Victor ran into Brady at the hospital and wondered if everything was all right. Nodding, Brady explained that he was just there to give the hospital board his letter of resignation. Victor insisted that wasn't necessary, but Brady reasoned that the board had no further need for him because his departure from Titan had left him with no means to continue pulling in the big donations they had grown to expect from him.
Meanwhile, Maggie arrived and told Brady she was sorry she had missed the opportunity to say goodbye to him the previous night. As she hugged Brady, Maggie sadly added that the house was much quieter without Brady and Tate around. Responding with a sigh and a shrug, Brady changed the subject, wondering if Maggie would like to join him for a cup of coffee. "She can't," Victor answered for Maggie, explaining that he had something important that he needed to discuss with her right away.
After Brady left, Maggie pointed out that Victor had been pretty abrupt with him. "This had better be for real," Maggie warned Victor, who assured her that it was. "I'm afraid of what I may have brought down on people that I care about," Victor explained. Maggie was shocked to learn that Ciara had been kidnapped the previous day. Victor wanted to move Caroline into the mansion for her safety, fearing that the kidnappers might go after her next because she was the only person the drug had been tested on.
Forcing a smile, Maggie agreed that was the right thing to do, and she warned that Victor might want to start trying to convince Caroline of that right away, since he might get more opposition from her. Victor warmly stated that marrying Maggie had been one of the best things he had ever done. "Ditto," Maggie replied, her voice wavering a bit as she fought back some tears.
Brady ran into Caroline in the town square and wished her a merry Christmas, acknowledging that it was probably going to be a particularly rough one for her. "Well, it is, but we have to get on with it," Caroline replied. Caroline wondered how Victor was doing. Brady reported that Victor had been fine when they had seen each other earlier that day.
Brady could tell that Caroline was relieved, so he asked if she was worried about Victor. Caroline claimed that she wasn't, adding that she had only asked about Victor because he was always more concerned about her than himself, and the fact of the matter was that they were both grieving the loss of a child.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Justin welcomed Philip back to Salem. "Seems like I was the last in the family to hear that Brady was out and you had his job," Justin mused. Shrugging, Philip replied that Justin's new role as district attorney had apparently left him out of the loop. "Father's gotta love that; he's finally got a D.A. in his pocket," Philip added.
Justin insisted that he wasn't in anyone's pocket, adding that, since Titan had supposedly been turned into a completely legitimate company, Victor no longer had a need to own public servants, anyway. "Right?" Justin added. Philip stammered that if times got tough, it would still be nice to have a friend in court. "Won't be me," Justin replied.
Philip said it was too bad that Justin had taken a government job, since he had been looking forward to working with his cousin. "You start turning Titan into what it once was, and you'll see me all the time," Justin warned. Philip replied that the only thing he wanted to change about Titan was its profit margin. "But I will admit, I'll do whatever it takes to pull that off," Philip added.
Justin wondered if Philip was really naïve enough to believe that Victor wouldn't still be calling all the shots at Titan, despite anything he might have promised to get Philip to return to Salem. Ignoring the question, Philip asked for Justin's assessment of Victor, and Justin replied that it seemed like Victor was still just as sharp as always. "Good. I want to be aggressive with the company, and I need to make sure he has the stamina to keep up with all the changes I plan to make," Philip explained before abruptly walking away, leaving Justin looking a bit concerned.
Philip went to Brady and Theresa's townhouse to see Brady. When Philip introduced himself to Theresa, she icily explained that Brady had gone out earlier. Philip assumed that Theresa blamed him for Brady's departure from Titan, but she clarified that she actually blamed him for saying that Brady had mucked up the running of Titan. "I didn't use those words --" Philip began to protest, but Theresa ignored him, continuing that she blamed Brady's departure on Philip's "lovely" father. Philip reminded Theresa that Brady had made his own decision. "Yeah, after Victor forced him to choose between me and the job," Theresa replied.
Chuckling uncomfortably, Philip said he didn't really want to discuss the matter with Theresa. "Then why are you still here?" Theresa wondered. "I guess because I'd like to understand how Brady could leave his family and a great job to hook up with a ray of sunshine like you," Philip replied. Theresa clarified that she and Brady actually loved each other. "Oh, come on! Before you met Brady, you had a crap apartment, a dead-end job, and a lot of enemies. All you love is his bank balance," Philip argued.
"Are you calling me a gold-digger? Wow. That's -- that's amazing, because, you know, before you sucked up to your daddy dearest, weren't you running the copier at a Titan in Siberia?" Theresa countered. Smiling, Philip guessed that the real Theresa was emerging, and he warned that she wouldn't be able to maintain the illusion of a reformed woman for very long. "I've known Brady a lot longer than you have. No way he'll ever love a 'woman' like you," Philip added. As Theresa started to respond that Philip had a lot of nerve, Brady arrived and wondered what was going on.
Tate started fussing, so Theresa went to check on him, leaving Philip to explain what had just happened. Philip apologetically summarized that he had shown up unexpectedly -- which had probably been a mistake -- and Theresa hadn't reacted well when she had learned his identity. Nodding, Brady wondered why Philip had visited in the first place. Philip replied that Brady had been in the middle of a lot of different business deals when he had walked out on the company with no notice. "Are you trying to guilt me into helping you take over my job?" Brady asked incredulously.
Philip reasoned that some sort of transitionary period needed to be observed, but Brady knew that Philip was only interested in one specific investment -- the drug that had been used on Caroline -- and he maintained that he wasn't going to help Philip push that drug onto the market prematurely. Brady was only willing to agree to walk Philip through every single procedure that needed to be followed before the drug could be marketed legally. Philip wanted to know how he could prove that Brady didn't need to worry about him, but Brady said that wouldn't be possible; he would always worry because he would always care about Titan -- and Victor.
After Philip left, Theresa returned and muttered that he was definitely trouble, prompting Brady to wonder what had happened earlier. Theresa told Brady about what Philip had said. Brady advised Theresa not to listen to Philip. Changing the subject, Brady explained that he had decided that he didn't want to talk to Belle about investing in Basic Black because he didn't want to get involved in her financial situation -- and he didn't think it would be a good idea for Theresa to get involved, either. "It's safer that way," Brady concluded.
Theresa wondered if Belle was in some sort of trouble. Claiming that wasn't the case, Brady admitted that he should have chosen a different word, and he added that he simply didn't want Theresa to get off on the wrong foot with Belle. Theresa was still confused, but Brady insisted that he didn't want to argue with her about the matter, so she conceded that she shouldn't have asked him to be her middleman.
Brady made it clear that he didn't want Theresa to talk to Belle about the idea herself, either. Theresa started to protest, but Brady interrupted. "Find another way to get along with Kate, or walk away -- one or the other," Brady firmly advised before going to check on Tate.
Victor tracked Caroline down in the town square and told her he wanted her to move into the mansion. Caroline protested that she already had a place to live, but Victor asked her to humor him, adding that he wanted to make sure she was receiving the proper care. After Victor assured Caroline that Maggie was okay with the idea, Caroline promised to give it some thought.
Later, Caroline told Roman about Victor's proposal. Caroline theorized that Victor simply felt responsible for her because he was the one who had helped develop the experimental drug she was on, but Roman suggested that Victor might instead want Caroline nearby so he could exploit her visions to make a killing on the stock market.
Caroline urged Roman to give Victor some credit, and Roman conceded that Victor had saved Caroline's life -- and might have mellowed a bit in recent years. Roman stressed, however, that Caroline didn't have to move in with Victor because there were plenty of other people who would be happy to look out for her. "I know. But I am thinking about it," Caroline admitted.
Later, Roman went to the Kiriakis mansion and asked Victor to reveal the real reason he wanted Caroline to move there. Victor explained that he simply believed that it would be best for Salinas to closely monitor Caroline. "And I'm the only one who knows where he is," Victor added. Victor told Roman that he had hidden Salinas in a safe location because he was concerned that Bo's captors might go after Salinas next.
Roman wondered if Bo's captors knew that Caroline was being treated with Salinas' drug. "That's why I want her here," Victor replied. Roman suggested that he could take better care of Caroline than Victor could. "Caroline is free to do whatever she thinks is best," Victor said with a shrug. "And I'm sure you let her know what that is," Roman guessed before showing himself out, failing to notice that Philip was hiding behind a door in the foyer.
Abigail seemed upset about something when she arrived at the Horton house with Thomas, so Jennifer offered to call Chad and invite him over, thinking that would help. Abigail told Jennifer not to do that, and she proceeded to explain that her relationship with Chad was over for good. Later, while Abigail was checking on Thomas, Jennifer filled J.J. in on what had happened between Abigail and Chad. Abigail returned and listened from the foyer as an unsurprised J.J. complained that Chad was -- and always had been -- a "bastard."
"He wouldn't quit looking for her. He risked his life to save her. Why would he turn on her?" Jennifer wondered. "Well, it's probably part of the fun for a jerk like him," J.J. guessed. Abigail entered the room and clarified that it hadn't been Chad's fault; it had been hers, because she had been a mess when Chad had found her, and she was going to continue to be a mess for the foreseeable future. Abigail argued that Chad couldn't be blamed for realizing that her baggage was more than he wanted to take on at that time, but J.J. strongly disagreed, and Jennifer admitted that she thought J.J. was right.
J.J. wondered why Abigail was sticking up for Chad. "I know that Chad loved me," Abigail replied. "The guy doesn't know what love is, Abigail," J.J. insisted, but Abigail maintained that Chad had loved her, and she had loved him, too; in fact, she still loved him. Abigail added that Chad just hadn't been ready for the kind of life she was facing. "Oh, the poor guy. The woman he loves has a newborn baby, [and] she can't be all about him twenty-four hours a day [anymore]. My heart breaks for the son of a bitch," J.J. sarcastically mused. As Abigail snapped that J.J. needed to butt out, he grabbed his coat and stormed off, slamming the door behind him.
Later, Abigail asked Jennifer to watch Thomas for a while so she could get some fresh air. Abigail went to the town square and ordered a cup of hot chocolate from one of the restaurants there. As she was waiting for it to cool, Abigail thought about some of the happier times she had shared with Chad. Abigail eventually looked up from the cup and saw a suit that was on display in a nearby store. Imagining Chad in the suit, smiling at her mockingly, Abigail angrily hurled her drink at the display, shattering the cup and leaving a large hole in the store window. Abigail rushed off after nervously glancing around to see if she had drawn anyone's attention.
At Club TBD, Chad stumbled while trying to convince Belle to represent him. Putting a hand on Chad's chest to brace him, Belle helped him into a chair and went to get him a bottle of water. When Belle returned, Chad insisted that he was fine -- and that he had simply pulled a stunt to keep her from leaving. "I told you -- I'm a guy who knows what he wants," Chad added.
Belle pointed out that she was under no obligation to cooperate. "Then I'm gonna have to find a way to make you want to," Chad replied with a smile. Assuming that Chad was trying to hit on her, Belle wondered what Abigail would think about that. Chad said that was none of Belle's business, but she countered that an attorney had the right to demand full disclosure from any potential client. "You think I have potential?" Chad asked. Belle told Chad to answer the question, so he explained that his relationship with Abigail simply hadn't worked out, adding that he needed to focus on his family, and Abigail needed to focus on hers.
Belle assumed that Chad was going to try to help Stefano get back the money Sami had stolen, but Chad claimed that he wasn't interested in doing that. Chad reasoned that the loss had presented Stefano with a golden opportunity to reevaluate his life and make the most of the rest of it. Belle doubted that would ever happen, but Chad insisted that, with his help, it most certainly could. "Maybe if he can't buy anything or anyone, he'll have to think about what really matters in life: friends, family, the people you love," Chad added.
"Well, what do you know? You may have unsuspected depth, DiMera," Belle mused, prompting Chad to wonder if that meant she was ready to reconsider his dinner invitation. Chad promised he would keep things professional -- if Belle agreed to be his lawyer first. Belle said she would look into the matter and see if Chad really had a case. "That's my girl," Chad said with a smile of satisfaction. "No, I am not your girl; I am your lawyer -- maybe," Belle stressed. Shrugging, Chad said that was a start.
Meanwhile, J.J. arrived and shoved Chad. "You broke my sister's heart, you bastard. Now, if that's your idea of a Christmas present, it sucks -- and so do you," J.J. spat. Chad said he was sorry that things had ended the way they had, but J.J. countered that Chad had never been sorry for anything in his life. Chad insisted that Abigail deserved someone much better than him. "Now, that is the first true thing you've said since I've been here," J.J. agreed. J.J. left after warning Belle to be careful around Chad -- and not to believe a word Chad said about anything.
Later, Chad returned to the DiMera mansion, entered the otherwise empty study, and approached Stefano's chessboard. "Black knight takes white queen," Chad muttered, smiling as he moved the relevant pieces on the board.
At the Johnson house, Steve carried Ava over to the couch as Kayla filled him in on what Ava had told her earlier. "And if you believe that, she's got some swampland in Florida," Steve replied, but Kayla admitted that she didn't know what to think. Meanwhile, Ava regained consciousness and said she felt weak and dizzy. Unmoved, Steve insisted that Ava needed to leave immediately, but Kayla informed him that Ava's pulse actually was weak and thready. "Really? How do you do that, Ava -- the pulse thing? Did you learn that in mafia princess school or something?" Steve wondered.
Ava told Steve that she just wanted to make amends for her past mistakes. Steve remained skeptical, so Ava stood to leave, hoping that she would one day be able to convince him that she was being sincere. Ava stumbled as she tried to walk toward the front door, and Kayla caught her and helped her back to the couch. After taking Ava's blood pressure and temperature, Kayla decided that Ava needed to go to the hospital because she might have an infection.
After getting Ava admitted to the hospital, Kayla went to order some tests, and Steve followed her out of Ava's room after confidently predicting that the tests would prove that Ava was faking. Kayla admitted to Steve that she was starting to believe Ava's story, based on the symptoms that Ava was showing, but Steve pointed out that Ava could have easily looked those symptoms up online. "Well, [we'll soon] know one way or the other, because blood tests don't lie," Kayla reasoned.
A nurse entered Ava's room to draw some blood, and Ava advised her to use one particular vein on her right arm, explaining that she'd had enough blood work done to know that was the best one to use. Later, the nurse delivered the test results to Kayla, who informed Steve that Ava did indeed have leukemia. Steve hoped that wasn't enough to convince Kayla to buy the rest of Ava's story. Kayla conceded that an illness couldn't change Ava's basic nature, and Steve agreed. "She's still psychotic, she still wants to hurt us, and if we give her the smallest opportunity, that's exactly what she's gonna try to do," Steve predicted.
Kayla went to find out what kind of treatments Ava had already received. Ava explained that she had been given induction therapy, but it had failed to send her leukemia into remission. Ava added that, depending on the doctor, she had been given anywhere from one month to one year to live. Kayla suggested that it would be best for Ava to make the most of the time she had left -- in a place other than Salem -- but Ava insisted that she had to have Kayla's forgiveness first.
"What happened was a long time ago, and if you are truly sorry --" Kayla began. Ava stressed that she was, and Kayla replied that she and Steve appreciated that. Guessing that Kayla was just placating her, Ava admitted that she hadn't expected her road to redemption to be easy. Ava added that she couldn't die without first atoning for what she had done -- and truly earning Kayla's forgiveness.
Later, Kayla told Steve that Ava planned to stay in Salem -- and had insisted on being released from the hospital. Steve fretted that if Ava really was dying, she had nothing left to lose. Kayla wondered how Steve wanted to handle the situation. Steve thought it would be best for him and Kayla to keep their eyes open and wait for Ava's next move -- because he was certain there would be one eventually.
Ava returned to her hotel room and removed the piece of gauze that had been taped to her puncture wound -- as well as a skin-colored bandage beneath it, and a packet of blood beneath that. "Worked like a charm," Ava muttered with a mischievous grin.
Ciara confronts Hope about her arrest
In the Brady house, Chase was typing on his computer, talking to someone on the phone. As Ciara walked down the stairs, Chase hurriedly hung up the phone and closed his laptop. Suspicious, Ciara asked Chase what he had been doing. Chase admitted that he had been talking to his friend Evan on the phone about a rumor. Ciara asked Chase why he was acting squirrelly. When Ciara pushed for answers, Chase said that the rumor was that Hope had been arrested for murder.
Furious, Ciara argued that if Hope had been arrested, it would be on the news. Chase commented that the police were keeping the arrest quiet. With a nod, Ciara wondered aloud why her mother had not told her about the arrest. Chase suggested that Hope was innocent and wanted to protect them from the news. Ciara grabbed her coat and ran out with Chase close behind her.
At the police station, Hope stopped by to talk to Rafe. Rafe refused to talk to Hope about her case. Frustrated, Hope told Rafe that she needed to do something. Hope asked Rafe to be her friend, and he argued that he was her friend and intended to clear her name. Rafe reminded Hope that he had helped cover up a crime previously and that the bosses were watching him closely. Offended, Hope asked Rafe if he believed that she had committed a crime. Rafe argued that he believed Hope was innocent, but he needed to make sure he remained in a position to help her. Hope told Rafe that she trusted him completely.
With a smile, Hope urged Rafe to go home for Christmas Eve. Rafe agreed to head home if Hope did as well. Rafe promised to find the shooter, and the two wished each other a merry Christmas. After Hope left, Rafe and Lani looked at a collection of burner phones that had belonged to Malcolm. Abe interrupted to inform Lani that her performance review had concluded. With a broad smile, Abe handed Lani her detective shield, and he saluted her. Abe and Lani hugged. Lani told Abe it was her favorite Christmas present ever.
In Club TBD, Eduardo noticed a man talking to Gabi. Unaware that the man was a courier dropping off legal documents for Gabi, Eduardo puffed up his chest and warned the man to leave Gabi alone. Gabi told Eduardo to back off, and she signed for the papers. After the courier left, Gabi asked her father whether he was going to be aggressive with every man that talked to her. Gabi asked Eduardo to back off, but Eduardo countered that he wanted to be Gabi's father.
Nearby at the bar, J.J. listened to Gabi and Eduardo's conversation. Gabi spotted J.J. and called him over. When Gabi introduced J.J. to Eduardo, Eduardo raised an eyebrow and remarked that J.J. had dated his daughter Paige. J.J. nodded. When Eduardo asked about J.J.'s involvement with Gabi, Gabi reminded Eduardo what they had been discussing before J.J. had arrived. Eduardo asked J.J. about his plans with Gabi. J.J. said that he and Gabi were going to pick up Arianna and go to the tree lighting in the park.
J.J. and Gabi invited Eduardo to join them at the ceremony. Eduardo thanked them for the offer and said that he would meet them there. After Eduardo left, Gabi laughed and wondered aloud why Eduardo was so intent on acting like a father. J.J. suggested that Eduardo was anxious to make up for lost time.
Outside the club, Eduardo yelled into his phone, reiterating that he refused to take the ordered assignment. Eduardo warned the caller to stay away from his family.
In the town square, Doug, Julie, and Maggie talked about the Christmas celebration. Looking across the square at Claire, Julie patted Doug on the shoulder and said that Claire would be a star of the choir, just like her great-grandfather. Doug grinned. When Julie asked about Victor, Maggie quietly said that Victor needed time alone. Doug walked over to Claire to work with her on her singing, while Maggie and Julie talked about Victor's invitation to Caroline to move into Victor's house. Maggie argued that Victor was worried about Caroline's visions.
When Julie asked Maggie if she was worried about the arrangements, Maggie explained that Victor and Caroline had lost their son and that she respected that bond. Maggie said she was fine with the arrangement.
Across the square, Justin ate breakfast with Eve in the café. Eve told Justin that she was happy to spend time with him. When Eve broke the news that she was going to accept the position at the music center, Justin raised his eyebrows in surprise. Eve explained that she wanted to accept the job because of Paige but also because she needed a purpose in life again. Eve added that if she could not sing, she believed teaching others was the next best thing.
Noting Justin's tense face, Eve asked what was wrong. Justin said he liked the idea that Eve would be teaching something that she loved, but he wished she could do that without Eduardo's involvement . Justin said he did not trust Eduardo. Eve agreed. As Justin left to take a phone call, he noticed Adrienne talking to someone about her test results. Adrienne walked to the nearby park, and she agreed on the phone to head over to the lab.
As Adrienne hung up the phone, Justin appeared and asked Adrienne why she needed to go to the hospital on Christmas Eve. Before Adrienne could respond, Lucas showed up with a garment bag and said hello. Justin told Adrienne to take care of herself then he left. Worried, Lucas asked Adrienne if Justin had ruined her day. Adrienne smiled and shook her head no. Lucas grinned and warned Adrienne to get ready for a good day.
After Lucas and Adrienne changed into their Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus outfits, he told her that Julie had given him orders. When Adrienne failed to respond to Lucas' jokes about Julie, he asked her what was wrong. Adrienne explained that she needed to redo her mammogram. Justin offered to go to the lab with Adrienne. She nodded thankfully. Lucas grabbed a Santa hat for Adrienne and smiled.
"How do you do it? This year of all years? Stay so full of cheer after all you have lost?" Adrienne asked. "I concentrate on what I have. I concentrate on my granddaughter's toothy little grin. And I would do anything for that smile just like I'd do anything to see you smile," Justin said. Giggling, Adrienne kissed Lucas.
Justin went to Hope's house to talk to her about the murder charge. After pointing out the evidence, Justin argued that Hope had a case of self-defense. Justin urged Hope to give him something to keep her out of court. Hope refused to say she had killed anyone when she had not. Hope asked Justin to leave. As Justin started to go, he urged Hope to give his suggestion more thought.
At the police station, Ciara asked Rafe whether Hope had committed murder. When Rafe avoided the question, Ciara asked Rafe to tell her the truth. Rafe said he could not comment on a case. Fighting tears, Ciara told Rafe that she had seen Hope cleaning her gun. When Ciara asked again if Hope had killed someone, Rafe urged Ciara to talk to Hope. Upset, Ciara ran out of the station, past a confused Chase.
Ciara ran home to confront Hope about the arrest. Hope said that the arrest had been a mistake and that she had been hoping the matter would have been cleared up before Ciara had learned about the arrest. Hope explained that the people that had kidnapped Bo had set her up. Crying, Ciara begged her mother to stop seeking justice for Bo because she did not want to lose her mother.
Hope told Ciara that the police believed she was innocent and were working to solve the case. When Ciara asked why Hope had been arrested, Hope informed her that she had been framed. Hope asked Ciara to drop the subject until after Christmas, and she urged her daughter to join her in the town square.
At the police station, Eduardo asked Rafe to keep an eye on Gabi and Arianna. Concerned, Rafe asked what had happened. Eduardo said that he had run into a situation with a competitor to his security firm. Suspicious, Rafe demanded to know what Eduardo had done. Shaking his head, Eduardo argued that it would be a good thing to have an extra set of eyes looking out "on the situation."
"The situation? You keep saying that. Let me tell you something, if you have come to town and you have brought trouble to my family? You're gonna pay," Rafe said. Eduardo sighed in frustration.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Victor walked around the living room, staring at photos of Bo. Caroline stopped by to talk, and she saw the photo that Victor was holding. Caroline had a vision of Victor having a heart attack. As Caroline gasped, Victor turned around and barked at Caroline for surprising him. Roman arrived with a bag of presents from Caroline, and he placed them under the tree. When Caroline asked about Maggie, Victor said that she was at the town square. Roman and Caroline were headed to the square, so they offered Victor a ride, but he declined.
While Roman walked out to the car, Caroline stayed behind to talk to Victor about Bo. Caroline remarked that Bo had been as stubborn as his father. With a sad smile, Victor said he would grab his coat and join them for the celebration in the square.
Dressed like Santa and Mrs. Claus, a happy Lucas and Adrienne walked back to the town square and ran into Justin. When Justin made a snarky comment, Lucas left to talk to Abe. Justin asked Adrienne if she was okay. Adrienne insisted that she was fine and that she needed to retake a test due to an equipment issue and not because of something more serious. Adrienne told Justin to return to his date then she walked away.
Across the square, J.J. and Gabi talked to Claire. Claire fussed over Arianna, and Gabi joked that Claire should worry about Arianna interrupting Claire's song. Claire reminded Gabi that the song was a sing-along and she hoped they would join her. With a smile, Gabi asked Claire if she had heard J.J. sing. Claire asked J.J. to join in, and J.J. blushed. Eduardo walked around the square and looked around. Eve spotted Eduardo, and Justin left to give them time to talk.
Eve informed Eduardo that she wanted to run the music program. Eduardo was pleased, and he told Eve that the curriculum was in Eve's hands. With a smile, Eve said she looked forward to "finding young talent and helping it grow."
Nearby, Roman informed Maggie, Doug, and Julie that he had driven over with Victor and Caroline. Roman added that he had left Caroline and Victor alone in the park to talk. Doug slipped away to give Julie and Maggie a minute to talk. When Julie looked at Maggie, Maggie asked Julie not to start. Maggie walked away.
In the park off the square, Caroline asked Victor if he still missed Bo every day. Victor explained that the pain had grown more familiar, but he was not pained enough to have a heart attack. Startled by Victor's choice of words, Caroline looked up. Victor asked Caroline if she had experienced another vision. Caroline said she wanted to take a break from her visions for the holidays. Caroline added that after the holidays, she might accept Victor's invitation to move into the mansion. As Caroline put her head on Victor's shoulder, Maggie walked around the corner and saw them. Maggie escorted Victor and Caroline to the square.
Everyone in town sang a song together in the square as Lucas and Adrienne passed out toys to the kids. Hope reached her hand out to Chase, but he shook his head no. Chase looked across the square at Claire, and his face softened. Around the square, everyone smiled and sang along. As Claire sang a solo, Eve smiled. In the corner, Hope cried.
At the police station, Rafe continued to scour the phone records with Lani. Rafe noted that Malcolm had placed a call from the Yucatan peninsula to a number in Greece. With a raised eyebrow, Rafe added that more recently, Malcolm had called a number in Salem multiple times. Rafe wondered aloud if the people that had taken Bo were living in Salem.
Steve warns Joey about Ava
At Club TBD, Eve praised Claire's voice and asked if Claire enjoyed performing and working with kids. Claire confirmed that she loved both activities. "Great. See, I've started this music program over at the community center, and we're forming a band, and I just -- I really think that you would be the perfect lead singer," Eve explained.
Claire thought that sounded amazing, but she was hesitant to accept the offer because she wasn't even sure she was going to be staying in Salem much longer. Eve assured Claire that she wasn't asking for a lifetime commitment. Eve explained that she had spent most of her life as a professional musician and had worked with some of the greatest talents in the world. Eve added that she thought it was a sin to let talents go to waste.
"But, honey, it doesn't matter whether you're living here in Salem or back up in Maine. Anywhere, your opportunities are just gonna be limited unless your family [is] willing to invest time and money into nurturing your career [and] your talent," Eve stressed. Nodding, Claire admitted that her family wasn't really into music; in fact, her mother was basically tone deaf. Laughing, Eve said she would love to be Claire's fairy godmother and make sure Claire's talent didn't go to waste -- but only if Claire was interested. Claire said she would discuss the matter with her mother and get back to Eve later.
At John and Marlena's townhouse, while rummaging through her purse, Belle found a wrapped Christmas gift with a tag attached that read, "Shawn -- to starting over. Love, Belle." Belle sadly tossed the gift in a nearby trashcan. Later, while Belle was working, Claire entered the townhouse, singing, "Deck the Halls." Claire barely got through two lines of the song before Belle sighed with exasperation and asked her to stop.
Belle quickly apologized and stressed that she loved Christmas -- and hearing Claire sing. Belle explained that she was just frustrated. Belle acknowledged that Claire had been really patient with her lately, despite everything that was going on in their family. Belle said she appreciated that, and she added that she felt guilty because she had taken Claire out of school -- and away from her friends -- in the middle of the school year.
"Mom, it's fine. We've moved a gazillion times; I'm used to it," Claire assured Belle, who countered that Claire wasn't used to missing her father. Belle suggested that it might be best for Claire to return to Maine, but Claire vehemently objected to that idea, insisting that she loved being back in Salem and getting to spend time with her extended family again.
Claire wondered if Belle wanted to stay in Salem, and when Belle confirmed that she did, Claire suggested that they needed to find a way to convince Shawn to return. Claire reasoned that it was kind of hard for Belle and Shawn to work things out while a thousand miles apart from each other, but Belle clarified that she didn't think Shawn wanted to work things out. "I'm gonna stay here, and your father's gonna stay in Maine, and there's just nothing I can do about that," Belle concluded.
Belle was certain, however, that Shawn was missing Claire a lot in Maine. "So, you wouldn't miss me if I left?" Claire asked. Belle stressed that she would miss Claire. "Then why does it sound like you can't wait to get rid of me?" Claire wondered. Claire reasoned that it was too late for Belle to start worrying about whether Shawn was sad and lonely. "You threw away your marriage and our family," Claire added as she retrieved the Christmas gift Belle had discarded earlier. Belle said she was sorry, but Claire found that hard to believe. "If you were, you wouldn't be dying to start over without Dad -- and me," Claire argued.
Later, Claire returned to Club TBD to see if Eve was still there. When Claire found Eve, she announced that she had decided to accept Eve's offer. "You're the first person who ever told me I was talented," Claire admitted. Claire thanked Eve for believing in her, and Eve thanked Claire for putting herself out there. Eve handed over one of her business cards, and Claire promised to get in touch with her after the holidays. After Claire left, Eve tentatively began singing a few lines of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" to herself, putting a hand to her throat as her voice wavered.
Kate took Nicole to an empty hangar that she thought would be perfect for the Basic Black relaunch event. Kate bragged that, best of all, she had gotten it "for a song." Nicole guessed that Kate's deal might have looked good on paper but would turn out to be much worse after factoring in the amount of work it would take to turn the hangar into a usable space. Kate scoffed and dismissed Nicole's concerns.
Theresa soon arrived and apologized for her tardiness, laughing as she explained that she and Brady had taken Tate to see Santa earlier -- and things hadn't exactly gone as expected. Theresa retrieved her cell phone and started showing Nicole pictures as she continued laughing, hoping that the visit to Santa hadn't traumatized Tate for life.
"Any eight-month-old will flip out if you drop him into a stranger's lap," Kate pointed out, adding that Theresa and Brady hadn't taken Tate to see Santa for his sake -- they had done simply as an excuse to take embarrassing photographs of him, when Theresa should have been working instead. "Maybe you should have gone to see Santa, Kate, and asked him for some Christmas spirit," Nicole suggested.
Ignoring the comment, Kate said she was going to offer Theresa some free advice. "I know that goals are a relatively recent development in your life, but if you want to do better, then you need to listen. I had to work my way up through the ranks; I had to work twice as hard -- no, really, ten times as hard -- because I was a woman, and I didn't even have babies at the time. I need to know what your priorities are, Theresa. Do you want to be a runway sensation, or do you want to be a helicopter mom?" Kate asked.
Theresa wondered if Kate was trying to imply that it wasn't possible to be a good employee and a good mother. Kate clarified that she was simply saying that Theresa couldn't have it all. Kate stressed that she needed to know that Theresa was fully committed to Basic Black and had a good work ethic. Theresa complained that Kate had no right to question her commitment or her work ethic, insisting that she had put in twice as many hours of work as Kate, as well as ten times the amount of fashion ideas.
Kate acknowledged Theresa's passion but said that didn't trump the fact that Theresa had no training and no experience -- aside from the parole job Theresa had narrowly escaped being fired from on numerous occasions, of course. "Okay, in all fairness, that bitch, Anne Mil-something-or-other, isn't easy to work for," Nicole pointed out. Theresa said she owned her mistakes. Laughing, Kate wondered if a hospital could call it a mistake if the wrong limb got amputated from a patient. "What? Kate, I never even --" Theresa began in confusion, but Kate interrupted and explained that the point was that Theresa had never had any actual responsibilities.
"Have I not been a team player, even when you've been a raging bitch to me?" Theresa countered. Groaning, Kate advised Theresa to save the tears for someone else. Theresa insisted that there weren't going to be any tears because Kate would no longer get to boss her around. "Oh, okay, Howard Beale," Kate dryly replied, but Theresa didn't get the Network reference. "Do you know anything about anything?" Kate wondered. Theresa said she knew much more about fashion than Kate, who dressed twenty years younger than she actually was, if not thirty.
As Nicole began to advise Theresa not to go there, Anne arrived and started handing out glasses, assuring everyone that she had picked up a bottle of the finest Champagne to commemorate Basic Black's first annual holiday party. "Why is she here?" Kate asked Theresa, who cheerfully explained that she had hired Anne. Kate wondered what Theresa believed Anne could contribute to the company. "Other than agita," Kate added. Theresa explained that Anne had plenty of experience with human resources compliance. "And noncompliance," Kate muttered.
Ignoring the remark, Theresa added that the kind of harassment she had just received from Kate would no longer fly in Basic Black. Kate insisted that she had only been trying to help Theresa. "Help me do what, hate myself?" Theresa asked. Nicole wondered if Anne had been given a job title yet. Handing over a business card, Anne announced that she was Basic Black's new director of rebranding and resource management. Kate mused that the title would look nice on Anne's résumé after Anne's imminent dismissal from the company. Anne protested that Kate couldn't fire her without cause because they weren't living in a right-to-work state.
Nicole suggested that it might not be the best time for such a discussion, and Kate agreed that it could wait because there were much more pressing concerns to deal with -- namely, Theresa's designs, which were an unmitigated disaster. Confused, Theresa pointed out that Kate had previously praised her designs. Kate clarified that she had simply admitted that the designs had looked good -- on paper. Kate explained that models weren't satisfied with the final products at all; in fact, one of the designs had made a model look like she was three months pregnant, and another had left a model exposed in a roomful of people due to a faulty zipper.
"I cannot believe we even spent a penny fueling the fantasy that she could design something that would sell," Kate complained. Nicole said that was a bit harsh. "Harsh? Do you want to go bankrupt?" Kate countered. Kate wondered if Theresa had really believed that she could just snap her fingers and magically turn her sketches into actual items of functional clothing. Shaking her head, Theresa insisted that she had worked really hard on the clothing. Kate snapped that it was crunch time, and all the money that had been invested in Basic Black was on the line. Nodding, Theresa wondered what Kate needed her to do.
"Absolutely nothing, because the only thing that's going to fix this? We're pulling your designs from the launch," Kate replied. Protesting that Kate couldn't do that, Theresa promised that she would have everything ready in time for the relaunch event the following week. Kate doubted that, but Nicole reasoned that it wouldn't hurt to give Theresa a chance, since people had given them chances before, even when they hadn't deserved such courtesies. "Okay, fine. Bust your ass trying to work a miracle that's never gonna happen. We'll just pull your designs next week," Kate said with a shrug before leaving.
Theresa thanked Nicole for her support. "Don't make me regret it," Nicole replied before following Kate out. Once the coast was clear, Theresa started to panic, fearing that she wouldn't be able to deliver what she had just promised. Anne said she had faith in Theresa, who had done seemingly impossible things before -- like getting Basic Black and reuniting with Brady. Nodding, Theresa raised her glass of Champagne. "To ousting that bitch Kate in the new year," Theresa said.
At the Johnson house, Steve caught Joey wrapping a gift and wondered if it was for him. "Depends how long you've been standing there," Joey said, turning to face Steve after placing a small bow on top of the gift box. Steve said there was one thing he really wanted for Christmas -- a straight answer from Joey about whether someone had helped him get Steve and Kayla back together. Joey maintained that he had acted alone, and he wondered why Steve was calling him a liar. Steve clarified that he wasn't; he had simply had to ask, especially after Ava Vitali had resurfaced.
"This kind of thing is her M.O.," Steve explained, and he stressed that if Ava had asked Joey to keep quiet about her involvement, Joey needed to admit that to him right away. Joey wondered who Ava Vitali was. Surprised that Kayla had never mentioned anything to Joey about Ava, Steve stressed that the only thing Joey really needed to know was that he needed to stay away from her. "Well, that helps," Joey sarcastically replied. Steve wondered if Joey remembered the time they had encountered a spitting cobra while living in Africa. "Yeah. [I thought it was cool] until you told me it could kill me from three feet away," Joey recalled.
"Ava Vitali is at least that dangerous," Steve warned. Nodding, Joey promised that if he ever figured out who Ava was, he would be sure to stay away from her. After Steve left the room, Joey contacted Ava and said he needed to see her right away. Ava told Joey to meet her at the Salem Inn. After ending the call, Ava flipped through some pictures of Steve and Kayla that were stored on her cell phone. "I won't make the same mistake again. I've done my homework this time, and I am gonna get exactly what I want," Ava assured herself.
When Joey arrived, Ava greeted him in a tight-fitting red dress that showed off an ample amount of cleavage. Joey told Ava about his earlier conversation with Steve and warned that he wasn't sure Steve had believed his story, despite the fact that he had told Steve exactly what Ava had advised him to say. "Ava, he told me you're dangerous. Why would he say that? What haven't you told me?" Joey wondered.
Ava explained to Joey that his parents hated her. Joey wanted to know why. "Or would you rather I ask them?" Joey wondered. Ava assured Joey that she would never keep secrets from him because he was her partner. "Ask and you shall receive," Ava added. Ava told Joey that she had once been mentally ill -- depressed, specifically -- and, during that time, she had gotten involved with Steve, who had been presumed dead in Salem at that time and had not had any knowledge of his true identity. Ava added that Kayla had been upset about Steve's involvement with Ava. "But it's not like it was anyone's fault, right?" Joey asked, and Ava nodded in agreement.
Ava added, however, that before Kayla had found out about Ava's involvement with Steve, Kayla and Steve had been in a plane crash during a trip from Ireland to Salem, along with many of their friends and family members -- including Joey's grandfather Shawn, who had died as a result of the crash. Ava explained that Steve and Kayla had somehow convinced themselves that she was responsible for the crash. Ava stressed that it had just been a horrible accident -- but, since the wreckage had sunk to the bottom of the ocean, there had been no way for her to prove her innocence.
Joey wondered if Ava had given him the whole story. "More or less," Ava replied. Taking a seat next to Joey on the bed, Ava admitted that she was really desperate to make amends with Steve and Kayla because she was sick. Joey asked for details about Ava's illness, but she just assured him that she was going to be fine eventually. Placing a hand on Joey's upper thigh, Ava wondered if he believed everything she had just told him.
Joey confirmed that he did, but as Ava hugged him, he warned that his parents probably wouldn't. Joey suggested that it might help for Ava to tell his parents that she was the one who had helped him get them back together, but Ava predicted that they would just think that she had somehow been taking advantage of him, since she couldn't do anything right in their eyes. Nodding, Joey promised that he wouldn't say anything to his parents about Ava's involvement in the scheme.
Joey started to excuse himself but stopped when he remembered that he had a gift for Ava. Joey reached into his backpack and fished out the gift box he had wrapped earlier. Ava opened it and found a silver necklace inside, with a silver arrow charm dangling from it. "You know -- Cupid, arrow... I know it's corny, but you got my parents back together," Joey explained. "We did," Ava replied.
Ava asked Joey to help her put the necklace on. Joey agreed, his hands lingering on the back of Ava's neck for a few seconds after he finished fiddling with the clasp. When Joey finally pulled his hands away, Ava turned to face him again, asking him to tell her how the necklace looked on her. Joey glanced down at the charm, nestled in Ava's cleavage, and kept his gaze there for a moment before making eye contact with Ava again and telling her it looked great. Ava gave Joey an appreciative kiss on the cheek and walked him out of her hotel room, assuring him that they would see each other again soon.
When Kayla returned home after doing some last-minute Christmas shopping, Steve told her about his earlier conversation with Joey. Kayla confirmed that she had never said anything to Joey about Ava. "If she lays one hand on him, I swear..." Kayla said before letting her voice trail off. Steve admitted that he was beginning to entertain the possibility that Ava really did just want to make amends, but Kayla doubted that.
Confused, Steve said he had been under the impression that Kayla had started feeling a bit of compassion for Ava earlier. Kayla clarified that, while she was trying to ratchet down her hatred and hostility due to Ava's condition, she would never stop being wary of Ava's every move, and she would never let her guard down around Ava again. Steve promised that he wouldn't, either.
Steve reasoned that it would be best for him and Kayla to refrain from letting Ava consume their lives. Kayla agreed but pointed out that Steve had once been involved with Ava -- and he knew firsthand that Ava was a pathological liar who was very good at preventing people from realizing they had been sucked into one of her games until it was too late to do anything about it.
Steve decided to change the subject, not wanting to spend another minute talking about Ava during his and Kayla's first Christmas together in years. Steve and Kayla reminisced about past Christmases for a while, until Steve suddenly remembered that he had something he still needed to take care of before Christmas morning. Steve rushed off after promising that he would be back soon.
Ava ran into Roman in the town square. Roman threatened to arrest Ava, but she informed him that he had no jurisdiction -- and that she was already facing several federal charges, anyway. "And whether or not I am convicted, fate is making sure that I pay for everything that I did," Ava added, explaining that she was dying and had returned to Salem to make amends before it was too late.
Roman wasn't interested in making amends with Ava, and she assured him that she understood -- and that she had simply needed to know that she had at least made the effort. Roman warned that he was going to check out Ava's story -- and that if she made one wrong move, she would be headed straight to prison.
When Ava returned to her hotel room, she found Steve waiting for her inside. "I was gonna come down the chimney, but then it was easier to pick the lock," Steve said. Ava wondered what Steve wanted. "I want to know if you're telling the truth for once in your miserable life," Steve replied.
The Hortons gather to celebrate the holidays
John and Marlena passionately kissed under the mistletoe at their townhouse. Marlena eventually pulled away and reminded John that they had a Christmas party to attend. John reasoned that he and Marlena wouldn't be missed because there were always so many other people at the Hortons' annual tree-trimming ceremony, but Marlena argued that they needed to be there for Hope and Lucas.
John maintained that it would be best for him and Marlena to skip the event. "You just need to trust me on this one," John added. Marlena said John would need to level with her if he wanted her to trust him, so he reluctantly explained that they could potentially find themselves in serious danger if they left the townhouse that night.
After John shared everything he had learned from Eduardo, Marlena wondered if Eduardo could be trusted. John confirmed that Eduardo had seemed sincere about wanting out of his old life as an assassin. "Can he stop the hit? Does he have that kind of power?" Marlena asked. John explained that he and Eduardo had each received the same kind of training, meaning that Eduardo was probably capable of finding a way to get the job done. Marlena pointed out that she and John couldn't just stay behind locked doors until then. John conceded the point but reiterated that he would feel better if he and Marlena at least stayed close to home for one night.
Kate approached Eduardo in the town square and wondered why he was drinking scotch on Christmas Eve instead of a more festive drink, such as Champagne. Before Eduardo could respond, Kate apologized, realizing that it had been insensitive of her to suggest that either of them could feel particularly festive during the holidays, given the losses they had each suffered that year.
When Kate asked if she could join Eduardo, he reminded her that he had previously advised her not to get involved with someone like him. Kate recalled that Eduardo had actually just said that he would understand if she decided that his life was too complicated for her. Nodding, Eduardo wondered why Kate wasn't spending Christmas Eve with her family. Kate explained that she was going to spend time with her family the following day because they were always busy on Christmas Eve.
Kate asked Eduardo how he planned to spend Christmas morning. Eduardo replied that he would be going out of town on an important business trip, and when Kate questioned why he had planned it to coincide with the holidays, he explained that the security business never took a day off -- and he didn't really "do" holidays, anyway. "Well, you're lucky, because I do," Kate replied as she presented Eduardo with a gift box.
When Eduardo opened the box, he found a key card inside. "[That's] for the Skyward Club. It's a new club in Titan Towers, where the Penthouse Grill used to be," Kate explained. Kate reasoned that Eduardo needed to be rubbing shoulders with "the power elite." Chuckling, Eduardo admitted that he wouldn't really put himself in such a class of people. "I would," Kate replied before leaning in to give Eduardo a single kiss. Eduardo apologetically admitted that he didn't have a Christmas gift to give to Kate because he had never expected that he would get to spend Christmas Eve with someone as remarkable as her.
Victor and Maggie emerged from a store with a load of gift bags, and as they carried the bags through the town square, Victor complained about the hassle of giving out actual gifts instead of checks. Maggie explained that checks weren't personal enough, but Victor countered that personal touches were overrated, especially during the holidays.
Maggie spotted Lucas staring through the window of a nearby bookstore. "Good God. Tonight must be hell for him," Victor mused, shaking his head. "You do have a soul," Maggie observed before giving Victor a kiss on the cheek. Victor told Maggie to go ahead and take care of Lucas. "But don't leave me in that sea of Hortons too long," Victor added before taking Maggie's bags from her and heading off to the Horton house.
Maggie approached Lucas and greeted him, noting that Christmas could be tough sometimes. Lucas agreed but added that he was trying to stay positive and stay in the spirit of the season, reasoning that being a Grinch wouldn't be the best way to honor his son's memory. Nodding, Maggie wondered what Lucas was doing at the bookstore. "They've got a first-edition Faulkner in there. The Sound and the Fury. Will was trying to get me to read it. And I was going to. I should have, but, uh..." Lucas explained before letting his voice trail off.
Maggie recalled that Will had loved reading. "Yeah, he did. I was gonna buy it for him, you know? Give it to him tonight. But..." Lucas added before his voice trailed off again. Maggie hugged Lucas and took him to a more private part of the town square, where they reminisced about past Christmases that they had spent with Will at the Horton house. "I just pray that Will's in a better place," Lucas tearfully muttered with a sigh. Maggie urged Lucas to join her at the Horton house so they could hang Will's ornament and be around other people who had loved him. Lucas wanted to do that but didn't think he was ready to.
At Hope's house, Chase and Ciara were sitting on the couch in the living room, each playing a video game on a mobile device. Hope entered the room and wondered if Ciara and Chase were ready to go to the Horton house to decorate the Christmas tree. "Maybe later," Ciara replied without looking up from her cell phone. Hope seized Ciara's phone and Chase's tablet computer as she gently suggested that, while it was certainly going to be a difficult Christmas for all of them, it would still be a good idea for them to take some time to remember why the holiday was such a special one.
"Are you gonna tell us about baby Jesus?" Ciara dryly asked. "Santa Claus?" Chase guessed. Shaking her head, Hope observed that Chase and Ciara weren't exactly backing down from the stereotype of their generation, but neither of them understood what she meant. "Cue the grumpy teenagers," Hope explained. Taking a seat between Chase and Ciara, Hope warned that she was about to pull rank then added that they weren't allowed to talk trash about Christmas anymore because it was a special time of the year.
Jennifer welcomed Doug, Julie, and Claire into the Horton house and wished them a merry Christmas. "Is it?" Julie asked as she hugged Jennifer. Meanwhile, in the living room, J.J. pointed out to Abigail that Doug, Julie, and Claire were just the first wave of an army of Hortons and Horton wannabes who would be streaming through the house that night. J.J. assured Abigail that everyone would understand if she didn't feel like facing any of them. Abigail assured J.J. that she would be okay, and she declined his offer to go for a walk with her so they could talk privately. "I think I'm fine if we never speak about Chad again," Abigail said.
Hope, Ciara, and Chase soon arrived, and after Chase and Ciara rushed off to grab some doughnuts, Hope hugged Doug and told him that Ciara had been reluctant to attend the party. A short time later, Lucas and Maggie arrived. Jennifer was pleasantly surprised to see Lucas, and she silently thanked Maggie for coaxing him into attending the party. Jennifer soon received another unexpected visitor -- Roman, who apologized for interrupting. Jennifer assured Roman that he was welcome at the party, but he clarified that he actually needed to talk to Abigail about something.
Abigail rushed into the foyer and told Jennifer that Roman just needed to ask her a few more questions about what had happened with Ben. Abigail stepped outside with Roman, and once it was safe for them to talk privately, she guessed that he wasn't really there to talk to her about Ben. Roman confirmed that he actually needed to talk to Abigail about an act of vandalism that a security camera had caught her committing in the town square. Unsurprised, Abigail wondered if she and Roman could discuss the matter some other time, since her family didn't need any more drama to deal with that night.
"Abigail, if anybody has a reason to throw things, it's you," Roman acknowledged. Roman wondered if Abigail wanted to talk about what had caused her outburst. Shaking her head, Abigail said she just wanted to know how to fix it. Roman and Abigail went to the town square, where Roman talked to the owner of the store and convinced him not to press charges. Roman told Abigail it hadn't even been difficult to do so after he had told the store owner who she was and what she had been through. Abigail thanked Roman, and he wished her a merry Christmas and lightheartedly advised her to stop smashing windows.
Lucas exited the Horton house for a moment to check a text message he had just received from Sami -- "MERRY XMAS, Lucas! We're all fine. Allie wanted 2 share something with u..." Lucas opened the attachment and discovered a picture of an angel that Allie had drawn, along with an accompanying handwritten note -- "Will may be in heaven, but you still have me. I love you, Daddy. Allie" -- that left him struggling to hold back tears.
Inside, Victor quietly informed Hope that he knew about her recent arrest. Victor assured Hope that he wouldn't share the news with anyone. Victor added that he had an army of men searching for the people who had set Hope up, and she and Ciara were going to be safe in the meantime. Hope suspected that she had gotten pretty close to figuring out the identity of Bo's captors herself, and that was why she had been framed for Malcolm's murder. "Yeah, well, I'm going to get even closer. Whoever did this to you, and to my son -- they will pay for it," Victor promised.
Belle joined Chad for dinner at Club TBD, and when she jokingly wondered how he had managed to get such a good table at the place on Christmas Eve, he revealed that he was the co-owner. Chad wanted to know why Belle had decided to move back to Salem, so she explained that she and her husband had recently split up, and she had moved back to Salem so their daughter could be around family during the difficult transitionary period.
Chad wondered what had caused the split. "I cheated on him," Belle admitted. Chad guessed that Belle's husband had done something to cause her to turn to another man, but she clarified that, while she and her husband had both made mistakes, her sin had been more dramatic than his, to say the least. "So, being here in Salem, my daughter will be surrounded by family who loves her, and I will be surrounded by a boatload of judgment," Belle added. Chad joked that he had never encountered that sort of problem himself, but he quickly backpedaled and reminded Belle that she had judged him pretty harshly during their second encounter.
Belle wondered how Chad had expected her to treat him, given the circumstances. Chad assured Belle that he'd had nothing to do with Marlena's recent attack. "Eh, jury's still out on that one," Belle replied. Feigning indignation, Chad reminded Belle that he had given her his word. "And a DiMera's word is his bond," Belle skeptically agreed. Chad observed that Belle was still holding his last name against him. Belle countered that she didn't have a clue who Chad was yet; he could be a knight in shining armor, or he could be a DiMera.
"Damn. 'My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself because it is an enemy to thee,'" Chad dramatically quoted from Romeo and Juliet, acting wounded. Scoffing, Belle accused Chad of showing off. Chad wondered if Belle had decided to ditch the Hortons' Christmas party in favor of "[supping] with the devil" because she had been afraid of facing the boatload of judgment she had mentioned earlier. Shaking her head, Belle admitted that, while the Hortons were a pretty forgiving bunch, it was simply hard for her to be part of a celebration of family when she had just dismantled hers.
Chad suggested that Belle could move back to Maine and try to "re-mantle" her family, but she shook her head again, explaining that she and her husband needed some time apart -- and her mother needed her in Salem at that time. Chad guessed that Belle's latter reason for staying in Salem was a veiled reference to what was going on with Sami, but Belle refused to discuss that topic with him.
Forging ahead, Chad praised Sami, stating that Stefano had been long overdue for a lesson in humility. "You really expect me to believe that Stefano DiMera is humble now? No. What Sami did -- what Sami allegedly did -- would not humiliate Stefano; it would enrage him. And when enraged, he's out for blood, and if he can't find Sami, someone else will pay," Belle countered. Grasping Belle's hand, Chad stressed that he thought of her not only as his attorney but also as his friend, and he wouldn't let Stefano, or anyone else in his family, hurt her.
Abigail entered the club in time to see Chad holding Belle's hand. Abigail approached Chad and reminded him that he had been planning his future with her a mere twenty-four hours earlier. Chad told Abigail to leave, but she ignored him, wondering if he was pushing her away due to orders from Stefano and Andre. Chad warned that Abigail was embarrassing herself, but she forged ahead, insisting that he wasn't acting like himself -- and that she was going to figure out what was wrong with him.
After Abigail left, Belle observed that it seemed like things between Chad and Abigail hadn't been as neatly resolved as he had claimed. Chad explained that Abigail was simply going through a lot at that time, and she was very emotional as a result. "Well, between saving her life and Christmas Eve, you dumped her," Belle pointed out. Chad insisted that wasn't what had happened, but Belle guessed that Abigail would beg to differ.
Chad urged Belle not to let Abigail spoil their Christmas Eve. "She didn't. Our Christmas Eve was coming to an end, no matter what. Listen, you're amusing, your case against the D.A.'s office is a great challenge, and, you know what, you do know how to pick out a great bottle of wine. But, Mr. DiMera, Abigail just confirmed everything I already knew. I have to be very, very careful of you. So, merry Christmas, and may visions of sugarplum fairies dance in your head and all that, okay? See ya," Belle dismissively replied before walking away.
At the Horton house, Julie sighed as she joined Maggie in the living room. "I know this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but...this year..." Julie sadly mused before letting her voice trail off. Doug overheard and jumped in. "This year, we need this night more than ever. It's been a bumpy road; we've all been hit hard, [and] we know we can't bring back those people we've lost. But decorating this tree is our way to celebrate our family, so tonight, we stop [and] remember who we are [and] where we came from, [and] we tell all the stories. And it's important that we continue to do this, all the days of our lives," Doug told everyone.
Turning to J.J. and Abigail, Doug stressed that he wanted to know that he could count on them to continue the family tradition after the older generations passed on -- if not in the Horton house in Salem, then wherever they happened to be living at that time. Abigail nodded but couldn't say anything, so J.J. spoke on her behalf, assuring Doug that they would accept that responsibility.
As the family prepared to hang their ornaments on the Christmas tree, Julie revealed a new addition -- Thomas Jack's ornament, which she and Maggie had managed to get just in the nick of time after offering bribes of doughnuts to the man who had been making the ornaments for the family for years. Surprised and touched, Abigail thanked Julie and Maggie and even managed a smile.
Julie turned the floor over to Hope. "One of the best things about Gran and Grandpa -- Tom and Alice Horton -- [was] that they taught, by example, that family means more than people with common ancestors. So, you will see ornaments on the tree for all the Hortons, but you will also see designated Hortons -- people who became part of this family, maybe not through birth, but, most definitely, through a lot of love," Hope told Chase.
Hope handed Ciara another new ornament and asked her to give it to the newest designated Horton. Staring at the ornament in disbelief, Chase got choked up while trying to say something, so Ciara assured him that he didn't have to say anything at all. Chase remained silent as Hope stepped forward to give him a hug, but he finally managed to utter a simple "Thank you."
Everyone took turns hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree. When it was his turn, Lucas took a deep breath and sighed sadly as he hung Will's ornament next to Sonny's then hung his own on the other side of Will's. Later, after the last of the ornaments had been placed on the tree, Doug wondered if Julie was starting to feel the Christmas spirit yet. Julie confirmed that she was, not because of the tree-trimming ceremony but because of Doug's earlier speech, which she was sure Alice would have loved.
Everyone urged J.J. to play something on his guitar, so he began strumming it while singing "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen," and Claire joined in after the first few lines. Meanwhile, Eduardo and Kate gazed at the stars from a secluded section of the town square. Belle returned to John and Marlena's townhouse and joined her parents on the couch to watch It's a Wonderful Life with them. Abigail rocked Thomas to sleep in the child's nursery, tears streaming down her face, while Chad stood at the bar in the otherwise empty study at the DiMera mansion, pouring himself a glass of whiskey.
Steve proposes a future for Kayla
At Basic Black, Theresa worked feverishly to prep her clothing line for the relaunch of Basic Black. Caroline stopped by with Christmas breakfast for Theresa. When Theresa confided that she had feared that Caroline would yell at her for working on Christmas, Caroline chuckled. Caroline said that she had worked through a lot of holidays.
Theresa apologized for not finishing her needlepoint project for Caroline, but Caroline said that the only present she wanted was to hear the cheers at the end of Theresa's fashion show. As Caroline gathered her purse and jacket, she informed Theresa that she would be staying with Victor and Maggie at the Kiriakis mansion. With a smirk, Theresa wished Caroline well with her new living situation. Frustrated, Theresa started to second-guess her work after Caroline left.
In the Kiriakis living room, Maggie, Philip, and Justin exchanged presents as Victor complained about Daniel spending Christmas in Chicago with Parker and Chloe. To change the subject, Philip handed Victor a gift. Victor opened the box to reveal an executed deed to Manchester Industries, which Philip had acquired for Titan after Victor had been after it for years. Victor quietly thanked Philip. Justin handed Victor a gift from Sonny, which was a first edition of Browning's translation of "Agamemnon."
As a surly Victor thanked Justin, Brady carried in Tate, who was wearing a Santa hat. Maggie was elated with the gift that Theresa had picked out for her, but Victor sarcastically remarked that Christmas would not be the same without Theresa. Justin warned Brady that Victor was particularly cranky. Brady nodded. Brady gave Philip tickets to a Blackhawks game for a guys' night out.
When Victor opened his gift from Brady, he was surprised to find a coin from the year Victor was born. Overwhelmed, Victor smiled and hugged Brady. Philip looked on with jealousy. Smiling, Victor remarked that his father had had a coin just like the one that Brady had given him. Brady said he hoped the coin would give Victor luck.
Caroline arrived, and Victor informed everyone that she would be moving in. Philip asked Victor if the move was due to the serum, and Victor firmly told Philip that it was not the time to talk about it. When Maggie offered to take Caroline up to her room, Victor intervened and offered to escort her. Once in the foyer, Victor asked Caroline why she had changed her mind. Caroline admitted that she had had another vision of Victor grabbing his chest. With a groan, Victor said that he had checked his heart with his doctor. Victor told Caroline that she was at the mansion so that he could look after her.
After returning to the living room with Victor, Caroline informed Victor and Maggie that Hope and Ciara had been at the Brady breakfast. Caroline confirmed that Ciara had cried. Upset, Victor noted that Christmas was harder than the funeral. Overcome, Caroline made an excuse to go upstairs so that she could have a moment alone.
In the corner, Justin, Brady, and Philip talked. Philip argued for the use of the serum, but Brady countered that Caroline did not seem too happy with the side effects of the drug. Philip said that Caroline was alive, which was a good effect of the drug. Sensing the rising tension, Justin said he was looking forward to the guys' night out at the Blackhawks game. Unfazed, Philip said he wanted to fast-track the drug. Overhearing the conversation, Victor warned Philip not to do anything with the drug. "If these visions are a side effect of this drug, we have to be damn careful," Victor said. "Whatever you say, Dad," Philip said, cowed.
Caroline returned and told Brady that she had visited Theresa. When Caroline mentioned that Theresa had seemed burned out, Brady said he planned to take Tate over to visit her and lift her spirits. Brady said goodbye to everyone and left. Maggie chided Victor for his continued annoyance with Theresa. As Victor scowled, Philip interrupted to inform Victor that he had leaked news of the new business acquisition, and it had caused an increase in stock price in the Asian market. Growling, Victor warned Philip that he did not want to talk about business on Christmas Day.
At Basic Black, Theresa struggled at the sewing machine as Brady arrived with a sleeping Tate. Brady handed Theresa an overnight bag he had packed. When Theresa fretted that Kate was right about her designs, Brady gave Theresa a pep talk and urged her to keep working. Brady told Theresa that he believed in her. Brady handed a gift to Theresa. Theresa opened the box and found a locket with a photo of Tate inside it. Grinning, Brady said the locket was a reminder of why Theresa was working so hard. Brady told Theresa that she would make her son proud.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefano opened his gift from Tony. Tony commented that the statue was of Fortuna. With a grunt, Stefano countered that Fortuna did not necessarily mean good luck. As Tony assured Stefano that all was going well, Abigail marched into the living room and demanded to speak to Stefano and Andre. Abigail accused the men of forcing Chad to break off his relationship with her. Chad arrived and said that he had made the decision to end his relationship with Abigail.
"Chad this isn't you. I know that something is wrong with you. This can never be you," Abigail said. Abigail asked to speak to Chad alone, and Andre wheeled Stefano out of the room. Worried, Abigail asked Chad why he had changed his mind about their relationship. Chad stressed that he alone had made the decision to break of his relationship with Abigail. Unfazed, Abigail told Chad that she knew he still loved her, and she kissed him.
After a moment, Chad pulled away and said, "You continue to embarrass yourself." Chad shoved Abigail aside, and she fell against the table. Chad said he had only told Abigail he loved her to help her get through her ordeal and that his love for her had died the day she had chosen Ben over him. Chad stressed that he did not want Abigail in his life. When Chad added that he would ask for a restraining order, Abigail slapped him across the face. Abigail reiterated that something was wrong with him.
Abigail handed Chad a key to the fishing shack, and she reminded Chad of when he had trusted her with his life. Abigail said she would not give up on finding out what had happened to Chad. Choking back tears, Abigail left. Alone, Chad stared at the keychain for he fishing shack. Andre walked in and saw Chad sitting in silence. Andre grabbed the keychain and reminded Chad that the only important thing was Chad's family.
In their home, Steve reached for a plate of fresh-baked muffins. Kayla swatted Steve's hand and asked him where he had been all night. When Steve avoided Kayla's questions, she continued to probe for answers. Steve admitted that he had been visiting Ava. Kayla was annoyed. Steve explained that he had wanted to see if Ava was a threat or not. Frustrated, Kayla said that she felt that Ava was manipulating them. Steve told Kayla that he had asked Ava for the truth, and she had said that she had been afraid of dying alone.
"You actually believed that liar?" Kayla yelled. "You're so much like your ma. You have such a huge heart but you're not one bit sentimental," Steve said with a grin. Kayla said she did not believe that Ava had changed. Steve countered that it was possible that Ava would move on if they forgave her. Shaking her head, Kayla said she would never forgive Ava for killing Shawn. With a sigh, Steve noted that he had asked for second chances many times and that he felt like a hypocrite for not attempting to forgive Ava. Steve reminded Kayla that forgiveness was more for the forgiver than the person being forgiven.
Kayla reluctantly agreed to consider forgiving Ava. Joey walked in and asked what was going on. With a twinkle in his eye, Steve said that he and Kayla were fighting. Joey raised an eyebrow. Steve continued that Kayla wanted muffins first and he wanted presents. Joey grabbed a muffin and a present and said, "Watch me multitask." After opening presents and talking to Stephanie on the phone, Steve pulled out a small box from his pocket. Kayla opened the box and found a ring.
When Joey and Kayla commented on the unusual look of the ring, Steve explained that he had had the ring created from the bullet that had almost killed him in Stockholm. Steve reminded Kayla of how that trip had changed their lives. "I thought this ring would remind you of how that brought us even closer. Nothing and no one can keep us apart, can keep us from loving each other. Will you marry me, Sweetness?" Steve said.
After offering a flimsy excuse to head into the kitchen, Joey left his parents alone. Kayla said the ring reminded her of a time when she had almost lost Steve. Steve asked Kayla if she was afraid that he would break her heart again. With a sigh, Kayla said she wanted to take things slowly and see what happened. After Steve and Joey left to run an errand, Kayla dressed for the party and thought about what Steve had said about forgiveness.
In the park, Steve showed Joey the motorcycle that he and Bo had found on their journey home. Steve talked lovingly about his friend Bo. As Joey nodded, Steve said he did not want to ride a bike anymore because he had too many memories of Bo. When Joey asked what Steve planned to do, Steve told his son that the bike was his. Joey was ecstatic, and he hugged his father. Steve warned Joey that he would need to get his license and a helmet. With a confidential tone, Steve urged Joey not to tell Kayla the news yet.
While Ava sat in her hotel room, Kayla visited. "You have good timing. If ever there was a day to ask forgiveness for the unforgivable, it would be Christmas Day," Kayla said. When Ava looked at Kayla quizzically, Kayla explained that Steve had convinced her to forgive Ava. A smile spread across Ava's face. Kayla stressed that she was not a pushover, and she would keep her eye on Ava. Ava hugged Kayla, but Kayla pushed her away. Kayla warned Ava not to make her regret her decision, and she left.
At the hospital, Maggie, Victor, Caroline, Philip, and Justin arrived for the holiday party. Maggie learned that the Santa for the party was sick, and she looked to Victor. Victor said, "Never again." Caroline laughed. Justin and Philip pointed at one another and said, "He'll do it." With a groan, Maggie said she would tell the children that Santa was not going to make it. Justin raised his hand and offered to be Santa. Philip offered to help him get ready.
A frazzled Abigail arrived at the hospital with Thomas, and Maggie asked about Chad. Not knowing what to say, Abigail said that it was a long story. With a smile, Maggie excused herself and went over to read the Christmas story to the children while Victor, Abigail, and Caroline watched. As Caroline concluded the story, Abigail spotted a folder at the nurses' station with Marlena's name on it. Abigail edged closer to the file as Steve and Joey arrived for the party.
Santa made his entrance while Philip recorded the party entrance on his phone. The kids excitedly crowded around Santa, and Victor congratulated Maggie on a successful party for the kids. Across the room, Philip handed a present to Caroline. As Caroline looked at the package, she had a vision of Victor collapsed on his living room couch, and in the vision, Philip stood nearby, not helping Victor. Caroline shook off the vision.
Everyone in the waiting area of the hospital started to sing carols as Kayla arrived. Kayla motioned for Steve and Joey to follow her, and they ducked into the lounge. Kayla informed Steve that she had visited and forgiven Ava. Nodding, Steve said, "I admire you, and I love you." Kayla thanked Steve for what he had said at the house because it had convinced her to forgive Ava.
"You're so good with words, and I kept hearing your voice talking about anger and resentment and forgiveness. And then I also heard you talk about love and marriage and family and the future," Kayla said as she showed Steve his ring on her finger. "I will marry you all over again," Kayla said as Joey and Steve whooped in delight. The three hugged in celebration.
In her hotel room, Ava pulled a book out of a drawer and opened it. Inside was a photo of a baby. Ava caressed the photo.