Days of our Lives Recaps: The week of February 27, 2023 on DAYS

Nicole and Eric talked about their relationships. Megan held Marlena, Kate, and Kayla captive. Sloan convinced Trask to release Li. Rolf accepted Li's offer. Rafe arrested Brady. Wendy welcomed new roommates. Stefan realized he only loved Gabi. Chloe pushed Brady away. E.J. and Nicole plotted against Stefan. Sonny said goodbye. Jack and Jennifer left Salem. Leo wrote gossip about Alex. Victor named Maggie as CEO. Sarah did not tell Xander she was pregnant.
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Megan held Marlena, Kate, and Kayla captive. Stefan realized he only loved Gabi. Sonny said goodbye. Victor named Maggie as CEO. Sarah did not tell Xander she was pregnant.
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Nicole reflects on the past 25 years in Salem

Nicole reflects on the past 25 years in Salem

Monday, February 27, 2023

by Mike

Roman headed toward the second floor of the Brady Pub just as the door to Eric's room swung open. "Just text me any updates about Rolf's un-brainwashing of Stefan," Eric whispered to Brady while backing out of the room.

Eric shut the door then turned away from the room and saw Roman approaching. "Talking to somebody?" Roman began. "Just myself," Eric claimed.

Eric nervously wondered why Roman had ventured upstairs. "You didn't notice the lights have been flickering off and on? I'm trying to track down the cause," Roman explained. "Why don't we go down and check the circuit breaker," Eric suggested.

Eric quickly led Roman away from the room. "You don't suppose some idiot snuck a hot plate in their room, do you?" Roman grumbled. "Nobody up here would do a thing like that," Eric responded.

Eric made a show of conducting various tests in the hope of convincing Roman to dismiss the flickering lights as a temporary fluke. "Or Kate," Roman theorized. "I've been hearing her voice through the urn," Roman continued, drawing a scoff of disbelief from Eric. "Look, I don't need cynicism about the afterlife from someone who performs exorcisms -- and Paulina heard her, too!" Roman concluded.

Eric apologized for the skepticism then changed the subject, wondering if the funeral services had given Roman a sense of closure. "I didn't get a chance to find out -- Orpheus dropped a bombshell," Roman admitted before telling Eric the whole story.

Eric offered to help with the efforts to identify the orchid thief, prompting Roman to point out that a certain someone had recently moved into the DiMera mansion and might have seen or heard something there that could be of use. "Nicole and I aren't on the best of terms -- when we're around each other, it gets pretty tense," Eric confessed. "Nicole has been a big part of your life for...how long now?" Roman wondered. "Actually...it's been, like, 25 years," Eric realized. "She was your first love," Roman noted. "But whatever there is between us never works," Eric protested. "Try again, damn it -- trust me, you don't want to have to look back on your life and think, 'Damn, did I waste a lot of time!'" Roman advised.

Paulina met up with Abe at the town square. "Sorry I'm late -- I stopped by the pub to see Roman," Paulina began. "After everything he's been through, I wouldn't blame him if he was talking to the walls," Abe declared. "More like an urn," Paulina muttered before changing the subject, giving Abe no time to figure out what had just been said.

Paulina repeated the information Roman had shared about John and Steve's confrontation with Orpheus, prompting Abe to admit that it was a relief to know that the encounter had not only ended without bloodshed but had also yielded a promising lead on the identity of the orchid thief. "Did Orpheus say which DiMera it was?" Abe wondered. "Just that it was someone in that family. Do you have any ideas?" Paulina responded. "Nicole!" Abe yelled. "Nicole Walker's a DiMera?" Paulina sputtered. "It is so good to see you!" Abe gushed as Nicole approached, drawing a sheepish laugh from Paulina.

Nicole agreed to have breakfast with Abe and Paulina. "We wished we could have talked to you at the funeral, but there were so many people there," Abe stressed. "Those were three highly regarded ladies," Paulina acknowledged. "Well...Marlena and Kayla were," Nicole joked. "I take it you won't be missing Kate," Paulina translated. "Kate and I had a very...complicated...relationship -- always going at it -- but...we ended things on decent terms, and...believe it or not, I will miss her," Nicole backpedaled. "It's fun to have a good sparring partner," Paulina reasoned as Nicole gave Abe a look.

Paulina wondered how Nicole and Kate's feud had begun. "It's hard to say now," Nicole answered. "Perhaps it was when you stole her husband," Abe offered. "She was trying to kill Victor, you know! And, anyway, she hated me before that -- she didn't think I was good enough for her son," Nicole countered. "Though she changed her tune later -- I mean, she paid me five million dollars to marry her son," Nicole continued. "Lucas was trying to get custody of Will, and he needed to provide a stable home," Nicole concluded. "You hit the jackpot, then!" Paulina summarized. "Worst mistake of my life," Nicole grumbled.

Nicole gave Abe another look then explained to Paulina that marrying Lucas had meant calling off an engagement to Eric. "It wasn't just about the money -- you know, there was this...something...from my past that I didn't want to come out -- but I often think about what would have happened if Eric and I had gotten married way back when," Nicole confessed. "How far back?" Paulina wondered. "Oh, my gosh -- the first time we met was...25 years ago!" Nicole realized. "That's quite a milestone," Abe declared. "If the two of you had stayed together, we'd be buying silver candlesticks for your anniversary," Paulina mused.

Paulina begged to hear more about the early days of Nicole and Eric's relationship. "I was a waitress at the Java Café...and the day I took his order, he took my heart," Nicole recalled. "Eric was a photographer back then, and he convinced Sami to hire me as a model at Titan, and that's when we fell in love," Nicole concluded.

Paulina probed for even more details about Nicole and Eric's love story, ignoring Abe's warnings about boundaries. "How very Thorn Birds!" Paulina noted while Nicole was talking about how Eric had lived abroad for many years and had then returned to Salem as a priest. "How long was it before you gave in to your forbidden passion?" Paulina wondered, prompting Nicole to vaguely clarify that Eric's eventual departure from the priesthood had been more complicated than that. "You two have too much of a connection not to still end up together," Paulina declared when the tale concluded with Nicole and Eric's most recent breakup.

Nicole laughed off the prediction then rushed off, leaving Abe and Paulina alone to discuss their own upcoming milestone. "In two days, it will be two years since we first met...and I'm only sorry it's not 25," Abe summarized before kissing Paulina.

Nicole passed through the park while continuing to think about happier times with Eric -- who jogged through the area just then.

Tony and Anna continued chatting with John and Steve at the DiMera mansion, both eager to find out why the former ISA agents had just reached such an unexpected conclusion about the orchid thief. "Tony, you have to admit -- stealing an orchid wouldn't be the worst thing Megan's ever done," Anna declared. "When she was alive...but she's not alive -- she died in 1985, she passed on, she ceased to be!" Tony stressed.

Steve and John looked at each other, as if trying to decide whether to provide clarification, then shrugged in unison and forged ahead. "This may come as a shock --" John began. "Well...we are in Salem -- maybe not," Steve interjected. "But the fact is...Megan Hathaway is very much alive," John concluded. "Tony, look, I know I may be skating on thin ice here, darling, but...that does sound like Megan -- to come back from the dead and not even drop you a note," Anna whispered. "Megan was murdered in 1985 by Larry Welch and thrown into a hot tub!" Tony maintained.

John and Steve gave each other a sigh then took turns providing even more information. "That's just what it looked like," Steve clarified. "Once again, Stefano intervened -- and, for years, he kept her secretly alive in a cryogenic state --" John elaborated. "Was that part of the Soviet Union -- you know, back then?" Anna interjected. "Until he could get somebody to fix her boo-boos and make them go away," Steve concluded.

Anna was even more convinced than before, but Tony assumed that Steve and John were simply developing a random theory about Megan's fate based on Orpheus' vague claim that the orchid thief was a DiMera. "No, Tony, there's more to it than that -- Steve and I saw her last summer," John revealed. "And it didn't occur to you that, possibly, you could inform me about this?" Tony snapped. "We had our reasons -- let's just say she hasn't changed a bit," Steve explained. "Was she here in Salem?" Anna wondered. "No -- our little run-in took place...beyond Salem," Steve answered.

Steve and John again tried to finish their story. "I was visiting Paul in San Francisco when one of Megan's henchmen shanghaied me," John grumbled. "You DiMeras and your henchmen!" Anna muttered to Tony. "And she had me snatched when Kayla and I were visiting our kids in Seattle," Steve recalled. "And then she flew both of us down to Caracas," John continued. "Father has an old compound down there!" Tony noted. "And she brainwashed us," Steve continued. "Dear God -- she's Stefano all over again!" Anna fretted. "And then she flew us to Hong Kong so we could crash the DiMera gala and steal --" John attempted to conclude. "That damn prism!" Tony guessed. "And now she has all three," Steve managed to conclude.

Tony and Anna had both heard that the prism had been stolen during the gala. "We thought it was some jewel thief -- or maybe some rival company," Tony admitted. "I knew it was a mistake for Li Shin to go after those prisms -- I mean, they caused enough trouble back in the '80s, when Stefano tried to get his hands on all three of them, and that led to that plane crash where Tony and I and nearly half of Salem almost died," Anna stressed.

Tony again wondered why John and Steve hadn't shared the news about Megan sooner. "The ISA swore us all to secrecy -- it's still an ongoing investigation, so Megan's mere existence is considered classified information," Steve explained. "But we're not staying quiet about this anymore -- not when we think she's the one that took that orchid," John declared. "Finding Megan won't be easy -- the ISA has been conducting an international manhunt since last July, but even Hope hasn't been able to locate her," Steve reminded John before informing Tony and Anna that Megan had tried to kill Hope during the events of the previous summer. "Some things never change -- Megan was always jealous of Bo's love for Hope," Anna mused.

Tony couldn't think of any way to help with the search for Megan. "I mean, I didn't even know she was my sister until after she died," Tony stressed. "But, darling, didn't your father keep a box of her things around here somewhere?" Anna recalled.

Tony gave Anna a nod then promised to search for the container. "In the meantime, I'm gonna give Andrew Donovan a call," John advised Steve before explaining to Tony and Anna that Andrew was the ISA agent who was in charge of Megan's case.

John phoned Andrew then headed off to the Brady Pub with Steve to update Roman, leaving Tony and Anna free to check the attic for Megan's belongings. "I wonder if she's gonna try and claim her shares of DiMera Enterprises -- now, that would really shake up the balance of power," Tony fretted to Anna after they returned to the living room with the items. "You really need to change those bylaws," Anna recommended, and Tony agreed.

Anna warned Tony that history might be repeating. "Megan wanted to find those prisms because they cured all sorts of things, including your father's brain tumor. Is it possible that she is collecting them again for the same reason?" Anna elaborated. "Father would have been in his 90s by now, and...no, his body couldn't have taken all that trauma -- and besides, Rolf assured us that he was dead," Tony argued. "As if we could trust him!" Anna countered. "But he pulled all of Father's memories and inserted them into a microchip and then implanted it into Steve -- he wouldn't have done that if Father was still alive," Tony maintained. "Then who is she trying to cure?" Anna wondered.

Kate, Marlena, and Kayla each stared at the ceiling of Megan's lab, obviously conscious but apparently unable to move. "I hope you enjoyed your naps...because now that you're back in the land of the living, there's a lot of work for us to do," Megan declared while circling each woman's cryogenic chamber. "I have been closely monitoring your brain activity," Megan revealed. "As minimal as yours is," Megan teased after stopping in front of Kate's chamber. "And, just now, there was a significant spike in the activity, and then you all opened your eyes, all at the same time! That's quite a coincidence...but definitely a very welcome development, because now my plans can finally proceed," Megan concluded with a grin of excitement.

Megan pressed a button on the wall, causing all three chambers to open in unison. "This should perk you right up," Megan promised before plunging the needle of a syringe into Marlena's right arm then retrieving two more syringes.

Marlena started moving seconds after Megan finished tending to Kayla and Kate. "What are you doing here? Wait -- what am I doing here? Where am I?" Marlena sputtered. "What's the last thing you remember?" Megan responded. "I was on the roof with John," Marlena muttered. "And then you had to go and spoil the mood by dying...or so they thought," Megan teased. "Actually, while you were in the hospital, I snuck something into your I.V. so that it appeared that you'd shuffled off this mortal coil -- then I switched the bodies in the morgue and whisked you away," Megan continued. "Surely you remember that my father had an entire army of Marlena look-alikes?" Megan concluded.

Marlena groaned at Megan's reminder of one of Stefano's most outlandish plots. "That's why I never throw anything away -- you never know when it's gonna come in handy!" Megan joked -- just as Kayla began to stir. "I didn't have a Kayla look-alike, though, in storage, so...eh, I just had to make do," Megan continued -- just as Kate sat up. "You were the easiest -- you wanted to be cremated, so all I had to do was come up with an urn full of ashes for you," Megan concluded. "I'm glad I didn't put you out," Kate muttered. "Your husband is talking to the remains of a goat," Megan elaborated, drawing a sarcastic laugh from Kate. "You have inherited your father's penchant for intricate machinations," Kate observed.

Kate was surprised to see that Megan was alive -- and just as surprised to learn that Marlena and Kayla had both known since the previous summer. "Don't feel too left out -- apparently, Hope Williams Brady and the ISA didn't want anyone to know of my comeback tour," Megan explained to Kate. "They are eventually going to find you, and then we will be rescued," Kayla predicted. "I wouldn't count on that -- you see, for the last seven months, I've been one step ahead of ol' Frowny Face, and so, when they do figure out where I am, it's gonna be too late for the three of you," Megan countered.

Marlena assumed that Megan simply wanted to torture Stefano's enemies. "It's bigger than that -- your so-called 'deaths' are vital to my plans," Megan teased. "Is this about the three prisms?" Marlena guessed. "You're giving me a headache -- I think it's time for another nap," Megan declared while retrieving more syringes. "You three are a real handful, but it will all be worth it in the end," Megan continued after the women were once again unconscious and the chambers were once again sealed. "You're gonna need some strength for what comes next -- Phase Two will begin very shortly," Megan concluded before pulling back a curtain that was hanging in a corner of the lab, revealing another chamber.

Megan hugged the hidden chamber -- which, unlike the others, was standing upright and contained enough steam to completely conceal anything else that might be inside -- and caressed it lovingly then backed away with a sigh and exited the lab.

This episode aired exactly 25 years after Arianne Zucker's first appearance as Nicole Walker. The Soap Central recap of that episode can be found here.

Brady pushes Stefan to near death

Brady pushes Stefan to near death

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Nicole ran into Eric in the park, and she told him that she had been thinking about him. "I don't know if you remember, but on this date, we met 25 years ago," Nicole said. "I remember. I've been thinking about you, too. A lot," Eric confirmed. Nicole told Eric about her breakfast with Paulina and Abe.

"I was talking about my difficult relationship with Kate," Nicole said. "And it made you think about your complicated relationship with me," Eric suggested. Eric told Nicole that he had been talking to Roman about when Eric had first seen Nicole in the coffee shop. "Why were you talking about me to your dad? Roman has never been my biggest fan," Nicole said. Eric explained that things had changed.

"He actually said that he was rooting for us to get back together," Eric admitted. Nicole reminded Eric that he had a girlfriend. "Sloan is not my girlfriend," Eric said. Eric added that he and Sloan were no longer dating casually, either. "What did she do to make you stop seeing her?" Nicole asked. Eric admitted that he had betrayed Sloan's trust in order to help Brady.

"So, you're available," Nicole said. "And you aren't," Eric countered. Nicole chuckled awkwardly. Eric pressed Nicole about her relationship status with E.J. "We're seeing where it goes," Nicole admitted. "Meaning you're not available," Eric said. "Yeah, I guess," Nicole said. With a nod, Eric told Nicole that it had been nice to see her. Before Eric could leave, Nicole asked Eric why Roman had said that he had been rooting for them.

"No reason, really. I just found it interesting that my father had a change of heart," Eric said. "What about you? Have you had a change of heart?" Nicole asked. Eric admitted that he had not thought much about his heart. "I want it to stop hurting. And first, I just need to make peace that I've lost my mom," Eric said. "Of course," Nicole said. With a sigh, Eric noted that Roman had talked about how much time Roman had missed out on with Kate.

"Is that what made him say he's rooting for us?" Nicole asked. Nicole's phone rang, and Eric urged her to answer it "in case it's important." "This is important," Nicole said. Nicole asked Eric if he had any regrets. "You know I do," Eric confessed. When Nicole's phone beeped with a text message, Eric asked if it was E.J.

"He says he needs to see me right away. It could be about Holly," Nicole said. "That's right. You three live together now. Just one big, happy family," Eric said. "I don't want to leave things like this," Nicole said. Eric reminded Nicole that E.J. had said his message was important. As Nicole started to walk away, Eric asked Nicole if she had heard anything about the orchid thief. "If I did, don't you think I would have told you?" Nicole said. Eric admitted it had been a long shot.

Tripp visited Wendy at Allie's former apartment to thank her for having attended Kayla's funeral. "It really meant a lot to me," Tripp said. "How are you doing?" Wendy asked. "Just kind of going through the motions. My dad, he is in complete denial," Tripp said. Wendy shook her head with dismay.

"I can't imagine how he is feeling. To lose the love of your life after all those years together," Wendy said. "Me, neither," Tripp agreed. Tripp noted that he had heard about Li's arrest, and he asked Wendy if she was okay. Wendy told Tripp about Rolf's statement. "[Li] should have known Rolf only looks out for himself," Tripp said. With a sad smile, Wendy noted that Li had been the smartest person she had known before he had become obsessed with Gabi.

"[Gabi] is like Li's Kryptonite. He'd do anything to get her back, and he thinks he still has a chance with her," Wendy said. "After what he did to Stefan?" Tripp asked. With a shake of her head, Wendy argued that although Gabi loved Stefan, she did not believe Gabi would wait for Stefan to make up his mind. "I think Li is banking on that," Wendy said. Wendy noted that a lot of people in town believed they were in love with two people.

"What makes you say that?" Tripp asked. Wendy recounted a couple of Salem love triangles, and she pointed at the boxes that Allie had left behind for storage. "So, who else do you know that thinks they're in love with two different people?" Tripp asked. Wendy shifted awkwardly. "I probably just overstated it," Wendy mumbled. Tripp looked around the room, and he asked about the apartment.

"You thinking about taking over the lease?" Tripp asked. "I can't afford a three bedroom by myself, so I need to find roommates, and I don't know that many people," Wendy said. "You know me. What if I move in?" Tripp asked. Confused, Wendy asked Tripp if he no longer intended to return to Seattle. Tripp admitted that he did not want to leave his parents.

"[And] since I'm all that [Ava] has, I don't want to be too far away," Tripp said. Tripp announced that he had accepted a position at University Hospital. Wendy congratulated him. With a shrug, Tripp said he needed a place to live. "I can't even afford to split the rent actually. There'd need to be a third person," Wendy said. Curious, Tripp asked Wendy if she was hesitant to live with him because of Johnny.

"It's not like [Johnny and I] are ready to move in together," Wendy said. "Okay, well that still means you need two roommates. I'm offering to be one of them unless you think Johnny would hate that idea," Tripp said. "Why would he? He knows you and I are just friends," Wendy said. Wendy told Tripp he could move in. As a thank you, Tripp cooked lunch. "I think having you as a roommate it going to be awesome," Wendy said.

In the interrogation room at the police station, Li asked Rafe to remove his handcuffs. "Your style seems to be to do whatever the hell you want, so the cuffs stay," Rafe said. Li smirked, and he said that he was a better match for Gabi than Stefan. "And you never gave a damn that she thought differently," Rafe said. "[Gabi's] going to forgive me," Li said. Rafe laughed.

"You're kidding yourself, man. I've known Gabi her whole life. There is no grudge too small that she won't hold onto," Rafe said. Rafe added that Trask was the same. "[Trask] is going to drum up every charge she can against you," Rafe noted. Li argued that the charges would not stick, but Rafe countered that Rolf had given Trask plenty of evidence. Rafe urged Li to plead guilty.

"Rolf is a psychopathic liar," Li said. Li refused to confess to any crimes. Rafe argued that he could convince Kristen to corroborate Rolf's statement. "You'll have to find her first," Li said. "She'll come back. She always does," Rafe said. Rafe promised to prove Li's crimes in court. "[Stefan's brainwashing] was all Kristen's idea," Li said. Rafe countered that Li's idea had been to murder Stefan. Sloan walked into the room.

"[Li] is not signing anything. Because this little interrogation is over," Sloan said. Sloan ordered Rafe to uncuff her client. "Why would I do that?" Rafe asked. "Because I demand that Mr. Shin be released into my custody," Sloan said. Rafe recounted Rolf's testimony about the attempted murder, and Sloan argued that Rolf had lied.

"The person that walked in and saved her brother's life was Kristen DiMera, and I'm sure that I can get her to testify under the right circumstances," Rafe said. "When you find her, you give me that call. Now, process my client out of this place," Sloan said. Rafe chuckled, and he told Sloan to speak to a judge. Sloan argued that if Rafe did not release Li, she would tell the judge that Eric had lied to the police about his employment with Sloan.

"I'd still rather take my chances in court than make any deal with you," Rafe said. Sloan noted that Trask disagreed with Rafe. When Rafe's phone beeped, Sloan noted that the message was likely from Trask. "I just came from her office, and she is pretty upset with you and Detective Hunter," Sloan said. Rafe looked at his phone, then he unlocked Li's handcuffs.

"I'm just gonna get Rolf to sign a new statement, so don't get too comfortable out there. And don't think of taking off," Rafe told Li. "Why would I do that? My wife's here," Li said.

In the town square, Gabi was looking at her phone when she ran into Chloe. "You really shouldn't be looking at your phone while you're walking," Chloe grumbled. "Another romantic getaway with Stefan?" Gabi asked as she glanced at Chloe's suitcase. Chloe said she had been visiting Parker at boarding school.

"And just so you know, I haven't heard a word from Stefan, except for one call on Valentine's Day," Chloe said. "I got the same call. He invited both of us to dinner. I went," Gabi muttered. Chloe asked Gabi if she was back together with Stefan. "I thought we were," Gabi admitted. Gabi told Chloe about Stefan's slip of the tongue.

"Ouch," Chloe said. "I walked out, and I haven't seen or heard from him since. The jackass still believes he's madly in love with both of us," Gabi said. Gabi confessed that she had told Stefan that she was through with him. "Did you mean it?" Chloe asked. "Hell yes!" Gabi said. Confused, Chloe reminded Gabi that she had repeatedly proclaimed her love for Stefan.

"I can get over that, but when a man calls you by another woman's name, I mean, that's it for me. So, if you came back because you still want him, Stefan is all yours," Gabi said. "So, you've really given up on Stefan?" Chloe asked. "And I've decided to stay with Li," Gabi added. Gabi told Chloe about Li's offer and the conditions. "That can't be easy," Chloe said. With a smirk, Gabi noted that the police had arrested Li, so she would not have to live with him. Chloe argued that revenge was lonely.

"I've got those shares of stock to keep me warm at night. And I don't want a man right now. I know how Stefan feels about me, and I am not above using that to influence his vote. I mean, I'll get what's coming to me," Gabi said. "I'm sure you will," Chloe said. Gabi noted that she had let her broken heart cripple her ambitions in the past, but she was in control this time.

"I knew how much trouble Li would get in. That's why I agreed to the six months. I have a feeling that I'm not going to be seeing that husband of mine for quite some time," Gabi said. "I hate to contradict a beautiful woman, but I'm afraid you're mistaken," Li said. Surprised, Gabi asked how Li had made bail. Li said the police had released him without charges. Chloe excused herself, and she entered the hotel.

"How did you get out this time?" Gabi asked. "I guess it's too much to ask for you to be happy for me?" Li said. Li reminded Gabi that they had made a deal. Gabi groaned in disgust, and she promised to put Li in the hospital if he touched her. "I was just telling my attorney that my favorite thing about you is what a romantic you are," Li said. "I liked you better in jail. I can't believe you got away with what you did to Stefan," Gabi said. When Gabi announced that she wanted to go home, Li told her that he had found a place for them to live.

After Wendy and Tripp ate, there was a knock at their apartment door. "That must be the movers for Allie's stuff," Wendy said. When Wendy opened the door, it was Li and Gabi. "Mrs. Shin and I are moving in," Li said.

In Eric's room above the pub, Rolf monitored his equipment. Tied to the bed, Stefan fought to wake up as pictures of Chloe flashed on the wall. Brady walked into the room. Rolf demanded his lunch, but Brady refused to deliver the food until Rolf finished his work.

"As soon as the equipment is ready, we will start again," Rolf promised. Brady noticed Stefan's head move. "He is waking up!" Brady noted. Brady asked what was next. Rolf explained that he needed to wait for the waffle iron to cool so that it would not cause a blackout in Salem. When Rolf explained that he did not want the lights to arouse Roman's suspicion again, Brady noted that Roman believed the lights had been a message from Kate. Rolf laughed.

"The fantasies of a man in love. But I'm afraid Kate Roberts Brady is deader than vaudeville, and no one can bring her back. Well, no one other than myself," Rolf said. Stefan stirred awake, and he demanded that Rolf and Brady untie him. When Stefan threatened to yell, Brady promised to gag Stefan's mouth. Stefan backed down. Stefan asked Brady to listen to reason.

"We've been at this for what, 24 hours now? Nothing's changed. I know I still love Chloe. I still love Gabi. I don't like it any more than you do, but it's the way it is," Stefan argued. "We're not done yet," Brady said. Brady argued that Stefan only loved Chloe because of Rolf. "I'm trying to fix it. I'm trying to do you a favor," Brady said. Stefan rolled his eyes, and he noted that Brady only wanted to help himself.

"You want Chloe back, and you don't care who you step on or who you have to hurt in order to make that happen," Stefan said. Frustrated, Stefan promised to send Brady and Eric to prison for kidnapping. As Brady leaned over to gag Stefan, Stefan yelled, "This is not you! Is this really how you want to get Chloe back?" Stefan urged Brady to look at Chloe's photo projected on the wall.

"What do you think Chloe would do if she found out what you were doing to me supposedly in the name of love?" Stefan asked. Brady stared at Chloe's picture. After a moment, Brady ordered Rolf to continue with the deprogramming.

"You can't use that on me again! You made it with a bunch of crap from the Brady kitchen," Stefan complained. Rolf and Brady fitted the headpiece back onto Stefan's head. As Stefan pleaded for mercy, Brady flipped the switch on the device, and the lights flickered. Stefan's body violently shook as he stared at the pictures of Chloe across the room. When Stefan's body went limp, Rolf asked Brady to turn off the machine.

"You don't know what you might be doing to him!" Rolf pleaded. After Brady turned off the machine, Rolf removed the headpiece and checked for a pulse. "You ignorant fool. You've killed him," Rolf said. "You said you could make this work!" Brady yelled. Rolf argued that Brady had pushed too hard. "You fixed it so he will never have a chance to love anyone again," Rolf said. Brady could not find a pulse on Stefan's neck. Panicked, Brady ordered Rolf to leave. Brady performed CPR. When Brady breathed into Stefan's mouth, Stefan opened his eyes and screamed.

"You're alive!" Brady said. "I didn't think you cared," Stefan said. Relieved, Brady thanked God that he had not murdered Stefan. There was a knock at the door, and Stefan started to scream. Brady covered Stefan's mouth. In the hallway, Rafe continued to knock on the door. "Eric! Open up!" Rafe shouted. As Rafe yelled through the door about police business, Rolf lurked at the end of the hallway. When Rafe mentioned Rolf, Rolf ran off.

In Eric's room, Stefan bit Brady's hand. "I'm tied up in here! Help!" Stefan screamed. Rafe kicked the door in. "Brady, what the hell are you doing?" Rafe asked. Rafe untied Stefan, and he helped him to his feet. Rafe asked what had happened. "That thing kidnapped me and demanded that Rolf fry my brain again. He and Eric," Stefan said. As Rafe asked about Rolf's whereabouts, Rolf grabbed the clam chowder from the hallway outside, and he ran off.

Outside the pub, Rolf ran into Sloan. "I have nothing to say to you," Rolf said. "I'm trying to help you," Sloan countered. Sloan told Rolf that the police wanted him to sign a new statement. "That's probably the best course of action," Rolf said. "I have another option for you," Sloan said. Sloan explained that Li had promised to fund Rolf's research and lab. "I don't trust Li Shin or you," Rolf growled. After a moment, Rolf accepted Sloan's offer.

When Eric returned to his room, Rafe was handcuffing Brady, and Stefan was gone. "What's going on?" Eric asked. "I just arrested your brother for kidnapping, and you're next," Rafe said. At the Salem Inn, Chloe was settling into her hotel room when Stefan knocked on her door.

Stefan has a change of heart about Chloe and Gabi

Stefan has a change of heart about Chloe and Gabi

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

by Mike

Nicole entered the DiMera mansion and found E.J. in the living room. "What's wrong? Is it Holly? She seemed pretty bummed when I left earlier -- I guess her and her best friend had a tiff yesterday, and --" Nicole began, still in the dark about the reason for E.J.'s earlier text message. "This is a business emergency, not a personal one," E.J. clarified before handing Nicole a document.

E.J. explained that Nicole was holding the results of the test that had been conducted on the contents of the vial Johnny had found at DiMera Enterprises. "The drug causes the symptoms we both experienced -- erratic behavior, dizziness, confusion," E.J. summarized. "But it's only circumstantial evidence that Stefan's behind it," Nicole warned. "Which is why, before I got the vial tested, I had my investigator dust it for prints," E.J. responded.

E.J. assured Nicole that Stefan had definitely handled the vial at some point. "So, now that you have proof, are you gonna go straight to the authorities?" Nicole wondered. "Where's the fun in that?" E.J. protested. "I'm going to let him keep drugging me," E.J. continued. "Perform a switcheroo," E.J. concluded. "In other words, give him a taste of his own medicine," Nicole summarized.

Nicole admitted to having a couple concerns about E.J.'s plan. "It's illegal --" Nicole attempted to elaborate. "Is it? His drug, his vial -- technically, he'll be drugging himself, and my hands will be clean," E.J. reasoned, and Nicole conceded the point after some thought then moved on to the second concern. "Not that Stefan doesn't deserve this, but he hasn't exactly been thinking straight the last few months -- I mean, pining over Gabi and Chloe at the same time --" Nicole tried to argue. "He may be a hormonal mess, but his brain is working perfectly -- there's no excuse for what he's done," E.J. countered, and Nicole agreed again after some thought then recommitted to helping with the revenge scheme.

Nicole eventually got around to telling E.J. about what had happened with Eric earlier. "Look, Nicole...what's happening between us, it feels good, and it feels right, at least from my perspective, but if there is any chance for you and Eric, I don't want to stand in the way of that -- I don't want you to be in something that you don't want to be in --" E.J. offered. "I appreciate you saying that -- I do -- but my perspective is the same as yours," Nicole insisted. "Are you sure --" E.J. wondered. "Eric and I are so done, and this is exactly where I want to be," Nicole maintained.

Stefan winced in pain while greeting Chloe at the Salem Inn. "I got your message," Stefan explained before stumbling into Chloe's room. "Sorry I've been out of touch for so long," Chloe fretted. "Brady said you left town," Stefan responded.

Chloe nodded then declared that the first order of business upon returning to Salem had been to contact Stefan so they could discuss their relationship. "You look...a little rough," Chloe observed. "I'm doing pretty well, considering," Stefan grumbled.

Stefan told Chloe about what Brady and Eric had done with Rolf's help. "That is...a lot to take in," Chloe muttered. "I'm fine -- well, except for the constant ringing in my head," Stefan declared. "You need to be checked out by a doctor!" Chloe advised.

Stefan promised to stop by the hospital later then started to add that catching up with Chloe was a higher priority. "Or, at least, I thought I wanted to see you --" Stefan began to backpedal, but Chloe interrupted. "The last thing I want to do is hurt you, especially after everything that you've just been through, but...you know, I've decided I cannot be with a man who loves two women," Chloe informed Stefan.

Stefan agreed without hesitation, leaving Chloe speechless. "My feelings for you -- they're gone. I don't love you anymore," Stefan explained to Chloe with a shrug, still trying to process the sudden realization that the second round of deprogramming had worked. "Just like that? Wow!" Chloe grumbled. "Sorry if it seems callous," Stefan fretted. "No -- I mean, this whole thing has been very confusing and strange...and, if I'm gonna be honest, I never really felt like your feelings for me were that genuine," Chloe admitted. "I hope that we can still be friends," Stefan declared before saying goodbye to Chloe then stumbling back out of the room while wincing in pain again.

Chanel was standing outside Sweet Bits, taping a "help wanted" sign to the bakery's display window, when Johnny entered the town square. "Business must be booming," Johnny guessed while approaching Chanel.

Johnny playfully complained to Chanel about having been forced to start the day with "crap coffee" from a vendor at the park because Sweet Bits had been overflowing with customers earlier. Chanel sincerely apologized for Johnny's hardship then clarified that the bakery was more crowded than usual not because of a sudden influx of new customers but instead because of a sudden personnel change. "You haven't heard," Chanel realized, drawing a shrug from Johnny.

Chanel explained what had happened, prompting Johnny to storm off to the Brady Pub in search of a stiff drink. "For God's sake, she's my twin sister! She moves halfway across the world and doesn't even tell me about it? I don't know -- I guess I just don't mean as much to her as I thought that I did," Johnny grumbled after gulping down a shot of tequila. "That is not true -- but maybe she's still upset that you almost kissed me," Chanel offered. "So, Allie cheats on you -- and I don't mean 'almost' -- and somehow, I end up being the bad guy here? That is fantastic!" Johnny muttered. "Now I'm kind of glad that my sister is halfway around the world," Johnny spat.

Johnny gulped down another shot of tequila then continued venting to Chanel. "I understand that you're upset, but I'm the one with the broken heart here, and you making this about yourself isn't making this any easier!" Chanel interjected, prompting Johnny to apologize then order a gin and tonic for each of them. "This is her loss, not yours. You deserve to be happy, you know -- you deserve to be with someone who is as amazing and special as you -- and I am sure that one day very soon, you will be," Johnny declared before giving Chanel a hug. "At least things are working out for one of us, right? My mom told me that you're trying it again with Wendy," Chanel prodded Johnny.

Li started carrying luggage into the Shin apartment while Gabi was apologizing for having interrupted whatever Wendy had been doing with Tripp. "This was your brother's idea -- obviously, I said we should call first," Gabi clarified for Wendy. "And I told Gabi we were doing you a favor -- I mean, you can't afford this big apartment all by yourself," Li explained to Wendy. "Actually...I'm not by myself -- Tripp's moving in," Wendy announced.

Tripp started to head off on a coffee run so Wendy could have some time alone with Li and Gabi. "I'll take a decaf soy latte, extra shot of --" Li begged. "You don't have to leave on their account," Wendy informed Tripp while glaring at Li. "I think it's best to give your...wonderful, happy family...some space to chat with you, all right? And look, just to be clear, I only offered to move in 'cause you needed a roommate, so I can just stay at my dad's -- it's no big deal --" Tripp responded. "No, you don't have to do --" Wendy objected. "I'll be back soon," Tripp promised before exiting the apartment.

Wendy started admonishing Li and Gabi for having invited themselves to move into the apartment. "Not my idea!" Gabi reiterated. "This is gonna be a fine arrangement -- I mean, like Tripp said, we're a 'wonderful, happy family' --" Li argued. "Except for the 'happy' part," Gabi countered. "Yeah, we're more like a highly dysfunctional family," Wendy declared before refusing to get caught in the middle of Li and Gabi's ongoing drama. "Jing-Wen, I'm sure we can all peacefully coexist --" Li insisted. "Tripp and I already made an agreement before you two showed up," Wendy maintained.

Li tried to seize a hug from an uninterested Gabi while offering to pay for two of the apartment's rooms so Tripp's help wouldn't be needed, but Wendy was quick to point out that it would be difficult enough for the unemployed "couple" to pay for just one room. "I'm the one responsible for the lease, which means I'm the one in charge, and you're not just gonna come in and railroad me!" Wendy stressed. "You two can stay here -- as long as Tripp's okay with it," Wendy continued after giving the matter some thought. "Out of loyalty to you, brother. And because you two obviously have nowhere else to go. I almost -- emphasis on 'almost' -- feel sorry for you both," Wendy concluded.

Li was delighted at first but tried to back out of the arrangement after Wendy made it clear that Tripp wasn't the one who was going to be sleeping on the living room couch, prompting Gabi to make a comment about beggars and choosers then rush off to one of the available rooms to unpack. Wendy soon left the apartment in search of Tripp, and Gabi returned a short time later and found a bag of chips then settled on the couch and made a point of getting crumbs all over Li's new bed. Li sighed then headed off to one of the bathrooms to take a shower. "Stay in there as long as you want -- maybe even six months!" Gabi yelled.

Tripp spotted Joey while passing through the town square. "Chatting with the girlfriend?" Tripp guessed while approaching Joey, who finished responding to a text message then confirmed the suspicion with a nod. "How'd you know?" Joey wondered. "You got that goofy little grin on your face," Tripp explained. "I gotta work on that," Joey muttered. "I was just telling her I'm headed back to Seattle," Joey continued. "I feel bad I'm leaving so soon after the funeral...but it's nice knowing that you and Steph are gonna be here, keeping Dad company and making sure he's taking care of himself," Joey concluded. "He might just have Stephanie -- I'm actually thinking about moving out," Tripp admitted.

Joey tried to high-five Tripp after hearing the rest of the story and jumping to conclusions about the nature of the potential living arrangement. "That's not what it is -- she just needs a roommate," Tripp stressed, refusing to join Joey's celebration. "A completely platonic arrangement?" Joey translated. "Yes, that's exactly what it is," Tripp insisted. "At least for now!" Joey argued. "Stop thinking that, all right? And besides, it's not gonna be just the two of us at the apartment," Tripp countered.

Stefan passed through the area while Tripp was elaborating. Stefan begged Tripp to repeat the information then rushed off. "Wonder what that was all about," Joey muttered. "Nothing good, I'm sure," Tripp responded.

Joey soon went back to teasing Tripp about Wendy. "Dude, why can't you admit that you have feelings for her and you want to be with her?" Joey challenged Tripp -- just as Wendy approached.

Tripp breathed a sigh of relief after realizing that Wendy had not heard Joey's comment. Wendy apologized to Tripp for what had happened earlier then provided an update on the situation, prompting Joey to suggest a celebratory round of drinks at the Brady Pub. "Last time I had drinks at the pub with Tripp, it was because you called me there and lied," Wendy reminded Joey. "You told her?" Joey snapped at Tripp. "It was pretty obvious," Tripp explained to Joey. "Sorry. I'm not in the matchmaking business anymore -- I promise. It won't happen again. Drinks on me?" Joey assured Wendy. "You don't need a matchmaker anymore, right? 'Cause you're living together now!" Joey excitedly whispered to Tripp as Wendy led the way to the pub.

Johnny and Chanel were still drinking and chatting when Wendy entered the pub with Tripp and Joey. "It's not what it looks like --" Johnny tried to clarify for Wendy. "No, I know -- you guys are just friends, same as me and Tripp," Wendy summarized, prompting Tripp to give Joey a pointed look. "You sitting here having drinks with Chanel doesn't mean anything more than...Tripp moving in with me," Wendy teased, stunning Johnny.

Chloe headed over to the police station to see Brady. "What were you thinking?" Chloe began. "I was thinking that if I just got you out of Stefan's head, then everything would be fine, and life would be easier for everybody!" Brady answered.

Brady started to grumble that the second round of deprogramming had been almost as pointless as the first round, prompting Chloe to reveal what had happened earlier. "This is amazing!" Brady raved before realizing that Chloe wasn't in a celebratory mood. "I guess I'm kind of relieved, you know? I'm completely through with Stefan now, and it's a good thing -- he can move on with Gabi --" Chloe tried to explain. "We can move on, as well --" Brady interjected. "When it comes to us, it's not that simple," Chloe protested. "I am in love with you, but...Brady, you kidnapped a man to make him forget his feelings for me, and you didn't talk to me about it, and you didn't talk to him about it --" Chloe tried to elaborate.

Brady interrupted again to declare that the move had simply been an act of desperation, prompting Chloe to wonder if it had been worth the potential consequences. "I had a little bit of tunnel vision, okay? That's just because I saw us at the end of the tunnel -- us, together again and happy!" Brady reasoned, but Chloe was quick to point out that there were other obstacles in their way. "Your daughter, she despises me -- she blames me for your 'breakup' with her mother --" Chloe noted. "My daughter is going to get older, and she will understand why I did what I had to do, and she will understand that you are a wonderful --" Brady predicted. "Is she going to 'understand' that you went to prison for kidnapping a man and endangering his life?" Chloe wondered.

Stefan headed over to the Shin apartment to tell Gabi about what had happened earlier. "Aren't you gonna say something?" Stefan wondered at the end of the tale. "I'm kind of at a loss for words," Gabi responded. "Okay, I understand that, but...come on -- we can be happy about this, Gabi! We can finally be together, okay? And there's nothing stopping us!" Stefan argued before hugging Gabi -- just as Li entered the living room, wearing only a towel. "What the hell? Get your hands off my wife!" Li snapped. "Gabi has asked for a divorce --" Stefan countered. "You're behind the times," Li teased.

Stefan gave Gabi a look of confusion. "You don't have to stay with this guy --" Stefan advised. "In fact, she does -- she signed a contract committing to remain in the marriage and cohabit," Li revealed. "For six months," Gabi elaborated. "Why would you agree to that?" Stefan wondered. "None of your business," Li declared. "I was asking her, towel boy!" Stefan yelled. "If you'll excuse us, my wife and I need some time to christen our new home," Li bragged before slamming the door in Stefan's face, stopping Gabi's attempt to explain the situation.

Sarah learns surprising news

Sarah learns surprising news

Thursday, March 2, 2023

In their room at the Salem Inn, Leo showed Gwen his first column. "Read it and gag," Leo said with a grin. As Gwen read the column, she scowled. Gwen tore up the paper, and she noted that nothing in Leo's column was true. Leo argued that the newspaper needed buzz.

"Each one of those items is a libel suit waiting to happen," Gwen argued. Leo disagreed. "I'm not loving this new professional you," Leo said. Gwen told Leo that he could not use his gossip column as a vehicle for revenge against Sonny.

"I applaud your creativity, but this is a newspaper. And we have standards to uphold, standards that were set by my father and my late sister. I am very determined to prove I am every bit as good of an editor as they were," Gwen said. "I had no idea you were so serious about maintaining these lofty journalistic principles," Leo said. Gwen told Leo that his scandal accusations needed to be true. "So, what do I do now?" Leo asked. "Get me some dirt I can actually run!" Gwen yelled. Gwen urged Leo to hit the streets so that he could make his deadline.

Sarah visited Xander at his motel room. "You stole the Spectator from Jack and Jennifer, you son of a bitch!" Sarah yelled. Xander played dumb. "I've read Jack's farewell editorial. It says that he and Jennifer are giving you and Gwen the paper, with her as Editor-in-Chief," Sarah said. "Is that a problem?" Xander asked. Sarah argued that Jack and Jennifer would never have willingly relinquished the paper to Gwen.

"[Gwen] is Jack's daughter, too," Xander noted. "Gwen is nothing but an evil bitch who has only ever brought misery to me and my family," Sarah growled. Xander smirked, and he noted that the Hortons were not saints. "Save it!" Sarah said. Sarah explained that Jennifer had given her the impression that the decision had been made under duress but that she had not confirmed the details.

"So, is this how your twisted little partnership with Gwen works? She covers for you, and you commit felonies?" Sarah asked. "Jack made a choice," Xander said. Sarah told Xander that she did not believe that Jack had willingly handed over the paper.

"What did you do, Xander? How did you force my cousins to hand over the paper that they put their blood, sweat, and tears into for 30 years?" Sarah asked. When Xander attempted to evade the question, Sarah demanded an answer. "Fine!" Xander screamed. Xander told Sarah that he had blackmailed Jack and Jennifer.

"And it's all your bloody fault," Xander added. "How is it my fault?" Sarah yelled. Xander explained that he had decided not to blackmail Jack, but then he had seen Sarah with Rex. "And you just couldn't help but rub the fact that you had sex with him in my face!" Xander yelled. "Just like you did with sleeping with Gwen," Sarah shot back. Xander argued that "this" was different. Sarah demanded to know how Xander had blackmailed Jack. Xander refused to explain.

"Jack is your best friend. He's Gwen's father. How could you two do that to him? It makes me sick," Sarah said. Sarah appeared to be queasy. As Xander asked Sarah if she was okay, she ran into the bathroom and threw up.

At the Kiriakis mansion, Rex found Maggie in the living room. Rex said that he needed to speak to Sarah about something important. Maggie asked Rex if they could talk first. "[Henderson] saw you leaving Sarah's bedroom the other day," Maggie said. Rex chuckled awkwardly. Maggie reminded Rex that Sarah was vulnerable.

"I would never take advantage of that," Rex promised. "What exactly are your intentions for my daughter?" Maggie asked. Rex explained that it had been a one-night stand. "We're just friends," Rex said. "And you can accept that?" Maggie asked. "Of course, I can!" Rex said. Maggie asked Rex why he wanted to talk to Sarah. Rex explained that he was headed back to Chicago and that he wanted to recruit Sarah to his hospital.

"I think she would be a tremendous asset to our surgical staff," Rex said. Maggie raised a suspicious eyebrow. "And I think it would be really good for her, given everything she's been through," Rex added. When Maggie looked away, Rex noted that she seemed skeptical. Maggie noted that Sarah would have to listen to her gut and make a decision.

At Titan, Alex placed Sonny's desk nameplate aside. "I'm gonna miss you, bro. But I could get used to this," Alex said as he put his feet up on the desk. "Someone's getting comfortable," Stephanie said. Alex confirmed that Sonny had resigned from Titan. "I guess things are going to be different around here," Stephanie said. Stephanie asked if Alex was the new CEO.

"It isn't official yet, but I am the obvious choice," Alex said. Stephanie asked why. Alex reminded Stephanie that he had returned to Salem originally to help Sonny at the company. "I love my brother, but he isn't exactly a killer. That's where I come in," Alex said. Alex added that he had proven himself since his arrival. When Stephanie called out Alex's ego, he reminded her that he was her boss.

"I am my own boss, Alex. And you would be smart to remember that," Stephanie said. Stephanie noted that even if Alex was named as CEO, he would only have a say in Titan's business. "I'll be in charge of your biggest client. Cutting you your biggest checks," Alex said. Stephanie agreed that Titan was an important client. Alex sat on the desk and leaned close to Stephanie.

"Are you going to be okay working as closely with me as you did with my brother?" Alex asked. "We're both adults, Alex. I don't foresee any problem with us working together," Stephanie said. Stephanie stood up so that she was looking down at Alex. "Especially since we're no longer romantically involved. But if you do?" Stephanie said. "No. Of course not," Alex said. Alex stood up so that he was eye to eye with Stephanie.

"We both want the same thing. For Titan to thrive," Stephanie said. "Absolutely," Alex agreed. Stephanie suggested that they remain focused and respectful of one another's boundaries. "We should get along just fine," Stephanie said. Alex and Stephanie shook hands. As Alex and Stephanie lingered in their handshake and stared into one another's eyes, Leo walked in.

"How the hell did you get in here, Stark?" Alex asked. Leo told Alex he did not need to posture in front of his girlfriend. "I'm not his girlfriend. We're colleagues," Stephanie said. "Oh! You hold hands with all your colleagues?" Leo asked. Alex sighed. Leo announced that he was there in an official capacity as the new gossip columnist for the paper. Leo started his recorder.

"Is it true that you broke up Salem's favorite bisexual bakers?" Leo asked. "I don't know where you're getting your information, but you're way off base," Alex said. Leo asked Alex if he denied that he had made out with Allie in a bar before he had returned to her apartment for sex. Shocked, Stephanie turned to Alex.

"It's not how he is making it sound," Alex protested. Leo asked Alex if he also wanted to deny that Chanel had caught Alex and Allie together. "Chanel caught you in the act?" Stephanie asked. "She showed up the next morning," Alex clarified. "Sounds like a confirmation to me," Leo said. Alex disagreed. Leo pressed for details, and he mentioned the threesome.

"Threesome?" Stephanie asked. Frustrated, Alex grabbed Leo's recorder, threw it to the ground, and stomped on it. Leo gasped. "You want a comment, Leo? Take your whistle and shove it up your blower, Lady," Alex barked. Leo picked up the pieces of his recorder. "Look what you did!" Leo said. "You're lucky I didn't do it to your face," Alex growled. Alex ordered Leo to leave. With a smirk, Leo told Alex to be sure to pick up the paper in the morning.

After Leo left, Stephanie told Alex that his personal life was none of her business. "But the way that he just made that whole thing sound, Steph, he made it sound a lot more salacious than it really was," Alex said. "Say no more. You, Allie, and Chanel are all consenting adults. What you do with them has nothing to do with me," Stephanie stressed. Stephanie walked out.

Xander knocked on the bathroom door of his hotel room, and he asked Sarah if she was okay. Sarah opened the door, and she clutched her stomach. "I'm fine. It must have been something I ate," Sarah grumbled. Xander asked Sarah if she wanted anything. "I just want to know what you're holding over Jack and Jennifer," Sarah said. Xander argued that Jack and Jennifer wouldn't want anyone to know the details.

"I cannot believe that I actually thought you'd changed," Sarah said. Sarah shook her head in disgust. "You're just the same low-life thug you've always been. I am so glad that I signed those divorce papers so that I don't have to sit here and listen to my husband rattle off another round of excuses about why he committed yet another crime against the people I love," Sarah said. Xander started to speak, and Sarah cut him off. "I'm done. For good. Goodbye, Xander. I hope you and Gwen enjoy your stolen paper," Sarah said.

After Sarah left, Gwen visited Xander in his motel room. Xander was drinking. "How's it going, partner?" Gwen asked. "It's going," Xander muttered. Gwen asked Xander if he had anything for the paper, and he shook his head no.

"Can you believe it? We're actually going to put our first issue of the Spectator out. We did it, Xander. We're actually running a newspaper," Gwen said. "Right," Xander said. Xander took another gulp of his liquor. "Is everything all right?" Gwen asked. "Sarah just left," Xander said. Xander explained that Sarah had lectured him about the paper.

"How did she find out?" Gwen asked. With a shrug, Xander explained that Sarah had not believed that her cousins would hand over the paper to Gwen. "[Sarah] asked Jennifer why," Xander said. "Jennifer told her?" Gwen gasped. Xander shook his head no. "Sarah came here to get [the truth] out of me," Xander said. Xander explained that he had told Sarah about the blackmail, but he had not explained the details.

"Well, I would bet that little miss perfect won't be so bloody sanctimonious if she found out her cousin was the one that mowed me over when she was high on painkillers," Gwen grumbled. When Xander stared at the table in silence, Gwen apologized for having spoken ill of Sarah.

"Especially when it's obvious from the look on your face that you're still in love with her," Gwen added. Gwen sighed, and she mentioned the night they had slept together. "You seemed to indicate that you would rather be with somebody like me. You actually said we belonged together," Gwen noted. Xander remained silent.

"But then the next morning, you woke up having dreamt of Sarah and realized that, while your marriage may be over, you may not still be over her," Gwen recounted. "I said I wasn't. I told you that," Xander whispered. Xander added that he did not know if he would ever be over Sarah. Gwen asked Xander where they stood.

"I meant everything that I said. I really do care about you a great deal. And I just can't believe everything that you sacrificed for me. I'm so grateful for it. I just, I am still coming to terms with the very recent end of my marriage. And I just don't have any answers for you right now," Xander said. Gwen said she understood.

With a nod, Gwen suggested that they keep their relationship professional until Xander was ready to revisit the conversation. Xander agreed. Gwen hurriedly collected her belongings, and she asked Xander if he had any input for the paper. Xander said no. "I'll see you tomorrow, partner," Xander said. Gwen clicked a finger gun at Xander, and she walked out. In the hallway, Gwen fought back tears.

At the Brady Pub, Sonny greeted Chad. "I got your text. What's up?" Chad asked. Sonny told Chad about his move to New Zealand. "What about Ari?" Chad asked. "She's coming with us," Sonny said. Sonny added that Allie had moved with them, too.

"I think this is going to be really good for everyone. Especially for you and Will. I'm happy for you. For all of you," Chad said. Sonny explained that he was leaving that day. Chad asked about Victor's response, and Sonny said it had been as expected.

"Trashed Will and then screamed a bunch of curse words?" Chad said. Sonny laughed. "He'll get over it," Sonny said. Sonny noted that Victor could rely on Alex as CEO. Chad's smile disappeared. "I guess that means Stephanie is going to be reporting directly to [Alex]," Chad said. Sonny assured Chad that he did not need to worry about Alex. Chad appeared unsure.

"[Stephanie] was big enough to forgive Alex, but I'm telling you, they are not getting back together," Sonny said. Sonny stressed that Chad was the one that Stephanie wanted. "It's just, I really like her. And my kids really like her," Chad said. "That's good to hear," Sonny said. With a sigh, Chad confessed that he had not believed that he could love someone again.

"[Stephanie] showed me that you can start over after such a horrifying loss," Chad said. Chad admitted that he was worried that he could lose that love again. Sonny told Chad that it was natural after Chad had suffered a traumatic loss. "On a lighter note, I am very grateful that she is in my life and in my kids' lives. I'm a lucky man," Chad said.

Justin walked in, and he joined Sonny and Chad for a drink. Justin joked that Sonny's decision to move was selfish. "Selfish as hell," Chad agreed. "You can come visit me anytime," Sonny protested. Justin promised to visit with Bonnie. "I was just telling Chad how bad I feel just dumping this on everyone out of the blue," Sonny said. "I'm thrilled that you and Will are going to be reunited," Justin countered. Sonny admitted that it had been difficult to be apart from Will.

"For a minute there, I thought that Leo Stark would get his fangs into you again," Justin said. "Leo is someone else's problem," Sonny said. As Sonny talked about the time difference, Alex entered the pub. "I thought this was family only," Alex said. "Chad is family, so can we just play nice, please?" Sonny said. Alex scoffed then sat down at the table.

"New Zealand, huh?" Alex said. "You should come visit. That is if you have any time off. Being the CEO of Titan, whew, it's a stressful job. And, big bro, I think you're gonna kill it," Sonny said. Sonny told Alex that Alex was born to be a CEO. "It's true. Of all my sons, you are the most like Victor," Justin said. Chad laughed. "He wishes," Chad muttered. Sonny reminded Chad to be civil.

"The old man couldn't have made a better choice," Justin said. Alex thanked his father, and he hugged Sonny goodbye. "I love you," Alex said. "I love you, too," Sonny said. As Alex said goodnight, Chad offered his hand for a handshake. Alex ignored him, and he walked toward the door. Stephanie walked in, and Alex pointed at Chad for her. Chad greeted Stephanie as Justin hugged his son goodbye and left.

"I finally move back to Salem, and now you're leaving," Stephanie said. Stephanie thanked Sonny for having hired her PR company. "You two take care of each other," Sonny said. Sonny hugged them both goodbye. After Sonny left, Stephanie lamented Sonny's departure. Chad noted that the change at Titan was big. "You're gonna have a new boss," Chad said.

At the Kiriakis mansion, Alex met up with Maggie in the living room. "I asked you over to discuss some business," Maggie said. "Where is Uncle Vic? I assume this is about me taking over for Sonny, right?" Alex said. "[Victor] is giving the job to a different Kiriakis," Maggie said.

Justin went to Xander's motel room. "This is a nice surprise. My favorite cousin popping by," Xander said. "This isn't a social visit," Justin clarified. Xander asked Justin if he was there to confirm that the divorce was final. "There's a problem with the divorce," Justin said.

At the Salem Inn, Gwen returned home as Leo finished his column. "Your sources on this are solid?" Gwen asked. "Got it straight from the stud's mouth," Leo confirmed. When Gwen appeared unenthusiastic, Leo asked what was wrong. Gwen told Leo that she was impressed with his work. "It's not about the paper. It's Xander," Gwen said. Leo put his arm around his friend.

At the hospital, Sarah breathed deeply as she did paperwork next to a nurse named Emiko at the nurses' station. "You look a little green around the gills," Emiko said. Sarah said that she suspected that she had food poisoning. "Are you sure that's all it is?" Emiko asked. "I'm a doctor. I know the difference between a bug and nothing. And this, this is nothing," Sarah protested. Sarah breathed through a wave of nausea. The nurse recommended running some tests. "I guess it probably couldn't hurt," Sarah said.

After Sarah ran some tests, Rex found her in an exam room. "There's something important that I need to talk to you about," Rex said. "Me, too," Sarah said. Sarah told Rex that she was pregnant.

Alex finds out which Kiriakis will be running Titan

Alex finds out which Kiriakis will be running Titan

Friday, March 3, 2023

by Mike

Justin entered Xander's roach-infested motel room and explained that the Horton-Kiriakis divorce had not yet been finalized because a clerk had misplaced the request. Justin produced new documents, but Xander decided not to sign them right away.

Jack headed over to the Salem Inn to give Gwen the keys to the Spectator office, and Leo seized the opportunity to complain that the exchange should have occurred sooner so the newspaper's new owner could have avoided the inconvenience of having to create one whole edition of the publication inside a cramped hotel room. Jack glared at Leo while advising against turning the Spectator into a tabloid, prompting Gwen to promise that the newspaper's established standards would always be respected. Jack admitted that even though things were tense with Gwen, it was still nice to have a child in charge of the Spectator again.

Gwen was surprised to learn that Jack and Jennifer were planning to leave Salem later that day. Gwen admitted to being unhappy about the way things were ending with Jack, who somewhat bitterly countered that maintaining a relationship with Xander was obviously more important. Jack suggested to Gwen that it might actually be best for them to go their separate ways and finally put an end to their cycle of finding new ways to disappoint each other. Jack vowed to always love Gwen, who returned the sentiment. Jack hoped that Gwen would eventually find happiness then noted that it might actually be easier for them to love each other from afar.

Jennifer entered the Horton house and was surprised to see that Julie and Doug were back from their Hawaiian cruise. Doug headed upstairs to unpack, and Julie stayed behind to question Jennifer about the Spectator's change of ownership. Jennifer revealed that Gwen and Xander had blackmailed Jack into giving up the newspaper, and Julie quickly decided that a certain hit-and-run incident was probably at the heart of the matter. Julie admitted to having found out about the incident during an argument with Gwen the previous Christmas Eve, prompting Jennifer to insist that it had been an accident.

Julie stormed off in search of Gwen, threatening to finish the job unless the Spectator was returned to its rightful owners at once, but Jennifer followed and insisted that wasn't necessary. Julie complained to Jennifer that the whole ordeal could have been avoided if a certain someone had simply had the decency to exercise control of sexual urges over the years, and Jack entered the house just in time to hear the comment. Jack greeted Jennifer then made a joke about having missed Julie, who wasn't amused. Jack revealed what had just happened then hoped that Gwen's promises had been genuine.

Jack and Jennifer soon said goodbye to Julie and Doug, who each offered a lei as a parting gift. Julie vowed to keep an eye on things and step in if Gwen ever tried to hurt a loved one again. Jack and Jennifer promised to return to Salem for a visit at some point then rushed off to the airport, ready to rejoin the newspaper they still owned in Boston.

Leo and Gwen headed over to the town square to eat dinner and were surprised to learn, during a chance encounter with Justin, that Xander and Sarah's divorce had not yet been finalized and might not even proceed as planned.

Rex was delighted to hear about Sarah's pregnancy at first, since Emily had been asking for a sibling lately, but the celebration was premature. Sarah explained that Rex couldn't be the father because the pregnancy was too far along. Sarah grumbled that the baby had probably been conceived when Xander had supposedly landed a job at Rednax.

Sarah admitted to having been hoping for a fresh start, prompting Rex to reveal that one was available in Chicago. Sarah was excited about the job opportunity but didn't want Rex to get the wrong idea about what it could mean for their future if they were living in the same city and working at the same hospital. Rex told Sarah not to worry.

Xander soon arrived to talk to Sarah about the issue with their divorce paperwork, prompting Rex to take a walk. Xander suggested that the divorce mishap might be a sign from the universe, especially since Justin had never seen anything like it before, and Sarah responded that more than one sign had been delivered that day.

Sarah was somewhat suspicious about the mishap, but Xander denied having interfered with the divorce paperwork. Xander wanted to know about the other sign, so Sarah claimed to have been talking about a job offer. Xander was disappointed to learn that Sarah was planning to leave town. Sarah signed the new documents while fighting back tears, and Xander released a sigh of disappointment then also signed them. Sarah promised to make sure that the paperwork was properly filed, and Xander left after they agreed that they had been good together for a while.

Xander ran into Leo and Gwen a short time later and started venting to them about what had happened. Leo gave Gwen a look, assuming that Xander might finally be ready to move on.

Sarah confided in Rex about what had just happened. Sarah and Rex acknowledged that they each had experience with the potential consequences of secret pregnancies. Sarah fretted to Rex about needing more time to decide how to handle the twist.

Alex paced around the living room of the Kiriakis mansion while trying to absorb the news Maggie had just shared. Maggie elaborated that Victor had been prepared to make Alex the new CEO of Titan until Leo had phoned to ask for a comment about the story that would soon be appearing in the Spectator's new gossip column. Alex protested that it was unfair to punish a grown man for having an active sex life, prompting Maggie to clarify that Victor was simply concerned that the optics of the situation wouldn't go over well at all in the world's sociopolitical climate of the moment. Alex was annoyed and disappointed but accepted Victor's decision after some thought.

Alex started trying to figure out which of the other members of the Kiriakis family would be receiving Victor's vote. Alex hoped that neither Joseph nor Vic would be the new CEO of Titan, since working with them in Phoenix had been a nightmare. Maggie was quick to confirm that the twins could both be eliminated from the pool of potential candidates. Maggie also informed Alex that, to Victor's dismay, Justin had lost interest in running the company decades earlier and was content to simply continue working as a lawyer. Alex fretted that Xander was the only Kiriakis left, but Maggie reported that Victor wasn't going to go that route, either.

Alex began to do a more thorough exploration of the Kiriakis family tree but continued striking out with the next three guesses -- Brady, Shawn, and Ciara -- prompting Maggie to tease that another important member still needed to be identified. Alex struggled to think of any other options, so Maggie raised a hand to solve the mystery. Alex laughed then realized that Maggie was being serious. Alex protested that Maggie wasn't the least bit qualified to be CEO of Titan. Maggie argued that Chez Rouge and Tuscany had each been quite successful, but Alex countered that running a multinational corporation was a whole lot different than running a local restaurant.

Maggie conceded the point then admitted to having been hoping that Alex would agree to help address that concern as second in command. Alex phoned Victor to discuss the matter. The conversation got a bit heated, but they managed to reach an understanding by the end of the call. Alex wanted to do what was best for Titan but still had doubts about Maggie's ability to run the company. Maggie made it clear that Alex was questioning the capabilities of a woman who had been defying people's expectations for decades, starting as a child who had singlehandedly managed to keep a family farm afloat after the sudden death of both parents.

Maggie bragged about having good instincts that had impressed even Victor on more than one occasion, but Alex countered that the matter at hand was a job that required killer instincts. Maggie unceremoniously fired Alex as a way of rising to the challenge. Alex began to stammer out an objection, prompting Maggie to admit that the announcement had simply been a joke. Alex wasn't amused, but Maggie insisted that the prank had been hilarious. Maggie conceded that Alex wasn't the only person who was going to be skeptical about Titan's new CEO. Alex remained concerned that Maggie wouldn't be able to handle the company's most ruthless competitors.

Maggie declared that Alex needed to stop worrying about the change and start pondering whether they would be able to work together. Alex gave the matter some thought then agreed to be Maggie's second in command. Alex prepared a glass of Champagne and a glass of sparkling cider then handed the latter to Maggie so they could toast to their new partnership. Justin arrived just then and assumed that Alex's promotion was being celebrated, prompting Maggie to clarify the situation.

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