At the police station, Rafe read aloud to J.J. and Abe from the Internal Affairs report: "Therefore, upon consideration of the findings of a thorough investigation, the Department of Internal Affairs officially clears Detective Jack Patrick Deveraux of any wrongdoing in the shooting of Theo Brandon Carver. It is determined that Officer Deveraux executed his duties and followed departmental procedures --"
Abe angrily interrupted, snapping, "I get the picture -- he's getting away with it! It's another whitewash!" Abe started to warn J.J. not to celebrate just yet, knowing that the district attorney could still decide to file criminal charges, but Rafe quickly clarified that Internal Affairs had specifically advised against that course of action -- and the district attorney would likely take that advice.
"Abe...it's over," Rafe concluded. "Like hell it is! I will not let this be over!" Abe countered, adding that a police badge wasn't meant to be a free pass for its carrier to shoot unarmed civilians. Rafe was quick to remind Abe that Theo had been carrying what J.J. had assumed was a gun -- an assumption that was understandable, since Theo had, after all, been caught committing a crime -- but Abe refused to acknowledge Theo as a criminal. "There's your criminal," Abe told Rafe while glaring at J.J. "[And] I promise you, this will not stand!" Abe added.
Rafe urged Abe to try looking at the situation from an objective point of view, but Abe dismissed the advice, refusing to let J.J. walk away from the shooting with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. "Or does he even get that?" Abe asked worriedly, forcing Rafe to clarify, with obvious discomfort, that Internal Affairs had recommended a full and immediate reinstatement.
Scoffing, Abe incredulously suggested, "Why don't you just give him a medal while you're at it?" Declaring the outcome a travesty, Abe began to add that at least Eli saw the shooting as an act of negligence, prompting Rafe to point out that Eli never should have discussed the matter with Abe in the first place. Abe clarified that Eli had simply provided a personal opinion when asked for it. Abe angrily guessed that Internal Affairs hadn't even bothered to take Eli's concerns into consideration because those concerns had contradicted a foregone conclusion, but Rafe insisted that the investigation had been fair and impartial. Abe refused to read the report, insisting that he didn't have time to do so because he needed to get back to the hospital right away to be with his son. "Who's fighting for his life...thanks to you," Abe reminded J.J. before storming off.
At the DiMera mansion, Chad played a recording of Kate's conversation with Steve, who showed himself out after warning her to never threaten a member of his family again. Alone with Kate, Chad explained, "[When Steve] told me that somebody in my family was responsible [for what happened to Theo], of course I thought it was Andre, [and when Steve told me it was actually you], I couldn't believe him, so he told me that I should hear it for myself. And it was you." Resisting the urge to strangle her, he continued, "You know, if Theo spends the rest of his life in that hospital bed, seeing nothing, saying nothing... If that is the life that is left for him, then that is on you. It is all on you." She nodded as tears began rolling down her cheeks, prompting him to scoff at her for what he perceived as a phony display of remorse.
Chad pointed out that Kate was lucky that his father wasn't around to exact revenge. "But you know what I did, so what are you gonna do to me?" she asked nervously. Scoffing again, he sarcastically observed that it hadn't taken long for her to skip ahead to the most important part of their conversation -- the part about her future. She tearfully argued that it was clearly pointless for her to waste time discussing anything else with him, since he wasn't going to believe her side of the story, anyway. Admitting that she was right, he began pacing around the living room, trying to decide how to handle the situation.
Kate was relieved when Chad eventually revealed that he wasn't going to turn her in to the police. She thanked him for being willing to protect her, prompting him to clarify, "I think you deserve to go to prison, but I don't think Abe can handle knowing that it was you that put his son in harm's way...and there's a selfish part of me that doesn't want to admit that I couldn't protect [Theo], 'cause I should have been able to -- I should have been able to protect him from -- ugh, I should have been able to protect him from you. That was my promise. And I know you and your amoral and selfish ways, and the things that you do to get what you want, and [that] you walk over people... And I know that, but I had a soft spot, because part of me -- part of me thought that you were like a mother to me, and I thought that you felt the same. Lesson learned, right? You live and you learn."
"I guess I never do," Kate quietly admitted. Nodding, Chad continued, "Here's what we're gonna do: you are -- you're gonna step down as CEO, effective immediately, and I'm gonna take your place, and you're gonna help tamp down any dissension the board may have, [and] if you make one wrong move, you will not only be out of this company, you will be out of this family." She numbly agreed, knowing that she had no other choice.
At the police station, Jennifer, Abigail, and Lani celebrated J.J.'s reinstatement, even though he wasn't really in the mood to do so himself. Lani apologized to J.J. on Abe's behalf, explaining that her father simply wasn't acting like himself at that time because he was consumed with grief. "I get it," J.J. assured Lani, who excused herself after assuring him that her father would eventually stop blaming him for what had happened to her brother. After Lani walked away, J.J. admitted to Jennifer and Abigail that he didn't believe that Abe would ever stop blaming him for what had happened to Theo, even if the teen eventually made a full recovery.
At the hospital, Kayla and Valerie apologetically informed Abe that the specialist's procedure hadn't worked on Theo -- and that trying it again could cause more harm than good. "Is there nothing else you can do?" Abe asked. "No...but that doesn't mean that there's no hope," Kayla stressed. Nodding, Valerie added that time -- and prayer -- sometimes worked better than anything else.
At the Horton Town Square, Claire complained to Tripp, "I'm so sick of Ciara! Like, why does she keep acting like I'm committing this crime every time I'm with you? We're friends! Like, for God's sake, you are my roommate!" Nodding, Tripp quietly confirmed that Claire had no reason to feel guilty because there was nothing going on between them.
Oblivious to Tripp's disappointment, Claire continued, "You know, I don't know what happened to [Ciara] in Hong Kong, but she has come back a total bitch!" Tripp explained that Ciara had figured out that Claire had fought with Theo on the day of the shooting, but Claire didn't think that was the only reason for Ciara's hostility.
Claire soon received a text message from Kayla, revealing that the results of the specialist's procedure were in. Tripp offered to accompany Claire to the hospital, but she declined, not wanting him to leave work early just for her sake. "Are you sure you'll be okay?" Tripp asked. "Yes, I'll be fine -- as long as Ciara isn't there," Claire replied.
Elsewhere, Hope, assuming that she knew why her daughter wanted to talk to her, revealed that Shawn had mentioned that Ciara had recently threatened to ruin Claire's life. "Shawn's got a big mouth," Ciara grumbled. Hope wanted to hear that there had been some sort of misunderstanding, but Ciara unapologetically admitted, "No, there's been no misunderstanding -- [and] if I ruin [Claire's] life, it'll be because she deserves it."
"What's going on with you, honey?" Hope asked, knowing that it wasn't like Ciara to say such things. "What's going on with me? Oh, let's see...my dad died, Aiden tried to kill you -- and oh, yeah, let's not forget, his kid raped me -- and now you're moving on to a third guy!" Ciara summarized. Confused, Hope pointed out that Ciara had always been one of Rafe's biggest supporters. "Yeah, he's a real stand-up guy," Ciara sarcastically agreed. Hope wondered if something had happened to Ciara in Hong Kong that had caused the sudden change in her behavior. Ciara claimed that nothing had happened in Hong Kong, leading Hope to conclude that, in that case, Ciara's sudden anger was simply the result of past traumatic events. Hope hugged Ciara and assured her that she would one day find reasons to be happy again.
"Every time I think I have nothing left to lose, I prove myself wrong. When I got home, all I wanted to do was feel close to Dad, but you wouldn't even let me ride his bike; you made Rafe take it away! Don't you understand? Everyone has let me down!" Ciara tearfully insisted, adding that Claire was a prime example. Hope argued that Ciara couldn't blame Claire for what had happened to Theo -- or for having a relationship with him. Ciara spat that a mother was always supposed to take her daughter's side -- and that siding with anyone else was unacceptable. Taken aback, Hope pointed out that Ciara hadn't been raised to be vindictive.
Implying that there were other people in Hope's life who were more vindictive, Ciara started to reveal Rafe's secret, but Hope's phone soon began ringing, interrupting the conversation. "Speak of the devil," Hope told Ciara after a brief chat with Rafe. "There's good news -- J.J. was reinstated," Hope added before excusing herself. "Why do you have to go? You're not even a part of the force anymore," Ciara pointed out. Ignoring the comment, Hope gave Ciara another hug then rushed off after promising that they would finish their conversation some other time.
Later, at the hospital, Claire sadly informed Ciara that the specialist's procedure hadn't worked on Theo. Ciara continued blaming Claire for what had happened to Theo -- and implied that there was no reason for Claire to be upset because she already had another boyfriend lined up to take his place. "Wow. You know, you may have done a lot of things in Hong Kong, but here's one thing you sure as hell didn't do: you sure as hell did not grow up!" Claire spat before storming off. Meanwhile, Lani listened uncomfortably as Abe promised Theo, "The police cleared J.J., [but] don't worry -- I am not letting this go. I will do whatever it takes to get justice."
After filling out some paperwork at the police station, J.J. was given back his gun and badge and cleared to return to work -- with Eli as his new partner out of respect for Lani -- as soon as he felt ready to do so. Jennifer tried to assure J.J. that everything was going to be okay, but he found that hard to believe -- especially after she learned, during a phone conversation with Kayla, that the specialist's procedure hadn't worked on Theo.
Steve and Kayla met at the town square for lunch, knowing that Tripp was working that day. Kayla happily informed Steve and Tripp that J.J. had been reinstated but conceded that Abe probably wasn't thrilled with the results of Internal Affairs' investigation. Kayla and Tripp were both pleased to hear that Steve had managed to permanently neutralize Kate. Kayla promised Tripp that she would never forget about what he had done to protect her, prompting him to point out that he had simply been returning the favor. "Wow -- look at us! We've come a long way," Steve mused with a grin.
At the DiMera mansion, Chad received a phone call from Kayla, who reported that the specialist's procedure hadn't worked on Theo. After ending the call, Chad relayed the information to Kate then ordered her to get out of his sight immediately. "[And] pack your bags," Chad added as Kate left the living room -- just as Abigail returned home. "What was that all about?" Abigail asked Chad.
At the police station, Rafe told Hope about Abe's reaction to Internal Affairs' ruling on the shooting. After reading the report, Hope changed the subject, asking if Rafe could think of any reason Ciara might have to be upset with him. Rafe reminded Hope that Ciara wasn't happy with either of them for taking Bo's motorcycle away from her, but Hope had a feeling that Ciara was upset about more than just that.
Rafe gave Hope a shrug while remembering that Ciara had asked about Sami earlier.
Will tells Paul he is moving in with Sonny
In the square, Sonny complained to Gabi about a grandmother that had taken a doll from him in a store. Gabi laughed. When Sonny said he was upset he had not been able to get Arianna the doll she had wanted, Gabi pulled one out of her shopping bags. A delighted Sonny thanked Gabi for saving the day. Gabi said that having Will home was the best present for Arianna. Sonny told Gabi that Will was moving into the mansion to give their relationship another chance. Grinning, Sonny confessed he had never stopped loving Will.
Sonny asked Gabi whether she had decided to sell her business to Kate. Gabi admitted that Eve had also offered to buy her business, and she asked Sonny's opinion. Sonny said he would prefer Gabi Chic to fold into Titan, but he added that he wanted to stay out of it. Sonny warned Gabi not to trust Eve.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Eve chuckled when a towel-clad, wet Brady rushed into the living room to ask about the lack of water. Eve explained that the workers had shut down the water to finish renovations before Christmas. Brady reminded Eve that the mansion was not her house to redecorate. As the argument escalated, Justin walked in and asked what was wrong. Brady stormed out.
Justin asked Eve why she was staying in the house. Eve said she wanted to torment Victor and Brady after what they had done to her. Changing the subject, Eve asked Justin to look over her Gabi Chic contract, and he promised to review it. Eve thanked Justin for helping her deal with her grief after Paige had died. Eve asked him if they could be friends. Justin said he was Eve's friend, but he needed to be allied with his family. Eve said her main concern was to make Basic Black successful. With a nod, Justin warned Eve that if she undermined Sonny as CEO, she would have to answer to him.
At the DiMera mansion, Andre overheard Kate, on the phone, say that she had stepped down as CEO. Andre asked if Chad had forced her out. Kate confirmed that Chad knew about her involvement in Theo's shooting. Andre said he believed Chad would forgive her and allow her to stay in the house. Shaking her head no, Kate said she did not blame Chad for wanting to banish her from the business and the house.
Kate told Andre what had happened with Steve and Chad and the ensuing argument. Kate said she deserved the hate. When Andre asked about Theo's specialist, Kate admitted that the doctor's procedure had not helped Theo. When Gabi arrived for their meeting, Andre stopped Kate from telling Gabi that she was no longer the head of DiMera Enterprises. Smiling at Kate, Andre said it was important for his wife to lock down a deal for the company.
Andre shoved Kate toward Gabi. When Kate started to say that there had been changes at the company, Andre pushed Kate into the hallway to talk sense into her. Andre assured Kate that she had already made the deal, and it did not matter that she no longer worked for DiMera Enterprises. Andre argued that securing the deal would prove to Chad that she was essential to the company. Kate reluctantly agreed.
When they returned to the living room, Kate and Andre praised Gabi for her work. Andre assured Gabi that the company would remain stable as power transferred from Kate to Chad. Kate explained that her job as CEO had always been temporary. Kate said she had stepped down as CEO early because she had been eager to work with Gabi. Andre chimed in that they wanted to go public with her company to increase the worth of Gabi Chic. The doorbell rang, and Andre ignored it. Kate handed Gabi a contract to sign. As Gabi reached out, Eve rushed into the house and told Gabi to stop.
Eve pitched Gabi on her partnership and noted that Kate could not give her personal attention as CEO. Kate announced that she had stepped down as CEO so that she could focus on Gabi Chic. With a grin, Eve said she did not believe Kate had willingly stepped down. Kate insisted she wanted to devote her energy to helping Gabi. Andre argued that the Kiriakis family wanted to remove Eve from the company and that it was a poor idea for Gabi to hitch her wagon to Eve. Eve assured Gabi that she had great ideas. As Eve pulled out her contract, Kate held out hers.
Softly, Kate told Gabi that she believed in her. Both women handed Gabi their contracts. Gabi was reluctant to make a decision. "You don't even like me," Gabi said to Andre. "Oh, I do now," Andre retorted. Kate appealed to Gabi as a businesswoman. When Eve touted her experience, Kate and Eve resorted to cheap shots about one another's pasts. Gabi shouted out that she had made her decision. "I'm going to sign with Kate," Gabi said.
Paul stopped by the penthouse. Smiling, Will told Paul that he had been hoping to see Paul again. Paul curtly said he was there to talk to John about work. When Will noted that John was out Christmas shopping, Paul turned to leave. Paul noticed luggage, and he asked if Will was going somewhere. With a nod, Will confirmed that he was moving in with Sonny. Will apologized. Paul said he understood that Will and Sonny wanted to revisit their relationship.
"I do feel something when I'm with him, and I think that's worth exploring," Will said. Paul told Will he hoped everything worked out. As Paul turned to leave, Will grabbed his arm and stopped him. Paul stared at Will's hand. Will said he hoped he could hang out with Paul, and Paul glowered. Paul stressed that he was in love with Sonny. Will clarified that he wanted to spend time with Paul as friends. Paul apologized for jumping to conclusions. With a shrug, Will said he understood.
Smiling, Will said he liked that Paul spoke his mind, and that was why he wanted to have Paul as a friend. When Paul reminded Will that there were a lot of people who would be honest with Will, Will said he felt too much pressure. Will said he wanted to be friends with Paul because he felt like it did not matter if he was his old self or not. "You and I have a history. And it's not a good history. So I'm not gonna be your friend. I won't do that to Sonny," Paul said.
In the square, Justin and Sonny talked about gifts. Sonny giddily discussed all the presents he had bought Will. "Whatever it takes to make the transition smoother," Justin said. Sonny asked if Justin believed that Sonny had made a mistake by breaking up with Paul. Justin admitted that although he sympathized with Paul, he was pro-Sonny. Sonny pushed Justin for an answer, and Justin reminded Sonny that Will might never recover his memories. Sonny said he was willing to risk everything for a chance at rebuilding his life with Will.
The conversation turned to Justin and Adrienne, and Sonny said their reunion was his favorite Christmas gift. "We were each other's first loves. And that is a hard thing to shake," Justin said. "Paul was my first love. And I still love him. And there is a part of me I think always will," Sonny said sadly. Sonny looked up and saw Paul staring at him from across the square. Paul walked over and said hello. With an awkward goodbye, Justin rushed off.
Sonny started to tell Paul about his new living situation, but Paul cut him off and told him that he had spoken to Will. Paul told Sonny that he hoped things worked out because he wanted Sonny to be happy. "I'm really sorry that I hurt you," Sonny said. Without a word, Paul walked away.
In the Kiriakis living room, Brady complained to Victor about Eve. Victor ordered Brady to stop drinking. When Brady said he had everything under control, Victor scoffed. Victor asked Brady why he had not forced Eve out yet. Closing the door for privacy, Brady confided that he had learned about Eve's previous con jobs but had not been able to effectively use the information against her. Victor growled that he was out of patience. Brady argued that Victor had created the mess when he had invited Deimos into the family. Brady asked Victor to help him get rid of Eve.
Victor noted that Brady was good when he was not drinking or tied up with the wrong woman. Angry, Brady accused Victor of pitting him against Philip and again against Sonny. Brady argued that he would never be CEO because Victor wanted him in a position to handle his dirty work and keep Sonny clean. "Eve was right. She says my real enemy isn't her. It's you," Brady said.
After a long day of shopping, Marlena and John stopped at the pub. While Marlena reviewed their gift list, John commented that the only thing Paul wanted for Christmas was Sonny. Marlena left to meet with Will while John relaxed at the Brady Pub. A sullen Paul sat at John's table. Paul wanted to talk about work, but he grew frustrated when he could not find his files on his tablet. As Paul grew more agitated, John asked what was wrong.
Paul said he had talked to Will about moving in with Sonny and then had run into Sonny in the square. John offered to talk, but Paul was insistent that they get to work. As Paul continued to look for the files on his tablet, he ran across a photo of him with Sonny. Paul abruptly said goodbye and left. John noticed Paul had stopped outside the pub, and he went to him. Paul saw John, and he crumpled into his father's arms, sobbing.
At the penthouse, Marlena said goodbye to Will as he finished packing. Will playfully reminded Marlena that he was only moving up the street. Marlena offered a standing invitation to brunch or an office visit. Will was not sure he wanted to undergo therapy, but Marlena reminded Will that he had a lot of information to process. With a nod, Will said he wanted to make good decisions. Will asked Marlena for guidance because he trusted her. Will admitted he was nervous about moving in with Sonny. When Will asked if it was too soon, Marlena said it was important that Will was moving in with Sonny because he wanted to do it.
When Will asked if he had been happy with Sonny, Marlena said that Will had told her on his wedding day that it was the happiest day of his life. Sonny knocked on the door. With a deep breath, Will let him in. Grinning, Will said, "Let's do this." While Sonny carried bags down to the car, Will thanked Marlena for her help. Marlena told Will that she had faith in him and that he deserved to be happy.
At the DiMera mansion, Andre, Kate, and Gabi toasted to their new business relationship. Kate thanked Gabi for trusting her, and Gabi thanked Kate for supporting her through the years. When Gabi left to call her babysitter, Kate thanked Andre for his help. "You beat Eve, and you got the contract done," Andre purred. Andre said he believed the deal would save Kate. Kate worried aloud that Chad could still force her out. Gently kissing Kate on the cheek, Andre said, "You leave that to me."
As Brady raised his voice in the living room, Eve returned home to the mansion. Eve eavesdropped on the argument from the foyer. Victor called Brady a disappointment. When Brady said that Victor had promised to make him CEO if he had eliminated Eve, Victor told Brady it was another one of his failures. Victor said he wanted Eve out of the house and out of Basic Black because he would not have an outsider steal from the family. Brady said he was tired of Victor's antics. "That is something I can work with," Eve whispered.
Eve rushed outside when she heard Brady headed toward the foyer. On the porch, Eve ran into Justin, who told her he was ready to review the Basic Black contract for her. Eve informed Justin that the deal had fallen through. Smiling, Eve said she believed a new opportunity had fallen into her lap.
In the living room, Brady returned from the kitchen. "Well?" Victor asked. "I'm pretty sure she heard every word," Brady said. Victor and Brady smiled at each other. Victor flashed back to his earlier conversation with Brady. When Brady had noted that Eve had called Victor the enemy of Brady, Victor had argued that Eve had attempted to get him and Brady to fight one another. "That's the answer," Brady had said. Brady had called Henderson and asked him to warn them when Eve returned home. "That bitch is about to fall right into our trap," Brady said as Victor chuckled.
J.J. prepares to end his life> J.J. prepares to end his life
J.J. passed through Horton Town Square with a shopping bag in his hand as carolers sang "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and a volunteer for the Salvation Army diligently rang a bell to draw attention to one of the organization's signature collection kettles. J.J. ignored the volunteer's greeting and continued on his way. Meanwhile, the carolers sang: "God and sinners reconciled..."
J.J. paused, the lyrics obviously striking a chord. Turning to face the volunteer, J.J. fished his wallet out of a back pocket and removed all his cash from it. "Wow! You had a very good year! Thank you!" the volunteer said as J.J. placed the wad of cash on top of the kettle. J.J. didn't respond, his attention already focused on something else -- the makeshift memorial that remained from the night of Theo's candlelight vigil. Remembering every detail of the shooting once again, J.J. shivered and rushed off, pulling both sides of his jacket together and bowing his head as if trying to sink inside it and disappear.
Minutes later, J.J. arrived at the Martin mansion, retreated to his room, and shut the door, encountering no one on the way. He retrieved a pad of paper and a box of envelopes from the shopping bag and placed both purchases on the desk then set aside the bag, removed his jacket, took a seat at the desk, and pulled a small stack of envelopes out of the box, each action being made slowly and deliberately. After centering the envelopes on top of the box and positioning it parallel to the pad of paper, he paused to make sure everything was just right then took a deep breath, picked up an executive pen, uncapped it, and began to write: "Dear Theo, I don't know any words to express how sorry I am..."
"I can't make this about me," J.J. muttered, crossing out the words. After tearing the used sheet of paper out of the pad, crumpling it up, and tossing it in a nearby trash can, he tore a fresh sheet of paper out of the pad and placed it on the desk, sliding the pad over a few inches to make room. As he prepared to begin a new letter, his cell phone started ringing. He went to retrieve it from his jacket but chose to ignore the call. Returning to the desk chair, he centered his cell phone on top of his Bible then steadied his shaking hands and turned his attention back to the blank sheet of paper in front of him.
"Dear Mom, it's Christmas Eve, and you just called. I'm ashamed to say I didn't pick up. I know you want to hear me say that I'm okay, but I can't tell you that. I do want you to know you're the best mom I could ever ask for. I'm sorry you've had to lose so much," J.J. wrote before pausing, recalling another time when he had ignored his mother's calls -- until his boarding school roommate had convinced him to stop partying long enough to at least say hello to her. When he had tiredly answered the phone on her fourth attempt to contact him, she had sadly revealed, "J.J., I'm so sorry... I have bad news about your dad..."
Sighing, J.J. turned his attention back to the sheet of paper and continued writing: "You've had to do so much on your own. I'm sorry I didn't help you more. I know I was a selfish jerk when I came back to Salem. I was horrible to you -- to everyone. You were grieving for Dad, and I made it all so much worse. What I never told you before -- the reason I was such an ass -- is that I was mad at myself because I had let Dad down."
Pausing again, J.J. thought about the December before his father's death, when he had spontaneously decided to fly from London to Salem to be with his family for the holidays -- a move he had not discussed with anyone beforehand. When he had arrived at the Horton house, his father -- the only person who had been home at the time -- had noted with obvious confusion that his boarding school's holiday break wasn't scheduled to start until later that month. "I quit. I was flunking out, so I didn't see a point in staying and taking the exams," he had explained.
Instead of a lecture, J.J. had received a hug from his father, who had asked -- without a hint of judgment -- if the coursework had been too difficult or if he had simply partied too much. Without admitting to anything, he had wondered what had prompted his father to suspect the latter possibility. "You're my kid. I did the same thing," his father had explained with a shrug before listing a surprising number of schools that had wanted nothing to do with such a notorious troublemaker. "Thank God -- and your mom -- that you and your sister turned out to be really great human beings [in spite of my faults]," his father had concluded. When he had argued that the statement really only applied to his sister, his father had insisted that he would one day realize that he, too, was a great human being. His father had then picked up an executive pen and tossed it at him, telling him to keep it.
"I can't take this. You used to write every one of your stories with it, and it must have cost a fortune," J.J. had protested, but his father had been insistent. "My dad gave that to me [as a graduation gift] -- after I had already succeeded. I didn't need it then; I needed to know that he had faith in me while I was failing," his father had explained. Sighing, J.J. had reluctantly admitted that he couldn't return to London to give boarding school another try because he had blown all his money on the plane ticket to Salem. His father had happily offered to pay for him to fly back to London right away, promising, "It'll be our little secret."
Weeks later, J.J.'s parents had flown to London to spend part of the holiday with him -- and his father had accidentally stumbled upon his stash of weed. His mother had been too busy crying over an airing of It's a Wonderful Life to notice, but his father had pocketed the stash while giving him a look of disapproval.
Focusing on the letter again, J.J. continued writing: "Unlike George Bailey, I managed to screw up every second chance I've ever been given. Mom, I want you to have this pen. I hope you'll think of Dad when you use it." After signing the letter, he capped the pen, placed it in the center of the paper, and folded both ends over it. Then he tucked the folded letter and enclosed pen in an envelope and sealed it, sniffling periodically.
J.J. retrieved a new pen from a desk drawer and wrote "Mom" on the front of the envelope, which he then set aside with a heavy sigh, his eyes brimming with tears. Then he retreated to the bathroom to take a shower. Afterward, he shaved, using a fresh razor blade he had purchased when he had gone shopping earlier. Finally, after getting dressed, he returned to the desk chair and tore another sheet of paper out of the pad.
"Dear Abigail, I've been thinking a lot about when we were kids. Dad taught me how to shave with an old-school razor. I still use one, even though it's a pain to find the blades for it. Mom taught me how to drive, and sometimes I still drive on the wrong side of the road. And you -- you taught me how to fight. I wish I could have looked out for you the way you looked out for me. I never told you this -- in fact, I acted surprised when you told me you were going to marry Chad -- but the truth is, I already knew that he had proposed to you," J.J. wrote before pausing, recalling the day that Chad had asked him for his blessing.
J.J had been reluctant to grant the request but had agreed to talk to Abigail about the matter and support whatever decision she ended up making. Later, when Abigail had begun showing signs of mental illness, J.J. had regretted keeping his concerns to himself -- and had almost blurted out, during a private conversation with her, that he never should have allowed the marriage to happen. Abigail, oblivious to the true reason for J.J.'s anger, had insisted that no one was to blame for her breakdown, adding with a shrug, "Sometimes you just can't fix what's broken."
J.J. continued writing: "When we were little, everything seemed so simple. I could sing some dumb song I made up and get you to laugh. I hoped that someday I could teach Thomas how to play. This one's for Thomas. I hope you'll find someone to teach him to play, since I won't be able to." After signing the letter, he placed a guitar pick in the center of the paper and folded both ends over it. Then he tucked the folded letter and enclosed guitar pick in an envelope, sealed it, wrote "Abigail" on the front, and placed it on top of the envelope that contained the letter he had written for his mother.
J.J. went to the closet and retrieved his dress uniform, which he placed on the bed. A medal was pinned to the suit jacket, and as he removed it, he recalled the day he had received it as recognition of an act of bravery. That day, Roman -- who had still been serving as police commissioner at the time -- had proudly advised him, "You saved [a] life, and that required a certain impulsiveness that most people don't have. You have it. And that's what I want you to think about, okay? Keep it in check; know when to use it [and] when not to use it. Otherwise, you could get yourself in a lot of trouble." Just a few weeks later, Roman had harshly admonished J.J. for another act of impulsiveness -- one that had allowed a known criminal to walk away from a crime without any repercussions.
Returning to the desk chair with the medal in hand, he tore another piece of paper out of the pad and began writing again: "Dear Hope, I remember you standing there at the P.D. when I got this pin. Roman was right -- I did get myself in trouble -- but you kept encouraging me, Hope. I got this pin for bravery, and now I want you to have it, because you really are one of the bravest people I know -- not just because of everything you've been through. Standing up for me cost you your career. I almost cost you your future with Rafe. Thank you for always being there for me. I promised my dad when we scattered his ashes that I'd take care of my mom and Abigail. Please take care of them for me." After signing the letter, he placed the medal in the center of the paper and folded both ends over it. Then he tucked the folded letter and enclosed medal in an envelope, sealed it, wrote "Hope" on the front, and added it to the pile of completed letters.
Taking another break, J.J. collected a stack of unopened Christmas cards and tossed them in the trash can, saving only one of them. After opening the card and reading it, he returned to the desk chair, tore another piece of paper out of the pad, and began writing again: "Dear Gabi, thanks for the card -- and for thinking of me on Christmas. It was only a couple of years ago that we were just getting to know each other, when you were asking me about Paige. Paige's music is really all we have left of her. She wrote these songs for me, but I want you to have them. I want you to know as much about your sister as you possibly can. I'm sorry things didn't work out for us, but I'm so glad we stayed friends. I know that just being friends is even harder for you and Chad, but you know, better than anyone, that walking away from the people you love is sometimes the kindest thing you can do for them. I have a great mother, so I know what I'm talking about -- Arianna's lucky to have you in her life. And I was lucky to have you in mine." After signing the letter, he placed a flash drive in the center of the paper and folded both ends over it. Then he tucked the folded letter and enclosed flash drive in an envelope, sealed it, wrote "Gabi" on the front, and added it to the pile.
J.J. carried the Christmas card over to a dresser and placed it next to a framed photograph of him, his sister, and their parents. He fought back tears as he recalled that his father had privately returned his stash of weed at some point during the holiday they had spent together in London and had given him a hug to symbolize continued faith in him -- and when his father had died just a few months later, he had numbed the pain with more serious drugs, marking the beginning of a prolonged period of reckless behavior.
Sighing, J.J. returned to the desk chair, picking up his police badge on the way, and tore another piece of paper out of the pad then began writing again: "Dear Abe, how do I say I'm sorry for something that is unforgivable -- especially when it was you who first made me understand just what this badge means?" Pausing, J.J. recalled the day that Abe had encouraged him to think about applying to the police academy, back when J.J. had been working undercover to expose drug dealers. Focusing on the letter again, J.J. continued writing: "I saw how angry you were when I got it back. You thought it was dead wrong, and I think you were right, so I'm giving it back to you." After signing the letter, he folded it, tucked it in an envelope, and added the badge, which was too big to hide inside the folded letter. With some effort, he managed to seal the bulging envelope. Then he wrote "Abe" on the front and added it to the pile. Tears welling up in his eyes again, he removed his gun from a desk drawer and placed it on the desk.
A few minutes later, after putting on his dress uniform, J.J. returned to the desk chair, tore another piece of paper out of the pad, and began writing again: "Dear Lani, you didn't get a chance to open your birthday present that night because...because of what happened...so I want you to know that I got you tickets to see Rihanna. I know how much you love her. I was looking forward to that concert. I had a lot of plans for things we could do in Chicago. Not just in Chicago. I had a lot of plans for our future. I want you to know I was telling the truth that night -- I do love you. I broke up with you because I couldn't stand to hurt you anymore. I hope you'll find someone who really deserves you." After signing the letter, he placed the tickets in the center of the paper and folded both ends over it. Then he tucked the folded letter and enclosed tickets in an envelope, sealed it, wrote "Lani" on the front, and added it to the pile.
As J.J. tore another piece of paper out of the pad, he recalled a conversation he'd had with Theo just a few hours before the shooting, during which Theo had admitted that he often imagined a future with Claire but was worried, especially after their fight, that he would lose her before getting a chance to see that future play out. J.J. had advised Theo to try talking to Claire and had wished him luck with his goals for the future, hoping he would eventually get everything he wanted out of life. They had parted ways after a warm embrace.
Sighing, J.J. began writing again: "Dear Theo, I said I wanted you to have all the things you wanted, and now you have nothing...because of me." He glanced at his Bible, recalling the "life for a life" passage he had recently read, before continuing: "I've come to see that I can only pay for taking your life by taking my own, so I'm going out to the square, to the same place where I shot you, with the same gun, and maybe, in some small way, it will help balance out the universe -- make up for what I took from you. I have left something to everyone else I love, but I have nothing to give you...except my life." After signing the letter, he folded it and tucked it in an envelope. Then he sealed the envelope, wrote "Theo" on the front, and added it to the pile.
J.J. straightened the stack of sealed envelopes, again sniffling periodically, then removed a clip from a desk drawer and inserted it in his gun with a decisive nod.
J.J.'s plan is unexpectedly derailed
At the DiMera mansion, Abigail arranged a plate of Christmas cookies while asking Chad if he had given any thought to what Santa might deliver to him for Christmas. "I'm not sure much can compete with the Christmas miracle I got last year, when you came back to me," Chad replied before giving Abigail a kiss -- and trying to steal a cookie while he had her distracted.
"Somebody's gotta make it look real; otherwise, Thomas will think that Santa didn't come," Chad defensively pointed out when Abigail realized what he was doing. "Are you saying that you don't believe in Santa?" she asked. "Well...um...the PR department would advise me not to answer that question, especially so close to me coming back as CEO," he replied.
Chad eventually managed to snatch two cookies, one of which he immediately stuffed in his mouth. As he rushed off with the other one, she chased after him, joking that being branded a cookie thief would certainly be one way for him to make a big splash in the news. "Big splash? What big splash?" he asked between bites. "I was thinking we could maybe throw a big New Year's Eve party and invite our friends and our family -- and the media," she explained. He thought that might seem insensitive to some people -- especially the Carvers -- but she was hopeful that another Christmas miracle would occur beforehand, giving everyone a reason to celebrate.
Will was sitting alone in the living room of the Kiriakis mansion, trying to decide what to write in his journal, when Maggie joined him and asked, "Any Christmas memories coming back?" Chuckling awkwardly, Will admitted that he didn't remember anything about his new home, despite the fact that it was where his wedding had taken place. As Sonny entered the living room, Maggie said that having Will back where he belonged was good enough for her. "Just in time for Christmas," Sonny pointed out with a smile. "Exactly. Christmas is all about being with the people that you love," Maggie agreed as Sonny and Will shared a look.
Changing the subject, Will nervously asked, "So, uh, just how many Hortons are gonna be at this party?" Maggie joked that the answer depended on one's definition of a Horton, but that didn't really help Will, who turned to Sonny in the hope of receiving further clarification. "I promise I will stand right by your side -- [that] way, if you're confused on who is who, or who you're related to..." Sonny began to assure Will as Arianna raced into the living room. She greeted Will with a smile then whispered something in Sonny's ear. Gasping dramatically, Sonny announced, "Okay, listen up, everyone -- we have a Christmas emergency!"
After Sonny elaborated, Will knelt down to Arianna's eye level and asked, as she raced over to him, "You're worried that Santa's not gonna bring me any presents because I just moved here?" She confirmed her fear with a nod. "But, Daddy, you can have my presents!" she added. Will protested that Arianna would have nothing for herself in that case. "I got you!" she countered before giving him a hug.
Touched, Will thanked Arianna and said that her offer was the most generous thing he had ever heard. "But I have a better idea -- how 'bout we share your presents so we can, you know, play with them together?" he suggested. "Awesome!" she replied. After Will and Arianna sealed the deal with a high-five, Maggie asked Arianna to follow her to the foyer, where their coats were kept in a closet, so they could finish getting ready for the party. Will watched, awestruck, as Arianna walked away with Maggie, who conspiratorially informed the girl, "Victor, he's got a bad cold, so he's staying here -- and you know what that means? More doughnuts for us!"
"She's an amazing little girl," Sonny said. "Yeah. She's my amazing little girl," Will agreed with a grin and a hint of disbelief.
Doug and Julie went to the hospital to try to convince Abe and Valerie to attend the party at the Horton house, but Abe wasn't in the mood -- and didn't want to leave Theo's side, anyway. Julie tried to assure Abe that the Hortons and the Carvers were "in this together," but he insisted that the two families were actually on opposite sides of the matter. "We understand, Abe. Maybe next year," Doug said, hinting to Julie that it was time to leave.
Meanwhile, in one of the break rooms, Lani chatted with Eli, who had wanted to check on her before heading over to the Horton house. Lani confirmed Eli's suspicion that Abe wasn't particularly thrilled with Internal Affairs' ruling on the shooting. "How do you feel about it?" Eli asked. "My dad wants me to hate J.J., but...I don't," Lani replied with a shrug. Eli invited Lani to attend the party, but she declined out of respect for Abe.
At the Horton house, Rafe cornered Ciara in the foyer and started questioning her, hoping to determine if she was upset with him because she knew that he was keeping something from her mother. Shawn, Belle, and Claire filed into the house before Rafe could get anything out of Ciara, who rushed off during the distraction. "Everything okay, Rafe?" Shawn asked. "Huh?" Rafe replied, looking for Ciara. "Oh -- yeah, great," Rafe quickly added, forcing a smile. "Just. Great," Rafe muttered to himself before following the others into the living room.
J.J. was in his room at the Martin mansion, preparing to head to the Horton Town Square, when he received another phone call from his mother. After letting his cell phone ring a few times, he decided to take the call. Holding his cell phone in one hand and his gun in the other, he numbly told his mother, "I was actually just about to call you. Um...I was thinking that I'd -- I'd just have a quiet evening alone." Claiming that he was tired, he promised, "I'll come by for Christmas morning, though." Fighting back tears, he wished her a merry Christmas, told her that he loved her, and thanked her for always being there for him. Then he quickly ended the call.
Sniffling periodically, J.J. pocketed his cell phone, tucked his gun in the waistband of his pants, and took one last look around his room. Then, ready to leave, he opened his door -- and found Gabi standing in the hallway, preparing to knock. She explained that she had heard about his reinstatement and had wanted to congratulate him -- and give him a gift that Arianna had made for him.
"That's very thoughtful, but can I open it...later? There's just someplace I need to be," J.J. vaguely replied. Gabi offered to accompany J.J. to the Horton house, assuming that was where he was headed, but he clarified that, unlike her, he wasn't planning to attend the party. "Why not?" she asked. Before he could respond, she curiously added, "Why are you in your -- in your dress uniform? Rafe only wears his for...weddings and -- and funerals..." She started looking around the room as he quietly and tiredly stated that it had been a long day. Ignoring his comment, she picked up the stack of letters and started flipping through them.
"Gabi, that's none of your business," J.J. protested. "Yeah, well, this [one] has my name on it, so I definitely think it's my business," Gabi countered, dodging his attempts to seize the letters. She set aside the other letters then started to open the one that was addressed to her as he watched helplessly, issuing one last plea for her to stop. Ignoring his request, she took a quick look at the flash drive then read the letter.
"Please tell me that this is not what -- what I think this is. J.J., is -- is this a goodbye letter? Is this -- is this a suicide note? Tell me the truth, J.J. -- were you...were you planning to kill yourself tonight?" Gabi asked worriedly. "Please...just go," J.J. begged, sinking onto the bed with tears in his eyes. Horrified, Gabi wondered what would have happened if she hadn't decided to pay him a visit before heading over to the Horton house. "I really wish you hadn't," J.J. grumbled. Gabi protested that suicide wasn't the right way for J.J. to fix things, adding that he had a lot to live for -- and a lot of people who loved him and would be devastated to lose him. "And just as many people who would be glad to see me dead," J.J. countered. Gabi insisted that wasn't true, but J.J. doubted that Abe would agree -- or Theo, although he wasn't really in a position to voice an opinion.
Gabi reminded J.J. that he had been cleared of wrongdoing for his part in the shooting, but he insisted that he needed to pay for what he had done. "No -- what you need to do is forgive yourself," she argued, adding that she knew exactly what he was going through because she had been there herself before. "When I was in prison, I thought about ending it; I even sat down, and I wrote letters like these," she admitted, gesturing toward the remaining letters that were still unopened. "But I realized that ending that pain and guilt was just gonna cause more pain and guilt -- for the people that I loved," she continued.
"This is different. You shot Nick because you were scared," J.J. pointed out. "So were you," Gabi countered. "J.J., you -- you're one of my best friends in the entire world. And Arianna loves you -- my daughter loves you. I mean, she just got Will back after -- after two years of thinking that he was gone forever. And now he doesn't even remember her. Please...do not make her lose another person that she loves," Gabi tearfully begged J.J., who stressed that he didn't want to hurt her or her daughter -- or anyone else, for that matter. Gabi argued that J.J. would be doing just that if he went through with his plan to kill himself.
"I know that you are in terrible pain --" Gabi began to add. Scoffing, J.J. interrupted, incredulously protesting, "You think I'm in pain? What about Abe? What about Theo, who will never get to hang an ornament on a tree, or get married, or have children... He'll be in some small, horrible little room, with machines keeping him alive, and you talk about the moments that I'll miss, but how can I keep on living -- how can I let myself have those moments -- when Theo never will?" Gabi conceded that she couldn't really do anything to stop J.J. from blaming himself for what the Carvers were going through. She added, however, that she could at least force him to think about what his suicide would do to his loved ones. "They don't need me," he quietly insisted. "Of course they do!" she firmly maintained.
Forcing J.J. to make eye contact, Gabi continued, "Do you not remember how broken your mom was when she thought that your sister was gone? God, she's already been through hell [because of] losing your dad, [and] you are everything to your mom -- you are your mother's heart and soul, you and your sister. I mean, if you -- if you died, it would kill her!" J.J. conceded that his mother would be devastated but argued that she would survive because she had a lot of people to lean on for support. "Since the day my dad died, all I've caused her is heartbreak. I cannot stand to disappoint her any longer," J.J. added, prompting Gabi to counter that Jennifer's heart was only broken when J.J.'s was because his happiness meant everything to his mother. "She's so proud of you, J.J. -- she's so proud of the man that you are, because you're a good man, a good friend, a good son --" Gabi continued.
Interrupting, J.J. numbly stated, "Thank you for trying, Gabi. And I know you're the type of person that doesn't give up on someone, but I can't do it anymore. You need to let me go." Ignoring Gabi's protests, J.J. pulled his gun out of the waistband of his pants and explained, as she watched in horror, that he planned to shoot himself in the town square, using the same gun that had put Theo in a coma. Gabi blocked J.J.'s path and refused to budge, confirming that she would never give up on a loved one -- and would therefore fight to stop him from killing himself until her own dying breath. Grabbing the unopened stack of letters, Gabi began opening them, one by one, and making J.J. listen to them, hoping his own words, if not hers, would get him to finally realize just how much his loved ones needed him. "Please -- stop!" J.J. begged, clearly overwhelmed.
After reading four of the letters, Gabi decided on a different approach, pointing out that J.J. had never bothered to open his Christmas gift from Arianna. Gabi opened the gift for J.J. and forced him to look at the picture frame Arianna had lovingly made for him. As J.J. broke down while holding the gift, Gabi put a hand on his shoulder and told him, "You don't have to decide the rest of your life right now, okay? All you have to decide is to get through tonight." Sniffling, J.J. set aside the gift then picked up his gun, carried it over to the desk, and left it there. Then he broke down again, this time in Gabi's arms.
At the Horton house, Jennifer sadly explained to Abigail that J.J. wasn't going to be attending the party. Meanwhile, Rafe asked Eli where Gabi was. "She said she'd meet me here. She should be here by now," Eli replied with a shrug, checking his cell phone. Maggie soon entered the house with Sonny and Will and cheerfully greeted everyone. "I know there's gonna be a lot of strange faces, but they're all friendly, I promise, okay? And they're gonna be very happy to see you," Sonny assured Will. "Okay, well...just stay close, okay?" Will requested. "I will always stand by your side -- always," Sonny promised with a smile.
While Claire was talking to Hope about Theo, Ciara smashed Claire's ornament then shrugged and innocently stated, "Oops." Claire smashed Ciara's ornament in retaliation. Claire and Ciara glared at each other, ready for a fight, but Belle and Hope quickly separated them. "Looks like we have a new holiday tradition. This is the second year in a row the two of you have wanted to brawl," Shawn disapprovingly reminded Claire.
Hoping to ease the tension, Jennifer awkwardly asked if everyone was ready to start decorating the Christmas tree. Eli was quick to point out that Gabi hadn't arrived yet, but Julie dismissively stated that someone else could hang Gabi's ornament because it was getting late. Nodding, Doug joined Julie in giving a speech, during which they expressed the family's continued hope for Theo's full recovery, acknowledged that the family was lucky to have Will back, and welcomed Eli to his first Christmas party as a member of the family. Then everyone took turns hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree. When it was time for Hope, Ciara, and Rafe to hang their respective ornaments, Ciara made a point of putting Bo's ornament next to Hope's, leaving no room for Rafe's, which ended up going on a branch below the others. Will, Sonny, and Arianna placed their ornaments on the tree together, and Jennifer sadly placed J.J.'s ornament on the tree on his behalf. Slowly, the rest of the attendees filled the tree until every ornament was proudly displayed.
At the hospital, Abe, alone in Theo's room, tearfully admitted that he was losing hope that his son would wake up. Meanwhile, Valerie advised Lani to fight to maintain a relationship with J.J., arguing that even though Abe was angry with J.J., Theo wouldn't want Lani to be unhappy and alone. Later, Claire arrived to see Theo. Deciding to give Claire some time alone with Theo, Abe left the room -- and ran into Jennifer at the nurses' station. "I have nothing to say to you," Abe spat. "Then you can just listen, because I have something to say to you," Jennifer calmly replied.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sonny walked Will to Will's room then started to say goodnight to him, pointing out that they were going to need to get some rest because Arianna was going to want them up ridiculously early the following morning so they could open gifts together. "Wait. Don't go," Will requested, smiling at Sonny.
At the Martin mansion, J.J. regained his composure and asked Gabi, "What do I do now?" She offered to take him to his family's party, but he insisted that he couldn't be around them that night. "If you're not gonna go, then I'm not gonna go, either. I'll stay here," she spontaneously decided, assuring him that she would be fine with sleeping in a chair or on the floor and would only need one of his shirts to get through the night, since her dress wasn't exactly made to be slept in. "Look, we're gonna -- we're gonna wake up tomorrow, and things are gonna look...different. But, most importantly, we're gonna wake up tomorrow, and it's gonna be Christmas morning...and you're still gonna be here," she added, giving him a smile. Nodding, he went to get a shirt for her to wear.
Gabi sent Eli a text message to let him know that something had happened, and she was therefore not going to be able to make it to the party. Then, after changing her clothes, she crawled into bed with J.J., who wished her a merry Christmas and quietly added, "Thank you. Thank you for everything." As they shared a hug, Lani entered the room and stared at them in disbelief, fighting back tears.
Jennifer makes a plea to Abe
In the Kiriakis mansion, Brady grudgingly admitted to Eve that he liked the newly renovated living room. Frowning, Eve said that Maggie had intervened and taken over the decoration of the living room. Brady chuckled and retracted his compliment. Eve chattered about Basic Black, but Brady asked her if they could set work aside for Christmas Eve. With a nod, Eve sat on the couch next to Brady. Eve asked Brady about his fight with Victor. Brady pretended to be upset with Victor while Eve warned him that Sonny would take everything from Brady. While Brady fixed a drink, he smiled to himself. Eve asked Brady to work for her at Basic Black.
"Why would I work for you? I can't stand you," Brady said. "Would you rather work for Sonny?" Eve asked. Brady growled that he would never work for Sonny. Shrugging, Eve urged Brady to use his expertise to help her turn Basic Black around. When Eve challenged Brady to prove Victor wrong, he narrowed his eyes. Brady accepted Eve's offer. Brady wrote down his expected salary, and Eve reluctantly accepted. Eve offered to shake on their deal, but Brady noted that they were standing under mistletoe.
Brady pulled Eve into an unexpected kiss. Brady joked that he was "a sucker for tradition." Rattled, Eve said she would contact her attorney about a contract. As Eve rushed out of the room, Brady congratulated himself on his performance as he poured a drink.
In his room, Will said that he wanted to get to know Sonny so that he could understand why he had fallen in love. Starting at the beginning, Sonny told Will that they had met at the pier. Sonny continued that he and Will had been friends for a long time before they had dated. Sonny told Will about Will's struggle to accept his sexuality, and the day Will had come out to Marlena. Laughing, Sonny told Will about their first date and the first time they had made love. Will asked about their engagement, and Sonny replied that Will had turned down his first proposal.
After retrieving a photo album, Sonny showed Will pictures of their life together. Sonny turned and looked into Will's eyes. The two kissed. Sonny pulled Will close then pulled away. Sonny apologized for pushing too fast. Will agreed that he did not want to rush into anything, either. "I was patient when we first met, and I can be patient again," Sonny said softly. Will asked about the wedding, and Sonny told him all about it. When Sonny mentioned a quotation in Will's vows, Will was able to recite the full quote. Excited, Sonny asked if Will remembered.
Will said he did not remember the wedding, but he had found that poem in a box that Sami had given him. Smiling, Sonny said he had given Will the poem the day Will had agreed to marry him. Sonny assured Will that they could make new memories together. As Sonny got up to leave, he said Will had given him the greatest Christmas present ever when Will had agreed to move in.
At the hospital, Jennifer told Abe that J.J. was devastated over the shooting. "Theo may not have another Christmas," Abe said. Jennifer swore that J.J. would change places with Theo if he could, and she begged Abe to have compassion for J.J. Jennifer added that she had never seen J.J. in so much pain before. "J.J. told Eric that he would never be able to move forward with his life if Theo doesn't wake up," Jennifer said. Abe countered that Theo might not wake up. Jennifer cried out that she had prayed for Theo every day, but she asked Abe to forgive J.J. Abe refused.
Jennifer asked Abe to remember how he had felt when he had shot Brady. Abe looked stricken. "You must remember how that felt," Jennifer said. Abe argued that his situation with Brady was different. When Jennifer talked about the similarities between the situations, Abe stared off into space, contemplating Jennifer's plea. Abe mentioned Brady's lawsuit, and Jennifer noted that Brady had wanted Abe to suffer just like Abe wished for J.J. to suffer.
"Somehow, Brady found a way to forgive you. Do you remember how you felt? Do you remember the relief? How different would your life have looked if not for Brady's compassion?" Jennifer asked. Jennifer said that J.J. did not believe "his life was worth anything unless Theo wakes up." Jennifer begged Abe to consider forgiving J.J. With a slight nod, Abe said he could not promise Jennifer anything, but he agreed to consider her request.
At the Martin house, Lani was horrified to walk into J.J.'s room and see him hugging Gabi in bed. Lani quickly left before either J.J. or Gabi realized that she was there. J.J. thanked Gabi for saving his life. Gabi told J.J. that he was irreplaceable, and she did not want him to forget that again. When J.J. encouraged Gabi to leave, she said no. Gabi explained that Arianna was with Sonny. With a furrowed brow, Gabi wondered aloud why Eli had not returned her text message, though. J.J. was worried about wrecking Gabi's relationship with Eli.
Gabi asked J.J. to make an appointment with a therapist in the morning. Avoiding the request, J.J. encouraged Gabi to go home. Gabi refused. Once Gabi curled up in bed, J.J. transferred to the chair. J.J. talked about Lani and his family. Hoping to take J.J.'s mind off of his troubles, Gabi reminded him of all the people in his life that loved him. Gabi assured J.J. that he had a good heart and "would get through this." Gabi asked J.J. again to see a therapist. J.J. said he would. After turning out the light, Gabi said she hoped she and J.J. could spend the new year with Lani and Eli, the people they cared about.
After racing away from J.J.'s room, Lani ran into Eli as he was arriving home at the Martin house. Crying, Lani fell into Eli's arms, and he escorted her into his room to talk. Lani told Eli that she had witnessed an undressed J.J. and Gabi embracing in bed. Eli turned to leave, but Lani warned him not to confront J.J. Furious, Eli asked Lani why she wanted to protect J.J. after all he had done to hurt her family. Lani swore that J.J. was suffering. Eli did not think J.J.'s actions were justified, and he asked Lani what Gabi's excuse was to sleep with J.J.
Jealous, Eli told Lani how Gabi had been overly defensive of J.J. Eli complained that Gabi had been using him. Lani lamented that Gabi and J.J. had not been honest with them. Nodding, Eli said he had given up on Gabi once before and had fallen for someone then. When Lani asked who, Eli admitted that he liked Lani. She was surprised. With a shrug, Eli said he had not told her because she'd been with J.J.
"[J.J.] was an idiot to walk away from you. I never would," Eli said. Lani leaned forward, and they kissed. Eli pulled away and apologized for taking advantage of Lani. Lani said the kiss had let her forget about J.J. and Gabi. With tears in her eyes, Lani asked Eli to help her forget. Eli grabbed Lani and kissed her. Lani pulled Eli over to the bed, and they undressed.