At the DiMera mansion, Johnny entered the living room in search of coffee -- and found E.J. sitting on the couch, stuffing documents in folders. "Ah, good morning, son -- I had Harold brew your favorite Italian roast; I hear Fellini couldn't start the day without a good espresso," E.J. cheerfully began. "Suddenly, you're an expert on Fellini..." Johnny suspiciously muttered. "I make it a point to educate myself on all my investments -- and what investment is more important than your film?" E.J. innocently reasoned. "You just want to stick it to Uncle Chad," Johnny knowingly argued. "I could take my money and walk if my intentions aren't pure enough for you..." E.J. shamelessly countered.
Johnny laughed off the threat, making it clear that losing E.J. as an investor wouldn't be nearly as devastating as losing Chad as an investor and losing Abigail as a leading lady. "Then we don't let them quit," E.J. advised before handing Johnny the folders, each of which contained a legally binding contract. "So, you want me to lock [them in] before I announce that you'll be playing Aunt Abigail's romantic lead -- that's..." Johnny began to summarize. "Good business?" E.J. proudly offered. "Underhanded," Johnny disapprovingly concluded. "Do we have a deal?" E.J. impatiently demanded to know -- and Chad and Abigail entered the living room before Johnny could respond.
Abigail and Chad were both stunned to learn that E.J. had suddenly decided to support Johnny's movie. E.J. claimed to have simply realized that it was time to start being a better father to Johnny, who watched guiltily as Chad and Abigail skimmed then signed their respective contracts. Abigail and Chad started hinting that a third contract still needed to be signed -- then they each shot E.J. a questioning look after realizing that they were confusing Johnny. "I'd like to play opposite my wife as John Black... [Look], I told your father -- he didn't mention it?" Chad said to Johnny. "No, he didn't..." Johnny responded while glaring at E.J.
"I'm sure you would be great --" Johnny regretfully began to explain to Chad. "Actually, I already have a contract for the role," E.J. interjected while producing another folder. "Great -- all right, I'll sign --" Chad declared while reaching for the folder. "Maybe I wasn't clear," E.J. teased while opening the folder -- and Johnny squirmed as Chad and Abigail realized that the contract had already been signed.
Abigail and Chad desperately looked to Johnny for help as E.J. triumphantly stressed that the contracts were ironclad. "Look, you know why your dad's doing this, and it's not to support you or do what's best for your film! So, solve the problem -- rip up his contract," Chad challenged Johnny. "I'm sorry, but the decision's already been made," Johnny responded. "But, Johnny, you have creative control, so you can unmake it," Abigail argued. "Yeah -- and lose all the money I need to make this movie," Johnny countered. "I'll give you the money," Chad offered. "Very generous -- but the contract's already been signed," E.J. interjected.
"I really am sorry, [but] it's the only way I could get this movie made -- it's not personal; it's just business," Johnny explained to Chad and Abigail with a shrug, drawing a nod of approval from E.J. "You know, if you're still determined to be in this film, I'm sure there's a role for you -- ooh, perhaps you could play Roman; something tells me you could bring a great deal to the role of a cuckold," E.J. joked -- and Chad lunged forward in response, but Abigail quickly intervened as Johnny just watched shamefully. E.J. taunted Chad and Abigail a bit more then rushed off with a smirk -- and Johnny tried to follow.
Chad grabbed then shoved Johnny. "I didn't know you wanted to play John!" Johnny maintained. "That's not what this is about, okay? You scammed us into signing those contracts so you could get what you wanted, integrity be damned -- your father would be proud!" Chad spat. Johnny gave Chad another shrug then continued rushing off.
Abigail advised Chad to cut Johnny some slack -- then advised that there might be a way to thwart E.J.'s plan. "E.J. threatened to tell Shin that you were too distracted by side projects, and he was hoping to get you ousted -- so, flip it on him; convince Shin that E.J. is incapable of properly running DiMera because he's got a side gig of his own. It'll scare the hell out of him, and maybe he won't do the movie," Abigail elaborated. "When have you ever known my brother to quit when he wants something? And right now, what he wants is to come between us!" Chad argued. "Then he is gonna be sorely disappointed, okay? Because you are the man that I love, [and] no one's getting between us," Abigail countered before giving Chad a kiss.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Philip joined Chloe in the study and began to apologize for what had happened the previous day, calling it a misunderstanding. "'Misunderstanding'? You were a complete ass!" Chloe snapped, and Philip conceded the point and amended the apology -- then produced a watering can and a bouquet of fire-and-ice roses. "Yeah, 'cause that solves everything..." Chloe grumbled before snatching the bouquet and tossing it in the trash can -- then storming off while declaring that Philip was going to have to get used to watering their sapling alone if nurturing it was even a real concern.
Seconds later, Jake entered the study and gave Philip a smirk. "Looks like your girlfriend's pretty angry with you -- makes two of us," Jake began before starting to lash out at Philip. "Gabi started this -- I'm just fighting back," Philip reasoned at the end of the rant before unceremoniously firing Jake. "The last time you got mixed up with the mob, Brady took a bullet that had your name on it -- you might not be so lucky next time," Jake warned before storming off -- and Philip showed a hint of concern once the coast was clear.
At Basic Black, Nicole and Brady entered the CEO's office while discussing future plans for the company -- then paused when they noticed an oversized bouquet of assorted roses that was sitting on the conference table. "Probably Philip's latest grand gesture to Chloe," Brady guessed as Nicole opened the attached card. "Actually, they're for me -- from E.J.," Nicole clarified. "Well, that would explain the size -- obviously overcompensating..." Brady joked.
Brady hoped that Nicole wasn't falling for E.J.'s act. "What 'act'? He's just thanking me for a lovely evening," Nicole argued. "He's trying to suck you back into a bad situation," Brady countered. "I appreciate your concern, Brady, but after you messed up your chances with Chloe, do you really think you should be doling out relationship advice?" Nicole teased. "Fine -- [then] do whatever you want to do with E.J., [and] I'll stay out of it," Brady decided.
Nicole laughed off the promise, prompting Brady to insist that it was sincere. "I can change -- if you've noticed, I haven't said a thing about Chloe and Philip; I haven't gotten in their way at all, and if Chloe wants my blessing for the two of them, I'm happy to give it [and even be] their biggest cheerleader --" Brady stressed. "I don't need your blessing, Brady -- and you can pack in the cheerleading, too," Chloe advised with a sigh while entering the office.
Nicole rushed off in search of food, sensing that Chloe and Brady needed to talk privately. "I'm not defending Philip's actions, but...what we had, it was intense [and] passionate -- [I mean], we weren't just in love; we couldn't get enough of one another, if you recall -- [so], if I were Philip, I might be having a hard time with it all, as well," Brady reasoned after Chloe finished venting about what had happened.
Brady offered to talk to Philip, but Chloe predicted that would just make the situation even worse. "I'll be okay once I calm down -- which you have helped me do so much already," Chloe declared before giving Brady a hug of gratitude -- just as Philip entered the office.
At the Hernandez house, Rafe and Ava entered the kitchen while discussing breakfast options -- and they were both shocked to discover that Gabi had already prepared a meal for them. "Bu˝uelos?" Rafe observed. "Just like Mami used to make," Gabi confirmed. "Okay -- who are you, and what have you done with my sister?" Rafe demanded to know as Gabi sweetly handed Ava a cup of coffee.
"I just realized you're right -- this is our home; we should be living here harmoniously, [and] we should be kind to each other," Gabi reasoned, drawing a sigh of relief from Rafe and a nod of agreement from Ava. "I promised the guys down at the squad room that I would bring 'em Sweet Bits, and they sell out early, so I gotta go -- [but] we will celebrate this truce tonight," Rafe excitedly announced before rushing off with half of a bu˝uelo -- and Gabi angrily tossed the other half at Ava once the coast was clear. "You lying hag -- you gave Philip that dirt on Jake, didn't you?" Gabi snapped. "I don't know what you are talking about," Ava claimed.
"Has your stink all over it," Gabi maintained. "What if it does -- what are you gonna do about it?" Ava countered. "I don't get it -- this is between Philip and me, [so] what's in it for you?" Gabi wondered. "All these months, you have done nothing but try to break up Rafe and me -- so, when Philip needed a hand trying to smack you down, I decided I was gonna show you what it feels like when someone tries to take away something you love," Ava explained. "You will never take Jake away from me," Gabi insisted. "No, I am talking about what you really love -- what's so much a part of you that you live and breathe it," Ava teased.
"Imagine the day that you sign over the company that you grew with blood, sweat, and tears -- and Gabi Chic rises from the ashes of your stupidity and greed...as Ava Chic," Ava elaborated. "Oh, there is no chance in hell I will ever give my company to Philip so that you can run it -- I would rather..." Gabi began to protest. "Send your boyfriend to prison for a few decades?" Ava offered.
"What do you think Rafe's gonna do when he finds out that you've been trying to steal my company?" Gabi wondered. "Oh, Rafe would be furious if he found out that I helped Philip steal your company -- ooh, he would dump my ass so fast... But he isn't going to find out, because if you go running to your big brother, you're going to need to tell him that Jake was involved in a murder that he helped cover up -- [and] what do you think the police commissioner's gonna do with that?" Ava responded. "Rafe knows, better than anybody, how much Gabi Chic means to me -- if I sign it over to Philip, he's gonna know I've been blackmailed," Gabi argued. "You'll make him believe [otherwise] -- and between you and me, I actually think that Rafe is going to feel relieved, knowing that someone who's close to the family is running Gabi Chic," Ava countered.
Gabi started to say something else to Ava -- then just scoffed instead. "You just figured it out, haven't you? It's over -- and I've won," Ava summarized with a smirk. "Don't take a victory lap just yet, Vitali -- I am not gonna give up on my company or Jake," Gabi warned with a scowl.
Nicole ran into Rafe while en route to Sweet Bits. "I hate to tell you, but I cleaned 'em out," Rafe revealed before opening a large box of doughnuts and counting them then concluding that it would be safe to trade one for some time with a friend -- and Nicole reluctantly accepted the offer.
Rafe eventually wondered why Nicole had agreed to go on a date with E.J., of all people. "Maybe I had to suppress memories of the way E.J. treated me in the past, but...damn it, Rafe, my marriage imploded, and so did his, and we're both alone, and maybe this was just my way of trying to get past the misery and feel attractive again and alive again --" Nicole explained. "I get that -- I do -- but, I mean, you could do so much better than him --" Rafe interjected. "Yeah, I could -- [in fact], if I had it my way, I would have gone to dinner with you!" Nicole countered.
"I miss our friendship...[but] we have an agreement to keep our distance because you are with Ava, and I am gonna honor that agreement," Nicole elaborated. "I shouldn't have said anything about E.J. -- it's just...the guy, he's such a...and every time I think about you two or see you two together, I just get so damn..." Rafe responded. "What?" Nicole prodded Rafe. "Jealous," Rafe concluded. "Don't say that -- you can't; you are with Ava," Nicole advised. "I know, but..." Rafe began. "What?" Nicole prodded Rafe again.
While rushing through the park with a brown paper bag, Jake paused to inspect what was hidden inside it -- a gun.