Audra greeted Tucker and Devon at the Athletic Club's bar. After Devon stepped away to take a call, Tucker asked Audra if she had arranged the special "wedding gift" they had spoken about, explaining that time was not on his side. In an equally cryptic reply, Audra said, "The shipment is delayed, but it's on its way." After Audra walked away, Tucker sent a message to Ashley, which stated, "Counting the minutes and my lucky stars."
Audra entered the jazz lounge and approached Kyle, inquiring about his plan to attend his aunt's wedding. Kyle noted that he did not like his family's circus-like behavior or the idea of his aunt marrying Tucker McCall. Audra mentioned that she was struggling with an unfortunate situation from her past and admitted she was hesitant to disclose the details. Kyle asked Audra how he might prove to her that he was trustworthy. Audra replied, "Let's go upstairs."
After Audra and Kyle made love, Audra confessed that when she had worked for Tucker, she had covered up a "little problem" that had come back to bite her. Kyle replied, "How so?" Audra explained that the person who had discovered what she had done was pressuring her to convince Victoria and Victor to approve a particular merger that would be advantageous to Newman Enterprises. Audra admitted that if successful, she might lose her job and that Kyle might also lose his. Kyle told Audra he might be able to help if he knew more about the threat. Audra replied, "Adam Newman."
Audra explained that Adam was demanding she convince the Newmans to merge Newman Media with Adustus. Kyle replied he had an interesting plan, which he shared with Audra privately. Audra proclaimed that Kyle's plan was brilliant. Kyle promised Audra that it would put power and protection on her side. Audra told Kyle she would put the plan in action immediately.
Victor joined Tucker and Devon at the Athletic Club bar. Victor said, "Tucker McCall. So, you got your greedy hands on Ashley again." Tucker replied that Ashley knew what she wanted. Victor disagreed and proclaimed that Tucker was a third-rate con artist. Victor suggested that Ashley was the one taking Tucker for a ride by going through a sham wedding in order to get back at Jack and Diane. Tucker laughed nervously.
After Devon stepped away to take a call, Tucker assured Victor that he loved Ashley, adding that sticking it to Jack and Diane was merely icing on the wedding cake. Victor disclosed that he was aware that Tucker and Ashley had bought a company in Europe to use as a foundation for a new business. Victor cast doubt on the belief that Ashley would relinquish control of Jabot and was instead attempting to wrest control from Jack, adding that Tucker was merely tagging along for the ride. Tucker replied, "Yeah. You might be right. On the other hand, you might be wrong." Victor warned Tucker to be careful.
Chelsea met up with Billy at Crimson Lights. Billy thanked Chelsea for agreeing to be his date at the wedding. Chelsea shared that she was a little nervous, given the drama between Jack and Ashley. Billy teased that it would be a typical family bash, and he acknowledged that Chelsea could help prevent him from "being myself." Billy recalled that he had agreed to help Jack and Diane by keeping tabs on Tucker and Ashley by pretending to be mad at Jack. Chelsea nodded that she understood the ploy. Billy cried, "Well, it turns out the joke might be on me." Billy explained that Ashley had offered him the top spot at Jabot if he would agree to roll over on Jack.
Billy surmised that because he had not yet replied to Ashley's offer, he assumed his sister believed he was considering it. Chelsea asked Billy if he was considering accepting. Billy said, "It's tempting, and that's the rub. Ultimately, I want to do what's right for Jabot, but every crooked bone in my body wants to take the opportunity that's there and not care who I hurt or betray. That instinct to beat the house is still in me, and it scares the hell out of me." Chelsea praised Billy for talking to her about it first instead of immediately accepting the offer. Billy credited Chelsea for helping him refrain from doing something stupid and for making him feel better about the situation.
At the Chancellor mansion, Traci positioned vases of lush flower arrangements before wedding guests arrived. Abby praised Traci's attention to details and thanked her for creating a beautiful place to host a wedding. Traci noted that love stories all shared the hope of starting a new life. Abby admitted she did not share Traci's optimism about her mother's love story. Abby seemed apprehensive.
Ashley arrived, and Traci left to get dressed for the ceremony. Abby told her mother she appeared anxious and terrified and should consider changing her mind if she was not ready. Ashley made it clear that she loved Tucker and was excited about their future. Abby expressed fear that Tucker might again break her mother's heart. Ashley replied, "Honey, I will kill him before I ever let that happen."
At the Abbott home, Diane admitted to Jack that she was apprehensive about attending Ashley and Tucker's wedding. Jack explained that by maintaining a connection and stringing things along, they might better determine how Ashley and Tucker's new company might affect Jabot. Diane said that perhaps Ashley had been sincere when she had offered to let Jack buy her out so she could walk away from Jabot. Jack replied, "Not a chance." Jack said he was certain that Tucker had poisoned Ashley against him and the family. Jack insisted they pretend that everything was fine while at the same time keeping their guard up.
Diane told Jack she was not sure how Billy might still be useful if Ashley did walk away from Jabot because they would no longer need him to be their inside man. Jack reminded Diane that Billy's aim was to protect the family company, adding that they could not be certain that Ashley was being honest. Jack insisted that they needed Billy on their side more than ever before. Diane cried that she hoped Ashley might have grown weary and wish to stop fighting.
Jack hinted to Diane that he had a plan that might truly help end the feud between him and his sister. Traci entered and told Jack and Diane that Ashley had seemed more nervous than ever before. Jack proclaimed that Ashley's nervousness was appropriate because she was about to make the biggest mistake of her life. Traci insisted that they should be happy for Ashley because she was genuinely excited about her wedding day.
Abby had a talk with Ashley in a bedroom as the bride was getting ready. Abby asked Ashley if her truce with Jack was real and if she truly loved Tucker. Ashley, referring to her agreement with Jack, said simply that she did not want anything to ruin the day. Ashley also insisted that she and Tucker had grown and changed, adding that she believed their marriage had always been meant to be. Abby said it sounded like one of her Aunt Traci's love stories minus the all the conventional parts.
Ashley laughed and agreed that there was nothing conventional about her or Tucker. Abby presented her mother with gifts. A gift borrowed was a sentimental bracelet Ashley had given to Abby long before. Ashley's baby book served as something old. Ashley cried that the book reminded her of Dina. Abby designated her mother's wedding gown as something blue. Ashley showered Abby with affection and noted that Abby had been the best blessing of her life.
Tucker, Devon, and the minister gathered at the Chancellor home. Billy and Chelsea arrived soon afterward. Ashley, overly eager to begin the ceremony before Jack, Diane, and Traci arrived, seemed disappointed when they all entered seconds after Abby had told guests that the ceremony was about to commence. Tucker smiled broadly as Abby accompanied her mother down the aisle. The minister invited Ashley and Tucker to exchange their personal vows.
Tucker quietly informed Ashley that he had not prepared vows. Ashley said she also had not. Tucker suggested they both wing it, recalling that at their previous wedding, he had awakened from a coma moments before exchanging vows. Ashley spoke first and told Tucker that he understood her more than anyone else did, adding that she was certain he loved every part of her. Ashley professed her love to Tucker.
Tucker said that people often did not know what was missing from their life until it was gone. Tucker admitted he had tried to pretend Ashley did not matter to him, though the fact that he loved and missed her always ended up slapping him across the face. Tucker acknowledged that reconnecting with Ashley was a miracle. Tucker vowed that he had never stopped loving Ashley and would always love her. The minister pronounced Tucker and Ashley husband and wife. The couple kissed while jubilant attendees clapped.
Abby welcomed Tucker to the family with a warm embrace. Devon told Tucker that he had "killed it." Traci encouraged her sister to be happy. Chelsea offered congratulations. Billy kissed Ashley. Diane wished Ashley and Tucker all the best. Ashley thanked Diane and stiffly hugged her.
Devon and Abby served glasses of Champagne for toasting. Devon was first to congratulate the newlyweds. Tucker proposed a toast to his lovely new bride and proclaimed that they would be partners in the truest sense. Abby observed her mother's demeanor and appeared concerned.
Quietly, Chelsea asked Billy about his state of mind. Billy replied that he saw things clearly and was certain he would not make any mistakes. Kyle arrived and apologized for being late. Jack presented Ashley with a gift. Ashley read the document and said, "You're giving me my company's assets back?" Jack proclaimed that the war between them was over. Ashley replied, "What's the catch?" Jack appeared taken aback.
At the Newman ranch, Victor told Nikki that Ashley was following through with her sham wedding to Tucker McCall. Nikki replied that Ashley was still smitten with Tucker. Changing the subject, Nikki informed Victor that Nate and Audra had each separately pitched Adam's idea about merging Adustus and Newman Media. Victor asked, "When did this happen?" Nikki replied, "Right after you left for Germany, which is no coincidence. Nate said that he wanted to bring Victoria and me on board before approaching you with it. Audra came to me separately, but clearly, they had compared notes."
Victor pondered aloud why Nate desired the merger. Nikki explained that Nate wanted to impress Victor with his ambition. Nikki admitted she was not sure about Audra's motivation because she was aware she would no longer hold the company's top position. Victor asked, "Who benefits the most?" Nikki thought for a moment and replied, "Adam." Victor said, "You got it."
Victor received notice that Audra had stopped by to meet with him. Nikki, miffed, cried, "She didn't listen to a word I said. I told her the idea was dead and to drop it." Audra entered the room and greeted the Newmans. Audra told Nikki she had not expected to see Nikki. Nikki sarcastically noted that she lived at her home. Nikki warned Audra that her little chat would not change Victor's mind. Victor asked Audra if she hoped to convince him to merge the two companies. Audra revealed that Adam had her back against the wall and that she did not know what to do.
At the Chancellor mansion, Ashley demanded to know what Jack's gift was really about. Jack reiterated that he was giving her back all the assets from the company she'd built in Paris as a wedding gift, but she suspected there were strings attached. Jack conceded that it didn't include Jabot's original patents, but the ones she'd developed on her own were hers to keep. He pointed out that it was precisely what she'd said she wanted when she'd mentioned the idea of starting a new company with Tucker. Jack questioned whether anything had changed.
Ashley recalled that Jack had rescinded his last offer to return her assets, and she was skeptical about the bait-and-switch he was pulling on her wedding day. Jack claimed that it was a generous gesture and a genuine effort to end the war between them. Tucker shook Jack's hand and thanked him, and Ashley testily asked what Tucker was doing. Tucker explained that he was taking the deal before Jack snatched it away, so they could get back to celebrating their wedding. Tucker reasoned that the sooner they got the "Jabot crap" over, the sooner he and Ashley could spend their first night together as husband and wife.
Kyle stalked off, and Diane followed him. Diane objected to him leaving early when he'd arrived late, and he groused that he'd interrupted a wonderful night with Audra to step into that mess. Diane begged him to stay, since the day was about family. "Where's Norman Rockwell when you need him?" Kyle quipped. Diane sympathized that he was in a lot of pain and trying to drown it with a meaningless affair, but she cautioned that he was going to regret it. Kyle snapped that he wouldn't regret it that night, and he left.
Meanwhile, Jack recounted that he and Ashley had reached a détente, and he and Diane had attended the wedding, even though they didn't believe in it. Jack argued that he'd given Ashley freedom from Jabot, along with everything she'd built in Paris, and he wondered what more she wanted. Ashley apologized for not handling things well, and she said she appreciated the wedding gift and was grateful Jack and Diane were there. Diane replied that they appreciated the invite, and she congratulated Ashley on her new life and new business.
Diane imagined Ashley was relieved she wouldn't have to worry about Jabot anymore, since John's company would be in good hands. Billy snickered and asked if Diane was kidding. Billy urged Ashley to take the offer, since the company would "go to hell" with Diane involved. Jack chided Billy for not being able to go five minutes without making a comment to piss him off. Billy ordered Jack to stop gaslighting their sister. Tucker yelled for everyone to shut up, since it was supposed to be his and Ashley's evening, and he'd "be damned" if he was going to let anything ruin it.
Tucker suggested that anyone who wanted to fight should spend their evening somewhere else, or he and Ashley would. Ashley proclaimed that they weren't going anywhere. Ashley cited the efforts Devon and Abby had made to plan the wedding, and Abby confirmed that she'd wanted to have a special celebration. Devon echoed that it was supposed to be Ashley and Tucker's day, not an opportunity to take shots at one another.
Traci reminded her siblings that they'd made a pact to put their differences aside, and she encouraged them to enjoy the lovely party. Jack preferred to leave, and he hoped Ashley enjoyed and trusted his wedding gift. Abby chased Jack and Diane into the foyer to plead with them not to leave, but he insisted that they go after his gift had backfired spectacularly. Jack and Diane departed.
Traci apologized if what Jack had said had hurt Billy, but Billy bragged that he had thick skin as an Abbott. Billy wished Ashley and Tucker nothing but the best, and he and Chelsea headed out. Ashley declared that it meant more Champagne for the rest of them, and she prepared to delve into the cake. Abby muttered that it wasn't how she'd pictured the evening going. Devon thought they should have anticipated it, considering the guest list.
Jack and Diane returned home. He handed her a drink and toasted to them surviving an evening they'd both been dreading. He groused that he'd hated watching Ashley marry "that jackass," and he was shocked at her reluctance to accept his generous gift. Traci stormed in and proclaimed that their sister had had every right to be reluctant to accept Jack's offer, given that Ashley had no reason to trust Jack or Diane.
Jack reiterated that the gift had been from his heart with no strings attached, and Diane stressed that it had been what Ashley had wanted. Traci referred to everything their family had gone through when Ashley had fled to Paris, leaving Jack and Jabot flailing. Traci was skeptical that Jack would just hand everything back with no agenda, and she suspected it was the same non-agenda Jack had Billy wrapped up in. Traci scolded that whatever Jack was up to was about to rip the family apart again.
At Crimson Lights, Billy wished Chelsea hadn't been exposed to his family's meltdown. She confided that it wasn't what had upset her the most. She recognized that his performance had been for the sake of the Trojan horse scheme, but she hadn't seen him like that in years, and it had made her shudder. Billy hoped it meant that Ashley and Tucker had bought his performance, too. Billy assured Chelsea that it was all just an act, and there was nothing she needed to worry about. They embraced.
In a hotel suite, Tucker gushed that he couldn't believe he and Ashley had actually done it, and he poured two glasses of Champagne. He declared that he was the luckiest, happiest man in the world, and he toasted to the most exquisite woman on the face of the earth. "To the most ..." Ashley began, but her voice trailed off as she struggled for words. "You are the most," she simply stated.
Tucker pledged his love. He pointed out that he and Ashley had never had their first dance. Ashley couldn't believe she was saying it, but she loved him, too. They kissed. Tucker mused that nothing else mattered. They held one another close and swayed.
At the Newman ranch, Victor and Nikki wrestled with Audra's revelation that Adam had been behind her push to merge Newman Media with Adustus. Audra divulged that Adam had evidence of a cover-up that she'd perpetuated for Tucker while she'd been at McCall Unlimited, and Adam had threatened to destroy her by exposing it. Nikki prompted Audra to tell them where Nate fit into all of it.
Audra begged Victor and Nikki not to blame Nate, who'd only been trying to help her get out of a bad situation by claiming the merger idea had been his. Audra explained that she'd honestly thought she'd be able to work it out on her own, but she'd only dug herself in deeper by trying. She apologized for not immediately alerting the Newmans about what was going on. She continued that they had no idea how much she valued Newman Media and her position there, and she swore she'd never take the opportunity they'd given her for granted. She requested their advice.
Adam was at home when his phone rang. Adam welcomed Victor back and asked if his trip had been productive. Victor gruffly responded that they'd discuss it when he saw Adam at the ranch -- "now." Victor abruptly hung up, and Adam grabbed his keys and headed for the door. He found Sally there, bearing a housewarming gift. She wondered if it was a bad time.
Sally admired Adam's new place and remarked that it suited him. He asked if she'd heard from Nick, and she reported that Nick would be flying back in the morning. Adam was sure the two were looking forward to seeing one another again. He added that he would love to stick around and offer her a drink, but he'd been summoned to the ranch by "His Majesty." Sally suggested that she join Adam, since she wanted to tell Victor in person that she was accepting his offer to head up a new design company for Newman.
Adam advised Sally to wait, since he'd inferred from his father's tone that Victor intended to rip into him about something. Sally figured that giving Victor some good news would soften him up for Adam, but Adam thought it would be best if he faced Victor alone. Adam proposed that Sally stay there, make herself a drink, and order some dinner. He promised it wasn't a ploy, and he mentioned that there was something he'd like to talk to her about when he got back.
After Adam left, Sally retrieved a bottle of water from the refrigerator and began sorting through a partially unpacked moving box. She examined some books and found one with photos of her and Adam tucked inside. She rifled through the pictures of them from happier times and looked thoughtful.
Meanwhile, Victor prompted Audra to tell him everything, and he would decide whether to help her. Audra described how McCall's PR department had covered up the fact that a popular singer signed to one of Tucker's labels had slept with underage girls while on tour. Audra stressed that Tucker hadn't had any idea what had been going on at the time, and he'd fired everyone involved in the cover-up once he'd found out. She added that he'd put her in charge of erasing all traces of the cover-up to make it seem like it had never happened, and she'd cooperated. Nikki asked how Adam had found out.
Audra revealed that she'd updated Tucker by using an anonymous email account, but the messages had gone to his spam folder, so he'd never seen them. Victor guessed that Adam had discovered the emails when he'd taken over McCall. Audra shared that Adam had agreed to keep his mouth shut if she facilitated the merger, but he had the power to expose her if she didn't. Audra wailed that she hadn't known what to do, so she'd confessed to Nate because she'd known she could trust him.
Audra relayed that Nate had offered to help convince Victoria to pursue the merger, but only because he believed it would benefit Newman. Audra added that she'd been certain that Nikki was the one person who would be able to convince Victor, but she was sorry for her deceit. Audra promised that if the Newmans let her survive the nightmare, nothing like that would ever happen again. "No, it won't," Victor firmly stated. Adam entered the room with apologies for being late. "Did you really think you were going to get away with this?" Victor barked.
Adam assumed Audra had filled Victor and Nikki in, and he refused to deny any of it. He crowed that he'd seen an opportunity and taken advantage of it to try to get something he wanted, and he surmised it was genetic. Adam clucked that he was disappointed in Audra, who he hadn't thought was a coward. Audra imagined he'd known she'd look for an escape route the minute he'd tried to blackmail her. Adam taunted that she'd never know what he might have offered her if she'd gone along with it. Victor ordered them to shut up and listen.
Victor appreciated the fact that Audra had stepped forward and told the truth, and he admired that she'd gotten out from under his son's grip. Audra hoped her hesitation hadn't jeopardized her position, and Victor assured her it hadn't. Victor requested a few moments alone with Adam, and Audra thanked Victor and Nikki for their time and understanding. Audra glared at Adam before heading out. In the corridor, she grinned broadly as she sent a text message to Kyle, asking him to meet her in her room in 20 minutes. Kyle received the message and smirked.
Victor condemned Adam for going behind Victor's back, but Adam countered that Victor had made his fortune using similar tactics. Adam told Victor not to take it personally, but Victor snapped that it was personal to him because he'd given Adam one lucrative opportunity after another. Adam griped that Victor had also hired Nick to watch over him to make sure he played well with others. Victor considered it a case in point that Adam needed someone to look after him. Victor was appalled that Adam's hostility ran so deep that he didn't mind being duplicitous with his own family.
Nikki recalled that she'd begged Victor to stop hoping for Adam to change because Adam never would, and Adam kept proving her right. Victor was adamant that the McCall disaster couldn't go public, and Adam had to eliminate whatever evidence he was holding over Audra. "Anything else?" Adam curtly asked.
Victor spat that Adam's constant defiance was getting on his nerves, and he couldn't do it anymore. Victor bellowed that he should fire Adam, but he wouldn't and couldn't because Victor had just acquired capital from Europe to finance Adam's company. Victor refused to lose investors because of Adam, but he warned that Adam was hanging by a thread. Adam walked out.
Nikki questioned how much longer Victor would put up with Adam's disrespectful behavior. Victor thought he'd gotten through to his son, but Nikki cautioned that there was no such thing when Adam was involved. Nikki cried that it broke her heart when she saw Victor so angry, since she knew how much hurt was lying beneath it. She recognized how much he wanted to hear Adam say, "Thanks, Dad," but she warned that Victor was never going to hear it. A despondent Victor pulled her into his arms.
Sally was unpacking her takeout when Adam returned home, and he smiled and noted that she'd stayed. "You asked me to," she replied. Sally guessed that things hadn't gone well with Victor, and Adam grumbled that it wasn't worth talking about. He thanked her for unpacking his moving boxes, and she chalked it up to being bored. Sally added that she was glad she had, since she'd found the photos of them. She couldn't believe he'd held on to them, and she wondered why he had. Adam explained that he'd wanted to remind himself that he'd been happy once, and he hadn't wanted to forget what that felt like.
At the Athletic Club, Victoria inquired whether Nate had talked to Audra. Victoria doubted it had been a coincidence that Nate and Audra had pitched the same idea about the merger, but Nate feigned ignorance. Victoria flatly stated that Audra was savvy enough to know that a merger would lead to Audra's demotion, and Audra wouldn't be willing to give up her top spot at Newman Media that easily. Victoria lectured that she and Nate knew one another too well, and she pushed him to tell her what he and Audra were up to.
Nate said he'd had a brief conversation with Audra about a possible merger and the powerhouse they could build by putting together two companies that would be redundant on their own. Nate contended that Audra had thought she might end up in a higher position in a bigger company, and they'd agreed that a merger made too much sense not to happen. Victoria argued that Audra was smarter than to push for something that would jeopardize the executive position she was already in. Victoria sensed that there was something Nate wasn't telling her, and she wanted to think that they'd never play games with one another. She hoped she wasn't wrong.
Nate revealed that Adam was blackmailing Audra over something she'd done to help keep Tucker out of trouble, and Adam's price had been for Audra to make the merger happen with Newman Media. Nate added that he'd agreed to help Audra to protect Newman and Victoria from Adam's threat to go public with the scandal, since it would reflect badly on Newman Media. Nate reminded Victoria that he'd dropped the issue once she'd made it clear she didn't think the merger was the right move. Victoria asked how serious the situation was.
Nate requested that Victoria not be too hard on Audra. Victoria admitted that she was conflicted because she admired Audra's willingness to protect her employer, but Audra had also covered up a heinous crime. Nate clarified that Audra had only covered up the actions of McCall's PR department to prevent McCall from tanking if word had gotten out. Victoria realized that Audra had done what she'd done to keep McCall safe.
Nate opined that Audra should get a pass for her actions. He considered the real problem to be Adam's relentless determination to take back Newman Media. Victoria recalled that she and Nate had discussed sabotaging McCall before Victor had put it under the Newman umbrella. Nate repeated that the problem was Adam, and he asserted that it was time to finally push her brother off the cliff.
Audra returned to the Athletic Club and ran into Victoria and Nate. Victoria observed that Audra seemed pleased, and Audra confirmed that she'd dodged a dangerous bullet. Victoria insisted on hearing all about it first thing in the morning, since it seemed they had several things to discuss. Nate told Audra that he'd filled Victoria in because he was done keeping secrets. Audra reported that she'd spilled everything to Victor and Nikki, and it was a relief to have it all out in the open. Audra promised that the threat been neutralized -- thanks to Victor.
Audra entered her hotel room, and there was a knock at the door a moment later. She let Kyle in and called him a genius. He suggested that they not talk it to death, and they kissed passionately.
At Adam's, Sally told Adam it wasn't healthy to keep photos of them as a couple, but Adam claimed they represented a time when he'd been truly happy. He assured her he hadn't laid a trap for her with those photos. Sally said she'd been tidying up when she'd found the photos. Sally said she wanted Adam to find someone who would love him the way he deserved to be loved. Adam admitted that Sally still meant a great deal to him.
When Nick arrived, he lit into Adam about what he and Audra had done regarding Newman Media. When Nick saw Sally, she explained that she'd paid Adam a visit. Nick told Sally he'd stopped by the ranch, and Victor had told him what Adam had done. Adam wanted them to discuss things in the morning after Nick had calmed down, but Nick shouted that he wouldn't calm down because he wouldn't allow Adam to screw things up for Sharon. Adam claimed the issue had been handled. Sally asked what was going on.
Nick told Sally that Adam had gotten his hands on some damaging information about Audra and Tucker from when Audra had been working at McCall. He said Adam had used that information to blackmail Audra into convincing Victor and Victoria to merge Newman Media with their new company. Adam claimed he'd presented an opportunity with a valid case. Nick stated that Adam had crossed the line. Adam claimed that if it had worked, it would have been a coup. He said it had been strictly business. He claimed Victor had done the same thing over the years.
Nick said what Adam had done had been reckless and the wrong way to handle things. Adam said he wasn't interested in Nick's righteous indignation because sometimes someone had to do the dirty work. Adam claimed merging Newman Media was a good idea, but Victor had only wanted to put him in his place. He said Victoria wouldn't go along with it because she was threatened by him. Nick said Victoria wasn't threatened by Adam; she just hated him.
Sally asked what Adam had done. Adam admitted he'd found incriminating information in some old McCall files; he'd agreed to destroy them as a favor to Audra, and he'd asked her to talk to Victor and Victoria about giving his idea serious consideration. Nick told Sally that Audra had felt trapped, she'd gone to Victor, and she'd confessed everything.
Adam told Sally that Newman Media had been his. Sally said it wasn't anymore, and she asked why he thought blackmail was the way to get it back. Adam claimed it had been a move like Victor had made over the years to accomplish his goals. Adam claimed that the ends justified the means. Sally stated that they didn't. She told Nick she would meet him at the club. She said goodbye to Adam, and she left. Adam thanked Nick, claiming he could always count on Nick to mess up his life.
Nick told Adam that Victor was furious, and he was about to cut Adam loose. He said Adam was jeopardizing his entire future. Nick asked when Adam was going to grow up. Adam claimed he wouldn't compromise who he was. Nick looked at the food and told Adam that he and Sally were a couple, and Adam had to respect that. Adam stated that Sally had ordered the food, set the table, and unpacked boxes -- for him.
Adam told Nick that Sally thought she loved Nick and that Adam was part of her past because he'd hurt her, but the memories of that hurt wouldn't last forever. He said Sally would remember what it was like to be with someone who loved her more than Nick ever would. Nick accused Adam of being delusional and selfish. He said Sally didn't want Adam's love or his vision for the future. He suggested that Adam needed to move on.
Adam claimed Nick would never put Sally first. Nick said Sally understood about that night with Cameron, but Adam just couldn't. Adam claimed he didn't owe Nick anything. He said he had to work with Nick because that was what Sharon and Victor wanted, but Adam said he didn't care what Nick thought or felt. Nick remarked that that was the life Adam chose.
Nick said Adam was focused on everything he thought had been stolen from him, Newman Media, and Sally's love, but he couldn't think beyond his own rage and loss. He said Adam had nothing and no one, and he couldn't blame anyone but himself. Adam suggested that Nick leave and not disappoint Sally. Nick said Adam was crazy if he thought Nick would let things slide. Nick left.
In bed, Audra admitted that Kyle's plan to expose Adam's blackmail had been a stroke of genius. Kyle admitted that Adam had the right idea about merging the two companies. He said it made sense to create a stronger and more successful entity. Kyle suggested there had to be a way to do that.
Audra told Kyle that Victor, Nikki, and Victoria were against it. Audra said she thought Victor was starting to like her. Kyle suggested she get Nikki and Victoria on her side, but Audra wasn't sure that would ever happen. She said while Nate distracted Victoria, the sky was the limit for her and Kyle at Newman Media. She asked Kyle to imagine the control they could have over a massive media empire, and the power it could give them, politically, financially, and globally, so they could influence the masses.
Kyle commented that Audra really loved the game. Audra said she'd trained under Tucker, and she loved the rush. She said she and Kyle were good for each other. Kyle replied that he wanted to stick around to see how things played out.
When Tucker arrived, Audra asked why he wasn't curled up beside his new bride. Tucker asked Kyle for some alone time with Audra, but Audra informed him that Kyle was up to speed about the McCall issue. She said the threat had been neutralized.
At the ranch, Victor told Victoria his trip had been great, but being home wasn't great because Adam had crossed the line again. He said Adam had discovered some incriminating emails about Audra on the McCall server, and he'd used them to blackmail her. Victoria asked if it had anything to do with Audra's pitch to merge Newman Media with Adam's company. Victor said the evidence wouldn't see the light of day. Nikki informed Victoria that Audra had spoken to Victor about it. Victor confirmed that Adam had been put in his place.
Victoria asked Victor if that had finally been the final straw. She said Adam had to be stopped because his actions were tearing the family apart. Victor agreed they'd all reached their limit with Adam's behavior. Nikki said it was time Adam faced the consequences of his actions. Victoria agreed.
Victor told Victoria he'd given Adam one last chance, and he believed Adam had gotten the message. Victoria stated that Adam would continue to defy Victor, and the only thing that would end it would be if Victor stopped Adam in his tracks. Victor claimed Adam had to stay where he was for the moment because of the funds Victor had secured for Adustus from Europe, and he wasn't going to risk losing that. Victoria claimed Adustus had two other people at the helm, and they didn't need Adam.
Nikki reminded Victoria that Audra had approached Nate about the merger. Victoria said she was aware, and Nate had believed there was a strong financial upside to the merger. She claimed that if Adam hadn't been involved in the merger, she would have considered it. Nikki replied that Victoria had glossed over the fact that Nate could be manipulated into influencing a decision. She said Victoria should be more concerned about Nate and the risk he brought to the company. Victoria claimed Nate had tried to defend a colleague, and he'd backed off immediately after she'd informed him the merger wouldn't happen.
Victoria told Nikki that Nate would do what was best for the company. She said Nate had advocated for the merger because he'd wanted the recognition, and he'd wanted to protect the company's reputation. Victor stated Nate should have gone to him immediately, as Audra had. Victoria claimed Audra had gone to Victor because she'd been out of options. Victoria asked if Victor trusted Audra but not Nate. Nikki interjected to claim she didn't trust either of them.
Victoria reminded Nikki and Victor what Audra had tried to do to Devon's company. She wondered what else Audra would be capable of. Victor commented that Victoria seemed passionate about replacing Audra. Nikki claimed Victoria was still protective of Nate, despite what he'd tried to do to Devon and Lily. She said Nate had been up-front with Victoria only after he'd made his pitch for Adam's idea.
Victoria said Nate had been trying to score his own business success. She said he hadn't tried to cover his own ass or blackmail anyone. She claimed Nate's only crime was friendship and ambition, but Audra, like Adam, was comfortable with betrayal and duplicity. Victor asked if she was suggesting they get rid of Adam and fire Audra. Victoria claimed the more Victor kept rewarding Adam, the more Adam would believe he was untouchable. Victor claimed Adam had received the message.
Victoria told Victor that Adam was driven by his ego and constantly trying to prove he was superior to all of them. Nikki understood how Victoria felt, but they had to keep Adam in place because of the capital Victor had secured. Victoria suggested they find other capital, but Victor refused. Victoria maintained that it was time to cut Adam off at the knees and stop him from manipulating and undermining the family. She said Adam had shown he was only out for himself, and hopefully, when Victor figured that out, it wouldn't be too late.
After Victoria left, Nikki said Adam continued to disappoint Victor. Victor asked her to trust him to know when it was time for it to be over. He agreed he'd given Adam more opportunities than he'd given his other children, but it had been because of Adam's past. He claimed Adam was damaged. He said perhaps it was time to hold him accountable. Nikki asked how much longer he would allow Adam to create havoc within their family and disappoint him. Victor said perhaps it was time to reassess his relationship with Adam.
At the Athletic Club bar, Nate recalled a conversation he'd had with Audra. Audra said Victoria was Victor's golden child, and if Nate wanted Victoria by his side, that was where he needed to be. Nate said he planned to make himself indispensable. She said it was only the beginning, and the next step was to solidify his relationship with Victoria by taking things to the next level.
Nate snapped out of his reverie when Tucker joined him. Nate congratulated Tucker on his marriage and asked why Tucker wasn't on his honeymoon. Tucker explained that there was too much to do in town, personally and professionally. He said he was eager to get back into business, and since Ashley was his partner, they couldn't lose.
Nate stated that Tucker and Audra had managed to dodge a career-killing bullet regarding the singer cover-up and Adam's blackmail. Nate claimed it was always a good idea to check the spam folder and to delete everything. Nate said that had happened thanks to Audra. Tucker said he was surprised Nate and Audra were so close. Nate claimed they shared common interests. Tucker asked if they shared an interest in Victoria. Tucker warned Nate that Audra was a self-centered and ambitious person, and she would take control of whatever she needed to get what she wanted. He said Nate would never see it coming; she was that good at it.
Later, Victoria met with Nate at the bar. She informed him that Audra had sought Victor's help regarding Adam, and it had been resolved. She told Nate that his involvement with Audra had caught her off guard, and she asked why he hadn't approached her first. He apologized and claimed he should have been more transparent. She said if they were to have a strong personal and professional relationship, they needed to be open with each other. Nate agreed -- no more secrets.
Nate told Victoria he knew there were doubts about him, especially from Nikki. He said he wanted to prove himself -- not just for the job, but he wanted to be by Victoria's side in every aspect. Victoria said she believed in his potential, and he'd proven himself to her in many ways professionally, including the connection they had personally. She said she wanted them to grow together. Nate said helping Audra without consulting Victoria had jeopardized them, but keeping the McCall scandal quiet had been the right thing to do.
Nate suggested that he and Victoria discuss things in private upstairs, but Victoria said she couldn't because Johnny and Katie were waiting for her. After Nate kissed her on the cheek, he left.
In Sally's suite, Nick apologized for their meeting being overshadowed by Adam. Nick said he hadn't called her when he'd returned from his trip because he'd wanted to surprise her. Sally told Nick she didn't want there to be any misunderstanding between her and Nick.
Sally told Nick there had been a gradual change in her relationship with Adam since the loss of Ava. She said she'd gotten to the point that she'd been able to forgive Adam and recognize that he'd been dealing with his own pain. She said she'd brought him a housewarming gift to show she was making an effort to move forward. Nick said reaching out to Adam never went the way it was intended. Sally agreed.
Sally told Nick that when she'd arrived, Adam had just received a call from Victor, and Adam had needed to go to the ranch. Adam had asked Sally to stay and order dinner because he'd wanted to talk to her about something important; however, when he'd returned, he'd been very upset.
Nick asked Sally if they could start over again and forget about Adam. He wanted to make up for lost time. Sally welcomed him home.
Audra and Kyle were in the Jazz Lounge when Adam showed up and asked if Audra was celebrating because she'd weaseled her way out of a very compromising position. Audra claimed she and Adam had nothing more to say other than that Adam had underestimated her. Adam claimed he would release the information, anyway, but Kyle suggested Adam didn't want to piss Victor or him off that way.
Adam claimed he and Victor had reached an understanding, and Adam claimed he would regain control of Newman Media, one way or another. He said it should have been his all along, and it would be again. Adam left. Kyle said Adam meant what he'd said; he would burn everything to the ground, and if a bystander got hurt, so be it.
At Crimson Lights, Nick told Sharon his trip had gone well, and all four divisions of McCall were completely on board with Kirsten Incorporated, excited about the merger, and excited about the future of the company.
Nick informed Sharon that Adam had resorted to blackmail to ensure Newman Media merged with their company. He said Victor refused to fire Adam because he didn't want to risk losing the financing he'd secured. Nick complained that his future depended on his amoral brother not screwing everything up. He said Adam was a huge liability, and Victor didn't seem to care. Sharon said it was no surprise that Victor refused to let Adam go or that Adam would go after what he wanted, using any means available. After seeing the look on Nick's face, Sharon asked what else had happened.
Nick told Sharon that Adam was jeopardizing what they were trying to build. Sharon said that they shouldn't focus on Adam's actions but should rather look at the bigger picture. She said Adam also wanted to build their company into a massively successful powerhouse, and joining forces with Newman Media was smart and innovative. Nick complained that it was a personal and vindictive way for Adam to stick it to Victoria. He said Adam was focused on one thing only -- getting back what he believed had been stolen from him, and he would burn down everything in his way to get it.
Sharon told Nick that if it was just her and Nick running the company, they would fight for the merger. She claimed Victor's objection was merely to keep Adam down. Nick claimed working with Adam was a big mistake. He said they were on the verge of accomplishing something great, and Adam could undermine the whole thing. He acknowledged that they were stuck with him.
Sharon reminded Nick their new company was off to a very strong start, and it was stronger than Adam could jeopardize. Nick said he'd lived through years of watching Adam act selfishly and ruthlessly. He said Adam couldn't be trusted. He said Adam was also trying to rekindle his relationship with Sally and had put her in an awkward position. Sharon said if Adam wouldn't let go, that was Adam's problem because Nick and Sally couldn't change how Adam felt.
Nick told Sharon that Adam kept saying how much he loved Sally. Sharon asked what Nick was worried about if Sally had no intention of getting involved with Adam. She assured Nick that Sally wouldn't let Adam get under her skin. Sharon wanted Nick to do the same, or it would complicate things within their company. She reminded Nick that every time Nick allowed Adam to get to him, Adam won. She said that any destructive action Adam took was a reaction to Nick, Victor, or anyone else who treated him unfairly. She said the only thing Nick could control was himself, and he needed to stop focusing on what Adam did and instead focus on things he could control.
Nick admitted Sharon was right, and he would focus his energy on their new company. He said that since they had the corporate majority, they needed to address the Adustus company name. Nick suggested SNA Media. Sharon said she loved it.
At Society, Sally told Adam she was meeting with Victor to confirm that she would accept his job offer, and she was excited about it. Sally asked what Adam had wanted to talk to her about the previous evening. Adam said he'd wanted to convince her to work with him when Newman Media merged with Adustus. He said she was the only one who knew Newman Media as well as he did. He said he didn't know if and when the merger would happen or if he would be there, because he suspected his days at Adustus were numbered.
Adam told Sally he was treading on thin ice. Sally reminded him that he'd decided to blackmail someone to get his way. Adam wanted everyone to stop using "blackmail." He said he'd gone after something he'd believed in. He said no one would get hurt, it would have been business as usual, but it hadn't worked.
Sally told Adam it was okay to admit that he was still trying to prove himself to Victor and to himself. Adam said he'd often wondered if admitting what something really meant to him was inviting trouble or tempting fate to take it away. He asked why he should admit it, since he had nothing to show for it. Sally said her favorite was claiming she knew how something was going to play out, only to discover she'd been completely wrong. Adam admitted that sounded familiar.
Sally told Adam she'd convinced herself that he'd wanted to talk to her about them, but she'd been wrong. Adam asked if she'd been surprised or disappointed. Sally warned him not to go there. She said it had to be exhausting trying to figure out ways of defying Victor. Adam agreed. She said if fighting to work his way to the top wasn't working, perhaps cooperating would work. She told him to do his job and do it well. She told him to stop making trouble and picking fights with Nick. Adam claimed Nick started it, but Sally told him to stop acting like a five-year-old.
Sally said it was time for Adam to give up the adrenaline rush of creating chaos. Adam commented that Sally wasn't the same woman she'd been at Newman Media. He said she'd outgrown a lot of her self-destructive behaviors, and he wondered if he ever would. He'd hoped she would accept his job offer and that the new Sally would rub off on him. Sally said they couldn't work together any more than they could rekindle their relationship.
Adam told Sally he knew that about their personal relationship, but it didn't apply to their working relationship. Sally stated that Adam wasn't able to separate his career from his emotions because he led with his emotions in everything he did. She claimed he wouldn't be able to keep it all business if they worked together, because it wasn't who he was. She said it wouldn't be fair to Adam if she were there. She said she no longer felt the same way about him that she used to; she didn't want to see him hurt. He admitted it was a bad idea, and he would probably end up resenting her if she broke his heart again.
Sally told Adam she had to get to the ranch. Sally acknowledged that she and Adam had gotten through the worst after losing Ava. She said she'd let go of her anger toward him. Sally left.
At the Athletic Club, Victoria told Billy that Johnny and Katie were excited about returning to boarding school, and she didn't understand Billy's hesitation. Billy said he liked having the kids near them. He asked if she wanted the kids to go to boarding school because it would give her time to focus on work and her relationship with Nate. She said she'd never do that and that he hadn't approved of anyone she'd been involved with. He asked how many times he'd been wrong. Victoria said not many, and she asked if Billy had a problem with her being happy without him.
Billy said either Victoria didn't know him, or something was really wrong. He said she was an amazing mother. She asked why he had an issued with Nate. Billy claimed she deserved better than Ashland, J.T., and himself. He said if something was going wrong, Victoria could talk to him about it. She said it wasn't something wrong per se, but something was just not quite right.
Victoria asked him not to use it against her or Nate. Billy promised no judgment or ulterior motives. She said Nate had been privy to some information that could damage Newman if it got out, and he'd wanted to parlay it into a very risky business move. She said Nate had kept it a secret as a favor to a trusted colleague who'd asked for his discretion and because he'd wanted to protect the company and her. She asked if she could believe or trust him.
Billy asked Victoria if she could trust a smart guy like Nate, to whom she was obviously attracted, and he asked what else Victoria knew about him. She said Nate was ambitious; he enjoyed being ruthless, he could compartmentalize enough to go behind his family's back for a deal, and she believed he would sell Audra out if he felt cornered or if it would be to his advantage to lose her. Billy confirmed that if Nate would sell out his family or a colleague, he would sell her out, too.
Victoria told Billy that Nate wouldn't do that to her because his goals and tactics were completely different with her. She said Nate's ultimate fantasy was to work side by side with her and run an empire together; she believed him. Billy stated that anyone who admitted to that kind of hubris was dangerous, even when they were being sincere. He said when Nate screwed up, all that would be left would be collateral damage, and Victoria had had enough of that to last a lifetime.
At the ranch, Nate told Victor he wanted to clear up any suspicions Victor had about Nate's involvement about the merger, and he said he might have overstepped. He asked how he could make things right if there were any misgivings. He admitted he'd screwed up at Chancellor-Winters because he'd been ambitious and self-serving, and his loyalty had been to himself rather than his family.
Nate told Victor that when he had gotten involved at Newman Media and had the honor of working there, his loyalty had shifted to Newman and Victoria. He said when the whole Audra thing had arisen, his first thought had been how he could use it to his advantage. He said he'd wanted to make sure the McCall scandal didn't go public and damage Newman Media or Newman Enterprises. He said he'd tried to protect the company, Victoria, and Audra because he'd found Adam's attempt at blackmail despicable.
Victor told Nate he appreciated Nate's loyalty to Newman Enterprises, and especially to Victoria. Nate asked if they were good. Victor said they were -- for the time being. He handed Nate a binder and told him they were the financial projections for Adustus that had been put together by Sharon, Nick, and Adam. He wanted Nate to go through them and give his opinion. Victor said he expected Nate, as COO of Newman Enterprises, to be acquainted with all divisions of the company. Nate promised to give Victor his honest feedback.
Sometime later, Sally arrived at the ranch, and she told Victor she'd decided to accept his job offer. Victor said he was sorry to hear that because there would never be a design division at Newman Enterprises. He said he wanted to spend his energies on straightening out Adustus and working on the constant rivalry between Nick and Adam. He said he wanted them to work as a team.
Sally told Victor it was a shame because she'd set aside her Chancellor-Winters account to accept Victor's offer, and she couldn't really go back. She asked if Victor had dangled that job just to yank it away to punish her for getting involved with both his sons. Victor denied it and said that as a businesswoman, she knew tough decisions had to be made. He thanked Sally for stopping by, but he had to take a conference call. Sally left.
In Victoria's office, Nate told Victoria he'd had a meeting with Victor. He said it had been a preemptive move on his part to make sure Victor understood why he'd handled the Audra situation the way he had. He said the meeting had gone really well. Victoria said they would have to talk about it later because she'd lost a lot of time because she'd spoken to Billy about the kids. Nate asked if it had been about boarding school. Nate maintained that Victoria was right in sending them to boarding school, since both kids loved it there.
Nate told Victoria that Johnny would love the soccer team, and Katie could continue with her ballet classes. Victoria said she hadn't been aware that he'd listened so closely when she'd talked about her kids. He claimed that anything that was important to her was important to him. He admitted he was trying to smooth things over between them.
Nate said he felt something had shifted between them after Victoria had discovered he'd kept his actions from her, even though he'd been trying to protect the company. Victoria stated that trust was more important to her than anything. Nate said he deeply regretted that he'd betrayed that trust, and he vowed it would never happen again. He wanted her to tell him it wasn't too late because he had too much to lose.
Victoria acknowledged how important the COO position was to Nate. Nate said he wasn't talking about Newman but about losing her, and he couldn't let that happen. He claimed they had an extraordinary connection professionally and personally. He said their personal connection was becoming stronger and more important to him every day.
Victoria told Nate that on an intellectual level, she understood what Nate had done, but emotionally, she'd been lied to. He insisted he'd never lied to her, but Victoria said that a lie by omission was still a lie. She asked if Nate would have told her about the situation with Audra if she hadn't pushed him. Nate admitted he wouldn't have until it had been resolved when he could brag to her about what a great job he'd done on his own and be her hero. He wanted her to admire him as much as he admired her. He said he wanted to be worthy of her because he was falling in love with her.
Nate said it was obvious that hadn't been what Victoria had expected, but he wasn't saying it to win her back or to force her hand. Victoria said she had no idea what she was feeling. She said having the man she was involved with keeping things from her wasn't something she could shrug off like it wasn't a big deal. Nate said he would do everything he could to regain her trust and respect. Victoria said Nate would have to cover the Bennett meeting for her because she was hours behind in her work. Nate left.
At the coffeehouse, Sharon told Adam that she and Nick had made a few big decisions about the company, and Adam need to be informed. She said they'd found the perfect location for their offices, and she showed him photos. Adam said it sounded and looked great. She told him they had also changed the company name to SNA Media. Adam surprised them when he sincerely said he loved it.
Adam admitted that he knew Sharon and Nick had braced themselves for a battle with him, but he claimed he was tired and didn't want to fight anymore. He said he didn't want to ruin what they were building because it was all he had left.
In her suite at the Athletic Club, Summer received a text message from Phyllis: "Meet me in the park." Daniel arrived and said he'd received the same text message. Summer said she wasn't sure she wanted to know what it was about because she was done with Phyllis' drama. Daniel said Phyllis was probably trying to figure out another way to stay out of prison.
Daniel told Summer they needed to be prepared when they met with Phyllis. Summer informed him that Tucker had brought Carson to town, and Tucker was blackmailing Phyllis. She said Phyllis was using Adam to get her away from Tucker's blackmail. Summer stated that Phyllis always chose the worst path and asked the worst people for help. She said Phyllis was her own worst enemy.
Daniel noted that Summer seemed like she'd shut down, but Summer insisted she'd found new ways to cope and move forward. She said she couldn't keep twisting herself into knots over Phyllis' problems. She suggested they tell Phyllis they were done with her insanity and just be there for each other. Daniel agreed.
In the park, Phyllis finished setting a table for four. Lauren arrived, and she told Phyllis that Michael hadn't returned because things were more complicated with Gloria's issues. Phyllis said Heather had done right by her, and the table was for a celebration of her freedom. Phyllis said she'd asked Summer and Daniel to join them. She said she'd wanted Lauren there because Lauren had supported her and hadn't given up on her. Lauren said she was proud of Phyllis.
Phyllis told Lauren it had meant a lot to her that Michael had been ready to defend her. She said it had given her confidence. She admitted she'd put Heather through the wringer by pleading guilty and throwing herself at the mercy of the judge. She said she wasn't going to prison, and Christine had lost. Phyllis said Lauren was an incredible friend who'd stood by her. Lauren said that Stark had put Phyllis into an impossible position, and she hoped Phyllis had learned something from her ordeal. Phyllis admitted she had, and she wouldn't run on instinct and survival mode anymore.
Summer and Daniel arrived in time to hear Phyllis say she was going to embrace her freedom by living a new kind of life. She told Summer and Daniel that she was free, and the charges had been dropped. She said she'd pleaded guilty to all the charges, and she'd poured her heart out to the judge. She shared that the judge had believed she'd killed Stark in self-defense. She said there wouldn't be any charges brought against Summer.
Daniel asked if Phyllis was going to prison. Phyllis said she'd gotten probation and community service. She said she didn't understand their reaction. Summer said they were happy she wouldn't be serving time, but a lot had happened that had led to that moment. Phyllis understood they were angry with her for how she'd handled things. Summer asked if Phyllis thought it was a good time to throw a party in the most public place possible.
Summer asked Phyllis if they were celebrating the lies she'd told or the torture she'd put them through. Phyllis said the celebration was for them because she'd wanted to acknowledge that they'd stood by her, and they'd supported her. She said it was an apology for all the pain and anger she'd caused. Summer stated that they weren't angry, but they were done. Phyllis asked what that meant.
Summer told Phyllis they were done with the betrayals and the disillusionment. She said she was happy Phyllis wasn't going to prison, and she hoped Phyllis meant it that she'd learned a lesson from the ordeal. Phyllis confirmed that she would change. Summer said when that happened, she would be in a better place to reconnect, but Phyllis would have to prove to Summer that she actually could change. Phyllis asked if Daniel felt the same way. Daniel said he did. Summer said she didn't think Carson's testimony had been legitimate, and she believed that Tucker had paid Carson to say whatever Phyllis had needed him to say.
Shocked, Phyllis told Summer that had been true; Carson had seen what had happened through the motel window. Summer said she wished she could believe that, but it was too convenient. Summer stated that Phyllis had lied and manipulated them constantly. Daniel said Phyllis had pushed them away when they'd wanted to help her, because Phyllis had to do things her way.
Phyllis told Summer and Daniel that the changing process wouldn't be easy, but she was willing to prove to them that she could change. Lauren suggested that Summer and Daniel meet Phyllis halfway. She asked them to keep an open mind and heart. Phyllis said that everything she'd done had been to protect their family. Summer asked if Phyllis had forgotten that she'd destroyed Summer's marriage to Kyle and that Summer had lost Harrison because of her.
Phyllis told Summer and Daniel that she wanted to fix everything. Daniel said she never fixed anything; she just kept making "the same stupid mistakes." He said it would take a lot more for them to believe her. Phyllis asked what she needed to do to fix things. Daniel said she would have to figure that out on her own. Summer said goodbye. She and Daniel left.
Phyllis told Lauren that hadn't been what she'd expected, and Lauren deserved a toast. Lauren toasted to what could happen when Phyllis put her mind to it. Phyllis said she would earn back love and respect from her kids. Lauren claimed the kids were putting her to the test because they loved her so much.
Phyllis admitted that had been harsh, but Lauren claimed the kids knew that deep down, Phyllis had the ability to change. Phyllis thanked Lauren and called her a great friend. Phyllis said she would be eternally grateful to Lauren. Lauren toasted to Phyllis' magnificent new journey.
At Crimson Lights, after discussing office spaces, Sharon asked if Adam had come up with another name for the company, since everyone hated "Adustus." Adam suggested "Newman Media." Sharon reminded him that Victor had already shot down the idea of merging Newman Media. Adam claimed he was tenacious about certain things, and that was one of them. He said Victor hadn't actually shot down the idea. Adam claimed Victor probably wanted to see how they did with McCall-Kirsten.
In her suite at the Athletic Club, Audra asked Nate if he'd been able to persuade Victoria to merge Newman Media with Adustus. He said he was getting there, and he assured her things would work out, but it would take time getting Victor to see the advantages. Audra argued that he needed to get Nikki and Victoria on board first, but Nate said he had to be careful not to overstep, especially with Nikki, because she was still suspicious of his motives.
Audra told Nate that Adam wouldn't wait forever. Nate replied that he knew what was at stake for her, and he had his own concerns. He said he believed the merger would happen, anyway; getting ahead of it and proving its value would help his position with the Newmans. He said he was walking a fine line, and if things threatened to go sideways, he was out.
Nate told Audra there had to be something other than Newman Media that Adam wanted, something that would help in exchange for his silence about the McCall cover-up. She said she couldn't change the emails. Nate suggested she spin it in a way that would appeal to Adam.
At Newman, Nikki told Victoria she'd run into Diane at Society, and Ashley, Tucker, and Billy had also been there. She said Ashley had brought up the wedding invitation. Nikki had told Ashley she wasn't sure they could attend because Victor might not want to go after he returned from his trip.
Nikki asked Victoria what she'd thought about Nate's suggestion. Victoria asked for Nikki's opinion first. Nikki said Nate was testing the waters, and it was the first step in a power play. Victoria agreed, but there was nothing wrong with Nate wanting to test the waters with an idea, and the power play meant he was thinking about the future of the company.
Victoria told Nikki that Nate had made some salient points about the redundancy of having two media companies under the same umbrella, but he wasn't suggesting they make moves behind Victor's back. She said he'd wanted to run the idea by them first, and it was an idea worth debating with Victor.
Nikki asked Victoria if Nate was aware of the tension between Victoria and Adam. Victoria acknowledged that Nate was aware. Nikki asked why Nate would want to bring Adam closer. Victoria reminded Nikki that Victoria had wanted to pull McCall into Newman Enterprises previously, and Nate's points had merit. She said the idea should be entertained. Nikki asked if Victoria had asked how Audra would fit into it, because Nate had to know she would be given a position subservient to Adam. Nikki claimed it was another reason to question Nate's loyalty.
Nate arrived, and he updated Nikki on the results of her earlier meeting. Nikki received a text message from Audra, asking Nikki to meet her. After Nikki left, Nate told Victoria he'd hoped to follow up on their previous conversation about the merger. Victoria said she'd thought about it a little more, and she was no longer sure the idea was worth discussing.
Victoria told Nate she'd taken a look at Newman Media's quarterly projections, and she was happy with the way it was performing. She said Audra was doing an exemplary job. She admitted she couldn't get past the whole Adam factor. Nate claimed Adam wasn't worth worrying about. She said she knew Nate thought he could handle Adam, but he shouldn't have to do that. She said Adam made his own rules, and Adam didn't need to be in their orbit. Nate claimed the redundancies of the two companies would get in the way.
Victoria admitted Nate was probably right, but they didn't need to make any rash moves. She reminded him that the McCall restructuring had just occurred, and it wasn't the right time to risk upsetting Victor. She said she wanted to know what Adam, Nick, and Sharon had planned for Adustus. She said Adustus needed to get on its feet before Newman considered a Newman Media merger. She said if her instincts were right, Adustus would be off to a very sluggish start. Nate accepted her decision.
At the coffeehouse, Sharon warned Adam that he would be putting them in a tight spot if he continued to pursue Newman Media. She said she and Nick didn't appreciate that. Sharon said Victor would probably be more receptive to the idea at some point. Adam saw Audra enter, and so did Sharon. She asked what Adam was up to. Adam excused himself and met Audra on the patio.
Audra told Adam it would be a harder sell than she'd thought. She said Nate had informed her that Victoria was reticent to the idea. Adam claimed Victoria didn't want him getting too close because she hated him, and she was afraid he would push her off her throne, an idea that had crossed his mind. Audra suggested there were other things she could help him acquire. Adam said it sounded like she knew she was going to fail.
Audra told Adam she was only exploring all options. Adam told her to stick to the plan. She said Victoria was being pressured by Nikki, who wasn't Nate's biggest fan. Adam told her to adjust her plan because she needed to get Nikki on board. He said it was time to make Nikki her best friend, because he was losing patience.
When Adam returned, he told Sharon they would have Nick weigh in on the office space upon his returned from his trip. Sharon asked him what was going on between him and Audra. Adam claimed he was scoping out the competition. She warned him to stop immediately if he was planning a sneaky move against Newman Media after everything that had happened. Adam claimed she was blowing things out of proportion. He said it had been one conversation. Sharon warned him not to belittle her concerns.
Sharon told Adam they were on the verge of something great, and she wouldn't let his vendetta against Victoria mess it up. Adam claimed her concerns were unwarranted because he had no intention of doing harm to their company before it got off the ground. Sharon said she had a bad feeling about it. He claimed his focus was to make their new endeavor as solid and as great as it possibly could be. Sharon asked if that involved sabotaging the competition in some underhanded manner. Adam claimed Sharon worried too much. Adam left.
In the Athletic Club lounge, Nikki met with Audra. Audra said they hadn't had much time to get to know each other. Nikki replied that she'd only known Audra as the person who'd broken her grandson's heart. Audra said she was sorry about what had happened with Noah, but she was happy he was with Allie and doing great things in Europe.
Audra told Nikki she was hoping to get feedback on her job performance at Newman Media. Nikki claimed there was more to their meeting than that. Nikki indicated she preferred directness rather than being played or buttered up.
Audra told Nikki she'd heard rumblings that Adam was going to make moves on Newman Media, and since they were all under the same umbrella, Adam couldn't seem to let go of the idea. Nikki said that just because Adam wanted something, it didn't mean he would get it. Audra said she'd learned a lot at Newman, and the idea of a merger wasn't a bad one. She said there would be a lot of overlap between Adam's new company and Newman Media, as well as redundancies. She hoped she wouldn't be one of those redundancies.
Audra admitted she had an agenda. She said she was looking out for Newman Media's bottom line, and she hoped she could remain on board. Nikki asked where Audra was getting her information. Audra claimed she'd done her due diligence. Nikki asked if Audra had gotten the idea of the merger from Nate. Audra claimed she and Nate hadn't discussed Adam's new venture. She said she had her own perceptions about the situation. Nikki said it was an interesting idea, but she, Victor, and Victoria were opposed to the merger. She asked Audra not to bring it up again.
Back at Newman, Nikki exited the elevator, and when she saw Nate, she told him she'd had an interesting conversation with Audra. Nate claimed he was surprised Audra had reached out to Nikki, and he hoped Audra hadn't wasted Nikki's time. Nikki said Audra believed the merger was a good idea, but she'd denied discussing it with him. She said it wasn't a coincidence they both felt the same way. Nate claimed he wasn't aware of how Audra felt because they hadn't spoken about it.
Nikki said that Nate was playing a very interesting game, and she advised him not to continue it. He assured her there was nothing underhanded going on. He said according to Victoria, the merger was a dead issue, and he wouldn't bring it up again. Nate left.
In Victoria's office, Nikki asked if Victoria had spoken to Nate about the merger. Victoria said she had, and she'd told Nate she would no longer consider it. She said Nate had accepted that. Nikki said Audra had pitched the merger idea to her. She said it could have been Nate speaking -- it had been that similar. Nikki said her gut was telling her that Nate and Audra were up to something together.
In the jazz lounge, Summer told Daniel she hated that Phyllis had turned to Adam as soon as there had been a new threat on her life. Daniel claimed it would only lead to more trouble. He asked how long it would be before Phyllis needed their help again. Summer claimed she wasn't bitter; however, she wasn't naïve to what Phyllis was capable of, and she was done with Phyllis' BS. She said she needed to focus on her own life, and she wouldn't allow anyone to stop her from doing that, especially Phyllis.
In Audra's suite, Nate demanded to know what Audra had said to Nikki. Audra said she'd pitch Nikki the merger idea. Nate said Audra had known he would handle Victoria and Nikki in his own way. Audra said she didn't have the luxury of time because Adam had exerted more pressure on her. Nate stated that whatever Audra had said had caused Nikki's alarm to go off, and Nikki didn't trust either one of them. He said the merger wasn't going to happen. Audra said she was screwed, and she would lose everything.