In Eric's office, Brooke and R.J. were together when Ridge charged in with a stern visage. He said he understood that R.J. was working with Eric. RJ. stammered that Eric had wanted to keep it between them. Brooke stated that they weren't keeping secrets. Ridge didn't think they'd wanted to tell him, either. R.J. braced himself as Ridge told his son that he had something to say to him: "I am so...so happy you're designing! Welcome to Forrester. Good luck to you!" Brooke smiled, and relieved, R.J. hugged Ridge.
R.J. asked if Ridge was upset that R.J. was working with Eric. Brooke said she didn't want there to be problems and asked if Ridge agreed that there wouldn't be. In Ridge's silence, Brooke decided that she'd leave the men alone to talk, designer to designer.
After Brooke had gone, R.J. said he wasn't sure he was ready for the designer title. Ridge believed that would soon change under Eric's tutelage. R.J. said Eric was letting R.J. express himself, too. Ridge didn't think his son could find a better mentor. R.J. hoped that meant that his father approved of the apprenticeship. Ridge affirmed it and said R.J. was lucky. Ridge was glad his son was following in his footsteps, but Ridge was worried about Eric.
Ridge said Eric had built the company so that his kids could stand on his shoulders, and it was time for Eric to take a break. Ridge wondered what Eric had to prove. R.J. corrected Ridge, saying Eric had something to offer, and it was a great vision. R.J. asked why Ridge wanted Eric to retire so badly. Ridge claimed it wasn't about that. Ridge wanted Eric to be happy and said it should be enough that Eric had made a bigger mark than any of them could hope to make.
R.J. said it wasn't enough. He'd spent a lot of time with Eric, and he said Eric wasn't ready to retire -- not even close. Ridge, who'd realized that, said Eric wanted to work, just with R.J., not Ridge. R.J. asked how Ridge felt about Eric and R.J. collaborating.
Ridge shared his belief that R.J. had more natural talent than any of them. "No pressure," R.J. joked. Ridge said he hadn't wanted to push R.J., but Brooke felt that Ridge had. Ridge said he'd done it because he'd seen what R.J. had been able to do as a kid. "There was emotion and movement, and you can't teach that," Ridge explained. Ridge was proud that R.J. had found his own way there to the building that bore his name.
Ridge promised that once things were squared away with Eric, Ridge and R.J. would do something together. R.J. said he'd be honored. Ridge wanted R.J. to always know how proud Ridge was of his son and how much he appreciated R.J.'s talent. The two hugged.
In the design office, Thomas and Hope were under a blanket on the settee, and she wondered if she'd locked the door. He said she had before she'd stripped off her clothes. The office would never feel the same again for Thomas, who wondered if it was really happening. He said he'd waited a long time for it. She asked if it had been worth the wait, and they kissed.
As Hope and Thomas kissed more, Hope wanted to make sure Thomas knew where her head was at. She said it wasn't love for her -- yet. She wasn't ready, and she wanted to make sure he understood that. Thomas said he knew. "I may never be," she added. Thomas replied that he was okay with that, and as long as she was in his arms, he was fine.
Later, Thomas and Hope got dressed. Unlocking the door, he remarked upon her newfound change. She said something had lit up within her, and it felt freeing. Thomas was glad to help her explore her newfound freedom. They began kissing against the desk.
Just then, Brooke entered, saying she had a sample for Hope. "Oh, my God! Hope!" Brooke shrieked. Scrambling to clean up the room and finish dressing, Hope said it was as if Brooke knew when Hope was with Thomas, and Hope admonished Brooke to work on her timing.
Brooke said she was looking for Hope because they had work. Brooke hadn't expected to find Thomas and Hope doing whatever they were doing. Hope snickered, saying Ridge and Brooke had done it. Thomas and Hope exchanged smirks. Brooke yelled that it wasn't about her and Ridge. Saying she had a right to be concerned, Brooke asked where things stood with them.
Hope claimed that she and Thomas knew what they were doing. "So, all of a sudden, you're in love with Thomas?" Brooke asked. Hope said, "No, actually, but Thomas, he knows where I stand. I haven't made any commitments or promises. We're on the same page." At first, Brooke asked how Thomas felt, but she figured he was fine with it because he'd been after Hope for years. Hope said it was her decision, and she'd made the rules and boundaries clear. Brooke asked about Hope's family and said she knew Hope loved Liam and missed her life with him.
At Eric's house, Donna said she loved seeing Eric that way. Eric said that designing made Eric feel fulfilled, as did having Donna in his arms. Donna was about to ask about Ridge, but Carter arrived with paperwork for Eric to sign. Carter noted that it looked like a real studio in there, and he asked if Eric was working on his grand finale.
Donna assumed Brooke had told Carter and said there was no reason for Brooke to be upset about it. Carter said he hadn't gotten that impression. Carter asked Eric why he wanted to design his final collection alone, and Eric replied that he wasn't doing it alone; he was doing it with his talented grandson. Though Carter was happy for Eric, as CFO, Carter believed his job was to make sure things ran smoothly within the company.
Carter believed that Forrester's image as a cohesive family-run business was as important as their product. He said it was by control and design talent being passed down from one generation to the next. Carter insisted that it was a huge selling point that made them unique. Eric assumed that the older generation was supposed to stand aside. He was sure it was what Ridge thought, and he wondered if Carter did, too. Carter said he didn't, and Ridge was just concerned.
Eric asked what Ridge would be concerned about and if it was Eric's abilities. Dismissing the idea, Carter said Eric's credentials spoke for themselves, but Carter believed that it was risky to start a new couture line that could be viewed as competing with the one Ridge was producing. "That was the whole beginning of my business, taking a little risk!" Eric beamed. Eric stated that they all chose their own paths. "I trust mine, and you can trust it, too," Eric concluded.
Carter asked if there was no way to collaborate with Ridge. Eric announced that he and Ridge would go head to head on the runway. Carter and Donna were surprised to hear it. Donna asked when that development had happened. Eric explained that he and Ridge had just decided to do it and to let the buyers decide. The winner would take all. Donna asked if Eric really wanted to put that much pressure on himself. Carter said on the company, too. Eric expressed confidence that his collection would prevail.
After Carter had gone, Eric was concerned about Carter's feelings. Donna said she'd have Katie investigate. Eric was sure Carter would have no doubts once he saw the collection. Donna asked if Ridge knew about the tremors. Eric said only she, R.J., and the doctor knew.
Donna expressed her love for Eric. She said she believed in him and his vision. Eric told Donna that even though he gave R.J. credit for what was happening, Donna was the muse behind it. He wanted her to never doubt what she meant to him. Donna replied that she was happy when he was, and it was impossible not to be excited about what was next. He told her that she was his beautiful, smart muse. He found her funny and sexy and felt that he could do anything with her behind him. He said they'd win and have time for a martini afterward.
At Eric's house, Brooke expressed to R.J. that she was a little nervous about the showdown. R.J. joked that she was worried that Eric would wipe the floor with Ridge. Brooke replied that she'd never underestimate Eric, but she feared the preview would pit father against son. R.J. remarked that he hadn't thought he'd join Forrester against his father, but he and Ridge had had a good talk. Glad, Brooke said Ridge loved R.J. very much.
Katie arrived with Donna. Katie announced that the head of publicity --which was Katie -- hadn't known about the competition or R.J.'s part in it. Katie felt that she had to get out in front of it.
Later, R.J. had gone, and Katie was telling her sisters that they needed to keep the competition under wraps as long as possible. Brooke hoped it wouldn't happen at all. Donna seemed bothered by the statement. Katie asked if Brooke was worried about the tension between Eric and Ridge. Brooke added that there could be some between Ridge and R.J., too.
Finally chiming in, Donna stated that Ridge was the one who hadn't wanted to work with Eric and had basically pushed Eric out. Eric had become offended and felt put out to pasture. Brooke replied that it hadn't been Ridge's intention at all. Donna said it had come across that way, and she didn't know why Ridge didn't want to work with Eric. Donna added that Ridge could give Eric back his office and collaborate like Eric had wanted.
Brooke asserted that Eric had been the one to shut Ridge down. Katie asked why Ridge couldn't give Eric the collection; Eric had earned it and was the founder of the company. "Yes, but," Brooke said, "Ridge is the head of the couture line." She said Couture and HFTF were doing well, and as CEO, Ridge made the decisions. Donna and Katie exchanged glances.
Katie said that Eric's sense of timeless style had defined the company from the beginning. Brooke said she wasn't trying to diminish what Eric had done for the company. "Really, Brooke? Just the company?" Donna retorted and said Eric had transformed the entire fashion industry, and his designs were iconic. Brooke agreed but said "all things must pass."
Donna got upset. Brooke said she wasn't trying to be cruel, but she agreed with Ridge that it was time for Eric to put his pencil down and enjoy his life. Brooke asked why he should burden himself with a whole new collection. She added that people would remember his last act, and she asked why he'd risk his entire legacy for that. "You don't think he can win, do you? You don't think Eric stands a chance against Ridge?" Donna asked. Brooke said the company had been defined by Eric, but "now," it was defined by Ridge.
In the design office, Thomas and Hope discussed HFTF's trajectory since Carter had closed the Paris deal, and Hope wondered about Katie's idea of meeting with climate change leaders. Thomas guessed they could simply put more focus on the recycling program they already had. As he expectantly neared Hope, he said telling people to send their clothes to them for recycling had been a brilliant idea. Hope leaned into him, calling him a brilliant designer.
The topic turned to other brilliant designers like Eric and Ridge, and Hope asked what "we" thought of the design challenge. Thomas asked why they should focus on Couture when HFTF was what was blowing up. He asked why they would not put their energy into that.
Later, Hope handed Thomas a pencil. The touch led to sexual stirrings; however, Douglas arrived, and they recoiled from each other. Thomas said he was supposed to pick Douglas up later. Douglas said he'd had Ben's mother drop him off because he wanted to talk to Hope without upsetting Beth. Thomas assumed Douglas wanted to talk to Hope alone, and he left.
Hope asked what was wrong. Douglas said he was worried about her and could see that Liam moving out had made her sad. Hope said she was sad about what was happening between her and Liam, but sometimes, things didn't work out the way one wanted. Hope tried to get Douglas not to worry about her. Douglas said he loved her and Beth, and they'd been a family with Liam. "And I was just thinking. Maybe we can be a family again -- with Dad."
Hope asked where that was coming from. Douglas swore Thomas hadn't put him up to it -- as he might have in the past. Hope stated that Thomas had done a lot of work to become better and had proven that people could change. Douglas said he loved both of his parents, which was why he'd had the idea. He knew that Thomas loved her, and he asked if she might love Thomas.
Hope replied that feelings could be complicated when it came to love. Douglas said that if she gave his father another chance, Thomas would make her happy again, and they could all be happy together. Hope said Douglas made her happy, and she appreciated his support. She urged him not to worry about his strong mother.
In Eric's office, Carter met with Ridge, who outlined the rules of his and Eric's competition. Carter assumed Ridge thought he'd win. Ridge said he'd been on fire since he'd looked through that keyhole, and Carter replied that he was glad he'd urged Ridge to do it. Carter wondered, though, how Ridge felt about R.J. working for the competition. Ridge said he'd work with R.J. later, but Carter said it had to be a blow that R.J. had chosen Eric over Ridge.
Later, Thomas was in the office with Ridge when R.J. arrived. Thomas hailed his brother as Forrester's newest designer. R.J. said he was just there to pick up supplies. Thomas assumed they were for his grandfather and asked if R.J. really thought the whole fashion showdown thing was a good idea. R.J. replied that he wouldn't be working on it if he didn't.
Sounding diplomatic, Thomas reasoned that Ridge was killing it with Couture, and Thomas and Hope were doing great with HFTF; therefore, they should just focus on what was working. R.J. noted that Thomas was assuming Eric's line wouldn't work, but R.J. had seen it progress. "He's never done designs like this before in his life," R.J. said. Thomas said it was with R.J.'s help.
R.J. agreed and stated that he'd been learning a lot. Thomas emphasized that there was a learning curve to the job. Sighing, Thomas added, "But look..." He stated that the things he and Ridge had been working on were doing well, and they wanted to continue in that direction. He added that Eric's idea wasn't in keeping with the direction Thomas and Ridge were headed.
"The direction that you and Dad want to take the company? You really think that should trump that Eric Forrester created the company and that he's the heart and soul of everything that goes on around here? Whatever direction that you're taking the company, you're doing it on Eric Forrester's legacy," R.J. asserted.
Later, R.J. said Ridge hadn't had to ask Thomas to leave just because he had a different opinion than R.J. " -- Even though it's the wrong opinion," R.J. quipped. R.J. said Ridge hadn't seen Eric creating recently, and Eric's passion and energy were intoxicating. Ridge claimed he'd seen it, and he appreciated R.J.'s loyalty to Eric. R.J. said he felt that Eric should be able to create his collection without having to beg Ridge to do it. It was degrading.
Ridge asserted that he was CEO, and it was his job to oversee and determine what sold. R.J. replied that Eric wanted to create and strongly felt that the right thing to do was to give Eric a budget to finish it. Ridge replied that they'd settle it on the runway. R.J. replied that he and Ridge would be competing. They joked about seeing what the other had.
Ridge wanted to know what had changed R.J.'s mind about designing. R.J. flashed back to Eric revealing the trouble with his hand. R.J. stated that he just wanted to be there for his grandfather and help him in any way that he could. He loved Eric, and he loved Ridge. Ridge replied that he loved R.J., and they hugged.
Back in the design office, Douglas said he knew Hope was strong, but he believed his dad could make her feel better and not so sad. Hope, seeing movement at the door, looked up and saw Thomas was standing there. Feeling that he was a good judge of character, Douglas said Thomas hadn't been the best dad and had made mistakes, but Thomas wasn't that way anymore. Douglas asked if Hope could find a way to forgive Thomas, so they could be a family and so Hope's sadness would go away. Douglas hugged her, and she gazed warily at Thomas.
At the cliff house, Li stopped by to visit her son. Finn was glad. He said the house was empty, though he talked to Steffy and the kids as much as possible on the phone. Li asserted that it was all because of Sheila, and Li asked how Steffy was. Finn remarked that it was difficult to gauge because the kids were usually on all the calls between him and Steffy.
Li urged her son to remind Steffy of how much he loved her, that he would keep her safe, and that Sheila would not be a problem if Steffy returned home. Li emphasized that any contact with Sheila would drive Steffy away for good.
Li was adamant that Sheila wouldn't listen to Finn and said he'd been smart enough to know that opening up to Sheila would have been intolerable to Steffy. Even worse, Finn had given Sheila hope, and she'd never walk away from him. Li urged him to take matters into his own hands. "You have to shut her down, Finn. You have to do something that guarantees Steffy that she'll never have to worry about Sheila again," Li concluded.
Finn asked what that meant, and Li hinted that he'd already had one chance to let Sheila die. Finn replied that he'd had to save Sheila like any other patient. Li replied that Sheila hadn't been any other person, and it had been personal. Finn asserted his pledge to do no harm and said if he'd done it, it would have gone against everything he'd stood for and how he'd been raised. He felt it would have made him a monster, too.
Li replied that it would have made Finn a hero. She urged him to take action and find a way to convince Steffy that Sheila would never be a threat again, or he'd lose his family forever. Li fussed at Finn, telling him to fight for Steffy and try harder. Li ordered Finn to go to Steffy, but Finn said Steffy didn't want that. Li blamed it on Sheila, who destroyed all she touched.
Not caring that Sheila had birthed Finn, Li yelled that Li was his mother. She'd read him stories and gone to his soccer games. Li claimed she'd held Finn with love and comforted him when he'd had his first broken heart. Li said she'd pushed him to be the best man he could be and pushed him to be a doctor. Finn said he didn't minimize Li, and she was his mother in every sense of the word. Li insisted that Sheila had zero claim to Finn's heart, and that love was hers.
Finn knew it and said he loved Li. Li screamed, asking why he'd let Sheila in. Finn said he hadn't, and he hadn't invited Sheila there. Li said he'd opened the door with his gratitude and embraces, and he'd called Sheila "Mom." Li insisted that Sheila would never stay away as long as Finn loved her. Li told him to dig deep, find that twisted connection to her, and cut the cord forever.
In the design office, Hope and Douglas hugged, and she suggested they go get a bite to eat. He asked if his father could go, too. Gesturing to Thomas in the doorway, she said Douglas could ask himself. Douglas turned around, wondering how long Thomas had been there.
Thomas said he'd heard what Douglas had said, and he thought it was beautiful that his son could look past the things he'd done. Thomas said Douglas had no idea what it meant for Thomas to hear Douglas say that Thomas had changed. Hope indicated that it was an important lesson to know that one could grow and change and find forgiveness. Douglas said he'd asked Hope to do that for Thomas, so they could be a family. Douglas assured his father that he'd told Hope that he'd thought of it all on his own, without Thomas saying anything.
Douglas stated that he hated that Hope was so sad, and he knew that it was because Liam had gone. "But we can fix that as a family. Right, Dad?" Thomas claimed to love the thought behind Douglas' words, but Thomas didn't think they should put extra pressure on Hope. Hope said it was okay, and she'd never dismissed how much it meant to Douglas.
Hope's phone chimed with an alert about visiting her father. She said it could wait, but Thomas said he and Douglas would be fine if she left. Before going, Hope told Douglas that no matter what happened, they'd always be a family.
At Deacon's place, Sheila tried to seduce Deacon, but he said it was wrong. She uttered that his body was saying something different. Deacon tore himself away from her, insisting that it was wrong. She assumed he wanted to be a good boy; however, she said it was too bad because she liked him a lot more when he was naughty. Deacon succumbed to her passionate kiss.
Later, Sheila said she understood the position Deacon was in. Deacon said it was the first time he had something to lose, but that didn't mean he didn't care about her. She said that all the things he'd done for her meant a lot to her, and she didn't think she deserved them. He said that if anyone found out about him, he could lose his daughter.
Sheila claimed to understand Deacon's feelings about Hope because Sheila believed she shared the same connection with Finn. She said Deacon had had to fight for acceptance, too. Deacon reasoned that it was different, and he hadn't had quite the uphill climb or shooting incidents. Upset that Deacon kept mentioning the shootings, Sheila said she'd never intentionally hurt her son, and one day, Finn would know how much she loved him. Sheila said that, with Steffy out of the picture, Sheila would be in Finn's life.
Deacon recalled that Finn had said he'd never wanted to see Sheila again. Sheila replied that it was because Steffy had been standing there, but with Steffy gone, there were no obstacles. Deacon advised Sheila to listen to what Finn was saying because he'd choose his wife and family every time. Deacon said Finn loved Steffy, but Sheila shot back that Finn loved her. She'd felt their unbreakable bond when she'd been in his arms. She said no one had forced him to hug her, and he'd done it because she was his mother.
Deacon wasn't surprised that Finn would be conflicted, but Deacon insisted Finn's family and wife would be first. Sheila yelled that Steffy had left with the kids and didn't love Finn the way she should. "Not the way that I do," Sheila said. She reasoned that she didn't make him fight for her love the way Steffy did. Sheila imagined Finn was in pain but said he didn't have to be because he had his mother. She felt close to a breakthrough and wouldn't give up.
Sheila began to shower compliments on Finn, and Deacon intimated that it was kind of weird. She asked why he could admire his child, but she couldn't. Finding agreement, Deacon said he loved Hope, and that was why he couldn't keep doing it with Sheila. He feared he'd lose the restaurant. He asked if Sheila would want him to lose that. She said she wouldn't. Deacon felt that Hope needed him, and he couldn't mess it up or take a chance.
Grinning, Sheila asked what "Daddy" was saying. Just then, Hope knocked on the door and turned the doorknob, wondering if her father was home.
In the design office, Douglas wondered how Thomas could draw like that. Thomas didn't know but said Hope had been his biggest source of inspiration. Douglas thought it would be fun if Thomas and Hope could take Douglas and Beth to the beach soon for a sunset picnic. Thomas said it would be fun, but people didn't always get what they wanted. Thomas advised Douglas to be patient because Hope was going through a lot. Thomas said they should wait, relax, and see how things turned out.
Thomas handed a pencil to Douglas, but Douglas said he didn't have time. He'd planned to hang out with Donna before Donna took him home. Before Douglas left, Thomas promised his son that things would be okay, and if his parents were meant to get together, it would fall into place. Douglas agreed and said he believed their family would fall into place.
At Deacon's place, Deacon panicked as Hope stood outside his door, knocking and twisting his doorknob. Hope was stopped by Deacon's deadbolt lock. He yelled out to Hope that he'd be there in a moment and ordered Sheila to hide. When he opened the door, Hope strode in, wondering what had taken so long and why Deacon seemed distracted.
Deacon said he'd been about to hop in the shower. He wondered what Hope was doing there. Hope said it had been awhile, and the kids missed their grandfather. Hope suggested he show up for dinner sometime soon. He said he'd love it, and he missed them all, too. He admitted he'd been a little worried about Hope and her marriage that was ending. He said Liam had been a big part of her life. She replied that he still would be, and they'd co-parent well together.
To Deacon, it sounded kind of sterile. Hope said she hadn't wanted it for herself, but one had to take what life threw at her. Deacon figured she was strong and independent because she hadn't had her father around, but he vowed to be there for her at any time. He insisted that nothing and no one would interfere with their relationship.
Hope received a message on her phone and told Deacon that it was something she probably needed to take care of. After Hope had gone, Deacon locked the door. Sheila emerged from the back room, and Deacon told her that they couldn't do it anymore.
Sheila said nothing had happened, but believing they'd been seconds from getting caught, Deacon thanked God that the door had been locked. Sheila replied that it was okay because Hope hadn't seen them together. Deacon asserted that it made no sense at that point, and he was just playing with fire. "You know how I feel about you, but I can't lose Hope. Whatever we're doing, it ends today," he decided.
Deacon didn't want it to end. He said Sheila was unlike anyone he'd ever met before; however, he felt that he was finally making something of himself. The restaurant was rocking and rolling, and his daughter respected him. He said Sheila couldn't know what it meant to have Hope love him. Sheila insisted that she did know. He said he couldn't mess it up because Hope wanted to be with him. It was the greatest feeling in the world, and he couldn't chance losing it.
Sheila replied that she wanted to be with Deacon, too, but he couldn't risk it. She was grateful for every moment she got to spend with him. She said he was incredible, and he'd shown her that it was possible to change and earn spots in people's lives. She hoped it could happen for her. She was sure she could make it happen. She expressed pride in Deacon and all that he'd accomplished. She wanted him to have it all.
Deacon wanted Sheila to have it, too. She thanked him and was sure she could make it happen with her son, too. She said she'd seen what Deacon had done with Hope, and Sheila hoped she'd made Finn see her the same way Hope saw Deacon. She claimed he'd given her faith. She said he'd been with his child and grandchildren, and she'd be with hers.
At Thomas' place, Thomas arrived and saw a setting for a candlelight dinner. He half-smiled. Hope rushed in behind him. She said she'd gotten his message. He replied that he hadn't texted her; she'd texted him. They both denied it, and in unison, they said, "Douglas!" Douglas appeared from the kitchen with a server's napkin over his arm, and he grinned.
Thomas ascertained that Douglas had texted his parents under each other's names. Douglas said it had been pretty easy. Hope was surprised Douglas had pulled it together so quickly. Thomas guessed that it was because Douglas was a Forrester, and they were the masters at romantic settings. Thomas high-fived Douglas.
Douglas said Thomas had told him that things would fall into place, and Douglas had wanted to help it happen a little bit faster. Thomas said he'd meant to be patient and not expect anything soon -- or at all. Douglas claimed that they were the best mom and dad he knew, and together, they made each other better. He said it was what family did.
At the cliff house, Finn took in Li's suggestion that he cut ties with his birth mother and deny Sheila's existence. Li replied that if not, he'd lose Steffy and his children forever. Li seethed about Sheila, sick of hearing about her. Li insisted that only Finn could get through to Sheila.
Finn promised that Sheila wouldn't ruin things for his family. Though Li wanted to believe it, she could see the hold Sheila had on Finn. Li ordered him to break it and refused to leave until Finn said Sheila would be out of their lives once and for all. Li felt she needed to see that Finn knew what needed to be done.
Li lamented Jack bringing Sheila into their lives. Finn felt guilty for it, but Li insisted that he was innocent. She said it had been only natural for him to want to know where he'd come from. "This is your father's doing," Li decided. Finn said he'd deal with it. He wouldn't let Steffy or Li down, and he wouldn't let Sheila keep him from his wife and kids any longer.
Finn disclosed that he was barely functioning without Steffy, and the house was lonely. He needed his family back. Li believed that he was the only one who could get through to Sheila, but Finn wondered what would happen if Sheila wouldn't let go. Li recalled how Finn had been as a kid, looking for weak spots in his science problems. He'd thought out of the box, and she believed he'd find a way. Finn said he didn't know how he'd make it happen, but he'd figure it out. He wouldn't risk losing his family.
Li told Finn to listen to her and stay focused because he couldn't give in to Sheila ever again.
"You can't give in to Sheila," Li said sternly. Finn insisted that he would not allow Sheila to destroy his family, but he confessed that there was something else Li needed to know. Fearing another bombshell, Li braced herself. Finn told Li that he never wanted her to doubt his love for her, the "incredible woman who raised [him] with such loving support and understanding and consistency." Li began to weep openly at her son's kind words.
After a quick embrace, Li asked Finn if he had seen Sheila lately. Finn insisted he had not and promised that as soon as he figured out a way to get through to Sheila, he would never again have contact with his birth mother. Li reflected on the "sleazy affair" between Jack and Sheila that had produced Finn, and she admitted to her conflicted feelings about how a betrayal could bring about something of such joy.
Li asked Finn if he had thought of letting Sheila die when Sheila had suffered a heart attack. Finn insisted that he had not. "You're stronger in your convictions than I am," Li retorted. Finn again repeated that he would find a way to convince Sheila that he wanted nothing more to do with her. That, he said assuredly, would force Sheila to finally leave for good.
"So, we're really doing this. We're gonna end this?" Sheila asked in disbelief. "Yes," Deacon replied curtly. Sheila assured Deacon that she did not want to jeopardize Deacon's relationship with Hope. She compared what Deacon had with Hope to what she wanted to one day have with Finn. Deacon tried to cut off Sheila's fantasy about a normal life with Finn, but she hushed him and continued talking. Deacon questioned how Sheila could find a path to Finn as long as Steffy was "in the way." Sheila reminded Deacon of the strength of the bond between a mother and her child.
Sheila gathered her belongings and readied herself to leave. "So, I guess this is goodbye, my knight in shining armor," Sheila said, the sadness in her voice quite noticeable. Sheila told Deacon that it had been nice having him to rely on. "I'm gonna miss you, Deacon Sharpe," Sheila said as tears welled in her eyes. "I'm gonna miss you, too, Sheila Carter," Deacon replied. Deacon wished her good luck and said that he would be rooting for her. They kissed tenderly. "Goodbye, Daddy," Sheila said softly as Deacon walked out of the apartment and headed to the restaurant.
Hope laughed as she tried to process that Douglas had set up a secret meal for her and Thomas. "You never stop amazing us," Thomas added. Douglas grinned broadly and downplayed the effort it took. "You gotta eat, right?" he asked. Douglas noted that he wanted his parents to be happy because he loved them both. "And I think you love each other, tooooo," Douglas said in a singsong voice.
Hope and Thomas looked at each other as they tried to figure out what to do next. They ultimately obliged the youngster and sat down for the meal he has prepared: pizza and frites, which Douglas whispered meant "French fries." Hope gave Douglas a big hug and smiled as she shook her head in incredulity.
As Thomas and Hope ate the food that Douglas had had delivered, Douglas told them that he had to get going. Hope wondered where Douglas was going. He explained that he had arranged for Donna to pick him up and take him back home. Before getting ready to leave, Douglas shared that he hoped that Thomas and Hope's dinner together would be the first of many. "This would be a dream come true. My parents together [and] all of us living as a happy family," Douglas said optimistically.
Later, Hope and Thomas sat on the sofa and mused about Douglas' antics. Almost on cue, Douglas sent a text to Hope, telling her that there was milk and cookies in the kitchen for dessert. Thomas admitted that he did love Hope. Hope looked away nervously. Thomas said that he understood that Hope wasn't there yet. "I just love being with you... being in your presence," Thomas said with a smile. Thomas admitted his past mistakes but claimed that he had learned from them. He chuckled as he noted that "guys" took longer than "girls" to mature.
Thomas assured Hope that he had not asked Douglas to arrange the surprise dinner. Hope nodded and replied that only Douglas could have put the dinner together. At the risk of ruining the moment, Thomas told Hope that he only wanted to be with her. "I was the wrong guy in the past, but I'm better now. I'm a new man," Thomas said confidently.
Thomas told Hope that when things changed and she did finally feel the same way about him, he would be waiting for her. Hope agreed that it felt nice to be with a man who loved her and only her. Hope asked Thomas to tell her again that she was the only one he loved. "You are the only," Thomas said softly. Hope grabbed Thomas and kissed him passionately.
At Il Giardino, Deacon sat down at a table with Judge Evan Scott. The two men reflected on some of their past shenanigans, including one with the judge, a pair of twins, a can of whipped cream, and a walk-in refrigerator. Sheila, wearing a hat and sunglasses, sat down at a nearby table. She listened in as the judge revealed that Deacon had called in a favor to help secure Sheila's freedom.