At the Horton Town Square, Will and Sonny looked at each other worriedly, both realizing the meaning of Ted's cryptic statement.
"Let me spell it out for you two," Ted offered for good measure, yanking the anonymous note out of Will's left hand. "I'm the one who left these -- [because] I know you murdered Leo Stark," Ted continued.
"You're bluffing. You don't have one shred of evidence that Will and I did anything wrong," Sonny coolly insisted, prompting Ted to wonder if Sonny and Will really wanted to get into that part of the conversation in such a public place. Realizing that Ted had a point, Sonny and Will reluctantly followed the lawyer to a more secluded section of the town square.
"[See, Sonny, I] was expecting a big cut of every dime Leo [was going to get] from you, so I wanted to know where he was at all times, [and that's why] I had an investigator following him," Ted began to explain.
"Leo's dead?" Sonny asked innocently. "Nice try," Ted countered with a smirk before forging ahead, explaining that the investigator had followed Leo to the Kiriakis mansion the night before the sexual harassment trial had been scheduled to begin. "[Then, after waiting for a while, my guy] saw the two of you driving off in Leo's car -- with no sign of Leo -- so he tailed you, and then he told me where I could find the car. And that's where I went. And when I opened the trunk, I found Leo wrapped up in a rug, with a head injury that looked like a result of blunt force trauma," Ted continued.
"You can't pin that on us," Sonny dismissively argued. "Really?" Ted countered, smirking again. "I'm pretty sure I can convince a jury that you two murdered Leo Stark and then conspired to hide his body. [And] there's no real defense for what you have done, [so] I'm not gonna let you get away with it," Ted continued, delighting in watching Sonny and Will squirm.
"So, you claim to have found Leo's body in a trunk. Why didn't you call the police?" Will wondered. "Yeah, where's his body?" Sonny added.
"Guys, I would not be talking like this if I didn't have enough evidence to make my case," Ted vaguely replied. "[Now], as Leo's attorney, I was entitled to a third of whatever settlement he was awarded at the trial. If I turn you in to the police, I get nothing -- well, except the satisfaction [of knowing] that you're doing hard time at Statesville. [But] I haven't decided [what my silence will cost yet]. High seven figures? Maybe eight? [But] no matter how we play this, boys...[you're] gonna pay," Ted added with a shrug and another smirk. Annoyed, Sonny disgustedly declared that Ted truly was the scum of the earth. Ted countered that Sonny was a murderer.
Fed up, Will insisted that Ted was wrong. Sonny tried to object, but Will forged ahead, explaining to Ted, "Leo tried to kill me. He was strangling me, [and] Sonny pulled him off [me], and he fell [and] hit his head." Ted believed that story but doubted that a jury would, since the timing of Leo's death had been awfully convenient for Sonny. Will stepped forward with clenched fists and gritted teeth, angrily agreeing with Sonny's earlier assessment that Ted was the scum of the earth. Sonny jumped in front of Will and told Ted, "You and I will work this out, but I have one condition -- Will stops being a part of this right now."
Sonny waited expectantly for Ted's answer, ignoring Will's objections. "So sweet," Ted mockingly observed. "But it's in my [best interest] to keep you both on the hook, and I don't want [Will] to make trouble at that newspaper he works for," Ted added. Ted conceded that the district attorney might be more willing to cut a deal with Sonny that would get Will off the hook. Ted maintained, however, that if Sonny wanted to avoid prison time, there was only one way to settle the matter. "I don't have access to the kind of money you're talking about," Sonny protested. "I'm sure you can figure [something] out," Ted replied.
Will and Sonny exchanged nervous glances as Ted walked away, promising the duo, "I'll be in touch."
At the Kiriakis mansion, Eve squirmed as Brady demanded to know who had helped Victor plant drugs in J.J.'s apartment. Victor claimed that Arturo was the only person who had been involved in the scheme. Eve was relieved at first but started feeling guilty when Brady began lashing out at Victor. "You sound like you hate me," Victor observed. "And why wouldn't I?" Brady spat.
Victor was sorry that the plan had backfired. "But I won't apologize for trying to keep Tate with you. Sometimes, big mistakes can be made in the name of love," Victor added. Brady wasn't moved, arguing that Victor had interfered not in the name of love but instead in the name of fear -- fear that Brady was too much of a failure to be trusted to handle the matter without outside help.
Eve started to object, prompting Brady to wonder why she was defending his grandfather, of all people -- a man who had never treated her with even a shred of decency. He was so eager to get back to chastising his grandfather that he didn't even bother to wait for her answer. Still feeling guilty, she began to confess to her part in the sabotage, but he interrupted and insisted that he had never regretted choosing her over her sister, and he didn't want her to feel like that choice had cost him his son. He angrily insisted that his grandfather deserved all the blame -- and was dead to him as of that moment.
Brady stormed off, dragging Eve along. She stopped him in the foyer and informed him that her purse was still in the living room. He gave her a goodbye kiss then left without her, not wanting to see his grandfather again.
Once the coast was clear, Eve returned to the living room and wondered why Victor hadn't told Brady the whole story. Victor reasoned that it would be pointless to make Brady hate Eve, too. "[And this way, you can convince] Brady to forgive me. [If you don't], I'll be forced to [tell him] that you're just as much responsible for [this] as I am. Get it?" Victor added. "Got it," Eve irritably confirmed. "Good," Victor replied.
After leaving the mansion, Eve caught up with Brady at the Salem Inn and tried to do damage control. Brady quickly changed the subject, not wanting to waste another second talking about Victor. "I got some good news today -- [Eric and Jennifer] are engaged!" Brady revealed. "So, she said yes..." Eve mused, breathing a sigh of relief. Brady was surprised to learn that Eve had seen the engagement ring during a brief encounter with Jennifer at Doug's Place the previous night. "[I didn't want to tell you] because I didn't know the facts," Eve innocently explained. Brady admitted that was understandable.
Brady curiously wondered why Eve seemed genuinely happy for Jennifer, of all people. "Now that I'm with the man that I love, I think I can afford to be a little bit generous [toward other couples]," Eve reasoned with a shrug.
Lucas approached the Brady Pub just as Steve was about to tell Adrienne something about Bonnie. Adrienne was happy to let Lucas join the conversation. Steve revealed that Bonnie had recently been seen in El Paso, conning rich real estate investors into buying worthless acres of desert land near the Mexican border. "[She said] the government would pay big bucks for [the land] when they put up that wall," Steve explained. "[And] she got away clean...with enough money to stay lost for a long time," Steve added. Adrienne and Lucas were both disappointed to hear that, but Steve was confident that Bonnie would make a mistake sooner or later.
Steve said goodbye to Adrienne and Lucas then rushed off to the town square to complete an errand. Lucas felt bad about having butted in on a private conversation, but Adrienne understood. "[I'm] sorry for what [Bonnie did] to you...and I'm also sorry for the way I treated you after I got back," Adrienne stressed. Lucas acknowledged that Adrienne had always belonged with Justin. Adrienne smiled and gave Lucas a hug then walked away.
At Doug's Place, Eric asked Chloe to relay a message of gratitude to Julie. Nodding, Chloe recalled that Julie had arranged a romantic dinner for Eric and Jennifer the previous night. Eric excitedly explained that the dinner had been a prelude to a marriage proposal -- and that Jennifer had accepted. Chloe was happy to hear that. "I know how hurt you were when Nicole left town... [You know], I always thought that there was more to that story..." Chloe mused before realizing that Eric probably wasn't eager to talk about that particular subject. "You're not totally over Nicole, are you?" Chloe guessed.
"I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I have a special place in my heart for Nicole. I mean, she was my first love," Eric replied. "And you never forget that person..." Chloe agreed. "Yeah, but with Jennifer, it's real. I mean, Nicole -- she could walk through that front door right now, and I'd be happy to see her...but I'd still be committed to Jennifer, body and soul," Eric continued, adding that it was nice to be in a worry-free relationship for a change. "I have an addictive personality, [so] I have to admit [that] I must have been drawn to all the drama that goes with Nicole, [but with Jennifer], I'm not concerned that I'm gonna get burned," Eric concluded, smiling.
Changing the subject, Eric wondered if Chloe was in a similarly good place with Lucas. Chloe confirmed that Lucas was great. "But...I'm still not sure where [our relationship] is going," Chloe admitted. "[I mean], I just feel like Lucas is holding back. [And] the thing is [that] when I was in Mexico, all I could think about was getting back to Lucas and Parker, and I'm starting to think that maybe [Lucas has] always been the one for me. And I know that he cares about me, but I don't know that he [cares as much as I do]," Chloe continued with a shrug, unaware that Lucas was nearby. Eric, also unaware of Lucas' presence, guessed that Chloe was overanalyzing the matter.
Lucas soon approached and greeted Chloe and Eric. Chloe was quick to inform Lucas that Eric and Jennifer had recently gotten engaged. Lucas teasingly warned Eric to be good to Jennifer.
After Eric left, Lucas admitted to having overheard Chloe's earlier confession. "If it seems like I've been keeping my distance lately, um...it's not because of you; [it's] because of me. I'm just afraid of letting you down, you know? [I mean], I'm still battling with my sobriety on a daily basis, and I just hope that kind of baggage is okay with you," Lucas explained. Smiling, Chloe told Lucas that was really nice to know.
At the Brady Pub, Jennifer told Kayla that, according to Eve, Brady had blackmailed Nicole into dumping Eric and leaving Salem. Kayla was shocked to hear that Brady had done such a cruel thing to Nicole -- and especially to Eric. Jennifer declined to reveal how Brady had blackmailed Nicole, not wanting to burden Kayla with such a major secret.
Kayla knew that if the truth ever emerged, Brady and Eric's recently repaired relationship would probably be destroyed once again -- perhaps for good. "But that's not the only reason that you're not telling Eric, is it?" Kayla guessed. "Selfishly, I think I'm trying to protect what I have with Eric," Jennifer admitted, unsure if Eric was truly over Nicole.
"Am I a terrible person for not going straight to Eric with all of this?" Jennifer wondered. "If you're bad, then...then I'm bad, too," Kayla replied with a shrug. "I'm keeping a huge secret from Steve right now...and it's killing me," Kayla continued, sighing. "I was so desperate to help [him] get his sight back that I did some things that I'm...I'm not proud of," Kayla vaguely explained.
Jennifer didn't bother to ask for details, wanting to show the same respect for privacy that Kayla had shown earlier. "I will tell you [this] -- if Steve ever found out what I did, I'm afraid of what would happen," Kayla began to admit before noticing that Jennifer's attention was elsewhere. Kayla followed Jennifer's gaze toward the entrance of the pub, where Steve was standing.
"Wow. You two really had your heads together. Looked pretty intense," Steve observed while approaching Kayla and Jennifer's table. "Something to do with that new ring on your finger?" Steve asked Jennifer. "Busted," Jennifer replied before starting to leave. Kayla insisted on walking Jennifer out of the pub. "I'm glad he didn't hear what you were saying," Jennifer told Kayla outside. "I know, right?" Kayla replied with a sigh of relief.
"Whatever you did to help Steve, I am sure it's not as bad as you think," Jennifer told Kayla before walking away. "Oh, I wish," Kayla muttered while heading back inside the pub.
"Why'd you walk Jennifer out? Everything okay with her?" Steve asked when Kayla returned to the table. "Wedding talk," Kayla claimed with a nervous laugh. "That reminds me -- I gotta get on my best-man duties for John," Steve mused. "Got any ideas for that crazy bachelor party?" Kayla wondered. "Soon as I figure it out, you'll be the first to know. No secrets between us!" Steve replied.
Kayla forced a smile then went to the bar to get a refill. "God, Sweetness...what are you hiding?" Steve quietly wondered once the coast was clear.
While Marlena was in her office at work, Ben walked in. Ben told Marlena that he had realized that he had gaps in his memory from the cabin. Ben said he did not believe he had set the fire, but he asked Marlena for help.
"Try and jog my memory so that I can know once and for all that I'm not guilty. Hypnotize me," Ben said. Ben said he felt in his soul that he was innocent, but he wanted to know for sure. Ben said he would accept the consequences if he was guilty. Ben reasoned aloud that if he was not to blame, then a dangerous individual was still out there. Marlena agreed to help Ben on the condition that he would go to the police if it turned out that he remembered setting the fire. Ben agreed.
Once Ben was under hypnosis, Marlena walked him through his memory of the night of the fire. Ben said he felt paranoid about Ciara's intentions. Ben remembered asking Ciara about the knife she had been holding. Ciara had said she knew that Ben would not hurt her, but she had been scared. Ben then remembered that Ciara had encouraged him to refill his prescription. Ben remembered that Ciara had shut down the cell phone before Ben had left the cabin.
"I'm really sorry for scaring you," Ben had told Ciara. Ciara had told him that she was thankful she had talked him down. "You're really good at that," Ben had said. In Marlena's office, Ben said, "I remember! I remember everything!" Ben thanked Marlena for her help. With a nod, Marlena encouraged Ben to keep up with his court-ordered therapy. Hesitant, Ben asked Marlena if she would consider continuing to be his therapist. Marlena agreed.
At the loft, Ciara napped on the couch and suffered through a nightmare about the fire at the cabin. Ciara cried out as she woke up. Tripp rushed to Ciara's side to calm her. Tripp held Ciara tight. Claire exited her room and saw Tripp holding Ciara, whispering to her. Claire slipped out of the loft, unnoticed.
Ciara told Tripp that she had not been sleeping well because of the nightmares about the fire. Tripp promised Ciara that he would not let Ben hurt her again. With a nod, Ciara said she was unsure whether Ben had set the fire. Ciara admitted that Ben had behaved strangely when he had run out of his medication. Ciara added that she was not sure that Ben was innocent. Tripp swore that he would keep Ben away from Ciara if that was what she wanted.
After Ciara calmed down a bit, Tripp gave her a glass of water. Tripp encouraged Ciara to focus on the future. With a grin, Tripp asked Ciara if she had attempted to walk without her crutches. With Tripp's help, Ciara wobbled a few steps. Elated, Ciara hugged Tripp. When Ciara pulled away, she stared into Tripp's eyes then kissed him. Tripp pulled away and apologized. Ciara grabbed Tripp and kissed him again.
When Ciara stopped kissing Tripp, he asked if she was okay. Ciara nodded yes. Tripp told Ciara that he had never stopped wanting to be with her. Ciara suggested that they go into her room. Nervous, Tripp asked Ciara if she was sure. Ciara said she was sure. Tripp stressed that he was willing to wait. Ciara said she still had feelings for him, and she wanted to return to the way things had been before their breakup.
"I want to forget about the past and be in the present," Ciara said. Tripp nodded yes. Ciara said she was ready, and she wanted to make love with Tripp. Tripp held out his hand then escorted Ciara across the living room. When Ciara and Tripp approached her room, there was a knock at the front door. Ciara wanted to ignore the knock, but Tripp insisted on dealing with the visitor first. Tripp opened the front door and found Ben standing in the hallway.
John waited in the town square to talk to Claire. When Claire arrived for work at the café, John noticed that she appeared upset. He urged Claire to open up to him. Reluctantly, Claire explained that she liked Tripp, but he was in love with Ciara. John advised Claire to accept Tripp's decision. Claire said she accepted Tripp's decision, but she was worried that Ciara was more interested in Ben. John was unsure. He asked if Tripp was the only thing wrong. Claire admitted that she had a bruised ego and noted how lonely she would be at John's wedding.
"It's going to be the most romantic day ever, and I'm going to be all alone," Claire said. John countered, "Marlena and I don't ask losers to sing at our wedding." Claire lit up. John told Claire that she was beautiful and talented. With a smile, John said guys would line up for Claire, and he hoped Claire would run any interested parties past him and Marlena for approval. Giggling, Claire hugged John. She said she believed her true love was out there.
After John's chat with Claire, he went over to Marlena's office to see her. John told Marlena he had talked to Claire. With a grin, John said he could not wait to marry Marlena.
In the Horton living room, Abigail rubbed her belly. Abigail whispered that Chad would love the baby one day as much as she did. On the front porch of the house, Chad talked to Kate on the phone. In the park, Kate was surprised to learn from Chad that he planned to work things out with Abigail. With a sigh, Kate started to say something about the baby. Gabi overheard Kate as she was walking through the park, and she grabbed Kate's phone and ended the call.
Gabi asked Kate if she had intended to tell Chad the truth about the baby. Kate admitted she had considered the idea. Gabi reminded Kate that she would bury Kate if she did. Kate informed Gabi that Chad had decided to accept Abigail's baby and that Gabi's plan was over. Gabi was disappointed. Kate stressed that Abigail and Chad were back together and that, for Chad's sake, they should tell Chad the truth. Gabi refused.
"Kate, don't make me sorry that I told you the truth, or I promise, you're going to regret it," Gabi growled. Kate urged Gabi to relax. With a sigh, Gabi nodded yes. Gabi apologized and said that she was upset that nothing bad ever happened to Abigail. Kate countered that Chad wanted to save his marriage and did not deserve to be hurt. Gabi said that Chad would be better off without Abigail. With a sigh, Kate agreed.
"I am all in; it is just that I don't think Chad will abandon Abigail. He said that they are going to work things out, and I think he will do that, even if it kills him," Kate said. Gabi disagreed.
In the Horton living room, Chad walked in as Abigail cooed at her stomach. Chad noticed that Abigail's stomach had gotten bigger. With a gasp, Abigail clutched her belly. Chad asked if she was okay. As Chad reached out to his wife, he stopped short and pulled away. Abigail explained that she had felt a kick. Chad was surprised. Abigail explained that some milestones with a second child happened sooner. Appearing uncomfortable, Chad excused himself to take a shower.
When Chad returned downstairs, Abigail asked to talk. Chad noted that he was pressed for time and left the house. As Chad walked away, Gabi called Chad's phone. Gabi asked Chad to meet her in the park by the square. In the park, Gabi turned to Kate and asked if she was ready to deal with Abigail. "Consider it done," Kate said as she walked away.
Kate walked over to the Horton house and talked to Abigail about her pregnancy. Abigail admitted that Chad was struggling with the paternity of the baby. With a nod, Abigail said she understood Chad's response, but she hoped his feelings would change. Abigail asked Kate if she would talk to Chad. Kate refused. Kate argued that Abigail had chosen to make Chad suffer rather than terminate her pregnancy. Kate called Abigail selfish.
"You know that you are asking too much of Chad. It is not fair. Frankly, it is cruel. So, if you love him? If you really love him, you should do the only thing you can do. Set him free," Kate said. With a nod, Kate walked out.
In the park, Chad met up with Gabi. Gabi explained that she had seen a purchase agreement with Schaffer on Stefan's desk. Chad was disappointed that Stefan had reached an agreement with the shipping company before Chad had made a deal. Gabi changed the subject to the baby. Gabi encouraged Chad to open up to her. Chad told Gabi that he had promised Abigail that he would attempt to make their relationship work. Gabi asked Chad if that was possible.
With a shrug, Chad told Gabi about the baby kicking. Chad admitted that he had recoiled at the thought that the baby was his brother's child. Shaking her head, Gabi said that she did not know what had happened between Abigail and Stefan at the clinic to have changed Abigail's mind about the abortion. Chad explained that Abigail had felt like she could not abort the baby because it would kill a part of her. Worried, Chad asked Gabi if she knew more about the situation.
"What you are doing is way more than anyone should ask," Gabi said. Chad said he was comfortable talking to Gabi because he knew Gabi cared about Abigail, unlike Kate. Gabi assured Chad that she was always there for him if he needed to talk. At the Horton house, Stefan stopped by to talk to Abigail.
At the Martin mansion, Eli received a visit from Lani, who was visibly upset.
"I got something in the mail today...from the state. A few copies, actually. And I -- I wasn't sure if you would want one... I'm sorry. This is really hard," Lani began to explain to Eli. Confused, he wondered what she was talking about. She handed him a manila envelope. It contained a copy of their son's death certificate. "I thought about just filing it away..." she continued. "No, I want it. Thanks," he replied.
Nodding, Lani admitted to Eli that she had expected to receive copies of the birth certificate, as well. "But since [our son] didn't take a breath, it's like he was never born, like I never went through labor, like I never held him in my arms..." she continued, fighting back fresh tears. Annoyed with herself, she grumbled, "I hate feeling sorry for myself! And I don't even feel sorry for myself; I feel sorry for David!"
"Our son didn't get a chance to live his life [and] leave a mark on the world," Lani sadly concluded for Eli. "That's not true. [He] did leave a mark -- on us. We'll never forget him," Eli assured Lani.
Eli made it clear that Lani wasn't the only one who was still grieving. "I didn't realize how much it meant to me, knowing that you and I had made a baby together -- a new life... I mean, it changed me...for the better, I think. [I just kept] thinking of myself as a new dad, [and then]...when it was suddenly over, I realized that it wasn't just about that -- about being a dad. It was also about having a baby with you," he added.
Eli comforted Lani with a hug -- then took things a step further. Taken aback, she quickly pushed him away and demanded to know what he was trying to do. "Make you feel better?" he hesitantly replied, finding her reaction a bit confusing. "What, like you did on Christmas Eve?" she countered. "You showed up at my doorstep that night," he pointed out.
"So, I'm to blame for what happened?" Lani asked incredulously. "I didn't say [that]...but, I mean, if you wouldn't have assumed..." Eli tried to clarify. "Let me give you a pro tip: don't go around trying to make other women 'feel better' -- especially ones you work with -- [unless you want to] get brought up on harassment charges," she angrily advised. "[That] may be tricky -- trying to accuse me of harassment when we've already had sex," he mused. "The worst mistake of my life!" she spat.
Lani quickly softened and apologized to Eli. "Sleeping together may have been a mistake, but our son wasn't," she clarified. "It's been a long day. Maybe we both should just get some rest," she added before leaving.
At the hospital, Marlena received a visit from Hope, who quickly made it clear that being willing to attend John and Marlena's fast-approaching wedding ceremony wasn't an indication that everything was suddenly all right again. "[Our relationship] will continue to be strained unless you retract your assessment that Ben's mentally fit," Hope warned with an unapologetic shrug.
Forcing a smile, Marlena calmly told Hope about Ben's recent hypnotherapy session. "There's no doubt in my mind [that] Ben did not set that fire. [And] it's my belief that, with medication [and] psychotherapy, Ben can lead a very productive life. That's my professional opinion, [and] it's not going to change," Marlena firmly concluded. Annoyed, Hope stormed off.
While passing through a secluded section of Horton Town Square, J.J. spotted Chad and Gabi, who seemed to be getting a bit too close to each other. "What the hell is this?" J.J. demanded to know. "It's not what it looks like," Gabi assured J.J. "I just needed somebody to talk to -- besides [your sister] -- because with everything [that's been] going on with Stefan... I haven't been handling it well, honestly," Chad added. Nodding, J.J. apologized for having jumped to the wrong conclusion. Chad told J.J. not to worry about it. Just then, Chad's cell phone chimed. "I have an appointment I need to get to," Chad explained before rushing off.
J.J. started to praise Gabi for being a good friend to people, but she dismissively insisted that he was much more deserving of that praise than she was. "I am such a screw-up. [I mean], I've made so many mistakes in my life..." she continued. "Guess what -- everybody does. That doesn't mean you're not a good person," he countered.
At the police station, Hope complained to Rafe about Marlena. "[She] wouldn't even consider [helping us]. We're just gonna have to rely on our own methods [to prove that Ben set that fire]," Hope told Rafe. "It might be time to just close up the investigation," Rafe countered with a shrug. Hope couldn't believe that Rafe was willing to give up so easily. "I'm not giving up. [All] I'm saying is...we haven't found anything, [and] the department is expending a lot of manpower to keep [a] case open [that] ultimately just resulted in property damage," Rafe clarified. Outraged, Hope reminded Rafe that Ciara had nearly died in that damaged property.
Rafe backed down with a sigh, acknowledging that Hope was the boss. "If you want to keep the case open, that's what we do...[but] if we close [it], Ben doesn't have to stay in town [any longer]," Rafe pointed out. "What? You know damn well that [Ben] is not going anywhere -- not as long as Ciara's here in Salem. He is obsessed with her!" Hope dismissively argued. Fed up, Rafe went to get some air.
After saying goodbye to Gabi, J.J. headed toward the Brady Pub -- and found Lani standing outside its entrance, sobbing. "Are you okay?" he asked. "No," she admitted, accepting a hug from him.
Meanwhile, Gabi paced around a bench, fretting, "Dear God, J.J. thinks that I'm a good person, but...I mean, we both know that he's wrong. I just -- I thought that revenge was gonna make me feel better, but...it's made me feel worse, [so] maybe I should just tell the truth, right?" Rafe approached at that moment and curiously asked Gabi, "The truth about what?"
Tripp and Ciara were both surprised to receive a visit from Ben. "What the hell? Why are you here again?" Ciara demanded to know. "I just want to talk [to you]. It's important," Ben explained. Annoyed, Tripp tried to chase Ben off. Ignoring Tripp, Ben told Ciara, "I get why you didn't believe me. I wasn't completely sure myself [at first] because I was off my meds [and] didn't remember everything that happened, but now I am one hundred percent sure that I do [remember], and I know that I didn't set that damn fire." Despite Tripp's warnings, Ciara agreed to hear Ben out, reasoning, "If I don't, he'll just come back again [later]."
Ben told Ciara about the earlier hypnotherapy session, ignoring Tripp's occasional scoffs of skepticism. "I remember every moment of that night, and I know for sure now that I didn't set that fire," Ben assured Ciara. "Then who did?" Tripp wondered. "I don't know, Tripp. I wasn't there. For all I know, it could have been an accident. But I [do] know that it wasn't my fault," Ben replied.
"You believe me, don't you?" Ben asked Ciara hopefully. "You can ask Dr. Evans," Ben added when Ciara didn't respond right away. "No, no, no -- [Ciara] doesn't have to ask anyone anything, okay? [She] doesn't have to believe a single word you say, so stop pressuring her [and] stop coming here, [or] I'm calling the police," Tripp protectively answered for Ciara.
Smirking, Ben eyed Tripp, who was still shirtless. "Did I interrupt something?" Ben asked knowingly. "Yeah, as a matter of fact, you did," Tripp confirmed.
"You sure you want to do this?" Ben asked Ciara. "You remember what this jerk did -- how bad he hurt you when he hopped in the sack with your buddy Claire," Ben continued. Tripp couldn't believe that Ben, of all people, knew about that. "Of course I know about [it; Ciara and I] spent day and night together. Couldn't help overhearing how sad she was because of you," Ben explained, shrugging. Tripp scoffed and incredulously mused, "Oh, man -- now this is [one] for the books, I swear. [I mean], am I seriously getting the 'overprotective dad' lecture from a serial killer?"
Just then, Ben's cell phone chimed. "I gotta go," Ben said after reading a text message. "Ciara, listen to me -- I'm on your side, okay? Don't do anything you're gonna regret," Ben added before shooting Tripp one last glare.
Tripp slammed the apartment door shut as Ben walked away. "You're angry," Ciara guessed. "I'll get over it," Tripp replied. "Just do me a favor [and] tell me you don't believe that lying bastard," Tripp added, looking at Ciara hopefully. "I shouldn't have answered the door," Tripp concluded with a sigh when Ciara didn't respond right away. "There was no way you could have known it was Ben," Ciara assured Tripp.
"Still kind of a buzzkill, though," Tripp acknowledged while reaching for Ciara's hands. "Look, I totally understand if you don't want to [anymore], but...any chance that we could maybe pick up where we left off?" he asked, giving her another hopeful look. Meanwhile, at the police station, Ben approached Hope and said, "You summoned me, [so] here I am. What can I do for you now?"
Chad went to the hospital to see Marlena, who admitted that she had been a bit surprised when he had scheduled a private session with her. "I was hoping to talk to you [privately before starting therapy with Abigail next week]. It's just...[I mean], I promised her that I would do my best to be accepting of her having the child, [and] I don't think I can," he explained.
Marlena offered to help Chad look at the situation from a different perspective, but she could tell that he wasn't particularly interested in doing that. He admitted that he was much more interested in knowing if his wife was in love with his brother, because if her alters had been integrated into her, then it stood to reason that their feelings had been, too.
"[Abigail] didn't betray you. She didn't fall out of love with you. She had an illness that made her do something that she deeply regrets," Marlena assured Chad. "And now she's trying to open her heart to this baby. Could you think about trying [to do the same]?" Marlena asked. "You're a very loving man, [and I think that] when you bring this baby home from the hospital, it won't feel like somebody else's child [anymore, because] your paternal instincts will kick in," Marlena continued when Chad didn't respond right away. He forced a smile and gave her a nod.
At the Horton house, Stefan wondered how Chad was handling the news about the baby. "He's...having a difficult time, as anyone would, [but] I'm sure that once the baby's born, he's going to be a very nurturing, loving father," Abigail carefully replied. "Then why [are] you so upset?" Stefan asked skeptically. "None of your concern," Abigail insisted.
Sighing, Stefan changed the subject, making it clear to Abigail that he wanted to be present for her first ultrasound. She insisted that wasn't going to happen. "You can't cut me out of my child's life," he protested. "No, but I can cut you out of mine -- and I will," she countered. "You're not gonna be coming to doctor's appointments with me. You're not gonna see sonograms. You're not gonna hear heartbeats. You're not gonna be touching my belly. You're not gonna know the sex. You're not gonna be picking out any [names]," she continued, causing him to smile.
"You sound like Gabby," Stefan observed. Annoyed, Abigail slapped Stefan and insisted that Gabby was gone for good. "She lives on in this baby, [and] it's obvious [that] she lives on in you, [too]," Stefan argued. Stefan backed down after realizing that Abigail was getting uncomfortable. "I will respect your boundaries and take a step back...[but] if Chad, for whatever reason, can't be there for you the way you need him to be, I will be -- always," Stefan assured Abigail. Scoffing, Abigail guessed that Stefan was secretly hoping for that outcome.
A sudden pain stopped Abigail in the middle of a sentence. Stefan was concerned at first, but Abigail explained that the baby was simply kicking. Surprised, Stefan begged for permission to touch Abigail's stomach.
Abigail reluctantly granted Stefan's request -- just as Chad entered the house.
At the Horton house, Chad watched as Stefan placed a hand on Abigail's stomach.
Livid, Chad lunged toward Stefan with clenched fists and gritted teeth. Abigail held Chad back as Stefan explained, "Hold on -- I'm just feeling my baby kick for the first time. You're a father; I'm sure you understand."
Chad repeatedly tried to sidestep Abigail as Stefan added, "Look, I asked her permission, all right? Calm down!" Chad understood why Stefan had made the request, but Abigail's willingness to grant it was a shock. Abigail was quick to clarify that many of Stefan's other requests had been denied earlier, but Chad didn't find Abigail's boundaries -- or Stefan's promise to respect those boundaries -- particularly comforting.
"Thanks for letting me share in that special moment," Stefan told Abigail while exiting the house, further enraging Chad. Abigail stopped Chad from chasing after Stefan.
"[You know], I just went [to see] Marlena [earlier]," Chad began with a mirthless chuckle while pacing around the living room in an effort to calm down. "I wanted to talk to her by myself [before we started therapy with her next week]. She told me that she thought that I was a good man [and] a good father [who] would be able to love that child like my own. But that doesn't matter [anymore], because as soon as I walked through that door [and] saw Stefan's hand on you... Done," Chad continued. "I'm sorry, [but] I can't do it. [I mean], I wish I was a better person, but I won't tolerate this," Chad concluded.
Abigail assumed that Chad was upset and didn't really mean what he had just said. "I am not 'upset.' What I feel is rage," he clarified. "Toward me?" she asked incredulously. "Yes," he confirmed with a growl.
"I love you, and I love Thomas, but...I can't... I'm just not okay with... So, um, as far as I'm concerned, you can tell everybody that I, uh...that I'm the one that, uh, walked away -- [that] I walked out on you, just like they told you I would, because I'm a DiMera, and I'm just like my father, and I'm selfish..." Chad told Abigail, who refused to do that.
"I respect that you feel like you need to protect yourself from what is a painful situation, [so]...if you need to go, I understand," Abigail assured Chad. He gave her a nod then headed upstairs to pack.
A short time later, Chad rejoined Abigail in the foyer, carrying two suitcases. "I was gonna say goodbye to Thomas, but he's sleeping, so if you'd just, uh -- if you'd do me a favor and let your mother know to call me [sometime] when you're not around, I'll, uh -- I'll come and see him [then]," Chad told Abigail. "Where are you gonna stay?" she asked. "I don't know [yet, but] I'll let you know when I [figure that out]," he replied with a shrug.
Abigail understood Chad's perspective and was therefore unwilling to try to convince him to stay. She assured him, however, that she would never stop loving him -- or stop hoping that he would change his mind. "I'm really sorry I'm not the man that you thought I was," he told her before exiting the house. She fought back tears as the front door swung shut. He paused for a moment then continued on his way, also fighting back tears.
Gabi was startled when Rafe joined her in a secluded section of Horton Town Square. "You know I don't like it when people sneak up on me like that," she complained. "And you know I don't like it when you avoid answering my questions," he countered. "I forgot -- what was your question?" she asked, stalling for time. He didn't seem to buy that she had forgotten his question already, but he repeated it nevertheless. She gave him a nod and innocently claimed that she had simply been talking to herself about the possibility of telling her daughter, who still hated her, the truth -- that a bad person's actions had forced her recent disappearance.
"Wish I could understand why you went to work for [him again] after everything that he's done to you," Rafe admitted, assuming that Gabi was talking about Stefan. "I needed a job," Gabi replied with a shrug, playing along. Rafe suspected that there was more to the story, but Gabi insisted that wasn't true. Eager to change the subject, Gabi wondered how Rafe and Hope's investigation of the cabin fire was progressing. Rafe admitted with a sigh that it wasn't going very well. "You know, that bastard [Ben] -- because of him, Arianna lost precious years [with Will, and] we didn't have a chance to get to know our sister Paige," Gabi told Rafe, scowling.
At the police station, Hope revealed to Ben that she had heard about his recent hypnotherapy session and wasn't buying his supposed breakthrough. Shrugging, he insisted that she would never be able to pin the fire on him.
"Even Ciara believes in my innocence [now]," Ben revealed. "You talked to her? You saw her again?" Hope asked, horrified. "How many times do I have to tell you, damn it? You stay the hell away from my daughter! You stay away from her! Why are you so fixated on her? Why are you so fixated on my daughter?" Hope continued, shouting. "I'm not 'fixated' on your daughter; [I just] wanted to make sure that she knew I wouldn't try to hurt her," Ben clarified. "We spent a lot of time together. We got close. We...we started to think of each other as friends. I care about [her]," Ben added, further enraging Hope, who didn't want to hear any of that.
"Is that all? Can I go now?" Ben asked tiredly. "No," Hope replied. "I asked you here [because] I need to make a decision about [whether to] close your case or not, [and] I was kind of on the fence [at first, but now] I know exactly what I need to do," Hope continued. "[See], I could keep this investigation open [and] keep trying to find evidence [to] use against you...[or] I could close [it -- which would mean] that you're no longer a suspect in an investigation [and] no longer would have any reason to stay here in Salem [or] have anything to do with my daughter ever again. [And] that is a deal that I [could live with]," Hope concluded with a smirk.
Ciara, alone again with Tripp in their apartment, flirtatiously asked for a reminder of what they had been doing earlier. Grinning, he gave her another kiss. She started to respond but soon pulled away.
"Are we moving too fast?" Tripp asked, somewhat confused. "No, it's not that. I just..." Ciara began to explain. "You can tell me," Tripp assured Ciara. "I can't stop thinking about Ben," Ciara hesitantly admitted.
"So, while we were making out, you were thinking about Ben?" Tripp asked incredulously. "Not like that; [I was just thinking about] when he was here before -- [and] what he said. [I mean], now that he remembers that he didn't set the fire --" Ciara began to clarify. Interrupting, Tripp wondered if Ciara was actually starting to believe "that lying psychopath's" story.
"You don't know him like I do. You met him for...what, like five minutes?" Ciara argued. "Which was enough time to get a really bad vibe from him! I mean, besides the fact that he's some homicidal maniac, I didn't find him at all that charming," Tripp countered. Ciara insisted that Tripp wasn't being fair. Sighing, Tripp conceded, "We're obviously not going to change each other's minds, so...for right now, let's just...agree to disagree."
Eager to change the subject, Tripp mused, "So, I guess that whatever was happening between us isn't happening anymore." Ciara wondered if Tripp was okay with that. "Yeah. Yeah, definitely. No pressure," he assured her. "So...what now? Video games?" he awkwardly added. "Actually...I think I'm just gonna go get some air," she replied. She gave him a kiss on the cheek then exited the apartment.
At Doug's Place, Rafe greeted Hope, who was beaming. "You're in a good mood," he curiously observed. "I have decided to close the Ben Weston case," she excitedly explained.
Meanwhile, Ben greeted Ciara, who was carefully limping through the town square. "Glad to see you back on your feet," he told her. "[And] I'm glad I ran into you...[so I could] say goodbye. I'm leaving Salem," he added.
Elsewhere, Gabi dialed Sonny's cell phone number. "I was just wondering, um...would now be a good time to possibly see Ari? I wanted to talk to her," Gabi explained when Sonny answered the call.
At the Evans-Black townhouse, Kayla helped Marlena with last-minute wedding details. As they tried on their respective dresses for the big event, they began discussing the bionic eye technology.
Marlena advised Kayla to tell Steve how the rights to the technology had been obtained. "I know you were frightened that he wouldn't have the procedure done [if he knew the truth, but now it has been done, and it] can't be taken away," Marlena reasoned with a shrug. Kayla feared that Steve wouldn't be able to forgive and forget, but Marlena was confident that the Johnsons' relationship was strong enough to survive the revelation.
At the Brady Pub, Steve told John that Kayla was keeping secrets. "And as much as I know I should let it go out of respect for her privacy, the detective in me wants to keep digging. [I mean], I can't help it -- I really do need to know [what she's hiding]," Steve admitted with a sigh. John was willing to try pumping Marlena for information but was quick to point out that it would be much easier for Steve to just talk to Kayla about the matter.
Shortly after John left the pub, Stefan entered it. Steve followed Stefan to the bar and warned him, "Just so there's no confusion...if you mess with my brother's daughter -- or anyone else in my family -- again, I will end you."
Stefan turned around and walked back out of the pub, sighing irritably. Just then, Kayla appeared, en route to the pub to meet up with Steve. "What a coincidence. I was just about to call you," Stefan told Kayla. "I asked Abigail if I could go to her doctor's appointments with her, but she refused, [so] now I'm gonna need you to give me regular updates on my child's progress...[or] I'll turn the lights out on your husband. I gave [him] back his eyesight, [and] I can just as easily take it away," Stefan continued with a shrug and a wicked grin, ignoring Kayla's objections about the illegalities of the demand.
Marlena was horrified when John entered the Evans-Black townhouse -- earlier than expected -- and saw her in her wedding gown. "Now you've ruined the wedding!" she fretted, covering herself with a blanket.
In the square, Ben told Ciara that he had decided to leave Salem because of a deal he had made with Hope. Ciara was outraged that Ben had accepted Hope's offer to drop the case in exchange for Ben's agreement to leave Salem. Ciara argued that the police did not have a case against Ben. With a shake of his head, Ben said he wanted a new life, and he could not have that in Salem. Frustrated, Ciara said she was worried about Ben's future if he left town.
"Please, Ben. Don't give up. You've got to trust for me to fight," Ciara said. As Ciara stood up, she lost her balance and started to fall. Ben grabbed Ciara, but her momentum carried them both to the ground. Ben's face hovered over Ciara, and they stared into one another's eyes. Slowly, Ben helped Ciara to her feet. Ben hesitated to release Ciara from his grasp. With a sigh, Ciara blamed her fall on her weakened leg.
"You're never going to convince your mom that I'm a good person, that I'm not a threat," Ben said. Ben argued he would avoid jail if he left town. When Ciara asked Ben if he was going to live with Jordan, Ben shook his head no. Ben explained that he did not want to interfere in his sister's life. Ciara urged Ben to stay in town and prove to everyone that he had changed. Ben said he did not think that was possible.
"You can't give up on yourself. Because I am not giving up on you," Ciara said. Ciara asked Ben if he wanted to stay in Salem. Ben said yes. Ciara ordered Ben to stay in town and live his life on his own terms. Ben warned Ciara that Hope would disagree. Ciara said she would stand up to her mother for Ben.
In the Kiriakis living room, Sonny talked to Will on the phone in hushed tones. As Sonny worried aloud about money, Chad walked in and overheard Sonny. Sonny noticed Chad and ended his call. Chad asked about the conversation. Nervously, Sonny asked Chad what he had heard.
"Why are you so desperate for money?" Chad asked. Chad asked Sonny if his issue involved Leo. Sonny lied and said that the call was from a friend asking for investment money in a new business. Sonny added that since he was no longer with Titan, he needed new work. Chad apologized for Sonny's ouster, but Sonny said he was fine with the situation. Chad offered to invest in Sonny's company, but Sonny refused.
"You need to keep your distance from me," Sonny stressed. Chad offered to act as a sounding board for Sonny on any new projects. Sonny encouraged Chad to focus on Titan instead. Changing the subject, Sonny asked Chad why he was at the house. Chad explained that he had walked out on Abigail. When Chad told Sonny what had happened with Stefan at the Horton house, Sonny shook his head. Sonny said he did not blame Chad for his reaction.
"Walking away from Abigail is not going to make [things] better," Sonny said. Chad said he could not get past the fact that Stefan was the father of Abigail's baby. Sonny asked Chad if he planned to end his marriage. With a shake of his head, Chad said he was not sure. Sonny said the situation was too painful, and he understood why Chad was conflicted. In the foyer, Gabi overheard Chad talking to Sonny. Chad said he needed to move on. Gabi marched into the living room. When Sonny furrowed his brow in confusion, Gabi reminded Sonny that she had asked him if she could spend time with Arianna.
"I know it's late but it is really important that I talk to her. I'm just over this. I'm over the distance between my daughter and me. And it's time for her to know the truth about everything. It's why she has been so upset. She can sense that I've been lying to her," Gabi said. Chad agreed. With a nod, Sonny went upstairs to get Arianna.
Gabi told Chad that she had overheard his conversation with Sonny, and she asked why Chad had changed his mind about his relationship with Abigail. Chad explained that he had realized that he was not ready. Gabi hugged Chad and told him she was sorry to hear about his change of heart.
When Sonny returned with Arianna, Gabi dropped to her knees so that she could talk to her daughter. Chad encouraged Arianna to listen to Gabi. Arianna smiled at Chad as he escorted her to the couch. Arianna sat on the couch, flanked by Sonny and Gabi. Gabi explained that she had been absent because she had been in jail. Arianna asked Gabi if she had done something bad. With a shake of her head, Gabi said no. Gabi explained that someone had fabricated a story about her. Sonny jumped in to support Gabi, and he added that Gabi had not had a choice to stay with Arianna.
"They took me away from you, but I want you to know that the whole time, I was trying to get back to you. I was trying to prove that the story wasn't true. I knew that I needed to be near you, close to my little girl," Gabi said. Sonny noted that he had lied to Arianna because he had not wanted her to worry about her mother. Gabi added that she missed Arianna. When Gabi leaned forward, Arianna hugged her. Tears of joy streamed down Gabi's face.
Arianna asked Gabi if she was staying overnight. Gabi said no. Sonny interrupted to invite Gabi to stay. Arianna suggested that they should have a sleepover in her room. Sonny seconded the suggestion. With a big smile, Gabi shook her head yes. Arianna ran upstairs to get ready for bed while Gabi thanked Sonny and Chad for helping her with Arianna. With a groan, Chad said he was headed over to the Salem Inn. Gabi urged Chad to stay at the mansion, and Sonny agreed.
"You need to be among friends now. Until you and Abigail figure everything out, you are going to stay right here," Sonny said. Gabi nodded yes at Chad. With a grin, Chad hugged Sonny. Gabi flashed a smug smile to herself.
Abigail sat in the living room of the Horton home, and she thought about when Chad had moved out. J.J. stopped by the house to check on Abigail. Abigail informed J.J. that Chad had left her. Confused, J.J. said he had talked to Chad earlier, and Chad had said he'd been working things out with Abigail. Abigail explained that Chad had walked into the house and had witnessed Stefan touching her belly. J.J. asked Abigail why she had shared that moment with Stefan.
"Honestly I let him do it 'cause he said he was going to leave," Abigail said. Abigail said she did not know if Chad would return home again. J.J. pulled his sister close so she could rest her head on his shoulder. Abigail worried aloud about whether Chad would return. J.J. noted that he understood firsthand how it felt to know that the person he loved was carrying another man's child. With a gasp, Abigail remembered what had happened with Lani.
"I mean, if you couldn't accept [Lani's] baby, what makes me think Chad could accept Stefan's," Abigail wondered aloud. J.J. countered that he had not been married to Lani, and Lani had lied. Abigail admitted that she had almost lied to Chad after Gabi had encouraged her to lie to protect everyone. J.J. said that Gabi had been a good friend to both Abigail and Chad. J.J. explained that he had seen Chad and Gabi talking earlier and that he had been concerned about the closeness of the conversation. J.J. said that Gabi and Chad had sworn that they had only been talking as friends.
"Well, I'm sure that's all it was," Abigail said. Abigail did not look convinced of her own statement. J.J. hugged Abigail and promised her that things would get better. Once alone, Abigail stared at her wedding photo.
Hope met up with Rafe at Doug's Place, and she told him about her deal with Ben. Curious, Rafe asked about the deal. Hope explained that she had offered to drop the case against Ben in exchange for Ben's promise to leave Salem. Rafe reminded Hope that Ben could change his mind about leaving town after Hope dismissed the charges and could then accuse Hope of harassment.
"Leaving town is the only choice. My gosh, come on. Stop worrying. This is a reason to definitely celebrate," Hope said with a grin. Rafe smiled. Hope changed the subject to Gabi. Rafe admitted that his sister was still struggling to reconcile with Arianna. Rafe said he was frustrated that Gabi had refused to confide in him. Rafe said he believed Gabi was hiding a secret from him.
"I just want her to know that she can lean on me whenever, know that I would do anything for her," Rafe said. Hope assured Rafe that Gabi knew that. Hope added that she knew Rafe would do anything for the people he loved.
"I hope you know that means you, too," Rafe said. Rafe said he could not forgive himself for hurting Hope. Hope countered that she had done her best to push Rafe away. Rafe gently touched Hope's face. Rafe and Hope got up to dance. As Rafe leaned close to Hope, his phone rang. Hope encouraged Rafe to answer the call. The caller was Gabi. Hope assured Rafe that she was not going anywhere, and she told Rafe to take the call.
When Rafe answered the phone, Gabi informed him that she had reconciled with her daughter. Gabi said Arianna had asked about a sleepover. Thrilled, Rafe asked Gabi if she was staying with Arianna at the mansion for the night. Gabi confirmed that was why she had called. After ending the call, Rafe returned to Hope to tell her the news. Rafe told Hope about the sleepover. With a raised eyebrow, Hope noted that Rafe's house was empty. Hope asked Rafe if he wanted to go home with her permanently.
"I'm sorry. Did you just? Are you sure?" Rafe asked in disbelief. Hope said she was not sure, but they were still legally married. Rafe smiled and thanked God that they had thrown out their annulment papers.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sonny thanked Gabi for the good news. Sonny added that he and Will would always be there for Gabi. As Sonny headed upstairs to get clothes for Gabi to sleep in, Gabi went into the living room and overheard Chad on the phone. Chad told Abigail that he was staying at the Kiriakis mansion. As Chad stuttered, unsure what to say to his wife, he noticed Gabi in the doorway. Chad told Abigail goodnight.
"She's with family," Chad said. "Yeah, but you've got me," Gabi retorted.
John returned home to the penthouse and saw Marlena in her wedding dress. With a groan, Marlena told John he had invited bad luck by seeing her in the dress and returning home the night before their wedding. John said he believed that he and Marlena made their own fate. Nervous, Marlena said she did not want to joke about superstitions.
"I just have this terrible feeling that something could go wrong," Marlena confided to John. John said he would leave the room and pretend that he had never seen Marlena in her dress. Marlena said it was too late. After Marlena changed into her robe, John told Marlena that she looked just as beautiful in her robe as in the dress.
"Wow. So much for pretending you didn't see the dress," Marlena joked. John apologized. Marlena said she was nervous because she had been waking up at night with the feeling that something bad was going to happen. John suggested that Marlena was feeling nervous because she subconsciously was concerned that she would lose her happy life. Marlena agreed.
"Bad luck is never going to be a match for true love," John told Marlena. John assured Marlena that nothing would ever get between them again. After making love, John and Marlena talked about the wedding. Marlena was confident that Sami would be at the wedding, even though no one had heard from her. Marlena's phone rang.
"Whoa, this is freaky. It's Sami," John said as he passed Marlena's phone to her. Marlena eagerly answered the call. Marlena told Sami she had been worried, but she understood that Sami was busy. Sami hurriedly told Marlena that she would not be at the wedding then hung up. Marlena was devastated by the news. John asked why Sami was not going to the wedding. Marlena explained that Sami had said she did not want to bother Hope. John and Marlena agreed that it was unlike Sami to avoid a conflict.