While Chad dined with Abigail at the Horton Town Square, his cell phone rang. As soon as he stepped aside to take the call, she picked up her own cell phone and started dialing a number.
"Did you get the sample of Stefan's DNA yet?" Abigail quietly asked when Gabi answered the call. "I just got to the [DiMera] mansion this second, but I'm gonna find a way to get it," Gabi, who had not yet entered the mansion, replied in an equally hushed tone. Abigail worriedly reminded Gabi that Stefan was dangerous. "Maybe I should just get Chad's DNA tested, and then, you know, if it's a match, then he's the father, and we can just move on," Abigail suggested. "Chad and Stefan are brothers, [so] their DNA is very close, okay? The lab is gonna need both samples for them to give you a definite answer," Gabi countered.
Abigail was still surprised that Gabi was willing to help, despite everything that had happened recently. "I'm just doing what's right, okay? [Besides], Stefan is the one to blame for everything," Gabi coolly replied before trying to end the conversation. "Okay, well, thank you -- for helping me and, you know, just...for everything. You're an amazing friend, Gabi," Abigail raved before hanging up.
"What's Gabi helping you with?" Chad asked Abigail curiously, having just returned. "Oh, um...just...my life," Abigail vaguely replied. Chad was glad to hear that Gabi was no longer upset with Abigail for everything that had happened recently. Nodding, Abigail abruptly changed the subject, pointing out that Chad hadn't eaten anything yet. "Not really that hungry," Chad explained while thinking about Kate's involvement in the sexual harassment lawsuit that was ruining Sonny's reputation and tanking Titan's stock prices. "Just eat," Abigail insisted. Sighing, Chad forced down one bite of food to humor Abigail then stepped aside to take another phone call.
Chad rejoined Abigail a short time later -- with a reawakened appetite. "[I'd better] finish my breakfast before I get another work call," he mused with a sigh of stress. "Where's my fork?" he asked his wife, looking around their table with obvious confusion. "I knocked it off on accident, and a waitress came and took it," she claimed while handing over her own fork. "I gotta get going," she added, standing to leave. "Need to run some errands [and] tie up some loose ends from being gone [for so long]," she elaborated before rushing off. She paused in a more secluded area and removed a storage bag from her purse to make sure that the enclosed fork was protected.
Meanwhile, at the DiMera mansion, Kate refused to be blackmailed into helping Stefan take down Chad. "Then you'll go down together," Stefan warned. "Well, [at least] I'll go down knowing that I was loyal [to Chad]," Kate countered with a shrug. "Sounds like cold comfort to me," Stefan argued. "I, on the other hand, will be warm with the knowledge that I've won...[but, for now, I'm] gonna ride this one out -- see where this, uh, lawsuit drama goes on its own," Stefan continued.
"So, you're not going to tell anyone about my [supposed] role in it?" Kate asked with a hint of surprise. "Doesn't suit my purpose [right now]," Stefan explained. "But if I can't beat [Chad] fair and square, I've [always] got my backup plan -- [and that would be you]," Stefan added -- just as Gabi quietly opened the mansion's front door. Gabi lingered in the foyer to listen to Stefan and Kate's argument.
"You really are a son of a bitch," Kate spat. "You shot my mother dead, Kate. Did you really think I was gonna let you get away with that?" Stefan countered. Kate dismissively insisted that Vivian had been a lunatic -- and that Stefan was clearly a lunatic, too. Ignoring the dig, Stefan predicted, "In the end, [I believe] you'll come to your senses and cast your lot with me [instead of] Chad -- [because] I hold all the power [now], Kate."
Kate stormed out of the living room in disgust -- and noticed, while passing through the foyer, that Gabi was hiding in a corner. "What are you doing here?" Kate quietly wondered. "I could ask you the same thing," Gabi countered, also whispering. "I decided to swallow my pride and ask Stefan for my job back," Kate claimed, feigning embarrassment. "[But] he told me to get lost, so..." Kate added with a sigh. "Maybe I can put in a good word for you with him, [since] I'm back at DiMera [now]," Gabi offered. "Oh, no -- don't worry about that. I'm fine. Thanks for the offer, but, uh...it's my business," Kate replied before continuing to depart from the mansion.
Gabi peeked into the living room then sneaked upstairs after seeing that Stefan was talking to someone on the phone. She headed back downstairs a few minutes later, tucking a bagged toothbrush in her purse.
"When did you get here...[and] what were you doing upstairs?" Stefan demanded to know, joining Gabi in the foyer. "I was looking for you. I mean, I called the office, and they told me that you were working from home today," she claimed. "[I've been] right here in the living room," he informed her. "I peeked in, and I didn't see you," she innocently countered. "[So] you went upstairs -- uh, to my bedroom, I assume -- [to look for me]?" he concluded for her. "Yeah, [because] I need you to sign off on the new marketing budget for Gabi Chic," she explained, retrieving a tablet computer from her purse. "You could have emailed [that] to me," he pointed out.
"Tell me the real reason you're here," Stefan demanded, eyeing Gabi suspiciously. "[Look], this budget might not [seem like] a big deal to you, but everything that has to do with Gabi Chic is very important to me, [and] I'm not leaving the door open for you to screw me over again, [so] I'm doing everything by the book this time," she replied with a shrug. "You sound a bit paranoid," he observed, smirking at her.
Gabi waited impatiently for Stefan's signature then rushed off. Outside, Gabi contacted Abigail. "Where are you?" Gabi asked Abigail while walking away from the mansion. Stefan followed Gabi, keeping a safe distance.
While passing through the town square, Kate spotted Chad, who had just finished yet another business call and seemed drained. "Heavy is the head," she mused, taking a seat at his table. "It's really starting to get to me [that] my best friend's life is being ruined by a phony lawsuit that I could end whenever I wanted to, and instead [of doing that], I'm letting him suffer," he admitted, sighing. "[Because] you need the power of Titan to get rid of [your brother]," she reminded him. "So, I care more about revenge than my best friend. What does that say about me?" he wondered. "That you're practical," she replied, dismissing his concern with a nonchalant shrug.
"Abby would be pissed if she knew [about this]. She'd want me to tell Sonny the truth," Chad acknowledged. "Like she's in a position to judge after murdering Andre!" Kate countered with a hint of disgust. Chad warned Kate not to go there. Kate apologized for the outburst but was quick to add that Chad wasn't the only one who was dealing with stress at that moment. "I told Leo to sign those [settlement] papers, [but] I haven't heard back from him [since then, and he's not taking] my phone calls, [and] his court date is tomorrow," Kate complained. "I just hope he's not up to something," Kate added, sighing worriedly.
Will and Paul went to the Brady Pub to meet up with John, who handed over a folder that contained incriminating information from Leo's past. "[That should be] enough to plant reasonable doubt about his motives," John summarized as Will and Paul read the report. "[And] his whole case is based on the integrity of his testimony," Will excitedly noted. "Why was this so hard to find?" Paul wondered. "[I'm sure Leo didn't] set Sonny up on his own...[and] whoever made this happen [probably] has experience at it -- [and] a ton of resources," John guessed with a shrug. "[Anyway, tell Sonny and Justin that] I'm more than happy to testify [if needed]," John added.
Will, who had already decided to spend some time with Arianna that day, started to rush off to the Kiriakis mansion with the report, eager to show it to Sonny right away. "See you later," Will said before giving Paul a quick kiss on the cheek. "Love you," Will added. "Love you, too," Paul replied as Will walked away.
John stared at Paul in disbelief. "What?" Paul asked innocently, beaming. "That's new," John pointed out. "Since about, uh...what, this morning?" Paul confirmed with a laugh. "I mean, I've been wanting to tell him for a while, [but] I just wasn't sure if he felt it, too," Paul added. John curiously probed for more details, prompting Paul to share the whole story -- including the part about the memories the declaration of love had triggered.
"[So], that serum's actually starting to work?" John incredulously concluded. "Guess so," Paul replied, shrugging. "[And] when Will remembered telling Sonny [those words, it] was kind of my worst nightmare come to life," Paul admitted with a sigh. "[But] he said it was only a memory [and] that he didn't love Sonny anymore -- that he loves me now," Paul recalled, beaming again.
"I'm happy for you," John told Paul. "I'm happy for me, too," Paul admitted, chuckling. "[And] now I know for sure [that] I'm not Will's second choice -- [and, better yet, that] even if Will does [eventually] remember his whole marriage with Sonny, for the both of us, it's not gonna change anything," Paul excitedly added with a sigh of contentment.
Meanwhile, at the Kiriakis mansion, Sonny refused to marry Leo -- a man who disgusted him -- just to make the sexual harassment lawsuit go away. "I didn't always [disgust you]," Leo flirtatiously reminded Sonny.
"[Look, Sonny, I] have made mistakes, [but only because] I grew up with nothing, and I always wanted more for myself, so I behaved selfishly, and I hurt people -- people I cared about, like you. But I don't want to be that guy anymore. I don't want to be rich and alone; I want a partner, and I want that partner to be you. [And] you said it yourself -- we could have a great life together. [I mean, I know you only said that to get a confession out of me], but you were right -- we could [have a great life together]! Live in the lap of luxury, save your reputation, rebuild Titan, show Will and Paul you don't need them... All you have to do is say yes," Leo continued.
"Who in their right mind would believe that I would marry the guy who is suing me for sexual harassment?" Sonny asked incredulously. "Stranger things have happened," Leo replied with a shrug. "So, let me get this straight -- [our story would be that] one day, you wanted to destroy my life and my company, and the next, we're in love?" Sonny summarized. "We had a fight, [and] I was angry and hurt, so I made up the lawsuit to get back at you [and] make you realize how much you still love me," Leo reasoned. "I hate you!" Sonny stressed. "There is a thin line between love and hate. [I mean], in the end, it's all about passion," Leo countered, flirting again.
Sonny rejected Leo's advances and maintained that the wedding was never going to happen. "I understand why you [are] upset -- [I mean], I know how much I've hurt you [and] your family -- but if I push through with this lawsuit, it is only gonna get worse," Leo reminded Sonny. "Front-page stories every day for months, [plus] I will have to go to court and tell my story, and it will not be pretty. With my lawyer's help, you will be painted as a sexual predator and a monster, and it will be out there for everyone to hear -- including your daughter," Leo continued. "Don't you dare talk about my daughter!" Sonny countered, glaring at Leo.
"[I'm just] trying to help you, Sonny -- help both of us," Leo replied, undeterred. "Come on, Sonny -- this is the answer! All you have to do is say yes, [and] all of your problems go away! [I mean], I know how terrible this is for your parents -- [not to mention] your Uncle Victor, [whose] health is fragile. If the stock continues to plummet [until] Titan finally goes under, [and then] he has another heart attack...[well, I'm sure] you would never forgive yourself if the worst happened -- if you were the reason why Titan went under and Victor's heart finally gave out. [But] I'm offering you a way out -- a way to avoid all of that [and] save your family. You're crazy if you don't take it. But it's now or never; the case goes to court tomorrow, and I need your decision [before then]," Leo continued, ignoring Sonny's repeated -- and increasingly heated -- demands for silence.
Sonny gave the matter some thought and ultimately realized that Leo was right. "Okay, I'll do it. I'll marry you," Sonny grudgingly assured Leo -- just as Will entered the mansion. "You're going to marry this loser?" Will asked Sonny incredulously. "Stay out of this, Will," Leo tiredly snapped. Ignoring Leo, Will demanded an explanation from Sonny, who evasively agreed that Will needed to stay out of the matter.
"Like hell I'm staying out of this! I'm not letting you throw your life away by marrying this son of a bitch!" Will insisted. "Nobody asked for your opinion. You left Sonny and broke his heart. You have no say in this," Leo dismissively argued. "I'm his friend, and I want to stop him from making a huge mistake," Will countered. Will again demanded an explanation from Sonny, who vaguely explained that it was a long story. "I got time, Sonny," Will replied, refusing to leave. Sonny begged Will to stay out of the matter. "I'm doing this for my family," Sonny added. "There you go. You heard him. [Now], get out," Leo impatiently added.
Will again refused to budge. "I know he's pressuring you, but you don't have to do this," Will assured Sonny, handing over John's report. "Take a look at this [and] see what John and Paul found out about this guy," Will urged Sonny. Stammering, Leo dismissively insisted that Will was probably bluffing. "Oh, I'm not bluffing...Matthew," Will replied, causing the color to drain from Leo's face.
"Yeah, Leo's not even his real name. [It's] Matthew Cooper, [and] he has an arrest record; [in fact], he was a prostitute," Will informed Sonny, who was stunned. "Guess we'll be holding off on sending out those wedding invitations," Sonny concluded, turning to face Leo, who tried to dismiss the revelations as minor details. "[They] prove that you're a liar," Sonny pointed out.
"[It's] gonna be bad for you if this comes out," Sonny warned Leo, who argued that Sonny wouldn't look any better for blaming the victim. "[This won't] save you the way marrying me will," Leo insisted. Sonny allowed for the possibility that Leo was right but spat, "I'll take my chances in court, Matthew, 'cause I would rather be honest than spend my life with you. Matter of fact, I don't want to spend another minute with you."
"You heard the man. So, why don't you get the hell out...before I throw you out?" Will threateningly suggested while getting right up in Leo's face. "You've ruined everything!" Leo grumbled, wrapping both hands around Will's neck. "He said yes! I could have had everything, but you couldn't keep your damn mouth shut!" Leo continued, squeezing tightly. "Let him go!" Sonny demanded, shoving Leo away from Will.
"Are you okay?" Sonny asked Will worriedly. "Yeah, I'm fine," Will assured Sonny between gasps for breath. "Look," Will added, turning Sonny's attention to Leo, who was facedown on the floor. "Leo! Hey, you okay?" Will asked while helping Sonny roll Leo over. Leo, who had fallen backward toward the nearby fireplace and had hit the mantel on the way down to the floor, had an open wound above his right eye and wasn't responsive.
Will and Sonny face a moral dilemma
At the hospital, Kayla received a visit from Marlena, who was armed with bridal magazines and desperate for help from her matron of honor.
"Wow -- you're going traditional on me," Kayla observed while looking at the wedding dresses Marlena was considering. "I would have thought you were more of a Pantsuit Nation kind of gal these days," Kayla joked.
Chuckling, Marlena clarified that it was likely going to be a fairly old-fashioned wedding. "John keeps talking about, you know, what I wore when we were married in 1986," Marlena added with a smile. Kayla, looking somewhat confused, pointed out that everyone had still been under the impression, back then, that John was Roman. "Takes the fun out of that memory, doesn't it?" Marlena conceded, suddenly deflated.
"Sorry," Kayla sheepishly stated. "It's okay. I'm just glad we don't have Stefano's reign of terror going on anymore," Marlena replied. "Yeah. Too bad his son's has just begun..." Kayla grumbled.
Marlena assumed that Kayla was talking about Stefan, not Chad. Nodding, Kayla hinted that Abigail wasn't the only person Stefan had taken advantage of in recent months. Marlena probed for more details, but Kayla was reluctant to elaborate, explaining only that the matter was complicated. "I'm good at 'complicated' -- I have a degree in 'complicated' -- so just tell me," Marlena persisted, adding that anything Kayla revealed would, of course, be kept confidential. "You wouldn't say a word to anyone -- not even Steve?" Kayla asked hopefully, eager to confide in someone. "Unless you wanted me to," Marlena confirmed.
Sighing, Kayla hesitantly admitted to having made a deal with the devil -- Stefan -- in an effort to gain access to the bionic eye technology that could potentially restore Steve's eyesight. However, Kayla stopped short of revealing exactly what Stefan had gotten out of the deal, vaguely explaining to Marlena, "I don't want to implicate you...[but] let's just say that I understand now how John felt when he was forced to poison Steve."
Marlena advised Kayla to talk to Steve about the matter. "I can't, [because] if Steve found out [how this all came about], he would refuse the surgery! I know him, [and] he would rather be blind for the rest of his life than be in debt to somebody like [Stefan]," Kayla explained. Marlena warned that keeping such a major secret from Steve would undoubtedly take a toll on Kayla sooner or later. "I don't have a choice!" Kayla insisted, shrugging.
Marlena understood Kayla's dilemma and promised not to press the matter. "[But] be careful. Stefan DiMera is wounded, [having] lost his mother [as well as] the Abigail alter that he thought was the love of his life, and now, with a broken heart, he is more dangerous than ever," Marlena warned Kayla before collecting the bridal magazines and leaving with them. Kayla sighed nervously, knowing that Marlena was right.
Meanwhile, at the Brady Pub, John and Steve discussed the bionic eye technology and tried to figure out how Kayla had suddenly managed to gain access to it -- and why, according to Steve, Kayla didn't seem particularly proud of the accomplishment. John guessed that Kayla, as a doctor, was probably just taking a pragmatic approach to the matter, knowing that the experimental procedure might not even work. Steve hoped John was right.
Changing the subject, Steve optimistically noted that, with any luck, he might even get his sight back in time for his big moment as his friend's best man, meaning that he would be less likely to lose the rings, and he would also be able to see the matron of honor in what was sure to be a beautiful dress. "I just hope [that] if I do get my sight back, I don't see the same pain in Kayla's eyes [that] I've been hearing in her voice," he mused, sighing.
Marlena soon entered the pub and greeted John and Steve, who were in the middle of a toast to the fast-approaching wedding. "I'm really into this whole 'back to the future' thing you guys are doing -- getting married on August 22, the anniversary of your first wedding," Steve raved. "[And this is] the last time I'm getting married, so it needs to stick," Marlena added while teasingly poking John, who was okay with that idea.
John started to share Steve's good news, but Marlena quickly interrupted, admitting that Kayla had already mentioned it earlier. "Did she seem excited about the possibility of me getting my eyesight back?" Steve asked curiously. "Why wouldn't she be?" Marlena evasively replied. "I don't know -- just a feeling I have," Steve explained, shrugging. "It's probably nothing. I guess it's just Kayla being guarded," Steve added.
"Well, it's a lot to take in," Marlena vaguely noted. "[Yeah], I can't quite believe it myself -- one day, I'm facing the possibility of being blind for the rest of my life, and then this miracle falls into my lap from a company I've never even heard of, [and] I'm still not sure how it happened," Steve mused with a shake of the head. "Well, you know what? I don't care how it happened; I'm just glad that it did," John declared as Marlena squirmed.
Stefan followed Gabi from the DiMera mansion to a secluded section of Horton Town Square, where Abigail was waiting. Stefan watched as Gabi handed something to Abigail. Intrigued, Stefan revealed himself and demanded to know what was going on. "You followed me?" Gabi asked incredulously. "Of course I did! You were sneaking around my house [and] acting strange!" Stefan unapologetically confirmed.
"When I walked up, it looked like Gabi was giving you something, and considering that I found her rooting around in my house, I'd like to know what it is," Stefan continued, turning to face Abigail. Gabi tried to object, but Abigail coolly agreed to satisfy Stefan's curiosity. "Thomas left [this] when we moved, and he's been asking for it," Abigail claimed while removing a toy from her purse.
"That's what she handed you?" Stefan asked Abigail incredulously, finding it difficult to understand why Gabi would be so secretive about such a thing. "I didn't want you to take it and use it as an excuse to see Abigail," Gabi explained with a shrug. "She was trying to spare me an awkward moment," Abigail added. "Yet here you are -- extra awkward," Gabi grumbled.
Gabi started to walk away, expecting Abigail to follow, but Abigail insisted on getting a few things straight with Stefan first. After Gabi left, Stefan admitted to still being in love with -- and missing -- Gabby. "Well, you're just gonna have to figure that out," Abigail dismissively replied, adding that Gabby would never be in control again. "And if you really loved Gabby [and] care about me the way that you say you do, you will back off [and] let me live my life with Chad," Abigail continued. Stefan insisted that Chad didn't deserve Abigail. "[But] I would never hurt you. You mean Gabby means too much to me," Stefan added. Satisfied, Abigail left.
At the Horton Town Square, Chad warned about the possibility that Leo might double-cross Kate and tell Sonny the truth. Kate vowed that if that ever happened, Leo would be a dead man. "He [wouldn't] be the only dead one..." Chad fretted. "I'm more than aware of what Victor's capable of," Kate dismissively assured Chad, who wasn't just worried about what Victor might do to her.
Paul soon approached, startling Kate and Chad, who were still talking about Leo and hadn't even been bothering to whisper. Paul assured Kate and Chad that, thanks to John's investigative skills, Leo would probably be neutralized soon enough. "His real name's Matthew Cooper. He's a prostitute [and] a petty thief with a, uh, pretty sizable arrest record," Paul reported as Kate and Chad feigned surprise. "We believe he [has been] working with an accomplice [to cover his tracks]," Paul added. "Do you have any idea who that might be?" Kate asked innocently. "Not yet," Paul admitted. "Hope you find them," Chad casually stated. "Oh, we will," Paul promised.
After Paul walked away, Kate and Chad fretted about the development, still not bothering to whisper. "I really wish I had never gotten involved with Leo in the first place," Kate admitted with a sigh. "It's a little late for second thoughts," Chad pointed out. Nodding, Kate hoped that Leo would accept the settlement offer -- soon -- and that Justin would still be willing to honor it after hearing what John had discovered about Leo's past. Chad promised to find a way to convince Justin to go through with the settlement. Meanwhile, Gabi approached to say hello. Chad rushed off in search of Sonny, sensing that Gabi wanted to talk to Kate privately.
Once the coast was clear, Gabi wondered why Kate had lied earlier. "[See], I heard you and Stefan talking in the living room, [and] it sounded like he was putting the screws to you -- and then I heard something about Chad," Gabi revealed. "Whatever you think it is that you heard, it's not important," Kate insisted. "I'm your friend, Kate -- [and] your ally," Gabi stressed, still hoping to convince Kate to open up about what was really going on.
"I know that he has something hanging over your head, and I want to know what it is," Gabi continued. "Sometimes you can't get what you want," Kate replied with a shrug before walking away.
Chad ran into Stefan while passing through a secluded section of the town square. "Just missed Abigail," Stefan revealed, provoking Chad. "Before you rupture a blood vessel, I ran into her by chance," Stefan quickly added, but Chad wasn't convinced. "Chad, I don't have a death wish here. I know how threatened you feel about me spending time with your wife -- you know, given our connection and everything," Stefan stressed.
Chad insisted that Stefan's so-called "connection" with Abigail had been a delusion. "Call it what you want, but I know what we feel when we're together," Stefan tauntingly replied. Chad walked away, refusing to take the bait.
Abigail went to the hospital to see Kayla. "Is everything all right?" Kayla asked, sensing that Abigail was concerned about something. "Depends on this," Abigail replied, revealing the separately bagged toothbrush and fork.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sonny watched with growing concern as Will checked Leo's pulse. "Will, talk to me! Is -- is he..." Sonny asked worriedly. "Yeah, Sonny -- he's dead," Will confirmed with a sigh.
"He can't be dead!" Sonny fretted. "I didn't mean to kill him, Will -- I mean, he grabbed you, and I was just trying to get him off of you!" Sonny stressed. "When his hands were around your throat, and you couldn't breathe, I just kept thinking about -- all I was thinking about was --" Sonny continued, starting to panic. "Ben," Will guessed. "And losing you again," Sonny added. "I could never let that happen!" Sonny concluded.
"It was an accident, okay? Sonny, it was an accident. You were trying to save my life," Will assured Sonny, who found a bit of comfort in that but insisted that, even so, Will couldn't report the matter to the police. "The man who was accusing me of sexual harassment [and] suing me for millions of dollars is dead -- in my living room, by my hand! If [the police find out], I'm dead, too!" Sonny fretted. Will was quick to point out that Sonny had a witness who could confirm that Leo's death had been accidental, but Sonny feared that even if the police believed that story, it still wouldn't look good in the court of public opinion.
"We're already in a scandal, and now there's a murder!" Sonny noted, panicking again. "It's not 'a murder,' Sonny -- it was an accident," Will reiterated. "No one's gonna believe that, [especially with] the timing of this -- the night before the trial is supposed to start! [And] what's the board gonna think, huh? [And] what about the shareholders? [I mean], this would be the final nail in Titan's coffin!" Sonny maintained, nearly hyperventilating.
"We cannot go public with this! No one can know what happened here!" Sonny insisted. "What are you saying -- that we cover up his death? How?" Will asked incredulously.
Sonny insisted that Will didn't have to do anything. "You should go," Sonny advised Will. "I'm the one who killed him. I'm the one [he] was suing. Okay? You just stopped by to drop off a file. You're not involved. You. Are. Not. Involved. This is on me. So...just get out of here -- while you still can," Sonny continued, urging Will toward the front door. Will hesitated. "I know that you're trying to help me, and I appreciate that, but I need to protect myself [and] my family, [and] this is not your responsibility. You have enough to deal with on your own. Okay? So...just get out of here. I don't want to pull you into my mess," Sonny begged.
Will started to leave then turned to face Sonny again and insisted, "I'm not going anywhere. I don't like this, but, um...we're in it together. [And] if we're gonna do this, we gotta act fast -- before anyone sees him or us."
Sonny wondered if Will was sure. "Yes," Will replied without hesitation. Nodding, Sonny glanced around the room and quickly concluded that it would be best to wrap Leo up in the living room's decorative rug. Meanwhile, Henderson knocked on the closed living room door. Sonny went to see what Henderson wanted then returned and worriedly warned Will, "It's only a matter of time before someone else shows up."
"Yeah, like our daughter," Will replied with a hint of irritation. Sighing, Sonny apologized to Will. "I didn't mean to drag you into this. I know you're risking a lot to help me," Sonny stressed. "Well, I mean, you're -- you're the father of my little girl, so how could I not help?" Will reasoned with a shrug. "Because you're with Paul now, [and] it's not like you remember the life we had together," Sonny pointed out.
"Actually...that's not true," Will admitted. Stunned, Sonny excitedly probed for more details. "We don't have time to talk about this right now," Will pointed out. Sonny acknowledged that Will was right -- but soon started asking questions again, unable to forget about the unexpected development. "That memory -- was it about me?" Sonny asked while moving furniture with Will. "It was, wasn't it?" Sonny concluded, gauging Will's reaction.
"Yes," Will hesitantly admitted, still reluctant to talk about the matter when other things were more important at that moment. "Was it, like, from when we were married?" Sonny asked, unable to drop the subject. "Uh...no, it was from before that. I -- I remembered the first time you told me you loved me, [and] I remember me saying it back," Will revealed. "It was an amazing moment! I mean, [it] truly changed my life," Sonny raved.
Meanwhile, Will received a phone call from Paul, who had just returned to the Martin mansion and had been surprised to discover that Will hadn't returned yet. "Don't answer it. We can't get him involved, [too]," Sonny insisted. Nodding, Will sent the call to voicemail then started helping Sonny move furniture again. A few minutes later, Will and Sonny had Leo's body wrapped up in the rug. "That should do it," Will observed, breathless.
"All right. I'm gonna pull Leo's car around back, and then we'll carry his body through the garden," Sonny replied, equally breathless. Sonny rushed off to the foyer, opened the front door -- and found Paul standing outside.
Tate's custody hearing heats up
At the Kiriakis mansion, Paul wondered if Sonny was in a rush to get somewhere. "It's nothing urgent. What's up?" Sonny asked, trying to sound casual. "I'm trying to get in touch with Will," Paul explained. Sonny claimed that Will had dropped off John's report earlier but hadn't stayed long. "Okay, that's weird, because he's not answering any of my texts," Paul mused. "Sorry," Sonny replied with a shrug.
Sonny quickly changed the subject, thanking Paul for helping to expose Leo's past. "You don't have to thank me. I just -- I really hate what Leo's trying to do to you. And, with any luck, this will be the final nail in that bastard's coffin," Paul replied. Squirming, Sonny cut the conversation short, claiming, while checking the time, that he was going to be late for an appointment if he didn't leave soon.
"I'll walk you out," Paul offered. Trapped, Sonny started to agree then claimed, while patting his pockets, that he was going to have to go back inside the mansion because he had forgotten to grab his keys. "You go ahead," Sonny added. "Okay, uh...see you later," Paul replied with a hint of confusion before starting to walk away. Sonny ducked back inside the mansion, shut the front door, and watched through a window as Paul disappeared from view. Once the coast was clear, Sonny released a sigh of relief then stepped back outside, armed with Leo's keys, and proceeded to move Leo's car to the back of the mansion.
Meanwhile, Will was busy dealing with his own problem -- Maggie, who had joined him in the living room and had been quick to ask about the moved furniture and the rolled-up rug. "Uh...I -- I'm so -- um...oh, God, uh...Ari was, um -- drank some grape juice, and she spilled it on the rug, so...it made a stain, and I was -- so, I was just gonna take -- I was gonna go...clean it," he nervously stammered.
"Well, there's no need! I mean, we've all spilled on this rug from time to time...which is why I keep a solvent handy!" Maggie told Will while removing a bottle of cleaner and a rag from the drawer of a side table. "So, unroll the rug, and let's see the stain!" she continued while advancing toward the rug, armed with her supplies and seemingly excited about the idea of having a challenging mess to tackle.
"Uh...you know what, um...why don't I take this to the cleaners and, you know, have it professionally done? Because it was -- it was grape juice, and there was a lot of it," Will stressed, blocking Maggie's path. "Well, if it's really that bad, and the stain is soaked in, we'll send it out...but I think this solvent will do the trick, so let me just have a look!" she countered, sidestepping him.
Just then, Maggie's cell phone chimed. "Everything okay?" Will asked. "I'm, uh...not sure, but I'm gonna have to go," she replied with a sigh of disappointment. "Here," she added, handing him the cleaning supplies. "Give it a couple of spritzes [and] let it soak in," she advised. "There's never been a stain that I couldn't get rid of [with that solvent]!" she bragged while exiting the living room.
"I think, uh...it's met its match," Will muttered once the coast was clear. Sighing, he set aside the cleaning supplies then began tying pieces of rope around the rug to hold it in place.
Sonny soon returned and told Will that Leo's car was waiting at the back of the mansion. "Was mine in the way?" Will asked. "Uh, no, it was fine...but thank God you parked back there, [because] Paul showed up, [looking for you]. But don't worry -- I told him that you stopped by [and] that you left," Sonny replied. "I hope he believed that. The last thing that we need to do is get Paul involved," Will stressed.
Sonny groaned while eyeing the rug. "I just can't believe this is happening, Will. I killed a guy!" Sonny fretted. "Dude, stop saying that! You didn't 'kill' him, Sonny -- he hit his head! It was an accident!" Will reminded Sonny, who worriedly maintained that no one was going to care about that distinction. "[The bottom line is that] because of me, he is gone! He wasn't a good person, okay, but maybe -- maybe he would've changed! I mean, he had an awful childhood, and --" Sonny continued, kneeling beside the rug and reaching out to touch it. "Stop it! Stop it right now!" Will demanded, pulling Sonny away.
"Don't do this to yourself!" Will advised Sonny, who calmed down for a few seconds then started freaking out again. "If anyone finds out that Leo ended up as a corpse in my living room, Titan is finished!" Sonny fretted. "Actually..." Will hesitantly began. Sonny was horrified to hear that Maggie had been in the living room earlier and had seen the rug. "Remind me to thank whoever texted her," Sonny mused, adding that Will was brilliant for having managed, while under extreme pressure, to think of such a believable excuse to explain what had happened to the rug.
"We need to get [Leo's] body in the trunk right now, before someone else shows up," Sonny told Will, who nodded and quickly moved to the opposite end of the rug. Will helped Sonny lift the rug, carry it out to Leo's car, and stuff it in the trunk. Then they drove the car away.
Will and Sonny moved the car to a new location then parked it and fled from the area. Eventually, they paused to catch their breath. "Do you think we parked the car far enough away from the mansion?" Sonny asked. "Yeah, definitely. I mean, it's at least a mile to the industrial park, [and there's] no foot traffic, so, I mean, there's no way anyone spots Leo's car," Will replied. "Okay. But we can't leave it there, 'cause our fingerprints are all over it, and someone -- they're gonna notice an abandoned car, right? Eventually? If they start poking around, we are finished!" Sonny worriedly pointed out. "Yeah, I know!" Will snapped, getting annoyed.
Sighing, Sonny again apologized to Will, who soon calmed down. "I'm just --" Will began to explain. "Freaked out?" Sonny guessed. "Join the club! I killed a guy! I killed him! He didn't deserve to die!" Sonny continued. "I agree...but it happened," Will replied. "And there's nothing we can do about it now, [so] we have to think about you and your family, and we have to come up with a way to cover our tracks," Will continued. "Did anyone [else] see you talking with Leo at the house -- anyone?" Will asked Sonny, who seemed happy to let someone else take control of the situation. "No," Sonny confidently replied.
"So, no one knows we were the last people to see Leo alive?" Will asked Sonny, who confirmed that was true. Sonny wanted to dump Leo's body in the harbor then take Leo's car to the impound yard. Will didn't think that was a good idea, since there was no guarantee that Leo's body wouldn't wash up at some point, and leaving a perfectly fine car at the impound yard for no apparent reason would surely arouse suspicion. Will added that Leo couldn't just disappear right in the middle of a highly publicized lawsuit, anyway, because Sonny would surely be the prime suspect in that case. "So...what if...he doesn't disappear?" Will suggested.
"What do you mean?" Sonny asked, confused. "We have his body. We have his car. What...if we...make it look like he...got into an accident?" Will hesitantly continued, as if simultaneously trying to envision how the plan might play out. "Oh, like, stage a -- a -- like, a wreck?" Sonny stammered. "Run the car into a telephone pole or something and make it look like, you know, he hit his head, and he died," Will elaborated.
"But what about forensics? I mean, wouldn't the cops be able to figure out what really happened?" Sonny pointed out. "I think that's a chance we're just gonna have to take, 'cause right now, I don't know any other way to protect you," Will replied with a shrug. Sonny nodded, realizing that Will was right. Sighing, Sonny offered Will yet another apology, feeling guilty about having dragged him into such a big mess.
"Stop apologizing. Don't apologize. I'm involved because I care about you. Why do you think I got Paul to investigate Leo in the first place? I wanted to help you bring that guy down. I wanted you to be vindicated," Will stressed. Nodding, Sonny eyed Will's neck.
"When he grabbed you..." Sonny began, looking sick. "All I saw was Ben. And the thought of losing you again... I snapped...'cause I know that we're not together anymore, but..." Sonny continued before letting his voice trail off. "Oh. Yeah, I -- I know," Will assured Sonny, who seemed to take that to mean that his ex had guessed where he had been heading with that statement.
Realizing that it was too late to take anything back, Sonny forged ahead with the declaration of love and wondered if Will finally remembered just how serious their relationship had been. "That memory [I had] was, um...it was really clear...like it happened yesterday," Will hesitantly admitted. "But, uh...if -- if you're asking me if that means that, you know, my -- my feelings are coming back, I..." Will began to add.
"You're in love with Paul," Sonny concluded for Will. "I get that. I'm just -- I'm so happy that you're trying to recover your past," Sonny continued. Will locked eyes with Sonny for a moment then suddenly blurted out, "Paul!"
"I should meet up with him -- before he gets suspicious," Will continued. Nodding, Sonny arranged to meet up with Will again later that night so they could stage the accident. As Will started walking away, Sonny thanked him again for the help. "It's okay. We're gonna make this go away. Okay? I don't want you to be hurt any more than you already have," Will replied before continuing on his way.
At the hospital, Lani received an unexpected visit from J.J., who presented her with a vase of flowers. "I'm so sorry," he told her after setting aside the vase. Nodding, she wiped away tears while showing him something she had been staring at when he had arrived -- the paper on which her child's footprints had been recorded. "I was a really good soccer player -- I don't know if I ever told you that," she began. "You made the all-star team when you were, like, twelve years old, right?" he recalled. "Right. [And] I just keep wondering if he would've loved to play soccer," she explained, fighting back fresh tears.
"I know it's not helpful for me to be wondering about things like this, but...for some reason, that is all I can think about," Lani continued. "Then that's okay. Whatever you need to do to mourn," J.J. gently replied.
Changing the subject, J.J. apologized for having waited so long to visit Lani. "I wanted to [come sooner], but I figured you and Eli could use some space," J.J. explained. "[And] I wasn't sure if...if you'd want to see me," J.J. continued, reminding Lani that they had been having a pretty heavy conversation at the time that she had gone into early labor. Lani assured J.J. that he wasn't to blame for what had happened.
"If anyone is to blame for me losing this baby, it's me," Lani told J.J., who was quick to remind her that she'd had a condition that had made her pregnancy a high-risk one. "But why was it a high-risk pregnancy in the first place? Maybe I willed it to be. [I mean], not on a conscious level, but... when I found out I was pregnant with Eli's baby, I was miserable, not wanting a baby -- Eli's baby, anyway -- and not wanting to lose you. And I thought about having an abortion. I just -- I wanted the problem to go away. And it did," she tearfully explained. "Life does not work that way," he confidently assured her.
"I guess not," Lani conceded with a sigh before changing the subject, telling J.J. that the baby had been named David Abraham. "I just really wish my boy could have known that I wanted him...and that I love him so much," Lani said before breaking down in J.J.'s arms. J.J. urged Lani to forgive herself for her mistakes and let go of her guilt, knowing, from his own recent experiences, that was the only way to truly begin the healing process. "[But] the baby -- he wasn't a mistake. He was a blessing. You and Eli made a life together, and he's always going to be with you in some way," J.J. added.
"Let little David Abraham live on in your heart, and think about how much love you had to give him, and [know] that one day, you will give that love to another baby," J.J. concluded. Nodding, Lani thanked J.J. for putting things into perspective and being a good friend. Meanwhile, J.J. received a text message from Theresa, who was at the courthouse, waiting for Tate's custody hearing to resume. Lani urged J.J. to head over to the courthouse to be with Theresa, who could probably use the same kind of support J.J. had just given to Lani. J.J. gave Lani a kiss on the forehead then said goodbye to her and exited her room.
Later, Abe and Valerie arrived, just as Lani was ending a phone conversation with Theo. Abe and Valerie were both glad to hear that Lani hadn't been completely alone while Eli had been resting -- and that J.J.'s visit had brightened Lani's spirits a bit. Valerie guessed, when asked, that Lani would probably be released from the hospital within the next day or two.
Lani was relieved to hear that, wanting to start planning a memorial service for David Abraham right away. Valerie seized the opportunity to present Lani with a blanket and a teddy bear -- items from Eli's childhood. "Now, of course, this is up to you and Eli, but we were thinking that...you two might want to wrap David Abraham in this blanket when you lay him to rest," Abe explained. Lani liked the idea but wanted to discuss it with Eli before making a final decision. Lani declined to accept the bear, though. "Eli might want it someday, when he has a child -- another child," Lani guessed, handing the bear back to Valerie.
At the courthouse, Tate's custody hearing resumed. Brady was stunned when Ted called Maggie as a witness.
Ted forced Maggie to confirm, as a sponsor, that Brady was an addict and had fallen off the wagon more than once -- and that the most recent relapse had occurred just a few months earlier. Maggie was quick to stress that Tate had never been in any danger as a result of Brady's most recent relapse, but Ted forged ahead, forcing Maggie to also confirm that Brady's relationship with Eve had begun as a farce.
Justin objected when Ted suggested that Brady's attempt to trick Eve into a phony marriage was proof that Brady was abusive. "There are no objections in these proceedings, but your point is taken," the judge assured Justin, who, when given an opportunity to cross-examine Maggie, got confirmation that Brady was sober again and that, despite an admittedly unorthodox start, Brady and Eve's relationship had evolved into something solid. The judge thanked Maggie for testifying then called for a brief recess. Maggie tried to apologize to Brady, who dismissively insisted that she had no reason to feel guilty because she had simply told the truth.
"[That] was pretty low, even for Theresa," Brady told Justin after Maggie left. "Yes...but, unfortunately, it was also a savvy legal maneuver, [and] it's possible that Maggie's testimony has hurt us," Justin replied with a sigh. "Well, then, we're just gonna have to fight fire with fire," Eve insisted. "Theresa thinks that she can sling mud at Brady and not get any on her? Well, she can think again!" Eve added, fuming.
When the hearing resumed again a few minutes later, Eve was gone. Justin was quick to inform the judge that Brady had just decided to countersue for full custody of Tate. "What?" Theresa asked incredulously. "You say I'm an unfit father? We'll prove you're an unfit mother," Brady replied, glaring at Theresa. Eve soon returned with someone who, according to Brady, could confirm that Theresa was an unfit mother -- Chloe.
Maggie returned to the Kiriakis mansion and found Sonny in the living room, cleaning the mantel with her solvent. "Oh, Sonny -- there's no need to worry about that. Will told me [about] the grape juice that Ari spilled on the carpet. I see she also got some on the mantel," Maggie observed with a chuckle, unaware that she was actually looking at the remnants of a bloodstain. "Right, yeah, yeah -- her...grape juice," Sonny confirmed, playing along. "And it looks like Will took the rug to the cleaners, after all, even though I told him in wasn't necessary," Maggie continued, looking around the room. "That's Will -- always going above and beyond," Sonny replied.
Will returned to his room at the Martin mansion and found Paul waiting for him there. Paul, who had just finished checking with Marlena to see if she knew where Will was, breathed a sigh of relief and wondered where Will had been hiding all day. Will claimed that he had been working on a story for the Spectator and had missed Paul's calls and text messages because his cell phone had been turned off.
"Well, I'm glad you're back. Um...what do you say we go to the pub, grab some burgers, [and then] catch the fireworks?" Paul suggested. "Um...yeah, you know what, I'm -- actually, I'm still, um, working on it -- on the -- on the story," Will hesitantly replied. "On the Fourth of July? You can't take a break?" Paul asked incredulously. "No, sorry -- I'm just, like -- I'm in the zone, you know what I mean? Um...so I really want to finish it," Will replied.
Nodding, Paul assured Will that was understandable. "I'm just glad I found you! I was starting to get worried [that] something was wrong," Paul added, giving Will another hug. Will sank into the embrace with a sigh of guilt.
Ben begins to unravel
At the courthouse, Theresa protested that Brady couldn't possibly believe that she was an unfit mother. He was quick to remind her that she was the one who had started the custody battle with the claim that he was an unfit father. "Enough!" the judge snapped, silencing them. "Let's proceed," the judge added.
Justin got Chloe to explain what had happened at Mateo's compound in Mexico City. "So, in effect, Ms. Donovan was nearly responsible for the deaths of three people?" Justin summarized at the end of Chloe's tale. "Yes, she was," Chloe confirmed, adding that Theresa had even admitted that when confronted.
Theresa squirmed, concerned that Brady's history of substance abuse didn't seem quite as bad in comparison. Ted quietly assured Theresa that everything was going to be okay. During cross-examination, Ted forced Chloe to admit that the only witnesses to Theresa's supposed confession had been Brady and Eve -- a fact that, according to Ted, was noteworthy because Brady and Eve both had obvious reasons to make false claims about Theresa during the custody hearing. "[But] I would never lie under oath!" Chloe insisted.
"You lied in a child custody case [once before]," Ted countered with a shrug, referring to Chloe's attempt to gain custody of Nicole's daughter, Holly. Ted added that Chloe, as Eve's friend and Brady's ex-wife, couldn't exactly be considered an impartial witness -- and that, furthermore, one could argue that Chloe was indebted to Brady for having helped her buy a nightclub. Ted also seized the opportunity to force Chloe to confirm that Brady had once fled to Canada with Tate, Nicole, and Holly -- the latter of whom had not been in Nicole's custody at that time and had therefore technically been kidnapped. Justin complained to the judge when Ted implied that Chloe's latest revelation served as proof that Brady was not only a flight risk but also a danger to children.
The judge gave Justin an opportunity to redirect, prompting him to wonder if Chloe regretted having pursued sole custody of Holly. "Actually...yes, I do. No one has more sympathy for what Theresa went through than I do -- no parent should ever be without their child -- but Brady is a kind and generous person, and if Theresa can't see that -- can't appreciate what a good man he is -- then...maybe Tate should just be with his father. My son is growing up without his father because [his father] passed away, and I see firsthand what that does to him -- he's confused, he's sad... I just don't think that any loving mother would wish that on her child, so the fact that Theresa would even entertain the idea [of keeping] Tate away from his dad -- I think that should immediately disqualify her from having custody," Chloe replied.
The judge thanked Chloe for testifying then called for a brief recess. Brady followed Chloe out of the judge's chambers and gave her a hug. Chloe hoped that her testimony hadn't done more harm than good.
Meanwhile, Theresa thanked Ted for having done such a good job of cross-examining Chloe. "I just hope it's enough to win the case," Theresa nervously added. "It's hard to say," Ted admitted. "Are you completely certain you don't want to ask for shared custody [instead]?" Ted continued. "Yeah, no, I'm -- I'm absolutely positive. I lived through that as a kid, and it was a total nightmare. I mean, as soon as you get settled into one place, you'd be shuffled to the next, and it was so confusing -- there was two sets of rules, and two sets of friends, and... Look, I know that everyone thinks that I'm doing this because I'm some selfish, jealous bitch who's angry at Brady for moving on with my sister, but it's not that. I just -- I just love my son so much," Theresa replied as Eve, who was checking text messages nearby, listened intently.
Ted watched as Eve left the judge's chambers. "I have one more trick up my sleeve that I think will tip the scales in your favor," Ted assured Theresa.
Meanwhile, Eve found Brady, who was with Justin. "Look, if we want to tip the scales in your favor, there's one more thing we should try," Justin advised Brady, who was surprised to hear that Justin wanted to get Tate to make a statement. Brady refused to allow that. "Brady, you know that Tate would tell the judge that he wants to be with you," Eve pointed out. "He might. He might not. I don't know. But I don't want him to have to make that choice. I'm not bringing my boy into the middle of this. I won't do it," Brady replied. "That's why you deserve custody -- because you're always thinking of your son first," Eve raved, impressed.
When the hearing resumed, Ted called Eve as a witness. Ted established that Eve was Brady's current fiancée -- the latest in a long line of women Brady had been involved with in recent years. Ted suggested that was proof that Brady couldn't provide a child with a stable home environment, but Eve was quick to protest that Brady was actually a wonderful father. "And you're qualified [to make] such a statement? After stealing your daughter's teenage boyfriend? I'm sorry, your late daughter," Ted countered. "Your Honor! He's crossing a line, and you know it!" Brady blurted out. "He's not the only one..." Eve muttered, glaring at Theresa.
Forging ahead, Ted established that Eve had a complicated love life, too -- and had even been a suspect in her late husband's murder case, which was still unsolved. "I had an alibi," Eve stressed. "Right. Of course," Ted skeptically replied. "But...I wonder...how did you get in possession of the amulet [that was a] crucial piece of evidence in that case? [I mean], didn't you tell [the police] that it was Brady Black who planted it in your purse, [meaning that] you were of the belief that [Mr. Black] killed your late husband, Deimos Kiriakis?" Ted continued, adding that the police did, in fact, agree that the person who had stolen the amulet was likely the killer.
Eric went to the police station, armed with bags of food from the Brady-Horton Fourth of July celebration, which had been canceled because no one was really in the mood to celebrate. Hope confided in Eric about the possibility that Ciara was with Ben. "Hope, I know Ben being released has a lot of people on edge, but...I have to trust my mother's judgment. I mean, she would not agree to Ben being released if she thought he was still a danger to society," Eric stressed. "Of course he's still a danger to society! He killed three people, Eric!" Hope incredulously countered, outraged that not everyone saw the matter the same way she did.
"According to my mother, [Ben's] doing really well on his meds," Eric calmly continued. "What if he's off his meds?" Hope fretted.
Meanwhile, Rafe went to see Tripp and Claire, who were both stunned to hear that Ciara might be with Ben. Tripp and Claire both assured Rafe that Ciara had sounded fine during their phone conversations with her.
After Rafe left, Tripp tried to put a positive spin on the revelation, reasoning that Ben wouldn't have been released if he were still a threat to society. Claire didn't share Tripp's optimism. "You didn't know [Ben]! He was an animal! And now Ciara's [possibly] with him, and it might be our argument that put her there! Tripp, he is evil! I swear, if something happens to Ciara, I -- I --" Claire fretted before starting to hyperventilate.
Tripp grabbed a nearby sandwich bag, handed it to Claire, and coached her on how to use it to get her breathing back under control. After calming down, she thanked him for his help and admitted, while resting her head on his chest, that she probably wouldn't have been able to get through the previous few days without his help. He returned the sentiment. Sighing, she lifted her head, locked eyes with him -- and surprised him with a kiss.
Eric went to Doug's Place, armed with more bags of food from the Brady-Horton Fourth of July celebration. Chloe confided in Eric about what had just happened at Tate's custody hearing. "I wish Brady and I were closer. I'd offer support, but after everything that happened with Nicole, I doubt he'd even accept my help, anyway," Eric mused with a sigh. "You're probably right...especially since Nicole's name came up," Chloe replied.
Eric was sorry to hear that Theresa's lawyer had used Chloe's past mistakes as ammunition. Nodding, Chloe expressed regret for those mistakes. "[I'm just] grateful that you convinced me to give Holly back to Nicole [in the end]. I'm glad that we were able to do the right thing before she left town," Chloe told Eric. "Yeah. Um...so, have you heard from her [since then]?" Eric asked curiously. "I haven't heard a word...[and], frankly, I'm kind of surprised, [but] maybe she's just trying to keep her distance from Salem. I know that she never meant to come between you and Brady," Chloe replied. "I still think Brady put her up to leaving," Eric grumbled.
"You know, I've been trying like hell to find peace without having all the answers," Eric added, sighing again. "But I'm sure it's hard to not wonder what might have been," Chloe guessed.
Rafe returned to the police station and assured Hope that neither Tripp nor Claire had gotten the sense that Ciara was in danger. Hope soon received a phone call from someone. "That was Ben's doctor. [Ben] was supposed to have checked in by noon today, and he never called. God, Rafe, what if he knows that we're looking for him, and that's why he's dropped off the face of the earth -- with Ciara?" Hope fretted after ending the call.
Ciara was alone in the cabin, reading a book, when Ben burst through the front door and slammed it shut. "Are you okay?" she asked. "No, Ciara, I'm not okay -- at all! We have a big problem!" he replied between gasps for breath. "I put off refilling my meds so I could come back here and take care of you, but now I'm completely out, and I can't get more, [because] when I went to fill my prescription [at this] shopping center [that's just] three miles away, [it] was crawling with cops! [And] I overheard one of them talking on the -- on the little radio they have. [Turns out] that the Salem police put out an APB on me!" he added, sweating profusely.
Ben assumed that Ciara was to blame, but she assured him that she had never told her mother that he was the one who was taking care of her. "Why would I want to say something that would get you in trouble? I wouldn't do that to you!" she stressed. "Okay, okay, okay, okay! I'm sorry!" he replied. "It's just that I'm feeling a little on edge right now [because] I need my meds!" he continued, clawing at the collar of his shirt.
Ciara wondered if Ben could think of any reason for the cops' sudden interest in him. "Because they hate me -- that's why!" Ben replied, adding that there was no other explanation because he had done nothing wrong during his recent visit to Salem -- which had been a very brief visit, in any case. "[I just went there] to try to make amends with Will, [but then] Chad saw me [and] flipped out, [so he] took me and dropped me off onto Route 17, where I found you," Ben continued. "My bike wreck was on Route 17. [And] I know that my mom found my bike, so maybe...somehow, she must have figured out that -- that we were together," Ciara guessed.
Ciara offered to contact Hope and explain that everything was fine. "She's never gonna understand! She's gonna think that I caused the accident on purpose [so] I could lock you up here!" Ben fretted. "She won't, Ben -- I swear! Hey, if anything, she will be grateful!" Ciara countered. Ben wasn't convinced. "I'm not gonna go back to the sanitarium! I can't!" Ben insisted. "You won't, Ben -- I swear you won't!" Ciara promised.
"[Look], we can't stay in this cabin forever, okay? We -- we're gonna need more supplies [soon]. We really can't go on like this much longer. And -- and aren't you supposed to check in with your doctor today or something? Ben, please -- you need your meds," Ciara continued as Ben struggled to stay composed. "I'm fine," he dismissively assured her while scratching a vein in his neck. "No, you're not fine," she insisted.
"Please, just let me help you -- the way that you helped me. Please, Ben. You can trust me," Ciara continued. "I don't trust you!" Ben snapped, tossing the burner phone to the floor. "Just shut up! Just shut up and let me think!" he added, stomping on the device as he spoke each word.
"Oh, Ben. I really, really wish you hadn't done that," Ciara said, sighing. "Bet you wish you had let me take you to the hospital, too, [back when] you had your chance. And I would have taken you. But now you're not going anywhere," Ben countered. "And you're not using that, either," he added, noticing that she was eyeing her own cell phone, which was charging on a table near her bed. He pointed out that, unlike the burner phone, hers could be traced. She assured him that she didn't want to use it, anyway, because she didn't want to be found.
"Oh, you liar! You're such a liar! You're just like everybody else!" Ben snapped at Ciara. "I didn't want to have to do this to you, but you made me," he added, breathing heavily again. "Do what to me?" she asked, confused. "Cuff you to the bed!" he replied, as if the answer should have been obvious.
Still confused, Ciara waved her hands in the air in an effort to show Ben that he hadn't cuffed her to the bed. "Then who did?" he asked, suddenly confused himself. He could clearly see that she was, indeed, cuffed to the bed -- because he was suddenly having trouble separating what had happened at the cabin in the past with what was happening at the cabin in the present.
Ciara, still not sure exactly what was causing Ben's delusion, tried to assure him that he was simply seeing things because he was off his meds. "No! You're tricking me, Ciara! I can see you!" he insisted. "I'm not tricking you! I'm on your side!" she replied. "Shut up, you lying bitch! You are not on my side, because nobody's ever on my side! You're a lying little whore, just like the rest of 'em!" he spat. Suddenly nervous, she reached for her nearby knife and clutched it tightly. "What are you doing with that?" he demanded to know. "You gave it to me...for protection," she reminded him.
"You think you need protection from me. You think I'm a killer. That's what everybody else thinks. Maybe I am," Ben admitted with a shrug while staring at Ciara with wild eyes.
Ciara tries to keep Ben from snapping
J.J., who was dressed for work, ran into Eric outside the Brady Pub. "I'd invite you in for dinner, but it looks like you're on duty," Eric observed, prompting J.J. to clarify that his shift had actually just ended -- but he couldn't accept the dinner invitation because he was on his way over to the courthouse to see how the custody hearing was going. "I should fill you in [first]," Eric insisted. "It's not going very well, is it?" J.J. guessed, sighing.
"I heard you when you told me not to get tangled up with Theresa, but I felt sorry for her," J.J. admitted to Eric as they got settled at a table inside the pub. Eric maintained, in the most loving way possible, that Theresa was a constant source of chaos -- usually of her own creation -- and that J.J. needed to distance himself from her. "I admire your loyalty, but Theresa has to earn that. [And] if she needs a place to stay, she [should] go back to L.A. [and] live with her parents. [I mean], you have enough [problems] of your own to handle [already]," Eric added. "I'm handling that...[and] I can handle Theresa, too," J.J. insisted, refusing to budge.
"The thing is, Eric, um...after seeing what Lani went through -- losing [her] baby -- it makes me want to help Theresa even more," J.J. continued. "It's not the same," Eric pointed out. "Why not? Brady told Theresa that he's trying to stop her from even seeing Tate, so if he wins, she will be just like Lani -- her son will be gone forever," J.J. countered. Sighing, Eric complained that, for Tate's sake, Brady and Theresa should be willing to compromise on shared custody. J.J. agreed. "Theresa trusts you. And [Brady's] starting to trust me again. [So], you know what, maybe we can talk to them separately [and] try to defuse the situation," Eric suggested.
At the courthouse, Eve reluctantly admitted to having once accused Brady of killing Deimos. "[But] I never really believed that; [I was just] angry at Brady, and I was trying to get back at him. [And] I don't know who actually put [the amulet] in my room; I just [assumed] it was Brady," Eve stressed. Ted reiterated that the amulet was significant because it was believed that the person who had stolen it had also killed Deimos.
During cross-examination, Justin established that Eve didn't have any proof or knowledge that Brady had been involved, either directly or indirectly, in Deimos' murder.
The judge thanked Eve for testifying then called for a brief recess. Theresa immediately pulled Ted aside and quietly demanded to know where he was getting his information. "I told you -- when I take a case, my team does a complete background check on the opposition," Ted reminded Theresa. "Yeah, well, you went too far! You made it sound like Brady's a murderer!" Theresa complained. "You told me to take the gloves off," Ted pointed out. Sighing, Theresa fretted that Brady was never going to forgive her. "It had to be done. You want custody of your son, don't you?" Ted reasoned with a shrug.
Meanwhile, Eve tried to apologize to Brady, who dismissively insisted that she had simply told the truth. "But [Theresa's lawyer] twisted all my words around [and] made the judge think that you're some kind of killer!" Eve grumbled. "And, unfortunately, since Deimos' murder has never been solved..." Justin added. Nodding, Brady wondered if Justin knew of any way to undo the damage. "It's risky, [but] you could testify that you have absolutely no idea who killed Deimos -- assuming that's the truth," Justin suggested. Brady squirmed as Justin and Eve waited for an answer.
When the hearing resumed, Justin called Brady as a witness. "Did you kill Deimos Kiriakis?" Justin asked. "No, I did not," Brady replied. "And where were you the night that he was killed?" Justin continued. "I was at home. I was recovering from extensive heart surgery," Brady explained, adding that his grandfather could vouch for his whereabouts.
During cross-examination, Ted pointed out that Deimos had been killed sometime after midnight. "Can your grandfather state -- honestly -- that he stayed by your side the entire night?" Ted asked. "No," Brady admitted. "Well, then, it's possible --" Ted began to stress. "That I got out of my sickbed after recovering from surgery, and got in my car, and drove across town, and stabbed Deimos Kiriakis in the chest, and then drove back without my grandfather knowing [that I was ever gone]? Yes, it's 'possible'...but it didn't happen, because I didn't do it," Brady tiredly insisted.
Undeterred, Ted argued that if Brady was truly innocent, it was still possible that Eve really had killed Deimos, after all -- especially since the amulet had been found in her possession. Brady was quick to point out that Eve had an alibi, but Ted countered that Chloe -- who, according to Ted, had just lied for Brady a short time earlier -- could have lied for Eve, too. Brady insisted that Eve wasn't capable of murder because her own daughter had been a victim of murder. Ted expressed skepticism, noting that Eve had an unsavory past -- one that Brady's brother Paul had exposed at Brady's request.
Brady dismissively pointed out that none of that was relevant to the matter of Deimos' murder. Ted continued pressing the issue until Brady finally blurted out that the amulet had only been found in Eve's possession because he had planted it there. Satisfied, Ted went back to placing the blame for Deimos' murder on Brady, reiterating yet again that the person who had stolen the amulet had likely also killed Deimos. Brady explained that he had simply found the amulet sometime after Deimos' murder. Brady claimed to have forgotten exactly how he had stumbled upon the amulet, and although Ted was skeptical, Brady stuck to that story.
"Can we come back from this or not?" Brady asked Justin during yet another recess. "I honestly don't know. I'll do my best," Justin replied, shrugging.
After Justin walked away, Theresa approached Brady and Eve and made it clear that she had never signed off on what her lawyer had just done. "You claim to love Brady so much, and yet you told the cops that he murdered Deimos?" Theresa asked incredulously, glaring at Eve. "Your lawyer, Pepé Le Pew, brought all of that up!" Eve pointed out, referring to Ted's French accent.
"Well, you should have protected [Brady]! You should have lied!" Theresa told Eve. "She was under oath!" Brady stressed. "I don't care! I would have done whatever it took to protect you!" Theresa countered. Brady bitterly agreed that there was truly no line Theresa was unwilling to cross. "That's one of the reasons I'm with [Eve instead]," Brady added. "It's also why you're in this mess," Theresa shot back before storming off.
At the police station, Rafe tried to keep Hope calm, pointing out that Ben's missed appointment didn't necessarily prove that Ciara was in danger. Rafe vaguely added that there might be another way to locate Ben.
J.J. returned home and found Theresa sitting on his bed, eating a bowl of their favorite chocolate-flavored cereal. "Do you have to buy skim milk?" she complained. "I like it," he explained with a shrug. "Bet you don't have any of those little marshmallow things, either," she grumbled. "Sorry. So, I'm guessing today was pretty much a disaster for you," he replied. "I wouldn't say that, exactly..." she admitted, sighing.
J.J. was stunned to hear that Theresa's lawyer was trying to pin Deimos' murder on Brady. "J.J., if [Brady] goes away for this, it'll be my fault," Theresa fretted.
Brady and Eve returned to the Salem Inn and immediately began discussing what had happened earlier. Eve assured Brady that she had always known that he had planted the amulet on her, and she wasn't upset with him for doing so. "Well, then, [do you also] think that I was the one that killed Deimos?" Brady asked. "I think Victor is the one that whacked him, and I think he gave you the amulet to use against me," Eve replied. "Well, that was Victor's original plan -- he even broke Xander out of prison to make that happen -- but it didn't go down that way," Brady clarified. "And how do you know all this?" Eve wondered, suddenly concerned.
"It wasn't me," Brady assured Eve. "[Then] did Victor do the job himself?" Eve asked. "No," Brady replied. "All right, well, if it wasn't you, and it wasn't Victor, [then] how did you end up with the amulet?" Eve wondered.
"I got it from the person who did kill Deimos," Brady admitted. "You know who killed Deimos?" Eve asked incredulously. Brady confirmed the suspicion -- and expressed shame while elaborating that he had kept the killer's identity a secret not to protect the person but instead to use the information to his advantage. "Well, who was it?" Eve wondered -- just as Eric approached the door to her hotel room, which had not been shut tightly.
Rafe took Hope to Statesville to question Clyde, who was stunned to hear that Ben had been released. "Well, good for him. They're sayin' he's all better now?" Clyde asked curiously. "They are," Rafe confirmed. Hope wondered if Ben had reached out to Clyde recently. "Why are you lookin' for him?" Clyde evasively replied. "I think he may have taken my daughter," Hope explained.
Clyde insisted that Ben hadn't been in touch recently. Hope and Rafe both expressed skepticism, but Clyde maintained that he was hearing about his son's recent release for the first time -- and that his stunned reaction to the news should have been enough to prove that, especially to a pair of seasoned detectives. "Have you talked to Jordan?" Clyde asked. "No," Rafe claimed, surprising Hope.
"Do you have any way of reaching [Ben]?" Rafe asked. "Why should I help you?" Clyde replied. "Because my daughter's life could be in danger!" Hope stressed. "But you just said that they gave Ben a clean bill of health," Clyde countered. "Well, if he's done nothing wrong, he has nothing to fear," Hope pointed out, shrugging. Clyde denied having any knowledge of Ben's whereabouts and also denied having any way to get in touch with Ben.
"How about you make a public appeal on the news?" Hope requested. "Well, I could probably get [Ben] to listen to me -- you know, I am in the boy's head -- [but] I think you two are forgettin' just how hard you worked to put me behind bars...and how you were always in my business. [But] I haven't forgotten, so I think I'll just sit this one out," Clyde replied, standing to leave. Hope begged Clyde to reconsider.
"Aw. Payback's a bitch, isn't it?" Clyde tauntingly mused, prompting Hope to lunge forward in anger. Rafe held Hope back as Clyde flashed a triumphant smirk.
Meanwhile, back in Salem, Tripp quickly pulled away from Claire's unexpected kiss and demanded to know what she was doing. "I'm sorry. God, I don't know what just came over me," she admitted with a sigh. "It's okay. You don't have to apologize. I mean, everything's a mess right now, and we're both going through it," he assured her.
"It's just...ever since Theo broke up with me, I just...feel kind of lost, you know? But when I'm with you, I just -- I feel safe again. [But]...I know that you don't feel that way about me," Claire told Tripp. "You don't feel that way about me, either, Claire, okay? You're just -- you're just looking for someone to comfort you," Tripp replied.
"Actually, that's -- that's not totally true..." Claire hesitantly admitted to Tripp, who was surprised to hear that she hadn't been able to stop thinking about him since the night they had nearly slept together. "You remember how you had that crush on me, [right]? Well, what I didn't tell you [then] is that I kind of liked you, too," she revealed, adding that he had always understood her better than anyone else had.
"Look, Claire..." Tripp awkwardly began. "You're into Ciara now," Claire preemptively concluded. "[But] I don't think that those feelings [you had for me] went away," Claire continued. "Maybe you're right. Maybe that's why that night almost happened. But that doesn't change the fact that I want to be with Ciara. [And] she may never forgive me for hurting her like I did, but that does not mean I'm going to give up, okay? [I think of that night as] one of the worst mistakes of my life, [and when we find Ciara], I am going to make things right," Tripp stressed, trying not to sound too harsh. "I get it," Claire muttered, giving Tripp a nod.
Changing the subject, Tripp wondered if Claire wanted to help him distribute more missing-person fliers. She declined, claiming that she was tired. "Sorry if I made you feel bad," he said. "Don't worry about it, Tripp. You're fine. I'm tough. You know, a week from now, I'll probably be after some other guy. You're not that special," she teasingly replied, forcing a smile -- one that faded as soon as he exited their apartment.
At the cabin, Ciara assured Ben that she didn't think of him as a killer. "Then why are you holding that knife?" he wondered. "Because you're kind of scaring me right now...but only because you can't get to your meds. That's what's making you see things that aren't there [and] making you think that I'm out to get you," she explained. "Or maybe getting off that stuff is letting me see things clearly for the first time since I went on it. Maybe underneath, I haven't changed at all," he countered, shrugging. "I thought I was getting better, but if it's the meds that are making me act that way, then I'm still as screwed up as I ever was," he added with a sigh.
"I don't know what to think anymore," Ben admitted to Ciara before suddenly noticing that she was cuffed to her bed again. "Did I do that?" he asked worriedly, prompting her to reiterate that he was simply seeing things.
"She's lyin' to you, boy," Clyde insisted, suddenly appearing in a corner of the cabin. "She's tryin' to trick you, make a fool of you -- same as that slut Abigail did," Clyde continued.
Ciara watched, confused, as Ben approached the corner, fixated on what he saw there. "What are you doing here, Dad? You're supposed to be in prison. If they catch you here, they'll never let you out again," he said aloud.
"Don't you worry about me, son. You're the one in a pickle. Hope Brady is tryin' to bring you down," Clyde warned as Ciara tried to explain to Ben that Clyde was just another hallucination. "[Ciara's] usin' you, son -- just like her cousin Abigail did. It's in their blood, you know? You can't trust a word she says. I'm sure she's workin' with her mama, tryin' to get you sent back to that place," Clyde advised Ben.
"She wouldn't do that," Ben insisted. "Come on -- don't you get it? It's all an act! They laid a trap, and you have walked right into it! Bet the whole town is in on it! Chad dumped you here so you could find little Ciara by the side of the road, [and] now she's gonna swear that you held her hostage, and that leg of hers is all your fault! Open your eyes, Ben! Everyone is out to get you, including Ciara!" Clyde maintained.
Ciara continued trying to get through to Ben, who remained focused on Clyde. "You've got to put a stop to their plan," Clyde advised. "How?" Ben asked. "I think you know how," Clyde replied, producing a necktie.
"I can't hurt Ciara. She's the first person to be decent to me in ages. And she's been through so much," Ben protested. "You mean that sad little story about her being raped? She made it up to get you to feel sorry for her!" Clyde insisted. "Even if she did...I can't strangle her! I'm not that man anymore!" Ben maintained as Ciara listened. "Okay, you don't have to do that. Fire's a whole lot easier, anyway," Clyde conceded.
"Stop! Stop! Stop! I don't want to hurt anybody anymore!" Ben told Clyde before suddenly noticing that Ciara was reaching for her cell phone. "What are you doing? How'd you get out of those handcuffs?" Ben demanded to know, turning to face Ciara. "She was just gettin' ready to call her mama! You gotta stop her! You know I'm right!" Clyde insisted. Ben relayed Clyde's accusations to Ciara, who firmly denied them.
"I would never [trick you] -- not after everything that you've done for me. Ben, I'm telling you the truth -- your father is not here right now!" Ciara assured Ben while holding her knife protectively. "She's lyin' again," Clyde maintained. "Stop lying to me!" Ben shouted at Ciara, who repeated that Clyde was just a hallucination. "Oh, man, she is good. Don't you get suckered in," Clyde advised Ben.
"I don't know what's real anymore," Ben admitted between sobs. "Me. I'm real. It's just you and me in this room together," Ciara assured Ben, setting aside the knife. "Take my hand, Ben. You can feel it, because it's real. Clyde can't say that, because he's not," Ciara continued. "It's a trick! Don't you fall for it!" Clyde warned Ben, who ignored the advice and took Ciara's hand.
"See? It's just you and me. No one else is here," Ciara assured Ben, who calmed down and saw, when he looked back at the corner again, that his father was gone. "I could've sworn my dad was right here," he admitted, shaking his head in disbelief. "What the hell is wrong with me?" he worriedly wondered. "You have a chemical imbalance, and you need your meds to control it," she explained.
Ciara urged Ben to go back to the nearby pharmacy and refill his prescription before the place closed for the night. "Okay," he agreed before starting to leave. "This isn't a trick, is it? You're not gonna call your mom when I'm gone?" he asked hopefully. She confirmed that he could trust her and that she was only trying to help him, not get him in trouble. "Look, I'm gonna shut this off, okay?" she added, turning her cell phone on and back off. "See? I'm not going anywhere. I couldn't, even if I wanted to," she assured him. He apologized for frightening her and thanked her for talking him off the ledge -- something that she seemed particularly good at doing.
At the police station, Hope and Rafe noticed that Ciara's cell phone had recently been turned on. Meanwhile, Ciara, alone in the cabin, repeatedly stressed that Ben wasn't going to hurt her and that everything would be fine once he started taking his meds again. She soon drifted off to sleep. When she awoke, the cabin was on fire.