Alex and Stephanie were making out in the study of the Kiriakis mansion -- and considering relocating to one of the many rooms that offered privacy and a bed -- when Maggie returned from visiting Sarah.
Maggie apologized to Stephanie and Alex for the interruption. Alex and Stephanie each sensed that Maggie was upset about something. Maggie swore Stephanie and Alex to secrecy then explained what had just happened. Alex and Stephanie each agreed that Maggie was right to be concerned about what Justin and Victor might do if Sarah's suspicions about Xander turned out to be valid. Maggie thanked Stephanie and Alex for their support then rushed off to another room in search of Victor.
Alex waited until the coast was clear then reminded Stephanie that they had been in the middle of something earlier. Stephanie told Alex that it would probably be best for them to instead take things slowly.
Sarah continued questioning Xander while they were alone together at the roach-infested motel. "Are you my wife or the D.A.?" Xander sputtered after hearing each of Sarah's reasons for being suspicious.
Xander maintained that Rednax was a real company. "They're about to bring a new painkiller to market, and they're gonna claim that it's not addictive -- but that's a lie, and I don't want to be a part of an operation like that," Xander elaborated.
Sarah gasped then probed for more details, feeling not just personally but also professionally obligated to expose Rednax's cover-up, but Xander insisted that the head of the company was a very dangerous woman who would have no qualms about permanently silencing anyone who tried to derail the plan. "Sounds like Ava Vitali," Sarah countered before producing a tablet computer and threatening to put Xander's story to the test.
Xander feigned indignation and conceded that Sarah would need to proceed with the investigation if they weren't the type of couple who could simply take each other's word on things. Sarah wanted to give Xander the benefit of the doubt but couldn't resist scouring the Internet for concrete proof of Rednax's existence. Xander sighed then started to make a full confession after deciding that there were no other moves left to play, but Sarah interrupted and apologized then admitted to having just found not only Rednax's website but also a recent article about an unexpected job opening at the company. Xander stared at the website in disbelief while accepting Sarah's apology and insisting that there would be no hard feelings about the matter.
Jack entered the Horton house and found Gwen in the living room. Gwen was focused on using a laptop and therefore failed to notice Jack's arrival. Jack watched Gwen for a few seconds, showing a mixture of pride and curiosity, then called out a greeting. Gwen jumped and closed the laptop then forced a smile and wondered why Jack was back in town already. "I decided to come back to work -- see what's going on at the Spectator," Jack explained before clarifying that Jennifer, Thomas, and Charlotte were all still with Mike and Nancy in New York.
Jack gestured to the laptop and wondered if Gwen was trying to hide something. Gwen shrugged then confided in Jack about having stumbled into a journalistic dilemma. "Chad has no business telling you what to write," Jack pointed out at the end of Gwen's tale. "I just don't want to hurt or upset him any more than I have," Gwen explained to Jack with a sigh. "Journalists and PR teams have been fighting since the beginning -- I'm telling you right now, you're gonna have to make a judgment call," Jack advised. "'Judgment' isn't really my best event," Gwen grumbled.
Jack insisted that Gwen had changed. "I'm proud of you," Jack declared. "I didn't expect to hear those words from you ever again," Gwen admitted. "Makes me feel better about not hiring Xander," Jack blurted out before elaborating for Gwen's benefit.
Gwen admitted to Jack that Xander had never mentioned that particular incident. Jack was surprised and concerned to learn that Gwen had recently started hanging out with Xander again. Gwen assured Jack that Xander was just a friend.
Jack offered to help sort out Gwen's journalistic dilemma. "I think it would feel good to be advising a daughter of mine again," Jack reasoned. "Oh, Jack --" Gwen whispered. "Why don't you call me 'Dad' -- and not just occasionally," Jack suggested.
Jack soon headed upstairs to unpack, giving Gwen an opportunity to return to whatever was on the laptop, and Xander phoned just then from outside the roach-infested motel to talk about Sarah's discovery. "I built it, and I put it online -- I've never done one before, so it's a bit simplistic, but I thought it would do in a pinch," Gwen explained to Xander. "You saved my life -- I don't know how to thank you!" Xander raved. "There's no need to thank me -- that's what friends are for," Gwen argued.
Chad entered the DiMera mansion and found Tony in the living room. Tony sighed then stepped over to the bar with a forced smile and started filling two glasses with whiskey while admitting that it was a surprise to see Chad back in town already. "Sorry to disappoint," Chad muttered. "Not at all," Tony insisted. "I figured I should come and check on E.J. -- I heard what happened to Susan," Chad explained before clarifying that Thomas and Charlotte were still with Jennifer in New York.
Tony nodded then stressed that Chad had detected concern, not disappointment, earlier. Tony sighed again then updated Chad on everything that had happened since their previous conversation.
E.J. stumbled around the crash site in search of the source of various noises then froze when Ava emerged from the shadows. "Did you think you could get rid of me that easily?" Ava challenged E.J. with a smirk before producing a gun.
E.J. wondered if Ava was simply a drunken hallucination. Ava suggested that E.J. might instead be looking at the manifestation of a guilty conscience. "I don't have a conscience," E.J. protested before deciding that Ava was real.
E.J. hoped that Susan had also survived the accident, prompting Ava to clarify that it hadn't been an accident. "We both know the 30 million dollars didn't mean anything to you. I wanted to cause you the maximum amount of pain and suffering -- and I realized I could do that with one hard turn to the right," Ava bragged. "I jumped out of the car before it rolled into the embankment, but Susan was definitely in it when it blew up. Your mommy is dead...and now it's your turn," Ava concluded.
Tony and Chad received a tip from Rafe then drove to the crash site and found E.J.'s motionless body resting against a large rock. Chad roused E.J. while Tony was collecting a nearby flask that was empty. Tony and Chad agreed that E.J.'s head wound was going to need stitches. E.J. claimed to have gotten injured while trying to disarm Ava, but Chad and Tony dismissed the story as a drunken hallucination. "If she was here, and she meant to kill you, what stopped her?" Tony reasoned. "I can't answer that," E.J. conceded.
Tony and Chad escorted E.J. to their vehicle, failing to notice a shell casing on the ground.
While Nicole was working at Basic Black, Eric called her on the phone. "I just wanted to check in and see how you are doing since our talk last night," Eric said. "I'm fine. Jada having your baby is unexpected, but that's not gonna change anything between us," Nicole said. Eric agreed. Nicole asked Eric if he was sure that Jada was going through with the pregnancy. "Of course. Why wouldn't she?" Eric said. Nicole noted that she was busy, and she ended the call before Eric could tell her that he loved her.
Chloe stopped by Basic Black to drop off a coffee for Nicole. "With your big new job, I'm surprised you had time to stop by," Nicole said. Chloe explained that part of her new job was to oversee Basic Black. "You got Kristen's old job?" Nicole asked. "And she got my man," Chloe said. With a chuckle, Nicole noted that Kristen would be unhappy to hear that Chloe was still a part of Basic Black.
"I know, right? But Brady insists that he thinks that Kristen put Li up to offering me this promotion," Chloe said. Nicole asked Chloe if she agreed. Chloe said her concern had been whether Stefan had been a part of the promotion, but Li said that he and E.J. had made the decision without Stefan. "And what about Kristen?" Nicole asked. Chloe said that Kristen no longer worked at DiMera.
"But you're still suspicious?" Nicole said. "Of Kristen? Always," Chloe said. Nicole admitted that she could not believe that Brady had moved Kristen into his home. "He thinks that's what's best for Rachel," Chloe said. Nicole called Kristen a lunatic. Chloe told Nicole that she had moved on, and Brady and Kristen's relationship was not her concern.
"Do you think you and Stefan are maybe moving a little fast?" Nicole asked. Chloe noted that her mother had asked the same question. "In [Nancy's] defense, she is team Brady all the way," Chloe said. "That makes two of us," Nicole said. Chloe argued that she would not pine after someone that was involved with Kristen.
"Stefan and I like each other, and we're excited to see where things go," Chloe said. Nicole said that she was happy for Chloe. "It looks like we're both starting new chapters in our lives," Nicole said. Nicole told Chloe that she was back together with Eric. "You've been telling me for months that I either need to commit to my marriage or end it," Nicole said. Chloe insisted that she did not judge Nicole. With a sigh, Nicole said that her connection to Eric had been too strong.
"I was a coward. I knew I was still in love with Eric, and I married Rafe, anyway. And [Rafe] is hurt and humiliated," Nicole said. Chloe noted that Eric and Nicole had not wanted to hurt anyone. "At least [Eric and Jada] aren't married. So that breakup will be a lot easier," Chloe said. "Jada's pregnant," Nicole said. Nicole admitted that she had advised Jada not to keep the baby.
"You told Jada to have an abortion?" Chloe asked. "No, of course not. I would never do that," Nicole said. Nicole explained that she had told Jada that motherhood was a full-time job and that it would be difficult with a man who was in love with another woman. "Former couples raise kids all the time," Chloe said. "But it's not easy," Nicole countered. "But it is possible," Chloe said. Nicole said that if she had been in Jada's shoes, she would have wanted someone to say the same thing to her.
"But it's not your life, Nicole. It's Jada's," Chloe said. "I was just trying to help and encourage her to help her decide if this is something she really wants," Nicole said. With a nod, Chloe asked Nicole if she'd had an agenda for her advice. Nicole argued that she and Chloe knew firsthand how difficult it was to be a single mother. "People make it work," Chloe noted.
"I will not lose Eric again!" Nicole said. "So that's what this is. You're afraid that that baby is going to threaten your relationship with Eric?" Chloe asked. Nicole reminded Chloe of how Kristen had used Rachel to separate Chloe and Brady. "But Jada's no Kristen," Chloe said. "I know," Nicole whispered. Chloe argued that when Eric had learned about the baby, he had chosen to be with Nicole.
"And I'm pretty sure that's what [Jada] wants, as well, assuming she knows how he feels about you," Chloe said. Nicole said yes. With a sigh, Nicole confessed that she wanted to believe Eric. "Eric loves you. He always has, and he always will," Chloe said. Nicole admitted that she should not have given Jada any advice but that she also believed that it would be best for everyone if there was no baby.
At the Brady Pub, Brady gave Eric cigars and congratulated him on the baby. "What's the deal with Jada? Where does that stand?" Brady asked. Eric explained that the romance with Jada was over, but they had agreed to co-parent. "It's going to be a little more complicated than I'm sure you wished, but you and Nicole, you guys will work it out," Brady assured Eric. Eric noted that many exes were able to co-parent.
"We come from the most successful blended family I know," Brady said. Eric told Brady that they were a blessed family. When Brady noted that co-parenting did not always make sense as an option, Eric nodded in agreement. "Like you and Kristen," Eric said. Brady stressed that Kristen had moved in because it had been the best thing for Rachel.
"You're honestly telling me that there's no better options than moving Kristen under the same roof as our parents?" Eric asked. Brady noted that he could not move into Victor's house because Kristen might stab Victor again. Eric countered that it was a better option than leaving Marlena open to another attack from Kristen. "You don't have to worry about your mother, because I'm doing everything in my power to make sure that Kristen doesn't hurt Marlena," Brady said. Brady changed the subject to Eric's fatherhood.
"I'm scared, but I'm happy. And I mean, honestly, I can't stop thinking about it," Eric admitted. Eric added that the circumstances were strange, but he was happy. When Brady asked Eric how Nicole felt about the pregnancy, Eric said that he had assured Nicole that he wanted to be with her. "You'll work it out. You always do," Brady said. Eric said he was confident that he could co-parent with Jada. As Jada walked into the pub, Eric jumped to his feet to greet her.
Brady congratulated Jada, and he noted that his daughter was anxious to meet her new cousin. Jada averted her eyes. After Brady left, Eric sat Jada down at a table, and he told her how excited he was to be a father. "There is no baby," Jada said.
Johnny and Wendy returned to Allie's apartment. "Jakarta was a success! Things got a little dicey, but we got the information we needed from Dr. Rolf," Johnny said. "Now we have to decide who to confront with it first: my brother or your dad," Wendy said. Johnny lamented that they did not have the recording as evidence.
"Now, my dad is just gonna, you know, deny any involvement," Johnny said. "My brother probably will, too," Wendy said. Wendy added that she could not believe that her brother had crossed the line in order to hold on to Gabi. "It's very possible that the brainwashing was my dad's idea. It is totally his MO. And with Stefan by his side, he has got all the shares he needs to oust Gabi," Johnny said. Wendy admitted that part of her wanted to let Li get married, but she could not stay silent.
"I have to confront [Li]," Wendy said. "You really don't want me to come with you to confront your brother?" Johnny asked. Wendy stressed that she was fine. Wendy assured Johnny that Li would never hurt her, but Johnny was unsure. "We agreed that we would have a better shot at getting information if we split up," Wendy said. With a sigh, Johnny agreed.
At the Hernandez house, Gabi opened the front door for Li. "Is that pie?" Gabi asked. When Li suggested they share a piece of pie for breakfast, a confused Gabi asked about work. "My schedule's pretty open this morning," Li said. Gabi asked about Wendy.
When Li complained about whether Wendy would show up at work, Gabi told Li to calm down. As Li dug into his slice of pumpkin pie, he noted that Rafe had to be done with Nicole if he had thrown out her pie. Gabi admitted that she had not seen Rafe that upset since Sami had cheated on him with E.J. With a groan, Gabi said that she had hoped that Nicole would be the one woman in town that would not break Rafe's heart.
"They were friends before they got married, right?" Li asked. Gabi said yes, and she added that she had rooted for Rafe and Nicole to get together. "Who knew that Nicole would hurt my brother worse than Ava?" Gabi said. Gabi told Li that it had not been a surprise to learn that Niocle had dumped Rafe for Eric.
"Eric is the love of her life," Gabi said. "But their marriage was over a long time ago, no? Why would she want to go backwards? Rehash a relationship that's already run its course? Especially when she has made a commitment to someone else," Li said defensively. Gabi asked Li if he was talking about Nicole or about Gabi, Li, and Stefan. Li stayed silent.
"I can't help but see the parallels," Li admitted. Gabi stressed that the situations were very different. "Eric came back to town. Stefan came back from the dead," Gabi said. Gabi noted that after she had gotten over the shock and Stefan had rejected her, Gabi had moved on. "I am not going to make the same mistake that Nicole is making. Stefan is my past, and you are my future," Gabi said.
As Li and Gabi kissed in the kitchen, Wendy knocked on the front door. "I thought I might find you here," Wendy said. "Is everything okay?" Gabi asked. Wendy asked to speak privately with her brother. "Save it. Gabi already knows everything," Li said. Confused, Wendy said, "I didn't think you'd want Gabi to know about this." Li said that he had no secrets from Gabi. "I told her what you were up to the minute I found out," Li said. Wendy raised an eyebrow.
"What do you have to say for yourself?" Li asked. "Don't be so hard on your sister. So, she played hooky with a boy. No big deal," Gabi said. Li argued that it was a problem that Wendy had begged for a promotion and then had jetted off with Johnny her first week at work. "You said you weren't going to overreact," Gabi whispered. Li called Wendy irresponsible.
"How could you?' Li said. "I had a very good reason," Wendy growled. Li scoffed at the idea, but he thought about when he had ordered Rolf to erase Wendy's memory. Li argued that he should fire Wendy. "Calm down," Gabi said. "Calm down? Father is gonna go ballistic when he hears about this," Li said. Gabi suggested that she go out so that Li and Wendy could talk.
After Gabi left, Li told Wendy that Gabi could not save Wendy from punishment. "I'm not the one who needs to be worried about what's coming," Wendy said. Li asked Wendy what she meant. "Gabi and Stefan. And what they're going to do when they find out what you did to keep them apart," Wendy said. Li asked Wendy if she was jetlagged.
"[You] ordered Dr. Rolf to inject me and Johnny with a memory erasing drug?" Wendy asked. Li laughed. "That's absurd," Li said. "Almost as absurd as you telling Rolf to brainwash Stefan into hating Gabi so you could have her for yourself," Wendy countered. Li's smile fell away. Wendy told Li that she and Johnny had retained their memories. "And from the look on your face, it's clear [Rolf] was telling the truth," Wendy said.
Someone knocked on E.J.'s bedroom door. Hungover and miserable, E.J. yelled at Harold to go away. "I'm not Harold," Ava said. E.J. gasped in surprise. "I'm hallucinating," E.J. mumbled. "I'm real. And so is this," Ava said as she pointed a gun at E.J. Ava told E.J. that his brothers would not save him "this time."
"Say hello to your mother. In hell," Ava said. Ava fired the gun, and E.J. startled awake in bed. E.J. assured himself that it had only been a dream. After E.J. dressed, he went downstairs to the living room and poured a glass of liquor. "Wouldn't you rather have a coffee?" Stefan asked. "Hair of the dog," E.J. muttered. E.J. admitted that he might still be drunk after his night of drinking at his mother's crash site.
"Were you alone?" Stefan asked. "Rafe was with me for a bit," E.J. said. E.J. told Stefan that he had hallucinated Ava at the crash site. "I'm so sorry. I can't begin to imagine the pain you are going through right now. And just know if there is anything that you need, I'm here," Stefan said. E.J. thanked Stefan and Chloe for their kindness when he had learned about Susan.
"You two seem to be getting closer," E.J. said. "We are," Stefan whispered. With a smirk, E.J. noted that Gabi "must be seething." Stefan said that Gabi had repeatedly mentioned her wedding plans to him. "It's one pathetic attempt after another to make me jealous. You know, I wish she would stop wasting her energy and get it into her head that Chloe is the only woman in my mind," Stefan said. Stefan admitted that he saw a future with Chloe.
"I'm glad someone in this family has finally found happiness again," E.J. said. As E.J. complained about the lengths that Gabi had gone to in order to retain control of his father's company, Johnny walked in. "And just how far would you go for control?" Johnny asked. "I've been trying to reach you for days," E.J. said. When Johnny said he needed to talk to E.J., E.J. said he had something to tell Johnny first. Stefan slipped out of the room.
E.J. told Johnny that Susan had died. When Johnny asked what had happened, E.J. explained that someone had kidnapped Susan and held her for ransom. E.J. noted that after he had paid the ransom, the kidnapper had killed Susan, anyway.
"You keep saying she. It's a woman? A woman who did this? Who?" Johnny asked. "It was Ava Vitali," E.J. said. Johnny exhaled. E.J. told Johnny that Ava had died in the crash, too. When Johnny asked why Ava would kidnap Susan, E.J. said that Ava had been psychotic. After a moment, E.J. yelled, "I tried to warn you!"
"Are you trying to say this is my fault?" Johnny asked. E.J. took a deep breath. "But how would you know that she would take it that far?" E.J. whispered. "No, I was stubborn. I was stupid. Even after she defrauded our family, I still wouldn't listen," Johnny admitted. E.J. argued that the situation had not been Johnny's fault.
"It was all about getting revenge on me," E.J. said. Frustrated, Johnny countered that if he had not gotten involved with Ava, the kidnapping would not have happened. E.J. took Johnny's face in his hands and said, "This is not your fault." Johnny apologized, and E.J. hugged him. "Your grandmother was a very special person," E.J. said. With a sad smile, Johnny noted that Susan had been the first person to realize that Johnny had been possessed.
"Only the devil erased her memory," E.J. said. "Yeah. Kind of like you wanted Dr. Rolf to do to me in Jakarta," Johnny said. E.J. appeared stricken. "I tell you your grandmother died in a horrific crash, and you take that as an opportunity to hurl ridiculous accusations against me?" E.J. yelled. Johnny said that he was sorry about Susan, but it did not change the fact that E.J. had gone after him and Wendy.
"Li's sister? What the hell does she have to do with this?" E.J. asked. Johnny explained that Wendy had gone with him to Jakarta. "We found [Rolf]. And we know everything," Johnny said. Confused, E.J. asked Johnny what he knew. "That you told Dr. Rolf to inject us with some kind of memory-erasing drug, but he didn't, because we stopped him," Johnny said. E.J. asked if Johnny was on drugs. "It's over! Okay? You can stop pretending, because we know what you tried to do to Uncle Stefan," Johnny said.
At Basic Black, Nicole showed Chloe the photoshoot pictures. "They're amazing," Chloe said. Stefan walked in, and he asked Chloe and Nicole out to breakfast. Nicole declined, so Chloe left with Stefan. When Brady arrived at the office, he told Nicole to go home to Eric. "Sure. Right next door to his baby mama," Nicole joked. Brady told Nicole that he had spoken to Eric and that Eric was thrilled to be with Nicole again.
In the town square, Gabi saw Stefan at breakfast with Chloe in the café. Stefan told Chloe about his conversation with E.J. "Poor guy," Chloe whispered.
Stefan and Chloe continued their breakfast date at the town square, unaware that Gabi was eavesdropping on their conversation. "I can't get over how beautiful you are -- and how lucky I am that you're in my life," Stefan declared while gazing at Chloe, who returned the latter sentiment -- and Gabi fumed during the exchange then stormed over to the couple's table before anything else could happen.
Gabi claimed to feel horrible about having to interrupt Stefan and Gabi's breakfast date. "Then don't," Stefan advised. "This is only gonna take a minute," Gabi insisted. "I need to know if you are planning on coming to my wedding," Gabi continued. "You didn't RSVP, and New Year's Eve is just around the corner, so I need to get a precise head count," Gabi concluded before producing a spare RSVP card and a pen then shoving both items at Stefan and Chloe.
Chloe wasn't quite ready to commit to anything just yet, but Gabi wasn't willing to wait any longer for a decision to be made, so Stefan grabbed the pen then started to fill out the RSVP card. "I love a good train wreck -- I can't wait to watch Li Shin make the biggest mistake of his life --" Stefan teased. "We invited Brady with a plus-one -- I'm assuming he's gonna bring Kristen," Gabi interjected for Chloe's benefit before making a show of remembering an important appointment then deciding that the RSVP card was going to have to be mailed in, after all.
Stefan waited until the coast was clear then acknowledged that the idea of attending the wedding was making Chloe uncomfortable. Chloe explained to Stefan that spending New Year's Eve with their exes would be pretty awkward. Stefan offered to take Chloe to Miami on New Year's Eve instead. "We will ring in the New Year and start fresh -- put Gabi and Brady behind us for good," Stefan assured Chloe before filling out the RSVP card to make the decision official.
E.J., still alone with Johnny in the living room of the DiMera mansion, continued denying the accusations that had just been made. Johnny challenged E.J. to drop the act out of respect for the loss they had just suffered. E.J. sighed and gulped down some whiskey then admitted that at least some of Johnny's suspicions were valid. "I had nothing to do with Rolf's brainwashing scheme -- that was all Li and Kristen," E.J. insisted. "But I did take full advantage of it -- I used it to solidify Stefan's connection to me and the family," E.J. continued. "And you should be glad I did," E.J. concluded.
Johnny scoffed then argued that E.J. had crossed a line. "What if, after your accident, somebody got inside your head and your heart and erased all the love you ever had for Mom?" Johnny wondered. "Honestly? I would sincerely thank that person for doing me a favor," E.J. answered, stunning Johnny. "I am eternally grateful that we produced you and your little sister...but other than that, loving Samantha Brady has caused me nothing but humiliation and heartbreak," E.J. explained. "So, you were just doing your brother 'a favor' -- and taking the company back from Gabi was just a bonus," Johnny translated.
E.J. didn't buy Johnny's display of righteous indignation. "This isn't about you defending someone's right to love who they want. This isn't about love at all. This is about resentment and revenge," E.J. guessed before reminding Johnny that they were at odds over a woman who had just cost them a loved one. "If me taking Ava's side against you contributed in any way to us losing Grandma Susan, I'm sorry," Johnny stressed. "We both did things that we wish we could take back. But if there is one thing that I do know, it's that your grandmother would want us to put all of this behind us and be a family again," E.J. responded.
Johnny wanted to patch things up with E.J. but still believed that Stefan had a right to know about the brainwashing scheme. "If you tell him, not only could I lose DiMera Enterprises, I could also go back to prison for my complicity!" E.J. fretted before starting to beg Johnny not to say anything -- then falling silent after realizing that Stefan was standing in the living room doorway.
Stefan noted that there had been tension between E.J. and Johnny earlier and that it was still present. "Johnny, it sounded like you were blaming your dad for Susan's death," Stefan summarized. "Oh, is that what you heard..." Johnny muttered. "Ava was out of control -- this whole mess is her fault," Stefan declared before advising that E.J. could really use Johnny's support at that time. "You're right, I've been too hard on him -- what's done is done, and I know that he only wants what's best for this family," Johnny assured Stefan with a forced smile after giving the matter a bit more thought, drawing a sigh of relief and a nod of gratitude from E.J.
E.J. thanked Stefan for the support after Johnny rushed off. "If somebody I loved deeply was taken from me, I know you'd do the same," Stefan reasoned.
Li, still alone with Wendy in the kitchen of the Hernandez house, continued denying the accusations that had just been made. Wendy scoffed then recalled that Li had once taken their father's Bentley for a spin without permission as a way of impressing a love interest. "When Father saw the scratch on the door the next day, he suspected what you had done...but when he confronted you about it, you looked him right in the eye and denied it -- didn't even blink," Wendy reminded Li. "When I got you alone, I forced you to confess," Wendy concluded, and Li winced while remembering the incident. "You kept poking me with a sharp stick," Li grumbled, prompting Wendy to threaten another round of the interrogation tactic.
Li sighed then conceded that fooling Wendy had always been an impossible task. "I didn't set out to do any of this," Li assured Wendy. "I discovered by accident that Rolf had saved Stefan's life -- that he was keeping him in a secret facility," Li continued. "Everyone still thought of me as just 'Shin's son' -- I thought if I could retrieve one of Stefano's sons, it would help quicken my ascent up the corporate ladder," Li continued.
Wendy interrupted to summarize that falling in love with Gabi had made Li resort to drastic measures. "How do you think she'd react if she knew she's about to marry the man who made her ex stop loving her?" Wendy wondered. "I don't care if you think what I did was wrong -- I care about what you're going to do now that you know," Li responded.
Li begged Wendy not to say anything. "I'd lose my job, I'd lose Gabi, I could go to prison..." Li fretted. "Jing-Wen, you know what it was like growing up in our house -- the pressure Father put on me..." Li continued. "I finally have everything I could ever want -- a position of respect, the woman of my dreams..." Li continued. "My life is in your hands. You never told Father about the Bentley -- please don't tell Gabi about this," Li concluded.
Gabi stepped into the kitchen just then, having entered the house through the back door, and wondered what Li and Wendy were discussing. "My brother's first love," Wendy responded after giving the matter a bit more thought, drawing a sigh of relief from Li. "And why can't I know about Li's first love?" Gabi protested. "I didn't want you to be jealous -- even though you'd have no reason to be," Li explained. "Yeah, you don't have to worry about my brother's feelings for you, Gabi -- you see, I can confirm that he will do anything to keep your heart," Wendy stressed before giving Li a look then rushing off.
Wendy and Johnny met up at the Horton apartment to update each other. "I'm so sorry about your grandma -- especially her dying that way..." Wendy stressed during Johnny's recap.
Johnny and Wendy agreed that they needed to keep quiet about the brainwashing scheme. "You feeling okay with that?" Wendy wondered. "Not really," Johnny admitted. "Me, neither," Wendy fretted.
Eric, still with Jada at the Brady Pub, struggled to make sense of the information that had just been revealed. "There's no baby?" Eric repeated. "I'm not pregnant anymore," Jada elaborated.
Eric gasped and wondered why Jada hadn't reached out sooner. "You had a miscarriage," Eric translated. "I had an abortion," Jada clarified.
Eric grumbled that a heads-up from Jada would have been nice. "I was afraid that if I told you about my decision, then you would try to talk me out of it," Jada explained. "I would never put any pressure on you to do something you didn't want to do," Eric insisted. "That's easy to say now," Jada countered. "This wasn't an easy choice for me, but it was the right one," Jada continued. "And it had nothing to do with punishing you -- it had nothing to do with you, period," Jada concluded.
Eric reminded Jada that their previous conversation had ended with them both on the same page about keeping the baby. "What was it that changed your mind?" Eric wondered. "I spoke to Nicole," Jada answered.
Eric listened in disbelief while Jada was summarizing the conversation. "I don't know if it was her intent, but her visit definitely helped me decide to not have this baby," Jada concluded.
Eric changed the subject, promising to tend to Jada's every need during the recovery process. Jada appreciated Eric's concern but insisted that it wasn't necessary because they no longer had any ties to each other. Eric tried to object, but Jada interrupted. "That was my polite way of saying to leave me alone -- next time, I can't promise I will be so nice," Jada stressed, prompting Eric to leave the pub without saying another word.
Brady, still alone with Nicole in the CEO's office at Basic Black, insisted that everything was going to be okay. "I just don't see how Jada having this baby won't come between Eric and me," Nicole argued. "Trust in what you have together -- 'cause historically, Nicole, when you don't do that, that's when you get into trouble," Brady countered.
Nicole gave the matter a bit more thought then conceded that Brady was right about the importance of giving Eric the benefit of the doubt. Eric entered the CEO's office just then and asked Brady for some time alone with Nicole.
Brady exited Basic Black then ran into Chloe while passing through the town square. Brady realized that Chloe was en route to the post office with an RSVP card for the New Year's Eve wedding. "More room on the dance floor for you and Kristen," Chloe assured Brady as a way of revealing how the RSVP card had been filled out.
Chloe started to rush off without waiting for a response, wanting to finish the trip to the post office then head over to Basic Black to talk to Nicole about something, but Brady warned that it might be best to hold off on the latter idea because Eric was there. "I got the sense that he was definitely upset about something," Brady revealed.
Meanwhile, Nicole made the same observation about Eric's state of mind. "Did you encourage Jada to have an abortion?" Eric snapped at Nicole.
Abe entered the Team Price headquarters while Paulina was slamming the receiver of an office phone into its cradle. "I try to talk policy, but all those vultures want to ask me about is Chanel," Paulina explained to Abe with a sigh.
Paulina shook off the frustration then changed the subject, bragging to Abe about having had an epiphany since their previous conversation. Abe probed for more details, prompting Paulina to clarify that the epiphany had been about a surefire way to make the scandal go away. Abe urged Paulina to hurry up and get to the point so they could put the plan into motion. Paulina admitted that it was a relief to know that Abe was so eager to help. "Because you're the only one who can," Paulina teased before adding that what Abe needed to do was really quite simple. "Fire Melinda Trask," Paulina elaborated, amusing Abe.
Abe stopped laughing after realizing that Paulina was being serious. Paulina shrugged then pointed out that Abe was still the mayor and was therefore still the district attorney's boss. Paulina reminded Abe that Trask had a grudge against their family then suggested that Belle would be more likely to handle Chanel's legal predicament fairly. "So, you want me to rig her case by hiring her own lawyer to prosecute her," Abe summarized. "Well, it sounds bad when you put it that way," Paulina conceded. "It is bad," Abe insisted. "Well, then, just find someone else -- appoint the cast of Law and Order: Salem, for all I care! Just get rid of Melinda Trask's sorry ass before she can do any more to hurt my baby!" Paulina begged.
Abe rejected Paulina's idea. "I would do it if I thought it would make things better," Abe stressed. "But if I did this, the press would be all over it -- they'd be all over you -- and the city council would impeach me," Abe continued. "Politicians have been sent to prison for less. Now, if we try to help Chanel in this way, we'd be in the cell right next to her," Abe concluded.
Paulina sighed then conceded that Abe was right about the plan being a bad idea. Abe assured Paulina that the situation could be handled without the use of dirty tactics. "If anyone can outfox Melinda Trask, it's Belle," Abe declared.
Belle tracked down Trask outside the Brady Pub and insisted that it was time for them to finally have another conversation about Chanel's case. "You've been ignoring my calls, and you're holding my client without an arraignment or a bail hearing -- it's outrageous and unethical, and you're not gonna get away with it anymore!" Belle snapped. "The courts are just a little backed up right now," Trask claimed.
Trask tried to enter the pub, but Belle blocked the doorway. "We both know why you're holding her without bail -- it's so you can feast on all this publicity," Belle argued, drawing a gasp from Trask. "You think I'm purposely slowing down the wheels of justice?" Trask challenged Belle, who didn't buy the innocent act. "You filed to put a stay on a bail hearing and then made sure the busiest judge on the circuit got it late on a Friday afternoon," Belle noted, prompting Trask to concede the point with a shameless shrug. "Looks like you figured me out, eh? Too bad there's not much you can do about it," Trask teased before ordering Belle to step aside.
Belle sighed then started to walk away, admitting that Trask was right about having the upper hand. "Oh, wait..." Belle backpedaled before producing a document and shoving it at Trask. "A writ of habeas corpus?" Trask sputtered. "Commanding you to appear in court and justify your reasons for holding Chanel indefinitely," Belle confirmed. "In front of an impartial judge," Belle continued. "My client has constitutional rights, and you are duty-bound to explain why you've decided to take them all away," Belle concluded. "You think you're so damn smart, don't you?" Trask grumbled. "I think I'm doing what's right for my client. Ms. DuPree is getting bail today, Madam D.A. Can I give you a ride to the courthouse?" Belle responded with a smile.
Allie headed over to the police station and arranged a visit with Chanel. "I miss you so much," Allie stressed while alone with Chanel in one of the conference rooms. "On Thanksgiving, when I went back to my cell...for the first time, I felt like I'm never gonna get out of here," Chanel admitted to Allie with a sigh.
Shawn entered the conference room with Sloan while Allie was trying to convince Chanel that everything was going to be okay. Shawn made it clear that Chanel didn't have to consent to a visit from Sloan, prompting Allie to recommend taking that advice. "No, it's fine -- let's hear what she has to say," Chanel decided.
Shawn nodded then exited the conference room, leaving Sloan alone with Chanel and Allie. "I guess I should say 'thank you'...but I'm not really feeling that grateful, seeing as how you slept with my father and murdered my mother," Sloan began before flashing Chanel a fake smile and extending a hand. "We've never formally been introduced -- Chanel DuPree, I'm your worst nightmare," Sloan continued, drawing a gulp from Chanel, who left the lawyer hanging. "You must be the girlfriend," Sloan concluded after turning to face Allie, who was quick to object that Chanel wasn't a murderer.
Sloan admitted to Chanel that Allie seemed like a keeper. "She's passionate, loyal, a lot younger than my dad..." Sloan summarized. "If only you had figured out you liked girls a little bit sooner -- maybe my mother would still be here," Sloan grumbled.
Sloan informed Allie that Chanel had actually confessed to being a murderer at one point. "My words were misinterpreted," Chanel insisted. "Maybe by now you've convinced yourself that it was an accident," Sloan conceded. "Or maybe your mother convinced you -- I mean, she sure did work hard to cover it up," Sloan continued. "Must be nice to have a mother that works that hard to fight for you. My mother would have...until you took her away," Sloan concluded.
Allie urged Sloan to consider how young Chanel had been during the incidents that were being discussed. Sloan wanted Allie to butt out of the discussion but seized the opportunity to argue that Chanel had been old enough to live alone in a foreign country and therefore couldn't use age as an excuse. Allie maintained that Chanel had been a victim in the situation, but Sloan wasn't convinced. Chanel declared that Allie and Sloan were both right. "I shouldn't have had the affair...but that doesn't change the fact that your dad had all the power in our relationship," Chanel elaborated. "For someone who says that they have no power, you sure did have enough to destroy my life," Sloan countered.
Chanel sighed then apologized for everything that had happened, but Allie maintained that Sloan was blaming the wrong person. Allie added that Chanel's legal predicament seemed to be about money and revenge instead of justice, prompting Sloan to admit to feeling owed all three things. Shawn interrupted just then to announce that Chanel had been granted bail and was therefore free to leave. "You hired the right lawyer," Shawn proudly explained while removing Chanel's handcuffs.
Chanel rushed out of the conference room and greeted Paulina and Abe then thanked Belle for the help and wondered how the victory had been secured. Sloan fumed while listening to the story then perked up when Trask stormed into the police station and interrupted the celebration. Trask glared at Belle then shoved a document at Shawn. "Paulina Price, you're under arrest for criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice," Shawn summarized with a sigh after reading the document.
Kate emerged from the kitchen of the Brady Pub with a box of tea then headed upstairs and knocked on the door to Jada's room. "Eric, I told you -- I don't want to talk!" Jada snapped. "It's not Eric," Kate clarified.
Jada opened the door and greeted Kate, who tried to hand over the box of tea while explaining that it was a great treatment for morning sickness. Jada thanked Kate for the kind gesture then declined the gift, insisting that it wasn't going to be needed. Kate started to protest that there was no way to avoid having morning sickness, but Jada interrupted. "I'm not going to have morning sickness...because I'm not going to have a baby -- I ended my pregnancy," Jada explained.
Jada told Kate about everything that had happened since their previous conversation. "One day, I would love to be a mother -- I really would -- but just not like this," Jada concluded.
Kate insisted that Jada's reasons for deciding to have an abortion were understandable and valid. "I know that you pride yourself on being independent and not needing anyone, but I really hope that we can remain friends, 'cause I really like you," Kate stressed. "I feel the same way about you," Jada responded. "Great -- that's important, because with my history, I really need a friend in the Salem P.D.," Kate joked. "I've heard some stories about you," Jada admitted. "Yeah, well, don't believe them. I mean, they are true...but don't believe them," Kate begged.
Kate started to leave so Jada could get some rest. Jada stopped Kate at the last second. "Even though I know I did what was right for me, that still doesn't make it any easier," Jada confessed before seizing a hug from Kate then breaking down.
Nicole, still alone with Eric in the CEO's office at Basic Black, struggled to process the accusation that had just been made. "You actually think I went over to scare your ex-girlfriend into ending her pregnancy?" Nicole sputtered. "What else am I supposed to think? You were the last one who talked to her before she made the decision! Actions have consequences, Nicole -- but you never learn, do you?" Eric countered.
Nicole insisted that abortion had never even been mentioned during the conversation with Jada, but Eric saw that as nothing more than a technicality. "You knew your words could sway Jada's decision about getting an abortion or getting rid of the child -- and when she did, you got exactly what you want, didn't you?" Eric guessed.
Eric grumbled that Nicole had acted on impulse yet again. "Are you talking about me jumping into bed with Xander?" Nicole wondered. "Why would you even be bringing him up?" Eric responded. "Because this whole speech about my impulses was just sitting in the holster," Nicole explained before guessing that Eric still wasn't over that incident.
Nicole fretted that it was never going to be possible to live up to Eric's high standards. Eric advised Nicole that it wasn't the appropriate time for self-pity. "I'm not feeling sorry for myself -- if anything, I'm feeling guilty!" Nicole clarified. "I was feeling threatened by Jada's pregnancy!" Nicole continued. "I was hoping that she wouldn't keep the baby!" Nicole continued. "There, I said it -- are you satisfied?" Nicole concluded.
Eric muttered that it was nice to hear Nicole say something honest for a change. Eric started to say something else about how perfect things could have been, and Nicole was quick to put a finer point on the statement. "You want to be a father, but you chose someone who can't make that happen," Nicole noted. "How could you believe I was gonna say something so hurtful?" Eric protested. "A few minutes ago, you were willing to think that I talked Jada into ending her pregnancy, and you didn't seem to care that you hurt me then," Nicole reasoned with a shrug before summarizing that Eric had seen the baby as a solution to the dilemma of being in love with a woman who couldn't bear children.
Eric tried to insist that being a father to Holly had always been enough, but Nicole maintained that Jada's pregnancy had caused a different level of excitement. "Did you call me over to let me in on the plan? Did you even mention me in your big announcement? No -- you didn't think of me at all," Nicole reminded Eric. "I never meant to make you feel like you didn't matter," Eric assured Nicole.
Nicole conceded that Eric might not be trying to do that on a conscious level. "But you can't help it, can you? Jada decided to end her pregnancy without telling you, and you can't be mad at her, so you have to take it out on me because I am an easy target -- I mean, after Xander and all the other mistakes I've made, this is just one more way to disappoint you," Nicole elaborated. "You broke a trust, and that can't be undone -- we can't go back. Jada's baby is gone now, and I have to find a way to live with that," Eric responded. "Live without being a father, or live with my role in it?" Nicole wondered. "Both, I guess," Eric clarified with a shrug.
Eric started to leave, but Nicole objected that they still had more to discuss. "Where do we go from here?" Nicole wondered. "I don't know," Eric answered.
Eric fought back tears then exited the CEO's office without saying another word, and Nicole broke down once the coast was clear.
As Sonny played video games in the Kiriakis living room, a shirtless Alex walked in and asked for advice on his clothes. "I'm in the middle of a game," Sonny mumbled. Frustrated, Alex walked in front of the TV. "Please just tell me what shirt to wear," Alex said. "You're a grown-ass adult. Can't you dress yourself?" Sonny complained. Alex said he did not want to make another mistake with Stephanie.
"Which one should I wear?" Alex reiterated. "Neither," Leo said from the doorway. Leo suggested that Alex should go on his date shirtless. "Who invited this horn ball?" Alex said. Sonny shrugged as he resumed his game. Leo proposed that Alex hire him as his executive assistant.
"I can't believe you have the nerve to ask me to hire you for a job after the way you tormented my baby brother," Alex said. Leo noted that he was friendly with Sonny. Sonny shook his hand from side to side. "It's a work in progress," Sonny said. Leo told Alex that he had been instrumental in Paulina's successful campaign. "I have an assistant, and even if I didn't, I would still never hire you," Alex said. Leo offered to act as Alex's stylist instead. "Tempting, but it's a hard no," Alex said. Alex left.
Leo lamented that Alex had turned him down, and he noted that he would have to take a job at Buddy's Burger Barn. "I mean, a job's a job," Sonny said. "This head was not meant to wear a paper hat. But you're right. That might be my only option," Leo said. With a deep sigh, Leo thanked Sonny for Sonny's attempt at cheering him up. As Leo started to leave, Sonny called out to him.
"I'm pretty much recovered now, which means I will be going back to being CEO. And when I do, I will need an assistant," Sonny said. "What are you saying, Jackson?" Leo asked in disbelief. "How do you feel about working for me at Titan?" Sonny asked. Leo smiled, and he asked if Sonny meant it. Sonny said he had not forgotten Leo's false accusations of sexual harassment or his other crimes.
"But I have forgiven, because I have a heart as big as all the outdoors," Sonny said. Leo agreed. "I'm very touched and very grateful that you would make this offer. But what about the optics?" Leo asked. Sonny said the PR team would handle the messaging. When Leo pointed out that Victor would be livid, Sonny agreed that Victor would likely fire them both.
"It means more than you know that you would consider me like that," Leo said. Sonny offered to help Leo find another job. Leo sat on the couch next to Sonny, and they reviewed the want ads online together. When Sonny noticed a position for a book illustrator, Leo was unsure. "You love art. Plus, I mean, you're really good at it," Sonny said. "In that case, put that one down as a maybe," Leo said. Leo and Sonny smiled at one another.
At the café in the square, John and Marlena ate a meal with Rachel. While Rachel worked on her Christmas list, John asked Marlena what she wanted for Christmas. "My present is already on the way: a new grandbaby," Marlena said. "No greater gift than that," John agreed. Marlena noted that Eric had always wanted a child, and she was happy for him, despite the circumstances.
"I'm finished," Rachel said. John read Rachel's list aloud. "What I want most for Christmas is for my mommy and daddy to get married," John read. Marlena told Rachel that weddings were not a gift that Santa could deliver. "Why not? He's giving you a grandbaby," Rachel said. Marlena laughed. John explained that when two people decided to get married, it was the decision of the couple and not Santa Claus.
"Well, it's gonna happen," Rachel said. "How can you be so sure?" Marlena asked. "Mommy told me," Rachel said. Marlena advised Rachel not to get her hopes up. "Not all mommies and daddies are married," Marlena said. "But my mommy and daddy will be," Rachel stressed. Marlena and John exchanged a look. John told Rachel that no matter what happened with her parents, her parents would always love Rachel. With a nod, Rachel put on her headphones and watched a video on her tablet.
"Kristen has just stooped to a new low, getting this little girl's hopes up about something that is never going to happen," John complained. "Are you sure about that?" Marlena countered. Marlena argued that Kristen was a master manipulator. "What makes you think she won't manipulate [Brady] into marriage?" Marlena asked. John and Marlena agreed that they needed to stop Kristen.
Eric knocked on Jada's door, but she did not answer. "If you're listening, I just wanted you to know that I'm here for you if you need anything," Eric said. With a nod, Eric headed downstairs. A regular, Hank, spotted Eric, and he noted that the bartender was missing. Eric poured a drink for Hank. As Eric cleaned up around the bar, he stopped and stared at a bottle of liquor. Eric thought about his conversation with Nicole about Jada's abortion.
After a moment, Eric poured a glass, and he stared at the contents. "Dude. You're looking at that drink the way I usually look at women," Alex said. "It's been awhile," Eric said. Eric explained that he was not an alcoholic but that he did not drink any more. Alex offered to take the drink off of Eric's hands. When Eric handed Alex the glass, Alex gulped it down. Alex told Eric that the magazine cover had been a hit. "How long till we can get you and Nicole back in the studio?" Alex asked. "I don't think that's a good idea," Eric said. Alex pushed on, and he suggested that the next cover would be swimwear.
"People are calling you the perfect couple. You know you got people online calling you 'Ericole'? It's wild," Alex said. "Shut the hell up!" Eric yelled. Alex asked what was wrong. "I'm a photographer, not a model," Eric grumbled. Alex reminded Eric that the decision was not up to Eric. "Nicole and Brady are the ones in charge," Alex said. Eric argued that Nicole would be just as opposed to the idea of a second cover.
"[I'll quit] if I'm forced to," Eric said. "Did something happen between you two?" Alex asked. Eric grumbled, "It's none of your business." Alex pushed Eric to explain. Frustrated, Eric yelled at Alex to let it go. Alex reluctantly agreed, and he noted that Eric had rage issues. After Alex crossed the room to wait for Stephanie at a table, Eric poured another glass of liquor.
At the penthouse, a hand grabbed the Marlena doll off the mantel. Brady returned home, and he stopped dead in his tracks as he looked across the living room. "Susan?" Brady said. A woman dressed like Susan turned around. "You look like you just saw a ghost," Susan said. "Maybe that's because you are," Brady said. Susan scoffed at the idea, and she wiggled the Marlena doll as proof that she was real.
"How is this even possible?" Brady asked. Brady noted that witnesses had seen Susan's car burst into flames. "As Elvis Presley once said, reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated," Susan said. "That was Mark Twain," Brady countered. Susan shook her head in disagreement. Susan explained that, like Elvis, she had tricked the world into believing she had died.
"Does Marlena know?" Brady asked. When Susan said no, Brady offered to call her. Susan told Brady not to bother. "Brady, it's me," Kristen said. "What the hell is wrong with you?" Brady yelled. Kristen removed her wig and fake teeth. "What are you doing, pretending to be Susan?" Brady asked. Kristen said she had wanted to see if she could still pass as Susan. Brady asked why.
"I needed to practice before I visited E.J.," Kristen said. Kristen explained that since she and E.J. were not on speaking terms, she could not console him as Kristen. "Have you completely lost your mind?" Brady asked. Brady argued that not only would E.J. see through the disguise, but that the idea was cruel.
"I thought it would be just the opposite. It would be an act of mercy," Kristen said. Kristen explained that Tony had told her that E.J. had felt overwhelming guilt about Susan's death. "I thought I would appear as this vision of his dearly departed mother to ease his mind, to assure him that her death was not his fault," Kristen explained. "Surprisingly compassionate of you," Brady said. Kristen reminded Brady that E.J. was her brother.
"You used three human lives as bargaining chips to get me back in your life, and you blackmailed me into breaking up with Chloe, and we all know that's the tip of the iceberg of the criminal activity that you've been a part of," Brady said. Brady admitted that he was surprised that Kristen could be selfless.
"I haven't behaved all that honorably lately. But I'm not completely evil," Kristen said. Kristen packed her Susan disguise into her bag. "It seems your heart is in the right place, but it's not a good idea," Brady advised. Brady argued that E.J. would figure it out, and he would resent Kristen. With a sigh, Kristen noted that she had treated Susan terribly through the years. Kristen started to tear up.
"Now that she's gone, I'm never going to get a chance to say I'm sorry. And to thank her for all that she's done for me. You know what? I'm really going to miss her," Kristen said. "It's okay," Brady said. Before Brady could stop Kristen, she hugged him. John, Marlena, and Rachel returned home. "What's going on here?" John asked. Brady explained that they had been reminiscing about Susan.
While John and Brady escorted Rachel in the back to get ready for bed, Marlena stayed behind. "You are about to bore me with one of your tedious lectures, aren't you?" Kristen asked. Kristen rolled her eyes. "I understand that you are filling Rachel's head with ideas of you and Brady getting married," Marlena said. "And what's wrong with that?" Kristen asked. Marlena argued that Kristen had manipulated Rachel.
"And you're also setting your daughter up for a lot of disappointment," Marlena added. "She won't be disappointed if Brady and I actually do get married," Kristen countered. Marlena argued that Kristen needed to consider that Rachel could be hurt by Kristen's scheming. "Please stop," Marlena begged. "I'll take that under advisement," Kristen said with narrowed eyes.
After Marlena left to help with Rachel, Kristen picked up the doll. "Your doppelgänger was wrong. Sometimes my schemes actually do work. Like tonight, for instance. I wasn't actually going to visit E.J. dressed like Susan. I just needed to get Brady to see me in a different light. And guess what? It worked like a charm," Kristen whispered.
Down the hallway, John took Brady aside as Rachel brushed her teeth in the bathroom. "What the hell is going on with you and Kristen?" John asked. "She was upset about Susan. I was just consoling her a little bit. It was no big deal," Brady said. Brady promised John that he would never fall in love with Kristen again.
In Paulina's office, Chad and Stephanie worked on a press release about Chanel. After the release was finalized, Stephanie noted that they had completed work in time for her date with Alex. Stephanie's phone rang with a call from Abe. Abe told Stephanie about Paulina's arrest.
"I can't even imagine what [Paulina] and Chanel are both going through right now," Stephanie said. "It's so unfair. Chanel obviously didn't mean to kill that poor woman. It was an accident," Chad said. Stephanie argued that Paulina had acted like a parent when she had covered for Chanel. Chad and Stephanie got back to work on a new press release.
"Aren't you supposed to be going to dinner with Alex?" Chad asked. "I still have some time," Stephanie noted. Stephanie told Chad about Alex's surprise Thanksgiving dinner. "Guess he's not all that bad, after all," Chad said. "He actually turned out to be a really great guy," Stephanie agreed. Chad looked across the table at Stephanie as she worked.
When a new draft of the press release was ready, Chad read it aloud as Stephanie paced. "Still not striking the right tone?" Chad asked. Stephanie leaned over Chad's shoulder, and she directed him on edits. "Definitely still needs work," Stephanie said. "What about your date with Alex?" Chad asked. Stephanie took out her phone, and she called Alex at the pub.
"I'm stuck here at the office," Stephanie said. Stephanie asked for a rain check, and Alex agreed. At the pub, Eric huddled on the staircase, and he stared at the poured drink on the bar. Eric put on his coat, then he drank the glass of liquor. "I need to get the hell out of here," Eric whispered. Alex watched Eric walk out.
At Paulina's office, Chad and Stephanie struggled with their press release. "By morning, everyone will know about the arrest. If we don't stay ahead of the narrative now, we're going to be behind the curve," Stephanie said. Stephanie suggested that they start over. Chad looked at his watch. "You should go home. It's almost time to put the kids to sleep, anyway. I got it," Stephanie said.
"This is too important," Chad argued. "I really don't mind," Stephanie countered. "You do this by yourself, you're gonna be here all night. Two of us, we'll get it done in half the time," Chad said. When Stephanie asked him if he was sure, Chad told Stephanie that he would not abandon her. "You gave up your date with Alex. We're in this together," Chad said. Stephanie hugged Chad. Alex walked in with take-out, and he deflated when he saw Stephanie with Chad.
In the bar off the square, Nicole sipped a martini. E.J. put a hand on her shoulder, and she jumped. "Hey, stranger," E.J. said. When E.J. saw the tears in Nicole's eyes, he handed her a handkerchief. "Thanks. I was going to call you sooner. I'm so sorry about your mother," Nicole said. "I appreciate that. But something tells me that is not the reason that you're upset," E.J. said. E.J. asked if Nicole was upset about Eric. When Nicole nodded yes, E.J. said he had spoken to Rafe.
"Did he tell you the whole sordid story?" Nicole asked. "Rafe told me that you had left him for Eric and that there might already be trouble in paradise," E.J. said. E.J. asked Nicole if she wanted to talk. After E.J. joined Nicole for a drink, she told him about her fight with Eric. "[Eric] believes that I talked [Jada] into [an abortion]," Nicole said. Nicole stressed that she had not intended to convince Jada to have an abortion.
"At least I didn't think it was [my intent]. I don't know. Maybe deep down, that's what I really wanted," Nicole confessed. "Even if that were true, it's not as if you drove Jada to the clinic and forced her to get the procedure," E.J. argued. E.J. reminded Nicole that it had been Jada's decision. "But [Eric] still thinks I stuck my nose in it," Nicole said. E.J. scoffed. E.J. said that Eric knew that Nicole was unable to keep an opinion to herself.
"Well, maybe I should have this time," Nicole said. With a sigh, Nicole said that she had believed that her relationship would be better without a baby. "But now things are worse, much worse, and I don't think there is any coming back from it," Nicole said. E.J. told Nicole that Eric would calm down, and he would realize that Jada's decision was not Nicole's fault. Nicole argued that E.J. did not understand the whole situation.
"Sometimes, you cross a line, and there is no going back," Nicole said. E.J. sighed. "I can relate to that. I crossed a line, and now my mother is dead," E.J. said. E.J. told Nicole about the kidnapping. "The problem with playing games with Ava is that she is out of her mind," Nicole said. Nicole told E.J. that it was impossible to know how Ava would have responded. When E.J. asked if Nicole was going to tell him it was not his fault, Nicole said no.
"But maybe it is your fault. Just like maybe it is my fault that Jada got rid of Eric's baby," Nicole added. E.J. noted that he and Nicole had a history of being their own worst enemies. "Yet we still haven't managed to learn our lesson," Nicole said. "How the hell did we get so screwed up?" E.J. asked. Nicole chuckled. When E.J. suggested another round of drinks, Nicole declined.
"I need to find a place to stay tonight," Nicole said. Nicole explained her living situation. "What about Holly?" E.J. asked. Nicole said that Holly was staying with Maggie until Nicole could find a suitable apartment. "You couldn't stay with Maggie, too?" E.J. asked. Nicole laughed, and she argued that Victor would murder her. E.J. invited Nicole to go home with him. A tipsy Nicole muttered that she was not drunk enough to sleep with E.J. E.J. clarified that he was offering a guest bedroom. "Truth be told, I could use the company," E.J. said. With a shrug, Nicole accepted. Nicole was unsteady on her feet, and E.J. helped to hold her up. Eric walked in, and he saw them together.