Eve tried to get away from Brady, joking that she couldn't talk to him because she had better things to do with her time, like pouring hot coffee in her eyes. When he blocked her path, she warned that if he didn't move immediately, she'd allow her boot to introduce itself to his crotch. He stepped aside but insisted that she couldn't avoid him forever -- especially if she wanted to make Basic Black successful again.
Eve tried to pretend that Basic Black was doing just fine, but Brady knew that the company was actually "hemorrhaging money" because DiMera Enterprises -- and, more specifically, Gabi Chic -- had control of the younger female demographics. "I'll turn it around," she vowed with only a hint of concern. He insisted that the best way for her to do that was to unite Basic Black with Bella in a joint search for a fresh new representative of those coveted demographics. He added, however, that if she still wanted to go that route, she was stuck with him, because Bella was a subsidiary of Titan Publishing -- a publishing house that he controled.
"[I'll just] find a different magazine to work with -- one that'll appreciate the publicity," Eve dismissively countered, prompting Brady to point out that the contest was already trending as a cross promotion between Basic Black and Bella -- and, regardless, she couldn't afford to start it all over again with a different magazine, anyway. Annoyed, she wondered if he truly believed that forcing her to work with him was the best way to prove that he really loved her. "Haven't you taken enough from me already?" she asked incredulously, adding that if he cared about her at all, he'd back off and let her prove to the world that she could rebuild her company on her own.
"This -- this really -- it's my last chance. I mean, I know how people look at me in this town, and I know that [they're] thinking, 'What is she even doing here? She's only here because she suckered Deimos into marrying her! She's a gold digger!' And I know that Maggie and Victor -- [that] everybody [is just] waiting for me to fail! [And] I can't let that happen, so...please...you've [already] taken away my happiness; please don't take this away, too," Eve begged Brady. He was moved but remained unwilling to walk away, believing that forcing her to work with him -- and regaining her trust in the process -- was his last chance to win her back.
Eve reluctantly agreed to work with Brady but maintained that they would never be a couple again. "I just need somebody to do the grunt work for the contest," she explained with a shrug before walking away. "It's a start," he quietly assured himself, managing a hopeful smile.
Steve bumped into Kate while trying to enter the Brady Pub. "Are you blind?" she asked irritably. "Not yet...but it looks like I will be soon," he replied with a mirthless chuckle.
Kate was, to Steve's surprise, sorry to hear that he was losing his eyesight. She reasoned that not even he deserved to go through such a thing. Amused, he thanked her for her sympathy. "Does anyone know what caused the blindness to begin with?" she asked. "Yeah -- I did," John admitted with a sigh, joining the conversation.
After Kate left, Steve and John entered the pub and claimed a table. "Thanks for meeting up with me," Steve told John after they ordered a round of beers. Steve tried to apologize on his wife's behalf for the way she had treated John during their most recent encounter, but John insisted that Kayla had every right to be furious with him. Steve made it clear that, in any case, he wasn't angry.
"A long time ago, Bo took my other eye, and he was my best friend [then], just like you are now, so if I can forgive him, I can do the same thing for you," Steve reasoned. Touched, John admitted that he didn't know how to respond to that. Steve assured John that no response was necessary. "Besides, if I really am going blind, I'm gonna need all the friends I can get," Steve added with a sigh.
"You sure you don't hate me just a little bit?" John asked. "Everybody hates you just a little bit," Steve jokingly replied.
At the hospital, Marlena overheard Kayla's end of a phone conversation about a patient whose condition might be worsening. "Was that about Steve?" Marlena asked after Kayla ended the call. "A different patient," Kayla curtly clarified, adding that it was pointless for her to continue making phone calls about Steve's condition because it was worsening, thanks to John -- and there was nothing that could be done about it.
Marlena, who had heard about what had happened during Kayla's most recent encounter with John, tried to stress that he felt terrible about what Steve was going through. "[John] had no idea that toxin [could] cause permanent blindness," Marlena added. Nodding, Kayla bitterly elaborated that John couldn't have possibly known that because he wasn't a doctor or a toxicologist -- and he hadn't even bothered to consult one before going through with his plan. Kayla insisted that John's feelings therefore didn't matter to her. "It's just dumb luck [that] he didn't kill Steve!" Kayla pointed out with obvious disgust.
"John is supposed to be the smartest and the bravest that the ISA has to offer, [so] why couldn't he figure out some other way to stop Pamela than poisoning my husband? Yes, there was a threat -- to Steve, to Joey, to me... But if [John] really was that good -- if he really cared about us -- he would have figured out some other way to protect us than destroying our lives!" Kayla concluded. Marlena patiently wondered what else John could have possibly done to prevent a tragic outcome. Kayla suggested with a shrug that John could have at least enlisted her help. "Maybe I could have done something -- anything -- to protect Steve," Kayla reasoned.
"You don't know that," Marlena pointed out. "Because [John] didn't give me a chance!" Kayla countered. "[And] now I just have to sit there [and] watch [Steve] slowly go blind," Kayla continued with a sigh, adding that Steve would soon stop being able to see the faces of his wife and children -- forever. Nodding, Marlena quietly stressed that she was sorry about that.
Kayla soon apologized for lashing out at Marlena. "I can take it," Marlena assured Kayla, knowingly adding that it was often particularly difficult for doctors to deal with feelings of helplessness. "[But] you and Steve love each other more than most couples on the planet...and, in my experience, with that kind of love, you can sometimes expect a miracle," Marlena concluded with a warm smile.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan explained to an incredulous Chad that he was about to head off to Hong Kong to close a deal that was crucial to the recovery of DiMera Enterprises -- and he needed the company's public relations manager there to handle the press. "Are you sure you're even allowed to leave the country [right now]?" Chad asked. "Yeah, of course. I'm not under investigation," Stefan replied with a dismissive chuckle.
Chad insisted that, in any case, his wife wasn't going anywhere with his brother anytime soon. Scoffing, Stefan countered that if Chad's marriage was as great as he liked to think it was, his wife could surely speak for herself without her husband's interference -- and she could surely go places without him, too. "[And] if she can't perform the responsibilities of her position, then I'll be forced to fire her," Stefan warned before walking away.
"I think we need to give Stefan what he wants," Gabby told Chad, who was stunned that his wife was actually considering going to Hong Kong with Stefan, of all people. "[He's] got us backed into a corner," Gabby reasoned with a shrug. Before Chad could respond, his cell phone rang. Gabby encouraged Chad to take the call, adding that she was going to check on Thomas in the meantime.
Gabby joined Stefan in the foyer. "Gabby?" he asked quietly. "Still me," she assured him. Nodding, he told her to follow him to his bedroom so he could fill her in on his plan.
Gabby felt much better when she was in the safety of Stefan's bedroom again -- and could finally put her wig back on. Stefan sympathetically guessed that it was exhausting for Gabby to pretend to be Abigail for even a single moment. Nodding, she admitted that the idea of fleeing to Hong Kong was certainly appealing. "[But] what do you get out of this?" she asked curiously. He insisted that he really did need the public relations manager to help him deal with the press in Hong Kong, but she reminded him that she wasn't the public relations manager. Conceding the point, he confirmed her suspicion that he wanted some time alone with her.
Meanwhile, Chad informed Kate, who had just returned home, that Stefan was trying to orchestrate a way to be alone with Abigail. "You're not worried, are you?" Kate asked. "When it comes to Stefan? Yeah, I'm worried," Chad admitted, adding that although he trusted his wife, he still didn't want her to be alone with his brother -- especially in a foreign country. Kate understood but believed that Abigail could take care of herself.
"Thank you for saying that, Kate," Gabby said, joining the conversation as Abigail. Chad assured his wife that he knew, of course, that she could take care of herself -- and that he was only worried because he didn't trust his brother. Gabby maintained that it was best to humor Stefan so he wouldn't feel tempted to make good on his threat to fire her. "[Or] maybe [even all] three of us," Kate interjected.
"You know, Gabi's trial starts tomorrow. We both promised her we'd be there," Chad reminded his wife. Gabby coolly countered that she would be of more use to Gabi in Hong Kong, where she could keep an eye on Stefan and try to prove that he was framing Gabi for Andre's murder. "That sounds reasonable to me," Kate interjected. Gabby added that Stefan liked her and had a tendency to let his guard down around her. That fact didn't make Chad feel any better, but Kate agreed that exploiting it might be the best way to connect Stefan to Andre's murder. Sighing, Chad reluctantly conceded the point.
Gabby soon rejoined Stefan in his bedroom and happily informed him that everything was settled. Meanwhile, in the living room, Kate told Chad that she was surprised that he had backed down so quickly. "I don't think you had any [other] choice, [but it's still] a risk to allow [Abigail] to be alone with Stefan," Kate continued. "They won't be alone. I'm going to Hong Kong with them," Chad clarified.
Will and Paul go on a date
Will met up with his father at Doug's Place. Lucas said he was feeling good and was thankful for all the support from his friends and family. With a grin, Will said he was proud of Lucas. Lucas commented on the restaurant, and he mentioned that he was seeing the owner, Chloe. Kate overheard as she entered the restaurant, and she groaned. Lucas said he was excited to see Chloe when she returned. Annoyed, Kate said she would not let Lucas date Chloe.
"Wasn't it you that told me you should be sober at least a year before you start dating?" Kate asked brightly. Lucas told Kate that he would date whomever he wanted. As Lucas and Kate genially bickered, Will interrupted to say that he needed to leave. Lucas said that he'd enjoyed hanging out with Will and hoped to do it again soon. Once Will was gone, Lucas growled at Kate not to needle him about Chloe. Kate offered Lucas a job at Countess W if he agreed not to date Chloe.
"You can take your job and shove it," Lucas said flatly. Kate warned Lucas that Chloe would break his heart again. Shaking his head in frustration, Lucas reminded Kate that Chloe had helped him get sober. Lucas added that he had supported Kate when she had gone after Andre. When Kate refused to give up, Lucas walked away. On the other side of the room from his mother's prying ears, Lucas called the skating rink to check the hours. Lucas was upset to learn that it would be closed the next day, when Chloe was scheduled to return to town. Panicked, Lucas pleaded that he had an important date, but the person at the rink said he could not help Lucas.
Behind Lucas, Chloe walked in. After hearing the tail end of Lucas' conversation, a smiling Chloe asked Lucas about his hot date. Lucas beamed when he saw Chloe. Lucas said he had read the German reviews about Chloe's performances, and he quoted a few. Chloe asked again about Lucas' date. "The someone special is you," Lucas said as he reached for Chloe's hand.
When Lucas asked Chloe if she had changed her mind about their date, Chloe said she was still interested. Lucas noted that the ice-skating rink was closing soon, so Chloe suggested they head out. As Lucas and Chloe left the restaurant, a figure lurking in the shadows made a call on his cell phone. "She's back in Salem. Don't worry. I'll keep an eye on her," the man said.
In the square, Sonny complained to Paul about having found him and Will shirtless in Will's room. Sonny accused Paul of sleeping with Will out of revenge. When Paul noted that his relationship was not Sonny's business, Sonny agreed. Sonny explained that his divorce was final. As Will approached, he asked, "It is?" Sonny held up the final decree and noted that Will's copy should be in the day's mail.
"This is what you wanted, right? You didn't want to stay married while you were attracted to other men?" Sonny asked angrily. Sonny told Paul that he hoped Will would not cheat on him, too. After Sonny stormed off, Paul and Will sat down in the café. Will said he wanted to be a better person, and Paul countered that he appreciated Will's effort. Will admitted that he had been taken aback by the realization that the divorce was final. In comfort, Paul reached over and held Will's hand. Will said he did not remember his old life, but that he felt bad for Sonny.
"Sonny's not angry. He's hurt. He just loved you so much. And I know better than anyone how much," Paul said. After Paul and Will shared a slice of cake, Paul teased Will about how much of it Will had eaten. Will insisted on paying for dinner, but then he realized he did not have enough money to cover the bill. Smiling, Paul reminded Will that Paul had initiated the date and should be the one to pay.
"So, it is a date then?" Will asked hopefully. "Our first," Paul confirmed. Will thanked Paul for lending him an ear. Will added that he had intended to invite Paul over, but since he had learned his divorce was final, the thought seemed inappropriate. Paul agreed. Will kissed Paul goodnight.
At the pub, Sonny stared at his divorce decree. The bartender flirted with Sonny, and he asked about the paper. When Sonny explained that he was holding divorce papers from his husband, the bartender offered to buy Sonny a drink. The bartender said his last breakup had been horrible. "I just finally realized whether I was ready or not, I had to get back out there," the bartender said. "So, do you want to go out sometime?" Sonny asked bluntly.
Smiling sheepishly, the bartender said he could not accept because he was in a new relationship. The bartender explained that he had used a new dating app. Sonny admitted he had already downloaded the app but had not used it yet. Grinning, the bartender encouraged Sonny to give it a go.
As the bartender watched over Sonny's shoulder, Sonny set himself up on his phone. After the bartender showed Sonny how to work the app, Sonny started to browse the profiles. When Sonny found an interesting profile, he swiped right. "That felt pretty good," Sonny said. The phone beeped, noting a match. "You're back in the game," the bartender said encouragingly.
In Hong Kong, Hope ate a meal with Shawn. As Hope explained her relief at being out of Salem, Rafe called her on her cell phone. Hope arched an eyebrow in annoyance. Shawn encouraged Hope to answer her phone because Rafe was likely worried. Hope answered the call and stepped aside to talk privately. Hope asked Rafe what he wanted.
"I want you to come home," Rafe said. "We can't fix things if we don't talk," Rafe added. Rafe asked Hope if she could return home for Gabi's trial, but she refused. When Rafe asked Hope when she would return home, she said she did not know. Hope asked Rafe not to call her, and she ended the call. "I love you," Rafe said sadly to the ringtone. Hope returned to Shawn at the table.
Shawn told Hope that he hoped she and Rafe would work things out. Shaking her head, Hope said she could not shake the image of Rafe and Sami together. Shawn asked Hope about her brief breakup with Rafe during the affair. "It wasn't even a night!" Hope protested. Hope said she had talked to Sami the day after the affair, and Rafe had been eavesdropping on their conversation. "I thought I had found the perfect man," Hope said.
"The love that you and Rafe shared is still there, despite the hurt. So, what? Are you willing to throw all that away now?" Shawn asked. Shawn reminded Hope that he had gone through difficult times with Belle, and he had fought to keep his marriage. "I don't want to see you walk away from something that has made you the happiest I have seen you in a very long time," Shawn said. Hope said she had never thought she could love again after Bo. Shawn took his mother's hand and told her that he would support her no matter what she decided.
"Didn't you tell me that dad asked Rafe to look out for you?" Shawn asked. Shawn said Rafe had lied because he had not wanted to lose Hope. Hope sighed. Hope talked about when she had eloped with Rafe and that it hurt to think that during those moments, Rafe had been keeping a secret from her. With a groan, Hope apologized to her son for talking about her love life. Shawn told Hope that he was always willing to listen. "I deserve better," Hope said about Rafe. Hope said she wanted Belle to draw up divorce papers for her.
At the police station in Salem, Rafe stewed at his desk. Kate walked in and asked what was wrong. Rafe said he was not only worried about his sister, but he was frustrated that Hope had left town. Kate urged Rafe to give Hope time. With a shrug, Rafe said he was worried that time was the enemy. Kate advised Rafe to remember that people forgave those that hurt them, even if they did not deserve it. Kate reminded Rafe of their past, and Rafe said he did not consider his brief affair with Kate a mistake.
"Look at that. We're frenemies!" Kate said cheerfully. Kate advised Rafe not to take on all the blame. With a nod, Rafe said he understood, but he also knew that Hope felt betrayed. Kate reminded Rafe that Hope had made mistakes in her life, like shooting Stefano. "People in glass houses," Kate said. Rafe retrieved Andre's phone from evidence and returned it to Kate. Rafe confirmed that they had not found anything incriminating on the phone. As Rafe handed the phone back to Kate, she smiled sadly at the screensaver photo of her with Andre.
"I always thought it was a marriage of convenience," Rafe said. Kate explained that both she and Andre had been surprised that their marriage had grown into something more. "He told me he loved me, and then he betrayed me," Kate said. "I'm in no position to judge," Rafe said quietly. Kate told Rafe that the distinction was that Rafe had made one mistake and still had time to fix his relationship.
"I'll never know whether he would have chose me over his ambition," Kate said sadly. Kate said if she could talk to Hope, she would tell her not to throw away her chance at love. Kate wished Rafe well, and she left.
Gabby prepares to leave Salem for good
At the police station, Eli sneaked Gabi into one of the conference rooms then closed the blinds, removed her handcuffs, and gave her a jacket she had left at his place one night. Confused, she wondered what was going on -- and why she was being told to don a jacket when it wasn't even cold in the room. "I am trying to set the scene," he explained with a laugh before opening a laptop and connecting her to a videoconference with her daughter.
Thrilled, Gabi began a brief chat with Arianna, who was still under the impression that her mother was simply on a business trip. After ending the videoconference, Gabi broke down in Eli's arms, fearing that she wouldn't be able to hide the terrible truth from her daughter much longer. Eli urged Gabi not to lose hope just yet. "We're making progress," he assured her, adding that there had, in fact, been a recent development in the case.
Gabi was relieved to hear that Stefan had been caught with Andre's cell phone -- until she learned that he had managed to provide an innocent explanation and had gotten his crooked security team to back it up. "[Still], I'm starting to think, more and more, that [Stefan's] our guy," Eli stressed. Sighing, Gabi wished there were some way to figure out the true identity of the mystery woman on the surveillance footage. "[We're still] working on her, too. My theory is that she's someone in Stefan's orbit...but his orbit is pretty small -- [basically just Vivian], Kate, and Abigail," Eli noted, adding that, unfortunately, all three women had already been cleared.
Feeling defeated, Gabi fretted about what would happen if she was ultimately sent to prison again -- this time for good. "I mean, Will tries, [but] he doesn't remember anything, and he and Sonny [are] divorced, [so] who's gonna take care of [Arianna]?" Gabi wondered. Eli hugged Gabi and urged her to cling to the knowledge that she was innocent. "[When your trial starts] tomorrow, the truth is gonna come out, [so try to think of it as] the beginning of the end of this nightmare," he assured her. Forcing a smile, she said she hoped he was right about that. Then, eager to keep him out of trouble, she asked to be taken back to her holding cell right away.
While sharing a meal with Eric at Doug's Place, Jennifer fretted about what might be wrong with Abigail, certain that something definitely was wrong. Eric tried to assure Jennifer that Abigail's symptoms weren't necessarily indicative of a setback to her mental stability, but Jennifer couldn't help fearing the worst, especially since Andre -- the one person who, for whatever reason, had always been able to get through to her daughter in the past -- was no longer around to be a lifeline. "[The police] have to find out who [really] killed [him], because I have this awful feeling that is the only thing that is gonna help Abigail," Jennifer admitted with a sigh.
J.J. soon arrived with Lani and happily announced that he had passed his EMT test. Thrilled to hear that, Jennifer and Eric invited J.J. and Lani to join them so they could all celebrate the good news together. Lani squirmed as Jennifer toasted to J.J. with effusive comments about the great life he was going to have with his fiancée, his child, and his new career. "I can't take it anymore!" Lani eventually blurted out, stopping Jennifer's speech.
Jennifer started to apologize for overwhelming Lani with such a flowery toast, but Lani quickly regained her composure and claimed that she was only upset because she was suddenly realizing that she would give birth soon enough, and she didn't even know the first thing about raising a child yet. Jennifer assured Lani that maternal instinct would naturally kick in at that point. J.J. was quick to add that Lani could always count on him to be there to help out, since he had escaped from the dark place he had been in recently -- and there was nothing that could ever make him go back to that place, especially when he knew that he had two people who needed him.
While passing through Horton Town Square, Sonny spotted Chad, who was wrapping up a phone conversation with someone he was thanking profusely. "Who do you owe now?" Sonny asked after Chad ended the call. "One of the DiMera pilots. I gotta leave town tonight, and I didn't give him any notice, [but] he's making it happen, anyway," Chad replied.
Sonny was quite disturbed to learn that Stefan wanted Abigail to accompany him on a business trip. Confused, Chad wondered why Sonny was getting so worked up about the matter. "Why aren't you?" Sonny incredulously countered. "Best-case scenario, [Stefan] tries to seduce [Abigail], but he could also kill her!" Sonny continued.
Chad stressed that Sonny wasn't the only one who was worried about Abigail being alone with Stefan in Hong Kong -- which was why she wasn't going to be. Annoyed, Sonny demanded to know why Chad hadn't bothered to mention that sooner. Chad patiently pointed out that Sonny had been too quick to draw his own conclusions about the matter.
Sighing, Sonny explained that the thought of another marriage being in trouble had simply struck a nerve because of what had happened earlier that day. Chad was sorry to hear that Sonny and Will's divorce was no longer pending. "What are you gonna do?" Chad asked. "Just move on, I guess," Sonny replied with a shrug, adding that he had actually already taken the first step.
Chad encouraged Sonny to go on a date with the guy he had picked as a match on the dating app. "Eh...maybe I will," Sonny replied with obvious uncertainty.
At the DiMera mansion, Vivian stumbled upon Gabby in the living room. "Ugh. Just when I thought it was safe to go back to the liquor cabinet..." Vivian grumbled. Gabby promised that as long as Vivian always called her by the right name in the future, there would be no further incidents involving fire pokers. Vivian sarcastically agreed that Gabby was clearly not Abigail.
Changing the subject, Vivian hopefully wondered if Gabby, who was packing a suitcase, was going somewhere far away. "Is Hong Kong far enough away for you?" Gabby asked. "Oh! Fascinating city! Stay as long as you like!" Vivian happily encouraged Gabby. "I will...and so will your son," Gabby countered with a mischievous grin.
Vivian warned Gabby not to harm Stefan in any way. "[If you do], you will quickly find out who's the most dangerous person in this house. Hint: it's not you," Vivian added.
Meanwhile, on the foyer side of the living room's closed doors, Kate was busy arguing with Stefan about Andre's murder. Stefan maintained that Kate was wrong to suspect him, but she wasn't convinced. Grudgingly, Kate asked for the details of Stefan's final encounter with Andre, hoping to learn how her late husband had been behaving in the hours following their argument. Stefan promised that Andre hadn't said a word during the encounter.
Kate suspected that Stefan was lying, since that seemed to be his default setting. "Like mother, like son," Kate mused with obvious disgust.
"Get away from me, you little tramp!" Vivian shouted at Gabby, who had just finished countering Vivian's earlier threat with one of her own. Kate quickly entered the living room, with Stefan in tow, and demanded to know what was going on. Gabby -- who had removed her wig and stuffed it in the suitcase just seconds earlier -- remained silent as Stefan ushered Vivian into the foyer and shut the living room doors again.
Vivian tried to talk Stefan out of taking Gabby with him to Hong Kong, but he reasoned that he needed someone to accompany him so the police wouldn't suspect that he was trying to flee the country. Vivian remained concerned but didn't have time to continue arguing with Stefan about the matter because there was somewhere else she needed to be at that moment. "Hot date?" Stefan asked curiously. "Something like that," Vivian replied.
Meanwhile, Kate expressed concerns about Abigail's health, knowing that things hadn't been the same since Andre's death. Gabby went blank for a moment while Kate was addressing Abigail but managed to regain her composure when Abigail's cell phone rang, interrupting Kate's speech. Kate seemed to notice a few strands of dark hair sticking out of the suitcase while Gabby was talking to Abigail's caller -- Kayla.
"So, all my tests were normal?" Gabby asked Kayla. "No, I haven't had any headaches since I last saw you. I feel fine," Gabby soon added.
"Sounds like you got good news from Kayla," Kate, who had been listening with interest, casually observed after Gabby ended the call. Gabby claimed that Kayla had simply called to reveal the results of a routine checkup. "She calls you this late about an annual checkup? She's a pretty dedicated physician, huh?" Kate replied.
Meanwhile, Chad entered the living room. After reporting that Abigail still seemed determined to go to Hong Kong with Stefan, Kate left so Chad could have a minute to say goodbye to his wife. Gabby reluctantly accepted a passionate kiss from Chad then exited the mansion with Stefan, who had been watching from the foyer. Outside, Gabby retrieved her wig and put it back on.
Chad told Kate that he was going to head to the airport as soon as Abigail and Stefan were beyond the front gate of the property. Kate assured Chad that she would take care of everything -- including his son -- while he was gone. "Please be careful," Kate added. "Stefan's the one that's gonna have to watch his back. They might be leaving before me, but I will be one step ahead of them the entire time," Chad replied.
At Doug's Place, Jennifer received a phone call from Kayla, who reported that Abigail's tests had all been negative. Relieved, Jennifer happily informed Eric that she had apparently been wrong to worry about her daughter.
Vivian crossed paths with Sonny while passing through the town square. "Go away," he irritably ordered her. "Oh, no, I'm not going anywhere. Didn't Victor tell you? I put him on notice. My son and I are coming after you," she countered. "Bring it on," he replied with a scowl as she walked away.
Sonny soon received a message on the dating app from his match, whom he had worked up the nerve to contact earlier. "Coffee next week?" Sonny wrote back. "GREAT! Looking forward to it!" the match -- Vivian -- replied.
Gabi's trial begins with a shocking revelation
After checking into a hotel in Hong Kong, Stefan and Gabby headed up to their assigned floor and found their adjoining rooms. Stefan assured Gabby that he had no expectations for their trip -- which was why he had booked two rooms instead of one. "I just want to spend time with you, get to know you better -- that's it, I swear," he stressed. "[Then] we have [that] in common, because I want to get to know me better, too," she replied.
Stefan started to leave so Gabby could get some rest, but she asked him to stay and chat with her for a while. "Unless I bore you," she added. Chuckling, he insisted that she wasn't the least bit boring -- and she could always feel free to talk to him about anything. "Like figuring out who I am?" she asked. "Like...am I a morning person [or] a night owl? [I mean], I'm just an alter, so I'm some figment of Abigail's imagination, but I don't really want that; I want to be...real, [and] I want to be me. [But] I don't even know [how to be] who I am because I don't know who I am..." she continued before stopping herself, feeling like she was babbling.
Stefan assured Gabby that he actually understood how she felt because, in a way, he had been there himself at one point. "I was adopted from an orphanage [and] grew up as -- don't laugh -- 'Sam Maitlin'...[but that was] nothing but a name, [see], 'cause I had no idea where I'd come from or who my family was. [And] I learned very quickly that if I was to survive, the only person that I could count on was myself," he explained, adding that he hadn't really felt a true sense of identity until he had found his biological mother and figured out the truth about his parentage. "[It was] exhilarating [to] finally have my place in this world -- to know where I belong -- [and] I want that for you," he concluded. She feared she might never experience that herself, but he assured her that she would eventually -- and that he would be there to help her every step of the way if that was what she wanted.
Gabby liked the name "Sam" better than the name "Stefan," arguing that the latter sounded too stuffy. "The brooding thing can be really sexy for a while, but then it gets old," Gabby added with a shrug. Believing that Stefan could actually stand to embrace a bit of Sam, Gabby tousled his hair, removed his suit jacket, untucked his shirt, and undid one of its buttons. "That's better," she concluded with a nod of satisfaction.
Stefan, inches away from Gabby, cleared his throat and awkwardly suggested that it might be best for them to head out soon to get some dinner. "Awesome. Food is exactly what I was thinking about," she agreed with a hint of sarcasm that he failed to catch. Sighing, she absently flipped through a brochure as he turned around and started straightening his clothes and hair in preparation for their trip to the lobby.
Meanwhile, Chad entered the hotel and spotted Hope and Belle, who were sharing desserts at one of the tables in the on-site restaurant. "You're not checking up on me again, are you?" Chad asked Hope suspiciously, more surprised to see her in Hong Kong than her daughter-in-law, who actually lived there. Chuckling, Hope clarified, "I needed some time away." Chad, knowing what Hope was going through, offered a few words of sympathy.
"What are you doing here?" Belle asked Chad, arguing that his appearance in Hong Kong was the most puzzling one of all. He assured her that she hadn't missed any emails from him that would have explained his visit to the city. "I'm actually not here on DiMera business; I am here to keep an eye on my wife...and that son-of-a-bitch brother of mine," he continued, adding that neither person was aware that he had followed them.
Hope and Belle both suggested, as Chad helped himself to samples of their desserts, that it might be best for him to let his wife in on the secret. Conflicted, Chad went to the nearby front desk to try to get some information out of the receptionist. When Chad returned a short time later, Hope explained that Belle had stepped outside to take a phone call. Chad reported that, according to the receptionist, Stefan and Abigail had checked in earlier and were staying in separate rooms. Hope promised to help Chad keep an eye on Stefan and Abigail but maintained that it might be best for him to reveal his presence to his wife.
Changing the subject, Chad tactfully revealed that he had noticed divorce papers on the table earlier. Hope clarified that they were actually annulment papers. "Remember when we were in Greece last year, [and] I was served divorce papers? [You told me], 'Fight for your marriage.' I don't want to overstep, but...maybe you should fight for your marriage," Chad suggested. Hope, who had gotten the same advice from Belle earlier, remained silent as Chad continued, "Look, [the] bottom line is [that] the love that Abby and I -- [and] you and Rafe -- have is almost impossible to find, so maybe you shouldn't walk away from it so easily."
Belle soon returned and informed Chad that, according to Shin, Stefan really was in Hong Kong for a business deal; however, Stefan had stepped into the equation at the last minute, after Shin had already made preparations to close the deal himself. Unsurprised, Chad insisted that Stefan was simply using the deal as an excuse to isolate Abigail from her family and friends so he could make a move on her.
Hope and Belle continued urging Chad to talk to Abigail, if only to give himself peace of mind. Chad was reluctant to do so at first, not wanting to burden Abigail with yet another thing to hide from Stefan, but he eventually realized that Hope and Belle were right. "I can't wait to see the look on her face when she sees me," Chad mused before rushing off in search of Abigail's room.
Belle again advised Hope to take some time to think things through before making a final decision about the annulment. Nodding, Hope thanked Belle for drawing up the papers and promised to meet up with her the following day for some retail therapy. After Belle left, Hope inspected the legal document then looked up from it and spotted Stefan at a nearby table -- with a dark-haired woman whose back was turned to Hope.
At the Salem Police Station, Lani, who was eating breakfast with Eli in one of the conference rooms, suddenly shoved her plate of food away, struggling to fight back a wave of nausea. Eli was concerned, but Lani dismissively assured him that it was just morning sickness. She added that he was acting a bit too concerned, since, after all, he wasn't supposed to have any real investment in her pregnancy.
"About that..." Eli hesitantly began. Lani was annoyed to learn that Eli was having second thoughts about letting J.J. raise the baby as his own. "We have a plan, and we need to stick to it," she insisted.
"Is everything okay?" J.J. asked curiously, joining Lani and Eli in the conference room. Lani assured J.J. that the tension he was sensing was simply the result of pretrial trepidation. Turning to Eli, Lani pointedly added, "Since J.J.'s here, I'm gonna walk down to the courthouse with him. You should go be with Gabi -- where you belong." Eli took the hint and excused himself with a forced smile.
Meanwhile, at the courthouse, Rafe tried to keep Gabi's spirits up. Gabi told Rafe about what Eli had done for her the previous night. "I'm glad you two were able to work through his, uh..." Rafe began before letting his voice trail off. "I know he really regrets it," Rafe concluded. Nodding, Gabi explained that, while Eli's one-night stand -- with Lani, of all people -- was still painful to think about, she had deemed it forgivable because his love was evident in his unwavering faith in a woman most guys would have written off after her first murder charge, let alone her second one. "It also helps that he promised that he'd never lie to me again," she added.
Rafe wondered if Hope would ever find a way to be as understanding about his mistake. "Or maybe she [will] just [float] away, and I [will] never see her again," he added with a heavy sigh.
Later, Gabi's trial began. Although Justin objected to Trask's mention of Gabi's prior murder charge, the judge allowed the district attorney to proceed with her planned opening statement. When it was Justin's turn to speak, he clarified for the jury that the district attorney's opening statement -- a sensational story of murder and revenge -- had been mostly fiction.
"Sure, there's some truth in it," Justin admitted, confirming that Gabi had indeed been furious with Andre for kicking her out of her own company -- and had even threatened to kill him. "But haven't we all, in [a] moment of great frustration, said we wanted to kill somebody? And that's the problem with the D.A.'s case -- she takes kernels of truth and distorts and manipulates them in order to fit her narrative; she takes circumstantial evidence and presents it as fact," Justin continued, adding that Trask had an axe to grind against Gabi because Gabi's prior murder charge had been commuted on a technicality.
"This case isn't about Nick Fallon; it's about Andre DiMera. And when it comes to his murder, my client is innocent," Justin stressed. He urged the jury, in conclusion, to refrain from allowing the district attorney to use fiction and conjecture to distract them from the clear absence of cold, hard, irrefutable proof that his client was the person who had committed the murder they were actually supposed to be focusing on.
Rafe was the first person who was asked to testify. Trask made Gabi's relation to Rafe known from the start, hoping to establish him as a hostile witness, but he calmly assured her that he would be unbiased when presenting the facts of the case. Rafe testified, as one of the first detectives to examine the crime scene, that Andre DiMera had seemingly died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, and a nearby urn -- with a missing lid -- had seemed like the most likely instrument of that trauma. Trask got Rafe to confirm that Gabi had later been found in possession of the lid.
During cross-examination, Justin asked Rafe to explain the urn's origins to the jury. Justin also gave Rafe an opportunity to make it clear to the jury that the urn's owner had been caught providing a false alibi for the time of the murder and had therefore never been definitively exonerated. "So, theoretically, it's possible that Anna DiMera murdered Andre DiMera?" Justin concluded. "Yes," Rafe confirmed.
Trask next called Eli to the witness stand. After establishing that Eli was dating the defendant, Trask asked about his examination of the surveillance footage from the security camera that had been perched near the victim's office door. Eli confirmed that someone else had entered Andre's office after Anna had exited it. "Has it been determined who that person was?" Trask asked. "No. We couldn't see the subject's face," Eli replied. "That wasn't my question," Trask countered. Eli reluctantly clarified that the subject had looked a bit like Gabi. Trask pointedly agreed, while showing the jury a still image of the footage, that a person didn't even have to know Gabi well to be able to notice the resemblance. However, during cross-examination, Justin gave Eli the opportunity to make it clear to the jury that Gabi had never been positively identified as the person on the surveillance footage.
Lani's testimony was about the night that Gabi had been caught trying to dispose of evidence that pertained to the murder investigation. Knowing that Lani's testimony had been particularly damaging, Justin quietly explained to Gabi, "I need to discredit her. In the official report, [she] claims that you asked her to look the other way. Tell me about that." While Gabi was trying to decide how to respond, the judge impatiently wondered if Justin was planning to cross-examine the witness or not. Unable to wait any longer, Justin instead challenged Lani to explain why Gabi had asked her to look the other way. "Why would she think you might help her?" he wondered.
Trask tried to object, but the judge demanded an answer to the question, agreeing with Justin's argument that it would help to establish Lani's credibility. "I guess she thought I owed her," Lani reluctantly explained. "Why?" Justin asked, confused. Lani hesitated, prompting Justin to remind her that she was an officer of the law who was under oath and could be held in contempt if she didn't answer the question.
"Because...I slept with her boyfriend, Detective Eli Grant," Lani admitted, stunning most of the people in attendance -- including J.J.
J.J. demands the truth from Lani
In Hong Kong, Hope curiously observed that Stefan's dinner companion looked a lot like Gabi -- at least from behind. "But it can't be...[so] maybe that's the woman [from] the video," Hope guessed.
"Don't look. Hope Brady is here. Go to your room -- now," Stefan quietly instructed Gabby as Hope approached their table. As Gabby rushed off, Stefan stood to greet Hope, blocking her path in the process. "It is a small world, after all," Stefan told Hope, chuckling nervously. Nodding in agreement, Hope admitted that Shawn and Belle were the only two people she had expected to recognize in Hong Kong.
"The woman you were just sitting with -- she looked familiar. Do I know her, [too]?" Hope asked casually. Stefan claimed that Hope probably didn't know the woman because she was simply a business associate who was based in Hong Kong. "It's a shame she left without eating," Hope mused. Stefan agreed that it was somewhat disappointing that the woman had ditched him so abruptly, especially since he hated dining alone.
Hope wondered why Abigail wasn't joining Stefan for dinner. "She is here [in Hong Kong with you], isn't she?" Hope continued. Taken aback, Stefan claimed that Abigail was in her room, sleeping off the effects of jet lag. Hope nodded skeptically as Stefan added, in an effort to end the conversation, that he was starting to feel the effects, too. Hope took the hint and started to walk away, but Stefan stopped her. "I'm just curious -- how did you come to know that [Abigail and I] were on this business trip [together]?" Stefan asked. "Jennifer told me," Hope explained with a shrug, adding that Jennifer had concerns about Abigail's participation in the trip.
Stefan dismissively insisted that there was nothing for Jennifer to worry about because Abigail was completely safe with him. "You're good," Hope acknowledged, admiring Stefan's mastery of the feigned-innocence routine.
"I'd be flattered if I had even the slightest idea what the hell you're talking about," Stefan countered. Hope found it hard to believe that Stefan was struggling to understand her -- especially since she understood him perfectly. "I have been dealing with your family for...a very long time...and what you just did -- pretending you wouldn't hurt a fly while [simultaneously] moving in for the kill? Your father was the master [of that tactic]...and you're starting to remind me [of him just] a little too much," Hope continued, eyeing Stefan suspiciously. Annoyed, Stefan told Hope to enjoy the rest of her trip then quickly walked away.
Meanwhile, Gabby spotted Chad outside her room. Panicking, Gabby ducked into Stefan's room, crossed over to hers via the connecting door, stashed her wig in a suitcase, kicked off her shoes, and donned a robe.
Chad continued knocking as Gabby quietly rehearsed what she was going to say to him. Finally, Gabby opened the door and asked, "Sweetheart, what are you doing here?" Chad stepped into the room and extended his arms expectantly, teasingly wondering if that was all he was going to get from his wife after having traveled halfway around the world to be with her.
Realizing what Chad wanted, Gabby reluctantly hugged and kissed him then explained that she had been in the middle of a nap when he had begun knocking earlier. "Surprise!" Chad exclaimed, chuckling awkwardly. Gabby insisted -- as calmly as possible -- that Chad shouldn't have followed her to Hong Kong because she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. "I know, but I like to take care of you," Chad replied with a shrug.
Gabby tried to convince Chad to return to Salem immediately, arguing that things could get ugly if Stefan found out about Chad's presence in Hong Kong, but Chad coolly promised that Stefan wasn't going to find out. "Look, I wouldn't be able to live with myself if anything happened to you, [so] if you have to be here, I want to be here, too," Chad continued, adding that Abigail had already disappeared from his life once, and he didn't want that to happen again. Gabby felt a sharp pain in her head while Chad was addressing Abigail but managed to recover before her host succeeded in suppressing her. Chad expressed concerns, but Gabby dismissed them.
Gabby soon heard movement in the adjoining room. "He's back!" Gabby warned Chad, who gave her another kiss -- a long, passionate one -- then rushed off.
Stefan joined Gabby in her room seconds later -- and was annoyed to learn that Chad was in Hong Kong. "At least that explains how Hope knew that 'Abigail' accompanied me on this trip..." Stefan mused while Gabby was putting her wig back on. Gabby assumed that Hope was in Hong Kong to keep an eye on Abigail, too, but Stefan clarified that Hope was supposedly just visiting Shawn and Belle. "This is ridiculous! I mean, we come out here because we want to get away from everybody that Abigail knows, and it's a freakin' 'Who's Who of Salem' downstairs!" Gabby grumbled. Stefan assured Gabby that he would handle the problem.
Meanwhile, Chad joined Hope -- and Shawn, who had arrived a few minutes earlier -- in the lobby. Chad reported, when asked, that Abigail was fine -- physically, at least. "[But] I think the stress of being here with Stefan is finally getting to her," Chad added with a sigh. Hope assured Chad that Abigail might not have to act as bait for much longer. Chad was excited to hear that Hope had seen Stefan with a dark-haired mystery woman earlier.
Chad started to rush off to investigate, hoping that the mystery woman had gone to Stefan's room to continue their meeting. Hope had concerns but reluctantly agreed to let Chad confront Stefan on his own.
Shawn wondered if Hope knew how Gabi's trial was going. She admitted that she didn't because she hadn't recently talked to anyone who was still in Salem. "[But] I can't stay away from [there] forever; sooner or later, I'm gonna have to face Rafe," she added with a sigh. She confirmed, when asked, that she had finally figured out what she was going to do about the annulment papers, which were still unsigned -- at least for the time being.
Meanwhile, Gabby, feeling antsy, cautiously searched the hotel for Stefan, who had gone to take care of something earlier. Eventually, Gabby ended up back outside her room. Having failed to locate Stefan anywhere else in the building, Gabby decided to knock on his door, assuming that he might have returned while she was gone. When Stefan didn't respond, Gabby began rummaging through her purse in search of his spare key card.
Chad soon rounded a corner, en route to Stefan's room, and saw that a dark-haired woman was preparing to enter it.
At the Salem Courthouse, Justin, unsure of how to proceed in the wake of Lani's unexpected confession, told the judge that he had no further questions for the witness. "I have questions!" J.J. shouted.
Justin held J.J. back as the judge called for order in the courtroom. "You slept with Eli?" J.J. asked Lani incredulously, ignoring the judge's demand. "You knew?" J.J. added, turning to Gabi. Lani tearfully apologized to J.J., stressing that she had never wanted him to find out in such a horrible way. "Did you ever want me to find out at all?" J.J. angrily countered.
Eli approached J.J. and started to explain that he was to blame for what had happened. J.J. silenced Eli with a punch, sending him stumbling backward. The judge ordered the bailiff to restrain J.J., but Justin and Rafe were already in the process of doing that themselves. Although Justin and Rafe managed to convince J.J. to calm down, the judge refused to ignore what had just happened -- especially since J.J., as a former detective, should have known better than to assault an officer of the law in open court. J.J. tried to apologize, but the judge wasn't moved, telling Rafe to book J.J. for contempt.
After Rafe escorted J.J. out of the courtroom, Justin decided to resume his earlier cross-examination. "How would you describe your relationship with my client?" Justin asked Lani, who admitted that it wasn't exactly a great one. "Then, with all due respect, how can you ask this court to believe your account of what happened in the alley when you just admitted a personal animus against the defendant?" Justin continued.
Trask objected to Justin's attempt to use one phrase to slander an entire testimony. The judge, seeing no reason to strike the whole exchange from the record, instead allowed Trask to redirect as a way of placating her.
When Trask began the redirect with a snide comment about what Justin had just tried to do, the judge tiredly warned her not to make him regret his generosity. Trask apologized then forged ahead, getting Lani to confirm that her earlier testimony had been truthful. Trask argued that Lani could be trusted because, after all, she had just admitted to having an affair with the defendant's boyfriend instead of hiding the truth from the court. As Lani tried to clarify that what had happened with Eli hadn't been an affair, Trask continued talking, pointing out that Lani's account of what had happened in the alley actually matched Gabi's account perfectly.
After Trask's redirect concluded, the judge offered Justin an opportunity to continue cross-examining Lani. Justin declined to do so, prompting the judge to order a recess.
"Word to the wise -- don't [ever] let anything surprise your attorney. If you had told me what happened between Lani and Eli, I would have never pursued that line of questioning," Justin told Gabi as people started filing out of the courtroom. Gabi apologized to Justin, explaining that she had assumed that information wasn't relevant to her case. Gabi also apologized to Lani, feeling guilty about what had just happened.
Lani started to leave the courtroom, eager to find J.J. and explain everything to him. As Lani walked past Eli, he quietly asked if she was really going to explain everything to J.J. "I honestly don't know," Lani replied.
Meanwhile, at the police station, Rafe tried to keep J.J. calm. When J.J. started to get the sense that Lani's earlier admission hadn't exactly surprised Rafe, Rafe reluctantly admitted that was true. "Has the entire department been laughing behind my back this whole time?" J.J. asked incredulously. Rafe assured J.J. that wasn't the case. Rafe refused to elaborate, however, believing that Lani needed to be the one to answer J.J.'s questions.
"I deserve answers right now, damn it!" J.J. angrily insisted. "You're right -- you do," Lani agreed, joining J.J. and Rafe in one of the conference rooms. Rafe quickly excused himself so the couple could talk privately.
Lani tearfully explained to J.J. what had happened. He was still hurt at the end of her tale but grudgingly acknowledged that, technically speaking, she had never actually cheated on him because they hadn't even been a couple at the time of her one-night stand. With that in mind, he wondered why she had chosen to hide the truth from him -- especially after Eli had decided to confess to Gabi.
"I wanted to [tell you] -- I really did -- but...I was worried," Lani explained. "About what?" J.J. asked, confused. "You!" Lani replied, prompting J.J. to conclude that she had doubted his ability to handle such news.
Lani tried to protest that J.J. was putting words in her mouth, but he forged ahead, sensing that he was on the right track. He conceded that he might not have been able to handle the truth -- at least at first. "But so much has changed [since then]! Theo woke up! We got back together! We found out we're having a baby..." he continued before letting his voice trail off. "This is my baby, isn't it?" he asked, suddenly skeptical.
Lani fought back fresh tears as J.J. started giving the matter more thought. "You and Eli slept together on Christmas Eve. That was only three months ago. You're further along than that...aren't you?" he asked. When she didn't respond, he continued, "I found out you were pregnant 'cause I heard you on the phone, scheduling an appointment for an abortion. And I couldn't understand why you hadn't told me you were having my baby."
"I told myself it was because you were worried that you couldn't rely on me...but it wasn't because you thought I wouldn't be a good father; it was because I wasn't the father at all," J.J. concluded.
Sobbing, Lani told J.J. that she loved him and didn't want to lose him. "Just tell me the truth," he urged her. Nodding, she conceded that she owed him at least that much.
"This baby...is Eli's," Lani regretfully confirmed for J.J. -- just as Eli and Gabi entered the conference room.