At the DiMera mansion, Ben admitted to being surprised about receiving a phone call from Ted Laurent, of all people -- the long-lost lawyer who had seemingly fallen off the face of the earth a few months earlier. "So, Ted...I'm curious about your travels," Ben casually began to add. "You left me high and dry, [so] the least you could do is tell me where you've been hiding," Ben continued.
Ted vaguely claimed to have been dealing with business in another town for the past few months. Before Ben could probe for more details, Ted changed the subject, explaining, "[Anyway], I'm calling you because I have a fantastic idea -- a way we can actually restore your reputation!" Ben tried to decline the offer, but Ted forged ahead, elaborating, "I know someone confessed to planting evidence to make it look like you started that fire, [and] I would bet good money that the cops were in on it, [so] what do you say we sue Hope Brady [and] the Salem P.D. for false arrest, harassment, and defamation? We could make millions!"
As Ben again tried to decline the offer, Ted continued, "I'm telling you, Ben, this is a slam dunk...but before I can proceed, I need to know all the facts. I need to know if you tried to kill Ciara Brady or not. [And] don't worry, Ben -- everything you say about [the fire] is covered by attorney-client privilege, [and] I can assure you [that] I will not share your confession [with] a single soul."
Ben walked over to Stefan's chessboard and picked up one of the kings while coolly insisting, "I can't say anything now. What if the phones are tapped?" Stammering, Ted wondered why Ben would ever suspect such a thing. "Well, you just said [that] the Salem P.D. [is] out to get me. They could easily be listening," Ben pointed out. Ted scoffed and dismissively insisted that Ben was getting a bit too paranoid. "Eh, maybe you're right...but, Ted, if you want to talk, we do it in person -- or not at all," Ben replied before ending the call.
At the Brady Pub, Kayla approached the bar and discovered that Ciara was Roman's newest employee. "Ever since Tripp moved out, I, uh...well, I don't really have enough money for the rent," Ciara explained with a shrug. Nodding, Kayla revealed that Tripp had been really bummed out since breaking up with Ciara. Kayla didn't know the reason for the breakup but was hopeful that Tripp and Ciara would eventually be able to work things out.
"I don't think [there's any chance of that happening]...since I have feelings for someone else," Ciara admitted. Kayla was stunned to learn that Ciara was talking about Ben Weston, of all people. "I know, I know -- trust me, I've heard it all before, and I really just can't take another lecture right now, [so] if we could just not --" Ciara preemptively began to beg. "Okay, okay -- [I won't] list the infinite number of reasons that going anywhere near Ben Weston is a bad idea," Kayla promised. "[But] you and Tripp just broke up, [so jumping into] anything new right now [wouldn't be] a good idea...and I would tell you that no matter who the guy is," Kayla added.
"Don't worry -- I'm not 'jumping into' anything," Ciara assured Kayla. "So, you and Ben aren't dating?" Kayla asked, relieved. "No...but I did agree to have dinner with him, if and when he finds a job and a place to live," Ciara clarified. "Well, no offense, but I hope that doesn't happen," Kayla admitted. "Guess we'll just wait and see," Ciara replied with a shrug. Sighing, Kayla left after making Ciara promise to be careful.
Later, Ben entered the pub and greeted Ciara with obvious surprise. "I worked the family angle," she explained while showing off her new uniform. "Nice!" he replied, giving her a nod of approval. "[I also] got a job -- and a place to stay," he excitedly revealed. "No family angle," he quickly added, making her laugh. "[So], how 'bout that dinner?" he asked her.
At the police station, Hope claimed to have gone to Smith Island to get a treasured locket that Abigail had left behind at the Horton cabin during the recent ordeal there. "I was talking to Jen [on the phone] earlier, and she mentioned [the locket, so] I just thought it would be a nice gesture to go out there and get it for her -- and it gives me the opportunity to see [her, since she's] going through a very tough time, as you know," Hope elaborated.
Nodding skeptically, Rafe recalled having argued with Hope earlier about Ciara's relationship with Ben. Rafe guessed that Hope was hiding the real reason for the trip to Smith Island as a punishment of sorts. Hope insisted that wasn't true. "[Well, then, just] give me the locket. [I mean], I'm going right by [the Horton house later, anyway]," Rafe challenged Hope. "I appreciate it, but I can get it to [Jen myself]. I want to see how she's doing," Hope insisted. "[Well, then], I'll take you there," Rafe persisted. "I have a few more things I need to take care of [first]," Hope claimed. "Okay, you know what? You win," Rafe replied before exiting the police station.
Sighing, Hope stepped into an unoccupied conference room to contact Ted. "What do you have for me?" Hope asked. "No confession yet, but I'm not giving up. [Ben] wants to meet in person, [but] if I leave this cabin, Stefan's goons will have me dead by the end of the day, so the ball's in your court. If you can make [the] meeting happen without having me [end] up dead, I'm in," Ted replied. "Oh, I'll find a way. I will do whatever it takes to bring Weston down," Hope vowed. "I can't believe I'm lying to my husband," Hope added, unaware that Rafe had just returned -- and had peeked inside the conference room just in time to hear the undeniable confession.
At Bayview, Stefan refused to believe that Gabby was back. "[You're skeptical because] that little bitch Gabi Hernandez [confessed everything to you], didn't she?" Abigail guessed. "[Yeah, well], baby, this just happened. I mean, I have been inside Abigail ever since they put her back together again, [and] I have had a front-row seat to everything that's happened," Abigail explained while groping Stefan seductively.
"[See], Abigail was already a mess when Chad and her family betrayed her, [and then] Chad kidnapped her [and] sent her into an early labor, [and then he] ripped her right away from her baby, [so] when she came here, she was livid, and then Gabi came and confessed everything to her, and when my girl Abby heard that, she just went off, [and she attacked and] almost killed Gabi, [so] then they threw her [inside] this padded cell, [and] that is when I came [back out]. I knew [that] sooner or later, [she] would pop, and I would be able to break back out again, [and now]...here I am!" Abigail continued, still groping Stefan.
Stefan desperately wanted to believe that Gabby was back. However, Stefan remained convinced that Abigail was just pretending to be Gabby in order to gain an ally. Feeling tortured, Stefan tearfully begged Abigail to drop the act. "Would Abigail do this?" Abigail replied before giving Stefan a passionate kiss. "Abigail would never kiss you -- especially like that. She thinks you raped her," Abigail pointed out after pulling away from Stefan. "I would never do that to anyone --" Stefan began to insist. "Of course not," Abigail agreed before beginning to talk passionately about wanting to be with Stefan again -- immediately.
"[But] the longer that I'm in here, with these shrinks hovering over me 24/7, [the more likely it is that Abigail will] get stronger [and] come back, and then I could be gone -- I don't know, maybe forever," Abigail warned. "God, I want to believe you," Stefan muttered. "Then believe me," Abigail replied with a shrug before giving Stefan another passionate kiss and another seductive grope. "I have to go," Stefan insisted, pushing Abigail away.
"Damn right it's fake, you son of a bitch," Abigail muttered once the coast was clear, wiping her lips in disgust. "Abigail will do whatever it takes to get her children back," she added.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Chad tried to dodge Sonny's questions about Leo's claim that Chad had known about Kate's involvement in the sexual harassment lawsuit. "Why would I keep something like that from you?" Chad asked. "Because of Stefan. You hate him. You've been obsessed with getting back at him for what he did to Abigail. You wanted to use Titan as a weapon to destroy [him]," Sonny guessed.
"Come on, man -- if you did this, then you need to own up to it, okay? You've been my business partner, my best man, and my best friend...and after everything we've gone through over the years, you're my brother," Sonny added. Nodding, Chad reluctantly admitted, "Okay. I knew. I knew, Sonny, and I didn't do anything about it. [But] it's not what you think. [I only found out] after I got the job at Titan."
"How long after?" Sonny demanded to know. "The day that I was hired," Chad quietly clarified. "And you've waited this long to tell me?" Sonny asked incredulously.
"How did you feel, Chad, when everyone thought you were the Necktie Killer?" Sonny asked pointedly. "It was a nightmare," Chad quietly admitted. "Well, that's been my life since the lawsuit was filed! I knew I was innocent, but the evidence was so strong against me that it made me look like the scum of the earth, and once you get tarred with that brush, you can't wash it off! [And] all this time, I have been drowning in guilt over my stupidity and recklessness! [This] hurt my family, my company, and my relationship with my Uncle Vic, [and] I blamed myself the entire time!" Sonny told Chad.
"But you know who I should have been blaming? Kate -- and, most of all, you!" Sonny spat while glaring at Chad. Sighing, Chad promised to find a way to make things right. Sonny told Chad not to bother. "[We're] done, because I don't trust you, and I don't believe you!" Sonny bitterly added. Nodding sadly, Chad apologized and stressed that hurting Sonny had never been the intention.
"I always thought that I could be different [than my father] -- better -- [but then] my hate for Stefan just completely took over, [and] it blinded me. [And then I put my father's] ring on, and I became cold and ruthless, and I became the kind of guy that could stab his friend in the back. [And] I knew I was lying to you -- I knew I had gone too far -- and, believe me, I was sick about it...but I just couldn't stop, [because] I was just driven by this unrelenting desire for revenge," Chad explained with a sigh. "I'll go to Victor, and I'll resign, and you can have your old job back," Chad added. "I don't want my old job back," Sonny dismissively insisted.
"I have way too much going on in my life right now. I finally got back together with Will, and now we're dealing with Leo," Sonny elaborated. "Then let me help," Chad offered. "I don't want your help! Do you understand that? I'm not even remotely close to a place of forgiving you!" Sonny maintained. "Well, I can't forgive myself, either, so..." Chad quietly replied before exiting the mansion.
At the Horton Town Square, Will accused Kate of having conspired with Leo and Ted to frame Sonny for sexual harassment. "You're my family! You're supposed to be on my side! How could you do such a horrible thing to the man that I love?" Will demanded to know, glaring at Kate. "I can't believe that you would make that kind of awful accusation against me, of all people --" Kate began to protest. "Save it!" Will snapped.
"I'm gonna let the two of you work this out..." Gabi interjected before trying to rush off. "Wait," Will demanded, stopping Gabi. "When I first got here, Kate said something about the truth needing to come out. Was she talking about the lawsuit? Did you know about that, too?" Will asked suspiciously. "No, I swear," Gabi insisted. "Then...what were you talking about?" Will asked curiously. "Abigail," Kate revealed, stunning Gabi.
"Why would you be talking about Abigail?" Will wondered. "Well, because, um, Abigail was making these false accusations about Kate and I -- about how we were trying to make her look like she was crazy..." Gabi began to explain before Kate could say anything else. "[See], she's very sick, [and] she's in the hospital right now -- in the mental institution -- and I went to see her, [and] she attacked me, [so] Kate and I, we were just, you know, talking about how that truth needs to come out so she can get the help that she needs. [Anyway], now that that's been cleared, I'm gonna -- I really gotta go," Gabi added before rushing off.
"She's still upset about Bayview. I should go --" Kate began to tell Will. "You're not going anywhere until you've admitted what you've done," Will replied, grabbing Kate's arm.
"I saw an opportunity, and I took it," Kate admitted. "An opportunity to destroy Sonny," Will summarized with a shake of the head. "No. The target was Titan," Kate clarified.
"I was in this terrible place. I had just lost my husband [and] my position at DiMera, and I thought [that] by bringing Victor's company to its knees, I could establish a new base of power," Kate elaborated. "So, the man I love was just collateral damage?" Will asked incredulously. "The man you loved at the time was Paul, and I didn't feel like I had any special obligation to Sonny," Kate explained with a shrug. "But Sonny's not just a random person; we share a child!" Will reminded Kate. "I asked you point-blank if you had anything to do with the lawsuit, [and] you lied to my face!" Will added, hurt.
"I made a terrible mistake, [and] I am so sorry. I really am. I never wanted to do anything to hurt you -- ever," Kate tearfully stressed.
Will wondered if Kate had lied about Ted during their earlier conversation. "I don't have a clue about where Ted is," Kate maintained.
"I really wish there was some way that I could make this up to you," Kate added. "There is -- come clean," Will suggested. "I can't!" Kate insisted. "I'm afraid that if I come clean, Victor is going to make it his mission to destroy me! [Plus], there's a chance that I could go to prison for this!" Kate explained. "I understand. And as disappointed as I am in what you did, I hate the idea of getting you in trouble. You've always been there for me when I needed you," Will replied. "So, you won't say anything?" Kate asked. "No, I won't. You will. Because it's the right thing to do," Will gently urged Kate.
At the hospital, Gabi sneaked into Kayla's office and logged into the computer, using a password that had been written on a piece of paper that had been taped to Kayla's assistant's computer. "Kayla should really fire her assistant for being so careless with her password," Gabi cheerfully mused while printing a new copy of Charlotte's paternity test results -- one that showed that Chad, not Stefan, was Charlotte's father.
Gabi ran into Kayla while exiting the hospital a short time later. Kayla tried to start a conversation, but Gabi ducked into an elevator while claiming to be in a hurry to get somewhere.
Suspicious, Kayla continued on her way to her nearby office, where she noticed a crumpled piece of paper on the floor. "The password to my computer," she curiously observed after opening it.
While passing through a secluded section of the town square, Gabi paused to inspect the new copy of Charlotte's paternity test results. "Congratulations, Chad -- you are the father of a beautiful baby girl," Gabi muttered while reading the document. "Gabi?" Chad asked curiously, approaching Gabi from behind. She jumped and glanced back at him nervously, the paternity test results still fully visible.
Will entered the Kiriakis mansion and greeted Sonny, who was still noticeably upset. "Chad knew," Sonny revealed with a sigh. "I'm sorry, Sonny. [I mean], it's bad enough I found out my grandmother's the one behind the lawsuit, [but] to hear that your best friend stood by and did nothing..." Will mused, also sighing. "How'd it go with Kate?" Sonny asked, eager to change the subject. "I blew up on her [and] tried to convince her to come clean -- now, before Leo can do any more damage to you --" Will began. "To us," Sonny stressed. "I tried my best, but I...I don't know if I got through to her," Will continued.
"You did," Kate insisted, joining Will and Sonny in the living room.
Leo counters Kate's move to clear Sonny
In the interrogation room at the police station, Rafe overheard Hope say to someone on the phone that she did not like to lie to her husband. When Hope realized Rafe was standing behind her, Hope hurriedly hung up the phone. Rafe offered to accompany Hope to Jennifer's house to deliver Abigail's locket, but Hope declined. After Hope left, Rafe started to follow her. Eli stopped Rafe and asked for help on a case. Rafe looked at the doorway.
"Nothing important. I'm all yours," Rafe said as he eyed the exit. Eli asked Rafe what was going on. Rafe explained that something was wrong between him and Hope. With a raised eyebrow, Eli asked Rafe if he had cheated again. Rafe promised that he would never cheat again. "My wife is lying to me," Rafe said.
On Smith Island, Hope met up with Ted at the cabin. As Ted sipped wine and read a book, Ted offered a glass to hope. "I'm not here to socialize," Hope stressed. When Ted noted that Hope appeared tense, she agreed to a glass of wine. Ted suggested that Hope should spend more time on the island to relax. Hope told Ted that Rafe had found her ferry ticket, and she had lied to Rafe about her trip to the island.
At the police station, Rafe told Eli about the ferry ticket and Hope's lie about going to the island for Abigail's locket. Rafe added that he had overheard Hope talking about lying to him. Eli asked Rafe if he had confronted Hope. With a shake of his head, Rafe said he did not want to be that kind of husband. Eli pointed out that Rafe had been about to follow Hope, so he already was that kind of husband. Rafe sighed.
"My gut tells me it has something to do with Ben Weston," Rafe said. Eli agreed that Hope was desperate to remove Ben from Ciara's life. Rafe said he was worried how far Hope's obsession would carry her. Rafe called Jennifer, and he learned that Hope had not visited Jennifer or picked up a locket. Rafe asked Eli to cover for him while he took a trip to Smith Island. Eli suggested that Rafe should call Hope first, but Rafe said he did not want to give Hope another opportunity to lie to him.
In the Horton cabin, Hope told Ted, "I'm protecting my daughter." Hope asked Ted to call Ben back and set up a meeting. "If you want to survive him, you keep up your end of the deal," Hope said. Hope warned Ted that he needed to get a confession, or she would turn Ted over to Stefan. Reluctantly, Ted called Ben.
In the park, Gabi told Chad that she had picked up test results at Kayla's office. Gabi said she had made an appointment with Kayla about her fertility and had learned that nothing had changed. "I'm still angry. I have to admit that, but I can't focus on the people that did that," Gabi said. Gabi said she wanted to focus on her daughter and the life ahead of her.
"I'm very grateful to be alive. I did lose a lot of my bravery in prison," Gabi said. Chad told Gabi that she had a right to be angry. Gabi said she was dealing with her anger, and Chad said he expected good things from Gabi. Gabi suggested they return home for dinner. With a groan, Chad explained that Sonny did not want to see him.
"I knew that the sexual harassment claim was bogus, and I didn't say anything," Chad said. Gabi told Chad that Will had confronted Kate in the square. Gabi added that Sonny and Will would understand that Chad had not wanted to hurt them. With a shake of his head, Chad said he had hurt his best friend.
"I feel like I'm losing my soul," Chad whispered. Chad said he felt like he was turning into Stefano. "I screwed over my best friend, I kidnapped Abigail, I watched as her child got ripped from her arms, and I justified every bit of agony," Chad said. Gabi agreed that things had gotten out of hand but insisted that it did not make Chad a horrible person. Chad said he regretted sacrificing his principles.
"I've lost everything," Chad said. "You never lost me," Gabi said as she took Chad's hand in hers. Chad pulled his hand away and stood up. Gabi told Chad he was a good man. "You have something very, very precious to hold onto. Something that you and Abigail will always share," Gabi said. Gabi reached into her purse. Gabi pulled out her phone and showed Chad a picture of Thomas.
"You have Thomas. And I have Arianna. And that is what is going to help us get through whatever lies ahead," Gabi said. Chad looked at photos on Gabi's phone, and they reminisced. "You've always been there for me, and I didn't deserve it. I hurt you," Chad said. Gabi promised to help Chad get through his problems. Chad thanked Gabi for giving him hope. With a nod, Chad said he needed to get home to Thomas.
"You want to come?" Chad asked. Gabi said she would meet up with Chad later. "Something wonderful will happen for you. I'm sure of it," Gabi said. Chad said he did not deserve to have hope. After Chad left, Gabi looked at the paternity test results that she had hidden in her purse. "Something wonderful will happen for you. I will put your baby in your arms," Gabi whispered.
In the DiMera living room, Stefan imagined talking to Gabby. Gabby told Stefan, "Bring me home." "There is nothing that I would love more than to bring you home so that we can raise our daughter together, but I'm afraid that none of this is real," Stefan said. Gabby countered that she could be real. Ben walked in and asked Stefan who he was talking to in the room. Stefan told Ben to prepare the house for the arrival of Charlotte and possibly the baby's mother.
"Abigail is getting released?" Ben asked. Stefan explained that the phone call had been from Abigail or possibly Gabby but that he was not sure. Ben said he understood Stefan's desperation to have Gabby back. With a nod, Stefan said he did not want to get his hopes up. Ben said he was hopeful that the woman he was interested in would be in his future, as well.
"I'm happy for you," Stefan said. Ben asked for the night off to have dinner with Ciara. Stefan laughed. When Stefan reminded Ben that he had not done anything yet, Ben said he had a lead on Ted Laurent. Stefan asked for more information. Ben's phone rang with a call from Ted. "The man himself," Ben said with a grin.
"Are you ready to sue the pants off the Salem P.D.?" Ted asked. Ben said he was interested. Hope mouthed to Ted to meet in person, but Ted furiously shook his head no. Ben said he could not take the chance that the phones were tapped and asked to meet in person. Reluctantly, Ted agreed to meet Ben in person. Ben said he would wait for information from Ted about the meet-up then ended the call.
At Smith Island, Rafe arrived at the cabin. Hope and Ted were gone, but Rafe saw two glasses of wine and dinner for two on the table. "What the hell?" Rafe muttered. In a hotel in Salem, Hope showed Ted to a room. "By the end of the night, I will have Ben right where I want him," Hope said. In the DiMera mansion, Stefan agreed to give Ben time off for dinner before he met with Ted. "It's under control," Ben promised. With a smirk, Ben walked out.
Stefan's vision of Gabby cozied up to him as he sat in the armchair. "Imagine you allowing yourself to trust in our love," Gabby purred. Stefan leaned forward to kiss Gabby, and she pulled away. "We can be together forever," Gabby teased. Stefan kissed Gabby. With a grin, Gabby sauntered across the room and into the secret passageway. Stefan dropped his head into his hands, unsure of what to do.
In the Kiriakis living room, Sonny lit into Kate for framing him. Kate stressed that Vivian had hired Leo. "I'm ashamed, and I want you both to know that," Kate said. Sonny reminded Kate that Victor and Titan were doing fine, but Sonny was still suffering. Sonny added that Kate had jeopardized her grandson's future and happiness.
"My Uncle Vic always said you were a monster, and I didn't believe it. Hell, I defended you! But he was right. That's exactly what you are!" Sonny barked. Kate said she had been in a dark place when she had taken over Vivian's scheme. "You want forgiveness?" Sonny asked. Kate said she did not want forgiveness.
"You're going to clear Sonny's name," Will ordered. Kate asked if going public was what Sonny wanted. Will told Kate that if she did not tell the truth, "we're done." With a nod, Kate said she understood. "I'll do it. Public announcement," Kate said.
"Do you honestly think that will matter once [Sonny and Will] are in prison?" Leo said as he walked into the room. "Hiya, boss lady!" Leo said chipperly. Leo blamed Kate's conscience for ruining his payday. Sonny told Leo that it was over, because Kate's statement would clear the air. Leo talked about his wedding to Sonny, angering and frustrating Sonny and Will.
"Shall we roll the tape?" Leo asked. Leo played a video with still photos of Sonny and Will cleaning up the crime scene after knocking Leo out. Will asked Leo how he had obtained the photos. "It was Ted Laurent, wasn't it?" Kate asked. Leo confirmed it. Leo explained that a private detective hired by Ted had broken Leo out of the trunk and saved him. With a shrug, Leo said that Ted had planned the blackmail on his own. Leo explained that when Ted had vanished, Leo had had to carry on the plan in his absence.
"I'm going to correct my mistake. I'm going to clear Sonny's name," Kate said. Leo countered that it would not counteract the fact that Sonny had attempted to murder Leo. Leo said Sonny would still need to marry him. With a grin, Leo skittered out of the room. Kate told Sonny he could not marry Leo. With a sigh, Will told Kate to leave. Without a word, Kate walked out.
"I'm so sorry about this," Will said. "This is not your fault," Sonny said. Will promised Sonny that they would fight Leo. With tears in his eyes, Sonny said he did not think he had any option but to marry Leo.
Rafe vows to figure out what Hope is hiding
Tripp entered the loft apartment and greeted Ciara, who was putting on some perfume. "I thought you moved out," Ciara said, confused. "Claire talked me out of it," Tripp clarified with a shrug.
"You tried to talk me out of it [earlier, too...but] it looks like you've changed your mind [since then]," Tripp observed with a hint of disappointment. "[Because] you were right. The two of us [continuing to live] together is not a good idea," Ciara explained. "[Neither] is dumping me for a serial killer...but, you know, who am I to judge?" Tripp dryly countered, prompting Ciara to insist that hadn't been the reason for their breakup.
"So, what changed since the last time we talked?" Tripp asked curiously. "[I mean], Claire said you guys would have trouble making rent if I moved out," Tripp continued. "Yeah, well, I got a job at the Brady Pub, and I will be making more than enough to cover your share," Ciara revealed. "Good for you," Tripp said before sneezing. "Oh, that's right -- I forgot you were allergic to my perfume," Ciara noted as Tripp recovered. "Yeah, well, that's not really [going to be] a problem anymore..." Tripp replied with a hint of bitterness. "Going somewhere special tonight?" Tripp wondered, observing that Ciara hadn't just put on perfume but had also gotten dressed up.
"You have a date with Ben," Tripp realized when Ciara didn't respond right away. "That's what's changed. That's why you want me out -- you're with him now," Tripp continued, scoffing. "Didn't take you very long..." Tripp grumbled. "That is none of your business," Ciara insisted. "Right. Well, you know...have fun, [and] don't let him set you on fire or, uh, strangle you with a necktie," Tripp dryly advised, annoying Ciara.
While hiding out with Hope at a cheap motel, Ted received a text message from Ben, who wanted to meet at 10:00 p.m. "Why so late?" Hope wondered. "He says he has plans earlier," Ted explained with a shrug.
Hope still felt guilty about keeping things from Rafe, but Ted maintained that Rafe couldn't know what was going on. "Don't let [your guilt] get in the way of taking down Ben. You're trying to protect your daughter," Ted reminded Hope. Nodding, Hope admitted to being worried that Ciara would end up dead sooner or later if Ben remained a free man. "I lost a child once. I can't lose another one," Hope added with a sigh.
Hope told Ted a bit about Zack's death. "I'm so sorry," Ted said while putting a comforting hand on Hope's shoulder. "Don't do that," Hope replied, pulling away from Ted. "Sorry. I didn't mean anything," Ted insisted. "I understand. I lost a kid, [too]," Ted added. "When?" Hope asked, surprised. "Like...five years ago?" Ted guessed with a shrug. "You never stop missing them," Ted acknowledged. "No, never," Hope agreed.
"You're not gonna lose your daughter," Ted assured Hope. "I've come close so many times [already]," Hope skeptically replied. "The more I push, the more determined she is to be with Ben," Hope added with a sigh. Ted thought that was normal, but Hope insisted that it wasn't just a matter of a child rebelling against a parent. "[Ciara's] had a terrible trauma in her life," Hope vaguely revealed. "[So], I think that she seeks out unhealthy relationships because she doesn't think she's worthy of anyone else," Hope added. "She was talking to [a therapist, but] she stopped... I should have insisted that she continue..." Hope mused, sighing again.
"She's not a kid anymore, Hope. It's not your fault," Ted argued. "It is. It's all my fault -- all of it," Hope insisted.
Ben went to Doug's Place to make a reservation, but Julie claimed that the club was already completely booked for the evening. "Well, I can see plenty of tables available..." Ben noted. "They're all reserved," Julie maintained. "Ah. For whom? A private party, or...?" Ben asked curiously. "Anybody but you," Julie spat, glaring at Ben. "So, you're just going to refuse me service because you don't like me? [But] that's discrimination, ma'am," Ben pointed out. "Well, I discriminate against serial killers. Sue me," Julie countered, shrugging unapologetically.
"I was just trying to go out and have a nice date," Ben explained with a sigh. "What woman would be insane enough to go out on a date with you?" Julie wondered. "You mean 'insanely beautiful' -- [and] her name's Ciara Brady," Ben proudly revealed. "My granddaughter?" Julie asked, stunned. "You are bringing her to my restaurant over my dead body...and don't get any ideas," Julie told Ben.
Chloe soon approached to make sure that everything was okay. "Everything's fine," Ben assured Chloe. "It will be...as soon as he leaves," Julie agreed.
Sighing, Ben insisted that Julie didn't have to worry about Ciara. "I'm never gonna let her be in harm's way. I care about her a lot. I'm the one that took care of her after the motorcycle accident," Ben continued. "And then you tried to kill her!" Julie countered. "No, ma'am -- I didn't set that fire at the cabin," Ben clarified. "And this is Buckingham Palace," Julie sarcastically agreed.
Julie understood that Ciara was going to continue seeing Ben, with or without the approval of loved ones. "But she's not gonna do it here, [so] get out!" Julie added. Ben nodded and politely wished Chloe and Julie a good night. "And if you lay one hand on my granddaughter, I will terminate you myself!" Julie warned as Ben turned to leave. "I believe it," Ben replied before exiting the club.
John and Marlena caught up with Brady and Claire over dinner at the Brady Pub. "It's too bad Eric can't join us, but he doesn't want to be in the same room with me these days," Brady noted with a sigh. Marlena advised Brady to give Eric some time. Changing the subject, John wondered if Holly knew about what had happened to Nicole. "[Not yet]. I'm gonna meet with [Eric] here tomorrow to help talk him through that," Marlena replied.
After dinner, Brady rushed off, and a short time later, so did Claire -- just as Ben and Ciara met up outside the pub. "Get a room," Claire disgustedly advised as Ben presented Ciara with a bouquet of flowers. "Just, you know, not at our place," Claire quickly added. Confused, Ciara wondered if Claire suddenly had a problem with Ben again. "I don't, but Tripp does, and he lives there, too," Claire reminded Ciara before walking away. "It's like she lives to annoy me," Ciara grumbled. "Don't let her bother you -- especially tonight," Ben insisted. "You're right. Not even Claire can ruin this evening," Ciara agreed, smiling.
Changing the subject, Ben vaguely admitted to having failed to get a dinner reservation. Ciara was fine with eating at the pub, knowing that Roman was already gone for the evening and therefore wouldn't be able to object. However, when Ciara and Ben approached the entrance, they realized that the pub had closed early. "Well, so much for that plan," Ben grumbled. "We could sneak in and cook for ourselves," Ciara suggested, unaware that John had arranged for the pub to close early as part of a surprise for Marlena. "I have a better idea," Ben replied with a grin before leading Ciara away from the pub.
Meanwhile, inside the pub, John filled two glasses with Champagne. "This isn't exactly the honeymoon I had planned for you, sweetheart," John admitted while handing Marlena one of the glasses. "Wasn't exactly the wedding we had planned, either, was it?" she replied. "Yeah, and it's been nothing but chaos since that day," he grumbled. "Another typical year in Salem," she joked.
John stepped behind the bar to turn on a song that Roman had added to the pub's sound system earlier -- the first song John and Marlena had planned to dance to at their wedding reception -- but the device wouldn't start, for some reason. John was disappointed, but Marlena insisted that the music was playing, anyway. "I hear it every time I'm with you," Marlena assured John.
After dancing with Marlena, John produced a small wedding cake. "You have thought of everything," she approvingly noted. "Because you deserve everything," he replied. "The cake might be a little more delicious in the privacy of our own home," she suggestively pointed out. "That can be arranged," he assured her with a grin, getting the hint.
Brady went to Doug's Place to give Chloe a gift for Parker. Chloe thanked Brady on Parker's behalf then wondered how things were going with Eric. "He hates me. He's never gonna forgive me for what happened to Nicole," Brady admitted with a sigh. Chloe optimistically advised Brady not to give up hope that things might eventually get better. While chatting with Chloe, Brady suddenly thought of the perfect way to fix things with Eric.
Meanwhile, Rafe joined Julie at the bar and asked for a shot of tequila. "You seen Hope tonight?" Rafe asked casually as Julie began filling a glass. "No. Why?" Julie replied. "Eh, I just thought, uh, she and Jen might be here for dinner," Rafe vaguely explained. "Should I be worried?" Julie wondered. "I don't know," Rafe admitted with a shrug.
"Rafe!" Julie protested, fearing the worst. "At Thanksgiving, you vowed to me that you would never lie to [Hope] again, [and you said] that your marriage was on very solid ground, [so]...what could have happened already?" Julie demanded to know. "I think she's the one who's lying this time," Rafe clarified, sighing. Confused, Julie probed for more details.
"Hope [said] she was gonna take a locket [over to Jennifer at the Horton house]...but when I spoke to Jennifer, she said she wasn't with Hope [and] wasn't expecting Hope. [So, I went to Smith Island to look for Hope because that's where she said she'd found the locket], and when I went into the cabin, I saw [that] there was a bottle of wine, and there were two glasses on the table, and one of them had [her] lipstick on it. [And] there was a pair of men's boxers on the floor. [And] when I got off of Smith Island, I had a voicemail from [her], saying that she was still with Jen [and] would probably be spending the rest of the night [with Jen]," Rafe elaborated.
Julie conceded that Rafe's concern was understandable. Julie gently suggested that Hope might simply be paying Rafe back for what had happened with Sami. "[I mean], to me, she [has] seemed perfectly happy [lately] in her marriage to you, [so] if -- I repeat, if -- she is cheating, there must be some reason for it," Julie argued. Nodding, Rafe vowed to identify that reason, one way or another.
Claire returned home and found Tripp in Ciara's bedroom, sweeping up shards of glass. "Why does it reek of [Ciara's] cheap perfume [in here]?" Claire asked with a cringe of disgust. "I, uh...I knocked over the bottle and...kind of...broke it into a million pieces," Tripp explained. Claire guessed that Tripp had actually broken the bottle of perfume on purpose after realizing that Ciara had agreed to go on a date with Ben.
"I just saw them outside the pub together, [and] they were all over each other," Claire revealed, cringing again. "I should have never let you talk me into staying here. I mean, what's gonna happen when she brings Ben home, you know? What's gonna keep me from ripping his head off?" Tripp fretted. "There's two of us and one of her, so...why don't we just vote her off the island?" Claire suggested with a shrug and a mischievous grin. "No, it wouldn't be cool to kick Ciara out just because I'm jealous," Tripp insisted. "But it's cool for you to break her perfume bottle just because you're jealous?" Claire countered.
"Will you at least promise me that you'll stay here for now?" Claire begged. Chuckling, Tripp guessed that Claire just didn't want to be left alone in an apartment with Ciara. "No -- I'm worried I'll miss you," Claire clarified. "Oh. Uh...I'd -- I'd miss you, too," Tripp replied. "Does [that] mean that you're staying?" Claire asked hopefully. "For now," Tripp agreed. Thrilled, Claire gave Tripp a hug.
Ben and Ciara ordered Chinese food then went to the park to wait for it to be prepared. "Are you disappointed? I know I promised you, like, a nice dinner out..." Ben noted. "I will take this any day," Ciara insisted. "Besides, I don't want you spending all your money on me. Did you even get your first paycheck from your new job [yet]?" Ciara asked. "Soon. [But I already] got my first assignment," Ben replied. "You haven't even told me anything about [the job yet]," Ciara pointed out. "You are looking at the new 'head of security' -- for Stefan DiMera," Ben hesitantly revealed, stunning Ciara.
"If you're trying to get people in this town to see you differently..." Ciara began to warn. "Then working for Stefan isn't the greatest career move," Ben concluded with a nod. "Ciara, I got turned down by every business in this town. I couldn't even get a job washing dishes at a dive bar," Ben added. "Have you worked security before?" Ciara wondered. "Not technically...[but] I think Stefan is just looking for somebody who can intimidate people...[and], for better or worse, that is my skill set. [And] I think we just...kind of...get each other, you know? From one pariah to another," Ben replied.
Ciara wasn't sure how to feel about Ben's decision to work for Stefan but insisted it wasn't a deal-breaker. "It's your life," Ciara acknowledged with a shrug. "If Stefan ever asks me to do something that crosses the line, I'm not gonna do it. I will quit first," Ben assured Ciara. "What line, Ben? Are you talking about killing people?" Ciara asked nervously. "Anything [that puts] what we have in jeopardy," Ben clarified.
Ben's cell phone soon chimed. "Is it really 9:30 [p.m.] right now?" Ben muttered while reading a text message about the Chinese food, which was finally ready. "What's wrong?" Ciara asked. "I just had a work call [to make]," Ben vaguely explained. Nodding, Ciara volunteered to get the Chinese food so Ben could make the call.
As Ciara walked away, Ben contacted Ted, who wondered where their meeting was going to take place. "Actually, I'm sorry for the late notice, but I'm gonna have to reschedule," Ben informed Ted. "Why?" Ted demanded to know. "I'm on a date, [and] it's taking a little bit longer than expected," Ben explained. Ted was annoyed, but Ben was quick to point out that they had nothing time-sensitive to discuss -- which meant that rescheduling shouldn't be an issue. "Fine," Ted conceded, unable to argue the point without making Ben suspicious.
After Ted ended the call, Hope demanded to know why Ben had canceled the meeting. "He said he was on a date," Ted reluctantly revealed. "With my daughter," Hope realized, horrified.
After Ciara and Ben finished eating, they took turns opening their fortune cookies. "Good things come to those who wait," he read aloud after unfolding his enclosed fortune. "That's kind of cliché, isn't it?" she pointed out. "Yeah...[but] I'm hoping it's true," he replied. "So, I'm a good thing?" she asked. "You are a great thing," he confirmed before encouraging her to check her own fortune. "These things are so stupid, anyway," she grumbled after silently reading it. "What's it say?" he asked curiously. "It says..." she began with a sigh. "It says that my date will end with a kiss...but we already knew that," she claimed before kissing him.
Rafe went back to Smith Island in search of Hope, but when he entered the Horton cabin, he found that it was still otherwise unoccupied. "[Well, you're] gonna come back here eventually..." he noted while carrying the open bottle of wine over to the couch. "And I'll be waiting," he added before settling on the couch and taking a drink.
Lucas makes a big decision that impacts Chloe
At the Kiriakis mansion, Maggie called Sarah into the living room, wanting a second opinion on a holiday dress for Holly. "Who am I kidding? I'm gonna order all of them," Maggie admitted before Sarah could weigh in on the matter. "[Holly] deserves the best of everything," Maggie added. "Yeah, she does...[so] don't you think that it's time to maybe start thinking about her moving in with Eric?" Sarah carefully replied, surprising Maggie.
"Eric is not her father, Sarah. Daniel is her father. And I'm her grandmother. She belongs with me," Maggie insisted. Sarah was quick to point out that Nicole had asked Eric to raise Holly, but Maggie countered that Eric didn't know the first thing about raising a child -- especially alone. "[Holly's] happy here. [She] loves being around Ari, [and] Victor is quite taken with her. [So, unless you're] implying that [we're] too old to keep up with a toddler..." Maggie defensively began to add. Sarah assured Maggie that wasn't the concern. "[I just think] raising Holly is something that [Eric] needs to do to heal," Sarah explained.
Maggie still wasn't convinced that Eric was the best person to entrust with the responsibility of raising Holly. "[He's] a good man, [and] I don't doubt that he loves her...[but] he hasn't always been stable, especially in the face of tragedy," Maggie pointed out. Sarah guessed that Maggie was talking about what had happened to Daniel. Sarah tried to insist that Eric had changed since then, but Maggie argued that Eric was an addict and would therefore always be just one bad day away from a relapse. "[And] for Holly's sake, we can't take any chances," Maggie concluded. Sarah understood Maggie's perspective but remained on Eric's side of the debate.
Sarah begged Maggie to at least talk to Eric about the matter before making any decisions. After a moment of thought, Maggie agreed to do so, if only out of respect for Nicole's dying wish.
At the Brady Pub, Marlena and Eric discussed Holly. "So, I should tell her that her mommy isn't coming back, but she'll always be watching over her," Eric concluded, summarizing Marlena's advice on the matter. "Yeah. [And] make sure she knows how many people love her and will be there for her," Marlena replied. "That's all I want to do -- just make sure she feels loved and safe. It's the last thing that Nicole asked of me," Eric noted, sighing.
After Marlena left, Eric started getting the pub ready to open for another day of business -- and soon received an unwanted visitor. "If you're looking for something to eat, you're gonna have to go somewhere else," Eric said, glaring at Brady. "I'm not here for a meal. [Actually], I want to arrange a memorial service for Nicole," Brady clarified. "I'm already planning a memorial for Nicole. I don't need your help," Eric dismissively replied.
"I loved Nicole, too," Brady reminded Eric. "How can you even say that with a straight face after what you did? [I mean], you're the reason she's dead, [and] now...what, you want to have a memorial [to alleviate] your guilt?" Eric countered with a scowl. Suddenly fed up, Brady argued that Eric needed to accept some responsibility, too. "I am sick and tired of your holier-than-thou B.S., [and] I'm not gonna take it anymore!" Brady insisted.
"Remember betraying your brother? Remember sleeping with Nicole while she was with me? [Because] I remember that -- very well! [And] let's not forget the reason why Holly doesn't have a father in the first place! [I mean], if you hadn't done what you [did], we wouldn't be here, in this place, [right now]! You disrespected my relationship with Nicole, [and] it broke my heart, [so] you are not innocent in all of this, my friend! [And] if you want to blame anyone for Holly being an orphan, why don't you take a look in the mirror?" Brady spat. Eric stared at Brady in stunned silence for a few seconds then threw a punch. Brady responded in kind.
Maggie and Sarah entered the pub a short time later, while Eric and Brady were still fighting. "Oh, for God's sake, you're brothers!" Maggie pointed out while helping Sarah separate Eric and Brady. "He's not my brother -- not after what he did to Nicole!" Eric insisted. "I'm sick of trying to make peace with you!" Brady countered while storming off. Eric confidently encouraged Brady to return for another beating anytime.
After Brady left, Sarah insisted on getting Eric an ice pack. "Where's Holly? Who's watching her?" Eric asked. "Gabi's with the kids. They're making Christmas decorations," Sarah reported. Eric nodded then changed the subject, informing Sarah and Maggie, "I had a chance to talk to my mom, [and] I'm ready to tell [Holly] about Nicole. [And I thought] we could all do it together [so she knows] her family is here for her."
Maggie seized the opportunity to reveal that Sarah had mentioned earlier that Eric wanted to adopt Holly. "Maggie, you've been so gracious about welcoming Holly into your home, [and] I really appreciate it, [but Nicole] asked me to raise her, [so]..." Eric began to explain. "I understand...[but] I can't let that happen, [because] based on what I witnessed here today, I don't think you're in the right emotional state to raise my granddaughter," Maggie replied. "Mom, we didn't see how [the fight] started!" Sarah pointed out. "I don't care how it started," Maggie countered. Sarah began to respond, but Eric interrupted.
"I lost my temper [with Brady]...but I would never let my temper get the best of me with Holly," Eric assured Maggie. "I'm sorry, Eric, but I have seen you lose control before," Maggie skeptically countered. "You're talking about Daniel," Eric realized with a sigh. "Yes," Maggie confirmed. "You're in a very angry place, [and] I just don't think that it is the right time for you to be caring for a toddler," Maggie concluded.
"Sorry you feel that way," Eric muttered, turning away from Maggie. Sarah took Eric's body language as a sign that it was time for Maggie to leave. "Okay. Let's go," Maggie told Sarah while exiting the pub. "I'm staying. I'll see you at home later," Sarah replied. Stunned, Maggie gave Sarah a quick nod then left after stressing that Eric was still welcome to visit Holly at the Kiriakis mansion anytime.
"She's not being fair," Sarah told Eric. "I can't let her take [Holly] away from me," Eric insisted. "We'll find a way to change her mind," Sarah assured Eric. "We?" Eric repeated. "I want to help you," Sarah explained, shrugging.
At Doug's Place, Chloe welcomed Lucas home with a warm hug. "You must be tired. I know that's a long trip back from Europe," Chloe sympathetically noted. "Yeah, yeah... Um...how was your Thanksgiving?" Lucas asked, seeming a bit distracted. "Oh, it was wonderful! [Parker and I] had the best time with my parents in New York!" Chloe raved.
Chloe was eager to hear how Allie was doing, but Lucas' response was simply that going to Europe had been a good idea. "Well, I'm glad you went, [then...but] I'm even more glad that you're home. I know we were only apart for a few days, but I really did miss you," Chloe stressed. "I've made some fun plans for us..." Chloe began to add before realizing that something was bothering Lucas.
"Uh...I only came, uh, home to get my things. I'm going back to Italy to be with Allie," Lucas hesitantly revealed, surprising Chloe. "Did something happen at Thanksgiving?" Chloe asked, confused. "It turns out I [was] right to be worried [about Allie]. I mean, we had a nice dinner, [and] everything was fine, [but] then, um, she had a glass of wine at dinner, and I thought it was okay [at first, but she must have kept drinking] behind my back or something, 'cause at the end of the night, she was totally trashed," Lucas explained. "[And you're worried because of] your history of addiction," Chloe guessed.
"So, how long are you gonna be gone?" Chloe wondered. "As long as I'm needed, you know? I just want to make sure Allie's on the right track," Lucas replied with a shrug. "Oh. So...what, it's, like, open-ended? You're, like...you're moving to Italy?" Chloe asked, surprised. "I don't know if I'm 'moving' there... [I mean], Salem will always be my home... But I will be gone for a while, yeah," Lucas confirmed.
"[And] as much as I care about you, I don't expect you to wait for me," Lucas added. Chloe was hurt at first but soon softened and said a tearful goodbye to Lucas, who left after apologizing for the disappointing reunion.
At the Martin mansion, Lani knocked on the door to Eli's room -- and sighed when Sheila opened it, wearing a robe. "You just caught me coming out of the shower," Sheila casually explained. "Seems like you are always taking showers," Lani replied. "Why not? What's more fun than taking a shower?" Sheila reasoned with a shrug. "Especially when you're not taking a shower alone," Sheila added as Eli emerged from the bathroom, wearing only a towel. "I thought you were just friends," Lani said, confused. "You didn't want him, [so] why should I let this hot piece of police business go to waste?" Sheila countered.
"Okay, Sheila --" Eli began to object. "No, it's fine. I'll let you two get back to it. I mean, what's a little morning sex between friends, right?" Lani said before starting to storm out of the room in disgust. "Oh -- [here's] your damn pie pan [from Thanksgiving]. I got it back by mistake," Lani added, shoving the item at Sheila.
"What the hell, Sheila? Why'd you do that?" Eli demanded to know after Lani left. "I didn't hear you correcting me," Sheila pointed out, shrugging unapologetically. "I tried to, but --" Eli began to reply. "Oh, please! No, you didn't! You stood right there and tried to see if she was jealous...[and] she was so jealous, she had smoke coming out her ears, so...you're welcome," Sheila countered.
While passing through Horton Town Square, John and Marlena spotted Abe, who was sitting alone at a table outside the café. "That's where Abe and Val sat every morning for breakfast," Marlena sympathetically noted. "I'm sure he's missing her like crazy," John guessed. John and Marlena had been en route to a nearby lot to pick out a Christmas tree but decided to postpone the hunt because Abe seemed to be in need of some company.
After having breakfast with John and Marlena, Abe reported that Valerie seemed to be doing well. "I know she doesn't want to hurt my feelings, but I can tell she loves [her new job]," Abe added. "D.C.'s gain is our loss," Marlena summarized with a sigh. "You seem like you're handling this pretty well," John told Abe. "Eh, I don't want to hold her back from something that means so much to her," Abe explained with a shrug.
"But [that] doesn't make me miss her any less," Abe admitted. "You know, [she's] going to be here this weekend," Abe quickly added. Pleasantly surprised, Marlena insisted on having Abe and Valerie over for dinner at the Evans-Black townhouse then. "Sounds like a plan," John cheerfully agreed. Abe thanked Marlena and John for the offer and insisted on paying the bill, grateful to have such concerned friends.
Shortly after John and Marlena left, Abe received a phone call from Valerie, who regretfully revealed that there had been a change of plans. Abe was disappointed but assured Valerie that it wasn't a big deal. Valerie thanked Abe for understanding then hung up. Just then, Sheila approached Abe's table, carrying a gift bag. "I thought I'd see you at the office," Abe said. "Well, you said you was here [when we talked earlier], so I thought I'd come find you," Sheila explained before handing the gift bag to Abe. "You replaced my shoes?" Abe guessed, seeing a shoebox inside the gift bag. "No, not yet. I'm still saving up to buy you a nice pair," Sheila replied.
"Then...what is this?" Abe asked, confused. "Open it!" Sheila impatiently demanded. Abe hesitantly complied. "[That's] every piece of paper [that was in your office] -- every memo, every letter, every bill... I stayed up late last night and organized it all," Sheila proudly explained as Abe stared at the contents of the shoebox in disbelief. "Why on earth would you do that?" Abe asked. "Because your office [was] a pigsty and your papers were everywhere," Sheila replied with a shrug. "It was that way for a reason! I have a system!" Abe protested. "Well, how the hell was I supposed to know that?" Sheila countered before starting to storm off, hurt.
Abe stopped Sheila and apologized for having overreacted. "My weekend [just] got canceled. Val's staying in D.C.," Abe explained. "How is that my fault?" Sheila asked. "I didn't say it was!" Abe snapped before quickly apologizing again. "The way I acted wasn't called for," Abe acknowledged. "I will just see you at the office...Mayor Jackass," Sheila replied, still hurt. Abe sighed as Sheila walked away.
While strolling through the park, John and Marlena discussed Brady and Eric. "What Brady did to Eric and Nicole was unconscionable," Marlena insisted. "Yeah, and my heart is breaking for Eric...[but] Brady is suffering, too. He really cared for Nicole, and now that Eve has left, and Theresa has taken Tate away from him, he has lost practically everything," John countered.
"It's gonna take everything we have to pull this family back together," Marlena predicted. "So...we're on the same team here?" John asked. "Always," Marlena confirmed.
"I love Brady, and I'm going to be there for him...but I also need to be there for my own son," Marlena added. John was relieved to know that Brady would still have Marlena to lean on if necessary. "Are you afraid he'll start drinking [again]?" Marlena asked. "I'm always afraid about that. [You know], one time after another, he's been let down. What he really needs is just to finally have somebody else [that] he can count on," John replied.
Brady went to Doug's Place to see Chloe, who was surprised to hear about the earlier fight. "Maybe you should keep your distance from [Eric] for a while," Chloe advised. "Maybe you're right. [And], actually, I'm -- I'm very okay with that, [because] I'm done with him, Chloe. I am done. I...I know I screwed up, but, see, he did, too. He went after Nicole. He slept with Nicole when [she was with me]. The man is not innocent, and I'm tired of him acting that way. He needs to own up to what he did," Brady insisted.
After calming down, Brady thanked Chloe for listening. "You might be the last [friend] I have in town...[and I know you're] the best one I have," Brady noted, adding that Lucas was a lucky man. "Actually...Lucas just broke up with me. [He's] going back to Italy to be with Allie, and, uh, he didn't want to hold me back, [so]...merry Christmas to me," Chloe replied, sighing. Brady insisted that Lucas was a fool for letting Chloe go.
At the police station, Eli joined Lani in one of the conference rooms. "Lani, [Sheila and I] didn't have sex -- [or] take a shower together. [She was] just messing with you," Eli clarified. "And you just let me believe it?" Lani asked incredulously. "I guess I was just curious to see how you'd react," Eli explained with a shrug. "And...it kind of looked like you were jealous," Eli teasingly added.
"I'm not having this conversation right now," Lani insisted, preparing to leave. "Yes, you are," Eli insisted, stopping Lani. "We need to talk about this -- [about] what's going on between us," Eli continued.
Lani claimed that there was nothing to discuss, but Eli disagreed. "I have real feelings for you, and I'm not afraid to say it. Why can't you just be honest about your feelings?" he asked. "Okay. I care," she hesitantly admitted. "You...'care'?" he repeated, not sure how to take the confession. "When we're together, I like it...and when we're not together, I miss you," she elaborated.
Eli was thrilled to hear Lani finally say such things after having spent months putting up roadblocks. "I wasn't sure if you really wanted to be with me...or if you just felt like you had to because I was the mother of your child," she explained. "You mean so much more to me [than just that]," he insisted, but she still had concerns. "What if it all goes wrong again? [I mean], after everything that's happened this past year, I feel more vulnerable and fragile than I wish I [did]," she admitted. "[Okay, then] I'm not gonna pressure you. I know that we could have something really good together, but...if you're not ready, then I'll walk away," he assured her.
Lani apologized for constantly sending Eli mixed signals. "It's fine. I'm a patient man," he assured her. "Besides...I have a roommate back at the house who is more than willing to keep me busy while I'm waiting for you," he pointedly added before starting to walk away with a knowing smirk. She took the bait, grabbing one of his arms and pulling him into a kiss.
Stefan removes Abigail from Bayview
At the police station, Lani apologized to Eli for giving him mixed signals. When Eli joked that he had a woman at home who would keep him busy until Lani made up her mind about a relationship, Lani grabbed Eli and kissed him. "We shouldn't really be doing this at the station," Eli said. "I know, and I don't care," Lani said. With a grin, Lani kissed Eli again.
"For a second there, I thought you were going to let me walk out that door," Eli said. "I almost did," Lani admitted. Lani said she had realized that though she had been scared to be hurt, she was more fearful of losing out on a chance at love. Eli promised that they would take the relationship slowly.
"If we are going to do this right this time, maybe you should find a place for Sheila to live," Lani suggested. Eli offered to stay at Lani's place if she wanted alone time. With a chuckle, Lani asked Eli what had happened to his suggestion that they take things slowly. Eli laughed. Lani told Eli to let Sheila continue to stay at his place, but she asked Eli to sleep on the floor. Eli agreed to the concession.
In the DiMera living room, Ben talked to Ciara on the phone. Ben told Ciara that he had been thinking about their date all night. Ben's phone beeped with a call from Ted, so Ben told Ciara he would talk to her later. With a sigh, Ben switched over to answer Ted's call. Ted told Ben that he was anxious to meet. Ben and Ted made plans to meet at the Blue Swallow Motel.
Abigail paced her room at Bayview, wondering aloud if she would be released. "Stefan totally bought my Gabby act. He is desperate to have her back, which means I am going to lie to get out of here," Abigail muttered to herself. Stefan entered the room. Abigail smiled brightly and slipped into her Gabby persona to fool Stefan. Abigail asked Stefan if he was there to take her home.
"They are working on your release," Stefan said. Abigail jumped into Stefan's arms and thanked him. "I knew it. I knew that you would come through for me," Abigail said. Stefan said he had doubts about whether Gabby was back, but he would not risk losing Gabby again if there was a possibility that she had returned. Abigail told Stefan he had made the right decision.
"You are never going to lose me again. I promise. And we are going to be so happy together," Abigail said. Beaming, Abigail asked about the bag Stefan had hanging on his shoulder. Stefan handed the bag to Abigail. Abigail opened the bag, and her face fell when she saw the contents. Stefan explained that he had wanted to give Gabby items that would make her feel more like herself. While Stefan stepped out of the room, Abigail donned the Gabby wig and dress. Stefan returned as Abigail finished her makeup.
"You really back?" Stefan asked. "You better believe it, baby," Abigail said. Stefan asked Abigail to kiss him. Without missing a beat, Abigail kissed Stefan passionately to continue her ruse. "That was just a preview," Abigail purred. Stefan told Abigail that the doctors were reluctant to release her, but he had prevailed because he had been the one that had committed her to Bayview. With a grin, Abigail grabbed Stefan's hand, and they marched out of her room.
Gabi met up with Kate in Kate's hotel room. Kate grumbled about Gabi's quick escape after Will had shown up. With a shrug, Gabi said, "That was pretty messed up, and that was all you, girlfriend. I mean, conspiring against Sonny?" Kate asked Gabi not to lecture her about her actions in light of Gabi's schemes.
"At least I owned what I did. Unlike Sonny, Abigail deserves the hell that I am putting her through," Gabi said. "Chad doesn't," Kate countered. Gabi pulled a copy of the real paternity results out of her purse. Kate urged Gabi to get the results to Chad. Gabi disagreed. Gabi explained that Stefan was going to pick up Charlotte, and Gabi wanted to give Stefan more time to bond with the baby before she told Stefan the truth.
"You're getting rather diabolical, you know that?" Kate asked. "High praise coming from you," Gabi retorted. Kate ordered Gabi to tell Chad the truth. Gabi reluctantly agreed, but she added that they needed to make sure that neither she nor Kate was implicated in the deceit. Gabi reminded Kate that she still intended to help Chad raise Thomas.
"You're not even in love with Chad," Kate said. Gabi countered that she still cared about Chad. "By the time Abigail gets out, I will have secured my place as Chad's wife and Charlotte's mother," Gabi said. Kate told Gabi she would have to move quickly, but Gabi disagreed. Gabi said she was confident that Abigail would be stuck in Bayview for a long time.
"What if I give these results to Chad anonymously?" Gabi asked. Kate argued that Chad would investigate the matter until he found who had sent the results to him. Frustrated, Gabi wondered aloud what she should do. Gabi suggested a fall guy. When Kate asked who, Gabi suggested Stefan.
"He has a motive. So, he loses his beloved Gabby and then he finds out Abigail is pregnant and that he could be the father. So, when Abigail goes to get these paternity tests, he is right there, waiting for the results," Gabi said. Kate asked Gabi how Stefan would have known that Abigail was there for the results. Gabi suggested that Stefan had learned about the test while he'd been at the hospital for a board meeting.
"The point is that he was able to get his hands on these test results, and he saw that Chad was the father, and he was crushed, so he switched the results," Gabi said. Kate asked Gabi why Stefan would want to raise Chad's baby. Gabi argued that Stefan would have hoped that Gabby might return if she believed the baby was Stefan's. Kate asked Gabi how Chad would learn about the test results.
"I'll just plant these results at Stefan's house. I mean, I work for DiMera, I'm there all the time," Gabi suggested. Gabi said she could plant the results in Stefan's safe. When Kate asked how, Gabi admitted that a woman in prison had told her how to crack into a safe. With a shake of her head, Kate rolled her eyes. Kate asked about Chad again. Gabi said she would figure out how to let Chad know about the results in the safe, but first, she wanted to make sure they made it look like Stefan knew the truth about the baby.
"Stefan knows that you set up Abigail, right? So, he is going to think that you are doing the same thing to him. And when Chad comes to him and accuses him of switching the results, what's to stop him from blowing the whistle on you?" Kate asked. Gabi argued that Stefan had no proof. Gabi said she did not believe Chad would believe Stefan's word over her word. Worried about Stefan's return from the hospital, Gabi rushed out to set her plan in motion.
At the Horton house, Jennifer listened to a voicemail from Hope asking her to tell Rafe that she had spent the night there. "What are you up to right now?" Jennifer wondered aloud. Chad knocked on the door. Jennifer asked Chad how it had gone at Bayview. Chad said that Abigail never wanted to see him again. Jennifer told Chad that she was sorry. Jennifer said that although she disagreed with Chad's methods, she agreed that Abigail was where she needed to be in order to get better.
"I don't understand why she thinks that there is nobody there for her. She thinks that she is all alone. It doesn't make any sense," Chad said. Chad said he was worried about Thomas' behavior since Abigail had left. Chad said he did not know how long he could go on without Abigail. Jennifer encouraged Chad to stay strong for his son.
"You are a great dad, and Thomas is a resilient little boy," Jennifer said. Jennifer offered to spend time with Thomas. Chad thanked Jennifer for the offer. Rafe knocked on the door. When Rafe asked Jennifer if Hope was there, Jennifer said she did not know where to find Hope.
"I don't, but I'm sure she has a really good reason for whatever it is she is keeping from you," Jennifer said. Rafe said he hoped the same thing. Jennifer asked Rafe to keep her updated. With a nod, Rafe left. Chad said he should leave, too, but Jennifer asked him to join her on a visit to see Charlotte. Chad said he was not emotionally ready to see the baby.
While in the interrogation room, Lani and Eli discussed options for their first date, Rafe rushed in. Rafe asked Eli and Lani if they had heard from Hope. Rafe explained that he had not been able to reach Hope all night. When Eli asked about the cabin, Rafe said he had found evidence that Hope had been at the cabin with another person. Rafe said he was worried about Hope.
Lani checked Hope's credit card activity and learned that Hope had paid for a room at the Blue Swallow Motel. Rafe wondered aloud if the motel figured into a case. Rafe declined assistance from Eli, and he walked out.
As Lani and Eli continued to work, they snacked on tacos. "How did you know these were my favorite?" Lani asked. "You have had my attention for a very long time. You take your coffee black. You always order at the same taco, hole-in-the wall place. You chew your pen when you are working on a case. You take the stairs when you skip the gym, and you never, ever touch the prune danish," Eli said. Lani told Eli he was observant then she kissed him.
"I think I made the right decision by giving us a chance," Lani said. Lani noted that she was happy but worried about Hope. Eli said he hoped Rafe was not in for a terrible surprise.
At the dive motel, Ted told Kate that Ben was on his way. Hope asked Ted to go over the plan again. With a frustrated groan, Ted recounted the plan to get Ben to confess to setting the fire at the cabin. The conversation was going to be recorded. Ben knocked on the door. Hurriedly, Hope ducked into the bathroom to listen. With a sigh, Ted opened the door and invited Ben inside.
As Ted handed Ben a drink, he apologized for disappearing. Ted said he believed they had enough to file a large lawsuit against Hope and the Salem Police Department. When Ted asked Ben if he had started the fire, Ben remained silent. Ted said he needed to cover his bases, and he promised that anything Ben told him was covered by attorney-client privilege.
"The thing is, Ted, I'm not really interested in filing any lawsuit," Ben said. Ted pushed Ben to reconsider, but Ben said he was no longer desperate for money. Ben said Stefan had hired him. Ted reeled at the revelation. "Stay away from me!" Ted said as he backed away. Ben advanced toward Ted and assured Ted that he would not hurt him, but Ted continued to panic.
"Hope!" Ted called out. Hope kicked open the bathroom door and leveled her gun at Ben. "Step back," Hope said. Ben asked what was going on. "I'm guessing Stefan DiMera sent you here to get rid of me," Ted said. When Ben denied the accusation, Ted argued that Stefan had kidnapped him. Ben reminded Ted that Ted had called him.
"I thought this was about a lawsuit, but this feels a little bit more like a sting to get me to confess," Ben said as he narrowed his eyes at Hope. "That's entrapment," Ben added as he took a step closer to Hope. Hope explained that she was only hanging out with her friend Ted. Ben complained that he had repeatedly told Hope that he was innocent. Hope asked Ben why he was working for Stefan. Ben said he needed a job, and no one else in town would hire him because of his past.
"If you keep harassing me, Hope, I will file a lawsuit. With a new attorney," Ben said. As Ben started to leave, Hope asked him if he had been on a date with Ciara. Without a word, Ben walked out of the motel room.
Hope raised an eyebrow at Ted. Hope blamed Ted for the failed sting. Ted argued it was not his fault that Ben had failed to confess and said he needed protection from both Stefan and a serial killer. Hope agreed to take Ted back to the cabin. Ted asked to shower first. Hope nodded yes. Hope said it was time to call Rafe and tell him the truth.
As Hope pulled up Rafe's number on her phone, Ted showered in the bathroom. From the hallway outside the room, Rafe called out Hope's name. Hope opened the door to the room. Rafe pushed past her inside. Ted walked out of the bathroom, wrapped in a towel.
At the hospital, Stefan walked in with Abigail, but she stopped before entering Charlotte's room. When Stefan asked what was wrong, Abigail explained that she wanted to go in alone. Abigail explained that she did not want an audience. With a nod, Stefan told Abigail to go bond with her baby girl. Abigail kissed Stefan then went in to see Charlotte. With tears in her eyes, Abigail picked up her daughter.
"I'm so sorry it's been so long. You listen to me. Your mama is never gonna leave you again. I promise," Abigail whispered. Abigail sat in the rocker and held Charlotte as the baby slept in her arms. "I have to wear this silly wig, and I look different, but I am still your mama," Abigail whispered. Abigail said that she needed to call herself Gabby until she could make sure that she and Charlotte were safe.
At the nurses' station, Stefan filled out the paperwork for Charlotte's release. Jennifer exited the elevator and walked over. "I was wondering if maybe I could see my granddaughter again?" Jennifer asked. Stefan said no. When Jennifer asked if Stefan had changed his mind, Stefan explained, "Charlotte is being released today. We're taking her home." Confused, Jennifer asked what Stefan meant.
"Her mother is back. In fact, she in the room with the baby right now," Stefan said. "Her mother? That's Abigail," Jennifer said. "Not quite," Stefan countered. Jennifer asked Stefan if Gabby had taken over Abigail's body. Stefan said that Abigail's commitment had pushed her over the edge.
"And you let her out? What is wrong with you?" Jennifer asked in bewilderment. "I didn't let anything happen. She begged me to help her," Stefan stressed. Stefan reminded Jennifer that she had been upset about Abigail's commitment to Bayview. With a shake of her head, Jennifer said that she wanted Abigail to get better. Jennifer called Stefan selfish.
"You are taking her back to Bayview, and you are having her committed again. Do you understand me?" Jennifer barked. Abigail exited Charlotte's room as Jennifer made her exclamation. "The hell he is," Abigail said. Jennifer said Abigail's name, but still playing a part, Abigail countered, "The name is Gabby." Jennifer pleaded with Abigail to get professional help to get integrated again.
"What I need is to be with my baby," Abigail growled at her mother. Abigail told Stefan that the nurses were prepping Charlotte for the trip home. Abigail took Stefan by the hand and walked him into Charlotte's room. Jennifer ran after them, pleading with Abigail to listen, but Stefan shoved Jennifer back into the hallway.
At Kate's hotel room, Chad stopped by to talk. "I guess you heard Sonny and Will found out," Kate said. Chad said Sonny was furious. When Kate asked if Victor had fired Chad, Chad explained that he had resigned. Kate agreed that was the best course of action.
"I seem to be losing everyone and everything that I love," Chad said. Chad's phone rang. Jennifer called. "Can you come by the house again? I have some news about Abigail," Jennifer said. Chad left for Jennifer's house. When Chad arrived at the Horton property, Jennifer informed Chad that Stefan had released Abigail from Bayview. Jennifer confirmed that Gabby had returned and was in control.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan and Abigail returned home with baby Charlotte. Stefan told Abigail that the nursery was ready upstairs. When Stefan offered to accompany Abigail upstairs, she countered that she should attempt to put the baby down on her own. "No judgment here. We are a team now, right?" Stefan asked. Tight-lipped, Abigail agreed. Abigail told Stefan that she was grateful to be back.
"I never thought this would ever happen. That I would finally have the family I always dreamt about. I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life," Stefan said. Stefan kissed Abigail then took the baby and walked upstairs. Abigail stood in the foyer, took a deep breath, and followed Stefan upstairs.
When Stefan returned to the foyer, Ben entered the front door. Ben told Stefan that he had met with Ted. "It did not go as planned," Ben explained. Stefan told Ben that they needed to talk somewhere else because Abigail and the baby were upstairs. As Stefan and Ben left the house, Gabi stepped out of the bushes and into the house. Gabi walked into the living room and shut the door. Gabi got to work on the safe.
In the park, Ben informed Stefan that Ted had set up the meeting in conjunction with Hope Brady. "I was just walking into a trap," Ben explained.
Back at the DiMera mansion, before Gabi could crack the safe open, she heard a noise from the foyer. Gabi scurried over the couch. In the foyer, Abigail muttered to herself that she needed to divorce Stefan and move out of the mansion as soon as possible. Abigail walked into the living room.
"What are you doing here?" Gabi asked. "It's funny. I was just about to ask you the same question," Abigail countered.