Brady entered the living room of the Evans-Black townhouse while Kristen was confessing a scheme to Marlena's look-alike doll. "I don't know how much you heard..." Kristen started to explain to Brady while putting the doll back on the mantel. "Just enough to be concerned," Brady responded before wondering when Kristen had started having conversations with inanimate objects.
Kristen breathed a sigh of relief then told Brady that getting into the habit of having conversations with dolls was simply one of the welcome hazards of being around Rachel every day. Brady gave Kristen a nod of skepticism then changed the subject, producing the Christmas list that Rachel had made earlier that day. Brady guessed that Kristen was responsible for Rachel's top request. "If I wanted to get married to you, I wouldn't whisper it in Rachel's ear -- I would just make it a condition of our agreement. In another month, Marlena, Kate, and Kayla are gonna get sick again -- I would just march you to the altar in exchange for the orchid that's going to cure them," Kristen insisted.
Kristen was quick to assure Brady that wasn't actually part of the plan. Kristen reasoned that it would be much more satisfying to win Brady back without the use of such tactics. Brady pointed out that the best way to prove that claim would be to hand over the orchid right away, but Kristen wasn't ready to give up that leverage just yet. Kristen suggested that Brady was enjoying their living arrangement and might enjoy it even more if they started sleeping in the same bed. Kristen tried to seize a kiss, but Brady pulled away at the last second. "Until you hand over that orchid to me, nothing's gonna happen between us," Brady warned Kristen before retreating to another room.
Sonny continued helping Leo search for a job while they were alone together in the study of the Kiriakis mansion. Leo appreciated Sonny's act of kindness. "I certainly don't deserve it," Leo acknowledged. "I have nothing better to do," Sonny reasoned.
Sonny soon realized that Leo's stomach was growling. "I'm on a budget of zero dollars a day. I cleared out the doughnuts at an A.A. meeting for lunch," Leo explained. "You're in A.A.?" Sonny sputtered. "No, but they were free," Leo clarified.
Sonny took the hint and started to head off to the kitchen to ask Cook to prepare a meal for Leo. "I hope I'm not overstepping," Leo fretted. "I think we're way past that point already," Sonny countered.
Will phoned seconds later, and Leo decided to answer the call after realizing that Sonny was already out of earshot. "Wilhelmina! What's up?" Leo began. "No, Sonny's fine -- he's just in the other room, getting us some food," Leo continued.
Sonny returned just then and started to say something about the meal that Cook was preparing but stopped midsentence and grabbed the cell phone after realizing that Leo had been talking to Will. "Everything's fine -- I was just helping Leo look for some jobs online," Sonny explained to Will. "Yes, I remember everything that he did to me, but a lot has changed since you've been gone," Sonny continued. "Look, can we just talk about this when you come home for Christmas?" Sonny continued. "What do you mean, you're not coming home?" Sonny continued. "No, of course -- I understand," Sonny continued. "Why wouldn't I understand?" Sonny continued. "I'll talk to you later, okay? Bye," Sonny concluded.
Sonny ended the call then sniffled and wiped away some tears. "What, no 'I love you'?" Leo called out to Sonny from behind. "Not tonight," Sonny muttered.
Leo prodded Sonny to reveal why Will wasn't going to be able to return to Salem for the holidays. "It's the same old stuff -- he's doing another movie for Peacock, and they want the writer to be on set," Sonny clarified. "They're filming over Christmas?" Leo sputtered. "Apparently," Sonny grumbled. "You don't think he's lying, do you?" Leo wondered. "No," Sonny declared without hesitation. "Of course not," Sonny added in a whisper after a brief pause.
Leo suggested that Sonny could instead join Will in Los Angeles for the holidays. "I can't. And it's not like he exactly encouraged it. And besides, Gabi's already made a bunch of plans for Ari this winter, so..." Sonny protested. "I'm sorry," Leo stressed. "Yeah -- me, too," Sonny responded. "I guess my answering your phone didn't help," Leo acknowledged, prompting Sonny to demand an explanation for the move. "I called you, and you didn't hear me, so I thought I could let him know that you were here," Leo clarified. "I forgot I'm kind of a trigger for him," Leo continued. "I swear I was not trying to make any trouble," Leo concluded. "Yeah, well, you don't have to try, Leo -- you just do," Sonny grumbled.
Leo took that as a cue to leave, but Sonny objected after giving the matter some thought, knowing that Cook's meal would be ready soon and that it would be much more filling than stale doughnuts.
Sonny continued helping Leo search for a job while they were eating sandwiches and sharing a bowl of potato chips -- and their hands touched at one point when they both reached into the bowl at the same time.
Leo directed Sonny's attention to a job listing that seemed perfect. Sonny agreed that Leo was an exact match for the job description. Leo groaned after realizing the reason, and Sonny laughed after making the same connection. "Paulina's looking for my replacement," Leo summarized. "I can confidently say that Paulina will never find anyone else like you," Sonny declared. "You're right about that," Leo bragged while flashing a proud grin, and Sonny returned the smile.
Chad and Stephanie ended their embrace after realizing that Alex had just joined them at the Team Price headquarters. "I thought maybe you wouldn't find the time to eat, so..." Alex explained to Stephanie while holding up two bags of takeout food. "That is so thoughtful of you!" Stephanie raved. "And also unnecessary. See, when you told me that you were busy, I assumed with work -- my bad," Alex grumbled. "It's not what it looks like," Chad assured Alex on Stephanie's behalf.
Stephanie and Chad took turns telling Alex about the latest PR crisis. Alex read Chad and Stephanie's press release then suggested a few changes. Chad showed a hint of jealousy when Stephanie declared that Alex's advice was brilliant.
Alex and Stephanie shared their Chinese food with Chad but kept the only two fortune cookies for themselves. Chad showed another hint of jealousy while watching Stephanie and Alex open the cookies. "Help -- I'm trapped inside of a fortune cookie factory!" Alex read aloud from one of the fortunes before urging Stephanie to share the other one. "It's silly," Stephanie objected before agreeing to show Alex. "You're looking at the man of your dreams," Alex read aloud as Stephanie blushed.
Chad started to rush off, having seen enough, then returned seconds later to retrieve a forgotten coat -- and caught Stephanie kissing Alex.
Belle entered the police station and greeted Shawn with a sigh then complained that meeting with Trask to discuss Paulina's arrest had been a complete waste of time. Shawn wasn't surprised to learn that Trask had refused to even consider any of the arguments Belle had made on Paulina's behalf. Belle confirmed Shawn's suspicion that Paulina was going to have to spend the night in a holding cell because Trask had made a point of filing charges after the courthouse had closed for the day. "The papers are gonna have a field day with this," Shawn noted. "I'm sure that had nothing to do with Trask's decision," Belle joked. "She lives to see her name on the front page," Shawn agreed.
Belle informed Shawn that Paulina was finding comfort in the knowledge that Chanel was free for the time being. Shawn admitted to Belle that it was frustrating to be working with a district attorney who always seemed to be more interested in going after people like Chanel and Paulina instead of the real criminals. "You have tomorrow off -- you can relax and regroup," Belle pointed out in an effort to lift Shawn's spirits.
Shawn scoffed then revealed that Jada had phoned to beg for a shift trade while Belle had been at the courthouse. Belle grew concerned when Shawn elaborated that Jada was recovering from some sort of medical procedure. "How many 'medical procedures' do pregnant women have?" Belle fretted. "You think..." Shawn translated. "She had an abortion? No!" Belle responded. "I just hope nothing went wrong," Belle clarified.
Eric demanded an explanation after catching Nicole stumbling out of Small Bar with E.J. "Passing judgment, Eric? Ooh -- how out of character!" E.J. teased.
Eric told E.J. to butt out of the conversation. "This isn't a good idea. Remember what happened last time?" Eric advised Nicole. "Are you referring to when I slept with Xander?" Nicole challenged Eric. "That was the biggest mistake of your life --" Eric declared. "She's looking at the biggest mistake of her life," E.J. interjected. "So, you're gonna double down and go home with this Pommy? What the hell is wrong with you?" Eric spat.
Nicole encouraged Eric to refrain from holding back. "Call me a slut," Nicole recommended. "If you're worried about my marriage or my reputation...well, stop, because it's shot to hell," Nicole continued. "I don't have a house because I blew up my marriage to be with you -- and now, you and Rafe both hate me, and I'm sleeping in my office," Nicole continued before concluding that E.J. had simply offered the DiMera mansion as a place to crash for the night.
Eric denied hating Nicole then reiterated that spending the night with E.J. would be a big mistake. Nicole found Eric's denial hard to believe and also found E.J.'s offer hard to turn down. Eric shoved E.J. away from Nicole in an effort to prevent them from leaving the bar together. "I'm trying to overlook you being a dirtbag, because your mom died --" Eric snapped at E.J. "You know, it might make you feel better to blame me for your screwed-up life, but the fact of the matter is that it's all on you. You didn't have to lose your baby and Nicole -- that was your choice," E.J. countered, prompting Eric to throw a punch.
Shawn and Belle arrived just then and were both surprised to learn that Eric had just assaulted E.J. "He got his knickers in a bunch because his girlfriend had an abortion -- and he decided it was Nicole's fault," E.J. explained, further annoying Eric.
Shawn stepped in to prevent Eric and E.J.'s argument from getting physical again. Eric shoved Shawn away, not yet done with E.J. "Have you been drinking?" Shawn challenged Eric. "Yeah, I had a drink -- so sue me!" Eric responded. "You don't drink anymore!" Belle protested. "It was a choice. I'm not an alcoholic. Tonight, I chose to have a drink," Eric stressed.
Shawn turned to Nicole and E.J. and wondered how many drinks Eric had consumed. "I don't know -- he just got here," Nicole answered. "So, you had a drink, then you got in a car and you drove, and you came to a bar to drink more?" Shawn snapped before trying to escort Eric out of the bar. "What, are you the alcohol police?" Eric countered before shoving Shawn to the floor. "Two assaults in one night -- and one of them an officer of the law!" E.J. summarized before telling Shawn to arrest Eric. "E.J., Eric didn't mean to --" Nicole argued. "He did. Just like he meant to hurt you when he accused you of killing his baby. You don't owe him anything, Nicole -- not a damn thing," E.J. countered, and Nicole conceded the point then allowed the arrest.
Nicole and E.J. left the bar together and headed over to the DiMera mansion. E.J. decided to continue drinking, but Nicole declined to follow suit.
Nicole found it hard to believe that Eric was once again drinking and driving, especially after what had happened with Daniel years earlier. E.J. assured Nicole that Eric would only get a slap on the wrist for what had happened at Small Bar because Shawn and Belle, of all people, were handling the situation. "And, hopefully, that will be the wake-up call he needs," E.J. stressed.
Nicole felt responsible for the situation, but E.J. insisted that no one had forced Jada to get the abortion that had started Eric's downward spiral. "Coming from a woman who can't have a child, I'd do anything to be in her shoes," Nicole admitted. "To be having a baby...with Eric," E.J. translated. "My head is spinning -- I don't know what to think or how to feel," Nicole backpedaled.
E.J. led Nicole to one of the bedrooms. Nicole spotted a framed photograph of Susan and E.J. then realized who had last resided in the bedroom. E.J. confirmed the suspicion then explained that Susan's old bedroom was the nicest available one and that Nicole deserved only the best. Nicole thanked E.J., who nodded then exited the bedroom, clutching the framed photograph.
Belle followed Shawn and Eric to the police station. Eric begged Belle to handle the legal predicament, prompting Shawn to stress that nothing could be done until the following day because the courthouse was already closed. "I know that there are extenuating circumstances here, and I get that you're really upset, okay? But you're not even facing charges for the worst thing you did here tonight," Belle pointed out. "You assaulted a cop --" Belle continued. "I barely even touched him," Eric protested. "You were drinking and driving," Belle continued. "You punched E.J. --" Belle tried to conclude. "E.J.'s an ass -- but, sure, you know what? You just take his side -- I mean, after all, you slept with him!" Eric spat.
Belle scoffed then told Eric to find another lawyer. "Get him out of my face," Belle begged Shawn, ignoring Eric's attempts to apologize.
In the town square, Chanel gasped when she saw that someone had painted "murderer" across the front window of her bakery. As Chanel cleaned off the graffiti, Sloan approached. ""What a shame," Sloan said. Chanel glared at Sloan. Sloan protested that she was innocent of the vandalism. "It sure does look like the public's opinion is turning against you," Sloan said. Sloan gloated about Paulina's arrest.
"My mother wasn't even in town the night your mother died," Chanel argued. "But she showed up fast enough to make sure she cut a check to the college. That's a crime," Sloan said. Chanel said that Paulina had protected her. "[Paulina] knew I was getting railroaded," Chanel argued.
"It must be nice to have a mother who takes care of you like that. Because of you, I don't have that. Or a father," Sloan said. Sloan told Chanel that she had worked hard in law school to get justice. "So that you could find out what it feels like to have everything that you care about taken from you," Sloan said.
A hungover Nicole woke up naked in bed next to E.J. "Good morning, sunshine," E.J. said. "What did we do?" Nicole asked. "We decided to drown our sorrows in alcohol, and then we came back here and fornicated like rabbits," E.J. said. E.J. kissed Nicole on her hands and cheek. Nicole groaned, and she called herself a slut.
Nicole startled awake in bed, clothed in a T-shirt. Nicole looked around the room to make sure that she was alone. "Okay, maybe I'm not a hopeless slut. And maybe I didn't sleep with E.J.," Nicole said. E.J. entered with a tray of breakfast. "Good morning, sunshine," E.J. said. Nicole grimaced. E.J. plopped onto the bed with the tray, and Nicole waved dismissively at the food.
"The green stuff is a guaranteed hangover cure," E.J. said. E.J. explained that Susan had sworn by her mother's recipe. "It offers almost instantaneous relief. Word of honor," E.J. said as he handed a glass to Nicole. Nicole took a sip and groaned. "It's supposed to taste like that. Mother always said the only way to make sure it doesn't come back up is to gag on the way down," E.J. said. With a look of disgust, Nicole took another sip.
"She always looked out for me. Especially when I couldn't look after myself," E.J. whispered. As E.J. ate, Nicole continued to sip her green drink. "Grows on you, doesn't it?" E.J. asked. "Like a fungus," Nicole countered. E.J. laughed as Nicole admitted that she felt better. Nicole thanked E.J. for the room. "I wonder how Eric's morning is," Nicole whispered. E.J. noted that Eric likely felt "exactly as he deserves."
"I can't believe that Eric was drunk. I mean, he's been sober since..." Nicole said. When Nicole did not finish her sentence, E.J. said, "Since he caused that accident that killed Daniel. You told me last night." Nicole admitted that she had never seen Eric that drunk before and that she felt awful for him.
"He called you a slut and me the devil incarnate then punched me in the face," E.J. said. E.J. reminded Nicole that she had supported E.J.'s decision to press charges. Nicole admitted that she had been fortified by several martinis. E.J. asked Nicole if she had second thoughts. Nicole said yes.
"Eric has such a knack for making you feel guilty," E.J. said. Nicole said she did not believe that Eric deserved to be in jail. "He punched me in the face!" E.J. said. "Because you said he was stupid enough to lose me and the baby," Nicole argued. "I thought you didn't remember last night?" E.J. countered. Nicole took a deep breath.
"By the way. Did we have sex?' Nicole asked. E.J. grinned, then said no. E.J. offered to ask the D.A. to drop the charges for Nicole's sake. Nicole nodded yes, and she said that Eric had been in jail long enough. E.J. left a voicemail for Trask.
"I'm willing to do what you want, but don't you think that Eric deserves to find out that he can't get away with treating you like rubbish?" E.J. asked. Eager to change the subject, Nicole announced that she needed to search for a place to live. "Why don't you and Holly stay here until you find something?" E.J. suggested. Reluctantly, Nicole agreed.
At the Salem jail, Eric woke up in the cell next to Paulina. "I didn't expect to see you here," Eric said groggily. "And I didn't expect to see the man who married me to Abe in the next cell," Paulina countered. Eric rubbed his forehead. Paulina asked Eric if he had been wrongfully accused, and he said no. Eric admitted that he had assaulted E.J.
When Paulina asked Eric if he had punched E.J. because Eric had been drunk, Eric confessed that he had always wanted to punch E.J. "E.J. seems to rub just about everybody the wrong way," Paulina said. Paulina noted that E.J. had called Chanel a gold-digger. Paulina asked what E.J. had said to Eric.
"Can we not talk about last night anymore?" Eric said with a groan. Paulina changed the subject to Sloan and how Sloan was after both her and Chanel. "What I wouldn't give to knock that smirk off that face of hers," Paulina grumbled. Sloan entered the room, and she encouraged Paulina to take her best shot.
"Your daughter, she says hello," Sloan said. "You stay away from my baby!" Paulina yelled. Eric watched as Sloan promised to punish Paulina and Chanel for what they had done to Sloan's mother. "I know how painful your mother's death must have been, but that doesn't change the fact it was an accident," Paulina stressed. "Chanel pushed my mother off that roof, and we both know it," Sloan argued. Sloan warned Paulina not to act like a victim.
"My mother was your victim. And I'm your victim," Sloan said. Sloan added that Paulina and Chanel's arrests did not make her happy. "I loved my mother. And nothing that I do will bring her back to me," Sloan said. "Chanel didn't start this. Your daddy did when he seduced her," Paulina argued. Sloan disagreed. "Chanel did the seducing," Sloan said. Paulina countered that Chanel was likely not the first student that Sloan's father had seduced. "If you want to blame somebody for your mother's death, you blame him," Paulina said.
"Why don't you pull some of those strings you're so famous for pulling. Get you and Chanel thrown into the same joint that your other daughter is serving time in for murder," Sloan said. "Guard!" Paulina screamed. A guard walked in, and he informed Paulina that he was there to escort Paulina to see her lawyer. As Paulina walked away, Sloan yelled that she had hard evidence that proved Paulina had covered up Chanel's crime. Sloan noticed Eric and she barked, "What are you gawking at?"
"I didn't want to witness that scene any more than you wanted me to," Eric said. "I have good reason to despise Paulina Price," Sloan grumbled. "I heard," Eric said. Sloan called Paulina's lawyer "a two-bit bimbo." With a smirk, Eric rose to his feet. "Belle Brady is not a two-bit lawyer. And she's not a bimbo," Eric said. When Eric explained that Belle was his sister, Sloan apologized.
"Isn't [Belle] going to defend you, too?" Sloan asked. With a grin, Eric explained that Belle had refused to represent him because he had punched Belle's husband. Sloan noted that Eric did not seem like the kind of guy that would have punched Shawn. Eric explained that he had had a bad week.
"But that's no excuse," Eric added. "Sometimes life, it gets so hard to take," Sloan said. "Yeah, and anger is the only thing that keeps you going," Eric agreed. Sloan offered her services as a lawyer.
At the Hernandez house, Gabi giggled as Li walked into the kitchen, dressed in her robe. "When I showed up last night, I wasn't expecting to sleep over," Li said with a shrug. Over breakfast, Gabi noted that she had to go to the florist. Li promised to meet her there. "I love you," Gabi said as she walked out. "I love you, too. That's why I did what I did," Li said to himself.
In the DiMera living room, Johnny called Wendy at Allie's apartment. "I had to know if you still think that we're doing the right thing," Johnny said. "I'm just not sure anymore. I hate keeping it quiet," Wendy said. Johnny warned Wendy not to tell Gabi the truth. "But this is so unfair," Wendy said. Johnny explained that Gabi would take revenge against E.J. and Li for what they had done to Stefan.
Johnny urged Wendy to stick to the plan, and she reluctantly agreed. "This is our little secret, and it will stay that way," Wendy said. Allie called out to Wendy as she entered the living room. Johnny asked Wendy if Allie had overheard Wendy's side of the conversation.
"Beats me. Call you later," Wendy said with forced cheer. "When did you get back?" Allie asked. "During the night. Did you see my note about why I was gone?" Wendy asked. Allie nodded yes, and she asked about Wendy's phone call. Wendy said she had been on the phone with Johnny.
"The two of you went on some mysterious trip together, and now he's calling you first thing in the morning. What happened between you two? Unless, of course, that's the thing that you're promising to keep a secret," Allie said. Wendy stammered. Allie guessed that Wendy had slept with Johnny.
"Honestly, it's none of my business," Allie said. Wendy asked Allie to keep it a secret from Li and E.J. Allie promised not to tell anyone. "We just want to keep it to ourselves for now," Wendy said. Allie reiterated that Wendy's relationship was not her business. When Wendy said she was worried about upsetting Chanel, Allie told Wendy that Chanel had bigger things to worry about than her ex-husband.
As Allie told Wendy about Chanel's arrest, Chanel returned home. "I just found out that you got arrested. I'm so sorry," Wendy said. Chanel explained that she was out on bail. Allie asked Chanel why she was not at the bakery. With a scowl, Chanel told Allie about the vandalism. Chanel said she believed that Sloan was to blame.
"[Sloan] is not going to stop trying to make my life hell," Chanel said. Annoyed, Allie argued, "You wouldn't even have crossed paths with Sloan's mother if she hadn't invited you and lied to you up onto that roof. And then she attacked." Chanel admitted that she had pushed the woman away, but the woman had lost her balance and fallen off the roof.
"That's really how it happened?" Wendy said. Chanel nodded yes. "But nobody is going to convince Sloan that her mother wasn't out to get me," Chanel said. Wendy asked why. Chanel admitted that she had had an affair with the woman's husband. "And right before he drank himself to death, he told Sloan that her mother's death wasn't actually a suicide like everyone thought. He told her that I pushed her," Chanel explained. "That's awful," Wendy whispered. Chanel said she was concerned that Sloan would not stop until she had gone after everyone that Chanel loved.
Over breakfast, Chanel asked Wendy about her trip. "It was mostly work stuff," Wendy said. Allie nodded at Wendy. Chanel announced that she was headed to the jail to visit her mother. Allie said that she was going to the bakery to check on the design for Li's wedding cake. "[Li] seemed very excited about marrying Gabi. I'm sure you're excited, too," Allie said. Wendy's smile faltered. "Excited. That would be me," Wendy said.
In the town square, a distracted Johnny ambled around. Gabi walked over. "I'm really sorry about Susan," Gabi said. "Thanks. I really miss her," Johnny said. Johnny admitted that he wished he had been there for his father. With a nod, Gabi said, "That's right. You were jet setting around the world with Wendy." A look of guilt crossed Johnny's face. Gabi told Johnny that she had been the one to convince Li not to fire Wendy.
Gabi asked Johnny why he had picked Indonesia for his romantic getaway. With a shrug, Johnny said he had not been able to see anything since he had been forced to return home upon landing. "Maybe you and Li could go there for your honeymoon," Johnny suggested. When Gabi said she would add it to the list, a surprised Johnny asked Gabi why she had not planned a honeymoon.
"I don't know anything about planning a honeymoon. I've never been on one," Gabi said. "Really?" Johnny said. "My first husband and I, we didn't have a lot of money. And romance wasn't in the picture when I married Stefan. I fell in love with him later, and actually [was] talking [with him] about going on a honeymoon when I lost him," Gabi said. Emotional, Gabi sighed and said she did not know why she had admitted that to Johnny.
"Stefan wants nothing to do with me or probably never did. So, you know, I'm so sorry about Susan," Gabi said. As Gabi started to walk away, Johnny called out her name, and she stopped. "I have to tell you something," Johnny said. Across the square, Li stopped and watched Gabi talk to Johnny.
"It's about your wedding," Johnny said. Li interrupted. "You're right on time to help me pick everything [at the florist]," Gabi said. Li clamped a hand on Johnny's shoulder, and he urged Gabi to go ahead to the florist without him. "I've just got to talk to Johnny about his little trip to Jakarta. I'll be right there," Li said. "Go easy on him," Gabi said.
After Gabi walked away, Li said, "You were just about to tell Gabi what you learned in Jakarta." "What are you talking about?" Johnny said. Li said he had talked to Rolf and Wendy. "[Wendy] said you would keep your mouth shut. Have you changed your mind?" Li asked. "Nope. I won't say anything," Johnny said. Li noted that Johnny had been eager to get revenge against E.J. "Not after [E.J.] lost his mom. Revenge doesn't appeal to me," Johnny admitted. Johnny added that though he would keep the secret, he was not okay with what Li had done to Stefan.
"I think it sucks. I think you suck," Johnny said. "I don't care what you think of me. Just stay out of my way," Li said. Johnny chuckled. "Must be nice just going through life without a conscience," Johnny said. As Li smiled, Gabi returned. "Is everything okay here?" Gabi asked. Johnny said that Li was a lucky guy.
After Gabi and Li met with the florist, Li asked Gabi about her conversation with Johnny. "Well, he can't believe that we haven't picked our honeymoon yet," Gabi said. "I can't wait for this wedding to happen," Li said. "Me, neither," Gabi agreed. Gabi said that she was grateful she had found Li.
Johnny went to Allie's apartment. Wendy confirmed that she was alone. "How much did [Allie] hear when I called earlier?" Johnny asked. "She heard me say that I'd keep the secret," Wendy said. Wendy explained that Allie had assumed that Wendy and Johnny were an item and that they wanted to keep the relationship a secret. "That's Allie for you. Jumping to crazy conclusions," Johnny said. "She was all for it," Wendy said. With a shrug, Johnny noted that they would have to keep up the ruse.
"The reason that I came over was because I just had a major run-in with your brother," Johnny said. When Wendy asked what had happened, Johnny explained that Li had caught Johnny speaking with Gabi. "He thought I was about to tell her what he did to Stefan," Johnny said. "Were you?" Wendy asked. Johnny confessed that he had not planned to tell Gabi the truth, but he had reconsidered after Gabi had talked about Stefan.
"I could tell she still [loves Stefan]. So, yeah, for a second I thought about telling her the truth, and that's when Li walked up," Johnny explained. "So, she still doesn't know anything?" Wendy asked. Johnny said no. "And your brother made it very clear that we would pay if [Gabi] finds out," Johnny added.
In the police interrogation room, Paulina met with Chanel. "They said we can have a quick visit until [Belle] gets back [from her phone call]," Chanel said. Paulina told Chanel that Sloan had visited her in her cell. Chanel noted that Sloan had been busy.
"Someone scribbled 'murderer' on the bakery," Chanel said. Chanel explained that Sloan had arrived on the scene when Chanel had been cleaning the graffiti off. Paulina urged Chanel to leave the precinct so that Chanel would not run into Sloan again. Chanel refused. "You were here when I needed you. You're my mama, and I love you. And I am going to do the same thing for you," Chanel said.
Nicole was still at the DiMera mansion, sitting next to E.J. on the edge of the bed in Susan's old room, when Johnny barged in without warning.
Johnny scoffed while staring at E.J. and Nicole in disbelief. "It's not what it looks like," Nicole insisted. "Really? 'Cause it looks like the two of you just got it on," Johnny countered. "On my dead grandmother's bed!" Johnny continued. "Look, Dad, I get that you're grieving, okay? But that doesn't give you the right to have sex with Rafe's wife! Look, I know you don't like Rafe, but he's a good guy -- he doesn't deserve this!" Johnny concluded.
Nicole assured Johnny that nothing sexual had happened with E.J. then admitted to being in the process of getting a divorce. Johnny was quick to probe for more details about the reasons for Nicole's divorce but apologized and withdrew the question after E.J. protested that it was rude to pry into a person's private matters. "E.J. was nice enough to offer me and Holly a place to stay after I blew up my life yet again -- that's all this was," Nicole summarized.
Nicole soon stepped into the bathroom to shower and get ready for work. "Well, that was awkward -- ever hear of knocking?" E.J. snapped at Johnny once the coast was clear. "Look, I would have -- I just didn't think I...you know, needed to... I wanted to feel close to Grandma Susan -- she and I spent a lot of time together in this room, and I thought maybe I'd...feel her spirit or something...I don't know -- it was dumb," Johnny responded. "No, that's not dumb at all, son," E.J. backpedaled before offering to move Nicole to another bedroom, prompting Johnny to object that Susan had been a generous person and would have wanted someone else to enjoy the living space.
Johnny apologized for having assumed that E.J. was sleeping with a married woman. "I suppose I can't blame you for thinking the worst of me, given what you learned in Jakarta," E.J. conceded before starting to thank Johnny again for having agreed to keep quiet about that information. "Don't thank me. I feel horrible about keeping this secret -- I think Stefan has a right to know," Johnny snapped before giving E.J. a shake of the head then storming out of the bedroom and slamming the door shut.
Rafe headed over to the Brady Pub after learning that Jada had taken a second consecutive day of sick leave. "The doctor who did the procedure said I can go back to work tomorrow," Jada explained. "So, I guess that means..." Rafe translated.
Jada told Rafe that Eric was upset about having been blindsided with the change of plans. "His new girlfriend, on the other hand, must be very relieved," Rafe guessed. "I don't think I've ever met a more passive-aggressive..." Jada spat before cutting the rant short then starting to apologize to Rafe, who dismissed the concern and agreed with the criticism. "You know, I forgot how incredibly selfish Nicole can be when she is trying to get something that she wants...and what she wants -- and has always wanted -- is Eric. Well, I guess now there's one less obstacle in her way," Rafe mused, prompting Jada to reveal that a new obstacle might have popped up already. "Eric wasn't too happy when he found out that she interfered," Jada explained.
Eric, still in a holding cell at the police station, declined to hire Sloan. "Because of my reputation," Sloan guessed. "I try not to judge people --" Eric began to explain. "But when everyone and their mother calls me 'an ambulance chaser'..." Sloan concluded for Eric before admitting the concern was understandable. "But the thing that all those haters fail to mention is...I tend to catch what I chase," Sloan bragged.
Eric clarified that Sloan's reputation wasn't the only reason for the concerns. "Paulina Price's husband is like an uncle to me -- and her daughter is dating my niece," Eric elaborated. "Your niece should get as far away as possible," Sloan advised.
Eric found it difficult to imagine a good kid like Chanel doing the things Sloan was alleging. "Well, obviously, that 'good kid' is adept to hiding her homicidal tendencies -- you know, most sociopaths are," Sloan reasoned.
Sloan wondered if Eric at least believed the allegations. "Yeah -- it's just a lot to take in," Eric answered. "Try living through it," Sloan grumbled. "I loved my parents so much -- now they're both gone..." Sloan continued. "Do you know what it feels like to have what means most to you in this world taken away?" Sloan concluded. "Yes, I do," Eric responded before giving Sloan more details. "Sounds like we both got screwed. I don't know about you, but I'm not the type of person to just roll over and take it -- if someone pushes me, I push back. I'm a fighter -- and I'm willing to fight for you, if you'd let me," Sloan offered again at the end of Eric's tale.
Belle headed over to the police station to check on Paulina but decided to postpone the meeting after Shawn reported that Abe and Chanel were also visiting.
Shawn realized that Belle was having second thoughts about refusing to take Eric's case. "I just can't get the image out of my head, you know? My big brother sitting in jail, all alone, with nobody in his corner," Belle explained. "There's just so much bad blood between Sami and me -- the last thing I want is to be estranged from Eric, too," Belle concluded.
A guard escorted Eric and Sloan through the police station while Shawn was saying something about Belle's change of heart. "You don't have to defend me, sis -- I hired someone else," Eric revealed. "You're angry with me? That's fine -- be angry! But do not hire this snake out of spite -- find someone else, anyone else! Call Justin --" Belle protested. "Kiriakis? I think I was in preschool the last time that guy won a case," Sloan interjected.
Shawn urged Eric to think about the kind of message that hiring Sloan would send to Abe. "As far as I know, Abe's always out for justice," Eric responded. "Yeah? Well, Sloan's not out for justice -- she's out for revenge and anything that will inflict the most amount of pain on Abe's family," Belle argued. "From what I understand, Ms. Petersen here, she exposed a crime and cover-up, so if anyone's the victim, it's her," Eric countered. "And why are you making such a big deal? I accepted her offer because my own sister refused me," Eric concluded.
The guard started to escort Eric and Sloan over to the courthouse, but Shawn stopped them when Trask phoned with an update. "E.J. declined pressing charges --" Shawn announced after ending the call. "Excellent -- that means the D.A. doesn't have a case!" Sloan translated for Eric. "Unless you want to be responsible for prosecuting your brother-in-law?" Sloan challenged Shawn. "It's not that simple," Shawn responded with a sigh. "Trask is going after Eric for assaulting a police officer...whether I want her to or not," Shawn continued. "Trask has other witnesses from the bar that night -- if this goes to trial, she's gonna call me, and I'm gonna have no choice but to testify," Shawn concluded with a shrug.
Sloan declared the move outrageous then phoned Trask to lobby for Eric's release. "I just handed you not one but two career-making cases -- damn right you owe me! And you can settle up by putting an end to this witch hunt against Mr. Brady!" Sloan snapped before ending the call and reporting that Trask had agreed to drop the matter. "I don't even know how to repay you --" Eric fretted. "Personal check, Venmo, PayPal..." Sloan recommended, but Eric wanted to start with breakfast. "We need to talk!" Belle protested while Shawn was removing Eric's handcuffs. "There's nothing left to say," Eric insisted before exiting the police station with Sloan.
Shawn could tell that seeing Eric with Sloan, of all people, had sent Belle to a whole new level of concern. "The last time he was in a place this dark, some really bad things happened," Belle reminded Shawn.
Belle soon started pondering how to spin the development to Abe -- who, at that moment, was struggling to spin some bad news to Paulina and Chanel in one of the conference rooms. "I called every one of my overseas contacts --" Abe began to summarize. "And no one can work any jurisdictional magic and make these charges disappear?" Paulina concluded. "Their hands are tied. I even called one of Shane Donovan's contacts at the American Embassy in London," Abe elaborated.
Abe soon received a phone call from the president of the City Council. "The City Council is asking me to resign as mayor -- effective immediately," Abe explained after ending the call. "I'm the reason!" Chanel fretted before rushing off in tears.
Abe offered to chase after Chanel, but Paulina decided that probably wouldn't be the best move. "You must be asking yourself if jumping that broom with me on Juneteenth was such a good idea," Paulina guessed. "I would never regret marrying you," Abe insisted. "Even if I'm about to cost you your career?" Paulina protested. "I already intended to step down as mayor and accompany you to the state capitol," Abe reasoned.
Paulina pointed out that Abe had made that plan before Sloan had entered the picture. "There's absolutely no reason for you to bow out when I'll probably never even be sworn in," Paulina advised. "We will weather this storm," Abe promised. "We're at the center of an international scandal -- and even if I took office, that witch has already ruined my chances of being a successful governor!" Paulina countered, but Abe dismissed the concern.
Abe phoned the president of the City Council and started to resign, prompting Paulina to snatch the cell phone. "He has decided he's not going to step down -- not now, not ever!" Paulina informed the person while Abe was whispering objections. "No, you don't have to worry about any trouble arising from Abe being married to a governor under investigation," Paulina continued. "I haven't been sworn in yet -- and I've decided that I never will be," Paulina concluded, stunning Abe.
Nicole joined E.J. in the living room of the DiMera mansion and admitted that what had happened with Johnny earlier had made it clear that finding another place to stay would be a wise decision. "How long until the rest of your family starts gossiping about us? And then the entire town?" Nicole reasoned. "Since when does Nicole Walker give a rat's ass what anyone in Salem thinks?" E.J. objected. "Since I now have a young daughter -- but not so young that she wouldn't notice dirty looks when I drop her off at school, or whispers and finger-pointing when we walk through the square," Nicole answered.
E.J. assured Nicole that moving into the DiMera mansion would be nothing more than a case of doing what was best for Holly. "Anyone who has an opinion on that can bloody well shove it," E.J. stressed, and Nicole conceded the point.
Rafe found out about Eric's arrest while sharing a meal with Jada at the Brady Pub. "Eric's never even raised his voice -- I can't imagine him putting hands on anyone, let alone a cop!" Jada sputtered. "Yeah, well, you haven't known Eric that long -- it's not the first time that this guy has spiraled out of control," Rafe responded. "You dodged a bullet, Hunter -- and something tells me that this is just the beginning of Saint Eric's fall from grace," Rafe concluded.
Eric was sharing a meal with Sloan at the town square when Nicole, who was en route to Basic Black, interrupted to acknowledge that E.J. had dropped the assault charge. "He had nothing to do with getting me out of lockup," Eric clarified before introducing Sloan as the true hero. "I know exactly who you are -- Mrs. Robbins-Roberts-Kiriakis-DiMera-Cook-Brady-Hernandez... Am I forgetting anybody? Like me, your reputation precedes you," Sloan teased Nicole.
Johnny headed over to the Horton apartment to see Wendy but found only Chanel there. "I am destroying my parents' lives!" Chanel fretted before seizing a hug from Johnny.
Chanel told Johnny the whole story. "God, I left Salem at the worst time possible -- I wasn't here for you, I wasn't here when my Grandma Susan died..." Johnny grumbled before realizing that Allie hadn't shared that news with Chanel. "She probably didn't want to lay anything else on me," Chanel guessed before offering Johnny a few words of comfort.
E.J. was staring at a framed photograph of Susan when someone rang the doorbell at the DiMera mansion. "Oh, my God -- it's you!" E.J. sputtered after opening the front door.
Stefan arranged a meeting with Li in one of the conference rooms at DiMera Enterprises so they could discuss Wendy. "I know what your sister's been up to, Li -- and so do you, don't you?" Stefan snapped, drawing a gulp from Li.
Li breathed a sigh of relief after realizing that Stefan only knew that Wendy had taken the DiMera jet to Jakarta without permission. Stefan was furious with Li for having tried to help Wendy get away with the move. Li blamed Johnny for Wendy's bad behavior then claimed to have felt obligated to sweep the whole thing under the rug because the only other course of action would have been to report the CEO's son, of all people, as the mastermind of a very serious crime. Li apologized then noted that, on the bright side, the jet had been returned in perfect condition and was ready to be used again right away -- meaning that Stefan and Chloe could follow through with their plan to take a trip to Miami.
Stefan informed Li that the trip had been rescheduled for New Year's Eve. "Best you hear it from me, right?" Stefan reasoned, drawing a nod and a forced smile from Li, who rushed off after hoping that the trip would be memorable.
Wendy headed over to the Hernandez house after receiving an urgent message from Gabi but almost backed out of the meeting at the last second. "I have something to ask you -- about your brother...and me," Gabi explained after Wendy finally worked up the nerve to knock on the front door. "You seem so...serious..." Wendy observed with a gulp. "Will you be my maid of honor?" Gabi blurted out before Wendy could say anything else.
Wendy breathed a sigh of relief then protested that there had to be other candidates who would be better suited for the job, prompting Gabi to confess to having always had trouble getting close to other women. Gabi also admitted to having grown up with an older biological sister who had since died, just in case Wendy had not yet learned all the details of the Hernandez family tree. "Anyway...soon, you and I are gonna be sisters-in-law -- but I'm hoping that, in time, we can make it feel like we're real sisters," Gabi concluded, drawing a nod and a forced smile from Wendy, who squirmed and stammered while trying to decide how to handle the request.
Gabi begged Wendy to accept the job. "From the minute I met you, I just felt like I could trust you, and that really means a lot to me --" Gabi declared. "There's something you need to hear," Wendy admitted. "I...know...that being a maid of honor means putting everything else aside to make sure the bride's day is perfect," Wendy continued after remembering the pact of silence that had been made with Johnny. "I'm on thin ice at DiMera, and after playing hooky, I have a ton of work to catch up on -- I guess what I'm saying is...I wouldn't want to let you down," Wendy concluded. "That's it? You couldn't possibly let me down -- ever! Unless you refuse to be my maid of honor..." Gabi protested, trapping Wendy, who accepted the job -- and a hug.
Johnny, still with Chanel at the Horton apartment, explained how Susan had died. Chanel was stunned to learn that Ava was also dead. "I feel so terrible for you -- and for Tripp!" Chanel declared before hugging Johnny.
Allie entered the apartment just then and watched Chanel and Johnny with a hint of jealousy. Johnny and Chanel separated after sensing Allie's presence then took turns explaining what had prompted their embrace. Allie apologized for having decided to keep quiet about what Johnny and Tripp were going through then justified the choice with a reminder that Chanel was also going through a lot at that time. Chanel grumbled that Abe could be added to the list as collateral damage. "It never ends!" Chanel fretted after elaborating, prompting Allie and Johnny to take turns stressing that Abe had survived worse crises in the past.
Johnny soon rushed off to DiMera Enterprises and found Wendy roaming the halls. "I almost blurted out what we did --" Wendy admitted to Johnny. "Yes -- let's talk about what you did," Stefan interjected while emerging from a nearby conference room. "We were just talking about --" Johnny stammered. "Your little romantic getaway?" Stefan guessed before musing that Jakarta was an odd destination for such a trip. "Nothing gets by me!" Stefan bragged to Johnny and Wendy before walking away.
Li entered the Hernandez house while Gabi was reading Stefan and Chloe's RSVP card with a hint of disappointment. "Arrived today," Gabi explained. "I didn't know that you had invited him," Li grumbled before complaining about having been blindsided with the news during an earlier conversation with Stefan. "I assumed that you'd want a handful of high-ranking execs from DiMera there," Gabi reasoned. "Or maybe a part of you wants to show Stefan that you're really moving on," Li suggested.
Gabi laughed off the theory then changed the subject, telling Li about what had happened earlier. "I can't imagine why Jing-Wen would be uneasy about being your maid of honor," Li claimed. "You two just don't know each other all that well yet -- you think there's something she's not telling you, but I think she's probably just thinking about what to have for dinner, 'cause that's very Jing-Wen. So, I think you should just put this out of your head," Li advised, and Gabi agreed.
Nicole, still with Eric and Sloan at the town square, admitted to having heard a lot of stories about the lawyer from Rafe. "All good, I assume," Sloan responded.
Sloan stressed that Eric had only shared one story about Nicole. "You're the reason why his girlfriend aborted their baby," Sloan summarized.
Nicole refused to accept the role of the villain in the story that Eric was trying to sell to people as a way of coping with the choice that Jada had made. Eric didn't want to discuss the matter, but Nicole insisted, so Sloan rushed off to run some errands.
Nicole gave Eric a shake of the head. "After everything that we've been through, I am devastated to see you behaving..." Nicole declared. "Say it, Nicole -- what?" Eric snapped. "Like you're not the special man I thought you were. Believe me, I know E.J. has a history -- and a pretty ugly one -- but compared to you these past few days, he's a saint," Nicole concluded. "I am not a saint -- I don't deny that -- but neither are you," Eric argued.
Eric added that Nicole's opinion no longer mattered. "You make it sound like we're breaking up," Nicole responded. "We'd have to be together to break up -- and, lucky for you, we never made that mistake!" Eric spat. "Maybe our mistake was trying to recapture what we once had, forgetting all the things that made us wrong for each other," Nicole mused after realizing that the ongoing argument with Eric really was a goodbye of sorts.
Nicole and Eric parted ways, each fighting back tears, after agreeing that their latest attempt to be together would have ended in disaster eventually, just like every other attempt had, and that they were glad that it hadn't taken long for them to reach that point and move on with their lives for once. Nicole sank onto a bench and broke down while remembering the brief moment of bliss with Eric that had preceded their latest obstacle. Eric, meanwhile, headed over to Sloan's apartment.
E.J. was stunned when one of Susan's siblings showed up at the DiMera mansion. "Sister --" E.J. sputtered. "That's 'Aunt Sister Mary Moira Banks' to you!" Sister Mary demanded.
E.J. amended the greeting then explained that seeing Sister Mary standing on the doorstep of the mansion was simply a bit of a shock. Sister Mary made a snide comment about E.J.'s complete lack of manners as a way of fishing for permission to enter the mansion. E.J. apologized then stepped aside to give Sister Mary access to the mansion. Sister Mary walked into the living room while still complaining about E.J.'s poor manners, stressing that a heads-up about Susan's death would have been nice. Sister Mary probed for information about Susan's funeral and was horrified to learn that E.J. hadn't even started planning it yet. "My sister's beloved son has managed to both fail her in life and now in death!" Sister Mary spat.
E.J. apologized to Sister Mary then produced a piece of paper and a pen so they could start making a list of things to do for Susan's funeral. Sister Mary grumbled that E.J. should have done more to protect Susan from harm. E.J. started to object then stopped and apologized to Sister Mary again. E.J. insisted on having Sister Mary stay at the mansion until Susan's funeral. E.J. rushed off to let Harold know about Sister Mary's arrival.
Sister Mary started roaming around the mansion while E.J. was gone, not wanting to be alone in the living room with Stefano's portrait.
E.J. eventually found Sister Mary in Susan's old bedroom. Sister Mary complained that E.J.'s maid had a sick sense of humor. "I asked which was my beloved sister's room, and she pointed this way...but this ghastly perfume fouling the air could not be Susan's!" Sister Mary elaborated. "This was Mother's room, but I've been letting a friend use it temporarily," E.J. clarified. "Fornicating in your mother's room?" Sister Mary sputtered. "Oh, for..." E.J. grumbled before insisting that the arrangement was completely innocent. "That's what they all say...but I pray that it's true in your case, Elvis -- your soul is in enough jeopardy as it is!" Sister Mary responded.
Ava sneaked into the mansion through the terrace doors and found E.J.'s list. "Looks like someone's planning a memorial... A tasteful affair for a tacky lady... But Susan Banks won't be the only one laid to rest that day," Ava muttered.
At the Horton residence, Gwen talked to a contact in London about Chanel's case. As Gwen ended her call, Leo knocked on the front door. "Have I got a scoop for you, but you're going to have to hire me first," Leo said as he marched into the house. Leo handed Gwen a folder of pitches for gossip stories. After Gwen looked through the ideas, she noted that the stories were wrong for the Spectator. Leo argued that he could write under the pen name "Lady Whistleblower."
"I promise I will work my ass off for you if you give me a chance," Leo said. After a moment, Gwen promised to run the idea past Jack. Leo talked about his job prospects, and he told Gwen that Sonny had offered him a job. "Give us the gossip, Lady Whistleblower," Gwen joked. Leo told Gwen the whole story about Sonny's job offer.
"I'm really trying to avoid personal complications in my life right now," Leo said. "What do you mean?" Gwen asked. Leo reminded Gwen that Sonny was married. "And married just so happens to be your type," Gwen countered. With a smirk, Gwen pointed out that Leo was blushing.
"You are smitten with Sonny Kiriakis, aren't you?" Gwen asked. Leo insisted that he and Sonny were just friends. "Even after everything you've done to him?" Gwen asked. "We've put that all behind us. We're in the do-over phase," Leo said. Gwen noted that it sounded like her relationship with Xander. "Xander, who is also married. Guess that's your type, too," Leo joked. Gwen reminded Leo that she had loved Xander before he had been married. Leo asked for details.
"This stays completely off the record. I know I'm probably going to regret telling you this, but it seems that Dr. Goody-two-shoes doesn't know her husband as well as I do," Gwen said. Gwen told Leo that Xander had told Gwen secrets that he had been unable to tell Sarah. Leo gasped. "What did the Scottie Hottie do this time?" Leo asked. "I shouldn't have brought it up," Gwen said. Gwen noted that it was for the best that she kept Xander's secret.
"Like you and Sonny, Xander and I are building a friendship," Gwen said. "But unlike me and Sonny, you still love him," Leo said. Gwen admitted that she still loved Xander but that she was not delusional enough to believe there was a chance to reconcile. "Be careful. I don't want to see you get hurt again, girlfriend," Leo said. "Right back at you, girlfriend," Gwen said. Gwen promised to talk to Jack about Leo's job pitch.
Alex met up with Stephanie at the Johnson residence for their date. "I thought we could stay in," Stephanie said. Stephanie showed Alex that she had set up a romantic dinner for two. "What about your parents? Suddenly, I feel like I'm 16 again," Alex said. Stephanie noted that her parents were still in Seattle. Alex offered a toast to celebrate the end of his stint as temporary CEO.
"So, how do you feel about it?" Stephanie asked. "I'm fine. There are some perks to having less responsibility," Alex said. With a grin, Alex said he had more time to spend with Stephanie. When Stephanie made a face, Alex asked if she believed that he was happy to give up control of Titan. "I get the sense that you're a man who likes being on top," Stephanie said. Stephanie giggled. "That came out wrong," Stephanie said. "That's okay. You're right. I do like to be on top, but I'm flexible," Alex said as he gazed into Stephanie's eyes. Stephanie kissed Alex, and she unbuttoned his shirt.
"Are you sure you're ready for this?" Alex asked. "What do you think?" Stephanie said. Stephanie took Alex by the hand, and she led him toward the bedroom. The phone rang. Stephanie looked at her phone, and she noted that the call was from Paulina in jail. "Go ahead," Alex said. Stephanie promised to be quick, but Alex told her to take her time.
At the café in the town square, Chad met up with Sonny to celebrate Sonny's first day back at work. "Also, it happens to be my last day at SJPR," Chad added. "I thought things were going great there?" Sonny said. Chad explained that he had been hired to help with Paulina's campaign, but that was over. Sonny asked about the other clients. "[Stephanie] will be fine without me," Chad said. Sonny asked Chad if he wanted to leave SJPR, and Chad said no.
"It wasn't something that I sought out, but it turned out to be really rewarding," Chad explained. When Sonny noted that Chad appeared to get along well with Stephanie, Chad said that he had gotten along too well with her. "You got a little thing for her, do you?" Sonny asked. Chad said he had liked Stephanie, but it was too soon to be involved with anyone. Chad admitted that he had told Stephanie how he felt, and she had moved on with Alex.
When pressed, Chad admitted that he had hated watching Stephanie kiss Alex. "Because you were jealous," Sonny said. Chad did not respond. "So, my best friend and my big brother both want the same woman. Talk about a conflict of interest," Sonny said. "Actually, it's not, because only one of us wants to be with her," Chad countered. Chad assured Sonny that Sonny did not need to pick a side.
"It does simplify things, but I'm gonna tell you the same thing I told Alex. Life is short, and love doesn't always wait until you're ready. So, if you like her, and she likes you, I think you owe it to you both to give it a shot. I mean, Stephanie is a grown woman. She can decide who she wants to be with," Sonny said. Chad looked at his wedding ring. "I can't. Not yet," Chad said. Chad added that he hoped that his feelings would disappear once he found a new job.
"Maybe I can help with that. Job hunting has become sort of a specialty of mine," Sonny said. "Are you looking for a new job?" Chad asked. Sonny explained that he had helped Leo. Chad was alarmed to learn that Sonny had become friendly with Leo. "I really think [Leo] is starting to turn over a new leaf," Sonny stressed. Sonny added that Leo was funny, and Chad groaned.
"You're actually enjoying Leo's company?" Chad asked. "Well, to a point," Sonny admitted. Chad asked about Will. Sonny told Chad about when Leo had answered Will's phone call. "Will and I aren't exactly in the best place right now," Sonny muttered. "What's going on?" Chad asked. Sonny told Chad that Will had decided to stay in L.A. for Christmas to work on a project.
"Then why don't you find Will another job?" Chad asked. "If I thought it would fix anything, I would," Sonny said. Chad warned Sonny to be careful. "I don't trust [Leo]," Chad said. Chad's phone rang with a call from Stephanie. "Paulina is resigning. She thinks that stepping down will protect Abe's job as mayor of Salem," Stephanie said. Stephanie asked Chad to meet her at her parents' place to work on a statement.
At the Johnson residence, Stephanie apologized to Alex as he buttoned up his shirt. "We can do this dinner and everything else sometime soon," Stephanie said. "Very soon. I can't wait," Alex said. Alex kissed Stephanie goodbye, and he left. When Chad arrived, he noticed the romantic setting, but he said nothing. As Stephanie leaned close to Chad on the couch, she put her hand on his shoulder. Chad looked at her. The oven buzzed.
"I almost forgot! I made dinner for Alex, but we didn't get a chance to eat it," Stephanie said. Stephanie asked Chad if he was hungry. "I was just about to eat with Sonny before you called, so yeah," Chad said. "Great. We'll make it a working dinner," Stephanie said.
In the square, Leo spotted Sonny eating in the café with two dinners. "Chad was here, but he got called away on a work emergency," Sonny explained. Sonny invited Leo to dig in. As Leo ate, he asked about the work emergency. "[Chad] couldn't have been too happy about it," Leo said. 'Actually, I think he was," Sonny whispered.
Maggie, Sarah, and Bonnie went to the pub for a girls' night out. "Bonnie, what was the eggnog drink you were telling me about?" Sarah asked. "They called it a coquito," Bonnie said. Sarah suggested that she get drinks for everyone, and Bonnie gave a tired smile. "I know what you guys are doing. And it's not gonna work," Bonnie said. "We're not doing anything other than trying to have a good time," Maggie said innocently. Bonnie accused Maggie and Sarah of attempting to make her forget about the kidnapping.
"We are," Sarah admitted. Bonnie thanked Sarah. "Justin told us how upset you were about what that bozo did to you," Maggie said. "And he thought that you could use a distraction and just have a night of fun," Sarah added. "I'm not exactly sure I can have fun, considering what happened to Susan Banks and what could have happened to me," Bonnie said. Maggie was hopeful that the police would catch the clown kidnapper.
"But if they can't find him, I can only pray that he is a million miles away from here by now," Bonnie said. With a nod, Bonnie agreed that it was time to put her ordeal behind her. "The best way to do that is to put a strong drink in front of me," Bonnie said with a grin. As Bonnie went to the bar to get the first round, Maggie asked Sarah if she had talked to Xander. Sarah told Maggie that she had accused Xander of the kidnapping.
"He denied it," Sarah said. "And you took him at his word?" Maggie asked. "I wish I had," Sarah said. Sarah told Maggie about the website. "I'm so relieved," Maggie said. With a sigh, Sarah lamented that she had doubted Xander.
When Bonnie returned with the drinks, she talked about her lingering fear of the clown. "What if he comes back for me?" Bonnie asked. "From what I understand, you weren't Ava's target," Maggie said. "You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Sarah stressed. "So, you really don't think he's coming after me?" Bonnie asked. Sarah said the police believed that Bonnie was safe. Bonnie sighed with relief, and she raised her glass for a toast.
"Here is to being safe! And getting buzzed" Bonnie said. Bonnie, Maggie, and Sarah clinked their glasses together. As the women sipped their drinks, Bonnie imagined that the kidnapper appeared at the table in his clown mask with another round of drinks. Bonnie started to cry. "No! Get away from me. No! You can't hurt me, you son of a bitch!" Bonnie yelled. Bonnie stood up, grabbed the tray of drinks from the clown, and slapped the clown across the face. As Bonnie mercilessly beat the clown over the head, Maggie and Sarah pulled her away.
"That's not the clown," Maggie whispered. Bonnie blinked, and she realized that Roman was lying on the ground. Bonnie apologized profusely as Sarah helped Roman to his feet. "Maybe next time, just a bad review on Yelp, okay?" Roman joked. "I thought you were--" Bonnie started. "You thought I was a clown. I heard you say that after the blow to my head," Roman said. Maggie offered to help Roman clean up.
"No, I think Bonnie needs more attention than my floor does," Roman said. Roman smiled at Bonnie, and Bonnie wiped her eyes. "I'm not fine," Bonnie admitted before she broke down in tears again. Bonnie explained to Sarah about her vision of the clown waiter.
"It's clear that you're suffering from PTSD. Hallucinations aren't uncommon. You need to go speak to someone," Sarah said. Bonnie shook her head no. "What I need is another drink," Bonnie muttered. "Then it is safe to approach!" Roman joked as he carried over drinks. "Please do. I'm sorry," Bonnie said. As Bonnie assured everyone that she was fine, she looked up from her drink, and she hallucinated that Roman, Maggie, and Sarah were all in clown masks.
"Are you okay? Did I make the drinks too strong?" Roman asked. "Apparently not strong enough," Bonnie whispered as she averted her eyes. Bonnie stumbled to her feet, and she announced that she needed to get some air.
In the motel room, Xander chased down cockroaches. Justin knocked on the front door. "I just spoke to Bonnie, and you're in big trouble," Justin said. "What kind of trouble?" Xander asked. "I know what's going on! Bonnie told me," Justin said. Xander thought about when he had held Bonnie captive.
"Bonnie told me about the debt collector who came to the house," Justin said. Xander laughed nervously. "I was hoping my new job would remedy [my debt], but it didn't work out," Xander said. Justin said he knew that Xander's boss had made an unethical request. "For the first time ever, my conscience got the better of me," Xander said. Justin said that he was proud of Xander for having done the right thing. Xander thanked Justin.
"Unfortunately, doing the right thing doesn't really pay the bills," Xander said. Justin offered to help Xander sue Rednax for unlawful termination. "Sue?" Xander stammered. Justin asked for the name of Xander's boss. "I appreciate the offer, Justin, but I'd much rather forget the whole thing happened," Xander said. "What if I could get you a sizable settlement? Just make all your creditors go away?" Justin asked. Xander explained that the situation was a he said/she said situation and that he had quit rather than be fired.
"Are you sure you don't want me to at least try?" Justin asked. "I appreciate your help, but yeah, I'm sure," Xander said. Justin apologized for having pushed so hard. "As I was telling Bonnie the other day, you and I are family. And I'd also like to think that we've become friends," Justin said. "We have," Xander agreed. "Which is why I trust you to have my back. So, I'd like to have yours," Justin said. A look of guilt crossed Xander's face.
"There's something I have to tell you," Xander said. Xander explained that he had made a mess of his life. "I don't understand," Justin said. "You just offered to represent me, so this conversation is covered under attorney-client privilege, right?" Xander said. "Technically, no, but it is covered under Kiriakis-cousin privilege," Justin said. Justin asked what was wrong. Xander told Justin that it meant a lot to him that Justin had called him a friend.
"So, tell me what this mess is and how I can help," Justin said. Xander hesitated before he spoke. "It's just losing this job, and facing down these creditors, I really am trying to be a good husband to Sarah, to be the kind of man that she deserves," Xander said. Justin asked what Xander was not telling him.
"I guess I'm just not used to being vulnerable, especially around other guys," Xander said. "You have a heart. That's nothing to hide. Your secret is safe with me," Justin said. As Justin rose to leave, he announced that he intended to look into Rednax. "It's really not necessary," Xander stressed. Justin said he wanted to help Xander, whether Xander was comfortable with the help or not. "And I'm going to keep bothering you until you send me your employment contract," Justin said.
After Justin left, Xander called Gwen and told her that Justin was eager to dig into his employment contract. "He thinks I should sue them for wrongful termination," Xander said. Gwen asked what she could do to help. Xander asked Gwen if she could draw up an employment contract, and she agreed. When Xander suggested that Gwen could email him the contract, she stressed that they should not leave an electronic trail. "I will meet you in the park," Gwen promised.
When Justin returned home, Alex was settling down to an evening of pizza and beer in the living room. "You got another slice and beer for your old man?" Justin said. "Always!" Alex said. Justin asked about Stephanie. "It's going great. Even though our date tonight got interrupted by a work emergency," Alex said. Maggie returned home. Justin asked about girls' night out. "We had some issues," Maggie admitted. "Where's Bonnie?" Justin asked.
When Sarah returned to the motel room, Xander was gone. Xander had left a note on the bed for Sarah, to tell her that he was out for a run. "A little dark and cold for a run," Sarah said. In the park, Xander placed two hot chocolates on a bench, and he rubbed his hands together to warm them. "Come on, Gwen. Where are you? I'm counting on you to help me out of another mess," Xander said.
At the Horton house, Gwen finished dummying up a fake contract for Xander. "Don't worry, love. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure your dirty deeds are our little secret," Gwen said.
In the park, Bonnie walked into the clearing where Xander was pacing. "You've got to stop seeing clowns everywhere you go," Bonnie muttered to herself. Bonnie saw Xander with his back turned to her. "I will not let this situation destroy my life," Xander said. Bonnie thought about when the kidnapper in the clown mask had said the same phrase. Xander noticed Bonnie. "My God, Xander. It was you," Bonnie said.