Chloe and Stefan continued making out while alone together in one of the conference rooms at DiMera Enterprises. "We shouldn't do this," Chloe eventually decided, pulling away from Stefan. "I want to forget Brady, and I'm not over him," Chloe explained while turning away from Stefan. "I'm not being fair to you," Chloe concluded. "What about being fair to yourself?" Stefan countered.
Stefan reminded Chloe that Brady and Kristen were living together. Chloe insisted that didn't necessarily mean that Brady was actually in a romantic relationship with Kristen, prompting Stefan to wonder if there was really any other reasonable explanation for the development. Chloe conceded the point then agreed to try moving on with Stefan, since Brady had moved on with Kristen.
Stefan tried to seal the deal with a kiss, but Chloe protested that they first needed to let Human Resources know that they were planning to have more than just a working relationship with each other. Chloe added that it would also be nice to first get some sort of assurance that Stefan's feelings were genuine. Stefan translated that Chloe had heard the brainwashing theory. Stefan informed Chloe that Rolf had laughed off the accusation and that Gabi was no longer suspicious. Stefan offered to whisk Chloe away on the DiMera jet, reasoning that they could disguise the romantic jaunt as a business trip. Chloe agreed to go along with Stefan's plan.
Anna entered the DiMera mansion, with Tony close behind, and breathed a sigh of relief then raved that it was good to be home again. "Talk about the flight from hell," Anna grumbled. "Actually, it was a flight from Zurich," Tony clarified.
Anna insisted that Tony needed to fire the pilot. "Oh, of course -- whatever you say, darling," Tony responded. "I can handle turbulence, but what I can't handle is coming in for a landing when there's no airport in sight," Anna explained.
Tony rushed off to the living room in search of a stiff drink, and Anna followed in search of several stiff drinks then gasped after noticing that something was amiss. "My crystal heart you gave me for my birthday -- it's ruined; it's like someone smashed it with a sledgehammer!" Anna fretted to Tony while picking up the remains of the sculpture. "Don't worry, darling -- I'll replace it," Tony promised. "It's not a toner cartridge -- this is a one-of-a-kind item, specially commissioned and handcrafted; there can never be another!" Anna countered. "Well, you know, I think the artist actually lives here in Salem -- why don't we call him and see if he can do anything about it?" Tony suggested, delighting Anna.
E.J. entered the living room just then, carrying a plate of catfish nuggets, and wondered if Tony and Anna knew where Susan was hiding. Anna received a phone call while Tony was assuring E.J. that Susan would probably resurface after smelling the delicious aroma of the catfish nuggets. Anna rushed off after a brief conversation with the caller, telling Tony that the artist who had created the crystal heart was available for an emergency meeting.
E.J. waited until the coast was clear then seized the opportunity to tell Tony about Stefan's brainwashing and Rolf's relocation. "Your disapproval is noted...but what's done is done," E.J. declared at the end of the tale before swearing Tony to secrecy.
Anna headed over to the Horton apartment to meet up with the real caller, Johnny, who was with Wendy and needed help with the search for Ned Grainger but wasn't sure if Tony could be trusted. "Tony couldn't keep a secret from me to save his life," Anna insisted after hearing the whole story, but that wasn't enough to put Johnny's mind at ease. "People should be free to choose who they love. Your grandfather went to great lengths to keep Tony and me apart, so if his sons are following in his footsteps, someone has to stop it," Anna conceded before agreeing to help Johnny.
Anna phoned Grainger and begged to know where Rolf was hiding. "Tony -- he's sick... Well, he was sick, and now he's dead... And, well, if anyone can bring back my beloved husband, I know it's Dr. Rolf, but we are running out of time!" Anna explained, prompting Grainger to reveal that Rolf was in Jakarta.
Anna wished Johnny and Wendy luck then rushed off. Wendy suggested using the DiMera jet after Johnny determined that they wouldn't be able to take a commercial flight to Jakarta until the following day. Johnny agreed to go along with the idea, prompting Wendy to produce a tablet computer and create a phony repair ticket so the jet would appear to be out of service for a while. Stefan tried to secure the jet a few seconds too late, but Chloe had been having second thoughts about the impromptu getaway and was therefore relieved to hear about the setback. Chloe convinced Stefan that they needed to slow things down a bit.
Ava continued hiding in the DiMera crypt, with only Charlie for company, while waiting for an update from Xander. "Elvis is gonna be lonesome tonight," Charlie joked with a smirk, and Ava agreed with a cackle.
Charlie was looking forward to the moment when the mastermind of Susan's kidnapping was revealed, but Ava insisted that E.J. could never learn that information. "If he does, I will be on the run for the rest of my life, and I will never see Tripp again," Ava fretted. "So what?" Charlie countered. "I need Tripp in my life -- he is my son, and I love him, and he is alive --" Ava explained. "The Johnsons are his family now," Charlie declared.
Charlie argued that pity, not love, had fueled Tripp's sudden decision to offer Ava a place to stay in Seattle. "You have nothing and no one, Mother -- except me," Charlie stressed. "What about my grandson?" Ava protested. "We'll take my son with us," Charlie responded. "To rip a child away from his mother --" Ava tried to object. "Come on, Mom, don't lose that edge! Do I really have to remind you how good it feels to be bad?" Charlie whispered.
Sarah headed over to the Kiriakis mansion to return Maggie's check and brag about Xander's job interview. Maggie found it concerning that Xander hadn't shared many details about the job, but Sarah refused to believe that anything shady was going on. "He is a changed man," Sarah stressed. "As someone who is also married to 'a changed man'...old ways are really tough to shake," Maggie countered.
Xander looked around a building while waiting for Susan to regain consciousness. "Well, this brings back some fond memories, doesn't it?" Xander sarcastically muttered before tying Susan to a chair. "It's the Kiriakis summer shed, so no Kiriakis gardeners will be here anytime soon...but still, it's ironic that I've returned here, to the scene of so many humiliations, to try and change my fortune," Xander concluded with a sigh before placing a burlap sack over Susan's head.
Susan soon woke up and started hyperventilating due to claustrophobia, prompting Xander to don a clown mask then remove the burlap sack. "Don't you dare touch me -- or I'm gonna scream!" Susan warned. "No one will hear you -- you're in a very special room; these walls are two feet thick and completely soundproof," Xander countered in a disguised voice before stepping outside to update Ava. "Funny -- to me, this just looks like a regular old summer garden shed..." Susan observed.
Ava contacted E.J. a short time later. "I have your mother...and if you do exactly what I tell you to, maybe -- just maybe -- I will return her to you in one piece," Ava informed E.J.
Alex guided a frustrated Sonny through a session of yoga in the Kiriakis living room. "I hate yoga. It's never been my thing," Sonny grumbled. "You've never given it a chance," Alex said. After a couple stretches, Sonny told Alex that he hated Alex.
"You sneaky son of a bitch!" Sloan yelled as she stomped in. Sloan said that she knew Alex had stolen a file from her apartment. Alex played dumb. "I thought we were friends! Why would you betray me like this?" Sloan asked. Alex reminded Sloan that she had watched him leave her apartment empty-handed.
"I had wondered that, too," Sloan said. Sloan reminded Alex that his aunt had visited the apartment for trick-or-treating. "That's when you passed the file off, hmm?" Sloan asked. "You got Aunt Maggie involved in this?" Sonny added. Alex assured Sloan that she had misread the situation. "I hope it was worth it, because you can say goodbye to the best sex you ever had!" Sloan screamed.
After Sloan marched out of the house, Sonny asked Alex if he had stolen Sloan's file. "I wouldn't exactly call it stealing. But yeah, I took the file," Alex admitted. When Alex noted that he did not know what was in the file, Sonny said, "That doesn't even make any sense." Alex confessed that he had stolen the file for Stephanie. "The less you know, the better," Alex said. Alex explained that Stephanie had been scared and had needed help.
"Besides, the benefit of this is that [Stephanie] does seem a little bit warmer towards me. She asked me out to dinner tonight," Alex said. Alex said he was hopeful that Stephanie would give him a chance. "Don't push it," Sonny warned. Alex said that Sonny had been right about Stephanie. "I shouldn't have been hounding her like that," Alex admitted.
At the Price campaign office, Paulina confided to Abe that she was a nervous wreck. Abe complimented Paulina on her campaign. "You did it without any major missteps or scandals," Abe said. When Abe called Paulina lucky, she muttered, "You have no idea." Abe looked at his phone, and he noted that based on early returns, he was in the lead in the mayoral race. Paulina congratulated her husband, and she called out to Leo.
"Mail-in ballots and early exit polls have you slightly ahead of Timmons," Leo announced. "Yes!" Paulina shouted. Leo added that he had phone messages from Sloan. "Why does [Sloan] keep pestering you?" Abe asked. Paulina lied and said that Sloan had wanted a job as in-house counsel. "She can't take 'hell no' for an answer," Paulina joked. Abe kissed Paulina goodbye, and he left to meet his campaign manager.
When Paulina asked Leo about her schedule, Leo told her that she had an interview schedule. "In the meantime, would you like me to set up calls for those messages?" Leo asked. "I'll get to them later. Except for the ones from that witch, Sloan," Paulina said. Leo noted that Sloan was still after him for legal fees.
"That woman is trash," Paulina said. Leo asked if he could get an advance on his salary to pay off Sloan. "Normally, I would say no, but no one deserves to be in that conniving woman's clutches," Paulina said. Leo thanked Paulina for the help. Paulina told Leo that she had the money in the safe with a sensitive item that she needed to shred.
With a furrowed brow, Paulina wondered aloud where she had written down the combination to the safe. Paulina's phone beeped with a reminder for her interview. Paulina promised to give Leo the money after she finished her interview.
After Paulina left the office, Sloan walked in. Leo advised Sloan to make an appointment, because Paulina was not there. "I'll have your money soon," Leo said. "I guess I'm just gonna have to send my associates on the job," Sloan said as she pulled out her phone. "I can get you your money now!" Leo promised. Leo found the combination to the safe in the desk, and he opened it.
"Ms. Price was going to give me the money before she was called away," Leo said. Leo pulled a briefcase out of the safe, and he opened it. Sloan looked past Leo, and she saw her file in the safe.
As Stephanie walked past the front of the Brady Pub, she saw a campaign sign for Paulina's rival for governor, Timmons. Stephanie scowled, and then she placed a Paulina campaign sign on top of her rival's. Chad rounded the corner, and he called out to Stephanie about her act of defiance. "It was an impulse! A bad one, I know," Stephanie exclaimed. Chad told Stephanie not to worry about the election.
"And after [Paulina] is declared governor, you and I, we are going to go out to dinner and we're gonna celebrate," Chad said. Stephanie said she had plans with Alex that night. "I asked him," Stephanie said. Chad looked taken aback. "Why the change of heart?" Chad asked. Stephanie explained that she had wanted to thank Alex for his help with the file. "Do you disapprove?" Stephanie asked. Chad noted that dinner might confuse Alex.
"[It would make him think] that you're willing to give him a shot," Chad said. "Maybe I am," Stephanie countered. Stephanie admitted that her opinion of Alex had changed. "He tanked his relationship with Sloan just to help me out," Stephanie said. Stephanie added that she did not count dinner as a date, but she had an open mind about the evening. Chad chuckled. Stephanie credited her connection with Chad for having opened her up to dating again.
"And since you're not interested," Stephanie said with a shrug. "Who said I wasn't interested?" Chad countered. "You did," Stephanie said. Stephanie told Chad that she had overheard his conversation with Alex at the Kiriakis mansion. "I'm sorry," Chad said. Chad explained that Alex had accused him of having feelings for Stephanie. "I didn't know how to respond, so I just blurted that out," Chad said. Stephanie asked Chad if he had not meant what he had said to Alex.
"Obviously, there is an attraction between us. And part of me thinks that it would be really nice to pursue that and to see where that goes," Chad said. "And the other part?" Stephanie asked. Chad said the other part of him was grieving. "I'm not ready to start seeing anyone. Not in any serious way. And I don't know when or if I ever will be," Chad admitted. Chad told Stephanie that he did not want her to wait on a possibility.
"I am really glad that you want to start dating again, though," Chad said. "Even if it is Alex?" Stephanie countered. Chad smirked. "Wouldn't be my first choice, no," Chad said. Chad told Stephanie that he supported her decision. "That's what friends do," Chad said. "Friends," Stephanie agreed.
After Alex left the Kiriakis mansion, Sonny continued to do yoga. Leo walked in, and he admired the view. "Doggy style suits you," Leo joked. "It's called Downward Dog, you ass," Sonny grumbled. Leo said he wanted to take Sonny out to dinner to celebrate Leo's new job. "I didn't think you were serious about that," Sonny said. Leo explained that he also wanted to thank Sonny for having identified Clyde as the real attacker.
Allie returned home and found Chanel was cleaning up Henry's toys. As Allie helped Chanel pick up, she told Chanel that the bakery employees were excited to have the afternoon off to vote. "Henry's napping, I assume?" Allie asked. Chanel nodded yes. Allie noticed some papers on the counter, and Chanel explained that the papers were questions for an interview.
"You know, it just occurred to me you'll be a public figure," Allie said. "Mama has to get elected first," Chanel said. As Allie looked over the interview questions, she pointed out the ones about children and marriage. "Do they really think that I would give this information to perfect strangers?" Chanel said. With a grin, Allie asked about the marriage question. Chanel noted that after her marriage to Johnny, she was not eager to marry again.
"But that doesn't mean I can't see us getting married someday," Chanel added. "Same here," Allie said. Allie and Chanel agreed that it was too early in their relationship to get married. Allie asked about children. "Do you want more children?" Chanel asked. "I think that having a sibling can be very good for a kid," Allie said. Chanel admitted that she had been lonely as an only child. With a laugh, Allie noted that she and Chanel had matured since their clubbing days.
In the town square, Doug and Julie sat at a bistro table and chatted about their morning of voting and shopping. As Doug and Julie reviewed the lunch menus, Shawn walked over. "Have you voted yet?" Julie asked. "I'll do it later. I'm actually here to see you," Shawn said. In a solemn voice, Shawn asked to look in Julie's bag. "I'm afraid you've been accused of shoplifting," Shawn said. Confused, Julie told Shawn that he could look in her bag.
When Shawn picked up a mink stole, he asked for the receipt. "Doug, show him the receipt," Julie said. "Why would I have a receipt?" Doug asked. Julie noted that Doug was the one that had paid for the item. "I thought you paid for it," Doug said. The smile fell from Julie's face.
After Shawn escorted Julie back to the shop to pay for the item, they returned to Doug in the square. "I am just so mortified that that clerk actually believed I meant to shoplift," Julie said. "Wouldn't have been the first time, though, would it?" Doug joked. Julie raised a warning eyebrow. Doug apologized. With a sigh, Julie told Shawn about when she had shoplifted as a teenager. Shawn told Julie that he did not want to judge her.
"As a matter of fact, it was also a mink stole. Real fur in those days," Julie said. Julie explained that Tom and Mickey had helped her out. "It was 57 years ago to this very day," Julie said. Julie looked over at the Tom and Alice plaque.
As Shawn joined Doug and Julie for lunch, Abe walked over. Julie asked Abe about the election. "It's looking pretty good, but it's not over yet. And I may not have the job for very long," Abe said. Abe explained that he planned to resign if Paulina won her election. Across the square, Paulina walked by. Julie called out to her. When Julie asked about Abe moving away, Paulina said that was not certain.
"I just received some very troubling news," Paulina said. Paulina explained that a large number of local merchants had voted for her rival because they were still angry about Paulina's Price Town scheme. Stephanie and Chad walked around the corner, and they informed Paulina that they had a plan to counteract Timmons' latest ploy.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Alex and Sonny prepared for their dinner dates. Sonny grudgingly admitted that he was going to dinner with Leo. "I needed a night out, even if it is with Leo Stark," Sonny grumbled. Alex asked how Will felt about the dinner date. Sonny stressed that he was not interested in romance. "You are single, and I am not. So, don't compare you going out with Stephanie to me going out with Leo, because it's not only annoying and ridiculous, it is disrespectful," Sonny said. Alex nodded yes.
At Price headquarters, Paulina, Abe, Leo, Chanel, Stephanie, and Chad worked in the conference room. "I think we were able to turn the narrative around in time to reach the voters," Stephanie told Paulina. Abe announced that he had won the mayoral race. The roomful of people erupted in cheers.
After Doug and Julie went home, he presented her with a cake. "Happy anniversary to you, my darling!" Doug said. "Of what?" Julie asked. "Your life of crime," Doug said with a chuckle.
At Price headquarters, Stephanie noted that only a few counties were left to report on their vote tallies. "We might not have a definitive answer tonight," Stephanie said. As an impatient Paulina argued that she could not wait any longer, Stephanie gasped. "They're calling it! You did it," Stephanie said. Everyone cheered and hugged.
Everyone exited the office and walked over to the square. Abe addressed the gathered crowd. "I am honored that the good people of Salem have continued to support me," Abe said. With a sigh, Abe added that he was grateful, but he intended to step down. Abe explained that because his wife had been elected governor, he wanted to support her in the state capital. With a grin, Abe handed the microphone over to Paulina. The crowd cheered.
"Thank you for this warm welcome. I can't tell you how blessed I feel to be taking on such an important role. But I wouldn't have been here without my support team," Paulina said. Paulina introduced her campaign staff, Abe, and Chanel. "There really is nothing more important than family," Paulina said. Paulina stressed that she was committed to the people of the state.
Sonny arrived at the square, and he congratulated Leo on Paulina's win. "Can you believe it? I am now the executive director for the governor of this state," Leo said. Leo took Sonny's hand, and they headed for the restaurant. When Alex arrived, Stephanie told Chad that they had the night off from the campaign. Stephanie thanked Chad for his help on the campaign then walked away with Alex.
At the Brady Pub, Sloan looked at election news on her tablet. "Enjoy your victory while you can, Ms. Price," Sloan said.
At the square, as Chanel, Allie, Abe, and Paulina talked about a Champagne celebration, a solemn Shawn walked over. "I need Chanel to come down to the station with me," Shawn said. "What for?" Abe asked. Shawn announced that he had a warrant for Chanel's arrest. As Shawn placed handcuffs on Chanel, he explained that she was under suspicion of murder.
Leo rushed into the Bistro and made a beeline to the bar then realized that Sonny was still back at the entrance. "Aren't you thirsty?" Leo wondered. "I am having second thoughts, actually," Sonny responded.
Leo protested that it was too late for Sonny to back out then promised that their celebratory dinner would be fun and memorable. "We'll laugh... We'll cry -- happy tears, of course... We'll take goofy selfies and post them to our socials --" Leo suggested. "No, we won't," Sonny insisted. "Fine -- then we will laugh and cry and...eat," Leo backpedaled before stressing that Sonny could order anything on the menu because money was no object that night.
Sonny scoffed then predicted that Leo's wallet would conveniently disappear during a dramatic "oopsie" moment when it was time for one of them to actually step up and pay the astronomical total of their bill. "Oh, ye of little faith... Prepare to have your shallow preconceptions of me shattered, Jackson Kiriakis -- see, I got an advance on my salary, and it's burning a hole in my pocket," Leo countered with a proud grin, but Sonny was still skeptical.
Alex emerged from the bathroom just then, prompting Leo to duck behind Sonny. "Did you bring him here as some kind of threat? He's had it in for me since the night you were stabbed --" Leo snapped at Sonny. "Relax, Leo -- I didn't come here for you; I came here for her," Alex clarified while eyeing Stephanie, who had just entered the restaurant. "You're not mad at me anymore?" Leo translated while peeking over Sonny's left shoulder. "I don't know how to break this to you, but I don't think about you at all -- especially when I have much, much more pleasant things to dwell on," Alex answered with a shrug while Stephanie was approaching.
Leo breathed a sigh of relief then said goodbye to Alex and Stephanie before starting to drag Sonny over to one of the available tables. "We would invite you to join us, but Sonny and I have lots to talk about," Leo explained. "No, we don't," Sonny objected. "Yes, we do," Leo maintained. "Holler if he gets too handsy," Alex advised Sonny. "I will -- thanks!" Leo assured Alex.
Stephanie and Alex claimed one of the other available tables while Sonny and Leo were ordering drinks. "Your snarky brother's comment hurt my feelings," Leo admitted to Sonny with a sigh. "You have feelings?" Sonny sputtered, annoying Leo. "You can't blame him for being a little curious as to why you invited me out here. As a matter of fact, I am, too," Sonny challenged Leo.
Sonny insisted that clearing Leo's name had been the right thing to do and that it wasn't necessary to reward that intervention with an expensive meal. "I wanted to -- I mean, we have a history, after all," Leo reasoned. "That doesn't make the case that you think it does," Sonny warned before reminding Leo of their extremely complicated past. "This is fun..." Leo grumbled.
Stephanie whispered to Alex that things seemed to be getting quite tense over at Sonny and Leo's table. "I'm not sure Sonny even knows why he's here," Alex revealed. "It's not a date, is it?" Stephanie wondered. "God, no -- Sonny and Will are solid," Alex insisted before advising Stephanie to just focus on their own celebratory dinner and forget about what was going on at Sonny and Leo's table.
Sonny started to call out for a waiter, desperate for another stiff drink, but Leo interrupted and begged for a do-over. "I just want us to get along," Leo declared, annoying Sonny. "You always have some ulterior motive -- an angle -- so if, by chance, you are looking for another sugar daddy, I want to make it very, very clear that this ring I'm wearing, it means a lot to me," Sonny stressed before raising only one finger -- and although it was the left ring finger instead of the left middle finger, the aggressiveness of the gesture suggested that Leo was still being flipped off. "I am beyond hurt and insulted -- which is something I'm very used to..." Leo countered before insisting that the celebratory dinner was not part of a scheme to seduce Sonny.
Sonny gave Leo a suspicious look then translated that there was a different ulterior motive. "The truth is...I don't have very many friends, and it's distressing to me. Yes, there's Gwenny, whom I adore, but I don't have a single gay male friend in Salem -- not one," Leo confessed to Sonny with a sigh. "Maybe you have no idea what it's like to be lonely, but I'll give you a window into it -- it sucks," Leo concluded, surprising Sonny.
Stephanie realized that Alex was going to great lengths to avoid referring to their celebratory dinner as a date. Alex was delighted when Stephanie clarified that it actually was a date. Stephanie's cell phone rang while Alex was trying to celebrate with a toast. Stephanie silenced the device then assured Alex that there would be no further interruptions that night.
Chad arrived a few minutes later and apologized to Stephanie and Alex for the interruption then explained that Chanel had just been arrested. "I just ran into Sloan, and she was all too happy to let me know what she did -- that she got the documents back, and she used them," Chad elaborated before adding that someone had helped Sloan accomplish the feat.
Alex stormed over to Sonny and Leo's table after hearing the rest of Chad's tale. "Glad I wasn't being paranoid before..." Leo muttered after Stephanie, Chad, and Sonny stopped Alex from throwing a punch.
Leo denied having helped Sloan steal back the blackmail material. "Did you turn your back for even a second?" Chad wondered. "No!" Leo insisted. "Maybe?" Leo admitted with a shrug after some thought.
Stephanie apologized to Alex for cutting their date short then rushed off with Chad to do damage control. "You believe me, right?" Leo challenged Sonny. "God help me, but...yeah, I do," Sonny assured Leo.
Paulina and Abe ducked inside Team Price's gubernatorial election campaign headquarters to get away from a swarm of reporters who wanted to ask questions about Chanel's arrest. Paulina explained what was going on then apologized for having kept a secret from Abe yet again. Abe assured Paulina that keeping someone else's secret was a bit different. Paulina was relieved to know that Abe understood. Sloan soon interrupted, wanting to gloat about having managed to steal back the blackmail material, but Paulina and Abe were more interested in checking on Chanel. "Melinda Trask has that file right now -- and she hates me ever since I strong-armed her into giving Lani that plea deal," Paulina fretted to Abe.
Belle entered the police station in search of Shawn and soon realized that Chanel was in trouble. Chanel was just about to make a confession to Trask when Belle interrupted. Trask stormed off after Chanel accepted Belle's help. Chanel again tried to make a confession, but Belle wanted to first examine the evidence that had convinced Trask to pursue a murder conviction. Trask soon returned and gloated that Chanel would have to spend the night in a holding cell because it was too late for a bail hearing. Trask made a show of reminding Shawn that it was customary for murder suspects to be kept in handcuffs at all times. Allie offered a few words of support while Chanel was being escorted to a holding cell in handcuffs.
Rafe entered Basic Black and found Nicole in the CEO's office. "I figured you'd be working through dinner, so I thought you might like some raw fish...and maybe some company?" Rafe explained. "Yes, please -- on both counts!" Nicole responded.
Rafe started to vent about what was happening at the police station then realized that Nicole hadn't heard the big news yet. "I've been swamped --" Nicole admitted. "Moonlighting as Eric's top model?" Rafe concluded.
Nicole sensed the bitterness in Rafe's voice. "I just would have liked to have heard about it from you, not one of my detectives --" Rafe reasoned. "Who happens to be dating Eric? No agenda there..." Nicole grumbled.
Rafe insisted that Nicole was missing the point. "This is just another example of a lack of communication between you and me," Rafe argued. "You're absolutely right -- I should have told you first thing," Nicole conceded before apologizing to Rafe.
Nicole seized the opportunity to tell Rafe about what had happened during the third photoshoot. Nicole produced images from the photoshoot in the hope of proving that everything had been handled in a professional manner, but Rafe instead saw the images as proof that poor communication wasn't the only problem they needed to address. "Everyone in this damn town has seen it, so why don't you just stop trying to hide from me the fact that you and Eric still have feelings for each other!" Rafe challenged Nicole. "Modeling is acting -- I was playing a role --" Nicole maintained. "Respect me enough to stop trying to gaslight me!" Rafe snapped.
Nicole continued insisting that Rafe was overreacting to an ill-conceived but innocent photoshoot. "It sounds to me like you're not just trying to convince me -- you're trying to convince yourself," Rafe translated, frustrating Nicole.
Sarah entered the Brady Pub and saw that Eric was tending the bar but seemed to be more interested in fiddling with a cell phone. "Candy Crush?" Sarah guessed, confusing Eric. "Xander only looks at his phone like that when he's playing a video game," Sarah explained. "Work email," Eric clarified.
Eric turned off the cell phone, which had been displaying images from the third photoshoot, then handed over a menu while making small talk with Sarah. "Tell me about Xander's new job," Eric requested after finding out why Sarah was dining alone. "He was hired by a pharmaceutical startup called...'Rednax'?" Sarah bragged to Eric with a shrug.
Eric was alarmed to hear that one of Sarah's recent patients was someone who meant a lot to both of them. "How was it?" Eric wondered. "Seeing Rachel? Eh...truthfully, I don't think I'm ever gonna recover from losing her," Sarah responded. "It's hard for me, too..." Eric admitted. "And, also, we have Xander to blame for it," Sarah concluded for Eric.
Eric apologized to Sarah for having just made their conversation awkward. "I still have a little anger toward Xander, even though I'm working very hard to find forgiveness for him," Eric confirmed. "Well, if it's any help, I can promise that Xander has truly changed -- he's not the same man that let us believe another couple's baby belonged to us, and I know that he will never do something that terrible again," Sarah stressed.
Ava, still hiding in the DiMera crypt, received praise from Charlie after deciding not to answer a phone call from E.J. "Let him suffer -- I want that son of a bitch to experience the same type of pain he made my mother feel," Charlie spat.
Xander, still wearing a clown mask and using a disguised voice, tried to offer Susan a sandwich while they were alone together in the Kiriakis garden shed. "I don't want your nasty old sandwich, Ronald McDonald -- I got a whole plateful of catfish nuggets just waiting for me!" Susan snapped. "Why are you doing this to me?" Susan continued. "You should be ashamed of yourself, Mr. Clown -- what kind of a miserable person does such a thing?" Susan concluded.
Xander gave Susan a sigh of regret then rushed out of the shed and contacted Ava. "Don't answer his call, either -- all these men keep trying to tell you what to do --" Charlie advised. "Including you," Ava countered.
Xander started lashing out when Ava finally answered the call. "You said this would be quick and easy -- that you'd get the money, then we'd give her back, no harm, no foul --" Xander reminded Ava. "That's still the plan -- just calm down and stay the course --" Ava assured Xander. "Stop trying to handle me!" Xander warned. "I have a life -- a future -- and if you don't finish this..." Xander continued. "Get me my money -- or I'll let Susan Banks go," Xander concluded.
Xander hung up on Ava then rejoined Susan in the shed. "Good news -- you should be going home soon," Xander announced. "Mr. Clown, how do you live with yourself? I bet your mama's just so disappointed in you!" Susan responded. "My mother is a drunken train wreck, so I really don't give a damn what she thinks," Xander spat. "Still...there's gotta be someone that matters to you... You got a wife -- I mean, how does she feel about her man being a dirty, lowdown kidnapper?" Susan continued, hurting Xander. "I was warned you're psychic..." Xander muttered before assuming that was how Susan had figured out such personal information. "No, dummy -- you're wearing your wedding ring," Susan clarified, annoying Xander.
Xander teased that Susan had just proven that the concept of psychic abilities was nonsense. "Mrs. Clown, I compel you to reach out to your wayward husband and make him stop his shameful and wicked ways!" Susan shouted to prove Xander wrong.
Bonnie found Maggie in the study of the Kiriakis mansion and started gossiping about what had happened earlier. "Paulina must be just beside herself," Maggie guessed. "It's a mother's worst nightmare, let me tell you!" Bonnie stressed.
Maggie confided in Bonnie about what was going on with Sarah and Xander. "It's my anniversary today," Maggie revealed, surprising Bonnie. "And I can't see my daughter or my son-in-law," Maggie concluded, devastating Bonnie.
Bonnie promised to make things better for Maggie then summoned Sarah over to the mansion and made it clear that Xander's presence was also required. Susan started gloating when Xander received a phone call from Sarah.
Maggie asked Bonnie if Justin was going to be attending the anniversary dinner. "Unfortunately, no -- he's in Arizona, visiting the twins," Bonnie answered before recalling a dinner Maggie had planned in Justin's honor years earlier. "I remember coming in and seeing on the table the two most charming stainless-steel lanterns..." Bonnie mused before noting that Maggie and Victor had been married for eleven years and were therefore celebrating their steel anniversary.
Nicole was still arguing with Rafe at Basic Black when Eric arrived to rave about the images from the third photoshoot. Rafe shoved past Eric and stormed off, ignoring Nicole's objections.
Nicole told Eric about what had just happened then admitted that Rafe might have a point. "Let's just not say anything that we'll wish we wouldn't have --" Eric advised Nicole in an effort to end the conversation. "Eric, aren't you tired of fighting it? I know I am -- I've been fighting it since the day you came back to town, lying to myself and pretending that I'm over you and that I'm not jealous of you and Jada --" Nicole countered as Eric squirmed. "I'm trying to do the right thing -- I'm just trying to give you space, and I'm trying to respect your marriage... I started seeing somebody... But no matter what I do, I always find myself back where I started, in the same place -- with you..." Eric fretted before sighing then giving Nicole a passionate kiss.
Tony found E.J. in the living room of the DiMera mansion and announced that Anna's crystal heart was going to be replaced. "So, tell your mother that it's safe to come out of hiding," Tony concluded, prompting E.J. to clarify that Ava was behind Susan's disappearance. "I should have locked up that mongrel when I had the chance -- put her ass in Statesville -- and now my poor mother is the one paying the price..." E.J. fretted to Tony.
E.J. soon received a phone call from Ava. "In exchange for the safe return of your mother, you are going to give me 20 million dollars," Ava demanded before hanging up then sending E.J. a text message with further instructions.
E.J. phoned someone and gave them vague orders that Tony didn't understand. "You wired the ransom money to Ava's account?" Tony assumed after E.J. ended the call. "Not exactly..." E.J. responded.
Sarah entered the Kiriakis mansion and found Xander in the study. Sarah admitted that it was surprising that Xander had been the first to arrive for the anniversary dinner. Xander explained to Sarah that the new job was nearby.
Maggie soon joined Sarah and Xander in the study and revealed that Bonnie was searching the shed for a pair of stainless-steel lanterns to use as a centerpiece for the anniversary dinner. Bonnie entered the shed just then and found Susan.
Ava started panicking after receiving a text message from E.J., prompting Charlie to wonder what was wrong. Ava showed Charlie an image of Tripp, who was bound and gagged and was being held at gunpoint.
In the Kiriakis living room, Xander was alarmed when Maggie told him that Bonnie had gone to the garden shed. Xander pretended that he had received an emergency text from his office. "I'm going to have to call in, so sorry," Xander said as he walked out of the room. Maggie was suspicious that there was an emergency at a pharmaceutical startup so late at night.
"Who knows what it could be? But it's a good sign, right? That they need him?" Sarah said. When Victor joined Maggie and Sarah in the living room, Maggie asked Sarah to tell Victor about Xander's new job. "He's an executive at Rednax," Sarah said. Victor noted that he had not heard of the pharmaceutical startup.
When Bonnie arrived at the Kiriakis garden shed, she found Susan gagged and tied up. "Who are you and what are you doing here?" Bonnie asked. After a moment, Bonnie realized that the woman was Susan. "Who did this to you?" Bonnie asked. Susan continued to yell incoherently through her gag. Bonnie took the gag off.
"Adrienne Kiriakis! Did you come back from the dead to save me?" Susan asked. Bonnie started to untie Susan from the chair. "I'm Bonnie Kiriakis," Bonnie said. "You're Justin's new wife. He certainly has a type, doesn't he?" Susan said. Bonnie explained that she had gone to the shed to look for lanterns, but Susan insisted that God had directed Bonnie to save her. When Bonnie asked who had tied up Susan, she said, "A muscle-bound clown."
"Why would someone want to kidnap you?" Bonnie asked. Susan said that she was not sure, but she knew that the kidnapper had a boss. "Can you just tell me where we are?" Susan asked. Bonnie explained that Susan was tied up in the Kiriakis garden shed. Bonnie unsuccessfully struggled to untie the rope knots. With the clown mask on, Xander returned to the shed.
"Get away from her!" clown Xander yelled in an American accent. "Like hell I will!" Bonnie screamed. Bonnie grabbed a pitchfork and waved it at Xander. Xander warned Bonnie not to make him angry. "If you don't want to be skewered like a bale of hay, get out of here!" Bonnie yelled. Xander slowly advanced toward Bonnie. Once Xander subdued Bonnie, he tied her to a chair next to Susan.
"I bet your boss didn't count on a two-for-one deal, did he?" Bonnie yelped. Xander put a gag in Bonnie's mouth as he told her to shut up. After Xander left, Bonnie managed to spit out the gag, and she screamed for help. "Sooner or later, someone is going to find us," Bonnie assured Susan. Bonnie gasped. "Do you see my phone anywhere?" Bonnie asked as she looked around the room.
In the Kiriakis living room, Victor told Sarah that Rednax sounded like a made-up company. "You've really never heard of it?" Sarah asked. "How could he? It's a startup," Xander said as he returned to the living room. Victor muttered that 90% of startups failed. "Uncle Victor, it's your faith in me that keeps me going," Xander said. Sarah's phone beeped with a text from the hospital. Sarah wished Maggie a happy anniversary, and she left for work.
"I guess it is just going to be the four of us for dinner," Maggie said. "Maybe we should just call the whole thing off," Xander suggested. Maggie refused. Maggie ordered Xander and Victor to work out their differences over dinner. "What is keeping [Bonnie]? She should have been back by now," Maggie wondered aloud. Victor joked that Bonnie had been abducted. With an eye roll, Maggie announced that she would go look for Bonnie.
"The hell you are! It's dark out there. Xander, why don't you offer to go?" Victor asked. "I was going to," Xander said. Xander asked Maggie if her phone had beeped with a text message. When Maggie looked at her phone, she saw a text from Bonnie's phone. "Something came up with Mimi. She's on her way to Chicago," Maggie said. Xander argued that he was a third wheel, but Victor asked him to stay.
"Have a nice, romantic dinner. Sarah and I will be in touch soon. We'll set something up," Xander promised. Maggie urged Victor to congratulate Xander on his new job. "Congratulations on your new job," Victor muttered. Xander thanked Victor, and Maggie walked him to the front door. "At least you broke the ice," Maggie whispered. "You did. Thanks for trying," Xander said. Maggie assured Xander that Victor would come around. "Things are starting to look up for you and Sarah," Maggie said with a grin.
After Xander left, Maggie returned to Victor in the living room. Maggie told Victor that the cook was disappointed that there would only be two for dinner. "I'm not," Victor said. When Maggie asked why, Victor smiled. "So, sue me if I want you all to myself on our anniversary. Marrying you was the best thing that ever happened to me. And I think this would be a very good time for you to echo the sentiment," Victor said. Maggie whispered in Victor's ear, "It would only go to your head, which is already swollen enough. Even if it is the truth." Victor noted that they were lucky to have found one another.
Clown Xander returned to the shed. "I told you, people know I'm here," Bonnie said. "Turns out, you sent Maggie a text," Xander said. Xander showed Bonnie the message on her phone. "As soon as her son pays up, you'll both be out of here. Hopefully that will be any moment now," Xander said.
Bonnie argued that both the DiMera and Kiriakis families would hunt the kidnapper down. After a moment, Bonnie raised an eyebrow. "How do you know about Mimi? You know me!" Bonnie yelped. Xander pulled the gag over Bonnie's mouth, and he yelled at her to shut up.
In the DiMera crypt, Ava stared at a photo on her phone of Tripp tied to a chair with a gun pointed at his head. The message with the photo from E.J. read, "You took my mother, so I took your son." Panicked, Ava called Tripp's phone, but there was no answer. "[E.J.] is going to find out that he messed with the wrong Vitali," Ava muttered. Ava called E.J., and she left him a threatening voicemail.
"You lay one finger on my son, and I will kill you," Ava said. "It's nice to see that you care about the health and welfare of one of your sons," Charlie muttered as Ava ended her call. When Ava yelled at Charlie to stop whining, he chuckled. "E.J. bested you, and you can't say you didn't have it coming," Charlie said. Ava's phone beeped with another text.
"Got your voicemail. There's a simple fix. Release my mother, and I'll release your son," the text from E.J. read. Ava sighed. "I have to call Xander," Ava said. "You don't want to do that. Trust me," Charlie said. Charlie grabbed Ava's phone. "Are you really going to let E.J. get away with this?" Charlie asked. "I don't care about the money. I only care about Tripp," Ava said. Charlie argued that E.J. had been bluffing.
"If you give Susan up, you give up any leverage you have," Charlie said. Charlie advised Ava not to do anything. "What if you're wrong? What if E.J. does hurt Tripp?" Ava asked. Charlie argued that Ava was not acting rationally. "This is my son we are talking about," Ava growled. Charlie reminded Ava that E.J. had not fallen apart when Xander had kidnapped Susan. "E.J. went straight for your Achilles heel, because E.J. is ruthless," Charlie argued. Charlie advised Ava to be ruthless, as well.
In the Basic Black offices, Eric grabbed Nicole and kissed her passionately. Jada rounded the corner, and she stopped at the doorway when she saw Eric and Nicole together. Jada started to speak, but instead, she walked away. Eric and Nicole stopped kissing.
"What are we doing?" Eric whispered. "What we've been wanting to do for months," Nicole said. Eric disagreed. "We just lost our heads for a moment," Eric whispered. Nicole told Eric that she had wanted to kiss him for a long time. "I mean, every time I've seen you, actually. And every time I fight it, it just gets stronger. Eric, I want you. And from the way you kissed me just now, I think you want me, too," Nicole said. Eric noted that he and Nicole would always have an attraction to one another.
"This is more than just an attraction. The way I feel about you now is the same way I felt when we got married, and years before that. Can you honestly say we just lost our heads and there is not a hell of a lot more to it?" Nicole asked. Eric reminded Nicole of when he had visited her at her apartment after she had married Rafe.
"I was there because I wanted to tell you how I felt about you," Eric confessed. Eric explained that when he had learned that Nicole had married Rafe, he had decided that his feelings about her had not mattered. "That's not true," Nicole said. "It's just, you're with Rafe, and I'm with Jada," Eric said. Nicole took Rafe's hand.
"You and Jada? It's a thing. But it's not what we have. She knows it," Nicole said. Eric noted that his relationship with Jada was early on, but Nicole's situation was serious. "Nicole, you're married. It matters. That really matters," Eric said. Nicole said that she had been fighting with Rafe a lot.
"I hate it because I know the kind of man he is. He's not jealous. He's not possessive. He just wants to know the truth. And there is part of him that knows that I'm keeping something from him," Nicole said. Nicole started to cry. "The last thing I want to do is hurt him. And I love him. I do. This should be a good marriage, but it's not," Nicole stammered. Nicole explained that Rafe had claimed that she had married him to forget about Eric. With a sniffle, Nicole admitted that Rafe was right. "[Rafe] deserves so much better," Nicole said.
"You wanted to forget about me. Look at the way I treated you when we were married. What kind of man would marry a woman like you and then run for the hills? Nicole, I live with so much regret, and I'm sorry," Eric said. Nicole laughed ruefully, and she noted that they had screwed everything up. "And after all that, I may still love you. I always will, I think," Nicole confessed. Nicole told Eric that if he did not want to be with her, she would accept it.
"And no matter what, I need to end things with Rafe, because it's not fair to treat him like a consolation prize. Because every time I look at him, all I can think about is being with you," Nicole said. Eric appeared stricken. With tears in his eyes, Eric kissed Nicole tenderly. Nicole started to sob, and Eric hugged her.
At the Brady Pub, Steve asked Rafe if he could join Rafe for dinner. "I don't think I'd be good company," Rafe said. "What's going on?" Steve asked. Rafe told Steve about Eric and Nicole's photo shoots. "Ever since Eric's come back to town, there's been this pull between he and Nicole," Rafe explained. Steve suggested that Rafe was acting possessive. Rafe told Steve that he had repeatedly found Eric and Nicole in one another's arms and that it no longer felt like a coincidence.
"Well, I understand why it's not exactly ideal for your wife to be working with her ex. But that doesn't necessarily mean that those explanations aren't true. I mean, they're still friends, right?" Steve asked. Rafe said he believed that Eric and Nicole would always be more than friends. "They never stopped loving each other," Rafe said. Steve asked Rafe if he had talked to Nicole.
"[Nicole] doesn't want to admit it to herself, let alone to me. She doesn't want to feel this way. She just does," Rafe said. "I know it's hard, but maybe you just need to trust her," Steve said. With a nod, Rafe said he had said the same thing to Jada. Steve asked Rafe if Jada had noticed the pull between Eric and Nicole.
"Well, she certainly gives every indication that she believes that, yeah. Because every time she sees Eric and Nicole together, she finds a way to tell me all about it," Rafe grumbled. Steve asked if Jada was serious about Eric. Rafe shrugged. "I think she thinks that it's serious," Rafe said. Steve noted that Jada was young and alone in town. With a sigh, Steve urged Rafe to tell Nicole how he felt.
"Not the advice I was expecting from you," Rafe said. Steve noted that he and Kayla had had many ups and downs over the years. "One thing I know is that you can't solve a problem by ignoring it," Steve said. Rafe agreed. As Steve changed the subject to baseball, a shaken Jada walked into the pub. Rafe called out to her. "Are you okay?" Steve asked. "I've got some work things to go over with Rafe," Jada said. Steve said goodnight, and he left.
"What's going on?" Rafe asked. Jada said she had seen Eric and Nicole at Basic Black. With a nod, Rafe said he had seen Eric there when he had gone to talk to Nicole. "Turned into another big major fight," Rafe said. Jada apologized. Rafe told Jada that he had learned that Nicole was going to be on the cover of Bella magazine with Eric. Jada grimaced. "No wonder you got in a big fight," Jada said. With a sigh, Jada announced that she was tired. As Jada stood to go upstairs, she fainted, and Rafe caught her.
At Basic Black, Nicole pulled away from Eric's arms. "Should I go?" Nicole asked. Eric said no. "If I stay, you know what that means," Nicole said. "I think we both know what that means," Eric countered. Nicole asked about Jada. "It's like you and Rafe. I got to do the right thing. I can't stay with Jada. Especially when my heart belongs to someone else," Eric said. Nicole told Eric that she had never stopped loving him. Eric and Nicole promised not to screw up their relationship again. As the lovers smiled at one another, Eric's phone rang.
"I'm at the hospital. You've got to get down here. It's Jada," Rafe said. Eric ended the call, and he rushed to the hospital. Rafe told Eric what had happened at the pub. Sarah confirmed that Jada was awake and alert. "Why did she faint?" Eric asked. Sarah said that she was waiting on the blood work. As Sarah escorted Eric to Jada's room, Nicole stepped off the elevator.
Nicole told Rafe that she had been at the office with Eric when Rafe had called. "I just wanted to see if Jada was doing all right," Nicole said. "Sarah said it was just low blood sugar. Eric is in there with her now," Rafe said. Rafe guided Nicole into the nearby private lounge. "What's going on?" Nicole asked. "I wanted some privacy to say I was sorry about before. I was making a big deal about nothing," Rafe said. When Rafe noted that the photoshoot was just work, Nicole sighed. "No, Rafe. You were right. It's more than that," Nicole said. "Just say it," Rafe said. With tears in her eyes, Nicole admitted that she wanted to be with Eric.
In Jada's hospital room, Jada was quiet as Eric sat by her side. "It's a good thing Rafe was there when you fainted," Eric said. Jada nodded yes. "He was there," Jada stressed. "Is there something wrong?" Eric asked. Jada started to speak, but Sarah returned with preliminary test results. When Sarah asked for privacy, Jada insisted that Eric stay with her. Sarah handed Jada the results. "Oh, my God. I'm pregnant," Jada whispered.
In the DiMera crypt, Ava called Steve and asked to meet. "It's an emergency," Ava said. "Now you're playing the game, Charlie whispered. Ava left the crypt without Charlie, and she met up with Steve at his home. "What's going on? Tripp told me that E.J. forced you to leave town," Steve said. "I don't like being pushed around," Ava said. Ava told Steve that E.J. had discovered Ava had returned to town, and he had retaliated. Ava showed Steve the picture of Tripp.
After a call to Joey, Steve confirmed that Tripp had planned to go camping. "Yeah, right, with a gun at his head," Ava muttered. Steve looked at the picture, and he noted that it looked like the photo had been taken in Seattle. "This doesn't make sense," Steve noted. Steve asked Ava what she had done to anger E.J. "Nothing," Ava said. "I don't believe you, but I don't have time to drag it out of you," Steve growled. When Steve said that he would confront E.J., Ava said no.
"[E.J.] is furious with me. You know how vindictive he is. And if he found out I told you, who knows what he'll do?" Ava said. "What have you not told me?" Steve yelled. When Ava said she had done nothing, Steve called her a liar. "What the hell does it matter why or how this happened? Please just go find Tripp!" Ava pleaded. "Of course, I'm going to find our son. And I'm going to bring him back safe," Steve said. Ava hugged Steve, and she thanked him.