically listing Bill's misdeeds, from Ridge's helicopter fall to Liam almost dying in the implosion. Wyatt theorized that Bill had a lot of room for improvement. Liam didn't know if Bill was capable of change. Wyatt said he'd lost count of how many times they'd thought Bill would change, but he hadn't. Liam decided that he could admit one thing: Bill did love Will.
Liam thought Bill had never learned to love. Wyatt asked if Liam's therapist had come up with that. Begrudgingly, Liam said it was so. Wyatt thought it was an insightful statement. The brothers discussed what they knew of their grandfather, who'd been a tyrant and hard on Bill.
Wyatt added that Bill hadn't learned to be a dad because he'd met Liam and Wyatt when they'd already been adults. Liam didn't think they should make excuses for their father. Wyatt said he was trying to put himself in their father's shoes. Liam reasoned that he had plenty of friends who hadn't turned out to be fathers like their own deadbeat dads, but one had to want it and put in the work. In Liam's view, Bill had done neither.
Wyatt agreed but felt that no one could contest Bill's love for Will. Liam stated that it wasn't enough. It took sacrifice and giving of one's time and freedom. Wyatt didn't disagree, but he wondered if Bill deserved to lose Will on top of losing Liam and Wyatt.
Liam looked doubtful, but Wyatt felt that Liam had to agree that Bill loved Will. Additionally, Bill was Will's hero, and Will looked up to Bill -- or had. Liam agreed but said it wasn't like Bill wouldn't see Will. It just wouldn't be that much. Wyatt believed it was better than nothing and said, "We had nothing."
Liam reasoned that a man around for a couple of hours a day for a couple of days a month was a buddy, not a father. Liam admitted that Bill was fun. Bill was the one with the helicopters and the boats who'd take them to cool places; however, Will needed security, reliability, and devotion. Liam believed Katie provided those things, and Thorne was doing a good job of it, too.
"No!" Wyatt exclaimed, shaking his head. Wyatt asserted that no matter what Thorne did, he would not be Will's father, and no matter how much time Thorne spent with Will, Thorne wouldn't replace their father. "Maybe he should," Liam murmured. Wyatt was shocked to hear it. Liam stated that Will might need less exposure to their father.
Ridge pressures the judge to side with Katie
In the design office, Katie consulted with Thorne and Carter about the custody hearing. Thorne suggested that he and Katie get married before the hearing. Thorne figured the union would help if the judge planned to compare Katie's home to Bill's. Carter said that the marital status of a parent shouldn't matter, whether married or single, but a judge would take into account any stepparents involved.
Carter advised that Will's approval of the union could work in their favor. Katie said Bill had been neglecting Will for months before she and Thorne had started dating. Thorne had given Will a man to count upon, and it had been amazing for Katie to watch Will open up to Thorne, who paid attention to Will and looked him in the eye.
Katie didn't want to diminish Bill's place as Will's father, and she intended to foster the relationship as long as it was healthy. She hated to say it, but fatherhood and Bill didn't fit. She'd once bought into Bill's notion that all his failures with Wyatt and Liam stemmed from the mothers who'd kept Bill's sons from him, but she'd realized that Bill was compromising his relationship with Will, too.
Katie felt that Bill was an occasional father who saw his child on his own terms; however, Thorne gave Will loyalty and devotion. She believed Will would only have positive things to say about Thorne and the home they created for him. Happy to hear it, Carter supported the decision to marry before the hearing because their stable home was preferable to Bill handing Will over to a nanny while Bill chased women.
Carter left, and Katie and Thorne discussed the idea of immediately getting married. The feminist in Katie resisted the idea that she needed a husband to strengthen her case. Thorne joked that he wasn't just any old husband.
As Thorne started to tell Katie that they could take their time, she blurted out, "Let's do it." Katie reasoned that they were already in agreement that they'd go down life's road together, so there was no reason to wait. Katie proposed that she and Thorne go into the hearing as husband and wife and show the judge the stable family they could provide Will.
Thorne insisted that he wasn't trying to rush a wedding for the hearing, and they could take as much time as she wanted. Katie said she'd marry him right then and there, even if there wasn't a hearing. Thorne yelled for Carter to return as an officiant. Chuckling, Katie decided that maybe it shouldn't be right there in the office and said she didn't even have a dress.
Thorne said they could get the dress right there, or he could sew her one. He told her that they could get married whenever, as long as they did it. He explained that, after Darla's death, he'd hoped to find himself and meaning in his work in Paris. He'd had many dates that had gone nowhere, and if he'd known what had been awaiting him, he would have returned much sooner. He thanked her for enabling him to be a husband and a father.
At Judge McMullen's office, the judge didn't know what Ridge wanted done. Ridge repeated the judge's vow to be there for whatever Ridge needed. "Well, this is it," Ridge said, and he asked if they had an understanding that the judge would rule against Bill.
The judge stated that he didn't know what Ridge was suggesting. Ridge advised his old friend that there was no need to look uncomfortable because Ridge just wanted the judge to make sure a boy ended up in the right home. When the judge was silent, Ridge reminded him that Ridge had been there when he'd needed help.
The judge was grateful for the loan that had opened doors for him, "but what you're asking me to do -- " the judge started to say. Interrupting, Ridge stated that he wasn't asking anything. He was telling the judge that he needed help, and the mother needed custody of her son.
Standing up, Craig McMullen conveyed disbelief that Ridge was putting him in that position. Ridge quipped that he had indeed put the judge in his position by loaning the money for Craig to become a judge, and the time had arrived to do Ridge a favor. Craig said it went beyond a favor. Ridge claimed that Craig knew Ridge wouldn't ask unless it was important.
Ridge called Bill Spencer scum and said that Katie was with Ridge's brother. Ridge insisted that Will needed a proper guardian to look up to, and Craig could give Will one. Craig replied that it wasn't that simple. Ridge believed that it was, and all Craig had to do was evaluate the evidence and make the right decision.
Ridge told Craig that he'd do the same thing as Ridge was doing if someone like Bill had hurt Craig's family. Ridge claimed that Bill had targeted Ridge's daughter, a woman half Bill's age, and had refused to take no for an answer. Ridge asked how Craig would feel if it had been Audrey. "You mean he actually...?" Craig asked. Ridge looked choked up and said, "Yeah."
Craig said he was sorry. Ridge was, too, and claimed that it was the way Bill was and how Bill treated his sons. Ridge believed the physical and mental abuse would come out in court. Ridge stated that Bill was a bad man, and giving Katie custody was the right thing to do.
Ridge asked what Craig thought. Craig replied that he thought he could lose his job. Craig stated that if he made the wrong decision there, it could mean the end of his career. Ridge noted that Craig wasn't saying "no."
At Spencer, Justin tried to talk Bill out of bribing the judge. Bill said that anyone could be bought. Justin wondered how Bill would care for his son from behind bars. "Fine," Bill relented. He decided that he'd take the lawyerly advice he paid for and not bribe the judge.
As Justin exited, Brooke arrived. She'd gotten Bill's message about the hearing date. She couldn't believe it had gotten to that. He asked if she could try once more to convince her sister that the custody battle would only hurt Will.
Brooke wasn't sure she should have agreed to meet Bill. Though she cared about both sides in the hearing, it felt wrong to her to meet Bill in secret like that. Bill asked what would be the worst thing that would happen if Katie found out.
Brooke replied that Katie wasn't the only person she was worried about. Rolling his eyes, Bill assumed she was referring to the dressmaker. Bill said that even the best marriages had secrets. Brooke glared at him.
Brooke exclaimed that she'd already tried to reason with her sister. "But you know how stubborn she is," Brooke complained. Bill admitted that he'd made mistakes, but they hadn't been egregious enough to cost him custody. Bill didn't think it was fair that his relationship with his son was in the hands of a total stranger.
Gripping his shoulders, Brooke told Bill not to worry about going before a judge because the judge had to be impartial. Brooke believed that no matter what Katie said, Bill would get the chance to explain and show what Will meant to him. Brooke stated that fathers had rights, too. "We do. I do," Bill agreed and stated that a judge would decide things. "And Katie had better damn well accept it," Bill concluded.
Later, Bill was alone when Justin returned and said Judge McMullen was clean. Bill didn't believe it. Justin mentioned a traffic ticket the judge had gotten but reminded Bill that blackmail wasn't an option. Agreeing, Bill said he still liked to have information -- just in case.
Justin had plenty of information, but it was boring newsletters and church bulletin stuff. McMullen was a midwestern self-made man with nothing to hide. Justin offered to keep digging. Bill decided that a clean judge might be a good thing because he wouldn't just give Katie sole custody.
Justin was impressed by Bill's positivity. Bill faulted Brooke for it and said she had a way of making him be that way. Justin said Brooke had always been a good influence on him. Bill replied that it meant a lot to him that Brooke didn't just give blind loyalty to Katie.
In the Forrester CEO's office, Ridge text-messaged his phone number to the judge. He said he knew that Craig was conflicted, but "this" was best for all. Brooke entered, and Ridge hastily put his phone away. Brooke said she'd been running errands, and Ridge claimed that he had been, too. Talk turned to the custody hearing, and Ridge stated that Will deserved better than Bill.
Brooke thought Ridge had a right to hate Bill after all that the men had put each other though, but she reasoned that Bill was just trying to have a relationship with Will, one that Bill didn't have with his older sons. Brooke noted that Ridge acted as if "we" could prevent it, but the judge would decide. "Yes, he will," Ridge haughtily agreed. She replied that it was wrong, and they couldn't take Bill's son away from him. "The hell they can't," Ridge replied.
Back in McMullen's office, the judge received Ridge's message, sighed, and opened some files. The screen panned to Bill, who was staring at a picture of Will. The camera cut back to Forrester, where Brooke was studying her husband's curious demeanor.