At the DiMera mansion, Stefan -- who was home early because he had decided to reject Trask's advances -- demanded to know why Abigail was in his room. "'Abigail'? What the hell is your problem?" she asked, scoffing. "Are you blind? Or just wasted?" she continued. "My name's not Abigail," she insisted, waving a hand dismissively.
Stefan was confused at first, but as he studied the woman more closely, he realized that she was the one who had been seen in DiMera Enterprises' surveillance footage -- the one everyone assumed was Gabi. "Why would you set your best friend up and frame her for murder?" he asked incredulously.
"I think you're getting a little wacko, Stef, because Abigail is my best friend -- and I would never do anything like that to her," the woman clarified. "Abigail is the last person that anyone would ever [suspect of killing] Andre. She loved him. She even defended him after he stole my company out from under me," the woman continued. "I love Abigail. To death. [Though] she can be a little naive -- a little too forgiving," the woman acknowledged.
Realizing that the woman was holding the lid to an urn, Stefan concluded, "You killed him, didn't you? You killed Andre." The woman conceded, "That's what everybody thinks, right? 'Crazy Gabi kills again!' That bitch Melinda Trask...she'd do anything to put me away [again] -- for life this time." The woman insisted that she wasn't crazy. "[You know], circumstantial evidence is all that they have. But I see how they look at me -- because of my past, because of my family... They're gonna take away my little girl! They're gonna take away my life! [And] why? [Because of] a dark-haired woman in a Gabi Chic coat? Hell, that could be anybody -- well, anybody with great hair and a killer body..." she continued.
Stefan grabbed the lid and took a closer look at it. "It's got dried blood on it..." he observed. "You're holding a piece of the murder weapon!" he told the woman, stunned. "No -- you're holding it," she countered, giving him a wink. "[I'll admit, that lid's] a slight problem. That's why I'm trying to get rid of it," she continued. Scoffing, he realized, "You're not trying to frame your best friend for murder; you're trying to frame me!"
"Figured that out all on your own, did ya, Stef?" the woman mockingly replied. "I'm facing murder charges, so...somebody's gotta take the fall," she continued, shrugging. "[And] nobody around here likes you, anyway. In fact, if you got locked up, I bet they'd throw a party," she pointed out.
Stefan threatened to call the police, but the woman wasn't fazed. "My brother is a cop -- and so is my boyfriend, Eli," she reminded him. "Okay, stop! Stop! Why -- why are you talking like this? Like..." he asked, still confused. "What, like I'm innocent?" she helpfully concluded. "Because I am innocent. Go ahead -- call the police. What are they gonna do? Are they gonna come after a lying, conniving DiMera...or single mother Gabi Hernandez?" she continued. "Damn. You really think you're Gabi," he mused, clearly surprised. "Oh, estas como una cabra? I am! I'm Gabi Hernandez!" she maintained.
Struggling to process what was happening, Stefan recalled that Abigail had a history of mental illness. "What does that have to do with anything?" the woman asked, getting annoyed. "Well, clearly, you're sick again," he concluded. "I'm gonna go get Chad," he added before turning to leave. "Wouldn't do that if I were you," she warned, grabbing his arm to stop him. "[Then I'd] have to tell Chad everything that you did to steal his company out from under him," she continued, revealing that she had recently overheard him talking to his mother about what they had done. "[It was on] the night of Andre's murder. You were in his office; in fact, you were standing over [his] dead body," she recalled. He thought she might be bluffing -- until she mentioned that he had taken Andre's cell phone.
"Looks pretty bad from the outside -- I mean, first you use Andre so that you can take Chad's company away from him, and then you get rid of [Andre] when you're done 'cause you don't want him to talk," the woman mused, prompting Stefan to point out that she had no way of proving her theory. "[And] you can't prove that I came in here to plant that lid," she countered. "Looks [to me like] we got ourselves a good, old-fashioned Mexican standoff. But only one of us is Mexican," she coolly added. Realizing that she was right, he wondered what she wanted. Shrugging, she assured him that she would be happy to take her lid back and pretend that their chance encounter that evening had never actually happened. When he refused to return the lid, she reasoned, "Whatever. I wanted you to have it, anyway."
The woman started to walk away after advising Stefan to find a safe place to hide the lid, but he grabbed her and insisted that he couldn't let her leave yet. "You need help," he stressed. "I've got all the help I need. Justin is a brilliant lawyer, and Rafe and Eli are working twenty-four-seven to find another suspect," she countered. "Hint, hint -- it's you," she teasingly added.
"That's not the kind of help I was referring to," Stefan muttered. "I'm worried about you," he told the woman. "Don't be," she assured him, scoffing dismissively. "[Just] forget that I was ever even here. [This will just] be our little secret. I know how much you like secrets, right? Almost as much as you like my good friend Abigail," she continued.
"This is officially weird," Stefan muttered, squirming uncomfortably. "I'm not talking about this with you," he told the woman. Chuckling, she teasingly observed, "Look at those hurt eyes! Aw, I know -- it's hard. But it's a losing battle. [See], Chad and Abigail [are] soul mates. [I] learned that the hard way." Knowing that it hurt to want someone who wasn't available, she flirtatiously suggested, "If you wanted to play ball with me, then maybe I could be the next best thing [to Abigail]." She seized a kiss from him then approvingly admitted that it hadn't been a bad experience.
"I should get back to my man before he realizes I'm gone," the woman decided, wiping her lips. "Your man?" Stefan asked after clearing his throat. "Eli. The cop," she clarified. "I think he's the jealous type, so you might want to lay low," she warned. "I'll see you soon," she promised before rushing off. Finally alone, he stared at the lid in disbelief then opened the top drawer of his desk and found Gabi's identification badge inside.
Meanwhile, the woman -- Gabby -- headed downstairs, entered the living room, and pressed a hidden switch, causing a false wall to swing open. She stepped into the tunnels then emerged a few minutes later, wearing Abigail's clothes again. She checked Abigail's hair in a mirror then slinked back upstairs and climbed back in bed with Chad. "Goodnight, Chad. Goodnight, Gabi. It's been a very...long...evening," Gabby muttered before closing her eyes and resting her head on Abigail's pillow.
Seconds later, Abigail awoke with a start, sat up, and did a quick check of her body, sensing that something was wrong. Unable to find anything out of the ordinary, she soon settled down and drifted off to sleep again.
Tripp jumped off Ciara's motorcycle as soon as she finished parking it in the garage near their apartment complex. "What, do you have a death wish or something?" he asked her incredulously. Scoffing, she insisted that he was being too dramatic. "The roads are icy, Ciara, and [you were] whippin' around turns like we're in Fast and Furious 18!" he maintained. She assured him that they had never been in any real danger, but he disagreed, believing that they were actually lucky to be alive after all the stunts she had pulled that night. "Remember the time when we almost smashed into that truck?" he asked. "That was the driver's fault! He cut us off!" she argued. "Oh, yeah, no -- that would've made me feel so much better when I arrived home in a body bag!" he sarcastically agreed.
"Maybe I shouldn't have given you the big-boy helmet," Ciara told Tripp, taking back her spare helmet. He refused to feel embarrassed that he had been genuinely frightened a few times that night, especially since his life had been in real danger more than once, but she maintained that she had been in complete control the whole time. "Are you ever in complete control?" he asked her teasingly. "And what's with all this daredevil stuff, [anyway]? Are you trying to prove something?" he continued. "Just trying to live life," she explained with a shrug. "What, by risking it?" he countered. "I don't like living by other people's rules -- doing what they say, keeping their secrets..." she clarified. He made it clear that, in any case, he was going to drive the next time they rode her motorcycle together.
"At least then I won't have to feel your grip getting tighter and tighter around my waist [the whole time]," Ciara reasoned, breathing a sigh of relief. "Maybe I like holding onto you," Tripp explained with a shrug, adding that opportunities to ride on the back of a hot woman's motorcycle didn't exactly present themselves that often. Scoffing, she incredulously pointed out that he was flirting with someone he had just accused of trying to kill him. "Hey, we just shared a near-death experience. It makes you feel closer to a person," he reasoned, shrugging again.
"What about Claire?" Ciara asked Tripp. "I told you -- I'm moving on," he replied, locking eyes with her. After a brief stretch of silence, she cleared her throat and changed the subject, wondering if he wanted to go somewhere to get something to eat. Nodding, he asked her to give him a second to check his messages first, just in case someone had sent him an update on his father's condition during their motorcycle ride.
At the hospital, Kayla entered Steve's room with Marlena and demanded to know what was going on. "Just came in to check on Steve," John explained. "And inject something into my I.V.!" Steve added.
Marlena assured Steve that John would never do such a thing. "Actually, Doc, I would," John admitted with a sigh. "Steve's lying in this hospital bed because I've been slowly poisoning him," John continued. Stunned, Kayla demanded an explanation. "If I hadn't agreed to [poison Steve], he would already be dead," John explained.
Confused, Steve wondered who was trying to kill him. "Pamela Van Damme," John answered. "[She's trying] to protect herself [and the ISA]. As you [all] know, after Ava's death, Pamela went to great lengths to cover up the truth...and when Joey made [his] confession, it just blew it all to hell and put her in a bad place," John explained. "In her mind, she put her whole career on the line for Steve, and now that everyone knows that she lied, not only is her position at the ISA in jeopardy, but she could [also] be prosecuted for the cover-up," John continued.
Kayla couldn't believe that Pamela would ever even consider killing one of her own agents. "We're all expendable," Steve acknowledged. "A dead agent can't testify against her," John added, shrugging.
Horrified, Kayla began lashing out at John, smacking his chest while demanding to know how he could ever agree to kill his best friend, of all people. As Steve grabbed Kayla's arm to stop her, John explained, "Believe me, Kayla, I have questioned my sanity the last couple weeks, but hear me out. Pamela Van Damme made it look like Ava Vitali was a national security threat -- she falsified documents, she fabricated affidavits, and she even coerced witnesses -- and once Joey's confession broke, there [were] all kinds of talks of indictments and prison time...and that's when she called me in."
Remembering that fateful meeting, John explained that Pamela had insisted, "I'm not going down for this! The official story [about Ava's death] has to [stand]!" Pamela had continued, "To protect the [ISA], everyone who knows the truth -- Agent Johnson, his wife, their son...[they all] have to be eliminated." Pamela had ordered John to handle the problem because, after all, he was the one who had set everything in motion back when he had first gotten the ISA involved in Ava's murder investigation. Sighing, John concluded with a shrug, "I was in an impossible position."
Kayla refused to let John finish what he had started, but he clarified that the syringe he was holding didn't contain another dose of poison; it contained an antidote. "When [Van Damme] called me in [that day], I had to think fast," John explained, adding that his efforts to talk his boss out of her plan had failed.
"Steve's had his chances [to fix this, John]! You know [him] as well as I do. He does what he wants. I'm surprised he hasn't been cut loose before this," Pamela had told John, who had guessed that "cut loose" was a euphemism for "killed." Confirming the suspicion, Pamela had unapologetically reminded John, "In our business, we don't get to walk away -- not with the kinds of secrets we keep." Maintaining that the entire Johnson clan posed a threat, Pamela had warned John, "If you don't take care of this, I'll find someone else who will."
John had agreed to do Pamela's bidding, realizing that she was quite serious; however, he had made it clear that he was only willing to eliminate one of the Johnsons. "[Joey's already] in prison, [and] Kayla's innocent. Steve [is the one who] broke protocol," John had reasoned. When Pamela had fretted that the surviving Johnsons would "sing like canaries" after Steve's death, John had countered, "Not if I make it look like natural causes." Pamela had considered the idea for a moment and had then agreed to it. "But don't let me down, [because] if you do, Steve Johnson's family isn't the only one [that] will suffer," Pamela had warned John.
Marlena was stunned that Pamela hadn't just threatened Steve's family. "She's off the rails, Doc. None of us are safe," John stressed. "But by making it look like natural causes, I bought [myself some time] to develop an antidote for the poison -- and to find a way to neutralize Pamela," John continued. "How?" Steve asked with great effort. "With a little help [from] Pamela's trusted friend -- and ours: Agent Billie Reed," John answered.
Steve weakly asked John if Joey was safe. Nodding, John assured Steve and Kayla that Billie had secured protection for Joey. "[And] she's the one that brought me the antidote," John added. Steve feared that someone might have witnessed the exchange, but John assured him that it had taken place within the confines of the DiMera mausoleum. Marlena was surprised to learn that John had initially intended for the mausoleum to be a place to hide Will and Paul, who had begun suspecting that he was dangerous. "I knew Pamela's people were watching me, so when [Paul and Will] confronted me, I had to take action -- [I had to] make it look like I killed them," John explained -- as Steve suddenly began gasping for breath.
"He needs the antidote! Now! Give it to him! Now!" John urged Kayla as the machine that was monitoring Steve's vital signs started beeping rapidly. Conflicted, Kayla warned John that she'd make him pay if he wasn't telling her the truth about the contents of the syringe. "It is his only hope, Kayla! Give it to him! Now!" John repeated as Steve continued gasping for breath.
Meanwhile, at the DiMera mausoleum, Will awoke and discovered that he was tied to a chair. Paul was sitting across from Will, also tied to a chair. Will shouted Paul's name a few times to wake him. "What happened?" Paul asked groggily. "Your crazy dad -- that's what happened," Will angrily replied. "What the hell is wrong with him? He tried to kill me!" Will added, shaking his head in disbelief.
Paul clarified that John hadn't tried to kill Will. "He fired a gunshot in the air, and then he hit you over the head with the gun," Paul explained, adding, when asked, that he knew what had happened because he had arrived at the mausoleum just as the shot had been fired. "I thought..." Paul began before letting his voice trail off. "You thought he had killed me," Will helpfully concluded. "Yeah, I did. It was awful," Paul admitted, surprising Will. "When I saw you lying there, all I could think was [that] I was the one that convinced you not to go to the cops about my dad," Paul continued.
"You were upset because you felt guilty," Will concluded, sounding a bit disappointed. "I was upset because I didn't want to lose my friend," Paul clarified. "Your friend?" Will repeated. "You mean a lot to..." Paul began before letting his voice trail off again. "To a lot of people in this town -- especially Sonny," Paul eventually concluded. Scoffing, Will grumbled, "Of course you'd be thinking of Sonny right now..."
Changing the subject, Paul explained that when he had confronted his father, another shot had been fired, and then he had been knocked out, too. Confused, Will wondered why John had bothered firing the gun either time if he had never intended to actually hurt anyone. Shrugging, Paul guessed that his father had wanted someone to hear the shots and conclude that someone had been hit. "Maybe it was the person that was forcing him to poison Steve," Paul concluded. Meanwhile, Will heard a noise. Believing that a door had just been shut, Will started shouting for help, and Paul joined in, but they soon realized that if someone really had just exited the mausoleum, that person probably wouldn't be able to hear shouts from inside with the door shut, anyway.
Meanwhile, Billie started to drag a body bag away from the mausoleum -- just as Pamela arrived. "Director Van Damme! What are you doing here?" Billie asked nervously. "Funny. I was just about to ask you the same question," Pamela replied. Billie claimed that she was in town to offer her mother moral support because her mother's husband had recently died. "[I'm] assuming that's not your late stepfather in the bag," Pamela countered.
Billie claimed that John had gone rogue, but Pamela expressed skepticism. "Well, if you don't believe me, take a look in the body bag," Billie coolly encouraged Pamela. "[So you can] club me over the head?" Pamela guessed. "We both know the agent following John Black is in that bag," Pamela added, knowing that the goon hadn't checked in recently. Billie feigned ignorance, but Pamela remained skeptical.
"He's not the only one leaving here in a body bag," Pamela declared, reaching for her gun. Billie pulled hers at the same time -- and admitted that John was at the hospital at that moment, administering an antidote to save Steve's life. Pamela threatened to ruin Billie's life and John's life, but Billie dismissively countered, "I have a dossier full of [your crimes] -- bribes, embezzlement, collusion, [and] even murder -- [and] as we speak, you're being declassified and removed from your post, [and] criminal charges are being filed. It's over, Pamela."
At the hospital, Steve started to recover. While Kayla was checking Steve's vitals, John received a text message from Billie. "She neutralized Pamela," John reported. "This is a good thing. Now we can release Paul and Will," John assured Marlena.
Meanwhile, at the DiMera mausoleum, Paul and Will decided that they were going to have to find a way to free themselves. "I get the feeling that this kind of stuff happens a lot in Salem," Will mused. "It really is a great place to live, though," Paul insisted. "My grandfather held me at gunpoint, pistol-whipped me, knocked me unconscious, and tied me up in a mausoleum, so maybe now's not the best time for the hard sell on Salem," Will countered. Paul conceded the point and promised, while straining against his bindings, that he wouldn't let anything else happen to Will.
Will was surprised -- and impressed -- when Paul actually managed to free his wrists. "You get tied up often?" Will concluded. "Comes with the job," Paul confirmed with a shrug while untying Will's bindings. "Well, never a dull moment with you. At least right now I've got my own personal bodyguard," Will joked. "It goes both ways, huh? We've got each other's backs," Paul countered while removing the last of the ropes holding Will in place. They shared a hug before rushing outside -- and finding Billie passed out on the ground, with blood visible on the sleeve of her coat.
Tripp was about to retreat to his bedroom and try to get some rest when someone knocked on the apartment door. "Uh...can I help you?" he asked the woman who was standing outside. "Yes, I believe you can," Pamela replied.
Pam takes Tripp and Ciara hostage
At Hope and Rafe's house, Hope lay awake, unable to sleep. Hope woke up Rafe. Groggy, Rafe asked what was wrong. Hope explained that she was too excited about the wedding to sleep. With a grin, Rafe suggested that they practice for the honeymoon. The two made love.
Paul and Will escaped from the mausoleum and found an unconscious Billie on the ground outside. Paul noticed that she had been shot. Paul fished his cell phone out of his pocket and called an ambulance for help.
At the hospital, a stunned Kayla wondered aloud why she had listened to John and had injected Steve with an unknown substance. Steve started to improve. John looked at a text from Billie on his phone, stating that she had neutralized Pam. John shared the good news with Marlena. Relieved, John started to leave to retrieve Paul and Will. At the nurses' station, John and Marlena ran into Paul and Will as they exited the elevator. Paul told John that Billie had been shot and that they had accompanied her to the hospital.
John rushed down the hallway to find Billie. Marlena stopped Will from following John, and she told Will and Paul that John had had good reasons for what he had done to Steve. Down the hallway, when John called out to Billie, a half-unconscious Billie muttered John's name. John asked Billie for answers, and Billie whispered that Pam was to blame. Billie warned John that Pam wanted to hurt Steve's son. Panicked, John ran back to the nurses' station to update Marlena, Paul, and Will.
In Steve's room, Kayla told Steve that she would call Tripp with the good news about his improved condition. When Kayla pulled her phone out, she saw that Tripp had texted her, asking for an update on his father. Steve urged Kayla to update Tripp for him. While Kayla stepped outside to make the call where there was better reception, she noticed the group gathered at the nurses' station and walked over.
John placed a call and learned that Joey was safe in prison. Confused, John wondered aloud what he was missing. Kayla interrupted to asked what was going on. Paul suggested that Tripp might be the target. While John made a phone call, Will thanked Paul for saving his life, even if he had not known that they were not in actual danger. Will told Paul he was grateful. John interrupted to ask Paul to accompany him to the loft. Will cautioned Paul that he could be walking into a trap. With a shrug, Paul left with John.
Kayla called Tripp and left a voicemail for him, urging him to call her back. With a sigh, Kayla asked Marlena whether she should tell Steve the truth. Shaking her head no, Marlena counseled Kayla to lie to Steve because Steve trusted John to protect Tripp. Kayla added that Steve would likely attempt to get out of bed, which could be disastrous to his health. Kayla left to see Steve. Marlena sat with Will and talked.
"I'm married to a man who is always determined to do the right thing no matter what the risk to himself," Marlena lamented. Marlena apologized to Will for his ordeal at the mausoleum. Will said he was okay, but he was amazed at his dysfunctional family. "No wonder I still have a memory block," Will joked. Marlena thanked Will for risking his life to protect her from John when he had believed that John was dangerous. Will told Marlena that he felt comfortable with her.
In Steve's room, Kayla told him that she had left a voicemail for Tripp. When Kayla cautioned Steve not to worry, he raised a suspicious eyebrow. Steve asked Kayla why he would be worried. Stammering, Kayla failed to provide a reason. Kayla argued that she was distracted because she was still angry that John had poisoned Steve. Steve assured Kayla that he would have done the same as John in his position.
At the loft, Pam introduced herself to Tripp, and he invited her inside. Pam told Tripp about the plot to kill Steve and why the assassination had been ordered. Pam did not tell Tripp that she was the agent that had ordered the hit. After Pam explained the motive for the killing, Tripp blamed himself for pushing Joey to confess. Tripp started to call his father, but Pam noted that Steve had already been moved to a secure location. Tripp's phone rang. Tripp noticed that Kayla was calling him. Pam pulled out her gun and levelled it at Tripp.
When Pam ordered Tripp to accompany her, he refused. Tripp said he would rather die than help Pam. Tripp noticed Ciara's purse on a chair nearby. With a nervous glance at Ciara's bedroom, Tripp said he had changed his mind and would leave with Pam. Suspicious, Pam asked Tripp what had caused his sudden change of heart. From her bedroom, Ciara watched the scene unfold. Tripp lied and said that he had realized that he and Pam were on the same side. Tripp explained that Steve had covered up his mother's death.
At Hope and Rafe's house, Hope wondered aloud, "How'd I get so lucky to find someone like you to love me so completely?" Rafe thought about when he had almost confessed to his affair but Ciara had stopped him. "You're the only woman I'll ever want. Don't ever doubt that," Rafe whispered. Hope said she would never doubt it. Nervous, Rafe asked Hope if she was sure about spending the night before their wedding at Smith Island. Hope said she was certain. As the couple curled up to go to sleep, Hope's phone rang. Ciara called to tell Hope that there was a crazy woman with a gun in her apartment. Ciara begged Hope to rush over.
After ending the phone call, Ciara crept into the living room with a bat. Pam spotted her. With both Tripp and Ciara at gunpoint, Pam escorted them out of the loft and over to the park. Pam called John and ordered him to meet her alone in the square.
When John arrived in the square, Pam walked in with one arm wrapped around Ciara's neck and Tripp standing at her side. Pam ordered John to reveal his backup. John swore he had no backup, but Paul stepped out of the shadows. When Pam asked if there was anybody else, Hope and Rafe popped up behind Pam, guns drawn. Pam ordered everyone to drop their weapons. John set his down, and Rafe followed suit. Hope was reluctant, but she placed her gun on the ground last.
Pam tossed a syringe to John and ordered him to inject Steve with the poison. Pam promised that once Steve was dead, she would release her hostages. John agreed. When Pam smirked and said that Steve would be willing to die for his son, Tripp cried out, "No! Not when I'm the reason for all this!" Tripp argued that he was the one that deserved to die. Tripp offered to inject himself.
With a thoughtful look, Pam appeared to weigh her options. Pam agreed to the offer. With a grin, Pam said that Tripp's death would be the perfect way to make Steve suffer. Pam asked John to hand her the syringe. Reluctantly, John gave the syringe to Tripp. Shaking, Tripp removed the cap, exposing the needle. "I'd like to say you'll feel no pain, but I'd be lying," Pam growled.
"If I do this, you will let Ciara go, right?" Tripp asked. Ciara yelled, "No!" Furious, Ciara bit down on Pam's hand, distracting her. Tripp grabbed Pam from behind and stuck the needle in her neck. As Hope and Rafe reached for their guns, Pam fell to the ground, dead.
"What you just did was incredibly brave. You're a chip off the old block," John told Tripp. "I just did what my dad would have done," Tripp said. Ciara trembled in Tripp's arms.
Maggie issues Victor an ultimatum
At the Kiriakis mansion, Brady ended a phone conversation with Paul then summarized it for Victor, who was disturbed to hear about what Pamela Van Damme had done but was also relieved to know that everyone -- especially Ciara -- was okay. "Fun and games with the ISA," Victor mused, shaking his head in disbelief.
Changing the subject, Brady wondered why Victor's stay in Chicago with Maggie had ended earlier than expected. "I got worried when I listened to your message [about romancing Eve]," Victor explained, prompting Brady to point out that he was only doing what his grandfather had advised him to do. "And it's working!" Brady bragged, certain that Eve was falling for him -- hard. Victor feared that Eve wasn't the only one who was falling hard, but Brady dismissively insisted, "Trust me -- I feel nothing for the woman."
"Who?" Eve asked curiously as she strolled into the living room and started pouring herself a cup of coffee. Brady shot Victor a nervous look then told Eve that she had caught him in the process of ranting about what had happened on Valentine's Day. "Tate made a Valentine's Day card for Theresa, and he was wondering when he could give it to her," Brady explained to Victor, who insisted that Tate was better off without Theresa.
Changing the subject, Brady informed Eve that Victor wasn't particularly optimistic about their plan to revive Bella. "[It's] a nonstarter," Victor insisted, but Eve disagreed, arguing that magazines were still quite popular -- online, at least. "You do know what an app is, don't you?" Eve teasingly asked Victor, who wasn't amused. "Bella will provide Basic Black the perfect platform to advertise its current lines -- or maybe even expand [them]," Eve continued. Eve praised Brady for thinking of such a "brilliant" idea, but Victor remained skeptical of it, prompting Eve to wonder when Victor had last shown Brady even the slightest bit of support.
"Is it just too much damn fun [for you] to tear down every good idea [Brady] has?" Eve asked. "I don't discuss family matters with burned-out lounge singers," Victor countered. Brady started to intervene, but Eve assured him that his grandfather's digs didn't bother her -- and shouldn't bother him, either. "[Your grandfather's] afraid of you. He knows that you have the brains to run Titan better than he could ever think of [running it]," Eve concluded. Victor irritably reminded Eve that he had singlehandedly built Titan and therefore knew it better than anyone -- but especially better than Brady, who'd had everything handed to him his entire life.
"Your loss, my gain," Eve warned Victor with a shrug. "Brady and I are a force to be reckoned with," Eve added. Nodding in agreement, Brady wondered if Eve wanted to join him for breakfast so they could continue discussing their plans for Basic Black. Victor tauntingly guessed that Brady and Eve were afraid to talk about those plans in front of him. Brady clarified that he simply thought his grandfather's negativity would be a deterrent to productivity. Victor maintained that Brady and Eve would eventually run Basic Black into the ground. "[Hopefully soon -- then] I'll be rid of both of you!" Victor spat. Brady, apparently convinced that Victor was just putting on a show for Eve, countered, "You'll be [the one] eating crow [in the end]!" Brady then stormed off with Eve, passing Maggie on the way out of the mansion.
"What was that all about?" Maggie asked Victor, who grumbled that Brady was ditching his family to "throw in" with Eve Donovan, of all people. Maggie wondered if that meant that Victor and Brady were fighting with each other again. "Obviously," Victor snapped, not bothering to mask his impatience. Nodding skeptically, Maggie held up Victor's cell phone and began, "I found [this] on the nightstand..." Glancing down at the device, Maggie continued, "'Got your message. Keep up the good work. Reel the bitch in...and then gut her like a fish.' [So]...what's really going on here?"
Taken aback, Victor admitted that Maggie had never struck him as the type of wife who would snoop through her husband's cell phone. Maggie handed the device to Victor while clarifying that she hadn't been snooping; she had simply been looking for the pictures he had taken during their recent trip to Chicago. "Because I so cherish my [time with my] beloved husband," she stressed. He seemed to take that as a good sign -- until she added, "But that was then. Now I want to know what warped game my 'beloved husband' and his grandson are playing on Eve. So...start talking, sweetheart."
While passing through Horton Town Square, Brady and Eve spotted Eric and Jennifer, who were in the middle of a kiss. "Watch out, Salem -- when these two hook up, destruction can't be that far behind," Eve mused. "We're not 'hooking up'; we're seeing each other," Eric clarified. Jennifer wondered if Brady and Eve -- a surprising pair she had previously seen together at Chad and Abigail's New Year's Eve party -- were seeing each other, too. Eve vaguely explained that crashing that party with Brady had been nothing more than a business move. "[But] it's turned to something a little bit more than that," Eve continued. "We're good...friends...now," Brady added.
Jennifer started to voice some concerns, but Brady quickly interrupted, assuring her that he could take care of himself. "It's actually you [that] I'm more worried about; I mean, I know my brother seems very caring and gentle on the outside, but he tends to leave destruction in his wake," Brady warned Jennifer. "He may be telling you that you're number one right now, but the fact is that if Nicole [ever] called him [and] said that she needed him, he'd drop you like a bad habit," Brady continued. Before Eric could respond, Jennifer countered that Brady needed to stop taking out his anger on other people.
"I know that you believed in starting a family with Nicole [and the kids], and I am sorry that she left you [and] started a life on her own --" Jennifer began to add. Interrupting, Brady blurted out, "That's not how it happened!" Eric was intrigued, but Brady quickly backpedaled, claiming, "What I meant was...by the time Nicole left, I was fed up with her, [anyway]. She's not the kind of woman that can commit to one man, and I won't settle for anything else." Brady again warned Jennifer not to waste time on Eric, who would surely end up hurting her sooner or later. "Oh, Jennifer can ruin things all on her own," Eve dismissively assured Brady.
After Brady and Eve walked away, Eric tried to reassure Jennifer that she had nothing to worry about. "Nicole is part of my past. I know that now...because when I look at you, for the first time in a very long time, I can see my future," he stressed. Smiling, she admitted that she saw the same thing every time she looked at him. "[So] we're not each other's first loves. So what?" she reasoned with a shrug before giving him a kiss.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Maggie admonished Victor, who had just finished admitting -- quite reluctantly -- that Brady was playing Eve in an effort to reclaim Basic Black. "It's not as if [Eve] got [Basic Black] by hard work!" Victor defensively reasoned. "Eve may have gone after Deimos because he was loaded, but I don't think she expected him to get murdered," Maggie countered.
"She inherited the company fair and square," Maggie insisted, adding that Eve shouldn't have to take on the lingering consequences of Deimos' grudge against the Kiriakis clan as part of the bargain. "[She's] not my favorite person, but I think she's just looking to belong somewhere and [have] a little security," Maggie continued. "What Brady is doing [to her] is cruel. And wrong. And as bad for him as it is for [her]," Maggie stressed.
"I want you to put a stop to it. Now," Maggie demanded. Victor unapologetically maintained that Eve was getting exactly what she deserved. "She asked for it [when she came] sashaying in here in her widow's weeds, trying to take over [the place]!" Victor spat. Unswayed, Maggie informed Victor that she didn't like the ruthless side of his personality that was suddenly on full display. "You knew what you were getting when you married me. I am not Mickey Horton, and I never will be," Victor dismissively countered. Chuckling, Maggie mused, "Well, what do you know -- you finally said something I can agree with!"
Maggie conceded that she had always known that Victor wasn't like Mickey. "[But] I married you because I thought these 'activities' [of yours] were in the past," Maggie stressed, adding that it was starting to seem like she had been wrong about that. Victor dismissively argued that it wasn't like Brady was planning to kill Eve, but Maggie maintained that the actual plan was cruel and sadistic nevertheless.
"Oh, come on! [Eve's] a big girl!" Victor pointed out. Maggie patiently countered, "She's a woman whose beloved daughter -- her only daughter, her only child -- was murdered [not that long ago], and she has no idea where her only sister is now -- or even if [that sister's still] alive. And she gives Tate -- your great-grandson -- the kind of love that she can't [give to] -- and he can't get from -- anyone else."
"Yes, breaking her heart is gonna have consequences for her, but you haven't even considered what it could do for you," Maggie concluded. Sighing, Victor wondered what Maggie expected him to do. "Oh, come on, now -- you're a smart guy. You know the answer to that," Maggie replied. Still not ready to budge, Victor complained, "Eve trots out that poor, dead daughter of hers every time she thinks it'll get her somewhere! Can't believe you fell for it -- and I can't believe you expect me to put her feelings in front of my company!" Maggie confirmed that, whether Victor wanted to believe it or not, she was asking him to do just that.
"[And] if I don't [tell Eve the truth, then]...what, you're gonna tell [her] yourself?" Victor asked incredulously -- just as Brady and Eve entered the mansion. "Did we come in at a bad time?" Brady wondered.
At the Brady Pub, Marlena comforted John, who was feeling guilty about everything he had put his loved ones through recently. She assured him that he had simply done what he'd had to do to protect everyone. He admitted that he had often wanted to confide in her during the ordeal, since her advice was always invaluable to him. She assured him that she understood that he only kept things from her when he believed that she would be safer not knowing those things -- which was why she hadn't asked any questions, even after she had realized that something was bothering him.
Sighing, John wished that everything hadn't reached a boiling point on Valentine's Day, of all days, since, after all, Marlena deserved to get her gifts in a timely manner. She smiled as he revealed a wrapped box. Inside, she found a handmade certificate that entitled the bearer to one trip to any place in the world but had a minor stipulation -- the presenter of the certificate had to be the bearer's companion on the trip. She assured him that the gift meant more to her than anything he could have bought in a store. Grinning, he hinted that she was overlooking something. She searched the box again and found a strand of pearls hidden at the bottom.
At the hospital, Tripp found Kayla crying in Steve's room -- which was otherwise unoccupied. "Kayla, what's -- what's going on? Where's -- where's Dad? What -- what happened to him?" Tripp asked worriedly. Kayla assured Tripp that Steve was undergoing another round of tests, adding that she had started crying simply because the full weight of everything that had happened had finally hit her.
An orderly soon returned Steve to the room. Kayla decided to check on Billie so Tripp could have some time alone with Steve, who had heard about what Tripp had been forced to do to Pamela. "I never killed anybody before," Tripp admitted, fighting back tears. "I know. [And] I pray you never get put in that position again," Steve replied, giving Tripp a hug.
Steve was touched that Tripp had been willing to sacrifice himself to save his father but was quick to stress, "Please don't ever do [that] again." Tripp reasoned that Pamela shouldn't have punished Steve for something he had set in motion, but Steve insisted that Tripp wasn't to blame for what had happened -- and needed to forgive himself for his part in it.
Unable to hold back the tears any longer, Tripp broke down in Steve's arms and told him, "You're a great dad, and I love you." Steve made it clear that the feeling was mutual.
Later, Tripp returned home and found Ciara arguing with Claire, whose planned trip to South Africa had been derailed because of unexpected storms and delayed flights. "So much for that big truce, huh?" Tripp mused. Claire stopped arguing with Ciara long enough to stress that she was glad that Tripp was okay -- and that Steve was going to be okay, too. Then Claire retreated to her bedroom -- leaving a recorder turned on and hidden near her keyboard to hopefully pick up a conversation about the secret Ciara and Tripp shared.
At the hospital, Kayla tried to show Steve his test results. "Sweetness, I think we have a problem," Steve admitted, realizing that he still couldn't read anything.
Maggie makes a major decision
At the hospital, Billie fiddled with a tablet computer while Kate complained, "Really great visit, Billie -- really, really great visit. You show up unannounced, [and then] I bump into you in the mausoleum, [and] you tell me that you are [here] to comfort me for losing Andre. Lie! You tell me that the bullet casings I found are ancient history. Lie! You tell me that the mausoleum is too cold. Lie! And, of course, [that] lie was just to bundle me out so you could play secret agent and get yourself shot and end up in this hospital bed! And then [you] tell me that you're going home tomorrow!"
"So, [yeah], it was really great [seeing you]. It really was. It was really comforting. I feel so much better now," Kate sarcastically concluded. After glancing over Billie's shoulder, Kate added with a sigh, "And you're playing games. I'm worried about you getting shot, and you're playing games!" Billie looked up from her tablet computer and patiently reminded her mother that she hadn't gotten shot while "playing games"; she had gotten shot while trying to help John save Steve's life. Kate countered that Billie could have trusted her with that information instead of making up a bogus cover story.
Lucas soon arrived and told Billie, "Long time no see. Sorry you got shot and all. What the hell have you done to my son?" Kate quickly intervened, asking Lucas not to yell at Billie. "Yeah, that's your job," Billie agreed, flashing her mother a wry smile. Ignoring Billie, Kate wondered why Lucas was ranting about Will. "You haven't had a drink, have you?" Kate worriedly added. Scoffing, Lucas assured Kate that he was still stone-cold sober. "Although I thought about having a drink when I found out that my very own sister aided and abetted John Black [by holding] my son prisoner at the DiMera crypt," Lucas added, glaring at Billie.
"What?" Kate asked incredulously. Ignoring Kate, Billie apologetically explained to Lucas, "Will and Paul knew what John was doing -- or at least they thought they knew what [he] was doing -- so he had to neutralize them." Lucas angrily dismissed that explanation as "ISA crap," adding, "He didn't 'neutralize' them; he knocked them out and held them prisoner! That's not 'neutralizing'; that's a federal offense!"
"My son could have been killed!" Lucas snapped. "But I wasn't, fortunately," Will pointed out, joining the conversation. "So, um...why don't we all just chill out and...enjoy being a family," Will continued. Will assured his father that he was fine then turned his attention to his aunt and said, "Um...Billie, right? It is -- it's nice to meet you...uh, when we are both conscious."
Billie apologized to Will, who told her, "It's okay. I mean, now I can cross 'premature burial' off my bucket list." Billie couldn't believe that Will's bucket list actually included "premature burial," of all things, but Kate was quick to clarify, "He's joking, Billie! [Obviously] he's trying to make light of the fact that you and John put him through a traumatic ordeal!"
Will reiterated that he really was okay. "[I mean], I was scared, um...but the good thing was [that] I wasn't alone; Paul was with me the whole time," he added, smiling.
When Will was ready to leave, Lucas followed him to the elevator, eager to talk to him privately. "As part of my recovery, I have to make amends...and -- and I need to make amends to you, not only because it's part of my program but [also] because you're my son, and I love you," Lucas began. Confused, Will interrupted to stress that Lucas hadn't done anything bad to him.
Lucas forged ahead, explaining, "Sins of omission are still sins, bud. I wasn't there for you [back when] you were going through all that stuff with Susan and your mother. I was too busy acting like a drunk, full of self-pity and no good to anybody." Will thought that Lucas was being too hard on himself, but Lucas insisted that there were no excuses for his negligence.
"I want you to know that I'm here for you -- you know, if you need me. From now on. No matter what," Lucas concluded before giving Will a hug.
When Lucas returned to Billie's room, Kate was in the process of trying to convince Billie to talk Lucas out of dating Chloe. "Still trying to run our lives, Mom?" Lucas observed. "Someone has to," Kate replied with a shrug. Lucas reminded Kate that Chloe was in Vienna at that moment, but Kate didn't find that particularly comforting, knowing that Lucas was eagerly anticipating Chloe's return to Salem.
"Because she is good for me," Lucas stressed, crediting Chloe for having helped him get back on the wagon. "Would you rather I still drink and pine after Adrienne?" Lucas asked. Groaning, Kate made it clear that she would prefer not to think about that relationship, either. "Have you liked any girl I've ever been interested in?" Lucas wondered. Kate defensively insisted that she didn't want her son to be alone for the rest of his life; she simply wanted him to find a woman who would show him even just a modicum of respect. Nodding skeptically, Lucas turned to Billie and guessed that she was kind of glad that she was going to be leaving soon.
John arranged to meet with Paul in the park so they could talk about everything that had happened recently. "I'm sorry for everything I put you through," John told Paul. "For what it's worth, I hated lying to you. Lying to family is -- hell, it's worse than -- torture," John continued. Paul tried to claim that he had never doubted that his father was a good man who simply wasn't capable of truly hurting loved ones, but when he realized that his father wasn't buying that, he admitted, "Okay, honestly, when I heard the gunshot, and I saw you standing over Will... I know [now] that the people you were dealing with, they needed to think that Will was dead, but..."
"I'm never gonna forget waking up in that crypt...and the moment that I realized that Will is still alive," Paul concluded with a heavy sigh. Surprised, John observed that it sounded like Paul was starting to develop feelings for Will. "Well, Will and I, we've -- we've, uh -- we've gotten...closer...over the last few weeks," Paul hesitantly admitted.
"What about Sonny?" John asked. "I'm not over him yet...but I can't spend my life looking backwards. I need to move on, you know? And spending time with Will -- it helps with that," Paul replied, shrugging.
Paul added that even being passed out in a mausoleum with Will hadn't been a completely terrible experience, since they'd at least had each other, and they had gotten through the ordeal together. "It's been a long time since I got through anything with anyone [other than Sonny]," Paul noted, smiling. John gave Paul a supportive pat on the back and mused, "Kind of nice to know that something good came out of this."
Paul nodded in agreement. "It's complicated, obviously, but, um...spending time with Will is -- is helping me to move on," Paul stressed -- just as Will passed through the area.
John apologized for scaring Will and knocking him out. Will, in turn, apologized for jumping to the wrong conclusion about John instead of trusting that Marlena could properly judge her husband's true character. Changing the subject, Will added, "So, I -- I talked to your comrade-in-arms -- um, Billie -- and she's leaving tomorrow. Did you know that?" John thanked Will for the heads-up then quickly excused himself, wanting to talk to Billie one more time before she left town. Once the coast was clear, Will apologized to Paul for interrupting his conversation with his father. "It looked pretty intense. What were you guys talking about?" Will asked curiously.
"You," Paul admitted. When Will probed for details, Paul accused him of fishing for compliments. Will insisted that wasn't what he was doing, adding, "I'm guessing that you were probably telling him what a pain in the ass I was, [anyway]." Chuckling, Paul clarified, while locking eyes with Will, that he certainly hadn't said anything like that during his conversation with his father. Paul refused to reveal what he had said, though, flashing Will a smile while teasingly reasoning, "Then it would go to your head."
At the hospital, Kate sarcastically told John, "I'd like to thank you for getting my daughter shot [and] having my grandson held captive in a mausoleum -- [that was especially nice, because], you know, we've been working so hard to make life normal for Will, especially after the traumatic events that he's been through." When Kate started to warn John to refrain from dragging her loved ones into danger in the future, Billie interrupted to reiterate that she had been a willing participant. "And I owe you big time," John told Billie, adding, "If it weren't for you, [this] might not have had a happy ending." "Don't be a stranger," he concluded.
After John left, Billie told Kate, "I know you think I [just] used you as an excuse to come and help John, but I didn't. I was worried about you. I'm sorry that you lost Andre. I was happy you found love, and I hope you find it again." Kate doubted that was in the cards for her. "But I hope it is for you," Kate continued, smiling at Billie. "With the appropriate person, of course," Kate loudly added for Lucas' benefit.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Brady wondered if Victor and Maggie were in the middle of an argument. "Maggie and I don't argue. We have a blissful relationship," Victor insisted. Brady skeptically observed that Maggie didn't seem particularly blissful at that moment, prompting her to clarify, "Your grandfather and I were having a difference of opinion...about you and Eve."
"You want to tell them, Victor, or should I?" Maggie continued. Victor evasively encouraged Maggie to go ahead and tell Brady and Eve whatever she felt like telling them. Forcing a smile, Maggie claimed, "We were talking about you two dating. Victor doesn't approve, [but I think] everyone deserves a chance to be happy." Brady said he was pleased to hear that because he was, in fact, happy with Eve, who was funny, smart, savvy, great-looking, great with his son, and great with business. Somewhat surprised, Eve thanked Brady for the kind words.
Maggie politely tried to get Eve to leave, but Brady insisted, "Anything you want to say to me, you can say in front of [her]." Eve assured Brady that she didn't mind leaving, reasoning, "I know what [Maggie's] gonna say, anyway -- she's gonna say that I'm a terrible person, and I'm only gonna break your heart. And she's too much of a lady to say that in front of me, but she's gonna say it eventually, so we might as well just get it over with, okay?" Turning to Maggie, Eve added, "Do your worst [while I'm gone]. There is absolutely nothing that you can say that is gonna hurt me, because my heart has already been broken. I lost my daughter, and you know as well as I do [that] there is no pain in the world that could ever touch that. But I'm going into this -- whatever this is with Brady -- with my eyes wide open, and I certainly hope that he will do the same...with or without your advice."
After Eve left, Victor mused, "Now, there's a lady who has watched her stories one time too many." When Maggie admonished Victor, he defensively protested, "What? I waited 'til she left the room!" Brady started to admonish Victor, too, but Maggie quickly put a stop to that, knowing that it was an act. Confused, Brady wondered what was going on. Ignoring Brady, Victor thanked Maggie for proving her loyalty. "I'm proud of you," Victor continued. "And I'm ashamed of you," Maggie countered. "I gave you a chance to own up, and you didn't," Maggie pointed out.
Brady remained confused -- until Maggie explained, "I know what you're doing to Eve...and I think it's disgusting." Summarizing that Brady was trying to romance Eve so he could eventually take Basic Black away from her, Maggie pointedly wondered what he'd call a woman who stooped to such lows. "Eve," Victor dryly answered. Unamused, Maggie asked Brady, "[And] just to get Victor to reinstate you at Titan? Are you that threatened by Sonny?" Annoyed, Brady wondered why Victor had filled Maggie in on the plan. "She was snooping on my phone," Victor grumbled. "I wasn't snooping!" Maggie insisted.
Maggie conceded, "[Victor, I shouldn't be] surprised that you're lying to me. What is this -- the hundredth time? You have lied to me about everything, from Daniel's parentage, to bringing Xander back to kill Deimos, and now this? I've forgiven you everything!" Chuckling mirthlessly, Maggie acknowledged with a sigh, "Which makes me such a fool." Victor assured Maggie that she definitely wasn't a fool.
Brady wondered if Maggie was going to tell Eve the truth. "I was about to just now...but I think it should come from you, Brady," Maggie replied. "Although God knows what it's gonna do to Eve. I am so disappointed in you," Maggie continued with a shake of the head, stunned that Brady, of all people -- Brady, who'd had his own heart broken so many times -- could be so cruel. "[Eve's] not my favorite person, but she doesn't deserve this," Maggie insisted. "I saw the look on [her] face just now, when you gave your little aria about her many charms. She cares about you," Maggie stressed. "And you heard her talk about [losing her daughter] -- the greatest pain there is. The woman defines 'vulnerable,' and you're using her! That is so cruel, Brady! That's beneath you! I thought you were better than this!" Maggie snapped.
"I'm sorry you think that," Brady replied before retreating from the living room. Maggie started to leave, too, but Victor stopped her and thanked her again for staying loyal to him. "[That] proves to me that you still love me," he concluded. She conceded that he was right about that. "But I've had it with you," she quietly added before walking away.
Meanwhile, in one of the bedrooms, Eve helped Tate put on a pair of shoes while advising him, "[Always] play nice, [and never] call anybody any mean names, like your [Grandma Maggie] is calling me right now." She soon had a change of heart and apologized for badmouthing his grandmother in his presence. "[It's just], we're family, and I feel like I can be honest with you," she explained.
"[So], I'll tell you the truth -- at first, I really didn't like your daddy very much. [See], I just felt that he wasn't being nice to his Grandpa Victor, you know?" Eve admitted to Tate. "But then we started to have fun together -- you know, adult fun..." she added before stopping herself. "[Anyway], we decided [to] hold off [on that kind of fun] and become friends -- get to know each other better," she continued.
"I really, deep down, think your daddy is a great guy," Eve assured Tate -- just as Brady entered the room. Tate soon rushed off with his nanny, leaving Brady alone with Eve, who wondered if Maggie had given him an earful earlier. "Yes, she did," Brady admitted. Nodding, Eve guessed, "She said everything I said she would, didn't she? How I should stay away from you, and what an awful person I am..." Brady shook his head and clarified, "Actually, she told me what an awful person I am." Confused, Eve wondered what Brady had done to make Maggie chastise him.
Meanwhile, Victor found Maggie in the foyer, holding a suitcase in one hand. "A little over the top, don't you think?" he asked. "This isn't a dramatic gesture. I'm...I'm moving out," she clarified. Stunned, he wondered what she was talking about. She explained with a shrug, "I can't take it anymore. I've played the dutiful wife for years -- I've backed you up, I've covered all the terrible things that you do, I've been loyal, I've kept my mouth shut, I've forgiven you so many times I've lost count..." Sighing, she added, "We've both had our health scares, so we know that life can be fragile and short. See, I believed that when you retired, [you'd] slow down."
"That turned out to be the biggest lie of all!" Maggie tearfully concluded. Scoffing, Victor reminded Maggie that they had just returned from a romantic trip. "What more do you want?" he asked incredulously. "I want more of you!" she snapped. "It's not just about an occasional trip or a romantic dinner once in a while. I see you sneaking looks at your phone [all the time]. You [still] want control -- of your business and your family -- and that's all you care about. I mean, whether it's Sonny [and] Will, or Justin and Adrienne, or Brady and Nicole -- or Theresa, or Eve -- you just can't stop yourself from interfering!" she continued, still crying.
Victor assured Maggie that he loved her, prompting her to counter that she needed more than just his love; she needed his respect. "I gave you a chance to tell Eve the truth, and you just stood there and said nothing. So, I hope that Brady will do the right thing, 'cause if he doesn't, then I still can -- whether I'm living here or not," she continued. "Which I won't be," she sadly added.
Victor begged Maggie not to leave, but she refused to forgive him yet again. "I'm in A.A., [so] I should have known that I was enabling you [every time I forgave you]. See, I let you think that because I loved you, [I'd] put up with anything, forgive you anything...but I won't," she stressed. He couldn't believe that she was leaving him over what was, in his mind, a very trivial matter. She conceded that it certainly wasn't the worst thing he'd ever done. "But it's the straw that broke this camel's back. It opened my eyes, and it made me realize that I can't take it anymore," she explained.
Victor told Maggie that he couldn't live without her. "Until you're ready to make some real changes, I can't...I can't live with you," she tearfully countered before exiting the mansion.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan joined Chad in the living room and wondered where Abigail was hiding. "She slept in," Chad explained. Nodding, Stefan casually wondered if Abigail was feeling okay. "She's fine -- not that it's any of your business," Chad replied. "Actually, it is my business, after what happened last night," Stefan countered. Confused, Chad insisted that the only thing that had happened the previous night was that his brother had crashed his date with his wife and had tried to get between them -- again. "She's not interested in you. She never will be," Chad stressed. "I wouldn't be so sure about that..." Stefan argued.
Abigail soon joined Chad and Stefan in the living room. When Chad filled Abigail in on what was being discussed, she made it clear to Stefan that she wasn't the least bit interested in him. Satisfied, Chad left the room. Alone with Abigail, Stefan told her to drop the act so they could talk about what had happened the previous night. "I have no clue what you're talking about," she insisted.
Abigail was shocked when Stefan claimed that she had visited him the previous night. Refusing to believe that, she reiterated that she would never be interested in him -- and she added that she was certain that he was the one who had killed Andre. Scoffing, he countered that she was the one who had been caught on the surveillance footage. When she asked him to elaborate, he backpedaled and excused himself.
Chad soon rejoined Abigail, who told him about what had just happened. He wasn't thrilled that she had blurted out their theory but understood that she had been provoked.
Chad was forced to cut the conversation short after getting a phone call from someone. Alone in the living room, Abigail suddenly felt a sharp pain in her head.
"Time for Gabi to come out and play," Gabby muttered after recovering from the pain. A few minutes later, she entered Stefan's room, dressing as Gabi.
Claire discovers Ciara's secret
At the loft, Claire left her phone recording in the living room in the hopes that she would uncover Ciara's secret. While Tripp and Ciara talked alone, they mentioned the secret, but they did not spill anything. Rafe and Hope dropped by to inform Ciara that they had canceled the rehearsal dinner. Hope explained that she wanted to go camping with Rafe on Smith Island instead. Ciara was relieved. "I thought you guys were going to tell me you were not going to get married," Ciara said. Hope raised a quizzical eyebrow. Hope told Ciara not to worry; they had canceled the dinner because she wanted to skip to the fun part of the wedding.
Changing the subject, Hope asked Tripp about Steve. Tripp said that Steve was improving. Concerned, Hope asked Tripp if he was okay. Tripp noted that he had not expected to take another person's life. Rafe assured Tripp that he had done the right thing.
Ciara complained about Claire, but she promised that she and Claire would be civil to one another at the wedding. Hope asked how Claire was doing after her trip to see Theo had been canceled. With a dismissive sneer, Ciara explained that Claire had spent the morning complaining and then had gone to her room to nap. Ciara promised to tell Claire about the new wedding plans.
After Hope and Rafe left, Ciara said, "Man that was close. For a second there I thought my mom knew about the big secret. Although if she found out that Rafe had cheated on her with Sami, she wouldn't have shown up here, right?" Tripp assured Ciara that no one else knew the truth and that the secret was safe. Tripp asked Ciara if she was excited about the wedding. With a nod, Ciara said that she knew how much Hope and Rafe loved one another, and she was happy they were getting married.
Smiling, Tripp told Ciara that her mother seemed "pretty cool." Ciara talked about Bo and how much everyone had loved him too. "Your dad is [a great guy]. I'm glad you're going to have him around for a long time," Ciara said. Tripp and Ciara smiled at one another. After Ciara and Tripp left to get food, Claire rushed into the living room to grab her phone. "Let's see if you spilled your little secret," Claire muttered to herself.
Claire settled down on a stool and played the recording. Before Claire could get too far into the recording, Ciara and Tripp returned home. Suspicious, Ciara asked Claire what she was doing. Claire lied and said she had been listening to the song she had written for the wedding. Ciara asked Claire to play it. Claire refused. Claire said she would play it when it was finished. As the two women stared daggers at one another, Tripp excused himself to leave and meet Kayla. "Play nice," Tripp said as he walked out.
Ciara walked to the couch and picked up her laptop. Claire complained that she could not work on the song with Ciara in the living room. With a sigh, Ciara said she would work on her project at Julie's place. After Ciara left, Claire grabbed her phone and started the recording again. Claire seethed as she listened to Ciara make fun of Claire's scatting skills. When Tripp stuck up for Claire's voice, Ciara apologized and conceded that Claire was talented.
"I just wish she'd learn to let stuff go," Ciara said on the recording. Claire continued to listen to the recording. Claire was about to give up listening when she heard Ciara spill the secret about Rafe's affair. Claire's mouth dropped open in shock.
In Eve's room at the Kiriakis mansion, Brady told her that Maggie had not bad-mouthed her to him. Brady said that Maggie had ripped him to shreds instead. Brady said he needed to confess the truth to Eve. Brady said that after a string a bad luck, he had felt like a fool. Brady added that his pain was nothing compared to Eve's pain. Eve reminded Brady that there was no competition for their heartache. Eve suggested that Brady should focus on all the good things in his life.
"It doesn't matter how hurt I've been. It doesn't matter how humiliated I've been. It doesn't justify what I've done to...Eric," Brady said. Brady said he had heard Eve tell Tate that his father was a good man. Shaking his head, Brady said he had done terrible things. Brady started to explain why he and Eric were tense with one another, but Eve told Brady she did not need to know. Shaking his head, Brady said there was more to the story than even Eric knew.
Brady told Eve that he had been angry when he had seen Eric and Nicole happy together. Brady said he had blackmailed Nicole to leave town and break Eric's heart. Curious, Eve asked what information Brady had to upset Nicole. Brady refused to tell Eve what he knew about Nicole. Angry, Eve asked Brady why he was protecting his ex. Brady shrugged. Eve argued that Brady had done the right thing standing up for himself.
"Eric and Nicole were happy. They were ready to go off in the damn sunset, and I couldn't take it. Out of jealousy and spite, I ripped them apart, Eve. That's terrible. I knew it was a terrible thing to do, and I did it, anyway, because I was angry, and I was bitter, and I felt like a loser," Brady said. Eve argued that Brady had every right to have felt that way. Brady said he should not have made Eric and Nicole as miserable as he had felt. Brady wondered aloud why he had not risen above the situation. "You know why I didn't? Because I'm not a good guy," Brady said.
Brady said he needed Eve to know what kind of man he was so that she could decide whether or not she wanted to be with him. Eve chuckled. "If what you did makes you a bad person, then so am I, because if I were walking in your shoes, I would have done exactly the same thing," Eve said. Brady disagreed. Brady argued that he had destroyed Eric. "Please, he wouldn't be off sharing muffins with Jennifer if he were still pining over his lost love," Eve said mockingly. Eve said Eric and Jennifer deserved one another. Brady warned Eve not to disparage Jennifer because she was his friend.
"Well, now I think you're a bad person," Eve joked. Eve reasoned aloud that if Eric and Jennifer truly were happy together, Brady would not see his brother and would have plenty of time to put the unpleasantness behind him. Relieved, Eve said she had been worried that Brady had planned to confess something worse to her. "I thought it was something about me!" Eve said with a laugh. "Why would you think that?" Brady asked with a twinge of guilt. Eve reminded Brady that he had attempted to frame her for Deimos' murder and then had warmed up to her very quickly.
"We played each other, right? Now I have to pinch myself to believe that you could actually be falling for me," Eve said. "Believe it," Brady said quietly. "I do," Eve whispered back. Brady gently kissed Eve then left.
At the DiMera mansion, Gabi barged into the living room to talk to Chad about her frustration. Chad promised Gabi that they would prove that Stefan had framed her. Upset, Gabi demanded to know what Chad had planned. Chad admitted that Stefan had learned about his theory blaming Stefan.
Gabi was furious that Abigail had told Stefan. Chad urged Gabi to remain focused. With a sigh, Gabi said she refused to wait to be convicted. Gabi vowed to track down her missing coat and key card. Gabi suggested that they search Stefan's room. Chad warned Gabi not to rush in blindly.
"If he's willing to kill his own brother, imagine what he is going to do to you?" Chad asked. Gabi said she needed to make a plan and do something. Chad argued that the woman in the security footage was the key to the murder. Gabi asked how they could find the woman. With a shrug, Chad said he would need to look into Stefan's connections and find someone that Stefan would trust completely. Chad said Vivian was the only woman he could think of that Stefan would trust. With a groan, Chad said he had another suspect.
Chad informed Gabi that he had watched Melinda Trask mingle with Stefan at Doug's Place. Chad added that Trask had the same hair color and height as Gabi. With a furrowed brow, Gabi asked Chad why Trask would frame her for murder. Chad noted that the person that had framed Gabi had a personal grudge. Chad suggested that Trask could have helped Stefan in return for campaign contributions.
"Maybe. It seems like a stretch, even for her," Gabi said. Chad said he had no clue about any other women in Stefan's life. Chad promised to keep looking for the woman and to search Stefan's room himself. When Gabi reminded Chad that he had said it was too dangerous to search Stefan's room, Chad said he knew Stefan's schedule. Chad promised to be careful.
Upstairs, Abigail, in her alternate personality Gabby, confronted a half-naked Stefan in his room. "I know you're sick and you need help," Stefan said. Gabby disagreed. Gabby warned Stefan not to tell Abigail about her. "What are you talking about? You're Abigail," Stefan noted. "I'm Gabby. Because Abigail has left the building," Gabby growled. Stefan asked if Abigail would return. Gabby shrugged.
"Oh, my God, you really think you're two separate people," Stefan said in disbelief. "Yeah, because we're two separate people, moron," Gabby snapped. Gabby explained that Abigail had no memory of Gabby's actions. Curious, Stefan asked how Gabby knew what he had said to Abigail. With a shrug, Gabby said she had been out on the terrace and had overheard him. Gabby warned Stefan not to tell Abigail anything because she would tell Chad everything.
"If I go down, you're going down with me," Gabby purred. Stefan protested that he had not killed anyone. With a raised eyebrow, Gabby asked Stefan why he and Vivian had been standing over Andre's body. Stefan asked Gabby how she would know that if she had not been at the scene of the crime. Gabby scowled. Stefan noted that they were at a stalemate. Gabby asked for the murder weapon back because she did not trust Stefan. He refused.
"Are you sure there is nothing I could do to make you change your mind?" Gabby whispered as she seductively stood close to Stefan. Backing up a step, Stefan noted that Gabby had a boyfriend. "Eli didn't put a ring on it. He's just my boyfriend. Practically single," Gabby said. When Stefan mentioned that Abigail had told him that she hated him, Gabby scoffed at the idea.
"The girl loves herself a handsome DiMera. Any DiMera will do. She only said that because she's afraid Chad would take your head off like he said he would," Gabby said. Stefan stared at Gabby, thinking. When Gabby called Abigail crazy, Stefan warned her not to say that about Abigail.
"Oh, so you can call Abigail crazy but I can't? I can make you forget about her like that!" Gabby said with a finger snap as she sidled up close to Stefan. Uncomfortable, Stefan backed away and told Gabby to stop. Gabby pursued him across the room. "You worried you're going to give in to how you really feel?" Gabby asked.
Stefan gently took Gabby's hand off of him and asked her again to stop. Smiling, Gabby said she had lied earlier. Gabby said Abigail would never want to be with anyone other than Chad. Gabby warned Stefan that Chad and Abigail would pin the murder on Stefan.
"He believes that you used Andre so that you could get into the company and then you went and you got rid of him before he could rat you out. And now you're just trying to pin it all on me. Oh, I cannot wait for Chad to bust you wide open. And then you're going to go to prison, and you're going to be dying alone, and you're going to still be dreaming about sweet little Abigail even though she would never give you the time of day," Gabby said. Stefan's complaints to Gabby to shut up went unheeded, so he grabbed her and kissed her. Stefan looked at Gabby, appearing to contemplate whether to escalate the situation, when Chad knocked on his bedroom door.
At the pub, Eric confided to Roman that he had worked things out with Jennifer. Chuckling, Roman promised to tell Anna the good news. Roman asked Eric if he was truly over Nicole. Eric admitted that Nicole had been his first love, but he wanted to move on with his life. Concerned, Roman asked Eric why he looked upset if he was so happy with Jennifer.
Eric told Roman about his run-in with Brady in the square. Eric lamented that Brady held so much rage. Roman cautioned Eric not to blame himself. Shaking his head, Eric said he did not think he and Brady could repair their relationship. Roman urged Eric not to give up on Brady. "One of these days, it will be too late," Roman said.
On Smith Island, a drenched Hope and Rafe raced through the rain into the Horton cabin. Rafe grumbled that the weather forecast had lied. "Everything's ruined," Hope said sadly. Rafe reminded Hope that they had food, shelter, and each other. "I had this whole vision in my head of us outside, under the stars, in each other's arms, all warm and cozy and in front of the fire, and now we're here and we're inside, wet, and soggy, and cold," Hope complained. Rafe urged Hope to take a hot shower while he started a fire to warm up the cabin.
Frustrated, Hope noted that they had planned a trip to the island multiple times without success, and when they had finally made it the island, it had rained. Hope suggested that they were jinxed. Rafe kissed Hope to calm her down. After her shower, Hope exited the bathroom and found that Rafe had set up a campsite in the living room and had strung lights from the ceiling to simulate a night sky. Taken aback, Hope gasped with joy. "I know it's not exactly camping camping, but that is kind of our thing," Rafe joked.
Hope and Rafe agreed that everything would be perfect at the wedding and in their lives. With a glance at the kitchen, Hope said she wanted to make hot chocolate. Hope walked over to the kitchen and typed a message on her phone. Rafe asked if the hot chocolate was on her phone. Hope said she was checking in with the station. "I'm all yours now," Hope said as she finished texting her message.
Hope returned to the bathroom to dress while Rafe pulled a bottle of Champagne out of the fridge. Outside, there was a rustle of leaves. Rafe grabbed his gun. When Rafe opened the door, there was a man outside. Rafe pulled the man inside and informed the man that he was a cop. The man explained that he was not a burglar. As Hope exited the bathroom, Rafe yelled that he had caught a creeper attempting to break-in. "No, he's not trying to break in. He's here to marry us," Hope said.