At the Salem Inn, Bonnie insisted that there had been no way to stop Lucas from leaving with Mimi's child. Mimi countered that Bonnie could have just told the truth for once -- or concocted another tall tale. "[After all, they always seem to be right] on the tip of your tongue!" Mimi spat. "I resent that!" Bonnie protested. "This wasn't a part of the plan, Mother! You have some serious explaining to do!" Mimi continued, furious.
"My daughter is with a complete stranger!" Mimi fretted. "[Lucas is] not a 'complete stranger,'" Bonnie dismissively clarified. Ignoring the point, Mimi forged ahead, gesturing toward a forgotten stuffed animal near the window and noting, "Great -- her little bunny. She can't get through the night without this!" Bonnie tiredly urged Mimi to calm down and savor the unexpected break from the responsibilities of parenthood.
"Baby Bonnie's gonna be just fine," Bonnie assured Mimi. "Stop calling her that! It's not her name!" Mimi reminded Bonnie.
Groaning, Mimi added, "I never should have agreed to this stupid plan!" Mimi started to storm off in search of Lucas, planning to reveal the truth and reclaim the child, but Bonnie insisted that Mimi couldn't do that yet. "You're negotiating the return of my child?" Mimi asked incredulously. "No, of course I'm not, [but] it's not like this situation can be wrapped up overnight!" Bonnie clarified. "I can wrap it up -- real quick," Mimi countered while storming off again. "How lucky for you to have the freedom to stomp away from your mama when you should be behind bars right this minute," Bonnie mused, stopping Mimi at once.
"[We both know that] the only person in this room who killed your deadbeat dad [is] you. But I did the time. I took the rap. For you," Bonnie added. "It was an accident!" Mimi stressed. "'It was an accident' didn't play quite as well with the judge as I had hoped it would," Bonnie countered with a mirthless chuckle.
"I did ten long years in the slammer, Mimi -- and while I was eating slop and fending off shivs and getting thrown in solitary, you were out and about, living the life! [I mean], you settled in that hoity-toity little town in Pennsylvania and hooked up with God-knows-who while I suffered and struggled to survive!" Bonnie continued. Mimi sighed and started to apologize for everything that Bonnie had been through, but Bonnie quickly softened and acknowledged, "It was my choice." Bonnie hoped that Mimi would never have to make a similar choice.
Mimi maintained that Bonnie's plan had gotten out of control. "[Look, Belle and I recently] reconnected on social media, so I know all about Chloe and Lucas. [And while Lucas] might be a big sap when it comes to a sweet little baby he thinks is his, [Chloe is] as smart as they come," Mimi warned. As Bonnie scoffed at the claim that Chloe was smart, Mimi worriedly added that Chloe had a history of getting too attached to other people's children. Bonnie dismissively insisted that Chloe wasn't going to be a problem. Unconvinced, Mimi guessed that Nicole had once believed that, too.
"Relax! Chloe and Lucas will 'ooh' and 'aah' over that baby [for] one measly night, [and then] I will barge in there tomorrow and get her back," Bonnie assured Mimi. "[But] what if Lucas starts making noise about custody, hmm? [Or] visitation? [I mean], it's not like you can just disappear with 'his' baby! He'll track you down!" Mimi pointed out. "Why don't you have any faith in your mama?" Bonnie asked Mimi defensively. "The mother who snooped in my diary, [and] embezzled from me, [and] sold dead trees that she had flocked within an inch of their lives so no one would notice -- except for the cop who did?" Mimi countered. "You have to admit, [that] was creative," Bonnie proudly argued. "[Until] you got caught -- and you always get caught," Mimi knowingly replied.
Mimi started to add Mickey to Bonnie's long list of cons, but Bonnie was quick to protest that loving Mickey hadn't been a con. Mimi skeptically argued that, in any case, Bonnie's sick need for revenge against Maggie had caused nothing but trouble. "[It's] the reason you're in this mess. [You know], if you had just stayed in prison --" Mimi began to add. "I'd still be in solitary, [and you'd still be] kicking up your heels," Bonnie concluded for Mimi. "Can't you have a little respect for your mother? [I mean], you, of all people, should know we only have one life to live, so why don't we just spend the remaining days of our lives happily, as mother and daughter? Baby Bonnie is allowing us to do that!" Bonnie added. Unmoved, Mimi again vowed to end Bonnie's scheme immediately.
"[If] you ruin this for me, [then] I will go to the authorities and tell them who really killed your father," Bonnie warned Mimi, who couldn't believe how quickly Bonnie had gone from loving-mother mode to heartless-blackmailer mode. "You have to see [this] from my point of view! [I mean], I am out of options! My sweet grandbaby is all that stands between me and the slammer!" Bonnie stressed.
Mimi maintained that it was sick of Bonnie to use a child in such a selfish way, but Bonnie unapologetically countered that it was just a temporary ruse. "I still can't believe you pulled off the DNA test," Mimi mused with a shake of the head. "Well, I did my research, and I prayed that enough of the markers would match, since you and I are mother and daughter...but the cherry is [that] the plan never would have worked if Lucas wasn't related to the baby daddy," Bonnie explained with a shrug. "I mean, who would've thunk it -- that Lucas and --" Bonnie started to add. Mimi tiredly interrupted, having heard enough.
"You win. 'Baby Bonnie' can stay where she is tonight...but only tonight," Mimi told Bonnie. "You're the best daughter ever! Oh, you won't regret it!" Bonnie promised while hugging Mimi. "I already do," Mimi grumbled.
At Doug's Place, Lucas bonded with the baby and mused that having another child to raise was a great reason to start being a better person. Lucas optimistically suggested that the baby might inspire Bonnie to start being a better person, too. Chloe skeptically warned Lucas that Bonnie was a sociopath who would always use the baby to further a personal agenda.
Lucas dismissively countered that, in any case, it would be easy enough to get sole custody of the baby. Chloe was skeptical of that, too, knowing that judges usually sided with the mother instead of the father in custody cases. Lucas argued that Bonnie had a colorful past, but Chloe was quick to point out that Bonnie wasn't the only one who had a colorful past.
Somewhat annoyed, Lucas wondered whose side Chloe was on. She insisted that she was on his side -- and was therefore concerned about what might happen to him if he ever lost access to the baby. He told her not to worry about that. "Starting tomorrow, I'm gonna do whatever it takes to make sure that Bonnie Lockhart doesn't lay a finger on this baby," he added while smiling at the child.
At the hospital, John rejoined Marlena and reported that Sami had been cleared of all charges. Marlena was thrilled to hear that -- and was even more thrilled when Sami arrived seconds later and seized a hug.
John and Marlena were both amused to hear how Sami had managed to see through Hattie's ruse. After Sami finished telling the tale, John changed the subject, wondering if Marlena had managed to remember the true identity of the shooter yet. "[No, and] I've been trying so hard..." Marlena replied with a sigh of defeat. "Couldn't you try, like...I don't know, self-hypnosis or something?" Sami suggested. "Oh, honey, it doesn't work like that," Marlena clarified. John assured Marlena and Sami that, with security cameras positioned all over Horton Town Square, there might be another way to identify the shooter.
At the police station, Eli received an unexpected visit from Sheila, who was armed with a bag of crab cakes -- one of his favorite foods. "You're not in trouble, are you?" he asked worriedly. "Oh, come on -- can't a friend just check on a friend who was dumped by his ladylove?" she replied. He thanked her for the concern and assured her, while greedily reaching for the bag of crab cakes, that he was fine.
Just then, Abe stormed into the police station, with a uniformed cop close behind. "I want to know who's responsible, damn it! There is a reason for the sign! There are rules! And if we don't have rules, what do we have? Chaos!" Abe complained to the cop. "Excuse me," Eli said to Sheila before rushing off to find out what was going on. "Somebody parked in my spot!" Abe angrily explained to Eli as the cop slinked away. "A beat-up '91 Chevette -- license plate T-L-C-4-E-V-A," Abe continued. "That would be 'TLC 4-eva' -- and, uh, yeah...that would be me," Sheila matter-of-factly clarified, joining Eli and Abe.
Scoffing, Abe observed that Sheila seemed to be on a crime spree. "What is wrong with you?" Abe demanded to know. "Me? You're the one with a stick up your --" Sheila started to counter as Eli tried to intervene. "No, I ain't gonna take this from this fool!" Sheila told Eli before forging ahead. "[Look, as I told you before, I never tried] to steal your stupid credit card! [And] parking spots are for everybody! I pulled up, [and] it was empty, [so] I took it. [Besides, why do you] need a parking spot in the front, anyway? It's not like you're handicapped!" Sheila told Abe, who was still fuming.
Sheila was furious to learn that the car had been towed -- at Abe's request. "Just pay the fee -- $250 -- [and] it'll be released to you. [And] maybe next time you won't park in somebody's spot," Abe told Sheila, shrugging unapologetically. "I don't have that type of money! [You know], you got a hell of a lot of nerve!" Sheila countered. Eli intervened again, offering to help Sheila find a way to resolve the issue. "At least somebody's a gentleman around here," Sheila grumbled as Abe started hungrily eyeing the bag of crab cakes. Sheila snatched the bag away from Abe before following Eli to the impound lot.
"What the hell was that all about?" John asked Abe curiously, having arrived in time to witness the final moments of the argument. "You don't want to know," Abe replied before changing the subject, preemptively assuring John that the marriage license had probably already been filed at that point. John forced a smile and clarified, "That's...great...but I need another favor."
Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Marlena observed that it seemed like something was bothering Sami. "[It's] nothing," Sami dismissively insisted. "Just tell me," Marlena skeptically replied.
Sighing, Sami reluctantly explained, "[It's just]...you and John -- you're soul mates, and it's beautiful. [I mean], he did all this for you, and you came back to him. And I want that for me. I just -- I want E.J. to come back to me. Sometimes I feel like it's so close -- like I'm...[you know, finally] gonna find him -- and then... And now it feels like it's farther away than ever."
Marlena was quick to warn that Kristen might have been playing Sami with the claim that E.J. was still alive, but Sami remained certain that Kristen had been telling the truth. "I feel it in my gut. [And] what if it's like Will -- what if [E.J.] can't come back? I'm not gonna stop until I find him. I'm not going to quit -- ever," Sami vowed. "I never thought you would," Marlena replied, smiling.
Marlena added, "[But]...when I saw you holding that gun [at the wedding], my life actually did flash before my eyes, [and] what I saw was you...and Eric...and Belle...and I realized all the time that I lost with you...because [of]...things...[that] happened -- [and because] I made choices that kept me away from you." Sami tried to insist that Marlena was a great mother and needed to stop dwelling on the past, but Marlena forged ahead. "I did my best, [but] the point is, I want you to promise that you will not spend any more time away from your children, because I don't want [you to ever] have your life flashing before your eyes and [realize you] have the same regrets that I have," Marlena stressed. "Okay, Mom. I promise. I promise. No regrets," Sami tearfully assured Marlena before seizing another hug.
After visiting the impound lot, Eli and Sheila returned to the police station, which Abe had not yet left. "You owe Eli $250," Sheila told Abe. "Well, that'd be on you, Ms. Watkins," Abe countered. "Well, 'Ms. Watkins' doesn't have that type of money, Mr. Mayor," Sheila clarified. "Oh. Well, here's an idea -- why don't you put your best foot forward and get a job?" Abe suggested, shoving a nearby list of job openings in Sheila's face. "Ugh, that man!" Sheila grumbled as Abe walked away. Chuckling, Eli assured Sheila that the money wasn't a big deal. Sheila disagreed -- and insisted on paying Eli back.
Sheila checked the list of job openings and soon found one that sounded appealing. "'Executive assistant' -- yeah, I'm definitely feeling [this] one. 'Minimum requirements'...got that skill, [and] I can do [this one]... 'Self-starter'...I mean, do you know anybody more self-startin' than me? [Let's see, what else...] 'Must work well with others'...done -- unless they're jackasses, 'cause I'm not dealin' with that. 'Knowledge about current events'...I watch Access Hollywood. This sounds like a perfect fit, right? I can do this!" Sheila excitedly declared. Nodding in agreement, Eli wondered who Sheila needed to talk to about the job.
Sheila continued reading the job listing then suddenly groaned and informed Eli, "Mayor Jackass Carver."
At Sarah's apartment in Nashville, Nicole slammed the door in Eric's face while complaining that Maggie had promised never to say anything to anyone. Undeterred, Eric started talking to Nicole through the door, explaining that Brady's manipulation had finally been exposed. Sighing, Nicole reluctantly reopened the door and told Eric, "Five minutes -- and keep your voice down, [because Holly's asleep]."
Eric summarized everything that Brady had done, but Nicole tearfully maintained, "I chose to leave. [Look], there's nothing between us, Eric, okay? Not anymore."
As Nicole turned away, Eric forged ahead, stressing, "You know, when I see you, I see the most beautiful woman -- [the] woman that I fell in love with so many years ago, [the woman who has always been] my true love -- [and] I see your passion, and your soul, and your truth... Are you afraid? Because there is no reason to be afraid [anymore]. We can be together [now], the way we talked about, the way we dreamt... We're free -- of Brady, [of] our past... We can have our future [now]." Eric placed a hand on Nicole's shoulder and added, "I love you, Nicole. Please tell me that you still love me the same way I love you."
Fighting back tears, Nicole turned to face Eric again and admitted, "I love you...and I've never stopped."
Nicole apologized for having said such hurtful things to Eric at Brady's command the previous year. "You must have hated me so much," Nicole regretfully mused. "I never 'hated' you. [I was just] angry [and] confused, [but] I never, never stopped loving you," Eric clarified before giving Nicole a passionate kiss.
"God, I've dreamt of this," Eric admitted after pulling away from Nicole. "But I thought [it was] impossible. I even tried to move on...[but] you were all I wanted, and now that I have you [back], I'm not gonna let go," Eric continued. Nicole started to respond, but Eric forged ahead, preemptively acknowledging, "I know this is asking a lot -- [I mean], just showing up on your doorstep [and] trying to pick up right where we left off [after you've] already made a life here -- [and] if it's time you need, I understand. [Because now we have time] -- we have all the time in the world."
"No, Eric, we don't. [In fact], you have to leave -- now," Nicole sadly insisted.
Confused, Eric assured Nicole that no one was going to find out the truth about Deimos' death. "You don't understand --" Nicole began. Interrupting, Eric guessed, "You can't go back to Salem -- I understand that. You live here now. [I mean], we can live anywhere you want, but there's no way in hell I'm gonna let you go [again]."
Sighing, Nicole told Eric, "There's no way he's gonna let that happen."
Back in Salem, John rejoined Marlena and Sami at the hospital, armed with a laptop. "Abraham gave me access to all the [security cameras] in the square. All I have to do is input my credentials..." John began while typing. "And we're in," John soon added. "So, can you pinpoint it to the exact time of the shooting?" Sami asked. "I'm doing that right now," John replied.
"Wait -- hold it right there!" Marlena soon told John, who quickly paused the surveillance footage. "Oh, my God!" Sami exclaimed. "Is that who I think it is?" Marlena asked. "We just found our shooter," John declared.
Back in Nashville, Eric assured Nicole that Brady wasn't going to say anything to anyone about Deimos' death. "You don't understand. Brady is not the problem," Nicole clarified. "Then who is?" Eric asked, confused again.
"Me," Xander replied, stepping into the apartment.
In the police station, Sheila was interested in an assistant position, but she was dismayed to learn that the application needed to go to Abe Carver. Eli encouraged Sheila to apply for the position anyway. "I would rather be homeless than apply for a position with Abe Carver. He is the biggest jackass I've ever met," Sheila said. "Is that so?" Lani asked with a scowl as she walked in.
When Sheila pointed out Abe's flaws, Eli attempted to intervene. Sheila insisted that Abe had been unreasonable. "This is a first-class creep and a no-good scrub," Sheila said. "Who also happens to be my father," Lani interjected. Eli introduced Sheila to Lani. Lani asked if that was the same Sheila that had helped Bonnie. "You're the skank that broke Eli's heart," Sheila grumbled.
Hurt, Lani asked Eli why he had told Sheila something so personal. Eli reminded Lani that Sheila was his oldest friend. "We're family," Sheila added. Sheila recounted Eli's good qualities, and she asked why Lani had tossed Eli aside. Eli asked Sheila to back off. Lani countered that Sheila did not know what she and Eli had been through. Sheila said the baby was not an excuse for hurting Eli. Furious, Lani stormed off.
Sheila told Eli she would keep looking for work. Sheila thanked Eli for his help retrieving her car so that she had a place to sleep. Shocked, Eli insisted that Sheila stay with him instead of sleeping in her car. As Eli put his arm around Sheila and they walked out, Lani scowled from across the room.
At the Brady Pub, Abe met up with Valerie. Abe complained about his run-in with Sheila. Valerie reminded Abe that Sheila had served her time. Abe argued that Sheila was still up to no good. "The woman is a menace," Abe growled. Abe told the story about the car towing, and Valerie noted, "Sheila has always been a handful." Valerie explained that she had been concerned when Eli had hung out with Sheila and her brother when they'd been kids.
"Thankfully, he finally did grow apart from Sheila and her brother," Valerie said. "Eli and Sheila seem really tight," Abe countered. Valerie noted that Eli was a loyal friend and might feel like he owed his old friend. Abe encouraged Valerie to talk to Eli. "He can take care of himself," Valerie said. Abe disagreed. Abe noted that Eli was in a vulnerable place.
"That's because of your daughter," Valerie retorted. Valerie suggested that if Lani had not rejected Eli, he might not reach out to his old friend. Abe vehemently disagreed and noted that Lani had not wanted to build a relationship on the loss of their son. Valerie said Eli and Lani were young and capable of making new, happy memories. "It is none of our damn business," Abe said. "It doesn't mean I can't have an opinion about it, does it?" Valerie asked.
"If we let our children's issues continue to dominate our relationship, if you keep passing judgment on my daughter, we're going to be in big trouble," Abe said sternly. Valerie suggested they agree not to let their children's problems cause trouble in their relationship. Valerie apologized for criticizing Lani. "I'm overprotective," Lani explained. Abe accepted Valerie's apology.
In a random motel, Brady asked Kristen where they were headed. "It's the journey, not the destination," Kristen answered cryptically. Brady retrieved junk food from the vending machine. Kristen chuckled over the fact that Brady had remembered red licorice was her favorite food from her childhood. Kristen beamed.
"You made a pretty good argument for me to leave town," Brady said. Brady said his family likely hated him for what he had done to Nicole. "I'm just trying to figure out your endgame. I'm not naive, Brady. So, I need to ask you, is this real, or is this just a trick?" Kristen asked. "We've both done terrible things," Brady reasoned aloud. Brady asked Kristen to promise not to go after his family again.
"So, the reason you are with me is to protect your family?" Kristen asked. Brady noted that if he had only wanted to protect his family, he would have turned Kristen over to the police. Brady said he still loved Kristen. "I need you to give up your obsession with my dad and Marlena," Brady said. Kristen stressed that the only thing she wanted was Brady, and she asked Brady to be honest with her about what he wanted.
"Over the years, I've tried to convince myself that what we had was a lie, that I didn't love you. I tried to convince myself of that, but the truth was that once in a while, I think about what might [have] been...it would make me smile," Brady said. Brady added that he had had to push thoughts of a life with Kristen from his mind and move on with his life.
"I'm sick of fighting that feeling, and all I want right now is you," Brady said. Brady kissed Kristen and pushed her onto the bed. After having sex, Brady asked Kristen about the tattoo on her back. Kristen explained that she had gotten the tattoo after her near death to signify rebirth. With a chuckle, Brady told Kristen to get an "I heart Brady" tattoo. Kristen said life without Brady had felt like a bad dream. "I was so lonely," Kristen said.
"Were you lonely? I was thinking you were actually with E.J. Or was that a lie?" Brady asked. Brady asked Kristen for the truth. Kristen tensed up. "Right now, I want to enjoy this time being in your arms. Can we do that?" Kristen asked. Brady nodded yes and kissed Kristen. Brady and Kristen had sex again. As Kristen drifted off to sleep, Brady stared at her.
"Sleep well, Kristen. Because while you might think your nightmare has ended, it's only just begun. I'm going to uncover all your secrets, including what you know about E.J.," Brady thought to himself. As Kristen slept, Brady smiled.
In Marlena's hospital room, John, Marlena, and Sami studied the CCTV footage of the shooting in the square. John identified the shooter as Xander. Sami remembered the name. John said he did not know why Xander would want to shoot Marlena. Sami wondered aloud if Xander was using Marlena to get to Eric. John suggested it was more likely that Xander was Kristen's backup plan.
"Xander has never been known for his restraint," John said. Marlena wondered aloud how Kristen and Xander knew one another. With a shrug, John noted that Xander had been a gun for hire. "That basically means we have two homicidal maniacs to deal with," Sami grumbled. John said he would let Hope know about Xander, but John did not think Xander was still in town.
"Wherever they are. I'm sure they're creating chaos," Marlena said. After John checked in with Hope and Victor, he reported to Marlena and Sami that he had no leads on where to find Kristen or Xander. Sami lamented that Kristen was her only hope at finding E.J. John warned Sami not to get her hopes up about E.J.
"I am not giving up. My gut is telling me that it is going to be different this time," Sami said. Sami swore she would find E.J. After Sami left the room, John promised Marlena that he would get out of his sham marriage and track down Xander. "That bastard is not going to get away with hurting my girl," John said.
In Nashville, Nicole told Eric that she was not worried about Brady. Xander walked in and announced that he was the problem. "If I didn't know any better, I would say you're not happy to see me," Xander teased Eric. With a grin, Xander asked Eric for a hug. Eric shoved Xander to the ground and placed him in a chokehold. Xander said he was not keeping Nicole captive. Nicole explained that Xander knew that she had murdered Deimos.
"Before I left Salem last summer, I had a quick gander in my uncle's safe," Xander explained. Xander informed Eric that he had the recording of Nicole's confession. Eric asked Xander what he wanted. "Her lovely hand in marriage," Xander said. Annoyed, Eric told Xander that Nicole would never agree to marry him. Xander lifted Nicole's hand in his, flashing the rings at Eric's face.
"She already did," Xander said with a grin. Nicole explained that she had been willing to go to prison, but she had wanted to protect Holly more. "Nicole has refused to consummate our marriage," Xander noted. Xander added that he would not force his wife to have sex until she was ready.
"I knew that as long as you were walking the earth, I would never have a chance," Xander said. Xander explained he had planned to remove Eric from the picture but had accidentally shot Marlena instead. Eric's mouth dropped open in shock. "It was the only surefire way to stop you pining for him," Xander said to Nicole. When Eric complained that Sami had been blamed for the shooting, Xander said Sami would feel better knowing the truth.
"If there is one thing I hate, it is keeping secrets from my wife," Xander said as he fished a gun out of the cabinet. Eric told Xander he would go to prison. Xander said he was ready to finish the job as he leveled the gun at Eric. Nicole ordered Xander to lower the gun. Nicole explained that she would never forgive Xander if he killed Eric.
"If Eric dies, then any hope of our having a relationship dies with it," Nicole said. Nicole explained to Xander that she was open to renegotiating the terms of their marriage. Xander worried aloud that Eric would talk to the police. With a shake of her head, Nicole said she would back Xander to the police because Eric had no proof.
"Just let him go," Nicole pleaded. Xander lowered the gun. "Go," Xander said. Eric refused to leave without Nicole, but Nicole ordered Eric to leave. Reluctantly, Eric walked out of the apartment. "If you ever hurt Eric in any way, I promise I will kill you myself," Nicole growled at Xander. In the hallway, Eric whispered to himself, "I will get you and Holly out of here if it is the last thing I ever do."
While lurking outside Sarah's apartment in Nashville, Eric contacted Roman and vaguely revealed that Sami wasn't responsible for Marlena's shooting. "Oh, good -- you saw the news report. Not only is Sami in the clear, but they got an APB out on the real shooter -- Xander Cook Kiriakis," Roman replied.
Roman explained, when asked, that John had identified Xander as the shooter after reviewing surveillance footage of the crime. "The only thing that's got me stumped is why [Xander] would want to shoot Marlena," Roman added. "Maybe he was aiming for somebody else," Eric helpfully suggested. The theory intrigued Roman, who seemed eager to run with it. Managing a quick chuckle despite a foul mood, Eric mused that it hadn't taken much to reawaken Roman's investigative side. Roman conceded that it was in the blood.
"[Anyway, I gotta take care of a delivery, but] listen -- fight for your happiness, okay? And if that is Nicole, don't let anything or anybody get in the way," Roman advised. "That's the plan," Eric replied before ending the call.
Meanwhile, inside the apartment, Xander showered then emerged from the bathroom, wearing only a pair of jeans, and watched as Nicole sulked on the couch. "Penny for your thoughts?" he eventually began as a way to announce his presence. "Could hear you sighing all the way in the bedroom. [Still pining for] your first true love -- who just happened to drive drunk and kill one of your many ex-lovers?" he teasingly continued. "Go to hell," she spat.
"I'm sure that's exactly where Eric is right now," Xander cheerfully countered. "[And] if you think that [he] is gonna swoop in here and save you, you're sadly mistaken, 'cause the only way you're ever going to get out of this marriage is if you're dragged off to prison for murder," Xander added while reaching out to caress Nicole's cheeks, as if the words that were being exchanged were merely sweet nothings.
"Don't," Nicole sternly warned, stopping Xander's hands in midair. "You could at least try to make an effort," Xander grumbled. "You're blackmailing me with prison, [and] you threatened to kill Eric. You can't expect me to do anything other than hate you," Nicole insisted. "Oh, but I do enjoy a challenge..." Xander replied with a grin.
"You know, the only reason I didn't shoot Eric [earlier] is because of what you said [about] Holly [being] asleep in the next room. I couldn't do that to her. [I've actually] grown quite fond of the wee girl. I've known her since Greece -- fed her, rocked her to sleep..." Xander added. "Because you had me locked in a cage!" Nicole pointed out. "That was your fault," Xander matter-of-factly countered, shrugging unapologetically. "[Anyway], all I'm trying to say is, as father figures go, I could be right up there," Xander continued with an air of pride.
"And you know I'll be a good husband to you. The only question is...when are you going to start being a good wife to me?" Xander concluded while again reaching out to caress Nicole's cheeks. She began caressing his bare chest in response and pretended to lean in for a kiss. "When hell freezes over," she seductively replied before shoving him away in disgust.
"I'd settle for Misty Circle. Always been a big fan," Xander grumbled while donning a shirt. "Go to hell," Nicole spat again.
"What is the big deal? I mean, you've slept with...how many Kiriakis men? Daniel, Deimos, Brady, Victor... Am I leaving anyone out?" Xander argued. "This is how you charm a woman into your bed?" Nicole asked incredulously. Ignoring Nicole's point, Xander forged ahead. "I'm in much better shape... I'm not a drunk, or ancient, or dead... Come on! I just want to know what all the fuss is about! You put out for all of them; why not for your husband?" Xander wondered. "Sorry, honey -- I have a headache," Nicole replied with a shrug.
"Pity," Xander conceded with a sigh before starting to exit the apartment. "I suggest that you find yourself in the mood sooner as opposed to later...or Hope Brady is going to hear your confession. [Maybe] do yourself a favor [and] find a bottle of aspirin," Xander advised, giving Nicole a wink. She shut the apartment door behind him and locked it with the security chain then breathed a sigh of relief.
As soon as the coast was clear, Eric approached the apartment and knocked on the door. Nicole opened it, leaving the security chain in place, and peered through the crack.
"You can't be here. [Xander] will kill you," Nicole warned. "He's not here. [Look], just tell me when he'll be back," Eric countered. "I don't know. He went to 'work'...wherever that is," Nicole reported. "Okay, then let me in," Eric requested. "No. I already have Deimos' blood on my hands; I don't need yours, too. Just...forget you ever knew me," Nicole replied before starting to shut the door.
"We beat Xander before, [and] we can do it again. We won't let him win," Eric argued, holding the door open. "He already has," Nicole sadly countered. Eric insisted that wasn't true, but Nicole couldn't think of any way to neutralize Xander. "I have some ideas, but we can't make a plan until you let me in," Eric reasoned. Sighing, Nicole reluctantly unlocked the door then locked it again once Eric was inside the apartment.
"I don't know why I'm doing this. [I mean], this is an impossible situation!" Nicole maintained. "We escaped a Greek island [together]. Nothing is impossible [for us]," Eric countered. Nicole wondered why Eric was feeling so optimistic about the matter. "Well, for one thing, there's an APB out on Xander for shooting my mother," Eric revealed. "But that's horrible! If they arrest him for Marlena's shooting, then he'll give me up to the police!" Nicole fretted. "He won't [be able to] if we find [the recording] and destroy it," Eric pointed out. "I've [already] looked everywhere. It's not here, [and] I have no idea where Xander's hidden it," Nicole replied.
Eric sighed in response to the setback. "I heard that creep [through the door] earlier. He thinks he can sleep with you [because you're married, but] there's no way in hell I'm gonna let that happen," Eric protectively assured Nicole. "Trust me -- I'll kill him before I let him put his hands on me," Nicole vowed. After a moment of thought, Nicole added, "Maybe that's the only way out of this -- for Xander to die."
Meanwhile, Xander -- holed up in what appeared to be an abandoned morgue -- unlocked a drawer and removed a recording device from it. "Long as I have this little gem, Nicole, you can never leave me -- Eric or no Eric," Xander mused with a wicked grin while playing the recording of Nicole's confession.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan daydreamed about Gabby once again. Eve soon arrived for a meeting about Basic Black. "You're late. [As is] Brady. Where the hell is he?" Stefan angrily demanded to know. "I have no idea," Eve admitted. "Aren't the two of you...?" Stefan began to ask, confused. "Doesn't mean I keep tabs on his every move," Eve vaguely replied. "Well, call him!" Stefan impatiently ordered Eve.
"Why don't we resolve [whatever you're all worked up about], and I will fill Brady in on it later?" Eve evasively suggested. "Okay, fine," Stefan agreed, shoving a document in Eve's face. "The numbers you gave me when I bought Basic Black are inflated, and your recent performance is lackluster, to say the least, which has pushed DiMera's stock into a freefall, and the board wants answers," Stefan explained. "Well, there must be some kind of mistake here..." Eve began while reviewing the document. "Yes -- mine, apparently, for going into business with you!" Stefan countered.
"[Those numbers] don't add up, [so] it looks like fraud!" Stefan continued. "Well, it's not fraud, all right?" Eve defensively insisted. "[Look], when I inherited this company from Deimos, [it] was struggling, and Brady and I were [just] beginning to turn it around, [so] the numbers that we gave you [were] just projections," Eve explained. "Those 'projections' are wishful thinking, and that doesn't satisfy the board!" Stefan countered. "Well, if DiMera's tanking, maybe the board should look at the man on the top," Eve suggested with a shrug. "Oh, the guy at the top will turn DiMera around," Stefan vowed.
"But that guy needs answers [in order to do that], so I suggest that you locate your boyfriend -- now!" Stefan impatiently added. Sighing, Eve reluctantly dialed Brady's cell phone number.
At that exact moment, Kristen was in the process of trying to determine if Brady was truly ready to leave the past behind. Brady ignored Eve's call as a way of answering Kristen's question. "Bitch cost me my son. I'm over it -- done with her," Brady muttered. "Good answer," Kristen raved, satisfied. Meanwhile, Eve recorded a voicemail message for Brady, aware that Stefan was listening: "Give me a call when you get this, Brady, 'cause it's important, okay? And, uh...I love you. Bye." After ending the call, Eve started to remind Stefan that Brady was dealing with multiple family crises at that time. Stefan guessed that there was more to the story.
Sighing, Eve reluctantly admitted, "Brady and I had a huge fight, [and] he packed up his stuff [and] walked out on me, so I don't know where he is." Realizing that Eve was serious, Stefan suggested, "Maybe he's with Kristen." Scoffing, Eve dismissively insisted that Brady hated Kristen. "Well, you know what they say about love and hate, don't you? [Plus, there's] all that, uh, passion and history there, of course...from what I understand," Stefan argued. Eve maintained that Kristen had hurt Brady one too many times and would never be able to repair the damage. "[But he's also] hurting right now from the breakup and all, [so] what if my sister's there to pick up the pieces?" Stefan countered. "Are we here to talk about my love life or do business?" Eve asked, getting annoyed. "Fair enough," Stefan conceded, turning back to the troubling document.
"The valuation you gave me [months ago] was based on [findings] that looked sound at the time, but I need fresh numbers. Do you have a current market value?" Stefan asked. "Well, Brady oversees that..." Eve hesitantly began to explain. Sighing, Stefan wondered, "What about transaction comps from [that recent deal you two made]? Weighted averages? Do you have any of those?" Eve admitted that Brady had been handling all of that, too. "I deal with the creative aspect -- the marketing, the product development..." Eve started to add. Furious, Stefan interrupted and summarized, "So, basically, what you're telling me is [that] you don't have anything!" Eve asked for a couple days to find the answers to all of Stefan's questions. "I don't have a couple days! The shares are plummeting!" Stefan shouted.
"Okay, you know what -- I take full responsibility for this," Eve began with sincere regret. "I have made a lot of mistakes lately, and I thought I was doing what was -- what I thought was -- best, but I messed up! I messed everything up!" Eve continued. Softening slightly, Stefan replied, "I get it. Getting your heart broken is never easy. That said... Find. Brady. [And] in the meantime, I'll try and stall the board until I can figure out how to reverse this." Nodding, Eve thanked Stefan for understanding then slinked out of the mansion after promising to find a way to fix everything.
Meanwhile, Kristen spontaneously suggested to Brady, "What if I had a way to, uh...make up for all the questionable things I've done to you [in the past]? Let me help you take back your son! [I mean], Theresa stole that little boy from you, and...you know, we should go out there and steal him back! We'll fly out to California, and...you know, we'll just whisk him away in the middle of the night..." Brady rejected Kristen's proposal, insisting that it wouldn't be right to snatch Tate away from Theresa. Kristen was quick to point out that Theresa hadn't had any qualms about snatching Tate away from Brady, but Brady remained unwilling to do anything that could hurt Tate. "When I hear you say that, it makes me love you even more...[but] will you do me a favor [and] promise to think about it?" Kristen asked seductively. "All right, I'll think about it," Brady agreed.
Satisfied, Kristen gave Brady a kiss then started heading toward the bathroom. "Where you going?" Brady asked while trying to pull Kristen back into bed. "I'm gonna take a shower and get dressed, [because] I have a few things I need to take care of," Kristen vaguely explained. Brady tried to probe for more details, but Kristen was only willing to elaborate, "[It's] just some unfinished business. You can't start a whole new life without, you know, wrapping up some of the details in the old one. [Look], I will tell you everything eventually, [but] I need you to trust me." Kristen gave Brady another kiss then stepped into the bathroom.
Once the coast was clear, Brady contacted John, who happily reported, when asked, that Marlena and Paul were both getting stronger with each passing day. "You okay, son? Where are you?" John asked curiously. "I'm just out of town for a couple days," Brady vaguely explained as Kristen began eavesdropping from the bathroom doorway. "Eve with you?" John wondered. "No. We had a falling-out, and...I just need some time alone," Brady replied. "Understood," John said before changing the subject, informing Brady that Xander was the person who had truly shot Marlena at the wedding. "We got an APB out, [and] we're hoping for an arrest soon," John added as Brady absorbed the unexpected news. "[Anyway], I gotta run. I gotta check in on Hat...excuse me, Marlena," John continued, faking a cough to cover the mistake. "Don't stay away too long," John urged Brady.
After ending the call, Brady realized that Kristen was back. "Fastest shower in the history of the world," he noted. "Water in this lame hotel takes forever to heat up," she explained before giving him yet another kiss -- one that was much more passionate than the others had been. "What was that for?" he asked after she pulled away. "You could have ratted me out to your father, [but] you didn't...which means I can trust you," she happily declared before playfully pulling him into the bathroom with her. After they showered and dressed, he tried to convince her to let him tag along as she dealt with her unfinished business. She insisted he would be bored.
Brady didn't bother to press the issue, secretly deciding to instead tail Kristen and find out exactly what was going on.
At the hospital, Hope called out to John, who was about to enter Hattie's room. "I hear from Abe that congratulations are in order -- [you and Marlena are] finally husband and wife again, officially? [I'm] so happy for you two! You must be thrilled!" Hope began. "Over the moon..." John replied, forcing a smile. Hope started to rush off to present Marlena with a bouquet of flowers, but John insisted it wasn't a good time. "Did she have a relapse?" Hope asked worriedly. John assured Hope that wasn't the issue. "It's just that they, um...they just, uh...they just took her downstairs [to run another] battery of tests," John claimed. Hope was disappointed but understood.
"Marlena must be very...relieved...to know that it wasn't Sami who shot her," Hope hesitantly began to add. "You bet she is. Hell, we all are," John confirmed. "Yeah... You know, everything pointed to Sami... John, I'm sorry to say [this], but...between that and what happened with her and Rafe, I just... It may...it may have clouded my judgment," Hope awkwardly admitted. John told Hope not to worry about it. "Sami's always been kind of a wild card. Hell, if I had to admit it, [I was kind of prepared] for her to shoot me when Kristen dangled the idea that E.J. might be alive," John continued with a chuckle.
After Hope left, John entered Hattie's room -- and discovered that Hattie was gone. "Damn it, Hattie -- where the hell are you?" John muttered. Meanwhile, at the Brady Pub, Roman looked up from the bar and saw a woman approaching, wearing a jacket in a poor attempt to hide a hospital gown. Roman sighed and quietly guessed, "Hattie?"
Sami went to the police station to try to convince Rafe to find a way to drag Stefan in for questioning. "That's not the way I work," Rafe insisted. "Since when?" Sami countered. "Watch it," Rafe warned with a hint of amusement. Undeterred, Sami reasoned, "[Look], cops arrest innocent people all the time -- I would know -- [but] Stefan DiMera's definitely guilty of something, [so just] catch him [in the act of] littering, or jaywalking, or...I don't know -- who cares? The point is, you get him in here, [and] you sit him down, [and] you ask him some real questions [about Kristen and E.J.] -- with the weight of the badge behind you!"
"I want to help you, [but it] has to be legal," Rafe maintained. Rafe wanted Sami to do things legally, too, because ending up back in jail wouldn't be good for the kids. "You're right, [but] I'm running out of time, [and] I just need --" Sami began to protest -- just as Hope arrived. Sami braced for another showdown, and Rafe preemptively tried to keep things civil, but Hope simply said, "I'm sorry."
"You were innocent, [and] I let my feelings get in the way and made it personal, and...sincerely, I -- I apologize. I am truly -- I am so sorry, Sami," Hope continued. Changing the subject, Hope assured Sami that catching Kristen and Xander would be a top priority. Stunned, Sami thanked Hope then rushed off. Rafe was impressed, but Hope dismissed the praise, explaining with a shrug, "I was wrong. I can admit when I'm wrong."
"I'm surprised that you didn't tell [Sami] to butt out of the investigation," Rafe admitted. "Why bother? We both know she won't," Hope reasoned, shrugging again.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan wrapped up a phone conversation with an angry Shin, promising the man, "Until Basic Black starts to perform -- and I have all the confidence that it will -- I will find the funds to cover our losses." After ending the call, Stefan pounded both fists against a desk and released a cry of frustration.
"Someone having financial problems?" Sami asked curiously, joining Stefan in the living room.
Roman quietly demanded to know why Hattie was at the Brady Pub. "I came to see you, good-lookin'!" she explained. "Whatcha got cookin'?" she added with a laugh.
Unamused, Roman insisted that Hattie shouldn't have left the hospital. "I kinda thought you might be glad to see me..." she admitted, hurt. "Why in the hell would I be 'glad' to see you? And what if somebody else sees you? You're supposed to be Marlena, for God's sake!" he countered, still whispering. "I know that! [And] if somebody sees me, I -- I -- I can be Marlena! Just watch me!" she assured him. She cleared her throat then haughtily continued, "Enchanted to meet you, Mister Whatever-Your-Name-Is, and, uh, if you're ever in need of a psychiatrist, uh, well, I'd be your gal --"
Interrupting, Roman tiredly reminded Hattie that Marlena had recently emerged from a coma and wouldn't be hanging out and making small talk in a pub, of all places. "Why not? She's just -- she's just too -- too 'good' [and] too 'fancy' for a pub? [What], does she need a restaurant -- some fancy-schmancy restaurant -- [to hang out and make small talk in]?" Hattie countered. Fed up, Roman started dragging Hattie out of the pub. Hattie resisted, grabbing the doorframe while protesting that there was surely time for a burger. "Keep. Moving," Roman ordered Hattie, aware that customers were watching.
Meanwhile, at the hospital, Kayla examined Marlena then happily reported that everything looked good. Marlena acknowledged that Kayla, John, and Roman each deserved credit for that. "And let's not forget about Hattie Adams," Kayla added with a forced smile. "Yeah. I hope that...woman...doesn't put your future at risk," Marlena mused. "I'm hoping for that, too, [but] we all know -- far too well -- that Hattie is unpredictable," Kayla replied.
As if on cue, John entered Marlena's room and announced that Hattie was missing. "She's not in her room, [and her] coat [and] boots are gone. She's out and about somewhere," John continued as a cell phone chimed. "It's Roman," John explained while reading a text message. "Hattie went to the pub," John continued. "Of course she did," Kayla muttered with a shake of the head.
By the time John got back to Hattie's room, Hattie was back in bed -- and flirtatiously noting that there was enough room for Roman, as well. "Damn it all, Hattie! How the hell did you get out of this hospital without anybody seeing you?" John demanded to know. "I have my ways," Hattie vaguely replied. "Yeah, well, I have my ways, too -- of sending you right back to prison!" John warned. "Oh, my goodness -- I think [John and I] need a little marriage counseling [already]," Hattie whispered to Roman, who, like John, wasn't amused. "You're sexy when you're angry!" Hattie called out as Roman headed off to find Kayla.
"Oh," Hattie added, noticing John's glare. "Sorry if you're feeling a little bit jealous of my relationship with Roman, [but] I do have such a big crush on him..." Hattie explained with a shrug and a giggle.
"Just sit here in your bed, [and] eat your damn Jell-O, and keep your big mouth shut!" John angrily ordered Hattie. "You better not forget who's got the leverage here!" she defensively countered. "You don't have as much leverage as you think you have, [because if you mess this up], you'll be dragged back to prison so damn fast it'll make your head spin!" he pointed out. She turned away from him in a huff and took refuge under a blanket.
Meanwhile, Roman found Kayla at the nurses' station. "Can you believe that crazy woman came to the pub?" Roman asked with a shake of the head. "Of course, I can believe it. She's crazy about you...and [our family's recipes for] burgers and fries, apparently," Kayla replied. Roman and Kayla both hoped that Hattie wouldn't be a problem much longer.
Changing the subject, Roman praised Kayla for being so eager to help Marlena during what was an incredibly tough time for the Johnson family. "I feel better now that I've talked to Steve," Kayla admitted. "And, like you, I'm -- I'm gonna be optimistic that Shane will clear [Steve's] name," Kayla added. "It'll happen, Kay -- soon," Roman confidently predicted.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan threatened to call the police and again report that Sami was in violation of the terms of a bail agreement. She cheerfully informed him that she was no longer bound to the terms of a bail agreement because she had been cleared of all charges. "And I am not leaving here until you help me find my husband," she added.
"So, who is this, uh...'Xander Kiriakis'?" Stefan asked curiously after Sami revealed who was truly responsible for Marlena's shooting. "He's Victor's nephew...but he doesn't work for the family business. I think he's essentially a mercenary who's willing to shoot his own mother for money," Sami explained. "Or, in this case, uh...your mother," Stefan replied.
Sami guessed, when asked, that Kristen had hired Xander to kill Marlena. "[And yet] you nearly did the job for free! Kristen could have saved herself a whole lot of money!" Stefan noted, amused. "But she's not the one with money problems," Sami pointedly countered. Stefan claimed to be doing just fine, but Sami still had sources within DiMera Enterprises and therefore knew that the company was actually drowning in debt. "So, here's my offer -- you tell me everything that you know about what Kristen did to E.J., and in exchange, I'll give you the cold, hard cash that you need," Sami promised.
Stefan was quick to point out that Sami was offering stolen money that rightfully belonged to the DiMeras. "Possession is nine-tenths of the law," Sami countered, shrugging unapologetically. Sami added that Stefan had stolen an entire company that rightfully belonged to Chad. "Look, this is your chance to prove yourself [to the board]. I need to know if what Kristen said at that wedding is true. I need to find out if E.J. is really alive. And I'm willing to pay dearly for any information you have on what Kristen did to E.J.," Sami reiterated. "How dearly?" Stefan asked, unable to feign disinterest any longer.
"500 million dollars is what I had before I shared half of it with my baby sister, Belle. [So, 250 million dollars is what I have left, and] I will give you half...but you have to tell me what Kristen did to E.J.," Sami told Stefan. Stunned, he grudgingly admitted that it was practically impossible to turn down an offer like that. "63 million dollars will be wire-transferred to your account right now...and then you tell me everything you know, and afterwards, you'll get the other 62," she continued without even the slightest flinch. Nodding, he wrote down the necessary account information and handed it to her, still doubting the sincerity of her offer.
The money was soon in Stefan's account. Pleasantly surprised, he revealed, "Kristen told me that everything she said at the wedding was true. [Apparently], the day E.J. was, uh...was shot, Stefano sent Kristen to the hospital to inject [E.J.] with some sort of a drug, [and] according to Kristen, she got E.J. out of the hospital [afterward] without anyone noticing. [And] Stefano wanted you to believe that [E.J.] was really dead, [so you were sent some random pile of ashes]. And while you were grieving the loss of your husband, Kristen was delivering him to Stefano, [and he's been]...'recovering'...in a private facility...[since then]."
Elated, Sami eagerly asked Stefan for the address. "Wire the rest of the money into my account, and I'll tell you exactly where he is," Stefan replied. "Wait a second -- that is not our deal," Sami protested. "Yeah, well, you know...deals evolve, and this is what's on the table now. Take it or leave it," Stefan challenged Sami.
"You son of a bitch! I should've known that I couldn't trust you!" Sami spat. "Let's be honest, Sami -- can either one of us really trust the other?" Stefan countered. Sami vowed to find E.J. -- with or without Stefan's help -- and warned, "If it's without, I can tell you right now that I will make sure he knows how his half-brother treated me, and he will destroy you." After giving the matter another second of thought, Sami added, "[Actually, I bet] you don't want me to find E.J., [because] you're afraid of what will happen if I do. [And] you have a very good reason to be afraid, because he is twice the man that you are, [and] you're worried that he'd try to take the company from you, and you're already having to deal with Chad." Stefan tiredly insisted that Sami was wrong.
"Then prove it," Sami challenged Stefan. "Look, Stefan, I don't know you very well, so I can't expect you to understand, and maybe you've never had this experience of meeting someone who sees you for who you really are -- all your faults -- and they love you anyway...or maybe they love you because of them. But that's what I have with E.J. He is everything to me, and he is everything to our kids, and when we lost him, our whole world fell apart. I have spent three years searching for him, and if you have any decency, please...please tell me where to find him," Sami passionately added.
Sami's speech seemed to have an effect on Stefan. However, Stefan made eye contact with Sami and insisted, "I don't know where [E.J.] is. I would tell you if I did."
Fighting back tears, Sami gave Stefan a nod then started to leave the mansion in defeat. "Wait," Stefan called out, sighing. "I may have something that can help you. Maybe," Stefan continued while opening a desk drawer. "When Kristen left, uh...Harold found this scratch piece of paper with an address on it. I don't know if it's connected..." Stefan explained. "But it might be!" Sami concluded, perking up at once.
Sami took the sheet of paper from Stefan then started to rush off. "Hold on! I did what I promised -- I told you everything I know about E.J. -- [so] now you need to wire the rest of that money into my account!" Stefan protested. "Tell you what -- after I find E.J. [and see that] he's alive and well, then I will give you the rest of your money," Sami sweetly replied. "No, no, no -- that wasn't the deal!" Stefan pointed out. "Deals evolve. This is the one on the table now. Take it or leave it," Sami countered. Grinning mischievously, Sami surprised Stefan with a quick kiss on the lips then sprinted out of the mansion.
At Sarah's apartment in Nashville, Eric insisted that Nicole couldn't kill Xander. "Why? I killed Deimos [to protect] my future with Holly, and it would be the same exact thing if I killed Xander...only this time, that future would include you," Nicole reasoned. "You wouldn't have stabbed Deimos if you hadn't been drugged. You are not a killer," Eric countered. Sighing, Nicole conceded that Eric was right -- and that having to live with the guilt of one person's death was bad enough. "Then why would you bring up the idea of killing Xander?" Eric wondered. "Because I'm desperate, Eric!" Nicole explained.
"Killing [Xander is] not the answer," Eric maintained. "Then what is?" Nicole asked. "I don't know yet," Eric admitted, shrugging.
Just then, Holly woke up and began crying. Nicole stepped into a bedroom and soon returned with Holly, whom Eric was delighted to see again.
Later, after Holly went back to sleep, Nicole spontaneously begged Eric, "Keep Holly safe [from Xander]. Take her with you. [I mean], it's the only way [she can have a normal childhood]. I don't want her to grow up a prisoner. [You know] I spent almost my whole childhood in fear of my father, [and] I don't want that for her. I want better for my little girl -- I want [her] to have a normal life and a great family -- and she's never gonna have that if she's trapped here with me. [So], please, Eric...will you take my daughter and raise her as your own? Please?" Eric refused, insisting that Nicole and Holly needed each other.
After calming down, Nicole conceded that Eric was right -- and that saying goodbye to Holly for good would have been impossible. Eric promised to find a way to get both Holly and Nicole away from Xander. "First, we need to find that recording, [so] tell me -- where does Xander go when he leaves this apartment?" Eric asked curiously. "Well, he leaves every morning for a few hours...[and] supposedly, he goes to work, like I told you [earlier]," Nicole explained. "[Then] starting tomorrow, I'm gonna follow [him] and see where he goes. Maybe wherever he spends his day [is] where the recording is," Eric guessed.
Meanwhile, Brady tailed Kristen, who eventually arrived at the back entrance of a building at the end of an alley. She quickly punched a code into a keypad to unlock the door then ducked inside.
"Shut that thing off! It's creepy to watch you gloat over it!" Kristen complained seconds later. "Oh -- hey, boss. I was wondering when you'd show up," Xander replied while Kristen finished descending the stairs that led to the building's morgue-like basement lair. "Yeah, well, I have been...busy," Kristen vaguely explained as Xander turned off the recording of Nicole's confession.
"Hope you haven't gotten distracted from your duties because of that, uh...wife of yours," Kristen continued. "Don't worry -- I've got my priorities straight. [After all], I can't keep Nicole and Holly in the good life without your generous paychecks," Xander replied. Nodding, Kristen teasingly guessed that Xander hadn't managed to make the marriage "real" yet.
"Well, I was starting to make a dent, but things just got a little...complicated," Xander grumbled. "'Complicated' how?" Kristen worriedly wondered. "We had an unexpected visitor -- [and it was] none other than your old sex-tape partner," Xander elaborated. "Already? [I mean], I knew he would go searching for Nicole after he found out that Brady blackmailed her, but...how the hell did he find her so quickly?" Kristen asked, surprised.
Shrugging, Xander assured Kristen that, in any case, it wasn't going to be an issue. "I made it clear [to Eric] that if he causes trouble, I'll use Nicole's taped confession to send her to prison...[and] I added another threat, [just in case he decides to call my bluff -- that I'd also] finish what I started at John and Marlena's wedding," Xander continued. Suddenly even more surprised, Kristen asked, "Are you saying that you shot Marlena?"
Meanwhile, Brady tried various passwords -- BRADY, DIMERA, STEFANO, PHOENIX -- but the keypad rejected each one with an angry beep and a red light.
"You really had no idea?" Xander asked Kristen. "Of course not!" Kristen replied.
"What the hell were you doing in Salem?" Kristen demanded to know. "Well, you told me you were gonna crash the wedding, [and] I knew that was gonna be total chaos, [so] it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take out Eric. [See, I could tell] that Nicole was never going to really, fully commit to our marriage as long as [Eric was alive]. She just...needed a little nudge," Xander explained with a shrug.
"Oh, so murder is 'a little nudge,'" Kristen incredulously repeated. "You're not above it, either, boss," Xander pointed out. "Well, at least I don't shoot the wrong person!" Kristen countered. "It's not my fault Marlena jumped in front of a bullet!" Xander defensively insisted. "[Although] it was handy for [Sami] to be there to take the fall..." Xander added with a grin.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Kristen angrily demanded to know. "I left you here to take care of things! Do you know what could have happened while you were gone?" Kristen continued. "What's all the drama? You should be thanking me! [I mean], I almost took out your worst enemy!" Xander pointed out. "Yeah, well, I didn't ask you to do that, did I? [Look], I'm capable of dealing with my own enemies, thank you very much!" Kristen insisted. "[Your only job is] to look after things here! You could have blown it all if someone discovered this place! Do you understand what's at stake here?" Kristen added, livid.
Meanwhile, Brady, out of ideas for possible passwords, released a groan of frustration and grumbled, "Screw this!" After a moment of thought, he perked up and added, "[Or] maybe un-screw this..."
"Chill, boss!" Xander told Kristen. "I was in and out of Salem in under an hour, and everything's [still] under control here," Xander continued. Xander flashed a smile, but it failed to charm Kristen, who remained upset. "I need to know that you're loyal to me -- and not distracted by Nicole," Kristen stressed, eyeing Xander suspiciously. "I am loyal to you!" Xander assured Kristen without hesitation. "You gave me a job when my whole family turned their back on me! I thought Victor would be grateful when I saved Theresa from that drug lord in Mexico, but no -- he threw me out on my ass...again," Xander grumbled.
"Yeah, when I heard about that, I had a feeling that you would be happy to work for one of your uncle's rivals," Kristen replied. "And have I not delivered? I kept your project safe, [and] even Nicole has no idea what I'm doing here," Xander pointed out. "You've accomplished what I've asked you [to]," Kristen conceded. "But we can't get sloppy. Our work here is not done, and until it is, we have to protect this project with our lives," Kristen added.
Softening a bit, Kristen answered a few of Xander's questions about the chaos that had ensued after Marlena's shooting. Xander was surprised to learn that Brady was also in Nashville, having left Eve for Kristen. "He hasn't gotten over me," Kristen explained with a shrug. "He told you that? [And] you don't think maybe he was lying?" Xander asked incredulously. "I am not naive!" Kristen defensively insisted. "I overheard him talking with his father, and he could have turned me in, but he didn't. He loves me, and I can trust him," Kristen proudly added.
Meanwhile, Brady used a knife to remove the screws that were holding the keypad's front panel in place. "Oh, man, that's a lot of wires..." he observed with a groan, staring at what had been hidden behind the front panel. "What the hell?" he reasoned while reaching for a random wire.
"I'd like to see the patient. Will you bring him in, please?" Kristen asked Xander. "You're the boss," Xander replied while returning the recording device to its hiding place. "For now..." Xander quietly added.
As Xander headed off to another part of the seemingly expansive building, Kristen dialed Brady's cell phone number and left a cheerful voicemail message. Outside, Brady lay unconscious on the ground, having been electrocuted while messing with the keypad's circuitry.
Xander eventually arrived at a door and unlocked it. A sign on the door read: "E.D."
In Nicole's apartment in Nashville, Eric assured Nicole that he would free her from Xander. Nicole worried aloud that they would not be able to locate the recording of her confession. Eric detailed his plan to tail Xander the next time he left the apartment and follow him to work. Eric kissed Nicole. The lovers sat on the couch and cuddled up. Nicole talked about the cabin and lamented that they had not been able to start their lives together then.
"Before today, all we had was that one night to hold onto," Nicole said. "Now that I have you, I'm not letting go," Eric said. Nicole worried aloud about Xander's return home, but Eric reminded Nicole that Xander was a coward. "Nothing can break us apart. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives together," Eric stressed. Nicole was reluctant to agree. To convince Nicole, Eric kissed her passionately, and they made love.
Afterward, Nicole talked about life after she had left town with Holly. "It got really lonely," Nicole admitted. Nicole said she had continued to hope that Eric would find her but had given up after Xander had reentered her life. "I hate that you thought that I didn't love you anymore. The last thing that I wanted was to leave you. That you didn't know that you had my heart. Always," Nicole whispered.
"Even though I don't want to let you go and I just want to stay here with you all day and night...you have to leave," Nicole said. Eric refused. Nicole begged Eric to leave so that Xander would not catch them together before they could recover the confession. Eric worried aloud that Xander would find a way to get Nicole to sleep with him. With a shake of her head, Nicole said that Xander only wanted her because he knew he could not have her. Eric agreed to leave, but he promised he would stay close by in case Nicole needed him.
"This really is the beginning of our new life together," Eric said. Someone knocked on the door. Nicole said she hoped the person at the door was diaper delivery, but she urged Eric to hide in case it was Xander. Nicole opened the door and was maced in the face. It was Sami. Surprised by who was the victim, Sami grimaced over her mistake.
At Doug's Place, Lucas and Chloe cooed over baby Bonnie. Lucas confessed that he was overjoyed by baby Bonnie because it helped him heal from his disappointment over losing custody of Allie. Lucas called Kate and asked her to meet him at Doug's Place because he had news. When Kate arrived at Doug's Place, she was annoyed to see Chloe. Lucas interrupted Kate's rant to introduce Kate to his daughter.
"Baby Bonnie is a hideous name for such a beautiful child," Kate complained. Lucas explained the situation with Bonnie. Kate expressed her belief that the child was a scam, but Chloe informed Kate about the DNA test. Kate was angry that Lucas had not told her about the child sooner. Lucas explained that he had not wanted to deal with Kate's judgment.
"Sometimes really good things come out of really bad mistakes, and this baby is definitely one of them," Lucas said. Kate commented that the baby looked like Philip. With a sigh, Lucas said that Bonnie was on her way to pick up the baby. When Kate asked about the custody arrangement, Lucas said he had not discussed it with Bonnie yet. Kate and Chloe agreed that Lucas needed to push for an agreement with Bonnie.
"Are you going to be thrilled to have Bonnie in your life?" Kate asked Chloe. Chloe said she stood by Lucas and his decision. Kate offered to talk to an attorney for Lucas. With a nod, Chloe offered to take the baby for a walk so that the baby would not be there when Bonnie arrived.
In her hotel room, Mimi yelled at Bonnie for handing over her daughter to Lucas. Bonnie assured Mimi that she would return Mimi's baby. "Lucas Horton is never getting his hands on my daughter again. I already missed out on raising one baby. No way I'm spending another minute without my little girl," Mimi said. Bonnie begged Mimi not to expose her ruse to Lucas. Mimi screamed in frustration. Mimi complained that Chloe was spending time with her daughter.
"I'm putting a stop to this. Now," Mimi said. Bonnie reminded Mimi that Bonnie had taken the fall for David Lockhart's murder on Mimi's behalf. When Bonnie asked about the baby's father, Mimi refused to talk about him. Mimi confirmed that Lucas was not the baby's father but that she was related to Lucas. Mimi added that once the baby was home, Mimi would leave town separately from Bonnie. Mimi suggested that she and Bonnie should head in separate directions so that Lucas would not be able to find the baby.
"Are you saying I'm never going to see my grandbaby again?" Bonnie asked. "That's exactly what I'm saying," Mimi confirmed. "We love each other best from afar," Mimi added. Bonnie nodded in agreement. Mimi asked Bonnie to fetch the baby and meet her in the square. As Bonnie stopped at the door, she thanked Mimi for her help, and she said that she loved Mimi.
At the Horton House, Jennifer called Kayla and asked her for help with Abigail. Kayla offered to secure a referral for Abigail, since Marlena was not available. As Jennifer ended her call, Maggie stopped by for a visit. Maggie asked Jennifer if they could discuss Eric. Maggie told Jennifer she was sorry that her engagement had been called off. Jennifer blamed herself for not telling Eric the truth about Nicole.
"I don't blame you for trying to hold onto the man you love," Maggie said. Maggie confessed that she had lied to Eric about Nicole, too, but she had told him the truth after she had learned what Brady had done to separate Eric and Nicole. Maggie explained to Jennifer that Eric had gone to Nashville to find Nicole. "So, they are together again," Jennifer said softly.
"I couldn't live with the guilt, so I had to tell him this secret I had been keeping," Jennifer said. Jennifer said she had moved on with Eric because she had believed that Eric had been over Nicole, but she had realized that she had known on some level that Eric would always love Nicole. Jennifer added that she did not have time for romance when she needed to concentrate on Abigail's health.
"I keep holding out hope that [Chad and Abigail] will be able to get through this," Maggie said. Maggie asked Jennifer if she had talked to Lucas. Jennifer shook her head no. Maggie filled Jennifer in about baby Bonnie. Jennifer was shocked by the news. "He is determined to be a part of his daughter's life," Maggie said. Jennifer vowed to help her brother with his new baby. With a smile, Jennifer thanked Maggie for her counsel.
When Bonnie arrived at Doug's Place, she found Lucas without the baby. "I changed my mind," Lucas said. "I'm the mother. I have rights!" Bonnie barked. "Not for long," Lucas retorted. In the park, Chloe fussed over baby Bonnie. "Hush, little baby, don't you cry, mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird," Chloe sang. "Except you're not her mama," Mimi growled as she entered the clearing in the park.
In Kristen's secret hideout in Nashville, Xander opened the door to a locked room labeled "E.D." Xander removed a person in a wheelchair and took the person to Kristen. "You look well. Did you miss me?" Kristen asked the man in the wheelchair. "I know you are not able to talk right now, but maybe you are able to understand what I am saying. You've come a long way in the last few years," Kristen said to the figure.
"He's a turnip," Xander complained. Kristen argued that she had not been able to administer the drug to E.J. early enough and that he had sustained some brain damage. When Kristen mentioned Sami's name, the man in the wheelchair twitched his hand. Kristen yelped with excitement at the man's movements. Kristen yelled Sami's name over and over until the man reached out a hand and grabbed Kristen's wrist. Thrilled, Kristen eased the man's hand off of her wrist and celebrated his improvement.
"I guess that's the power of true love," Kristen said. Distracted by her own comment, Kristen wondered aloud why Brady had not called her back. Xander encouraged Kristen to remain wary of Brady. "Have you forgotten who works for whom?" Kristen asked.
Outside the hideout, Brady lay unconscious on the ground after accidentally electrocuting himself on the security panel. Brady stirred awake. Brady saw his phone nearby and listened to a voicemail from Kristen. After listening to the message, Brady grumbled that he would see Kristen soon enough. Brady stared at the keypad. Brady rummaged through the nearby trash until he found a crowbar. With a nod, Brady wedged the crowbar into the door to pry it open. When the door gave, Brady rushed into the facility.
Brady crept down the hallway and saw Kristen and Xander talking in a room in front of a man in a wheelchair. Kristen asked Xander to take their friend back to his room. "I'll see you soon," Kristen whispered. Brady remembered his discussion with Kristen about E.J. and how she had avoided answering his question about whether E.J. was alive. As Xander turned the wheelchair around, Brady watched. Brady accidentally knocked something over in the hallway.
"Who's there?" Kristen called out. Kristen investigated, but she did not see Brady. Brady crept down the hallway and avoided Xander as Xander left the room labeled "E.D." Once the coast was clear, Brady opened the door to the room, and his eyes went wide. "E.J.," Brady whispered.