Kate, Nicole, Theresa, Anne, and a team of models, stylists, and other workers were all at the hangar Kate had purchased for Basic Black's relaunch event, preparing for the fashion show. Kate quickly dismissed each of Theresa's finished dresses, insisting that they weren't good enough to show to the public. Anne protested that she and Theresa had spent the past two days working nonstop, and Theresa pointed out that they had been forced to do everything themselves because Kate had assigned all the seamstresses to other lines. Theresa promised that, with the help of just two seamstresses, she and Anne could still have everything ready in time.
"Theresa, I am not throwing good money after some half-baked ideas! You didn't do it, it's not good... I have no choice. You're out of the show," Kate declared. Anne insisted that Kate couldn't just unilaterally decide to kick Theresa out of the show, since Theresa comprised one-third of the Basic Black partnership, but Kate ignored Anne's protests, assuring Theresa that the decision wasn't personal. Kate pointed out that she had tried to warn, from the very beginning, that Theresa wasn't ready for such an event, but Theresa had stubbornly refused to believe her.
"No, what I refused to believe, Kate, was that I was unimportant; that you knew everything, and I was some wannabe copycat. I stood up for my vision, and I stood up for my rights. And, you know what, I wouldn't back down, and that just drove you crazy, because you just love being in control. So you did your usual: you threw mud on everything -- everything I did, everything I said, and everything I made. Well, you know what, Kate? You can just go straight to hell!" Theresa countered before storming off, with Anne in tow.
Nicole feared that the company was going to look amateurish for failing to deliver one of the three clothing lines that the invitations had promised, but Kate reasoned that they would have looked much more amateurish if they had allowed Theresa's so-called designs to saunter down the runway to a chorus of snickers and jeers. Kate dismissively added that finding a replacement designer wouldn't be a problem, but when she called a friend and asked for the name of someone who could have a whole collection ready to showcase in just twenty-four hours, she was laughed off the phone.
Kate wasn't ready to give up yet, but Nicole wasn't optimistic about Kate's chances of finding a last-minute replacement, so she went to do damage control. Meanwhile, Anne caught up with Theresa, who was sobbing in a secluded section of the town square. Anne cradled Theresa in her arms and tried to deliver her best pep talk, but it was too late; Theresa had already convinced herself that Kate had been right about her all along. Theresa tearfully fretted that she was a complete failure who had let Brady and Tate down.
Later, Theresa returned to the hangar and picked up one of her discarded dresses, draping it over her shoulders as she imagined people clapping for her at a fashion show featuring her designs. As Theresa snapped out of her fantasy, she realized that people really were clapping for her -- namely, Nicole and Brady, who were standing behind her. Brady asked Nicole for some privacy, and after she left, he pulled an embarrassed Theresa aside and kindly wondered how many times he was going to have to rush over to the hanger to cheer her up. "This is the last time. It's over; I failed. Turns out I'm the joke Kate always said I was," Theresa sadly admitted.
Brady refused to believe that, insisting that Theresa was just as talented as any other designer on the planet. Brady reminded Theresa that she had managed to impress Nicole, John, and even Kate with her designs, and he reasoned that sleep deprivation was making her lose sight of her own capabilities. "[You can] do this. You're not a quitter, okay? I didn't fall in love with a quitter, and I'm not gonna let you off the hook. There is no reason why you can't get out there and do everything that you need to do to make this a total --" Brady began to add.
"Brady, did you just say...you love me?" Theresa interrupted to ask. Before Brady could respond, Theresa took the question off the table, guessing that he had used the expression in a casual way that hadn't really meant anything. Smiling, Brady confirmed that he felt like he had gotten to know the real Theresa lately -- and he had realized that he loved her. Brady kissed Theresa, who couldn't believe he had just said the words she had waited such a long time to hear. Theresa assured Brady that the feeling was mutual, even though she realized that he probably already knew that. "It's always good to hear," Brady replied.
Brady steered the conversation back to the fashion show, hoping to convince Theresa not to drop out of the event, but she insisted that she had no other choice because she didn't have the skills needed to get her line ready in time. Theresa asked Brady to stop trying to talk her out of her decision, admitting that she didn't want to start crying again. Nodding, Brady conceded that it was Theresa's decision to make, and he agreed to take her back home. Theresa followed Brady out of the hangar after one last sad look around the place.
Believing that Brady would be able to get Theresa back in the fashion show, Nicole tracked Kate down in the town square to assure her that the missing-designer crisis had been averted, but Kate interrupted and revealed that she had already found someone to replace Theresa. Nicole warned that it would be a bad idea to hire some "last-minute wannabe" to replace a very talented designer who had the potential to hit it big. Nicole told Kate that Theresa had earned the chance to showcase her designs, and she argued that they would be hurting the company tremendously if they showed any signs that they weren't all in agreement about the company's look.
"And what's that look -- lopsided and droopy?" Kate dryly asked. Nicole conceded that the construction of Theresa's dresses could have been better, but she added that there was still time to call in help to fix them. "Not on my dime," Kate insisted. Nicole was willing to stake her reputation on her belief that Theresa could still be ready in time for the event, but Kate argued that Nicole didn't have a reputation to begin with.
Nicole pointed out that she had helmed a major company before, but Kate countered that she had helmed three -- and, therefore, she got to make the final decision. Kate started to leave, but Nicole grabbed her arm. "You would dump me right along with Theresa if you thought you could get away with it," Nicole guessed. Not bothering to deny the suspicion, Kate freed herself from Nicole's grasp and walked away.
Chad opened his hotel room door, wearing only a pair of boxers, and smiled as he greeted Belle, who told him to lose the smile and put on some clothes. Chad donned a robe as he apologetically explained that he had just woken up. Belle explained to Chad that she had looked into his case and had concluded that he didn't have one, since there had been plenty of evidence against him that, planted or not, had made his arrest completely justifiable. "Well, that's too bad," Chad said with a shrug.
"I knew it. I knew you wouldn't give a damn. You just hired me as an excuse [to] get close [and] see how far you could get [with me]," Belle guessed. Admitting that Belle was right, Chad leaned in and gave her a kiss. Belle quickly pushed Chad away and reminded him that she was married, but he countered that she was separated from her husband. Chad added that he had set things straight with Abigail the previous night, leaving him free and open for anything. Belle maintained that she wasn't free. "Then why did you come to my hotel room?" Chad asked.
Belle claimed that she was a professional who liked to deliver news to clients in person instead of over the phone, just so she could look them in the eyes and make sure that they understood what she was telling them. Having done that, Belle abruptly excused herself. "Good luck. And I do hope that you find what you're looking for...from someone else," Belle added before exiting the hotel room.
At John and Marlena's townhouse, Marlena received a visit from Abigail, who wanted to know what had happened during Marlena's recent session with Chad. Abigail understood that Marlena couldn't divulge the details of the session, but she explained that Chad had changed after that session, and she needed to know why. Marlena revealed that she hadn't really had a session with Chad, and she proceeded to fill Abigail in on what had happened to her immediately after she had hypnotized him. To explain why she had been targeted, Marlena also entrusted Abigail with information about what Sami had done to Stefano, stressing that it needed to stay between them.
Abigail wondered if Andre could have taken over the hypnosis session and convinced Chad to break things off with her and focus on Belle instead. Although the idea seemed a bit odd to her at first, Marlena conceded that Abigail could be onto something, especially if Stefano and Andre were under the impression that Belle knew where Sami was. Abigail asked if it would still be possible to get the real Chad back. Marlena believed she could do that -- if Chad agreed to be hypnotized again. Abigail fretted that the new Chad might not allow that to happen.
Later, after Abigail left, Belle returned to the townhouse and began sorting through some mail while announcing to Marlena that she was home. When Marlena entered the living room, she found Belle staring sadly at a stack of papers. "Shawn filed for divorce," Belle explained, tears streaming down her face as she set aside the divorce documents and accepted a hug from Marlena.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefano received some bad news from the investigators who were trying to recover his stolen money. Reasoning that such things just took time, Andre assured Stefano that they would eventually get the money back. "Then again...maybe we won't," Stefano mused with a shrug.
Andre observed that Stefano had been quite pessimistic lately. "I've begun to wonder...if this is the endgame. Perhaps our time...has passed," Stefano suggested. Andre objected that he didn't want to hear Stefano talk like that, but Stefano maintained that everyone eventually ran out of road -- even the DiMeras. "I'm tired, Andre. Oh, God, just...tired," Stefano added with a heavy sigh.
Later, Chad entered the mansion in search of Stefano but found Andre instead. Andre guessed that Chad wasn't any closer to getting information from Belle about Sami, and Chad admitted that Belle had made it clear that she wasn't interested in him. Andre theorized that Belle was staying guarded around Chad simply because of his last name. "What do you expect me to do, go back to [using the name] Chad Peterson-Woods?" Chad asked incredulously. "Well, if it works, you can call yourself Dudley Do-Right, for all I care. But you get close to Belle Brady -- and you better do it soon," Andre stressed before walking away.
At the Horton house, Abigail assured Thomas that Chad still loved them -- and that she was going to figure out a way to make Chad remember that. Later, Abigail casually observed that Thomas was being particularly quiet -- then grew more concerned when she realized that he was also quite warm.
Hope entered the police station in time to overhear Rafe instructing Lani to check into the three phone numbers that had been dialed from Malcolm's burner phone. After congratulating Lani for receiving a promotion, Hope tried to question Rafe about what he and Lani had been discussing, but he refused to reveal any information about the case. "Can't blame me for asking," Hope reasoned with a shrug.
Changing the subject, Hope revealed that Ciara had found out about her arrest. Rafe was sorry to hear that but promised that he would eventually clear Hope's name. Placing a hand on Rafe's chest, Hope stressed that she had complete faith in him. Rafe backed away from Hope and started to hint that he was really busy, and she interrupted to assure him that she understood. Handing over a box that had a bow attached to the top, Hope explained that she had just wanted to give him a late Christmas gift. Laughing, Rafe accepted the box of peanut brittle, recalling that he and Hope had once been on an all-night stakeout with only that to eat.
Lani returned and started to tell Rafe something but stopped herself when she realized that he was still talking to Hope. Hope took the hint and stepped away so Rafe and Lani could talk privately. Pretending to be on a phone call, Hope eavesdropped as Lani informed Rafe that all three phone numbers had been disconnected. Rafe said he would contact the phone companies and get them involved in the investigation, and he instructed Lani to contact the Yucatán Peninsula authorities in the meantime to see if they knew what Malcolm had been doing there.
After Lani left, Hope pretended to end her phone call then asked Rafe to get a box from her car, explaining that she had bought enough peanut brittle for everyone but hadn't been able to carry it into the police station herself because she had tweaked her back earlier. As soon as the coast was clear, Hope began flipping through Rafe's case file, using her cell phone to take a picture of each page. Rafe returned with the box of peanut brittle a few seconds too late to catch Hope, who thanked him and quickly excused herself.
Later, while discussing the case with Lani, Rafe explained that there were plenty of suspects because Bo had made tons of enemies during his career. Lani mused that it would take "real brass" to inflict the kind of long-term torture that Bo had suffered. Meanwhile, Hope returned home and, after making a quick phone call, learned that the three phone numbers hadn't just been disconnected -- they had never existed in the first place. "How could they never exist?" Hope wondered after ending the call.
As Rafe told Lani that any list of people with "real brass" who could have tortured Bo would have to start with one name in particular, Hope reached the same conclusion -- Stefano DiMera.
Nicole takes control
Theresa and Brady watched a movie at home, but the happy ending upset Theresa. Brady said Theresa deserved to be a part of the fashion show because it was her company. Wiping away the tears from her eyes, Theresa said she felt rudderless. Theresa told Brady that he had been right when he had warned her that she had not been ready to work with Kate. With a sigh, Brady told Theresa that he loved her whether she was a success or a failure. Brady added that he could never see Theresa as a failure.
"You know what my favorite part about you is? The part that I love the most? You never give up. You believed that we could be a couple. I didn't. And I am so grateful to you for that. And our little guy in there? He is just as grateful. You're going to do the same thing for your career," Brady said. Smiling through tears, Theresa said she had learned that nothing was more important to her than Brady and Tate.
At Basic Black, after Kate met with the new designer, Pierre, Gabi and Paul told Kate that they hated the neon clothing and preferred Theresa's designs. Kate ordered Gabi and Paul to do their jobs. After Kate walked away, Nicole ordered Gabi and Paul to change out of their "ridiculous clothing." With the models changing in the back, Nicole told Kate that the new designer would ruin the launch. Nicole urged Kate to let go of her bitterness. After Kate walked away, Nicole fired Pierre.
As Pierre swore on his way out of the building, an unhappy Kate asked Nicole why she had undone Kate's hard work. Nicole told Kate that she needed to choose between Theresa or sending only two designers down the runway.
Backstage, a relieved Paul and Gabi were happy to be back in Theresa's clothing. Gabi was nervous about her catwalk debut. With a grin, Paul joked that at least Gabi was not pitching in the playoffs. Paul suggested that Gabi think about her daughter at home rather than all the people in the audience.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Philip worked in the living room on New Year's Eve. Victor told Philip to take a break and go to the Basic Black runway show. Victor noted that Philip would be a great representative for Titan. Philip reluctantly agreed to attend the Basic Black launch party.
In the town square, Belle stared at her divorce papers and ignored a phone call from Chad. Belle saw Claire and Ciara talking across the square about the Basic Black fashion show. The girls saw Belle and stopped at her table to say hello. When a sour-faced Belle asked to speak to Claire alone, Ciara left. Belle informed Claire that Shawn had filed for divorce. Claire asked Belle if she was going to fight for her marriage, but Belle argued that it took two people to save a marriage. Upset, Claire said she was tired of working to hold her parents' marriage together. When Belle reached out to her daughter, Claire walked away.
As Belle turned to leave the square, she ran into Philip. Belle told Philip about the divorce. When Belle said she wanted to go home, Philip countered that Belle should not be alone. Philip invited Belle to be his date for the Basic Black launch party. Belle was reluctant to agree but a pushy text from Chad convinced her not to be alone. Belle agreed to meet with Philip in the square before the party.
At the DiMera mansion, Chad left a voicemail for Belle, saying that he was done with both the DiMera family and Abigail. As Chad turned around, he saw Andre staring. Chad said that Belle was refusing to speak to him. Andre accused Chad of having no interest in helping his family. When Chad scoffed at the notion, Andre used the trigger word "familia." Chad's eyes shut closed as Andre whispered to him. When Chad opened his eyes, he robotically sat down with Andre at the chessboard.
Andre reminded Chad that he needed to save the family and locate Sami. An emotionless Chad stared at Andre. Andre encouraged Chad not to give up on a vulnerable Belle. As Chad stared quietly at Andre, Andre noted that Chad would not remember the conversation then he reiterated the trigger word. As a groggy Chad woke up, Andre told Chad that he needed to call Belle. Chad nodded.
While Belle sat in Horton Square, Chad called her on her cell phone to ask her to spend the evening with him. Belle turned Chad down, noting that she had a date for the Basic Black party. Belle told Chad that whatever had been between them was over, and then she hung up the phone. At the DiMera mansion, Chad informed Andre that Belle had a date. Chad said he planned to crash the Basic Black party and woo Belle away from her date. After Andre left the room, Chad spotted an earring that Abigail had dropped on the floor. Chad stared at it. Chad thought about when Abigail had kissed him and he had shoved her away. Chad stared at the chessboard.
In the Kiriakis living room, Victor was pleased to see that Philip was readying to go out to the Basic Black party. When Philip asked if Victor trusted him, Victor said he was reluctant to trust Philip after Brady had thrown the work away for a woman. Victor warned Philip not to lose focus. With a grin, Victor advised Philip to run Titan as Victor would. While Philip worked on the computer, an angry Belle arrived and yelled at Philip for standing her up at the town square. Philip apologized for losing track of time. As Philip complimented Belle, Belle groaned. Philip laid on the charm, and Belle rolled her eyes and nodded.
At the Horton house, Abigail called the doctor because baby Thomas was not eating and had a fever. Abigail asked for advice, and Jennifer offered to take Abigail and the baby to the hospital as a precaution. When they arrived at the hospital, Daniel examined Thomas. As Abigail carried Thomas down to pediatrics with a nurse, Jennifer lingered behind to talk to Daniel. Jennifer shared her fear that Thomas was suffering from aplastic anemia like Abigail had endured as a baby. Daniel warned Jennifer not to get ahead of herself.
Daniel escorted Jennifer to the waiting room, and Abigail joined them. Daniel offered to check on Thomas. Alone, Jennifer mentioned the possibility that Thomas could have aplastic anemia. Abigail worried that she had passed along the illness to her child, but Jennifer said that the illness was likely not inherited. Jennifer assured Abigail that Thomas would be fine. When Daniel returned with the test results, Daniel said there was no diagnosis yet, but he had ruled out aplastic anemia. Daniel said he needed to do a genetic workup of both Abigail and the baby's father.
While Steve watched television in his living room, Kayla returned home. When Kayla asked Steve if his New Year's Eve plans were watching a football game, Steve turned off the TV and pulled Kayla onto his lap to kiss her. Kayla asked Steve to take her to the Basic Black party, but Steve worried that someone at the fashion show would tell him the final score of the game. With a grin, Kayla said she wanted to announce at the Basic Black party that they were engaged.
"No party could be more special than just spending the night on this couch, just the two of us," Steve said. Kayla countered that she was content to stay home and watch the football game. Grinning, Steve turned on the game, and the two lovebirds snuggled against one another. At halftime, Steve asked Kayla to go with him to the party. When Kayla raised an eyebrow, Steve said they would watch the game later. Kayla asked Steve to text Joey while she dressed.
At Club TBD, Fynn hit on Ava. When Ava noted that she did not want to share information with a stranger in a bar, Fynn suggested that they "change locations and become friends." Fynn invited Ava to go to the Basic Black party with him. Ava excused herself and went to the bar to text Joey about his parents. When Joey confirmed that Steve and Kayla would be at the party, Ava agreed to attend with Fynn.
While Theresa and Brady kissed in their living room, Nicole knocked on the front door. With a sigh, Brady opened the door. Nicole told Theresa that she needed to dress and get to the party. When Theresa asked what had happened, Nicole told Theresa that she had fired the new designer and forced Kate to allow Theresa's clothing into the fashion show. Startled, Theresa noted that her clothes were not ready. Nicole informed Theresa that she had secretly ordered seamstresses to fix the construction issues with the clothing to prepare it for the fashion show. Elated, Theresa thanked Nicole for her help. Brady wished Theresa luck.
Ben is not Thomas' father
At the DiMera mansion, Chad prepared to head out for the Basic Black fashion show. When he'd finished with his tie, he picked up Abigail's earring. "Forget about her. We need Belle. We need Belle to lead us to the money. That's it. That's all. For the family," Chad told himself as he left.
Backstage at the New Year's Eve relaunch of Basic Black, a nervous Theresa checked out what Gabi and Paul were wearing and sent them out after approving their outfits. With Anne shadowing her, Theresa fussed over the designs worn by two disproportionately tall models, decided there was something wrong with both of them, and removed pieces of each outfit to fix them. Anne sent the models away and urged Theresa to calm down. Anne produced a tiny green flask from her sewing kit and offered a sip to Theresa, who edgily declined. When Theresa walked away to retry a jacket on one of the models, Anne took a slug from the flask.
Brady arrived in the main catwalk area of Basic Black and found Nicole having a martini at the bar. He congratulated her for "taming" Kate. Nicole asserted that Kate had been brutal to Theresa -- and wrong, because all Theresa had needed were some seamstresses to finish her designs, but Kate had refused to hire any. Nicole complained that Pierre, the designer with whom Kate had tried to replace Theresa, had shown up with "apocalyptic" designs.
Brady and Nicole wondered if Kate had planned the whole thing. "I don't know what's wrong with Kate. It's like she wanted us to fail so she could prove a point," Nicole speculated. After making Brady promise to work the room, Nicole vowed, "This is going to be great. Kate is going to eat her words, along with that hideous hat Pierre tried to put on Gabi."
As Brady strolled away, Kate walked in on Pierre's arm. Nicole observed at a distance while Pierre griped to Kate about not being able to show his line, but Kate anticipated that Theresa's designs would fail -- and when Nicole and Theresa were humiliated, they would have to bow to Kate's experience. She promised Pierre that he would have a place at Basic Black. "After tonight, I will be in charge of Basic Black," Kate declared.
Brady approached Kate and predicted a great night for Kate, Nicole, and Theresa. He noted that he'd talked to some of his old contacts, as well as the press, all of whom were excited about the designs. "I hope you didn't oversell us," Kate said, noting that an audience could be fickle if they saw something they didn't like. Brady remarked that it was a good thing that Nicole had been able to find the right seamstresses for Theresa.
Kate haughtily contended that fashion was a cutthroat business, so there was no time to coddle inexperienced fashion designers. "Theresa's not ready. You'll see tonight," Kate promised. Brady cautioned, "I heard your boy Pierre has a hat that he brought that Gabi will not be wearing on the runway tonight. I suggest you be prepared to eat it... [Theresa's] handling things like a boss. She's ready." Brady walked away.
Daniel showed up and kissed Nicole hello. Since she was too worked-up to talk about the fashion show, she asked about his day. Daniel said he'd been late to arrive because he'd been treating a baby. Daniel asked how things were going. Nicole rolled her eyes and aimed them toward Kate. Daniel pursed his lips understandingly.
Steve and Kayla arrived and spied Joey across the room. The two conspired to embarrass their son, and Steve shouted and waved at Joey as they walked over. After a discussion of Joey's curfew, Steve left to fetch some drinks for them all. When Ava arrived with Fynn, Kayla gritted her teeth and glared. Fynn escorted Ava across the room to greet his boss and introduced Kayla to Ava. "We've met," Kayla said tensely.
Fynn shook Joey's hand, so Kayla introduced Joey to Ava and Fynn. Ava acted as if she were meeting Joey for the first time. Through it all, Ava seemed modestly cheerful. Kayla asked how Ava was feeling and expressed surprise that Ava was still in Salem. Ava said she still had things to take care of -- but she was very grateful for Kayla's forgiveness. Ava wished Kayla and Joey a very happy new year.
As Kayla and Joey walked away, Joey asked his mom, "What was that about forgiveness?" Fynn wanted to know why Kayla had asked how Ava was feeling. Ava maintained that she'd simply been "under the weather." Fynn remarked that things between Ava and Kayla had seemed a bit tense. Ava explained that she and Kayla merely had history but would be just fine.
John joined Steve at the bar and, indicating Ava, asked, "Is that who it looks like?" Steve confirmed that the woman was, indeed, Ava Vitali, who had returned to Salem, seeking redemption. He added that he believed she was sincere -- so far. As the men talked about the history between Ava and John, John reminded Steve, "Amends or no, with Ava Vitali, you better watch your back, pal."
Marlena arrived, and as she was joining John and Steve at the bar, she spotted Ava. A suspicious Marlena wondered what Ava was doing in town. "She's on kind of an apology tour. She's pretty sick, and she's trying to work things out before she dies. I don't think she's a threat to anyone," Steve explained. After Steve left, John raised his glass to Marlena and toasted, "To the anniversary of our last first date." Marlena giggled.
When John, Marlena, Steve, and Kayla were all together again, Marlena asked if anyone had made resolutions. Raising his hand, Steve said, "I have one: Stay put. Don't screw up." The others laughed, and John wryly complained, "That was mine!" Marlena and Kayla briefly discussed the wisdom of forgiveness. Marlena spotted Kayla's ring and asked about it. Steve happily announced that he and Kayla were getting married again, and the foursome exchanged hugs all around.
Joey stared at Ava and Fynn across the room. As Daniel and Nicole were mingling, Nicole saw Ava and rushed over to hug her old "drinking buddy." While the women caught up, Daniel pulled Fynn aside on the pretense of getting some drinks. Fynn asked if Daniel knew Ava. "No, but I know the pending charges and the body count," Daniel cautioned. "This could be love," Fynn said with interest. Although Ava wanted to discuss getting together for drinks, Nicole had to rush away. Joey sent a text message to Ava that read, "Who is that guy? What's going on?" Ava read it but ignored him.
As a frustrated Joey was wandering away from the bar, Ciara arrived with Theo and Chase. The four teens headed into another room where Joey said there was another D.J. Claire had joined them when they returned to the main room a little later -- just as Belle arrived with Philip. Claire grumbled that her mother had set a record for moving between men. Chad showed up and scanned the room, looking for Belle.
Nicole and Daniel headed to the bar and found an already tipsy Eric drowning his sorrows with beer. Nicole was hopeful that Basic Black would soon be able to hire Eric as a photographer. Eric surprised Nicole by declaring that he had retired. Eric walked off, and Nicole expressed concern for him. Daniel promised to keep an eye on Eric. Nicole told Daniel that she was already looking forward to snuggling on the couch with him at the end of the night, but he urged her to savor her big moment.
Backstage, Paul complimented Gabi, who was nervous about being a spokesperson. "I'm just a hanger with a smile," she joked. J.J. arrived with a gorgeous bouquet of roses and other flowers and reassured Gabi that she was far more than that. As Paul walked away, Gabi and J.J. couldn't stop smiling at one another.
Theresa was hyperventilating into a paper bag, which Anne quickly took away from her. Nearing hysteria, Theresa fretted over the dresses she'd taken off the models. When the models, Evangeline and Anaïs, walked by, pausing to shoot Theresa a knowing look, Theresa grabbed the flask from Anne's sewing kit and took a big gulp.
Evangeline and Anaïs stood on pedestals so Theresa could work on their dresses. When the models began discussing another designer's show and things seemed about to take a nasty turn, Anne walked over and jangled her keys in front of their faces, urging them to focus on the current show. Theresa rushed over to the sewing table and began snipping at some fabric with a huge pair of scissors. Anne and Theresa paid no attention when Anaïs and Evangeline's bickering about the other fashion show became physical -- even when they began tearing at one another's dresses.
Finally, one of the women shouted loudly enough to get Theresa's attention. Theresa and Anne rushed over and tried to break up the fight, but it was futile, because Evangeline and Anaïs continued practically ripping each other's outfits to shreds. Paul and Gabi hurried over when they heard the melee, and, exerting impressive proficiency, Gabi managed to break up the brawl. "Girl! Respect!" an awestruck Anne declared. Paul left to let the crew know they needed a few more minutes.
Evangeline and Anaïs tried getting in a few more shoves, but Anne shoved them apart, bellowing, "Separate corners!" After Evangeline walked a few yards away, Theresa and Anne tried to figure out how to salvage things. Thinking quickly, Theresa scurried between the clothing racks as she declared, "We're gonna go with the mockups... I brought them as backup; I don't know why I did, but I'm glad I did, and we'll just make it work." Theresa unzipped a garment bag, but Anaïs got in the way.
Grabbing Anaïs and bulldozing her over next to Evangeline, Theresa barked at the models, "You both can go kick rocks, okay? You can go do your stupid campaign, and you, Anaïs, can take your stupid umlaut and shove it!" Anne pulled Theresa away, gently cautioning her, "Now while I would pay money to see you punctuate that bimbo and that other brain surgeon, we need them."
Paul returned and assured Theresa that she had at least a few more minutes before the crowd began to get restless. Still angry but calmer, Theresa ordered the models to fulfill their contractual obligations -- and not to make her regret it. Turning to the bustling crew assembled backstage, Theresa announced, "All right, everybody, it's showtime! Let's set this runway on fire!" Brady went backstage to wish Theresa luck, and she told him about the dustup with the models. Anne proclaimed that it was time, so Theresa hustled Evangeline and Anaïs into line with the other models.
Theresa marveled to Brady that her designs were about to debut in front of the entire fashion world. Brady expressed his admiration and pride, boasting, "Twenty years from now, I'm going to get to tell the story to my son about how his mom became a star." Brady left, encouraging Theresa, "Kick some ass."
At last, the fashion show got underway when Gabi and Paul stepped out from behind the curtains, one from each side. Gabi strutted down the runway first and shot a half-smile in J.J.'s direction. He beamed proudly back. When Gabi exited, Paul took the catwalk, pausing and posing like a pro. One by one, the other models made their way down the runway and back, while the rapt crowd and press looked on. Kate and Nicole exchanged frequent glances from opposite sides of the catwalk, and each time, a pleased Nicole grinned, while Kate seethed with annoyance.
Gabi was the final model of the night, and after her exit, the three designers stepped from behind the curtains, with Theresa in the middle. The crowd rose to its feet, cheering and applauding. Nicole sidled up to Kate and declared, "Our girl did good. Looks like we were a hit." Kate pessimistically replied, "Well, they're clapping now. Let's see what they write tomorrow." Nicole rolled her eyes exaggeratedly and walked away.
Backstage, all three designers hugged each other ecstatically. Brady had sneaked backstage ahead of Theresa, and when she saw him, he beamed at her with pride before grabbing her and kissing her.
Back in the party room, Philip left Belle to get some more Champagne. Chad hurried over and asked why Belle had accepted a date with Philip Kiriakis. "He asked, and he's not you," Belle pointed out. Chad warned Belle that Philip was a player, but Belle lightly asserted that she and Philip knew each other very well. Philip returned and pulled Belle aside. He reluctantly informed her that he had urgent work to attend to with Hong Kong, where it was no longer New Year's Eve.
Brady greeted his sister with a kiss on the cheek and asked why she was wasting her time on men like Chad and Philip. Belle informed Brady that Shawn had filed for divorce. "I'm a free woman! And you know what? I think it's time I lived a little bit!" Belle declared loudly. Claire overheard and chided her mom for her hypocrisy. Belle snapped that it was neither the time nor the place to have that discussion. Walking toward the exit, Belle passed Chad and declared that she needed some air, so he escorted her out.
When Philip returned, he told Brady that he'd just closed a deal that would generate a great deal of revenue for Titan. Brady was unimpressed. Philip demanded to know if Brady were angry because Philip had taken over Titan or because he wanted Philip to fail to get back at Victor. Brady asserted that he didn't trust Philip or the way Philip did business -- and if Victor were thinking straight, he would agree with Brady. "If you hurt him or my sister, you'll answer to me," Brady warned. Philip maintained that he and Belle were just friends. Brady informed Philip that Belle had left.
Meanwhile, Chad was escorting Belle into an eerily quiet Club TBD. He told the bartender that he wanted to buy each table in the place a bottle of Champagne -- to go. Handing over a wad of bills, Chad added that the bartender could take the rest of the night off. "I just said I wanted some air," Belle remarked as Chad helped her off with her coat. Chad explained, "I have something important I have to tell you, and I don't want us to be bothered."
At University Hospital, a worried Abigail chewed her fingernails while she waited for her next time to see Thomas in the intensive care nursery. Jennifer tried to calm her daughter before Abigail could spin out of control. The women were waiting for the results of genetic testing on Abigail's blood, but Abigail was concerned about how they would get a blood sample from Ben. Jennifer pointed out that, because Ben was a prisoner, they might not have to get consent to get his blood. A ball of nervous energy, Abigail headed out the door.
When Abigail returned a little later, she explained that she'd gone to the blood bank. Since Ben had donated just a few days before kidnapping Abigail, his blood was still there, so it had been sent to the lab right away.
Abigail was fidgeting when Dr. Oakes entered the waiting room. "We have the results, and something is very wrong here," Dr. Oakes stated. She explained to Abigail, "Thomas is blood type A. You're blood type O... So is Ben." Jennifer exclaimed in a whisper, "But that's impossible." Dr. Oakes clarified for a confused Abigail that Thomas' father had to have either type A or type AB blood -- which meant that Ben couldn't possibly be Thomas' father.
As a stunned Abigail sank into a chair, Dr. Oakes left to give Jennifer and Abigail a few minutes. Jennifer asked her daughter what was going on. Abigail said with astonishment, "It's not Ben... Chad is the father of my baby."
Salem's citizens ring in the new year
At the hospital, Abigail admitted to Jennifer that she had cheated on Ben with Chad months earlier. Abigail had trouble viewing her betrayal as a mistake because she was actually quite relieved that Chad was Thomas' father, since, unlike Ben, Chad wasn't a psychopath; he just hated her. Abigail was sure that Chad would do what was right for his son, even if he still wanted nothing to do with her.
At Club TBD, Belle admitted to Chad that Shawn had filed for divorce. Chad wondered if Belle had been surprised to receive the divorce papers. "You know, I thought he'd at least give me a call. I mean, I know this is all my fault, [but] I was ready to try to fix things. I was really ready to do the hard work," Belle replied. Belle added, however, that she didn't blame Shawn and was tired of obsessing over something she could do nothing about.
Belle guessed that Chad didn't want to spend his New Year's Eve talking about how miserable she was. Chad assured Belle that he didn't mind listening. "Well, I mind. I don't want to be miserable. I want to have fun; I want to ring in the new year right," Belle replied, prompting Chad to wonder what she had in mind. "Something a little crazy? Maybe something I've never --" Belle began, but Chad stopped her with a kiss.
Belle pushed Chad away and wondered what he was doing. "Something a little crazy that you have done before -- and [that] may be worth repeating?" Chad answered. Chad felt hopeful because Belle hadn't slapped him yet, so he forged ahead. "I know you probably think in my spare time I break people's knuckles and waterboard them, [but] snowboarding's more my speed, and I swear I've never brainwashed a soul," Chad assured Belle. Chad added that he and Belle had more in common than she realized. "My favorite author is Chekov, my favorite sport is Ultimate Frisbee, and I rock at karaoke and darts," Chad revealed.
Impressed, Belle observed that Chad had obviously done his homework. "Mm-hmm. Look, I'd like to think you came with me tonight to spend time with me, even though you fought it. Why fight it? Like you said, having a little fun is a good thing," Chad pointed out, and when Belle agreed, he leaned in and gave her another kiss -- one she didn't pull away from. Chad and Belle eventually stopped kissing and headed back to his room at the Salem Inn. "You sure you're okay with this?" Chad asked as he opened the door. "Mm-hmm. I'm sure," Belle replied before entering the room.
Chad started kissing Belle again then suddenly pulled away, mistaking her for Abigail. Belle wondered if something was wrong. "No. No, everything's just right," Chad replied, caressing Belle's cheek as he led her over to the bed. While Chad and Belle were undressing each other, Abigail arrived and began pounding on the hotel room door, insisting that she needed to talk to Chad right away. Chad put his shirt back on and opened the door. Shocked to see that Chad was with Belle, Abigail reminded both of them that Belle was a married woman. Ignoring the remark, Belle gathered her things and rushed off.
"You have a hell of a lot of nerve," Chad snapped at Abigail. Chad wondered what else he was going to have to do to get Abigail to understand that their relationship was over for good. Abigail ignored the question, revealing to Chad that their son was sick. "Yeah, that's right, Chad -- you're the father, not Ben," Abigail added as Chad stared at her in disbelief.
At the fashion show, Joey rushed over to talk to Ava after Fynn went to get her another glass of Champagne. "Why are you ignoring me tonight? [And] who is that guy?" Joey wondered. Ava explained that she had been avoiding Joey because they weren't supposed to know each other. Ava added that Fynn was a doctor Kayla had hired to work at the hospital. Joey wondered how Ava knew Fynn. Ava clarified that she actually didn't know Fynn very well at all but did know Nicole and had wanted to attend the fashion show to support her. "You could have come with me," Joey said.
"Oh, sweet Joey. Please don't be jealous," Ava replied. Joey insisted that he wasn't. Meanwhile, Fynn returned and informed Joey that Kayla was looking for him. Ava told Joey she would talk to him later. "Yeah, sure," Joey muttered before walking away. Joey tracked down Steve and Kayla, who wondered if he wanted to head home with them. Joey was more interested in hanging out with Ciara, Theo, and Claire, so Steve and Kayla left him behind after warning him to be careful. Joey quickly turned his attention back to Ava and Fynn.
Elsewhere, Philip congratulated Kate and said he was glad to see that she was once again running her own show. "Well, I wouldn't put it that way -- at least not yet," Kate replied. Kate observed that Philip's date had disappeared, and he admitted that he couldn't blame Belle for doing so. "Well, I hope she goes home to get some sleep, because she was looking a little haggard," Kate said.
Philip told Kate to cut Belle some slack, adding that Belle had just received divorce papers from Shawn earlier that day. "Really? So the king and queen of the Last Blast dance are no more," Kate mused with great interest. Philip didn't like seeing Kate gloat about Belle's misfortune, but Kate was still upset about the way Belle had hurt Philip years earlier, even though Philip claimed that he had gotten over it. "That woman is a serial -- ha, she's a serial heartbreaker. But go ahead -- I mean, forgive her. Pal around with her majesty. I just hope you're not the next victim," Kate advised Philip.
After Theresa finished doing an interview with one of the reporters, Brady approached and congratulated her. Having overheard Theresa telling the reporter that she couldn't have made the night a success without his help, Brady protested that he didn't deserve any credit because her drive and talent had made the night a success, and he had simply convinced her to wake up and start believing in herself. Theresa said she wanted to return the favor, and she dragged Brady backstage so she could do just that.
Brady was surprised -- and puzzled -- when Theresa gifted him with a nameplate that listed him as the CEO of Titan. Brady assumed that Theresa had ordered the item weeks earlier, but she shook her head and clarified that she simply knew that Titan was still where he wanted to be. "I'm gonna help you get back to where you belong," Theresa added.
Brady appreciated the thought but claimed that he didn't want to run Titan anymore. Finding that hard to believe, Theresa reminded Brady that Philip was likely going to end up running the company into the ground. Brady shrugged and maintained that Titan was no longer his problem -- and that, at least for the time being, he needed to respect Victor's decision to appoint Philip as his replacement, even if he had reservations about that decision. "And if anything changes?" Theresa asked. "Then I'll be ready," Brady replied, smiling as he held up the nameplate.
Daniel congratulated Nicole, praising her as the glue that was holding Basic Black together. Nicole said Daniel was the glue that was holding her together, and she was thankful, every day, that he was in her life. At the bar, Eric drowned his sorrows as he watched Daniel and Nicole kiss. Elsewhere, Kate bragged to a reporter that, years earlier, she had singlehandedly put Basic Black on the map, and she was going to do so again. Pointing out that it would take a lot of work to achieve such a lofty goal, the reporter hoped that Kate had a very understanding husband.
Kate remained silent as she looked around the room, seeing Nicole with Daniel on one side and Theresa with Brady on the other, each looking extremely happy. "There is no husband -- just me," Kate finally admitted after the reporter prompted her for an answer. Kate vowed that she was going to do whatever it took to make Basic Black a success again.
Meanwhile, Theresa grabbed everyone's attention and announced that it was almost midnight. The crowd counted down the final seconds of the year and ushered in the new one together, and as couples began kissing in front of her, Kate considered sending a text message to Eduardo -- "Happy New Year. Wish you were here" -- but decided not to. Elsewhere, Joey watched as Ava dodged Fynn's attempt to kiss her, giving him a hug instead.
Fynn soon went to grab a fresh bottle of water from the bar, and Joey seized the opportunity to talk to Ava again. Joey wondered if Ava would be free the following day, explaining that he wanted to show her the motorcycle his father had given him for Christmas. "I'm not allowed to ride it yet, but, uh -- but maybe --" Joey started to add, but Ava cut him off and told him she would talk to him later.
"Okay. I'll let you get back to your date," Joey stiffly replied. Joey turned to leave, but Ava stopped him and asked if Steve had said anything else about her lately. Joey said no, prompting Ava to wonder if that meant that Steve had stopped suspecting that she was the one who had helped Joey get Steve and Kayla back together. Unsure, Joey warned that Steve usually wasn't quick to drop such suspicions.
Nodding, Ava reminded Joey that they weren't supposed to be talking to each other in public. Joey informed Ava that his parents had actually left earlier, but she countered that they still needed to be careful. "So I'll talk to you tomorrow, okay?" Ava added. "You will?" Joey asked with a hint of excitement. Ava laughed and said yes then gave Joey a kiss on the cheek and wished him a happy New Year.
Daniel received a FaceTime request from Melanie, who was still awake despite the time difference in London. While Daniel was talking to Melanie, Nicole went to the bar to check on Eric, who was still knocking back drinks. Nicole ordered a cup of black coffee for Eric then wondered what was going on with him. "I'm celebrating. Good riddance to 2015, you know? May 2016 suck slightly less," Eric declared, slurring his speech. Eric added that he wasn't trying to be a buzzkill, and Nicole replied that the only buzz that needed to be killed was his. Realizing that Nicole was right, Eric started to excuse himself, but Nicole advised him to sober up first.
"I love my martini as much as the next person -- probably more -- but I've just never seen you like this," Nicole added. Nicole admitted that she felt responsible for the state that Eric was in, but he insisted that it wasn't her fault. "I care about you very much, so can you just listen to some advice from an old friend? Have the bartender call you a cab, okay? And call me in the morning?" Nicole suggested, and Eric promised that he would. Eric gave Nicole a hug and wished her a happy New Year. After Nicole left, the bartender returned with a cup of coffee and offered to call for a cab, and Eric accepted the offer.
Nicole, Daniel, Theresa, and Brady made plans to get together later that night to continue celebrating the new year. Theresa and Nicole had one last interview to do first, so they sent Daniel and Brady off and promised to catch up with them later. Brady wondered if Nicole and Theresa wanted him to invite Kate to their after-party. "No!" Nicole and Theresa simultaneously replied.
During the interview, Nicole was asked if it had been difficult for her and Kate to get past their old tensions and learn to work together. Kate observed that the reporter seemed intent on working that angle, and the reporter countered that Kate seemed intent on dodging the question. Nicole pointed out that the reporter had posed the question to her, but Kate ignored the hint, assuring the reporter that she and Nicole got along swimmingly. "I would think that would be obvious," Kate added with a laugh.
Moving on, the reporter wondered whose idea it had been to take a chance on a brand-new designer. Nicole began to respond, but Kate interrupted and bragged that she had gotten in on the ground floor as Theresa's silent partner. "Kate has a new meaning for the word 'silent,'" Nicole added through gritted teeth. The reporter soon concluded the interview and left. "Well, that almost went off the rails, until I got it back on track," Kate mused.
As Nicole stared at Kate in disbelief, Theresa proposed a toast to their shared success. Nicole filled Theresa's glass with Champagne, and Theresa told Nicole to save some for Anne. "Why?" Kate asked. Ignoring Kate, Nicole grabbed her cell phone and excused herself. "What, I have to do everything myself?" Kate asked, sighing as she reached for the bottle of Champagne and filled her own glass.
A few feet away, Nicole smiled as she watched a video message Daniel had just sent her. Kate interrupted and handed Nicole a glass of Champagne, dismissively stating that Nicole and Daniel could get a room later -- after she and Nicole spent some time discussing business. "Damn it, Kate, that's it! I've had it!" Nicole snapped, throwing the glass of Champagne on the floor.
Philip ran into Belle in the town square and told her he was sorry he had ditched her earlier. Philip wondered if Belle was all right. Belle admitted that she wasn't, but she declined to confide in Philip. Philip offered to buy Belle a drink and ring in the New Year with her and the Californians who had not yet reached midnight. Belle feared that she would be lousy company, but Philip assured her that he didn't care, and he eventually managed to convince her to accept his offer.
Elsewhere, Steve offered to get Kayla a more expensive engagement ring, explaining that he had simply been trying to make a statement with the one he had given her earlier. "I think I like it just the way it is," Kayla replied. As Steve held Kayla in his arms, she told him that she was happy because she was with him -- and away from Ava. Steve agreed that he and Kayla didn't have to start liking Ava just because they had forgiven her. "Are you kidding me? I loathe her," Kayla stressed. Kayla told Steve that getting Ava out of their lives for good was going to be her New Year's resolution.
Eric left the fashion show and stumbled to his car. "Are you kidding me? An hour for a taxi. Give me a break," Eric muttered as he put his keys in the ignition. Meanwhile, Brady turned his car around and started driving back to the fashion show, explaining to Daniel that he had left behind a gift from Theresa that he didn't want someone to find and discard.
Daniel asked Brady to be his best man at his wedding to Nicole, and Brady agreed without hesitation. Brady declared that Daniel was great for Nicole, and Daniel replied that Nicole was great for him, too. "It's hard to believe life could be this perfect," Daniel added. Meanwhile, Eric turned up the volume of his car's stereo system then began nodding off as he continued driving. Jennifer screamed as she slammed on her brakes and swerved her car, trying to avoid a collision with another vehicle.
New Year's Day Pre-Emption
Due to the New Year's Day holiday, Days of our Lives did not air. The pre-emption was planned, and there were no "lost" episodes as a result of the change.
Regular programming resumed on Monday, January 4, and picked up where the Thursday, December 31, episode concluded.
Our soapcentral.com family wishes you and yours a very Happy New Year.