At Statesville, Clyde approached Ben and Will's shared cell and casually leaned against its barred door. "Well, what do ya know -- my little caged bird [is] all alone, with nobody to protect him..." Clyde tauntingly observed, surprising Will, who had been busy writing in a journal. "[That's right] -- Ben is not here -- [so]...what are you still doing here?" Will tiredly countered after setting the journal aside and jumping down from the top bunk.
"I thought I'd come keep you company [while Ben's] in the visitin' room with his lady," Clyde explained with a shrug. "I don't want your company, so...get lost," Will demanded, but Clyde stayed put, flashing a wicked grin.
"Excuse me -- would you kindly take this creep, uh, back to his cell, please?" Will called out to a passing guard, who started to grant the request. "Now, hold on there, Earl," Clyde protested, stopping the guard. "I take pretty good care of you, don't I? What with all the whiskey and boxes of cigars... So, I figure the least you could do for me is to let me have a little private visit with my friend Will here," Clyde continued. "You can stand there until hell freezes over, but I'm not saying another word to you," Will stressed. "Well, that suits me fine -- you see, I was plannin' on doin' all the talkin', anyway," Clyde countered.
"[Now], if you wouldn't mind, Earl...I would appreciate you unlockin' this door," Clyde continued. "I don't want him in here!" Will nervously objected, but the guard granted Clyde's request, anyway -- then walked away.
"What do you -- what do you want?" Will asked worriedly while trying to dodge Clyde's advances. "Just a little alone time with the 'pretty boy' of Cellblock B," Clyde suggestively replied, backing Will against the frame of the bunk beds. "See, Will, I think you need to be taken down a peg...and I'm just the man to do the honors," Clyde continued as Will gulped.
Meanwhile, Ben and Ciara continued chatting in the visitor's lounge. "I can't believe that you left your family on Thanksgiving to come to this godforsaken place," Ben admitted with a shake of the head. "[Well, unfortunately], this godforsaken place is where you are -- and you're family now, too," Ciara reasoned with a shrug.
Ben and Ciara soon began discussing Mackenzie. "[I'm just glad] that baby's away from my father's guy -- even if [we] didn't get a confession out of Xander [first]," Ben stressed. "[We] almost did," Ciara revealed before discreetly passing something to Ben. "And that's the whole bloody story of what we did," Ben read aloud after carefully opening a charred piece of paper. "I saw Xander burning that [after he and Sarah brought Mickey home from the police station]. I tried to get it out of the fireplace, but that was all that was left. [Anyway, it] has to be [his] confession [that he] and my grandfather [killed] Jordan," Ciara explained.
"If I had just gotten there a little bit sooner, then I would have been able to stop Xander from burning that paper, and then I would have been able to prove that he and my grandfather set you up," Ciara fretted. "Do not blame yourself. [Look], I could have gone along with Clyde's plan, and I didn't -- [and] I don't regret that for a second, [because] I'd rather be in here than let him do something awful to [Mickey]," Ben stressed. "[You think] he would really hurt a defenseless little baby? What kind of soulless monster does something like that?" Ciara asked. "My old man," Ben replied without hesitation, certain that Clyde was capable of anything.
Will, still trapped with Clyde, stiffened against the frame of the bunk beds. "What, uh...what are...what are you gonna do to me?" Will nervously wondered while glaring at Clyde helplessly. "[Well], I'm not gonna violate you, boy -- I don't swing that way, not even in prison," Clyde stressed with a chuckle while soothingly patting Will's right cheek.
"But I am gonna do what one of my men should've done to your husband a couple years ago -- I'm gonna kill you," Clyde continued, suddenly producing a shank and holding it up so Will could get a good look at it. Horrified, Will quickly gripped Clyde's right wrist with both hands in a desperate attempt to keep the shank at bay -- while simultaneously struggling to squirm out from under the weight of Clyde's left arm, which Clyde had slammed against Will's chest seconds earlier and was using to keep Will pinned against the frame of the bunk beds.
"Why -- why do you want to kill me, Clyde? I -- I haven't -- I haven't done anything," Will protested. "'Cept for the dirty deed that got you in here, huh?" Clyde countered with a smirk. "[Actually], I'm more worried about what you might do. [See], one of my guys saw you and Ben this mornin' with your heads together -- and [he] managed to hear [that] you know that I'm behind that kidnapping," Clyde explained as Will continued struggling in vain. "But I didn't -- I didn't say anything! And I won't -- I promise! Clyde, I -- come on, I'm gonna keep my mouth shut! I promise!" Will fearfully assured Clyde while fighting back tears.
"I'm so sorry, Will -- that's just not good enough. [See], you're a loose end, [and] I hate loose ends. [But] don't you worry -- it'll be over soon," Clyde replied before suddenly putting more weight on Will's chest while simultaneously lowering the shank to Will's midsection -- just as Ben burst into the cell, the door of which the guard had closed earlier but had not locked. Ben dragged Clyde away in a chokehold, and a struggle ensued. Meanwhile, Will gasped for breath, clearly shaken but otherwise seemingly unharmed.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Justin impatiently prodded Kayla for a response. "You just announced that you want us to live together, and you expect an answer now?" Kayla asked incredulously. "Okay, maybe that wasn't fair... It's just that we [just] had a really nice Thanksgiving [together, and] when things go normally around here, in my house -- uh, even for a day -- I just...I feel like that's a sign. [Look], we have been friends for years, and we've been together for months now, [and] we're so good together, [so]...I just want us to be together all the time," Justin excitedly replied.
Before Kayla could respond, Abe entered the mansion, armed with Justin and Sonny's respective awards from the earlier road race. "Due to a bureaucratic snafu, no one could find the medals [earlier]," Abe explained to Kayla after Justin accepted both awards. "I will give Sonny his...if he's lucky," Justin joked. "Well, you know, thank you for participating -- I know it wasn't easy this year," Abe stressed. "Yeah... We ran in, uh, Adrienne's memory," Justin confirmed. "You did her proud -- and you almost beat Sonny's time," Abe acknowledged. "Be sure to mention that to him next time you see him," Justin requested, and Abe agreed with a laugh.
"You know, it does my heart good to see the two of you together...and I hope you're happy, 'cause you certainly deserve it," Abe said to Justin and Kayla before exiting the mansion.
"I believe that was an official endorsement from the mayor of Salem. [So]...what do you think about moving in with me? [You know], life is short..." Justin said to Kayla once the coast was clear. "I know, [and] I wish I could...but I don't think it's a good idea. Listen, I feel great about where we're at [right now], and I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings, [but] I just think that if we don't need to rush it, [then we shouldn't...and besides], this is where you lived with Adrienne, and I'm sure her memory's around every single corner -- and it should be, [and] I don't want to intrude on that," Kayla reasoned, and Justin conceded the point.
"Listen, why don't we go back to my place?" Kayla suggested, and Justin agreed -- but when they got there and started watching a football game together, Kayla grew a bit distant, and Justin eventually noticed. "Sorry -- [it's just that] I was just thinking that Steve and I always watched football on Thanksgiving, [so] it's sort of a tradition [for us]...and I just wonder if those memories mean anything to him now," Kayla explained. "Well, they obviously mean something to you, so...let's do something else," Justin suggested. "You don't mind?" Kayla asked. "No -- [we'll just] start a Thanksgiving tradition [that's] all our own," Justin replied.
Later, as the ending credits of an old movie were rolling, Kayla spontaneously invited Justin to move into the townhouse, which was neutral territory that neither Steve nor Adrienne had ever entered. "It'd be a fresh start for both of us," Kayla reasoned, and Justin happily agreed.
At the Evans-Black townhouse, Marlena tried to get John to forget about the mysterious bouquet of flowers that had arrived earlier. "[We] can't be in denial about this -- [we both know that] there is one [other] 'S' that we haven't mentioned," John reluctantly pointed out. "No -- it can't be Stefano!" Marlena insisted. "It can always be Stefano," John countered.
"You didn't see him in that jail cell in Prague, [but] Steve and I [did, and] he was not well --" Marlena began to stress. "[Then] how the hell did he escape from jail?" John wondered. "I don't know -- maybe he paid somebody off [to] carry him out," Marlena guessed. "[And then he just] disappeared?" John asked skeptically. "That's what people do sometimes when they're dead -- they just disappear!" Marlena tiredly replied. "Doc, they didn't call him 'the Phoenix' for nothing!" John argued, and Marlena grudgingly conceded the point.
"[But] why would he ever risk coming back here?" Marlena wondered. "Because his empire is in shambles. Do you think he's gonna sit around and let Gabi Hernandez run the store?" John reasoned. "I don't want to think about any of this --" Marlena began to stress. "Well, you better start, honey -- because if he's alive, he's still obsessed with you, and sending you these damn flowers to rattle your nerves [is] his style," John warned. "[But] it's been so long --" Marlena pointed out. "Yeah -- and popping up just when you let your guard down? That's Stefano," John countered.
"[But] what could he even do to us?" Marlena asked nervously. "I don't know...but I'm sure as hell not gonna wait around to find out. I'm gonna call the ISA first thing in the morning [and] get my team together [so we can be] ready to meet Stefano head to head --" John urgently replied. "I think we're letting our imaginations run away with us --" Marlena tried to protest -- just as someone knocked on the townhouse door.
"Oh, Stefano -- it's been so long! How are you? How nice to see you!" Marlena said while opening the townhouse door as a way of teasing John. "I have been called a lot of dirty names in my time, but never 'Stefano,'" Abe admitted while entering the townhouse, armed with John's award from the road race. After John and Marlena took turns explaining what had prompted the odd greeting, Abe contacted Theo, who reported that Stefano hadn't been in touch lately. "I wish there was some way to confirm whether Stefano is dead or alive," Marlena grumbled. "There just might be..." Abe suddenly realized.
"You really think that Celeste can use her psychic powers to tell us whether or not Stefano has crossed to the other side?" John asked skeptically after Abe elaborated. "Well, we all know she has a gift, so...why not ask her to try?" Abe replied with a shrug, and John conceded the point.
"I would [do just] about anything to know for sure if Stefano is dead or alive," Marlena told John after Abe left. "Me, too...but I think we know, from our own bitter experience, that [even] if he is dead, the Phoenix always rises from the ashes," John fretted.
At the makeshift palace, Gina waited for Stefano's thoughts on the portrait that was finally finished. "I suppose it will have to do," Stefano eventually conceded, eyeing Steve's likeness with obvious disgust.
"I worked very hard on this painting -- and rendered you as you have never been seen before!" Gina defensively protested. "It's not your talent, or the quality of your work; it's that I'm still coming to terms with the fact that I now have Steve Johnson's body -- as well as his face!" Stefano bitterly clarified before turning to the other portrait in the palace -- the one that had hung in the DiMera mansion for decades.
"That face -- that's the face of a man who runs his world...and knows it," Stefano stressed. "You are still that man," Gina insisted.
"Your body betrayed you --" Gina began to elaborate. "I survived the bullets Hope Brady put in me!" Stefano proudly pointed out. "Indeed you did...but there was also the diabetes, and the cancer --" Gina continued. "I don't need to be reminded!" Stefano snapped. "You deserved a body that was worthy of the man that you are inside, [and] Rolf gave you that body," Gina concluded with a shrug.
"[But] did it have to be Steve Johnson's? There must have been alternatives -- men who...who didn't call themselves 'Patch'!" Stefano argued. "You are sounding terribly ungrateful. Johnson's body -- well, it is nothing to complain about..." Gina stressed while groping Stefano. "Even so...the poor man had only one good eye!" Stefano grumbled after squirming away from Gina. "Yes, he did...but Rolf took care of that little issue [when he] put in a perfectly workable synthetic eye," Gina pointed out. "[Look], you are no John Black...but, if I may be so blunt, you could have done much, much worse," Gina maintained.
"I am not just talking about Steve Johnson's face and body; it's the whole package -- [I mean], the man was a thorn in my side for years!" Stefano complained. "[Well], you did brainwash him and keep him from his loved ones for well over a decade..." Gina recalled. "[Listen], Steffy, you must look at this as your ultimate victory over him," Gina advised.
"[After all], you have his face [as well as] his body, [and] you also took away the one thing that meant the world to him -- [you took away] the love of his life. [Remember], just one year ago, he promised her he would be back after he cleaned up the security breach caused by his robotic eye -- [he] was desperate to be free and clear so he could return to his beloved -- but that [was] when you made your move [and] had him imprisoned," Gina continued. "Forced to accept this body as my own, I had to make sure of their separation -- [I had to make her] believe that [he] had abandoned her," Stefano reasoned with a shrug.
"What you did [next] was stunning -- not having Steve show up at his own sister's funeral," Gina raved. "It was good, wasn't it?" Stefano agreed. "[And] sending Kayla the signed divorce papers -- now, that [was] your coup de grace," Gina declared. "She must have been heartbroken to discover that the love of her life had turned his back on her and their children..." Stefano mused. "But she soldiered on -- and began sleeping with her dead sister-in-law's very handsome husband," Gina noted. "She can have him. I care nothing for her," Stefano insisted.
"There is only one woman in the world for me -- my Queen of the Night. [She] is what kept me alive -- I couldn't die without possessing her," Stefano stressed while removing one of the queens from the nearby chess table. "What is it with you men? All that woman ever does is pass out unwarranted judgments! I want that woman out of my life -- that smug, humorless, insufferable woman -- and for good!" Gina complained. "Are you trying to provoke me?" Stefano snapped, scowling at Gina. "Watch how you talk about my queen," Stefano warned, and Gina shrugged in response.
"We both want the same thing...and, this time, we will separate John and Marlena -- permanently," Stefano assured Gina. "[Now], while you've been, uh, pining after John, I came up with a new plan to rip him and Marlena apart...[but] we might have some trouble with the law," Stefano continued. "Well, lucky for [us], I am the commissioner of police -- which is why we decided to put me back in that position in the first place," Gina pointed out. "When Samantha Brady walked away with half of your fortune --" Gina randomly began to add. "Ugh -- another thorn in my side! She won't let me anywhere near Elvis, and he needs me!" Stefano grumbled.
"We are getting off track here," Gina acknowledged, dropping the matter just as randomly. "Tell me about your new plan to separate John and Marlena," Gina excitedly requested. "[All] you need to know for now is that when all is said and done, I will have my queen...and you can have her leftovers," Stefano replied while removing one of the pawns from the chess table. "Gladly," Gina agreed, taking the pawn from Stefano.
Stefano hesitantly walked over to the old portrait, removed it from the wall, and replaced it with the new portrait. "If this is the new me...I'd better get used to seeing myself as I am now," Stefano acknowledged with a sigh, and Gina agreed. "It's good to be back," Stefano admitted to Gina with a wicked grin.
Brady called Nicole at Eric's house to check on her, and she assured him that she was fine. Brady offered to meet with her, but Nicole declined. After Nicole ended the call, Eric returned home. Eric quietly said he was there to collect some items. Eric explained that he was living with his father.
"We have to work this out!" Nicole pleaded. "I don't think that's possible," Eric said. Eric explained that Nicole's lie had cost him the first year of his daughter's life. Nicole begged Eric not to give up on their relationship, but Eric said it was too late. When Nicole explained that she had lied because she had been afraid to lose Eric, he scoffed.
"You lost me," Eric said pointedly. Eric added that Nicole's lack of faith in their relationship had been their downfall. As Nicole sniffled, Eric told her that he knew she was sorry but that it was too late to repair their relationship because Nicole had known how much he had wanted a child.
"All these years that we've just loved each other meant nothing?" Nicole asked. Eric yelled at Nicole not to blame him. "Stay away," Eric growled. As Eric turned to go into his bedroom, Nicole stopped him and gave him back his engagement ring.
In the square, Brady ran into Rafe. Rafe joked about the number of packages that Brady had in his hands, and Brady admitted that he had overcompensated for Tate's Christmas because he had expected to give Tate a little sister. Rafe's smile fell away, and he nodded in understanding. Rafe looked at David in the stroller, and he noted that he did not like how David had entered his life but that he was glad to have David in it.
At the Hernandez house, Sonny stopped by to give Evan a scarf that he had left behind at the Kiriakis mansion. Evan invited Sonny in for pie, and Sonny happily accepted. Over pie, Evan thanked Sonny for the invite to Thanksgiving dinner. Sonny thanked Evan for taking his mind off of Adrienne and Will. With a sad smile, Sonny thought about the previous Thanksgiving and how happy he had been with Will when they had talked about Arianna..
"I don't know what I'd do without Ari," Sonny said to Evan. "You have your family, and your dad seems to have found a nice woman," Evan said. With a nod, Sonny said he was thankful that Justin was happy, but he missed his mother. Sonny asked Evan about his life. Evan said he was thankful for his job and his new friend.
"I feel like I've known you forever," Evan said. "I feel the same way," Sonny admitted. Rafe returned home with David. Evan explained that Sonny was there to drop off Evan's scarf. Evan asked about Rafe's Thanksgiving, and Rafe admitted that David had asked about Evan. "I missed you too, buddy," Evan said.
Evan walked Sonny outside. "Maybe we can hang out again this week," Sonny suggested. Evan agreed, and when Sonny went in for a hug, Evan kissed him. Evan quickly pulled away and apologized. "I know you're married. That was completely out of line," Evan stammered. "It's okay," Sonny said. With a smile, Sonny wished Evan a good night. After Sonny walked away, Evan chastised himself for being stupid.
Evan returned inside and finished the dishes while Rafe put David down for bed. Rafe returned to the kitchen to say goodnight, and he asked if Evan was dating Sonny. Nervous, Evan said no. "But you're into him?" Rafe asked. Evan admitted that he liked Sonny. Rafe cautioned Evan to remember that any relationship with Sonny included a lot of baggage. "I would hate to see you get hurt," Rafe said.
In the town square, Sonny stared at his wedding ring, and he thought about the previous Thanksgiving. Will had said that it had been the best Thanksgiving ever. "Who knows, maybe next year will be even better," Sonny had responded.
In prison, Clyde pinned Will against his bed and pulled out a knife. Will shouted for help. Ben returned from the visitation room and rushed to help Will. As Clyde and Ben struggled over the knife, Clyde accidentally stabbed his son. Ben fell to the ground, and Clyde stumbled backward in shock. Will rushed to Ben's side, pulled off his shirt, and pushed the cloth against Ben's open wound. Will cried out to the guards for help.
When guards arrived, they carried Ben off to the infirmary. A guard remained behind to ask what had happened. Clyde claimed that Will had stabbed Ben. Will protested that if he had been the culprit, he would not have tended to the wound or called for help. The guard shook his head and escorted Clyde out of the cell and down to the infirmary to check on Ben.
"You all right, son?" Clyde asked Ben. "A few stitches. Doctor said you missed a vital organ. You must be losing your touch," Ben confirmed. Clyde argued that Ben should not have interfered because Will knew too much. Ben reminded Clyde that he had not been in on the kidnapping plot. Ben added that Will had no reason to tell anyone about the kidnapping plot because the baby had been returned home.
"I told the guard it was Will that stabbed you," Clyde said. Clyde asked Ben to back him up so that he would not get in trouble. A guard entered and asked Ben to tell the truth about what had happened in Will's cell. Ben told the guard that Clyde had accidentally stabbed him after Clyde had attacked Will. "Looks like you're heading back to solitary," the guard said as he grabbed Clyde's arm. "You shouldn't have done that," Clyde growled to Ben.
In the Kiriakis living room, Victor and Xander talked privately about the kidnapping. Victor asked if Xander had written a confession. Xander assured Victor, "Our secret is safe." Victor groaned and pointed out that someone knew what they had done and that they had let an innocent man go to prison. Xander told Victor that the anonymous texts had stopped. Xander added that he would hunt down the kidnapper and make them pay for taking his daughter.
With a grunt, Victor noted that Mackenzie was Eric's daughter, not Xander's. Victor argued that Sarah would cut Xander out of Mackenzie's life. Xander stressed that he was not prepared to step aside. Victor warned Xander that if anyone learned their secret, Sarah would wipe her hands of him.
Upstairs in the Kiriakis mansion, Ciara drilled into the silver lockbox she had stolen from Xander's office. "I'm hoping you are being dumb enough to have kept proof that you killed Jordan. Do not disappoint me, please," Ciara muttered to herself. "Hey!" Sarah shouted as she barged in. Sarah reminded Ciara that Mackenzie was sleeping. Ciara apologized. When Sarah asked about the drill, Ciara lied and said that she was breaking into a lockbox from her childhood that held mementos.
Ciara asked about Mackenzie. With a shrug, Sarah said that the doctor had said that Mackenzie was physically fine. Sarah admitted that she was worried about Mackenzie's psyche. "I don't think I'm ever going to sleep peacefully again," Sarah added. A guilty Ciara shifted her eyes away.
Sarah stated that she wanted to thank the tipster that had helped secure the return of her baby. Ciara said that the tipster was likely satisfied that they had helped return a baby home safely. Ciara asked if there were any leads in the case. Sarah shook her head no, and she said that she was confident there would be no further attempts because word was out that Xander was not Mackenzie's father.
"Mickey traded up in the dad department," Ciara said. Sarah said she was happy that Eric knew the truth but that Xander was a loving father. "I think that he found out something about himself when he helped me take care of Mackenzie, because there is a really good guy in there," Sarah said. Ciara nodded and noted that that was surprising to her. Mackenzie started to cry from the other room, so Sarah gave Ciara her blessing to continue drilling into the box, and she left.
After picking up Mackenzie from her room, Sarah went downstairs to the living room. Sarah and Xander were playing with Mackenzie when the sound of the drill started up again upstairs. Sarah informed Xander that Ciara was attempting to break into a box to recover old mementos. Xander said he hoped Ciara would be done soon so that Mackenzie could go back to sleep.
"Did you miss your dad?" Xander said before he caught himself. "I guess I can't be saying that anymore, can I?" Xander said quietly. "You can still say it. To her, at least," Sarah said. Xander said he understood things would change, and he asked Sarah if he could still be a part of Mackenzie's life.
"I love her, and you might remember I told you last night I love you, too," Xander said. "I remember," Sarah confirmed. With a sheepish grin, Xander noted that Sarah had been interrupted before she could tell Xander how she felt about him. Eric walked in, and he asked to talk privately with Sarah about custody. Defensive, Xander argued that it was an abrupt request, but Sarah agreed that she and Eric should talk. Xander handed Mackenzie to Sarah, and he whispered, "Don't agree to anything without talking to a lawyer first."
After Xander left, Sarah placed Mackenzie in the playpen with her teething ring. "She's working on her first tooth," Sarah said. "At least I didn't miss all her firsts," Eric countered. Sarah apologized for lying to Eric. "I honestly thought I was just doing the best thing for everyone," Sarah explained. Angry, Eric noted that Sarah did not know what was best for him, and he objected to having a man like Xander raise his daughter.
"By the time I realized I was pregnant, your heart was all totally with Nicole," Sarah said defensively. "So, you're punishing me because I decided I needed to be with Nicole?" Eric asked. Sarah said she had not wanted Eric to feel obligated to be with her or her child. "Our child!" Eric corrected. Sarah reiterated that she had wanted to preserve Eric's happiness with Nicole when she had made the decision.
"What you thought was going to keep [me and Nicole] together only pushed us apart," Eric said. "You have to forgive Nicole," Sarah stressed. Eric refused to forgive Nicole. Sarah argued that Nicole had only kept the secret because Sarah had asked her to keep it. "You and I both know that this was a selfish act! She's very sensitive when it comes to knowing that she can't have any more children," Eric countered. Eric noted that what Nicole had done was unforgivable.
"She did eventually tell you," Sarah noted. "That's more than I can say for you," Eric said. Sarah explained that she had been an emotional wreck and had made the wrong decision. "I am not going to stand in the way of you getting to know your daughter, and I am open to us working out some sort of fair custody arrangement," Sarah said. Eric said yes but only if Sarah agreed to one condition.
As Brady strolled through the town square, Victor called out to him from the café. "Brady? Couldn't wait for the Black Friday sale?" Victor joked. Victor said he had missed Brady at dinner. "How do you miss someone you stabbed in the back?" Brady asked. "I was hoping we could move past that," Victor said. Brady called Victor vicious.
"I do love you, and I was afraid of Kristen's influence over you," Victor explained. Angry, Brady reminded Victor that his daughter had died, and Kristen had already been headed out of town when Victor had given Brady's job to Xander. "The only reason that I can come up with that you would take the last thing that I had in my life was that it was fun for you," Brady grumbled.
Victor explained that after Brady had lost his child, Victor had worried that Brady had been in no condition to run the company. "Sorry. The timing was terrible. I was hoping after a while you'd understand," Victor said. "Don't hold your breath," Brady spat out before he walked away.
Xander paid a visit to Nicole at Eric's apartment. "I want to know why you just ruined my life," Xander complained. Nicole argued that not everything was about Xander. Xander explained that he had told Sarah that he loved her, but Eric had interrupted them because Nicole had confessed the truth about the baby. "You had to ruin everything for both of us!" Xander barked.
"Don't push me, Xander!" Nicole yelled. Nicole told Xander that Eric had walked out on her, and she was on edge. Xander promised not to yell at Nicole, and he asked her to explain why she had made the sudden decision to tell Eric the truth about Mackenzie. "Eric proposed to me," Nicole said. "Isn't that what you bloody well wanted?" Xander yelled in frustration.
Nicole explained that she had not wanted to continue to lie to Eric while his daughter was in danger. "Eric's over there now, banging on about custody," Xander told Nicole. Xander noted that Mackenzie would reunite Eric with Sarah. "Just like we knew she would," Xander added.
After Xander left, Nicole called Brady. "What's going on?" Brady asked. "Can I take you up on your offer to hang out? I could use the company," Nicole said as she fought back tears.
In Ciara's room at the Kiriakis mansion, she examined the contents of Xander's lockbox. "So, you are a big enough moron to keep souvenirs of the rotten things you do," Ciara said. "Something in here has to connect you to Jordan's death," Ciara said as she rooted through the items. Ciara's phone rang. It was Ben in the infirmary, and he asked Ciara about the lockbox.
"I didn't even find anything that could force him into a confession," Ciara lamented. Ciara complained that she had wasted time -- and needed to find an identical box to replace the one she had drilled into. Ben groaned. Suspicious, Ciara asked what was wrong. Ben lied and said he had pulled a muscle in his back. Ben asked Ciara to replace the box and then stop helping him.
"I love you, Ben, and I'm not going to stop until I prove that you're innocent," Ciara said firmly. After Ciara ended the call, she went over to Titan to plant the new lockbox in Xander's office. Ciara heard Xander in the hallway, and she grabbed a couple of files off the desk and posed as if she was reading them. Xander walked in, and he asked Ciara why she was in his office again. Ciara said she was there to leave her analysis of the Bloom project on his desk. "Next time, give it to an assistant," Xander said curtly. With a nod, Ciara walked out.
"I am not going to let you get away with framing Ben. I'm going to take you down if it's the last thing I do," Ciara vowed as she stood in the hallway outside Xander's office.
Ben returned to his cell. A worried Will asked Ben if he was okay. Ben nodded yes. "I think you saved my life," Will said. "I kind of owed you one," Ben countered. Ben confirmed that he had told the guard the truth. "Maybe we can call it even," Will said as he held out his hand. Ben shook it.
"My old man is back in solitary, Will. He's not very happy with me for ratting him out. When he is out of the hole, he is going to be gunning for both of us," Ben said.
Kristen and Lani, still together in a convent in Rome, discussed what was set to happen later that day. "Once we take our final vows, everything changes," Kristen reminded Lani, who nodded in response. "[But before we can start our new lives], we have to say goodbye to our old lives," Kristen continued while handing Lani one of the convent's landline phones.
Abe answered a phone call, despite not recognizing the caller's phone number, and was pleasantly surprised to hear Lani's voice on the other end of the line. "I tried to call you on Thanksgiving... Where -- where are you?" Abe began. "I'm...in a good place -- physically and emotionally," Lani vaguely revealed. "Well, I'm -- I'm glad to hear that...[but] I miss you. I wish you'd come home," Abe stressed. "I know...[but] I'm not coming home," Lani insisted, fighting back tears. "[But] what about Eli? You know, I just ran into him the other day, and --" Abe tried to argue. "Eli and I are...we're through. I'm committed to someone else," Lani vaguely admitted.
"I know how hard that was," Kristen empathetically began after Lani ended the call. "Yeah...[but] I did get some good news -- Jennifer is awake," Lani reported, drawing a sigh of relief from Kristen, who had been praying for that to happen. "Friends were always hard to come by [for me, but] Jen had a way of seeing the good in me -- even when I was at my worst," Kristen raved. "I am so glad that she's back with her family...but now that she's out of her coma, she's gonna find out what happened to Haley," Kristen suddenly realized. "The D.A. ruled it an accident," Lani pointed out. "[But] not everyone sees it that way," Kristen countered.
At Salem University Hospital, Jennifer received a visit from J.J., who apologized for having chosen to work on Thanksgiving, of all days. "It's okay. I heard that you took someone else's shift so that they could enjoy the holiday, [and] I'm proud of you for doing that. [But...I did get the feeling that] maybe you were avoiding Thanksgiving on purpose -- [perhaps] because you were missing Haley?" Jennifer replied. "Dad told you," J.J. realized with a sigh. "Yeah -- [and] I'm so sorry --" Jennifer began to stress. "It's okay. I'm working through it," J.J. insisted. "That I wasn't here for you when it happened...but I can help you now," Jennifer continued.
"I want you to call Marlena, because she can help you; [she] can give you perspective on all of this --" Jennifer tried to advise. "'Perspective'? The woman I thought I was gonna spend the rest of my life with is dead, [and] I don't need Marlena -- or anyone else -- to tell me [that] my heart is broken!" J.J. snapped. "I want to help you --" Jennifer began to reiterate. "Well, you're not helping -- you're making me feel worse!" J.J. spat.
J.J. stormed out of Jennifer's room then immediately reached into a pants pocket in search of a pill -- and realized that there were none left. Meanwhile, a nurse paused in front of the nearby nurses' station to use the desk phone, leaving a cart -- and the tray of medication for patients that was sitting on the top shelf of that cart -- temporarily unattended. After identifying three cups that held desirable medications, J.J. grabbed all three then ducked out of sight and gulped down some of the pills before pocketing the rest.
Meanwhile, a phone call was transferred to Jennifer's room from the front desk. "I heard the good news that you had woken up, and I wanted to call and tell you how happy I am for you and your family," Kristen began when Jennifer answered the call. "Thank you. It is hard to believe that a whole year has passed; I -- I really missed so much..." Jennifer replied.
"I'm sorry about your baby -- I know how much you and Brady were looking forward to being parents," Jennifer continued. "We were..." Kristen confirmed. "I'm sure you heard about what happened to Haley Chen... [Look], I swear, I never meant to hurt her; I was just so shocked to learn that my baby died, [and]...I don't know, I just reacted...and everything just happened so quickly..." Kristen explained with a sigh. "They said you were cleared of all the charges, [so] why did you leave town?" Jennifer asked. "I couldn't live with myself, you know? Brady stood by me, but I just couldn't get past losing the child that I had always wanted," Kristen replied.
"[And] even though I wasn't charged, I still needed to atone for what I did to Haley...[even though] I know that J.J. will never forgive me," Kristen continued. "J.J. doesn't believe it was an accident," Jennifer revealed. "I know, [and] I understand [that, and I also] understand [that] you have to support your son...but I just wanted to wish you well," Kristen replied. "Thank you, Kristen -- I appreciate that," Jennifer stressed -- just as J.J. returned.
J.J. snatched the phone and demanded to know where Kristen was hiding. "I can't tell you that," Kristen insisted. "I just want to talk -- clear the air between us..." J.J. explained. "It's impossible," Kristen maintained. "What the hell does that mean? You can't face me after what you did to Haley?" J.J. assumed. "I wish I could --" Kristen began to stress. "If you meant that, you would come meet with me!" J.J. snapped. "I don't expect you to understand --" Kristen continued. "Damn you! Damn you to hell!" J.J. spat before hanging up on Kristen.
After realizing that Jennifer also didn't know where Kristen was, J.J. started entertaining the idea of convincing someone to trace the phone call. "It doesn't sound [to me like] you want to forgive her," Jennifer observed. "She doesn't deserve forgiveness after what she did!" J.J. insisted. "But she said it was an accident -- " Jennifer pointed out. "And you believe her? Over your own son?" J.J. incredulously countered. "I just want to help you --" Jennifer explained. "I came back to apologize for how I acted before, [but] if you're buddying up to Kristen..." J.J. snapped before storming off, ignoring Jennifer's protests.
Kristen told Lani about what had just happened. "We can't have visitors here," Lani pointed out. "I know -- [but J.J.] doesn't understand [that]," Kristen explained with a sigh.
While passing through the park, J.J. gulped down another pill, despite already finding it difficult to walk a straight line. "Eh, what the hell..." J.J. reasoned with a shrug before gulping down two more pills.
Jennifer received a visit from Roman, who admitted, after hearing about J.J.'s earlier outbursts, that Eric had been on the receiving end of one recently, too. "[J.J.] has to let go of this grudge against Kristen -- before anyone else gets hurt..." Jennifer fretted, horrified that J.J. had actually thrown a punch in response to Eric's attempt to help.
After dealing with an issue at the town square's Gabi Chic store, Gabi met up with Eli at the nearby café for breakfast. "You should have seen how they botched the display..." Gabi started to complain before realizing that Eli was also upset about something -- something that was apparently much more serious. "There's a rumor floating around that there's a significant amount of stock that's about to be sold -- DiMera stock," Eli explained. "That's strange -- since I took over, [the company's] stock's been killing it, and it's just gonna keep going up," Gabi bragged. "Think Chad is involved?" Eli asked. "Of course, he's involved!" Gabi replied.
"[And] if he acquires the majority of the stock, then he can convince the board to oust me!" Gabi fretted. "That's probably why he's been so secretive [with his computer]," Eli guessed. "Yeah -- he's probably trying to set up backdoor channels with other stockholders," Gabi agreed. "You have to figure out who's dumping that stock, and you have to get them to sell it to me!" Gabi demanded.
Chad met up with Abigail at the Brady Pub for breakfast, and shortly after the couple got settled at a table, Kate approached -- to take their order. "[I'm still] not used to seeing you as a waitress," Chad admitted with a shake of the head. "It's been a year, so I think you need to get used to it," Kate replied before heading over to the bar to relay the couple's order to Roman.
"Like I said from day one -- you're a natural," Roman reassured Kate while thinking about what had happened at the pub one year earlier.
"Ugh -- I cannot believe that I trusted Victor when he said that he would make me CEO of Titan! [And then there's] Shin and the board of DiMera weasels -- [I mean], seriously, putting Tony at the helm [instead] of me? [You know], I am so done with the corporate world -- I really am! [I mean, between] the patriarchy, and the backstabbing, and the lying -- done!" Kate complained. "You really mean that?" Roman wondered. "Yes, I do!" Kate insisted, prompting Roman to push a plate of drinks across the bar. "I'm shorthanded. You used to be a waitress. Table five," Roman unceremoniously instructed Kate.
Kate agreed to help out for the rest of the night -- then tried to hand over a wad of cash tips to Roman after the last customer finally left. "Are you kidding me? You earned that," Roman insisted, refusing to accept the money. "You're still very good at this [waitressing thing]," Roman acknowledged. "I'm good at everything," Kate bragged. "Don't I know it..." Roman conceded.
"Would you consider doing this full-time?" Roman asked. "[Why would I do that when I already] have money? I run multinational corporations!" Kate replied. "And I was a police commissioner. I never thought I'd be satisfied running this place...but I am -- hell, it's fun, [and] I'm happy [here, so maybe] you could be happy, too, [if you came] back to your roots. No more board meetings, no more Victor Kiriakis or whatever DiMera's making your life miserable this week..." Roman reasoned. "Tell you what -- [I'll] help out an old friend until something better comes along," Kate decided after giving the matter some thought.
"Year went by fast," Roman noted. "Sure did," Kate agreed. "Not sure why you're still working for me, but I'm damn glad you are," Roman stressed. "It does feel good to have an honest job -- and not have to think about people stabbing you in the back..." Kate admitted. "[But] you might want to think about giving me a raise [at this point]," Kate teasingly added.
Meanwhile, Abigail told Chad about J.J.'s sudden -- and somewhat suspicious -- desire to contact Kristen. "I think that J.J. is looking for Kristen because he wants to avenge Haley's death," Abigail admitted to Chad, whose cell phone chimed just then. "It's my father...[and] speaking of Kristen, [he's apparently] learned that she's trying to donate her stock to some convent near Rome, and he wants me to fly [there on] the DiMera jet [and] try to get it back before she gives it all away," Chad summarized after reading a text message. "You think Gabi will allow that?" Abigail wondered. "Not if she knows what I'm up to," Chad predicted.
Chad rushed off to find Gabi, and Abigail seized the opportunity to catch up with Kate. "How's the new career going?" Abigail asked. "Well, I wouldn't exactly call it a 'career'...[but] it's honest work, [and that] has its upsides," Kate replied. "How's your new career as a reporter?" Kate wondered. "I actually really love it, and I think [it's] been really good for Chad and I -- and our marriage -- [because] it's nice for me to have something separate from DiMera," Abigail raved. "I know I was always on Gabi's side in the past, but I can see that you make Chad very happy," Kate acknowledged.
"A word of advice, [though] -- I'd be careful about Gabi, [because] she's become much more ruthless this past year," Kate warned Abigail before walking away.
Later, while Abigail was doing some research on a tablet computer, Roman approached and curiously probed for details about the project. "Actually, you could help me..." Abigail realized before proceeding to share Eve's claims with Roman. "A little advice from the former police commissioner -- this case is now officially closed, so you are entitled to access police evidence, [and] they can't refuse," Roman informed Abigail.
Gina entered the makeshift palace, carrying two cups of coffee and a takeout bag from a bakery, and greeted Stefano. "I didn't expect to see you so early," Stefano admitted. "I could not sleep -- not at all, not one wink," Gina explained. "Ever since Marlena has returned, it has been just awful! We must break them up!" Gina continued. "As you know, there is nothing I would like more...but there are other matters which demand my attention," Stefano stressed. "Such as?" Gina asked. "[For starters], Kristen is about to become a nun --" Stefano replied, drawing a laugh from Gina.
"Which means she'll have to give up her DiMera shares...[and] she has this crazy notion to give that stock to the church!" Stefano continued. "Well, that cannot happen..." Gina acknowledged. "Of course not -- [which is why] I'm going to stop her...[and then we'll be] one step closer to achieving our goals," Stefano stressed. "Amen to that! [I mean], Steffy, do you realize how difficult it is to constantly pretend love and concern for Hope's dear cousin Jennifer?" Gina complained. "You're just lucky she doesn't remember what you did to her," Stefano pointed out.
"Eve was a quite convenient pawn, was she not? Although manufacturing all of that evidence to guarantee her conviction -- that did take some doing..." Gina mused. "Are you worried about Jennifer getting in the way?" Stefano asked. "No, not really -- but, should she, there are still ways to keep her quiet..." Gina replied -- just as Hope's cell phone rang.
"Ugh -- it is Abigail calling. What does she want?" Gina grumbled. "You should answer it," Stefano advised. "For you..." Gina grudgingly agreed before answering the call as Hope.
"I do not like this -- no, not one bit... Why is Abigail inquiring about Eve now?" Gina complained to Stefano after a brief phone conversation with Abigail, who wanted to meet with Hope at the police station to discuss Eve's case. "That is exactly why you need to see her. If she's nosing around about Jennifer's fall, you need to make sure you're in control," Stefano insisted.
"That's a lesson I've been trying to impart to my son Chad... Hopefully he's finally learned it..." Stefano continued.
Gabi and Eli continued discussing Chad after eating breakfast at the town square's café. "If we can prove that Chad is buying up stock in an attempt to undermine me, then I can make a case to the board that he is violating his responsibilities to the company, [and] they would have to [fire him]!" Gabi excitedly explained to Eli -- just as Chad approached.
"Gabi -- glad I ran into you. I need to take the DiMera jet to Paris [because] I'm working on a deal [and] need to close it in person," Chad began. "What deal?" Eli asked. "Sorry -- I was talking to Gabi. [But] if you'd like to know [more], I could show you the particulars on [my computer]...unless you'd like to go snooping through it on your own [again]," Chad replied. "I was just trying to install some new security software," Eli claimed. "He's [DiMera's] head of security -- you do know that, right?" Gabi added. "[My computer] is secure," Chad insisted while eyeing Eli suspiciously.
Gabi chased Eli off to satisfy Chad then demanded to know more about the deal. "[It's] with a company called Signal -- they could help us shore up our DiMera communications sector abroad," Chad claimed. "[Then] perhaps the [DiMera] CEO should accompany you," Gabi suggested. "It would be great if you came with me. I'll call the [Signal] CEO and let him know we're both gonna fly out today," Chad coolly agreed. "Today? Oh, wait -- [today], I actually have Arianna's dance recital, [and since] Will's in prison, I cannot miss [it]," Gabi backpedaled. "Well, I hope I can take care of [the deal] on my own..." Chad replied.
Gina went to the police station, pretending to be Hope -- and was horrified to learn that Abigail was trying to prove that Eve wasn't responsible for what had happened to Jennifer at the Bistro the previous year.
While passing through the park, Eli ran into Abe, who was quick to mention the earlier conversation with Lani. "You're telling me this...why?" Eli wondered. "Well, the last time I saw you, uh, I got the feeling you wanted me to tell her something," Abe explained. "[But] then I thought better of it because your daughter isn't the woman that I thought she was," Eli countered. "I'm sorry she hurt you," Abe stressed. "I'm over it, [and] Gabi and I -- we're happy together," Eli insisted. "I suppose [that's] good, [because] apparently, Lani's moved on, as well. [I mean], she didn't say who -- [just that] she had committed to someone else," Abe revealed.
"Lani can do whatever the hell she wants -- she means nothing to me anymore. You know, in fact...do me a favor [and] don't ever bring her name up to me again," Eli snapped at Abe before walking away.
Eli rejoined Gabi and started complaining about what had just happened. "Like I care [that] she's committed to some new guy -- [I mean], I have never been happier!" Eli insisted. "Exactly -- and this is great news, [because it] means that she's gonna be away from us," Gabi stressed. "Right... [Anyway, Chad] filed the flight plan for the DiMera jet --" Eli continued. "Yes, I know -- to Paris," Gabi confirmed. "No -- to Rome. [And] that chunk of DiMera stock that went up for sale [earlier] belongs to Kristen DiMera, who I've also traced to Rome," Eli clarified. "That son of a bitch!" Gabi spat.
"I will handle Chad. [You just] go to Rome [and] find Kristen -- [and] make her an offer that she cannot refuse," Gabi ordered Eli -- as J.J. listened nearby.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Xander frantically informed Sarah that Mackenzie was missing again. "I let Eric take her," Sarah quickly clarified, stopping Xander's attempt to report Mackenzie's disappearance to the police.
At the Brady Pub, Eric proudly showed off Mackenzie to Roman and Kate. "Did you ever see such a pretty baby?" Roman gushed to Kate. "Oh, she's a precious one -- but aren't all children, really? Then they learn to talk, and then they start saying hurtful things, and before you know it, they don't even call you..." Kate countered.
"Ignore the hired help," Roman advised Eric after Kate walked away. "You're out and about with Mickey -- does that mean you and Sarah have reached an agreement on custody?" Roman continued. "We're...figuring it out," Eric vaguely reported. "So, you two are okay now?" Roman assumed. "I wouldn't go that far," Eric admitted.
"I'm extremely disappointed in Sarah for not telling me the truth about our daughter's paternity for more than a year...[but, for Mickey's sake], I'm just hoping that we can work things out," Eric continued. "[And] what about working things out with Nicole?" Roman asked. "There's nothing to work out with Nicole. It's over," Eric replied.
"I have no idea what the long-term consequences [of] missing all that time with [Mickey] will be --" Eric started to fret. "I missed a lot of time with you -- years -- [and] you and I have a great relationship," Roman pointed out. "This is different," Eric insisted. "Come on -- you have every right to be angry, [but] as hard as it is [for me] to say [this], we both know [that] Nicole is the love of your life, [and] you two belong together...and, as a result, we both know [that, eventually], you're gonna find a reason to forgive her. [I mean], it is what it is -- [she's your] destiny, [and] you can't walk away from that," Roman countered.
"Dad, please --" Eric began to object -- just as Kate returned with a cup of coffee. "Good memory," Eric raved after taking the cup from Kate and realizing that the coffee had been prepared just right. "[Which is why I'm able to remember] how many times Nicole has lied to you over the years. [And] 'once a liar, always a liar' is what I say, [so I think] you will be crazy if you give that woman another chance," Kate stressed. "[That's] a little harsh, don't ya think?" Roman protested. "One of the perks of the job here [is that] I can speak my mind, [and] I don't have to worry about being polite," Kate pointed out.
"You just can't do it, can you?" Roman began to admonish Kate after Eric rushed off with Mackenzie. "You just can't help yourself -- you gotta stick your nose in where it doesn't belong," Roman continued. "What are you gonna do, Roman -- you gonna fire me?" Kate shamelessly countered. "You know damn well I'm not gonna fire ya -- you're my best waitress -- but I just wish you'd stick to the job description [and] keep your opinions to yourself," Roman admitted. "I can sling hash and dish at the same time," Kate insisted. "I know you can; I just wish you wouldn't. Eric is in a very raw place --" Roman started to stress.
"Look, I know that your heart is in the right place -- I really do -- but, in this situation, you have to use your head," Kate advised Roman. "It's every parent's instinct to want to protect their child from pain, but if you're not honest about who Nicole really is, you're just causing him more pain in the future," Kate continued. "Nicole is not perfect -- not even close -- [but] she and Eric love each other," Roman argued. "Well, I don't care -- I think that he deserves someone better," Kate maintained. "Got somebody in mind?" Roman asked. "Well, I would [normally say] 'the mother of his child'...except she's worse than Nicole!" Kate replied.
"Sarah broke our son's heart," Kate reminded Roman. "After Rex broke hers," Roman reminded Kate. "Okay, whatever -- my point is...Sarah and Nicole? Talk about bad choices!" Kate maintained. "You [really] want to throw stones in this arena?" Roman wondered, stifling a laugh. "I think I made some good choices, as well -- I picked you, didn't I?" Kate countered.
"All I'm saying is that I hope [Eric] doesn't get sucked back into Sarah's orbit," Kate concluded. "That's not gonna happen -- Xander's the one pining for Sarah now," Roman revealed. "Poor bastard..." Kate declared.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sarah and Xander continued discussing Mackenzie. "Eric agreed to share custody --" Sarah began to reveal. "That's...surprisingly fair; [I mean], knowing how angry Eric is that we kept his child from him, I half expected him to go nuclear and demand full custody," Xander admitted. "But there is one condition..." Sarah started to elaborate.
"Eric wants you out of [Mickey's] life. [He] threatened to sue for full custody unless Mickey and I move out of the house -- or you do. He said that he doesn't want his daughter and you to live under the same roof," Sarah apologetically revealed. "[Then] let him sue -- he'll never win," Xander argued. "Actually, he might -- I ran it by Justin, and he said that a judge might not approve of the fact that I kept Mickey's biological father in the dark," Sarah fretted. "Well, I disagree. It was an unselfish act made out of love. I say we call Eric's bluff," Xander maintained. "And...what, hope for the best? Do you really want to risk that with Mickey?" Sarah countered.
"Oh, I just knew it was too good to be true -- that Eric could be rational or reasonable... He is a spiteful, spoiled, selfish child, and he's putting his revenge ahead of his daughter's best interests!" Xander spat after grudgingly conceding Sarah's point. "That's the thing -- Eric thinks that he is putting Mickey first, [that this is] the only way to keep her safe..." Sarah clarified. "From what?" Xander wondered. "You. [He] thinks that you're the reason that Mickey got kidnapped -- [you know, because you're] the CEO of Titan," Sarah elaborated. "[After all], what other reason could there have been?" Sarah argued with a shrug.
Dodging the subject, Xander abruptly started to rush off. "Where are you going?" Sarah asked. "To show Eric that I won't let anyone bully me out of my little girl's life," Xander replied, scowling.
At Basic Black, Nicole reluctantly gulped down Brady's secret hangover cure. "Do you have something to put my heart back together?" Nicole asked hopefully. "No," Brady apologetically replied.
"You told me to stop [drinking last night, but] I didn't listen -- I just kept throwing them back, [as if] getting wasted would make me forget about how I hurt the one person in this world I love the most -- [and], like the great friend you are, you just stood by me and let me go on and on about all my stupid problems, [even though] you're dealing with pain of your own...[and] drinking in front of you like that -- it was so insensitive, and I truly apologize," Nicole stressed. "It's okay -- I'm just glad I was able to be there for you," Brady insisted.
Brady practically dragged Nicole over to the town square for fresh air and fresh food to further alleviate the hangover. Eric eventually passed through the town square with Mackenzie but chose to ignore Nicole. "He hates me. He's never gonna get past this," Nicole fretted to Brady. "Wait here," Brady instructed Nicole before rushing off.
"What is wrong with you?" Brady began after catching up with Eric and Mackenzie in the nearby park. "You know how much Nicole loves you," Brady continued. "And I love her...[but love] just isn't enough [this time]," Eric countered. "She was scared --" Brady tried to argue. "Because she thought I was gonna leave her for Sarah? That's insane!" Eric insisted.
"Take it from me -- [a child] has a way of bringing people back together," Brady pointed out. "I'm sorry -- I didn't mean to be insensitive..." Eric stressed. "Kristen is gone, [and] my baby is gone, [and] if there was anything I could do to bring them back, I would...[but] this does not have to be the end for you. [I mean], look at everything that you and Nicole have overcome, [and] the odds that you have beaten every single time... You don't get that far and just give up --" Brady continued. "I didn't 'give up'; Nicole did!" Eric countered.
"Sarah gave you a child -- something Nicole could never do -- [and that made Nicole feel] threatened [and] insecure --" Brady tried to explain. "I would have never left Nicole for Sarah!" Eric reiterated. "But [Nicole] had reason to believe that you might," Brady pointed out. "So, this is my fault now?" Eric snapped. "No, man -- it's not your fault; it's my fault [for] blackmailing Nicole [into] leaving town [in] the first place, [and] Xander's fault for blackmailing Nicole into marrying him, [and] Kristen's fault for keeping [Nicole] prisoner and posing as her..." Brady argued.
"[I mean, after] all the times Nicole thought that she might lose you -- all the times that something or someone got in your way of being together -- can you really blame [her] for thinking it might happen again?" Brady continued. "The fact that we overcame all the things that you mentioned is [just another] reason why she should have trusted in [my love for her]," Eric insisted. "So, that's it -- you're just...you're just done?" Brady incredulously summarized. "She chose to lie to me [and] let a man that I don't respect or trust raise my little girl, [and] I just can't get past that," Eric confirmed, scowling.
"What about Holly? You gonna turn your back on that little girl, [too]?" Brady asked. "I will always be there for Holly...but I'm never gonna be with Nicole," Eric replied -- just as Nicole approached.
Eric stormed off with Mackenzie, ignoring Nicole again. "Eric will come around," Brady tried to assure Nicole, who wasn't convinced.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sarah worriedly tried to contact Xander in the hope of stopping whatever was about to happen with Eric, but the call went to voicemail.
Xander soon appeared with an overnight bag, having never actually left the mansion. "I thought you were gonna --" Sarah began after breathing a sigh of relief. "Beat some sense into Eric?" Xander concluded for Sarah, who nodded in response. "I was -- it's long overdue -- but I realized that, uh, I couldn't do that to you," Xander explained.
"I told you that I love you, [and] I've said it to women before, but this is the first time I actually understand what it means... If I fight Eric over his demand that I stay out of Mickey's life, he'll take it out on you and the baby -- he'll sue for full custody -- [and] not because he's a bad person [but] because he's right. I did put Mickey at risk --" Xander admitted. "It's not your fault that somebody tried to extort money from you," Sarah insisted. "I've done so many awful things, and it could all be used against you in court --" Xander acknowledged. "You're a better man now," Sarah stressed.
"Bottom line -- if I don't meet Eric's condition, you could lose your daughter, [and] I can't be the reason you ever [go through that] again," Xander concluded. "What about how you feel?" Sarah wondered. "It'll probably kill me to walk out that door -- all I've ever wanted is a place in this house and in this family, [and] this time with you and Mickey here [has] been the greatest happiness I've ever known -- [but] I love you, and because I love you, your happiness has to come first," Xander reasoned with a shrug before starting to walk away for good -- prompting Sarah to seize a kiss.
At the police station, Gina continued pretending to be Hope while talking to Abigail about the possibility that someone other than Eve was responsible for what had happened to Jennifer at the Bistro the previous year.
"Who else could it possibly have been?" Gina asked while alone with Abigail in one of the conference rooms. "I don't know...[but Eve] swore, on Paige's memory, that she's being framed...[and] if she is being framed, [then] the person who did hurt my mom is still out there and could hurt her again, [and] that's not a risk I'm willing to take -- [which is why] I'd like to see the evidence," Abigail replied. "Well, I'm afraid that I can't let you do that," Gina insisted. "Why not?" Rafe, who had peeked inside the conference room seconds earlier but hadn't been seen yet, wondered.
"Look, [Abigail]...if I were you, I wouldn't waste your time on this, [because] we have Eve dead to rights," Rafe began. "[But] the investigation is closed, so...why are you opposed to her looking at the files, [Hope]?" Rafe continued. "I'm thinking about Jennifer," Gina claimed. "Abigail, I have nothing but the utmost respect for your duties as a journalist, [but] I'm just afraid that if you do pursue this, you run the risk of causing tremendous damage [to] your own mother. [I mean], do you really want her to recover [the] agonizing memory [of what happened that night]?" Gina reasoned.
"I want to find the truth," Abigail explained. "You have [the truth already, so] if you reopen those files, not only do I guarantee you'll traumatize your mom in ways that she may never recover from, but you'll be doing all of it for nothing," Gina maintained. "Okay, well, uh...I think Abigail heard you, [so now], why don't we just let her make up her own mind?" Rafe interjected. "You're right," Gina grudgingly conceded.
"The last thing in the world I want to do is cause my mother more pain...but I can't just blow off what Eve said; I need to figure out, for sure, [if] Eve is guilty, [because] that's the only way I'm gonna know that my mom is really safe," Abigail maintained. "[Then] go down to the records room [and] fill out the forms, and I'll be happy to sign off on [your request]," Gina grudgingly agreed.
Satisfied, Abigail rushed off, leaving Gina alone with Rafe. "What's going on with you?" Rafe asked. "What are you talking about?" Gina replied. "Well, I'm worried about you -- I have been for a while. [I mean], a lot's gone on to the people that you care about, [and] you always wanted to be on the front line [in the past] -- of every investigation, [but] especially when it included your family -- and now..." Rafe elaborated. "I appreciate your concern...[but] we're no longer married, [so] maybe you should focus a little less attention on me -- and more on your job," Gina countered before leaving.
Later, Gina worriedly watched through the window of a conference room as Abigail began poring over Eve's case file.
At the Brady Pub, Kate greeted Rafe, who halfheartedly ordered a cup of coffee. "Do you really want some coffee...or, uh, do you want to talk about what's on your mind?" Kate knowingly wondered. "Just thinking about Hope... Have you noticed lately that she's been a little...off?" Rafe began. "Well, um, your ex-wife has always been 'a little off,' so that's nothing new..." Kate argued.
"What's going on?" Kate asked. "Wish I knew... Seems like ever since she came back to work, she's, uh...she's been a different person..." Rafe replied.
At the hospital, Jennifer received a visit from Marlena, who wondered if it was a bad time. "No, no -- I was just going through some news summaries for the Spectator. Jack put them all on a flash drive for me so that I could get up to speed on everything that's happened while I've been in this crazy coma," Jennifer explained while setting aside the flash drive and a tablet computer.
"Must be overwhelming to try to absorb that much information -- you know, so much has happened in the last year, I can barely keep track of it myself..." Marlena mused. "Honestly, as anxious as I am to hear about everything that's happened in the past, I'm more concerned with what's happening right now," Jennifer admitted before telling Marlena about J.J.'s troubling behavior.
"I'd be glad to [talk to J.J. -- or] maybe Eric should, [since he's always been] so fond of J.J. -- [but, then again], Eric may be a little busy right now..." Marlena began before telling Jennifer about Mackenzie. "I'm not one to talk, because I kept a huge secret from Eric for a very long time, but...I just wonder what made Nicole want to keep that from him," Jennifer mused. "She was afraid she'd lose him...and the irony is [that] now she has," Marlena noted. "Think they'll be able to work it out?" Jennifer asked. "Eric feels so hurt, so betrayed... I'm not sure they can," Marlena replied.
"[Anyway]...any idea when they might discharge you?" Marlena continued. "Well, it is my Christmas wish to be home for the holidays..." Jennifer admitted. "Yeah -- that'd be my wish for Hope, too..." Marlena grumbled before telling Jennifer about the living situation at the Evans-Black townhouse. "I get it -- [that] would be a little awkward, being a married couple and having your friend live with you -- [but] you're not really worried about Hope [going after] John...right? I mean, this is Hope Brady we're talking about -- [a] woman [that] I trust with my life," Jennifer argued.
"The woman that we can't get out of our [townhouse] is...well, she's not the same Hope that we know," Marlena explained. "I know that I missed an entire year, but I haven't really noticed a difference in Hope, uh, in just the few times that I've seen her [since I woke up]," Jennifer argued. "Hmm... Well, I have," Marlena maintained.
After Marlena left, Jennifer inserted Jack's flash drive into the tablet computer, ready to continue going through the Spectator's news summaries -- and suddenly had a memory about Rolf's flash drive.
Eric entered the hospital with Mackenzie and headed over to Marlena's office for a visit. Marlena took one look at Mackenzie and immediately grew concerned about something.
At the penthouse, John located Brady's old baseball card collection and gave it to him for Tate. Brady noticed the flowers on the table, and he asked about them. John confided to Brady about his theory that Stefano was alive and wanted Marlena to know it. "If the old man is still alive, Kristen might be with him," Brady suggested. Brady worried that Kristen was in a dark place. John added that it would be a much darker place if Kristen was with her father.
With a sigh, Brady noted that Kristen had been a changed person when she'd been pregnant. Brady said he knew that Kristen's change might not have been permanent. Brady imagined what his life would have looked like if the baby had survived. In his fantasy, Brady and Kristen happily cooed over their daughter and joked about who she looked more like.
"It's hard not to think about what might have been," Brady told John. "I wish I could have helped," Brady said. John assured Brady that Brady had done everything he could have done to help Kristen. John added that in the end, Kristen was a loner. Brady thanked John for standing by him throughout Kristen's pregnancy and legal issues. With a deep sigh, Brady said he hoped that Kristen had the same comfort that John had given him. John said he hoped that Stefano was not the one providing the comfort.
In the DiMera office, Gabi talked to Eli on the phone. Eli confirmed that he was in Rome, and he promised to convince Kristen to take the offer to buy her stock. Chad burst into Gabi's office, and Gabi ended her call. Chad yelled at Gabi for giving his jet to Eli. "Since when does a security guard outrank family?" Chad demanded. Gabi rolled her eyes and noted that she knew about Chad's plan to go to Rome and buy Kristen's stock.
"I'm going to get to Kristen first!" Gabi exclaimed. Chad scoffed at the thought, and he argued that Kristen would never sell her stock to Gabi over her brother. Gabi countered that Kristen was interested in money for the convent and that the offer would meet Kristen's needs. When Chad complained that Gabi had prevented him from going to Rome because all flights were grounded due to a storm, Gabi groaned. Annoyed, Gabi fired Chad.
Chad argued that the board would never allow Gabi to fire Stefano's son. Chad threatened to tell the board about Gabi's efforts to institutionalize Abigail under false pretenses. When Gabi reminded Chad that Abigail had never filed charges, Chad argued that Abigail would be happy to write her story and publish it in the newspaper. Chad noted that Arianna would learn all about her mother.
"You leave my daughter out of this!" Gabi growled. Chad explained that he did not want to hurt Arianna, but a news story would make its way to Arianna's ears. Gabi pointed out that her daughter had already suffered enough. Chad agreed. Chad argued that with Will in prison, Gabi needed to think twice about how to proceed. Gabi agreed to give Chad his job back, but she added that when she bought Kristen's shares, she would have the clout to fire Chad and get rid of the board of the company. Chad and Gabi agreed they were "at all-out war."
In Rome, Eli sat in a café and called his hotel to check on his room. After he had stowed away on Eli's jet, J.J. caught up with Eli at the café and eavesdropped on his call. J.J. swallowed a pill. Eli ordered a car, but he said he did not have the destination address yet. When Eli walked to his hotel, J.J. started to follow. Haley stopped him.
Shaken, J.J. muttered, "You can't be here." The vision of Haley asked J.J. what he planned to do to Kristen. J.J. said that he needed to make Kristen pay. J.J. turned to walk away, and the vision of Haley materialized in his path. "I can't let you do this," Haley said. J.J. winced.
"You're a mess. You're high as a kite, and you're talking about getting even with people. What happened to the guy who used to get choked up over puppy videos?" Haley asked. "Somebody killed his girlfriend," J.J. answered. Haley reminded J.J. that that he had saved her life. Haley warned J.J. that revenge would not make him feel better.
"You're throwing your life away for nothing," Haley said. Haley urged J.J. to make peace with what had happened to her. "Get out of my head. Get out of my way," J.J. barked as he walked away. When J.J. arrived at Eli's hotel, he crept into the room while Eli was in the bathroom. J.J. rooted through Eli's suitcase and found Eli's gun. After a shower, Eli walked over to his suitcase but stopped in front of it. "Diplomacy," Eli whispered before he left his room.
At the convent in Rome, Lani told Kristen about her final interview before her vows. Lani explained that her assignment was to forgive Gabi so that she could take her final vows. "You're still not sure, are you?" Kristen asked. Lani admitted that when she had first arrived at the convent, she had felt like she'd been in the right place, but she was no longer so sure. Kristen stressed that she had a lot more sins, and she was committed to doing her life's work there.
"My baby girl is gone, and I took it out on that poor nurse. If only things had worked out differently," Kristen said. Kristen imagined a life where her daughter had lived and she was happy with Brady. "I would be a different person right now, but she didn't live," Kristen told Lani. Kristen said she had prayed that no one from her past would find her.
Lani said that she understood the pain of losing a child, and she noted that the pain of that loss had pulled her and Eli together. Lani imagined a world where she had confessed everything to Eli the day of their wedding, and they had teamed up to defeat Gabi. Kristen roused Lani from her fantasy, and she urged Lani to tell Eli the truth before she took her vows. With a shake of her head, Lani shared her fear that Gabi would kill Julie.
"You really think she'd do that?" Kristen asked. "She hates me. I shot her husband. Your brother," Lani yelped. When Kristen argued that the shooting had been an accident, Lani pointed out that Gabi had not agreed with that assessment. Lani said her only choice was to stay away from Eli and Salem forever. Curious, Kristen asked Lani if she was hiding, but Lani did not think so. Lani said she needed to find a way to forgive Gabi before she took her vows. Kristen added that she needed to find a way to forgive herself.
While Kristen left for the chapel, Lani stayed behind to pray. Lani prayed for a sign, and Eli walked in. Outside in the gardens, Kristen prayed to make herself worthy. J.J. stepped out of the bushes and pointed a gun in Kristen's face.
In Marlena's office at the hospital, a smiling Eric pushed Mackenzie's stroller in for a visit. As Eric grinned, Marlena's smile fell away. Marlena noted that Mackenzie appeared to be lethargic. With a frown, Marlena felt Mackenzie's forehead and announced that the baby appeared to have a fever. Marlena assured Eric that Mackenzie likely had a virus and would be fine.
After Kayla examined Mackenzie, she informed Eric and Marlena that the baby's temperature was 103. When Kayla asked Eric if he had noticed any behavioral changes with Mackenzie, Eric shrugged and noted that he had not spent enough time with his daughter yet to notice any changes. Kayla recommended admitting Mackenzie for fluids and tests.
In Sarah's room at the Kiriakis mansion, Xander agreed to move out so that Sarah would not need to fight Eric for custody. "I have to go. We both know that's what's best for Mickey," Xander whispered. Sarah grabbed Xander's arm, and she announced that she had something to say. After a moment, Sarah kissed Xander passionately. Sarah and Xander stumbled into her room, and they fell onto the bed.
"I didn't mean to just throw myself at you, it's just, you surprised me when you gave up your home for Mickey," Sarah said. Xander smiled at Sarah. "It just hit me how much you really do care about Mickey and me," Sarah added. Xander joked that Sarah wanted to give him a proper send-off. With a chuckle, Sarah kissed Xander, and he started to undress. "I'm still gonna miss you," Sarah whispered. Sarah's phone rang with a call from Eric. Eric told Sarah about Mackenzie's sudden fever, and she told him she was on her way. "I'll drive," Xander said.
When Sarah and Xander arrived at the hospital, Eric scowled. "What is he doing here?" Eric asked. Sarah asked about her daughter's health. When Eric continued to stare at Xander, an annoyed Xander ordered Eric, "Just tell her!" "You get lost, and I will!" Eric yelled back. When Eric threatened to throw Xander out of the hospital, Sarah stepped between the two of them. Kayla walked over and announced that she was taking Mackenzie's blood to the lab. As Sarah and Xander started to enter Mackenzie's room, Eric stopped Xander.
"You stay here. You're not going anywhere near my daughter!" Eric yelled. "I took care of that baby for months. You got her sick in one day!" Xander countered. Sarah promised to update Xander, and he agreed to stay in the waiting area. Sarah and Eric rushed into their daughter's room, and Sarah held back tears as she stood next to a sleeping Mackenzie. Eric blamed himself, but Sarah reassured Eric that babies spiked sudden fevers all the time. Eric put his arm around Sarah.
In the hallway, Xander asked Marlena about Mackenzie. Marlena said that the baby was sleeping. "I should be with her. I'm the one she knows, but your son won't allow it," Xander complained. Marlena countered that it was only because Xander had lied to Eric about Mackenzie that the baby did not know her father. Marlena urged Xander to go home, but Xander refused to leave in case Mackenzie asked for him. With a sad smile, Marlena told Xander that Mackenzie was in good hands.