At the Martin mansion, Eli received a late-night visit from Rafe, who wanted someone to talk to about Hope's secret alliance with Ted.
"Why didn't she tell me?" Rafe wondered at the end of the tale. "Because you do everything by the book," Eli guessed. "That's what they both said," Rafe grumbled. "I'm sure she hated lying to you," Eli assured Rafe. "So she says," Rafe skeptically replied. "Ted put her in a tough position, [so] if you're gonna blame anyone, blame him," Eli advised. "I feel like there's enough blame to go around," Rafe countered.
At the DiMera mansion, Ben joined Stefan in the living room and quickly realized that something was wrong. "Gabby left [earlier]...and I don't like it," Stefan explained. "You still think [Abigail's] playing you," Ben guessed. "It's a possibility," Stefan insisted. "What makes you think that?" Ben asked. "Well, earlier this evening, I tried to...eh, let's just say, uh...it was time to go to bed...[and Gabby] said she had to wait because she had just given birth," Stefan clarified. "Well, that makes sense...doesn't it? [I mean], the real Abigail, from what I hear, couldn't stand you, [so]...for my money, Gabby's back, [and you're] just being paranoid," Ben replied with a shrug.
"You may very well be right...[but] one of the many things I've learned -- painfully -- is that you have to be careful when you want something to be true, because it can make you blind to what really is true. [And] the fact remains that Gabby left this house the first chance she had," Stefan argued. "Well, look, you don't need to get yourself all jacked up. Let me find out where she went, and I'll bring her back," Ben offered. "[I mean], if she's Gabby, then she won't care [that you sent me to look for her]. It's Abigail who's scared of me," Ben added. "Yeah, [but] seeing you might trigger something, and I don't want to lose Gabby all over again," Stefan replied.
Ciara was nearing the end of a work shift when Hope entered the Brady Pub and called out a greeting. "[I heard] there's been a lot of changes in your life lately," Hope began to add, joining Ciara at the bar. "[This] job, for one...[but also a] new boyfriend?" Hope continued. "Uncle Roman talks too much," Ciara grumbled. "Why would you date someone who tried to kill you?" Hope asked. "[First], he swore to me that he didn't set the fire, and second, we went on, like, one date," Ciara replied. "That's one date too many," Hope insisted. "Damn it, Ciara -- [I mean], how many times do I have to [remind you that] he killed three people?" Hope added.
"Do you know who he's working for now?" Hope wondered. "He told me," Ciara confirmed. "And it doesn't bother you that he's working for the scum of the earth?" Hope asked incredulously. "Well, he would prefer to be working for world peace, but working for Stefan was pretty much his only option, [since] everyone -- especially you -- is trying to keep him [from putting his life back together]," Ciara replied with a shrug.
"He told you how I tried to get him to confess," Hope bitterly assumed. "Uh...no -- actually, he didn't," Ciara clarified, confused. Hope sighed and reluctantly proceeded to tell Ciara about the incident.
"All right, so...what you're really telling me is [that] you tricked him into going to a motel, where he didn't kidnap someone, [and] you can't tell me [who that person is]. That's a great story, Mom. I buy it [completely]," Ciara sarcastically stated at the end of Hope's tale. "I know you don't want to believe anything I have to say about him, [but] he's still dangerous," Hope insisted. "[And I know] you don't want to believe anything I have to say about him, but he was a good guy who got sick, and now he's that good guy again," Ciara countered. "When he 'got sick,' it's not like he ran through a red light -- [he] murdered three people!" Hope reiterated.
"You can save your breath, [because] I believe in Ben, and nothing you can say is going to change that," Ciara insisted with finality. "I will find a way to prove it to you," Hope replied before exiting the pub.
Ciara immediately summoned Ben to the pub. "Why didn't you tell me my mom tried to set you up?" Ciara asked when Ben arrived. "I didn't want you to get mad at her," Ben explained with a shrug. "Is that it? Or is it that you didn't want me to know Stefan DiMera hired you to kidnap someone?" Ciara countered. "Stefan is my boss. As head of his security team, I have to follow his orders," Ben explained, shrugging again. "That's what Himmler said," Ciara countered. "That's extreme," Ben defensively argued. "And believe me, [the guy I was told to find is] no saint," Ben added. "Yeah, I'm sure he deserved being kidnapped," Ciara sarcastically agreed.
"I don't know what to say. [I mean], I told you before [that] there are certain lines I will not cross...[but] that is the best I can offer you," Ben warned. "I guess I can accept that...for now," Ciara replied.
Rafe found Hope in the Horton Town Square and quickly realized that something was wrong. "[Ciara] just refuses to listen to reason [when it comes to Ben]," Hope explained with a shake of the head. "[And please] don't tell me I'm going about [this] all the wrong way," Hope preemptively added. "If you're daughter's dating a serial killer, I don't know if there's a right way," Rafe admitted.
Hope soon noted with a cringe that Rafe smelled like beer. "A beer," Rafe clarified. "Or two," Hope argued. "No, a beer," Rafe insisted. "I just went to talk to Eli about what happened at the motel," Rafe added. "Eli knew about that?" Hope asked, surprised. "And Lani. [They're] the ones who helped me track you down. [We] ran a check on your credit cards, [and] that's how we found you," Rafe explained.
"You had no right to do that!" Hope insisted. "I was worried about you!" Rafe explained. "I don't think you were worried; [I think] you were jealous. You thought I was having an affair," Hope guessed. "I didn't, [but] Julie and Eli did," Rafe confirmed. "You told Julie?" Hope asked incredulously. "Maybe next time you'll be honest with your husband," Rafe suggested with an unapologetic shrug.
At the hospital, Abigail confided in Kayla, who had been prepared to report Gabby's break-in to the authorities. "[So], did you prescribe sedatives to Gabi?" Abigail asked Kayla at the end of the tale. "You know I can't talk to you about one of my patients," Kayla evasively replied. "Even if she's using the drugs that you prescribed her to frame me?" Abigail countered. "I would do anything for you, Abigail, but I could lose my license [if I do this]," Kayla stressed. Nodding, Abigail apologized for having put Kayla in such a difficult position in the first place. Abigail assured Kayla that there might be another way to prove what Gabi had been doing, anyway.
"Julie is breaking into Gabi's room?" Kayla asked incredulously after Abigail elaborated. "[I really] don't think [that's] a good idea," Kayla warned with a nervous chuckle. "Well, it's a little late for that," Abigail replied.
Just then, Abigail received a phone call from Stefan, who wanted to know when Gabby was planning to return to the DiMera mansion. "Did you not get any of my messages?" Stefan asked. "I turned my phone off briefly. There were, um...there were some carolers in the square," Abigail claimed. "Really?" Stefan skeptically countered, finding it hard to believe that Gabby would be into that sort of thing. "I know -- it's so corny...but it's [also] sweet, and I was thinking we could take Charlotte there together next year," Abigail coolly explained. "Yes, of course," Stefan agreed. "Come home. I miss you," Stefan added. "I miss you, too, lover," Abigail replied.
"That was an impressive performance," Kayla observed after Abigail ended the call. "Well, it has to be," Abigail reasoned with a shrug. "[I mean], this way, at least I get to be with one of my children. And, you know, it kills me that I'm not with Thomas -- I mean, it just breaks my heart -- but Chad's not gonna let me anywhere near him if he thinks that I'm a danger to him...[and] now, thanks to Gabi, he is thoroughly convinced that I am," Abigail continued. "[But] it's gonna be okay, [because] I have a plan, you know? Tomorrow, I'm gonna start the process of divorcing [Stefan] -- take away his power to throw me back into Bayview," Abigail concluded.
"Wish there was more I could do [to help]," Kayla said. "[Just] promise me that you won't say anything to anyone -- especially my mother -- about what I'm doing," Abigail requested. "You have my word," Kayla agreed.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Victor summoned Chad to the living room. "Did you think you'd get away with it? Did you think that I wouldn't find out? I know everything that goes on at Titan -- even when you're trying to fix it so I don't!" Victor began when Chad arrived. "You're referring to me buying that energy company," Chad guessed. "[You bought] a cockamamie start-up and [paid] top dollar for it!" Victor clarified. "I was in a bidding war with DiMera," Chad explained. "For a company we don't need!" Victor clarified again. "It was a risky move, but it's gonna kill DiMera's bottom line," Chad insisted. "What about our bottom line?" Victor countered.
"I don't like my CEOs acting like four-year-olds who had sand kicked [on them] at the playground!" Victor continued. "I was up-front from the beginning. You knew I wanted the job so I could go after Stefan," Chad unapologetically reminded Victor. "And I said yes -- but not at the expense of my company!" Victor countered. "[Titan's] already vulnerable. My ex-CEO had to marry the guy who charged him with sexual harassment. Not exactly terrific PR," Victor added. "I thought Sonny was with Will, [so] why the hell...?" Chad asked, stunned and confused. "Because I didn't have that much of a choice," Sonny explained, joining Chad and Victor.
"So, Leo's blackmailing you? With what?" Chad asked. "I'd rather not say...[but] it's temporary. I don't plan on being married long. I just need to figure out a way to neutralize Leo," Sonny replied. "The marriage vows still say 'till death do us part' -- [and] I know a guy," Victor dryly interjected. "What about Will?" Chad asked Sonny while chuckling at Victor's comment. "That's the hard part -- I have to stay clear of him, 'cause if this marriage doesn't look real, then the shareholders are gonna think I married Leo just to kill the lawsuit," Sonny replied with a heavy sigh. "I'd rather kill the blackmailing little liar...[but] who listens to me?" Victor dryly interjected again.
"Next time, you talk to me first," Victor warned Chad, changing the subject. "Pull another stunt like that, and I'll have you out on your ass," Victor continued as Chad nodded in response. "Wait -- a stunt like what?" Sonny asked, confused. "Check your phone," Victor advised Sonny. "What the hell were you thinking?" Sonny asked Chad after realizing what was being discussed. "More to the point, what was he thinking with?" Victor dryly interjected. "I give you a second chance, and you go and do something like this?" Sonny continued. "Whoa, whoa, whoa -- a little clarification here. What second chance?" Victor wondered.
"[This is] low, even for a DiMera! Venal! Gut-churning!" Victor declared after Chad provided a careful explanation that didn't implicate Kate. "I wasn't thinking," Chad admitted with an apologetic shrug. "Well, now that we're all on level ground, I have a simple business question -- what do you do with a CEO who admits he doesn't think [and has] betrayed his best friend?" Victor asked. "You fire him," Victor answered, glaring at Chad.
"Maybe you shouldn't fire him," Sonny argued. "What, we should give him a bonus for stabbing you in the back?" Victor dryly countered. "I hate what he did...but I ended up figuring out that it was a relief not to be in charge of the company. I'm just not sure that I'm cut out for that life," Sonny elaborated. "He still has to go," Victor insisted. "And you're lucky -- my people have raised revenge to an art form," Victor told Chad, who stopped Sonny from trying to raise more objections. "[Your uncle] can't have somebody in charge that he doesn't trust...and, obviously, I can't be trusted," Chad told Sonny. "I'm sorry for what I did," Chad sincerely added.
Meanwhile, upstairs, Gabi demanded to know what Julie was doing. "I was looking for Maggie's room, and I just got lost in this labyrinth of a house," Julie claimed with a shrug while discreetly pocketing the envelope that contained Charlotte's paternity test results. "You were looking for Maggie, so you decided to enter an empty room, turn the light on, and shut the door? Did you think that Maggie was underneath the bed or something?" Gabi asked skeptically. "You have some nerve, lady!" Gabi added, outraged. "Moral indignation from a murderess?" Julie countered. "You are not going anywhere until you tell me what you were doing in my room!" Gabi insisted.
"Fine -- I was looking for evidence [that] proves you have been gaslighting Abigail all along, just as she said you had, because I don't have any difficulty believing that you could be that cruel, that cold-hearted, that evil," Julie unapologetically admitted, glaring at Gabi. "Abigail is certifiably insane -- [and] so are you if you believe anything that she says. [Just ask] J.J., Jennifer, Chad, [or] Stefan -- they've all agreed that Abigail has lost her little mind yet again," Gabi dismissively insisted. "Honey, you can fool everybody [else, but] you don't fool me. I know the kind of person you are, [and] I know what you're capable of," Julie countered.
"[You know], I knew all along [that] you never felt any [real] regret about shooting Nick. That was all just a big load of hot, steaming bull! You [actually] enjoy doing evil [things], don't you?" Julie continued, giving Gabi a look of disgust. "I didn't regret killing Nick, because the man tried to rape me, [and] he got what was coming to him," Gabi confirmed, shrugging unapologetically. "[So], now you're the judge [and] the jury? Tell me, is Abigail gonna get what she has coming to her, too?" Julie countered. "Because of Abigail, I can't even have children anymore! Is that something that I'm just supposed to forget?" Gabi spat.
"Sounds like a confession to me," Julie observed. Gabi scoffed and innocently invited Julie to search the room for proof of the gaslighting theory. "I don't have to search anymore, 'cause I [already] found this," Julie replied, producing the envelope that contained Charlotte's paternity test results. "Must be mighty important for you to have hid it so cleverly," Julie mused. "That's nothing," Gabi insisted with a nervous gulp. "It's just -- it's the test results that prove that I will never be able to have children again. And it's very painful to look at, [so] that's why I had it put away," Gabi continued. Julie nodded skeptically and opened the envelope while dodging Gabi.
"Oh, my God -- Chad is the father of the baby, and you didn't tell him, and you didn't tell Abigail, [either]! You mendacious little bitch!" Julie spat after reading the enclosed document. Julie slapped Gabi then vowed to reveal the truth to everyone immediately -- starting with Chad. "And if I'm this angry, you can just imagine how Chad is going to feel!" Julie warned Gabi before starting to walk away.
Gabi chased after Julie, leading to a struggle at the top of the stairs. Sonny and Chad, who were trying to patch things up in the living room, heard the commotion and rushed out to the foyer to find out what was going on.
When Sonny and Chad entered the foyer, Julie was lying at the foot of the stairs, having fallen backwards when Gabi had finally managed to forcefully secure the envelope that contained Charlotte's paternity test results. Shocked, Sonny and Chad stared at Julie's motionless body for a few seconds then glanced up at Gabi, who was still standing at the top of the stairs, hiding the envelope.
J.J. rushes Julie to the ER
At the hospital, Kayla thought about when Abigail had told her that Julie was searching Gabi's room at the Kiriakis mansion. Kayla also thought about Abigail's request not to tell anyone about Abigail's plan to impersonate Gabby. Shaking off the memories, Kayla sighed. J.J. arrived and asked to talk about Abigail. J.J. confided that he was worried that Stefan was preventing Abigail from getting help.
"When she is ready, she will come back to us," Kayla said. J.J. asked what they would do if Abigail never returned to her family. J.J.'s phone beeped with a message for a call to the Kiriakis mansion. "Julie has had an accident," J.J. said.
At the top of the Kiriakis mansion staircase, Gabi and Julie tugged at Julie's purse. Julie yelled that she needed to tell Chad the truth about Abigail's baby. As Gabi grabbed the envelope with the test result and let go of the purse, Julie fell backward and bounced down the stairs. Sonny and Chad ran into the foyer in time to see Julie hit the ground and see Gabi standing at the top of the stairs. Chad and Sonny rushed to Julie's side.
"Is she going to be okay?" Gabi asked. Julie moaned in pain as Sonny called 9-1-1. Chad demanded Gabi tell him what had happened. Gabi tucked the test results in her bra as Chad focused on Julie. Julie muttered Chad's name. When Julie saw Gabi at the top of the stairs, she gasped. Julie struggled to tell Chad about the baby as Gabi fidgeted nearby.
"Envelope," Julie whispered. "She shouldn't be speaking," Gabi said. "You..." Julie said before she trailed off and passed out. Chad asked Gabi what had happened on the stairs. The EMTs arrived. Gabi said she had found Julie in her room, snooping for evidence. Gabi said Julie had stormed out, and she had heard Julie cry out. With a nod, J.J. wheeled Julie out on a gurney. Chad asked to ride along in the ambulance.
"[Julie] was trying to tell me something, so I think I should go with her," Chad said. J.J. agreed, and they left.
In the square, Hope told Rafe that she had felt she could not be truthful with him because of the risk. "Julie was right," Rafe marveled. "This whole thing was payback for my night with Sami," Rafe grumbled. Hope said there was no comparison between her investigation and Rafe's affair.
"Ted insisted I didn't say anything," Hope mumbled. Rafe groaned. Hope argued that Ted was in danger and that she had needed to protect him. Rafe countered that Hope had prioritized Ted over their marriage. Hope's phone rang. Kayla called to tell Hope that Julie had been in an accident.
"Does Ted need something?" Rafe joked. Hope told Rafe that Julie had been in an accident. Rafe apologized and asked Hope what she needed. Hope directed Rafe to go get Doug. With a nod, Rafe jogged off.
Kate sat on the bed in her hotel room and read. Will knocked on the door. Kate was surprised to see her grandson and asked him what was wrong. "I'm drunk, and I'm miserable. Sonny married Leo tonight, and it's all your fault," Will complained. "It's my fault. If I hadn't taken the reins from Vivian, none of this would have happened at all. Honey, I'm sorry," Kate said.
Kate reminded Will that Sonny's marriage would not last long. Will countered that the length of the marriage did not change the fact that he and Sonny were not together. With a smirk, Kate suggested that Will could be "the other man." Kate noted that Will had Sonny's heart, not Leo. Kate encouraged Will to go visit Sonny and say that he loved Sonny. Will was hesitant because it was Sonny's wedding night, but Kate said that Sonny would want to see Will more than ever for that very reason.
After Will left, Gabi banged on Kate's door. "I'm in big trouble," Gabi said. With an exasperated sigh, Kate asked what had happened. Gabi told Kate about her fight with Julie and about Julie's fall. Gabi said she did not want Julie to be injured. Kate asked Gabi if she had pushed Julie down the stairs. With a shake of her head, Gabi said she had been struggling over the envelope when Julie had fallen. Gabi explained that Julie would tell Chad the truth.
"That's when we are going to be toast," Gabi said. "Not we. You," Kate retorted. Gabi argued that Kate was as immersed in the problem as she. Kate jokingly asked Gabi if she wanted her to visit Julie at the hospital with a pillow. When Gabi shifted her eyes, Kate groaned. Gabi yelled that she did not wish Julie any harm. Kate asked about the evidence. Gabi said she still had the test results.
"I strongly advise you, do not go over there," Kate said. Gabi asked Kate to call Chad and get information. Kate resisted, but Gabi pushed Kate to agree. With a groan, Kate dialed Chad's number.
At the DiMera mansion, Abigail stood on the front porch and called Julie's cell phone. When there was no answer, Abigail left a voicemail asking Julie to call her back. Behind Abigail, Stefan opened the door. Abigail switched into "Gabby" mode and teased Stefan for sneaking up on her. When Stefan asked who Abigail had been talking to, Abigail lied and said she had been talking to someone about a Christmas present for Stefan. Stefan said he had been worried. Stefan added that he had been dealing with a work emergency. Stefan escorted Abigail into the living room.
"Chad is on the attack again. He said he would back off but only if I would send you back to Bayview," Stefan said. Abigail's eyes went wide. Stefan told Abigail that he had declined Chad's offer. Abigail kissed Stefan. "I promise you, I will do everything in my power to protect you. I promise," Stefan said. Stefan kissed Abigail and took off her jacket.
With a groan, Stefan said he knew they could not have sex, but he wanted to lie in bed with Gabby. Stefan kissed Abigail's neck. Abigail playfully put Stefan off. Charlotte cried upstairs. Stefan hopped to his feet and offered to check on their daughter. While Stefan was upstairs, Abigail stared at her phone and wondered aloud about Julie.
Sonny stayed behind at the Kiriakis mansion and called Chad for updates on Julie. A tipsy Will arrived at the mansion. "It's not a great night, and Ari is sleeping," Sonny blurted out. Sonny explained that Julie had fallen down the stairs.
"This has been one of the worst nights of my entire life," Sonny said. "Me, too," Will countered. After Sonny told Will what had happened, Will asked about Leo. Sonny said Leo had gotten drunk and passed out before Julie's accident. Will told Sonny that he had met Sheila at the pub when he had been drinking and had learned about the wedding. Sonny apologized for how much the situation was hurting Will.
"I stood here at the ceremony, and all I could think of was you," Sonny said. Will kissed Sonny. Taken aback, Sonny pulled away. "We can't do this. Not now, not ever," Sonny said. Sonny hurriedly closed the doors to the living room for privacy. Will asked Sonny why he wanted to stay away from him. Sonny said he did not want to make things worse with Leo. Will suggested that they get a room at the Salem Inn. With a shake of his head, Sonny said Victor had been adamant that Sonny stay away from Will because of the bad PR.
"This marriage is finally, finally gonna undo some of the damage caused by Leo's accusations of sexual harassment," Sonny said. Will asked Sonny to spend time with him on the side, but Sonny refused. Sonny said he needed to make sure that Leo had no ammunition to use against them.
"So, Victor is going to be watching you to make sure you are not secretly seeing me?" Will asked. "I wouldn't put it past him," Sonny said. Will asked how long he and Sonny needed to keep up the charade. Sonny said they needed to keep apart until Leo was no longer a threat. Will reminded Sonny that it was Christmas.
"There is nothing I would rather do than spend Christmas with you and Ari under the tree, opening gifts. But we can't until Leo is gone. Until then, we have to keep our distance. I'm sorry," Sonny said. Will turned to leave. Sonny offered to get a car for Will, but Will refused. "I wouldn't want anyone to see me in a Kiriakis car," Will said sarcastically. As Will started to leave, Sonny stopped him to tell him that he loved him. Sonny looked up and saw mistletoe hanging above their heads.
"Cruel irony," Will whispered. "It is a holiday tradition. I don't think anyone can fault us for that," Sonny said. Will and Sonny kissed. With a sigh, Will left the mansion.
At the hospital, the EMTs wheeled Julie into the emergency room. Kayla asked Chad to hang around in case she had questions. A panicked Hope ran out of the elevator and asked Chad what had happened. Chad said Kayla was running tests. When Hope asked what had happened, Chad explained that Julie had fallen down the stairs. Hope asked why Julie had been at the mansion. Chad explained that Gabi had said that Julie had been snooping in Gabi's room for evidence that Gabi had framed Abigail.
In Julie's hospital room, J.J. kissed Julie's cheek, and he whispered to her to hang in there. After J.J. left, Kayla was alone with Julie. Kayla stared at Julie and narrowed her eyes.
"I know you went to Gabi's room to find evidence. Did she have anything to do with this fall?" Kayla wondered aloud. Julie's phone rang. Kayla answered the call from Abigail. Alarmed, Abigail asked what had happened to Julie. Kayla told Abigail that Julie had suffered a fall at the Kiriakis mansion. Abigail said she was on her way over. Kayla cautioned Abigail to stay home and keep up the Gabby act for Stefan. Kayla promised to update Abigail when she had new information.
Abigail sat nervously on the couch of the DiMera living room, and she waited for word about Julie. When Stefan returned, Abigail feigned a smile. Abigail asked about Charlotte. Stefan noted that Charlotte had a small fever. Stefan said he'd given Charlotte medicine and would rock Charlotte to sleep. When Abigail offered to hold the baby, Stefan declined the offer.
"It's okay. I know you're not feeling the whole baby thing yet," Stefan said. "She's my daughter, too. And I want to learn to be her mother," Abigail said. Stefan smiled with relief. Abigail urged Stefan to sit on the couch and let her go upstairs. Once Abigail was out of the room, a suspicious look crossed Stefan's face.
In the hospital hallway, Hope asked J.J. for an update. J.J. referred Hope to Kayla. Doug arrived with Rafe and demanded to see Julie. Hope and Doug marched into Julie's room, and Kayla said she would not dream of keeping Doug away from his wife.
"I'm here, and I always will be, so don't you dare even think about leaving me," Doug whispered. Kayla informed Doug and Hope that Julie was resting, which was normal after a bad fall.
"You don't have to stay," Hope told Rafe. "Yes, I do," Rafe whispered. In tears, Doug told Julie that he could not lose her after celebrating her fifty years in Salem. Doug chuckled sadly as he noted that Julie always took her time.
"'I'll get there when I'm good and ready,' you always say. But this time, I'll wait for you, my darling. I'll wait as long as I have to. You take all the time you need to heal, but when you do, you come back to me, good as new. We have so [many] more things to do together. So many more memories to make," Doug said.
In the waiting area, Chad answered his phone. It was Kate. Kate feigned ignorance and asked Chad what had happened to Julie. Chad told Kate that Julie had fought with Gabi and then fallen down the stairs. "Sounds like you don't quite believe that is the truth," Kate offered. Chad said he was waiting for Julie to wake up. Kate asked Chad if he believed Gabi had something to do with Julie's accident.
"Honestly? I don't know. But I'm sure hopeful we'll get answers once Julie wakes up," Chad said. Kate asked if Hope was there. Chad confirmed that Hope was at Julie's side. Stressed, Chad said he needed to go then hung up. In Kate's apartment, a worried Gabi asked Kate if Chad blamed her for Julie's fall. Kate said that Chad had vowed to get to the bottom of the situation when Julie woke up.
"Lucky for you, Julie remains unconscious," Kate remarked. "Let's hope it stays that way," Gabi whispered to herself.
In the hospital waiting area, Chad saw J.J. and asked about Julie's condition. J.J. shrugged. J.J. asked Chad what Julie had said before she had passed out. Chad said he did not know. "Let's hope she wakes up soon," J.J. said.
In Julie's room, Hope and Rafe apologized to one another for fighting. "Right now, we just need to be here for your family," Rafe whispered. Rafe asked Hope if she knew why Julie had been at the Kiriakis mansion. Hope informed Rafe that Gabi had accused Julie of snooping in her room. Hope noted that they would not know what had happened until Julie woke up.
Sarah tries to persuade Chloe to let Eric raise Holly
At the loft apartment, Claire awoke and found Tripp in the kitchen, making breakfast burritos. "I'm so glad that you decided not to move out. I would miss your cooking so much," she raved as he passed her a breakfast burrito that had been made just the way she liked them. "Wow -- I had no idea that you were paying attention," she gushed, flashing him a smile.
"Neither did I," Ciara said, joining Claire and Tripp in the kitchen. Ciara declined to join Claire and Tripp for breakfast, having already decided to do some Christmas shopping before work. "You hitting the stores solo or with Ben?" Claire asked pointedly. "Solo. It's easier to buy a gift for someone when they're not with you," Ciara replied. "I'm gonna go take a shower," Tripp awkwardly interjected.
"[You know], it's really not nice to talk about getting a present for Ben in front of Tripp," Claire told Ciara after Tripp rushed off. "You're the one who [brought it up] -- and you did it on purpose," Ciara pointed out. "Oh, get over yourself. Tripp doesn't care what you do. He's not pining for you anymore," Claire dismissively insisted. "How could he when you're all over him 24/7?" Ciara countered. "What do you care? You dumped him for a serial killer, remember?" Claire argued. "Go buy a nice new necktie for your boyfriend," Claire added. "I swear, Claire, I'm gonna shove that burrito right up your --" Ciara began to snap.
"Stop yelling!" Tripp demanded, stepping into the living room in a towel. "Kayla just called. Your grandmother's in the hospital," Tripp gently revealed, stunning Ciara and Claire.
At the hospital, Eli and Lani watched over Julie for Doug, whom Hope and Rafe had finally managed to convince to go home and get some rest. When Ciara and Claire arrived with Tripp, Eli and Lani seized the opportunity to take a break. Tripp was pleased to see that, if nothing else, Ciara and Claire were at least willing to band together and set aside differences in times of crisis.
Eric went to the wheelchair-accessible apartment to see Will and immediately recognized the telltale signs of someone who was hungover. "Guess you, uh, stayed at the pub a little late last night," Eric observed without a hint of judgment or disapproval, knowing why Will had been -- and probably still was -- upset. "You know, I kept telling myself [that] it's not gonna happen -- [Sonny's not really gonna marry Leo] -- and then, all of a sudden, the lady who officiated the ceremony sits down on the barstool next to me, [so]...it's a done deal," Will replied with a heavy sigh. Eric was sorry to hear that.
"Hey, at least, you know, um, you're taking over the lease to this apartment, 'cause I need a -- I need a cheaper crib," Will said, eager to change the subject. "The landlord dropped this off, so I think all you gotta do is sign," Will added, producing a document. "[Or] did you find a better place?" Will asked when Eric didn't accept the document right away. "No, I didn't... [This] apartment, it's -- it's great... It's just..." Eric began before proceeding to tell Will about the recent development that had complicated the matter. Will understood why Eric was disappointed about potentially being robbed of the opportunity to raise Holly.
"Of all the memories that came back to me, the most significant one was the first time I held Arianna in my arms. It was incredible, you know -- being a part of creating a life," Will raved. "I don't want anything more," Eric admitted. "[I mean], I may not be related to Holly by blood, but she is the closest thing I have to the woman I love, and [I want to be a father figure to her]," Eric added while eyeing the document that Will had placed on a nearby desk. "I believe Nicole's last dying wish counts a hell of a lot more than a damn piece of paper," Eric concluded after a moment of thought, walking over to the desk to sign the document.
Will thanked Eric for the help and hoped that everything would work out with Holly. "You need anything? I mean, I got a great hangover cure, man -- it's nasty, but it works," Eric offered. "I'll be okay," Will insisted. "What are you gonna do about Sonny?" Eric asked. "I don't know," Will admitted with a shrug. "I mean, honestly, I can't stand that they're married...but if Sonny [hadn't married Leo], his life would have been destroyed, and Titan would have been destroyed," Will added. "Leo can't force you not to see Sonny," Eric pointed out. "Yeah, but Victor can," Will replied.
"Apparently, Leo is such a threat that Victor commanded Sonny not to see me, and he told him to act like the marriage is real," Will elaborated. "Wait, so he wants Leo and Sonny to...?" Eric asked incredulously. "I knew [he] was a bastard, but really?" Eric added with a shake of the head. "Yeah, well, I don't think Sonny will go that far with it -- at least, I hope he won't -- but...you know, the fact remains that I can't see him," Will replied, releasing another heavy sigh. "I'm sorry," Eric stressed. "Me, too. Kind of makes it hard to get in the Christmas spirit," Will admitted.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Leo climbed into bed with Sonny, who was dreaming about Will. "Oh, Will..." Sonny muttered with a smile before turning to get a kiss -- and realizing who was waiting to provide it. Sonny gasped and recoiled in disgust then ordered Leo to leave at once. "Is that any way to speak to your new husband?" Leo asked, staying put. "When I detest him? Yes," Sonny replied with a scowl.
"Ooh, so fiery first thing in the morning -- I love it!" Leo flirtatiously raved. "Wish I could have handled some of that heat last night, [but] I overdid it on the Champagne," Leo admitted. "I am ready to rise and shine [now, though, so] what do you say we consummate this union?" Leo suggested. "I will never have sex with you," Sonny insisted. "[But] Uncle Victor said that this needs to look like a real marriage, [so]...let's get real," Leo countered. "I will pretend in public because I have to, but that's it," Sonny maintained. "Eh, you'll come around -- [and] hopefully soon, [because] I have needs," Leo replied.
"Oh, I know -- the need to destroy my life, 'cause you're a gold-digging loser!" Sonny spat. "[Go ahead and] insult me. That's fine. I'll put up with it for now. [But] the one thing I will not tolerate is you seeing Will behind my back," Leo warned. Fed up, Sonny climbed out of bed and began to storm off -- just as Gabi screamed. Alarmed, Sonny rushed into Gabi's bedroom to find out what was wrong.
Gabi, who had just had a nightmare about what might happen if Julie woke up and started talking, vaguely admitted to Sonny that the nightmare had been about being separated from Arianna again. Sonny assured Gabi that would never happen. Gabi decided to join Sonny and Arianna for breakfast, hoping that would be a way to salvage a morning that was otherwise already off to a very bad start.
Leo was in the living room, messing with one of Arianna's Christmas decorations, when Sonny arrived downstairs a few minutes later. "Gabi and I are having a family breakfast with our daughter, so get lost," Sonny demanded. "I think I'll join you. [After all], I'm family, too," Leo replied. "I don't want you anywhere near my daughter," Sonny insisted with finality. "Well, since I'm not welcome here, maybe I'll do a little Christmas shopping," Leo decided, holding out a hand expectantly. Sighing, Sonny produced a small stack of cash and irritably shoved it at Leo. "Aw. That's cute. I meant plastic," Leo clarified.
Meanwhile, someone rang the doorbell -- just as Gabi was shakily descending the stairs, trying not to think about what had happened the previous night. Gabi opened the front door and found Eli and Lani standing outside, looking quite serious. "What do you want?" Gabi asked nervously, recalling that the nightmare had started the same way -- and had ended with an arrest.
"We're here to get your official statement on what happened when my -- when Julie fell down the stairs," Eli explained. Gabi repeated the same cover story that Chad had heard the previous night. Eli found it hard to believe that the notoriously stubborn Julie Williams had left without incident after having been caught snooping, but Gabi shrugged and insisted that was what had happened.
After Eli and Lani left, Gabi joined Sonny and Arianna in the living room. "Someone's ready for pancakes!" Sonny announced. "Yeah? [Well], you can have as many pancakes as you want [today, 'cause] tonight is Christmas Eve," Gabi told Arianna. "[Santa's] probably gonna get you everything that you wanted from that list that we made and sent to the North Pole," Gabi added while giving Sonny a wink.
"Actually...Ari asked me to help her write a new list," Sonny revealed, handing a piece of paper to Gabi. "I changed my mind about the doll I asked for, and the clothes, and the bike, too. I just want my mommy not to go away anymore," Gabi read aloud from Arianna's new letter to Santa. Fighting back tears, Gabi hugged Arianna and insisted there was no reason to worry about that.
Later, Sonny and Arianna decided to help Maggie decorate cookies for Santa. Gabi declined to join the fun -- then exited the mansion as soon as the coast was clear, vowing to make Arianna's only wish a reality.
Sarah entered Doug's Place and approached Chloe, who was quick to ask about what had happened to Julie at the Kiriakis mansion the previous night. "I was home, but I've been staying in the guest wing, so I didn't hear anything. And I left this morning before anyone was awake, so I don't [know if Julie has regained consciousness yet]," Sarah reported. Chloe hoped that Julie was going to be okay. "Lord knows [we] fought about every aspect [of] co-owning this place, but I really care about her," Chloe stressed. "Yeah, well, that's because you're a decent person," Sarah reasoned with a shrug.
"Which is why [I came to see you]. I am hoping that you will do the right thing when it comes to Holly. [I mean], I'm sure you would be [a great mother to Holly] -- if that were necessary -- but you have to respect what Nicole wanted, which was to have her daughter raised by the man she loved," Sarah added. "I have legal documentation that states otherwise," Chloe argued. "Nicole wrote that letter months ago, when she thought she would never see Eric again, [but then] they reunited, and they were planning a life together, and in her final moments, [she said] that she wanted him to raise Holly," Sarah countered.
"[And you'd have no problem with that] if you had not gotten that letter," Sarah pointed out. "[But I did get] that letter, and Nicole made her wishes very clear [in it, so] I intend on honoring them," Chloe replied. "[Look], I feel for Eric -- I really do -- but Holly is a child. She's not some project to help [him] get over his grief," Chloe added. "And she's not some substitute for Lucas," Sarah countered.
"I love her! I carried her for nine months [and] almost died giving birth to her!" Chloe defensively objected. "That's a really nice story," Sarah admitted.
"I mean, you skipped a few parts -- [like how] you got yourself knocked up [and] didn't even bother to tell Nicole that the baby was hers until you got busted -- [but] it's a really nice story," Sarah added. "Everything I did was to protect Holly!" Chloe insisted. "And who were you protecting when you slept with Philip behind Daniel's back? [I mean], you're sitting here, acting like you're some paragon of morality, when the truth is [that] after the things that you've pulled, a decent man like Eric would be a far better influence on Holly than you ever could be!" Sarah countered, stunning Chloe.
"You want to talk about cheating? [Let's not forget that] your new best friend Eric [was] sneaking around with Nicole behind his brother's back!" Chloe shot back -- just as Eric entered the club. "What's going on here?" Eric asked. "I was just telling [your] overbearing bitch [of a] spokesperson here to mind her own business," Chloe explained. "[You know], I'm more convinced now than ever than Holly belongs with me and her brother, and I'll get a lawyer if I have to," Chloe added. "Oh, you want a fight? Okay, fine -- you can have one!" Sarah countered. Eric quickly intervened, stopping the argument from escalating further.
"Get your dog to back off -- and get the hell out of here," Chloe ordered Eric. "This isn't over. I found a place for Holly and I to live, and I will make it happen," Eric replied before leaving with Sarah.
Eric took Sarah back to the wheelchair-accessible apartment. She was thrilled to learn that he had just taken over ownership of the place, and he was thrilled to learn that she had decided to stay in Salem. She still needed to share the good news with her mother, and she spontaneously decided that he needed to tag along so they could take her mother back to his new place to prove a point about the steps he was taking to be a good father.
When Sarah and Eric arrived at the Kiriakis mansion a short time later, Holly was nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, at Doug's Place, Chloe promised Holly, "You and I and Parker are gonna be such a happy family..."
While passing through Horton Town Square, Will spotted Leo, who was standing in the middle of a circle of shopping bags and seemed to be in the process of activating a new cell phone. "Not wasting any time spending Sonny's money, I see," Will observed, approaching Leo. "Just doing a little Christmas shopping for myself," Leo unapologetically confirmed. "And Sonny," Leo added, producing a pair of silk briefs.
"Hey, do you think these are the right size for my husband? I'm worried they might be a little small," Leo continued. "Sonny's never gonna wear those," Will insisted. "Even better," Leo replied with a smirk. "You can buy [Sonny] all the gifts you want, [but he'll still want] nothing to do with you," Will confidently declared. "Really? Then why was I in his bed this morning?" Leo countered, stunning Will.
"Sonny would never sleep with you," Will insisted. "He doesn't have a choice. [I mean], I didn't catch every word because I was eavesdropping, but the gist is that Victor told Sonny he has to keep me happy -- in every way -- [or] Titan goes down, and Sonny goes to Statesville," Leo replied. "[You know], I get why you're so into him. [I mean], when I was first asked to seduce him, I was a little reluctant...but once I got to experience everything [he] has to offer, I was all in -- [and] so was [he], which is why it was so great to pick up this morning where we left off," Leo added, smirking again. Will angrily punched Leo.
"That wasn't very smart, Will...but I guess when you're serving your sentence for attempted murder, they can just tack on some extra time for assault," Leo said after recovering from the blow. "You may be in control now, but that won't last, [Leo]. You're not gonna get away with this. Sonny and I are gonna be together," Will insisted. "This is your final warning -- do not be a home-wrecker," Leo countered.
Will angrily grabbed Leo, tempted to throw another punch, but Sonny arrived just then and quickly intervened. "Will got a little miffed when I told him about our morning delight, [so] he punched me," Leo indignantly explained to Sonny. "You deserved it," Will unapologetically insisted, glaring at Leo. "He seems to be having a hard time accepting that we're married now and [that] he needs to back off. Perhaps you can reinforce the message," Leo said to Sonny. "Or I could put another dent in your face," Sonny countered. "Here's the deal -- either Will backs off, or I file assault charges, and he spends Christmas in jail," Leo warned.
Sighing, Sonny worriedly begged Will to back off. "You're not...sleeping with this dirt bag, [are you]?" Will quietly asked Sonny, looking sick. "What? God! No -- absolutely not!" Sonny assured Will. "Yet. [But] it's just a matter of time," Leo promised Will before ordering Sonny to carry the shopping bags back to the Kiriakis mansion. "I don't think I can wait until Christmas morning to see you in the gift I got you," Leo told Sonny to further upset Will. As Leo walked away, Sonny gave Will a regretful look of longing. Will stared back at Sonny in pained silence. Sighing again, Sonny reluctantly turned and followed Leo out of the town square.
At the hospital, Gabi stood at Julie's bedside, scowling. "When Kayla wasn't looking, I snuck [into your room], just like you snuck into my room. Why couldn't you just let it go, huh? I was gonna tell Chad that [the] baby was his [eventually], and I was gonna help him raise that child. Abigail was the only person who was supposed to suffer, [because she needs] to get what she deserves. I went to prison for a crime that she committed, [and now] I can't have any more children because of that crazy bitch! And if you wake up and blab about what you know, then I am screwed!" Gabi fretted.
"I will not have my child feel abandoned again! I will never let that happen!" Gabi insisted before picking up a spare pillow and pushing it toward Julie's face.
Gabi considers silencing Julie for good
Maggie entered the Kiriakis mansion while Eric and Sarah were frantically searching for Holly. "I gave her to Chloe," Maggie casually revealed, stunning Eric and Sarah.
"You should've spoken to Eric before you made a decision of this magnitude!" Sarah insisted, outraged. "I should've done nothing of the sort. I'm Holly's grandmother; I'm her next of kin," Maggie countered. "[So], you are the arbiter of what is right and wrong when it comes to that little girl, and to hell with everyone else?" Sarah asked incredulously.
Sarah and Maggie continued arguing about the matter until Eric finally interrupted, not wanting things to get any worse on Christmas Eve, of all days. "I think I better go," Eric announced. "I'll walk you out," Sarah replied.
Later, Sarah rejoined Maggie in the living room and apologized. "I just -- I feel for Eric, you know? He had his whole life planned out, and he was ready to settle down with the woman that he loves, [and] in an instant, it fell apart," Sarah explained. "Sounds almost exactly like what happened to you," Maggie observed. "There may be a few parallels between Eric's situation and mine..." Sarah reluctantly conceded.
Changing the subject, Maggie wondered if Sarah was going to be returning to Chicago after the holidays. "[I mean], it's a big city, [so] surely you're not worried about running into [Rex and Mimi]," Maggie reasoned. "It's not about running into them; it's about proximity," Sarah clarified, fighting back tears. "I mean, just knowing that they're in the same city as me -- it's just...more than I can handle right now," Sarah admitted.
"Which is why I took a job at University Hospital," Sarah revealed, surprising Maggie, who walked away without saying anything about the matter. "Do you not want me to stay in Salem?" Sarah asked when Maggie returned a short time later. "Of course I want you to stay," Maggie assured Sarah. "[It's just that] I was going through some of your father's things the other day, and I found [this]," Maggie explained, giving Sarah an antique stethoscope. "I know he would want you to have it, [especially now]. He would be so proud [that you're] continuing the tradition of helping people and saving lives. [And] I'm so proud of you, too," Maggie stressed.
At the Horton Town Square, John and Marlena were doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. "Okay, let me think -- we've got the headphones for Claire, and the leather backpack for Will..." Marlena mused. "[And] we got [gifts for] Abe [and] Lani...[but] we still have Brady [to shop for]..." John added after checking a cell phone that contained a digital copy of the couple's shopping list.
"And we got a text coming in from Paul," John announced as the cell phone chimed. "He just received the sweater, and he loves it," John summarized. "[He says] rehab is going slow and steady, but he just set a land speed record down Lombard Street," John continued, chuckling. Marlena stared at John blankly, not even cracking a smile. John repeated the joke for Marlena, using hand motions to illustrate that Paul had been talking about traveling down Lombard Street in a wheelchair at a record pace. "Oh, I'm sorry," Marlena said with a shake of the head. "I'm glad he's doing so well. I was just -- I was thinking about something else," Marlena explained.
"[You were thinking] about Eric and Brady and their fight," John guessed. "It's been on my mind, also," John added. "No, I wasn't thinking about the boys; I was thinking about Abigail," Marlena clarified. "I was Abigail's doctor, [and] I should have realized she was on the verge of a relapse. [If I had], maybe I could've done something to prevent [it]," Marlena fretted. "Oh, come on, Doc -- you did everything you could, and you helped her get better [last time]," John replied. "I thought I did...[but] maybe I missed something..." Marlena mused before spontaneously deciding to head over to the DiMera mansion to talk to Abigail.
After Marlena left, John spotted Eric passing through the area -- and quickly realized that something was wrong. Eric was reluctant to confide in John about a situation that involved Brady, but John insisted it was okay. "Yeah, Brady's my son, [but] so are you, kid," John stressed. Touched, Eric vented to John about Maggie's decision to let Chloe raise Holly -- and about Brady's support of that decision.
Brady entered Doug's Place while Chloe was interacting with Holly. Brady was happy to see that Holly was already in Chloe's care. "How did this happen [so quickly]?" Brady asked after Chloe put Holly down for a nap. "I mean, I thought Eric and Sarah were gonna take you to the mat on this thing," Brady added. "[They] almost did. I got into a bad fight with Sarah, and Eric walked into the middle of it, and I think the whole thing just upset him, [so] he said he [would] do anything to get custody of Holly...[but] I made a preemptive strike -- I went right to Maggie [and said that Nicole's wishes were very clear in that letter], and she agreed with me," Chloe explained.
"[You know], when Lucas told me that he was leaving for Europe, I was preparing for the worst holiday ever, but now that Holly's here, that's all changed, [and] I just feel so lucky," Chloe added with a smile. "[And I heard] we may just have a white Christmas this year," Brady reported. "That'd be nice -- snow -- [because it'd be] very symbolic of the first time Holly came into my life," Chloe mused. "[But hopefully] a little less intense," Brady stressed. "Yeah...[but] as crazy as that [night] was, I don't know that I would change a thing," Chloe admitted, pleased that Nicole had been present for Holly's birth.
"[But then]...all that time that I kept [Nicole] away from Holly... Did I do a terrible, selfish thing? [I mean], maybe I don't deserve to raise Nicole's daughter any more than Eric does," Chloe added with a sigh. "You are being too hard on yourself," Brady insisted. "[I mean], do you want to, uh, compare bad deeds? 'Cause I got a [huge] list. [And] even if [Eric] finds it in his heart to forgive me [at some point], I don't think I'm gonna be able to forgive myself," Brady continued. "Okay, so...maybe we've both done more bad things that we'd care to count," Chloe conceded, managing a smile.
Eric entered the club seconds later and caught Chloe and Brady in an embrace. "Well, isn't this nice? What, are you two celebrating the fact that you've stolen Nicole's daughter?" Eric asked with a scowl.
"Congrats, [Chloe]. Job well done. I mean, you knew nothing had been settled with Holly's custody, [so] you went running over to Maggie's house the first chance you got and manipulated her into giving you that baby," Eric bitterly continued. "Chloe didn't manipulate anyone. Maggie made [it] clear [that] she wants Chloe to raise Holly," Brady clarified for Chloe. "And that suits you just fine, doesn't it? [After all], you did everything in your power to keep me from Nicole. But I'll be damned if I let you do that with her daughter!" Eric snapped at Brady before storming off.
At the DiMera mansion, Abigail prepared Charlotte for a quick outing. "I know I've been a little distracted lately, and I wish I could just focus on you, [but] when you get older, your mama is gonna teach you that it is so, so important for you to show up for the people that show up for you, [and] Julie was the only one who believed in your mama, [and] now I've put her in danger, so I've been worrying about that," Abigail explained to Charlotte. "[Anyway, here's] what we're doing today -- we are going to meet a man, and he is going to help us, and he's coming from far, far away," Abigail added before starting to leave with Charlotte.
"Where are you off to?" Stefan asked curiously while descending the stairs to join Abigail and Charlotte in the foyer. "I have to go get your [Christmas] gift," Abigail innocently claimed. "I don't need a gift. [I mean], now that you're back, I have everything I've ever wanted," Stefan insisted. "That's very sweet, [but] I am just so looking forward to surprising you with this -- you have no idea," Abigail maintained. "Well, look, it's, uh -- it's kind of cold outside, and [Charlotte] did have that bit of a fever yesterday, so why don't you just leave her here with me?" Stefan suggested. "Oh. Yeah, great -- sure," Abigail agreed, handing Charlotte over to Stefan.
"I don't know what this big surprise is that your mommy has for me, but I can promise you this, baby girl -- this is the first in a lifetime of Christmases that the three of us are gonna spend together," Stefan assured Charlotte after Abigail left. "I'm afraid I've gotta say 'bah, humbug' to that sentiment," Marlena interjected, joining Stefan and Charlotte in the living room.
"I'm here to see Abigail," Marlena added, ignoring Stefan's complaints about the intrusion. "My wife is out...and her name is Gabby," Stefan replied. "Gabby may be able to [maintain] control right now, but Abigail will fight her way back [at some point]," Marlena warned Stefan. "And what will you do [then]? Will you lock her in a cage, like your father did to me?" Marlena asked.
"That day will never come," Stefan dismissively insisted. "Oh, that day will decidedly come, [because] this is all a fantasy, and at some point, reality will come crashing through," Marlena maintained. "Stefan, you're walking down a dark road...but you can turn back. You can make sure that Abigail gets the help that she needs, and you can begin to heal yourself [in the process]," Marlena added.
"Thank you for your concern, Dr. Evans. This may come as a shock to you, but, uh...I actually appreciate it. And I have no doubt that your heart is in the right place," Stefan replied, sounding sincere. "But I think you're forgetting that I lost Gabby once before, and I didn't lock her in a cage or keep her from the people that she loves -- [in fact], I made peace with [it]," Stefan reminded Marlena.
"But Gabby still fought her way back to me, and now that I know -- now that I've seen -- how much she loves me, I'm never losing her again," Stefan vowed. "[And] what about Abigail's family? What about the people that love her and miss her? Are they just supposed to get used to the fact that she's gone?" Marlena asked. "That's not my choice; it's clearly Gabby's," Stefan replied with a shrug.
"But you can be sure that I will give her the family that she needs. I will be a good father to Charlotte and a good husband to Gabby," Stefan promised. "[And] to hell with everybody else," Marlena summarized. "Dr. Evans, you know me well enough by now [to know that] I don't give a damn what anyone in this town thinks about me," Stefan replied. "We are going to be happy -- me, Gabby, [and] Charlotte -- [and that's all that matters]. And our love for Charlotte [isn't] an illusion; [it's] real. [She brought us back] together, and there's nothing anyone can do to change that," Stefan added with finality.
At the park, Abigail approached a man who was standing near one of the benches. "Thank you so much for meeting me here. I know you came a long way, [and] I really appreciate you keeping this between us. [See], if I could have traveled, I would have handled this myself, but, uh...I can't, so that's why you're here. I need you to go back to your country, where you married me and Stefan DiMera, and I need you to end it," Abigail explained to the man. "Don't you think you owe it to your husband to let him know [about this]?" the man asked. "I don't owe him anything," Abigail insisted. "Hmm. But maybe I do," the man mused.
"[I already told you] I'm going to give you a large sum of money for this," Abigail reminded the man. "What may be large to you [may not] be large to me," the man countered. "Throw out a number," Abigail suggested. "$50,000," the man replied. "What? That's --" Abigail began to protest. "Fine," Abigail quickly agreed when the man produced a cell phone and began to dial a number.
"I will wire transfer the money to you, [and] you'll have it by tonight," Abigail promised. "[Then you] shall be a single woman by sunrise tomorrow," the man replied.
After leaving the DiMera mansion, Marlena rejoined John at the town square. "So, Maggie just gave Holly to Chloe?" Marlena asked incredulously after John repeated what Eric had revealed earlier. "[Was] that her call [to make]? I think not! Eric must be devastated!" Marlena added with a sigh. Changing the subject, Marlena told John about Stefan's delusional hope of a fairytale life with Gabby and Charlotte.
At the hospital, a woman in scrubs stood alone at the nurses' station, talking to someone on the desk phone. "I'm so sorry for this whole mess... No, I know it's a big problem, but I'm really scared... I didn't know who else to turn to. Can't you help me?" the woman asked the person on the other end of the call. "No, don't worry about it. I got this," the woman added after a pause. "But how...?" the woman muttered after ending the call. Just then, J.J. exited a nearby elevator and spotted the woman, who was visibly upset. "You okay?" J.J. asked gently. "I'm fine," the woman replied with a shake of the head before rushing off in tears.
Meanwhile, in Julie's room, Gabi pulled the pillow back just before it reached its target. "Look, it's not like I like doing this, [but] you're leaving me no choice, [with] your vicious threats and the name-calling...and let's face it, Julie Williams -- you've had it in for me ever since your creepy nephew Nick got exactly what he had coming to him! You know, you always try to turn people against me, like it's your life mission to screw up my life, [and] I have to put a stop to that, once and for all, because there's no way in hell that I'm going back to prison, okay? There's no way in hell that I'm gonna put my daughter through that kind of misery!" Gabi insisted.
"So...yeah, you are leaving me with no choice. I have to do what I have to do," Gabi reasoned with a shrug before pushing the pillow toward Julie's face again.
Gabi again pulled the pillow back just before it reached its target. "Why? Why should I feel sorry for you? You don't give a damn about me! You blame me for Nick's death, [even though] I was his victim! You know, I learned my lesson [back then, and] I will never be a victim again. Nick tried to ruin my life, so I did what I had to do. Abigail -- she tried to take away my freedom, my health, [and] my daughter, so I'm making her pay, [too]. And now you are here, trying to ruin my life, and I cannot let you do that," Gabi insisted before pushing the pillow toward Julie's face once again.
"Gabi?" J.J. called out just then, stepping into Julie's room. Gabi spun around in shock, still holding the pillow. "What are you doing?" J.J. asked curiously as Gabi tossed the pillow onto a nearby chair. "I was, uh...I was just trying to see how -- how Julie is, you know? Poor thing," Gabi claimed. "I just can't help but [feel] a little responsible for what happened," Gabi added. "You can't blame yourself," J.J. insisted.
"[You know], I was here the other day, about to go on shift, and I got this call from Theo -- just out of the blue," J.J. revealed. "He figured with the, uh -- the anniversary of the shooting, uh...he might be on my mind, and he didn't want me to go to that dark place again. [See], he is a very forgiving and generous person -- like you, [Gabi]. I haven't forgotten about last Christmas Eve, when I opened that door and saw you standing there, [and] I did everything I could to get rid of you, [but] you just wouldn't go [because] you were determined to save me from myself. [Gabi], you're a good person [and] a good friend," J.J. continued.
J.J. gave Gabi a hug then rushed off to start a work shift. A short time later, J.J. entered a break room and found a woman passed out on the floor -- the same woman who had been at the nurses' station earlier.
Meanwhile, Gabi picked up the pillow and pushed it toward Julie's face for the fourth time. "Oh, God -- what am I doing? Can I even do this?" Gabi muttered, fighting back tears. "No. I know that if Julie wakes up, she's gonna tell Abigail that Chad's the father of her baby, and everything I did is gonna -- is gonna be out there, but...J.J. says that people deserve a second chance, and that I deserve a second chance, and I want to believe him. This is not -- this is not the kind of person that I am. This is not -- this is not the kind of mother that Arianna deserves," Gabi decided, tossing the pillow back onto the nearby chair.
Gabi sighed and started to exit Julie's room -- just as Abigail entered it.
J.J. works to revive Haley
In the hospital lounge, J.J. found an unconscious nurse, Haley, on the floor. J.J. dropped to his knees and worked to revive the young woman. J.J. called out for help. When a nurse arrived with Narcan, J.J. injected it into the woman, reviving her for a moment. After the nurse checked the woman's vitals, she told J.J. to let Haley recuperate in the room so as not to alarm the administration.
"No, no, no. Who are you?" Haley asked as she woke up on a bed. J.J. explained that he had found Haley unconscious on the floor and had administered CPR and medication to save Haley's life. "Why did you save me?" Haley whispered. "I saved you because it's my job," J.J. responded. Haley argued that J.J. was not needed. J.J. countered that he could not walk away.
"I'm in this profession to help people, not to watch them die," J.J. said. When Haley argued that J.J. did not understand, he explained that he had attempted suicide the previous Christmas, but someone had saved him. "Nice try," Haley said. J.J. explained that he had told Haley the truth because he wanted her to know that he understood how she felt.
"If a friend hadn't shown up just when she did, I wouldn't be here tonight. And with you, I feel like I'm paying it forward," J.J. said. "I wish you hadn't," Haley said. J.J. told Haley that he had been a cop and had overreacted and shot someone the previous year.
"In one split second, his life changed, and so did mine. No one knew if he was ever going to wake up. And at that moment, his life was ruined, and it was my fault. I couldn't live with the guilt. It tortured me day and night until finally it beat me down so bad to the point where I didn't feel like I deserved anything but death. I wanted to take my life. The way I took his," J.J. explained.
"But as I was walking out that door, gun in hand, feeling hopeless, worthless, a friend was there, and she was determined to help me, and she wouldn't let me out of that room and finally persuaded me that I needed to be around the people that loved me. That my life had meaning and value," J.J. said. J.J. added that he had learned the next morning that the man he had shot had woken up and had improved.
"If she hadn't saved me, I never would have known that. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is always hope. Always," J.J. said. J.J. added that his reason for committing suicide had disappeared overnight, and he told Haley to remember that things could get better. "I'm trying to give you [hope] now," J.J. said.
"I'm sorry. I know you mean well, but deaf ears, you know? Just not buying it," Haley said. Haley repeated that J.J. should not have saved her. J.J. reached out and squeezed Haley's hand to reassure her as she drifted off to sleep. J.J. called the nurse and updated her on Haley's condition, and he thanked her for her help. As J.J. picked up his stuff to leave, he looked back at Haley. Unable to walk away, J.J. sat in the chair next to Haley to keep watch.
At the Horton house, Hope and Jennifer looked at the tree and talked about Julie. Jennifer reminded Hope that Julie was a fighter. "Just like your daughter," Hope countered. Jennifer confided that she was worried that Stefan was preventing Abigail from getting the help she needed.
"I know it's Christmas, but I hate [Stefan's] guts," Hope said. Hope thanked Jennifer for her ongoing love and support. Jennifer said she felt the same way about Hope. With a sigh, Hope apologized to Jennifer for asking her to lie to Rafe. Curious, Jennifer asked why Hope had asked her to lie. Hope declined to give Jennifer details, but she explained that the lie had to do with Ciara.
"She is getting closer and more involved with Ben. I felt I didn't have any other choice," Hope said. "I know how this is torturing you," Jennifer responded. Jennifer said she understood why Hope would have taken drastic action to protect her daughter. Doug walked into the living room and asked for his car keys. Hope was reluctant to let Doug leave when he had only slept for an hour. Doug was anxious to see his wife, and he would not be deterred.
"What good are you going to be for Julie if you pass out from exhaustion or hunger?" Hope asked. Hope urged Doug to eat first. With a sigh, Doug agreed to eat before he left for the hospital. Hope and Jennifer ran into the kitchen to cook. Doug looked at the box of ornaments and picked up Julie's. When Hope and Jennifer returned with food, Doug argued that Julie should be home, decorating the tree.
"How could this have happened? How could Julie fall down a flight of stairs. I mean, what was she doing over there, anyway?" Doug asked. Hope explained that Julie had been at the house to help Abigail. While Doug ate, Jennifer talked to Hope in the corner. Jennifer confided that she had not known why Julie had been at the Kiriakis mansion.
"I feel terrible," Jennifer said. Doug interrupted to announce that he had finished his food. With a sigh, Hope offered to drive Doug to the hospital. Doug grabbed his coat and followed Hope out the front door, with Jennifer close behind.
Rafe went to question Stefan at the DiMera mansion about Ted's kidnapping. Stefan joked that Rafe was anxious to follow up in order to keep Ted away from Hope. Curious, Stefan asked Rafe if Ted had pressed charges. Rafe noted that Ted was "too scared" to make a complaint.
"Tell Mr. Laurent that if he keeps his baseless accusations to himself, we can all enjoy the spirit of the Christmas season in the spirit of peace and harmony. Does that work for you, detective?" Stefan said. Rafe warned Stefan that Stefan would have to answer to him if anything happened to Ted. Rafe added that Abigail's family was worried about Abigail. Stefan warned Rafe to quit while he was ahead.
Chad visited Kate in her hotel room. Chad told Kate that Victor had fired him from Titan. "I outbid DiMera for this energy company that I thought had potential. I knew it was a long shot, and I paid more than asking price," Chad admitted. "That doesn't sound like you," Kate countered. Chad explained that he had reacted to Stefan's decision to release Abigail from Bayview. Kate offered to help Chad secure a room at the Salem Inn, but he declined.
"Victor hasn't kicked us out yet. Not that he didn't want to, but Sonny went to him and convinced him to let us stay through the holidays," Chad explained. Kate asked Chad about Julie. With a shrug, Chad said there was no change. When Kate asked Chad whether he had seen Julie's fall, Chad admitted that he had not seen what had happened. Chad added, "Apparently Gabi didn't either."
Chad told Kate everything he knew about Julie's accident. Kate asked Chad if Julie had been conscious after the fall. Chad admitted that Julie had been awake for a bit and had said that she had something important to tell him. Chad added that Julie had been at the mansion to search Gabi's room. With a shrug, Chad said he did not know why Julie had been so keen to search Gabi's room. Kate made a face.
Suspicious, Chad asked Kate to tell him what she was hiding. Kate thought about when Gabi had confided her fears about Julie waking up. Kate shook off the memory, and she assured Chad that she was just worried about Christmas shopping. Chad gave Andre's pocket watch to Kate as his Christmas gift to her. Touched, Kate cried and told Chad she loved him.
"I have a Christmas gift for you, too, and I think you're going to love it," Kate said. Kate told Chad that she was grateful to have him in her life. With a nod, Chad said he felt the same way about Kate. Chad worried aloud about Thomas, and Kate assured Chad that he was a good dad. Kate added that she had a good feeling about the next year for Chad. With a wave, Chad left.
"Damn you, Gabi. Damn you," Kate whispered. Kate wrote a thank you note to Chad for the gift he had given her. At the end of the note, Kate wrote, "I said I would have a gift for you too. One that you would love. I should have said that you'll love her. You need to know this, finally, that that beautiful baby that you helped bring into this world for Abigail is your daughter, Chad. Charlotte. She has never been Stefan's child. She's yours." Kate finished the note, sealed it in an envelope, and then crumpled it up and threw it on the floor.
In Julie's hospital room, a bewigged Abigail ran into Gabi as she was leaving the room. Abigail ordered Gabi to leave, but she refused. "If I had any doubts as to who you really were? Well I can put those to permanent rest," Gabi said. Gabi demanded that Abigail admit the truth.
"It's all been an act. You were right then, and you're right now," Abigail said. Abigail turned her attention to Julie, and she whispered that she was there. Gabi asked Abigail if she was the one that had sent Julie to snoop in Gabi's room at the Kiriakis mansion.
"I may have put her up to it, but you're the one that put her in this bed. What the hell did you do to her, bitch?" Abigail asked. Gabi reminded Abigail that Abigail had sent Julie to the house. Furious, Abigail growled that she had sent Julie to the house to locate the wig or the sedatives that Gabi had used to drug Abigail. Gabi feigned ignorance.
"I think you're watching a lot of Dateline," Gabi joked. Abigail explained that she knew Gabi had obtained a prescription from Kayla. "I know that something happened, so you tell me what [Julie] found," Abigail said. Gabi thought about Julie yelling about the paternity test. When Abigail yelled at Gabi to tell her the truth, Gabi lied and said that Julie had found nothing.
"She didn't fall. You pushed her, didn't you? You shoved her down those stairs because she found something," Abigail argued. Abigail asked Gabi if she was there to finish off Julie. With a groan, Gabi countered that Abigail was the one playing games. Gabi offered to tell Stefan the truth about Abigail's act. Gabi whipped out her phone and started to call Stefan.
"That's funny, because I happen to have Rafe's number here, too, and I'm sure he'd be so happy to hear about Kayla and your sleeping problems," Abigail countered. Gabi reminded Abigail that Kayla was obligated to follow doctor-patient confidentiality. Abigail disagreed and noted that the police could get a court order for the records. Abigail pulled out her phone then looked Gabi in the eye and urged her to call Stefan.
"Forget it. But this is not over," Gabi said. After Gabi left, Abigail rushed to Julie's side and apologized to her. As Julie slept, Abigail pleaded with Julie to return to the family that loved her. Mendez texted Abigail and asked her to call him. With a sniffle, Abigail promised Julie that she would return. "I am going to make sure that this wasn't for nothing," Abigail whispered.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Gabi rushed into the living room and looked over the paternity test results. "How can I get Chad to see this without tracing it back to me?" Gabi wondered aloud. Chad returned home. Gabi turned the paper over on the desk. "Merry Christmas Eve, Gabi," Chad said. Chad looked at Gabi's hand, pressed down on the paper.
"What do you got there?" Chad asked as he walked toward Gabi. Chad stared at the paper under Gabi's hand.
At the hospital, Rafe ran into Hope as she exited Julie's room. "I'm guessing by the look on your face that there have not been any changes," Rafe said. Fighting tears, Hope said she was worried. Rafe assured Hope that Julie would pull through. Hope asked where Rafe had been. Rafe explained he had talked to Stefan about Ted. Alarmed, Hope asked Rafe if he had told Stefan where to find Ted. Rafe said Stefan had assured him that he would not go after Ted. Hope was not so sure.
"Actually, I do believe him. He is in a good place right now. He doesn't want to lose Gabby or his daughter. So, I did believe him," Rafe said. Rafe asked Hope to forget about Ted and enjoy Christmas.
When Abigail returned to the DiMera mansion, Stefan was waiting for her in the living room. Abigail said she wanted to check on Charlotte. Stefan kissed "Gabby." Abigail handed Stefan a present. "I can't wait to see your face when you open it," Abigail said. After checking on Charlotte, Abigail returned downstairs and found Stefan still staring at his present.
"I was wondering what is in this beautifully wrapped box here. I don't know if can wait until tomorrow morning to open it," Stefan said. "Well, opening one very special gift on Christmas Eve, I think I can let you get away with that," Abigail said coyly. Stefan eagerly opened the box to find a divorce decree inside. "Divorce papers. Merry Christmas, you son of a bitch," Abigail said with a grin.
In Julie's room at the hospital, Doug sat by his wife and told her that it was almost Christmas. "Your favorite time of year. Mine, too, but not without you. No, ma'am. In fact, without you, the whole thing seems pretty meaningless. I know you don't like being pressured, I can hear you say, 'Doug enough with the pressuring, I'll get to it when I'm good and ready,'" Doug said. Doug added that he needed to pressure Julie then.
"You have to come back to me, Julie. You are my life. You are my heart. You are my world. You are everything to me. So, please, please, come back. Come back," Doug said. As Jennifer cried in the corner, Julie's eyes fluttered open.