At the hospital, Hope and Rafe ran into Sarah, who had just finished attending an orientation session. Hope and Rafe were both pleasantly surprised to hear that Sarah was going to be staying in Salem.
Jennifer soon emerged from Julie's nearby room. "Julie opened her eyes! She's awake!" Jennifer excitedly announced before stepping back into the room, with Sarah, Hope, and Rafe close behind. Sarah performed a few quick tests on Julie then assured everyone, "She's alert and oriented, [and while] I still want her neurologist to put her through [a complete series of tests], I'm optimistic that she's gonna make a full recovery."
Hope wondered if Julie remembered what had happened. "Gabi Hernandez happened!" Julie declared with a scowl.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Chad curiously eyed the document that Gabi was holding. Gabi nervously claimed that it was Arianna's list for Santa. "I've seen you with that paper before," Chad recalled. "And I just heard you say that you didn't want it traced back to you. Why would you say that [about such a thing]?" Chad asked suspiciously. "Um... [See], Arianna [is] just getting to an age where she's hearing a lot of stuff at school, [and] now she's questioning [whether] Santa is real. [And I just] don't want my only child to lose faith in the magic of Christmas," Gabi clarified. Chad understood, having already begun dreading Thomas' eventual questions about Santa.
"I wish I could give Thomas the gift of having his mother back for Christmas," Chad admitted with a sigh. "There's so much disruption in his life right now...[especially] with Victor firing me," Chad added, surprising Gabi. "Only Victor would fire someone right before Christmas," Gabi mused with a shake of the head. "Well, luckily, Sonny got him to let us stay through tomorrow, but after that, we're on our own," Chad explained with a shrug.
"Arianna's confused about Sonny marrying Leo," Gabi revealed. "[Because it is] confusing. Sonny should be married to Will," Chad stressed. "Yeah. [Anyway], I do not want my daughter seeing Leo every day, [so] I'm thinking about moving us back into my parents' house. [Rafe] moved in with Hope [after they] patched things up, so we'll basically have the house to ourselves...[and since] you need a place to stay..." Gabi continued. "You're serious?" Chad asked incredulously. "I'm serious," Gabi confirmed. "There's plenty of room. [But] you don't have to give me an answer right now. [Just] think about it," Gabi added with a smile.
A short time later, Rafe arrived to see Gabi. "Julie's regained consciousness..." Rafe hesitantly began. "What did she say?" Gabi asked nervously. "That she went into your room [to look for proof] that you had set up Abigail..." Rafe started to reply. "Julie hates me! She's always hated me! And she hates you, too! Do you even realize the stuff that she's been saying about the both of us?" Gabi defensively protested. "Calm down. She doesn't remember anything [else]. Apparently, it's a common thing [that's] called retrograde amnesia, where the brain blocks out what happened right before an injury," Rafe clarified.
Relieved, Gabi innocently claimed that nothing noteworthy had happened, anyway. "[Then]...case closed," Rafe concluded with a shrug.
At the hospital, Julie struggled to remember everything that had happened at the Kiriakis mansion. "Why is all this so important to you?" Doug asked curiously. "[Because] I want to know if Gabi pushed me down that staircase!" Julie explained, frustrated. "I know there's no love lost between the two of you, but why would she push you down a flight of stairs? I mean, maybe you had a dizzy spell," Doug suggested. "No," Julie insisted.
"What were you expecting to find in Gabi's room?" Hope wondered. "I don't remember," Julie admitted with a sigh. "There's a slim chance [that you will eventually]...but it's unlikely," Sarah revealed, shrugging apologetically.
At the loft apartment, Ciara found Claire in the kitchen, baking cookies for the Horton family's annual tree-trimming ceremony. "I guess you didn't get the message, [but]...no one's really in the holiday spirit, so...Horton Christmas Eve is canceled," Ciara informed Claire, who struggled to remember the last time that had happened. "I start looking forward to it in, like, October!" Claire admitted, disappointed.
Just then, someone knocked on the apartment door. Claire opened it and found Ben standing outside, holding a gift bag. "I'm guessing that's not for me," Claire said with a laugh, stepping aside to let Ben into the apartment. "Merry Christmas," Ben said to Ciara, smiling. "How's Mrs. Williams?" Ben asked. "I called the nurses' station a little while ago, and they said she's [still] the same," Ciara reported with a sigh.
"So, um...Tripp actually invited me to spend Christmas [Eve] with him and Kayla. [See], he knows that my parents went back to Hong Kong, and he just feels really bad for me. [And] I was just thinking that if the [Horton] party's canceled, then I'll go over there right now," Claire awkwardly interjected. "It's okay, Claire. [Really], you don't have to explain [anything]. I want you to have fun," Ciara replied.
After Claire left, Ben handed Ciara the gift bag, which contained only a silver bell that was just slightly larger than a thimble. "It's called a 'guardian bell' -- [and] it's for your bike. It's supposed to ward off evil spirits and bad luck on the road," Ben explained as Ciara stared at the item with obvious confusion. "I know your mom thinks the only evil spirit you need protection from is me -- [actually], probably everybody thinks that..." Ben started to add, sighing. "They're all wrong," Ciara insisted. "Hortons make a thing out of accepting anyone and everyone, [which makes them] total hypocrites [for not giving] you a second chance," Ciara added.
"But I don't want to talk about my family right now...especially since I'm not gonna be with them tonight," Ciara concluded. Nodding, Ben wondered if there was anything else Ciara wanted to do to celebrate Christmas Eve. "We could go ice-skating," Ciara suggested. "Babe, I was raised in the Ozarks; I do not ice-skate," Ben protested. "I can teach you. It's easy," Ciara countered. "What have I got to lose?" Ben replied with a shrug.
Just then, Ciara received a phone call from Hope, who revealed that Julie had just regained consciousness. "Obviously, they're not gonna discharge her [tonight], but she's made all of us promise that the party will go on," Hope added. "Oh, um...actually, I kind of made other plans..." Ciara tried to protest. "Ciara, it's Christmas Eve. And it's tradition. There's nothing more important than family," Hope stressed. "Yeah, I know...but, um, Jennifer's gonna be there, [and] Claire, and --" Ciara started protesting again. "You should go," Ben quietly encouraged Ciara. "Okay, fine -- I'll cancel my plans," Ciara assured Hope before ending the call.
"Thanks for understanding," Ciara said to Ben. "Come on. You are beyond lucky to have such a great family," Ben replied with a shake of the head. "[I just] hate that you have to choose between them and me," Ben continued. "That's their fault," Ciara stressed. "What about you? I don't want you to spend Christmas Eve alone," Ciara added with a frown of concern. "Don't worry about me. I'll figure something out," Ben insisted.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan struggled to understand why Gabby had filed for divorce. "Oh, no -- [I'm] not Gabby; [I'm] Abigail. Gabby's been gone for a long, long time, and she is never coming back. [See], I was only pretending until I could get a divorce," Abigail clarified while removing Gabby's wig. "You know, the craziest thing is how easy it was [to fool you]. Once I moved in here, you saw what you wanted to see [and] believed what you wanted to believe -- that's how badly you wanted her back," Abigail added while removing Gabby's diamond ring and tossing it at Stefan. "It's over," Abigail spat with finality.
"I'm going to get Charlotte, [and then] we're leaving," Abigail concluded before heading upstairs, leaving Stefan speechless. Abigail returned with Charlotte a short time later, just as a taxi arrived. "You can't do this!" Stefan protested. "Watch me," Abigail countered. "Don't you think for a second that I won't sue for custody! I am the father of this baby girl, and you are a mother with a history of mental illness!" Stefan spat.
Abigail ignored Stefan and calmly started to exit the mansion -- just as Ben approached the front door. "What are you doing here?" Abigail asked nervously, backing away from Ben. "He lives here now. [See], I hired [him] as my new head of security," Stefan explained. "Relax, Abigail. I told him to keep his distance from you. [Besides], it doesn't matter anymore," Stefan added when Abigail began to complain about the decision. "Abigail?" Ben curiously repeated. "You were right. She's been playing me," Stefan explained with a sigh. "Both of you are sick!" Abigail spat with a shake of the head before rushing out of the mansion with Charlotte.
"Sorry I couldn't stop Abigail from leaving with the baby," Ben said to Stefan. "It's all right. I, uh, didn't want it to get physical, [since] there's a child involved. Doesn't mean I'm giving up on her, though," Stefan replied. "The baby? Or the woman you call 'Gabby'?" Ben asked before noticing the divorce document and the diamond ring. "I see," Ben added with a nod of understanding as Stefan silently stewed over Abigail's deception.
At the Horton house, Jennifer greeted Eli and Lani, the latter of whom was quick to ask about J.J. "He keeps saying that he's happy for [us], but...I don't know. [I mean, do you think this] will be awkward [for him]?" Lani wondered. "[Actually, he's] not even gonna be here, so... [See], he saved a woman's life today, and he wanted to stay at the hospital and make sure that she's gonna be okay," Jennifer replied. "Sounds like him," Lani said.
Hope and Rafe were standing nearby. Jennifer could tell that Hope was upset about something. "When I called Ciara [earlier], she said she already had other plans...[and I'm guessing] they were probably with Ben," Hope explained. "I finally convinced her to come [to this party instead, but she's still not here, so]...maybe she changed her mind," Hope added. "Or maybe Ben Weston changed her mind," Jennifer knowingly replied.
Just then, Ciara arrived with Claire. "Sorry we're late. I, uh, got a ride with Claire, and then we both forgot the cookies that she made, [so we had to go back home to get them]," Ciara explained. "[And] I think we ate more than we brought, but..." Claire sheepishly added. "You're here, [and] that's all that matters," Hope excitedly insisted. "[I'd tell you to] get your ornaments, but...last year, you, um, had that fight..." Hope added with a sigh. "Actually...look, um...I felt really bad about that, [so] I actually went out [and] got you a new ornament," Claire told Ciara. "I got you the exact same thing," Ciara told Claire, laughing. They hugged and exchanged their gifts.
"It's been a long time since you've been here to hang your own ornament," Maggie said to Sarah. "I know. And I'm really, really happy about it," Sarah replied. Meanwhile, Hope presented Lani with an ornament for David Abraham, giving Lani a chance to participate in the ceremony -- and making it clear that the child would never be forgotten. Nearby, Jennifer picked up Chad's ornament. "Guess I'll hang this one...and Jack's, and J.J.'s, and Abigail's, and Thomas' -- and, I mean, Charlotte doesn't have one yet, so..." Jennifer grumbled, disappointed that no one else was there to represent the Deveraux family.
A short time later, while the tree-trimming ceremony was underway, Abigail entered the Horton house with Charlotte, stunning everyone. Abigail put Charlotte down for a nap in one of the bedrooms then joined everyone else in the living room. "Abigail?" Jennifer asked hopefully. "Yeah, it's me, Mom -- it's Abigail. It's been me all along. [See], I had to fake that relapse in order to get Stefan to release me from Bayview," Abigail explained.
"You still think I'm nuts, don't you?" Abigail realized with a scoff, gauging Jennifer's reaction. "I worked so hard to get you to believe me -- to see that she was setting me up [and] trying to make it look like I was sick again, [even though] I wasn't -- and I know that you think that [there's proof] that she's the one telling the truth, [but] you're just wrong. [And] I don't know how [you and Chad could have me committed] right after I had a baby! [I mean], I knew what I needed, [but] you just decided for me -- you just decided [that] you knew better. [Well], guess what, Mom -- I. Am. Sane," Abigail continued, fighting back tears.
"And now I'm free, [too]. I divorced Stefan, [so] he and Chad have no power over me anymore -- and neither do any of you," Abigail revealed, addressing everyone. "What were you doing [when I got here]?" Abigail asked curiously, speaking directly to Jennifer again. "Were you gonna do that for me, [too] -- hang your loony daughter's ornament?" Abigail guessed. "Let me," Abigail demanded, seizing the ornament and placing it on the tree. "I'm Abigail Deveraux, and I make the decisions about my life," Abigail informed everyone. "Merry Christmas," Abigail sarcastically added before heading upstairs.
"Merry Christmas!" Julie excitedly declared seconds later, entering the Horton house in a wheelchair that Doug was pushing. "Uh..." Julie added with obvious confusion, sensing the tension in the living room. "Why is everybody so grim? Is something wrong?" Julie asked, concerned. "No, nothing's wrong," Hope evasively replied before changing the subject, wondering why Julie was home already. "You can blame me. [See], she wore me down until I called Kayla, who finally agreed [to release her]," Doug explained. "Well, Sarah, I believe you said that you wanted to observe me, [and] you're here, [so now] you can observe me," Julie reasoned with a shrug.
Later, Hope pulled Jennifer aside and offered a hug. "You know, Gram and Grandpa, they taught us to always have faith, and I am clinging to that so hard right now..." Jennifer tearfully admitted. Meanwhile, at the Kiriakis mansion, Chad finished considering Gabi's earlier invitation. "I'd love to -- we'd love to -- [move in with you]," Chad told Gabi before heading upstairs with a gift for Abigail that would likely never be delivered.
Once the coast was clear, Gabi walked over to the fireplace and tossed Charlotte's paternity test results onto the burning logs, smirking triumphantly.
Abigail learns the truth
Sheila sat in the park and wrote a Christmas note as Abe walked by. "Merry Christmas, Mr. Mayor!" Sheila called out cheerfully. Abe grumbled out a "Merry Christmas." Sheila asked what was wrong. Abe said his trip to see Valerie had been a disaster. Sheila asked what had happened.
"It's as if the miles between Valerie and me put emotional miles between us," Abe said. Abe admitted that the strain had been so uncomfortable that he had taken an early flight home. Sheila asked Abe if he loved Valerie. Abe said he did. Sheila urged Abe to work harder to repair his relationship or risk losing Valerie altogether.
Sheila handed Abe a shoebox. "You didn't have to get me anything," Abe said. "Yes, I did. And besides, you basically demanded it," Sheila countered. "You've finally replaced my shoes?" Abe said with a smirk. Sheila urged Abe to open the box. Inside was a pair of fancy sneakers.
"What the hell are these?" Abe asked in confusion. Sheila smiled and joked that she would work on Abe's fashion sense later. "I'm sorry I didn't get you anything," Abe admitted. Abe's phone beeped with a notification about the hospital children's party. With a sigh, Abe recounted how Theo had woken up from a coma the previous Christmas during the party.
"Everybody can use a miracle every once in a while. That's for sure," Sheila said. "You know, I had a thought," Abe said. "No, I don't have a receipt, and you can not take them back," Sheila joked. Abe invited Sheila to join him at the party. With a chuckle, Sheila said she would go if Abe put on the shoes. Abe laughed and agreed to Sheila's request.
In the pub, Roman marveled over how well Ciara and Claire had gotten along over Christmas dinner. When Roman suggested they go over to the hospital for the children's party, Kayla said, "Nothing else to do." As a frowning Kayla carried dishes into the back, Will informed Roman that Stephanie had not been able to return home for Christmas. Will added that he was not in the holiday spirit, either, because of Leo.
"Sonny loves you. There is no doubt about that. Why the hell would he marry a man who is suing him for sexual harassment?" Roman asked. Will shrugged. "As much as I love Sonny, we can't be together," Will explained. "I got my money on you two to figure this out. Until then, if you need advice or a shoulder, I'm here," Roman said. With a nod, Will stepped outside to take a phone call from Lucas.
Kayla rushed out from the kitchen when she heard Will's phone ringing. Roman noticed the disappointment on his sister's face as she realized the call was not from Steve. "He probably never wants to see me again. What if I ruined it? What if my marriage can't survive what I did?" Kayla asked.
In the Kiriakis mansion, Chad and Sonny talked in the foyer. Chad thanked Sonny for letting him stay at the mansion an extra day. "Today is not about how you screwed me over. It's about the kids. Ari and Thomas having the best Christmas we can get," Sonny said.
When Sonny and Chad walked into the living room, Arianna and Thomas ran out. Confused, Sonny and Chad looked across the room at Leo. "They totally overreacted. All I did was mention that Santa Claus wasn't real," Leo said. Sonny's eyes glistened with fury. Sonny and Chad followed the children to talk to them.
Upstairs, Gabi dreamed of a Christmas morning with Chad, Thomas, Arianna, and Charlotte. When Thomas asked about Abigail, Gabi said that she was his new mommy, since Abigail was in the "loony bin." The children cheered. Chad thanked Gabi for telling him that Charlotte was his actual daughter.
"I don't know how I'm ever going to thank you," Chad said. "Being part of this family is all the thanks I will ever need," Gabi said.
When Sonny and Chad returned to the living room, Sonny watched Leo start to shake packages. Sonny ordered Leo to leave the children's gifts alone.
"Santa doesn't exist?" Sonny shouted. "We told them that you said Santa wasn't real because he put you on the naughty list, and he doesn't want to visit you," Chad said. Leo joked that he could be naughty. Disgusted, Sonny ordered Leo to stay away from his daughter. Leo changed the subject to gifts, and Sonny noted that he was headed out to the hospital for the children's party to make a donation.
"With photographers and reporters?" Leo asked. Sonny nodded yes. Leo said he was eager to make his first appearance as Sonny's husband. Elated, Leo rushed upstairs to get dressed. Gabi rolled her eyes as Leo rushed past her up the stairs. Gabi asked if the kids were ready to open their gifts. Chad noted that the kids were hopped up on sugar and ready to go.
"Just think, now that you and Thomas are moving in with Ari and me, we could be celebrating Christmas every year. A new tradition," Gabi said.
At the Horton house, Abigail cooed over baby Charlotte. Julie grew teary-eyed as she watched Abigail with Charlotte. Abigail was concerned about Julie's health, but Julie insisted on being home for Christmas. Abigail apologized to Julie for sending her to Gabi's room.
"The most important thing in the world to me is helping you expose Gabi for the criminal that she is," Julie said. "Gabi denies it, but she pushed you down those stairs, didn't she?" Abigail asked. Julie said she did not remember. Julie added that she had no memory of whether she had found anything in Gabi's room, either.
"I feel like I let you down," Julie said. "Because of you, I don't feel alone for the first time in forever," Abigail countered. Julie asked about Abigail's confrontation with Jennifer. Abigail said she had been frustrated with Jennifer's "poor Abigail is crazy look." Abigail admitted that she was avoiding Jennifer. Julie offered to help Abigail find proof of Gabi's scheme. As Julie sighed, she noticed Gabi's ornament in the box.
"When we bring her down, you and I are going to do a victory dance," Julie said as she shimmied. "I don't want you to take any more chances," Abigail said. With a chuckle, Julie said she wished she had been in the room when Abigail had given Stefan his gift. As if on cue, Stefan knocked on the front door. Stefan demanded to see his daughter. Abigail barked that Charlotte was sleeping, but Stefan prevented Abigail from closing the door in his face.
"Please, I just want to give her this. Come on, Abigail. It's Christmas," Stefan said. Reluctantly, Abigail let Stefan in. "You've got a colossal nerve!" Julie protested. Stefan noted that he was there to see his daughter. Abigail quieted Julie so that Stefan could see Charlotte. Stefan scooped up Charlotte and gave her a small teddy bear.
"I had one of these when I was a little boy in an orphanage. It was my very best friend for a long time," Stefan said to his daughter. "Bet it was his only friend," Julie muttered. "I have so many more presents for you, which we will open later when you come home with me tonight," Stefan said. Abigail narrowed her eyes at Stefan.
While Abigail took Charlotte upstairs to put her down for a nap, Julie gave Stefan the stink eye. When Abigail returned, Stefan said, "Did she go down okay? Sometimes you have to rub her tummy a little," Stefan said. Abigail nodded. "You are out of your mind if you think I'm letting you take her home tonight," Abigail said. Abigail argued that she had a lot of time to make up for from when she'd been in Bayview. Abigail asked Stefan to leave. In response, Stefan handed Abigail papers.
"You can take me to court if you want, but like I said, I'm going to fight like hell for my baby girl," Abigail said. "She is not just yours, Abigail! She's mine, too!" Stefan yelled. Julie remembered finding the paternity test results at the Kiriakis mansion. Julie cried out. Concerned, Abigail asked what was wrong.
"I remembered! Stefan isn't that child's father! Chad is," Julie said. "What the hell are you babbling about? Of course, Charlotte is my daughter," Stefan stated firmly. Abigail pointed out to Julie that she had taken a DNA test. Julie explained that the results had been switched by Gabi, and she had found the evidence in Gabi's room.
"I looked at the test results, the original results said, DNA positive, Chad is the father of Charlotte,'" Julie shouted. Abigail asked Julie if she had confronted Gabi. With a nod, Julie said she had argued with Gabi and had left to show the results to Chad.
"She followed me out into the hallway. We struggled. She grabbed into my purse for the envelope with the test results, and I pulled so hard, I somersaulted backwards down the staircase," Julie said. Julie argued that Gabi had been in a rage.
"My marriage was destroyed because Chad and I believed that the baby was Stefan's. Charlotte is Chad's? If that is true..." Abigail said. "It's the truth, sweetheart," Julie interrupted. Abigail's eyes filled with tears. Stefan protested that Julie likely had a head injury. Julie yelled that she had no concussion.
"Gabi wanted to do this so that she could revenge herself on Abigail," Julie explained. "That's ridiculous," Stefan muttered. Abigail argued that Gabi had been the one to push her to get a paternity test. "She could have tampered with the results," Abigail explained. Stefan asked why Gabi would hurt Chad.
"If it meant getting revenge against me, yeah, she would," Abigail countered. Abigail said Gabi hated her more than Gabi cared for Chad. Stefan asked Julie if she could have misunderstood. With a shake of her head, Julie argued that she had seen the results with her own eyes. With a nod, Abigail suggested that they go see Kayla to get proof.
At the hospital, Will took pictures at the children's Christmas party. When Sonny arrived with Leo, Will's face fell. "Did you know he was going to be here?" Leo asked. Sonny shook his head no. "I'm glad I came. I wouldn't want people to know we aren't happily married," Leo said as he looped his arm into Sonny's arm. Gabi and Chad arrived with Arianna and Thomas. Will's face brightened as he saw his daughter. After a quick hug, Arianna and Thomas followed Kayla down the hallway to get a Christmas cookie.
"Merry Christmas. At least for some of us more than others," Will said sheepishly. "I'm sorry about what's happening with Leo and Sonny. I'm sure this must have been pretty hard for you," Gabi said. Will noted that someone got what they wanted for Christmas. Confused, Chad asked Will what he meant.
"Abigail. She divorced Stefan and came home," Will explained. Will told Chad and Gabi that Abigail had played Stefan so that he would get her released from Bayview. "Are you sure she was faking it?" Chad asked. "Well she wasn't faking when she tried to choke me. I mean, Chad was there," Gabi added.
Kayla escorted the children into the party area and sat them in front of the reading chair. Leo stepped forward with Sonny and introduced himself as Leo Kiriakis. Leo said he was happy that his family's donation could bring holiday cheer to their "obviously sick, sick faces." Chad looked at Gabi and raised an eyebrow.
"Even though it is our family's millions that keep the lights on around here, you little ones are the real heroes," Leo said. Sonny stared off into the distance, possibly willing himself into invisibility. The children looked at Leo, confused. Santa and Abe exchanged surprised glances.
"Thank you for that, Leo. Okay, how about a story, huh?" Kayla asked. Kayla read the Christmas story to the children. The children and adults listened as Kayla told the story of Jesus' birth. Afterwards, Santa Roman handed out gifts to the children. Kayla joked about Abe's shoes. "My assistant got them for me. They are not quite what I expected, but they are kind of growing on me," Abe said as he clicked his feet together.
Across the room, Sonny questioned Leo about his speech. Leo protested that he had wanted to honor his new family. As Sonny groaned, Sheila walked over and asked Sonny and Leo how the marriage was going. "Each day, I think it can't get worse," Sonny said. Leo noted that Sonny was joking, then kissed Sonny. Will watched and sighed.
"I got an idea," Santa Roman whispered to Will. Nearby, Chad watched Thomas and Arianna playing with Gabi. Chad thought about when he had promised Abigail that he would do whatever it took to make Abigail happy. Gabi snapped Chad out of his memory and asked if they could take the kids home. Leo suggested the same to Sonny. As Leo and Sonny reached the elevator, Kayla stopped them. Sonny thanked Kayla for her hard work on the party.
"It is so hard to be away from the people you love this time of year. Listen, Sonny, Roman wanted to talk to you because he had to buy more gifts for the kids, and he wanted to get reimbursed by you," Kayla said. Kayla sent Sonny to room 304 to see Roman. Leo agreed to wait for Sonny to return.
When Sonny got to room 304, the person in the Santa suit was no longer Roman. It was Will. With a grin, Will pulled down his beard to show his face. Sonny grinned and kissed Will. "That was the only thing on my Christmas list," Sonny said. "Mine, too," Will agreed. Sonny told Will he missed him. Before Will could respond, Leo called out from the hallway that he was bored. Will hurriedly pulled his beard up to cover his face as Leo walked into the room.
"Did you give Santa what you needed to get out of here?" Leo asked sullenly. "For now. See you later, Santa," Sonny said. "Merry Christmas!" Will said in a Santa voice. Sonny and Will smiled at one another, then Sonny left with Leo.
Back at the children's party, Sheila suggested to Abe that they liven up the party. Sheila turned on some music and encouraged the children to dance. As the kids danced and laughed, Abe smiled. Sheila dragged Abe over to join the kids. With a chuckle, Abe danced with Sheila.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Gabi and Chad settled in the living room after putting the children down for a nap. Gabi asked Chad what he was thinking about. Chad admitted that he was hopeful that Abigail's move to divorce Stefan was a sign that Abigail was getting better. "I hope so, too," Gabi lied.
"It's not like there is any love lost between the two of you," Chad said. "Now that she is free from Stefan, I wouldn't be surprised if she just came in here with some whole new story," Gabi complained. Gabi reminded Chad that he knew the truth, that she would "never hurt [Abigail]."
Abigail and Stefan arrived at the hospital and asked Kayla for help. The three walked to Kayla's office, and Abigail explained to Kayla that Gabi had switched the paternity test results. "That is quite an accusation," Kayla exclaimed. Abigail explained that Julie had found the results in Gabi's room. Kayla added that it was unlikely that Gabi had been able to obtain the results. Kayla thought about when Gabi had talked to her about Abigail's pregnancy. Kayla gasped.
"She was here, the day that I got the results back," Kayla said. Abigail asked if it was possible that Gabi could have switched the results then. Kayla admitted that she had been called away on an emergency and that when she had returned to talk to Gabi, someone had already dropped off the test results. Abigail's eyes lit up.
"All that proves is that Gabi and a piece of paper were in the same room together. It's not evidence!" Stefan barked. Abigail asked Kayla about the original test results. With a smile, Kayla rushed to her computer to pull up the test results in the system. Stefan took Abigail aside and urged her not to get her hopes up.
"The baby is mine. I've known it since I held her in my arms. Charlotte is mine," Stefan said. Abigail reminded Stefan that Gabi had wanted to get revenge on him as much as Gabi had wanted to get revenge on her. "She wouldn't do that," Stefan whispered. "Abigail is right, Stefan. The results are right here. The baby is Chad's," Kayla said.
After Abigail and Stefan left, Kayla sat in her office and stared at a photo of her with Steve. Roman walked in with a bouquet of flowers. "What's that?" Kayla asked. "Read the note," Roman said with a grin. The note read, "Answer your phone, Sweetness." Kayla's phone rang. Eagerly, Kayla answered the call. "Steve! It's good to hear your voice. Merry Christmas to you, too," Kayla said.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan stared around at the empty living room. The presents for Charlotte sat wrapped under the tree. Stefan picked one up and looked at the tag. "Merry Christmas, Charlotte," the tag read. With tears in his eyes, Stefan threw the gift across the room. Stefan then destroyed all the other gifts and broke down in tears.
In the Kiriakis mansion living room, Gabi announced to Chad that she was going to start packing for the move. "This is going to be a new year then what better way to start it than by having you and Thomas move in with me and Ari. We'll be like a happy little family," Gabi said. After Gabi went upstairs, Chad stared into the fireplace.
Abigail walked in with Charlotte. "Finally divorced Stefan, huh?" Chad asked. Abigail placed Charlotte's carrier on the chair. "Are you here to see Thomas?" Chad asked. "She's yours, Chad. She's yours," Abigail said. "Stefan isn't her father. You are. This is your daughter. This is our daughter," Abigail said breathlessly.
Chad finally sees Gabi's true colors
Tripp entered the loft apartment while Ciara was in the process of responding to a text message from Ben, who wanted to put the guardian bell to the test later that day. "Is that a jingle bell?" Tripp asked curiously, noticing the guardian bell in Ciara's free hand. "It's actually a 'guardian bell' -- for my bike. It's supposed to ward off the bad spirits and the bad juju," Ciara clarified. "Ah. [So]...a Christmas gift -- from Ben?" Tripp guessed.
Ciara started to apologize, but Tripp insisted that wasn't necessary. "[This is your place] as much as it is mine. You don't have to hide presents from your boyfriend," Tripp reasoned. "Ben is not my boyfriend. We are just dating," Ciara clarified. "Yeah, well...thank you for the, uh, update on your relationship status, but it's really none of my business," Tripp replied before walking away.
A few seconds later, Claire joined Ciara in the living room and sensed some lingering tension. Ciara told Claire about what had just happened with Tripp. "Where are you going?" Ciara asked as Claire started walking away. "I was just gonna go check on Tripp," Claire explained, pausing at the base of the stairs that led to Tripp's bedroom. "Is that okay with you?" Claire added, somewhat defensively.
"You can check on Tripp all you want. I don't care," Ciara claimed. "It's just..." Ciara started to add before stopping abruptly. "Let me guess -- you smashed Tripp's heart, but now, just because I want to be his friend, you think I'm trying to swoop in and take advantage of him," Claire summarized. "Well, uh...you do seem kind of...swoopy," Ciara argued. "I don't swoop!" Claire insisted. "[And besides], even if I was going to, what's it to you? [I mean], why do you care, when you've already moved on with someone else?" Claire asked. "Because I don't want you to get hurt," Ciara explained with a shrug.
Claire appreciated Ciara's concern but insisted it wasn't necessary. "I'm honestly just trying to be a friend for Tripp," Claire reiterated. "You said that already. [But the truth is], you totally have feelings for him," Ciara argued. "So what if I do? It's not like I'm gonna go throw myself at him," Claire insisted with a dismissive chuckle. "Maybe...[or] maybe you're setting yourself up to be the rebound girl," Ciara suggested. "Or maybe you don't want Tripp, but you don't want anyone else to have him, either -- especially me," Claire countered. "That's not true," Ciara assured Claire, who wasn't entirely convinced.
"All right, fine -- maybe you have a point," Ciara eventually conceded. "God, that just makes me such a jerk, right?" Ciara added with a groan. "Well, you admitted it, so...points for that," Claire replied with a chuckle.
"This is pretty cool -- us talking, being honest... No yelling, no slamming doors..." Ciara noted. "Or smashing ornaments..." Claire added. "I'm really glad we're friends again, because I do not want to smash any more things," Ciara stressed. "Yeah, me neither," Claire agreed. "[So], what do you want?" Claire asked curiously. "I think I'd like to be friends with Tripp again," Ciara admitted.
"But I'm not sure that's possible -- especially now," Ciara added with a sigh. "[Then]...shouldn't you just let me be his friend?" Claire suggested. "He really does need a friend right now -- someone he can talk to [who] puts his feelings [and] needs first..." Ciara began to acknowledge. "[So]...someone who's not like me," Claire concluded for Ciara. "You're great, [but]...sometimes, you can be..." Ciara carefully tried to clarify. "Just a teensy-weensy bit selfish," Claire knowingly summarized, not bothering to argue the point. "[Still], I'm glad that you can be there for Tripp, [and] I shouldn't have tried to stop you," Ciara said.
Later, Claire found Tripp in the living room, wrapping a Christmas gift. "You weren't supposed to see this," Tripp protested. "Oh. It's for Ciara? Wow, you're really having some trouble letting her go, aren't you?" Claire sympathetically observed. "Kind of shows, huh?" Tripp conceded with a sigh. "[Anyway], no -- this is, uh, not for Ciara; this is for you," Tripp clarified.
"You've been a really great friend to me this year, and I figured it'd be perfect for you, since you're always dropping your phone," Tripp continued while handing Claire the unwrapped protective case. "I love it! Thank you so much!" she raved, resisting the urge to hug him. "You know, it'd be okay if you...if you gave me a hug -- to thank me or whatever," he assured her with an awkward chuckle.
At the hospital, J.J. ran into Haley in one of the break rooms. Surprised, he carefully hinted that it might be best for her to take a few days off. "[I mean], yesterday, you, uh..." he started to add. "Yesterday was yesterday," she dismissively replied. "It was an accident. [Just] let [it] go," she added. "I can't do that, [because] it wasn't an accident," he countered.
"I saw the bottle. Those pills weren't even yours. I know that you took them on purpose [in an effort] to end your life. [And when you got off] the phone before that, you were crying, [so] there's obviously something that is freaking you out -- scaring you enough to consider killing yourself -- [and] something [that] big... You can't [deal with it] alone. You need help," J.J. told Haley. "And you're just the hero [to give it]," she guessed with obvious skepticism before walking away. He chased after her and officially introduced himself, hoping for a fresh start with her. "Haley Chen," she reluctantly revealed before insisting again that his help wasn't needed or wanted.
At the Horton house, Julie told Jennifer the truth about Charlotte. "This is the best news! It's a miracle!" Jennifer raved. "[And] God knows when we would've found out about that miracle if it hadn't been for Abigail. I mean, she never stopped searching for the truth," Julie pointed out. "She must've felt like no one was in her corner," Jennifer regretfully mused.
"[Except] you," Jennifer added, giving Julie a grateful smile. "Eh, I've never had any faith in Gabi Hernandez, so I went with my instincts," Julie explained with a shrug. "Your instincts about Stefan have always been right, [too]," Jennifer noted. Julie agreed that Stefan was, generally speaking, a monster. "But if you had seen the look on his face when I told him Chad was the father of the baby... It was as though the whole world was pulled out from under him, and just for that one moment...I felt sorry for him," Julie admitted with a sigh.
Jennifer tried to contact Abigail, but the call went to voicemail. "I'm pretty sure she's avoiding me...[and] I can't really blame her," Jennifer told Julie after ending the call. "Stop beating yourself up. [I mean], she's your little girl, [and] she was suffering, [and you just] wanted to do what you thought [was] best for her. [And so did] Chad, [and] J.J., [and]... Everybody that fell for Gabi's lies was victimized [by her] wicked desire to get revenge on Abigail. But the truth is out now, [and] Gabi is finally going to get her comeuppance," Julie replied.
"[You know], J.J. wouldn't even be here [if Gabi] hadn't saved his life," Jennifer pointed out, feeling conflicted. "I'll give her that -- one act of decency -- [but] I cannot find it in my heart to forgive her," Julie replied.
"Andre's death, [Abigail's] DID, this whole mess with Gabi... [I mean], this has been quite a year," Jennifer mused with a shake of the head. "Hasn't been such a great year for you, either," Julie noted with obvious concern. "I am just ready for this year to be over. [And] I am making a resolution [and] keeping it -- no more love," Jennifer insisted. "What a load of malarkey! [You should] never give up on love! [You should just] move on -- preferably toward someone tall, dark, and handsome...or whatever floats your boat," Julie protested. "I don't know. Maybe my boat sank when Jack died," Jennifer argued with a shrug.
"No, sweetheart. This is going to be your year. I feel it. I see nothing ahead [for you] but hope in 2019," Julie assured Jennifer. "And what better way to kick it off than by going to the party at Doug's Place -- the [New Year's Eve] benefit for the Horton Center?" Julie spontaneously suggested. "Oh, I wasn't gonna go to that, because Eric will be there, and --" Jennifer began to protest. "To hell with Eric!" Julie dismissively replied. "You're gonna get a beautiful dress -- and, more important, you're gonna get a beautiful date -- and you're gonna go to the party [and] have a hell of a good time...[even] if it kills you," Julie insisted with finality.
At the DiMera mansion, Ben found Stefan in the living room, which was still a mess. "What the hell happened here?" Ben asked. "[I mean], I get [having] anger issues [because] Abigail played you, [but] wrecking your little girl's Christmas gifts? No lie anyone tells you can ever change the fact that you have a beautiful little daughter," Ben added. "I wish that were true," Stefan replied with a sigh before telling Ben about Gabi's deception.
"That's cold," Ben said at the end of Stefan's tale. "And on this day, of all days, [you know]? A day [of] love, and peace, and family...[and now it's the day] I lost the woman I love, [and my] dream of having a child, [and] any hope that I'll ever be happy [again]. Merry Christmas," Stefan bitterly mused. "I'm sorry, man," Ben stressed. "[But] no one could have seen [any of this] coming," Ben added. "I should have," Stefan insisted. "[But] I let my guard down -- I let myself believe I could have what I wanted, [and] I saw exactly what I wanted to see -- [so] I guess the joke's on me, huh?" Stefan added while approaching the room's Christmas tree.
"Why don't you let me clean all this stuff up, huh? I'll bring it by the hospital or the Horton Center, and --" Ben tried to offer as Stefan removed the only unique ornament that was hanging on the otherwise uniformly decorated tree -- an ornament that read "Charlotte's 1st Christmas" -- and began squeezing it tightly. "Marlena was right. [She said] I was obsessed -- [that] I chose a delusion, a fantasy world, [and] I held onto it tight -- [and just] as the good Dr. Evans predicted, it all came crashing down," Stefan grumbled before dropping the ornament to the floor and watching it shatter.
Ben took Charlotte's gifts to the hospital then returned and found Stefan sitting in the living room, staring at Stefano's portrait and drinking whiskey. "You know, one year, [when] I was about seven years old, my old man got mad [and] set fire to the Christmas tree, [and he] almost burned the whole house down," Ben revealed. "Did he have a good reason?" Stefan asked numbly. "[That's] something you and I have in common -- both our dads went dark when they didn't get what they wanted. And so have I. [But] I wouldn't wish going to that place on you -- or anyone," Ben continued.
"[Anyway, is there] anything else I can do for you? [Because if not], I was planning on meeting Ciara..." Ben concluded. "Well, I don't mean to spoil your Christmas, but...I need you to spoil someone else's," Stefan replied.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Gabi began packing for the imminent move to the Hernandez house. "What a merry Christmas it is -- for me, [at least]. Not so much for Stefan and Abigail...but, I mean, they did get what they deserve. [And] now I get what I deserve -- a happily ever after, raising Abigail's baby with Chad," Gabi cheerfully mused.
Meanwhile, in the living room, Chad refused to believe that Stefan wasn't Charlotte's biological father, assuming that was simply Abigail's latest delusion -- or an outright lie. "I'd never lie to you about this," Abigail insisted. "You lied to Stefan. [Even] kissed him the way he wanted to be kissed, [just so he'd get] you out of Bayview," Chad countered. "What's your angle [this time]? What do you want from me?" Chad asked. "I want you to know that this is your baby girl," Abigail replied before taking Charlotte upstairs to Thomas' bedroom. "It's not true... She's sick... It's not true..." Chad muttered, over and over again, while Abigail was gone.
When Abigail returned, Chad threatened to call Kayla. "You should call her. She's gonna confirm everything that I just told you. [Charlotte] is yours," Abigail maintained. "People don't just make mistakes like that!" Chad protested, confused. "It wasn't a 'mistake' --" Abigail began to clarify. "Then...Stefan?" Chad assumed. "I'm gonna kill that son of a --" Chad vowed before starting to storm out of the mansion.
"It wasn't Stefan!" Abigail insisted, stopping Chad. "It was Gabi, okay? It was Gabi Hernandez," Abigail clarified -- just as Gabi entered the living room.
"I told you that this would happen -- that Abigail would come [up] with new lies," Gabi innocently reminded Chad after realizing what was being discussed. "So, what personality is this? Gabby? Dr. Laura? Is it a new one? Or are you just lying?" Gabi asked Abigail. "You know what? Why don't we call Julie. She remembers everything now, [including] finding the paternity results in your room -- the original [copy]," Abigail countered. "I can explain that," Gabi insisted. "Explain this, bitch!" Abigail spat before punching Gabi. Chad quickly intervened, pulling Abigail away from Gabi, who was already rubbing the injured cheek.
Just then, Charlotte's cries began transmitting through the baby monitor. Abigail went to check on Charlotte, leaving Gabi alone with Chad, who quickly closed the living room door to avoid disturbing the kids any further.
"I know how bad this looks --" Gabi began. "Do you? [Because] it doesn't seem like you have [any] problem with destroying people's lives," Chad noted. "[And just] who cares about my life being destroyed, huh?" Gabi bitterly countered. "[I mean, Abigail] gets to talk to her grandmother and get a little 'tune-up' [then] come back to you and Thomas -- [oh], and she's pregnant; she gets to have the [second] child that I will never have -- [but] my life is changed forever [because of her]! How is that fair, huh? After all the horrible things that she has done to me, she still gets everything!" Gabi spat.
"I understand -- in some really twisted way, based on that explanation -- why you would want to do [this] to her...but for the life of me, I can't figure out why you'd want to do it to me," Chad admitted. "I'm sorry that I hurt you, okay? I'm sorry that you [suffered for even] one minute --" Gabi began to stress. "[But...what], I was just collateral damage in the grand scheme of things?" Chad incredulously concluded for Gabi.
"I don't even know you!" Chad realized with a shake of the head. "I was gonna make it right," Gabi insisted. "How?" Chad angrily demanded to know. "You say that you lost everything. [Well], you cost me everything, [too]! I came to you, devastated and broken [over the idea] that Abigail was carrying Stefan's child, and yet you said nothing! I couldn't touch my wife, Gabi! I didn't give a damn about my daughter! You saw my guilt [and] my tears, and yet you still [said] nothing! And you're a parent! How could you? How could you let me hate my own child?" Chad continued as Gabi squirmed uncomfortably.
"Abigail and Charlotte, they may be able to forgive me someday, but because of your lies -- and, in all fairness, my weakness -- I'll never be able to forgive myself for wishing that an innocent child had never been born, and for thinking that my wife was anything other than perfect, which she is," Chad told Gabi as Abigail listened from the foyer. "I was never going to let Stefan raise your baby, okay? I had the test results. I was gonna tell you the truth," Gabi tearfully claimed. "That is such a load of crap," Abigail insisted, stepping back into the living room. "I was, [really]! Today!" Gabi maintained.
"Yeah? Well, since you're suddenly all about the truth, Gabi, why stop [there]?" Abigail challenged Gabi. "I don't know who the hell you are, [and] I don't know if we were ever [really] friends, but if we were -- if we are -- [then]...I'm begging you, Gabi, please tell me the [whole] truth," Chad added. Nodding, Gabi quietly admitted to having been gaslighting Abigail all along.
"Thomas and I were gonna move in with you!" Chad noted with a shake of the head. "You were gonna move in with her?" Abigail repeated, surprised. "Gabi thought that it'd be good for Thomas and me," Chad explained. "[And] all this time, I thought it was because you wanted us to spend time with Ari, [but you just] wanted to punish Abigail because you want her life," Chad added, glaring at Gabi. "She took mine!" Gabi bitterly countered.
"You make me sick to my stomach, Gabi. I thought we were friends," Chad grumbled while producing a cell phone. "What are you doing?" Gabi asked nervously. "I'm calling the police," Chad explained with a shrug. "Unless you'd like to do the honors," Chad added, turning to Abigail. "Wait one second, please! [Arianna's] upstairs, and she only asked Santa Claus for one thing, and that was for her mommy to never go away [again], and I know I have no right to ask for anything, but please, just don't ruin my little girl's Christmas," Gabi tearfully begged. "You want mercy and kindness and understanding after what you did?" Chad asked incredulously.
"Go. Spend Christmas with your daughter," Abigail told Gabi. Chad deferred to Abigail but warned Gabi, "Tomorrow, you are gonna deal with every bit of pain that you caused me and my family."
While passing through Horton Town Square, Ciara received a text message from Ben: "Hey, Ciara. Have 2 cancel. Really sorry. Something I've got 2 do 4 work." Meanwhile, at the DiMera mansion, Stefan raised a glass to Stefano's portrait and said, "Merry Christmas, Father. I think you, especially, would appreciate my holiday sentiment -- as with all things, when it comes to pain, it is far better to give than to receive." Over at the Kiriakis mansion, Abigail and Chad bonded with Charlotte in the living room, unaware that Ben had Gabi cornered in one of the bedrooms.
Gabi faces Stefan's wrath
At the hospital, Sarah ran into Kate, who had just finished attending a board meeting. "I didn't know that you had taken a job here," Kate said. "Yeah, um...Rex moved Mimi and the baby to Chicago, so..." Sarah explained with a shrug. "I'm so sorry about how my son hurt you," Kate stressed. "So am I...but it's time to move on. [I mean], new year, new start, right?" Sarah replied. "That would be nice," Kate agreed.
After Kate walked away, Sarah called out to Dr. Henry Shah, who was passing through the area. "[I'm] Sarah Horton. I just joined the staff," Sarah explained. "Welcome aboard. Always happy to meet [another] Horton," Henry replied. "You know my family?" Sarah asked curiously. "Doesn't everyone?" Henry joked. "What's your relation to Jennifer?" Henry asked casually. "Cousin," Sarah revealed. "[Well], I see the resemblance -- [it's in] the smile, I think," Henry observed. "Sounds like you know Jennifer pretty well," Sarah noted. "[We] dated for a while, [but] she had unresolved feelings for another guy. [In fact], last I heard, they were engaged," Henry explained.
"You're talking about Eric Brady. [I guess] you haven't heard, [but] they aren't a thing anymore," Sarah revealed. "So, Jen is...?" Henry hopefully began. "You better act quick. I can't imagine she'll be on the market very long," Sarah advised before walking away. Henry quickly contacted Jennifer. "I know this is out of the blue, but I was wondering if maybe you'd like to go with me [to the Horton Center benefit on New Year's Eve]," Henry explained when Jennifer answered the call. "Um, I, uh... Yeah. I would love that," Jennifer replied, having already committed to attending the event to give a speech on Julie's behalf. Jennifer ended the call with a hopeful smile.
At the Brady Pub, Eric greeted Roman, who was quick to ask if Eric and Chloe were any closer to reaching an agreement in the battle for custody of Holly. "Hard to have an agreement when you don't agree," Eric grumbled. "I see. [Well], I know how much you want to be a father to that little girl, [and] I'm gonna do everything in my power to help you fulfill that," Roman promised.
"But in the meantime, you can't stop living," Roman added, tossing a pair of tickets at Eric. "I'm not going to the [New Year's Eve] party," Eric insisted. "You belong there, [so] go!" Roman practically ordered Eric. "Why aren't you using these tickets?" Eric asked, trying to deflect. "New Year's Eve is a [workday for a bar owner]. I bought [those tickets just] to support a good cause," Roman replied with a shrug. "Hey, you know what they say -- the way you end this year is how you're gonna spend next year," Roman warned Eric before walking away, leaving the tickets behind.
A short time later, Sarah entered the pub and joined Eric at the bar. "The best part about working at University Hospital is the proximity to the pub," Sarah joked before placing a lunch order. Eric casually wondered how Sarah was planning to celebrate New Year's Eve. "Well, Rex and I had fantasized about having an elegant New Year's Eve wedding, [but] we both know how that went, so...[I'll probably just] curl up in some flannels [and watch] Netflix," Sarah replied. "[I understand]. My dad tried to convince me to go to the Horton Center benefit at Doug's Place, but I passed," Eric revealed.
"[How am I] just hearing about this now?" Sarah asked excitedly. "You're not gonna go to your own benefit?" Sarah added, confused. "I'm not in a party mood [this year]," Eric explained with a shrug. "I feel like I should go -- you know, to represent my family," Sarah admitted. "I have extra tickets. [They're] yours if you want them," Eric offered. Sarah took one of the tickets but insisted that Eric had to use the other one. "I'm sorry, but I cannot go with you. [Chloe] works at Doug's Place, [and] she's the last person I feel like being around [on New Year's Eve]," Eric maintained.
"[But you should] go and have a good time," Eric encouraged Sarah. "[Just be careful, because whenever there's a] celebration in Salem, there's always unexpected things that could happen," he warned. "Perfect. Just what I need," she replied with a groan. "[You know], 2018 pretty much sucked, but getting to know you was the best part of it -- by far," she told him before exiting the pub with her order -- and only one of the tickets.
At the Horton house, Jennifer tried to talk to Abigail about Charlotte's true paternity. "You must be so happy!" Jennifer guessed. "I'm happy that my [daughter] isn't Stefan's...but I'm not happy that the people that I love most -- the people that I needed most -- stabbed me in the back," Abigail replied. "I know that you're hurt --" Jennifer started to acknowledge. "'Hurt' doesn't even begin to cover it, Mom," Abigail stressed.
"I am so sorry --" Jennifer started to say. "You should be!" Abigail spat. "[But] I just want to get my life back together [and] focus on my kids, [so]...I don't know if I'm ever gonna forget what you did, but I'm going to forgive you because that's what I want [my kids] to see," Abigail added. "[And] Chad?" Jennifer asked. "I don't think I'm ever gonna be able to forgive him," Abigail replied, shrugging.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Rafe joined Chad in the living room. "You wanted to see me?" Rafe asked in lieu of a greeting. "Yeah. You need to go upstairs and arrest your sister," Chad demanded before proceeding to tell Rafe about Gabi's deception. "[And] you know this...how?" Rafe asked at the end of Chad's tale. "She came clean last night [and] admitted everything. [And then] she begged us to let her spend Christmas with Arianna. I've shown my mercy. Now it's time for her to be held accountable," Chad replied. "I should have seen this," Rafe admitted with a sigh. "Well, time to do what we have to do," Rafe sadly added before heading upstairs with Chad.
Rafe and Chad returned to the living room a few minutes later, both looking puzzled. "I don't know how the hell she could have gotten out of the house without anybody seeing her," Chad said. "Well, we're gonna find her -- and anyone who might have been in on her plan," Rafe promised. "You think that somebody could be helping her?" Chad asked, surprised. "Well, [she's] not the only person who was attacked by Abigail," Rafe pointed out.
After Rafe left, Chad went to the Salem Inn to tell Kate about Gabi's deception. "You knew about it, didn't you?" Chad guessed, having realized that Rafe had made a good point earlier. "It makes sense...[but] what doesn't make sense is why you would [go along with Gabi's plan]. Was it because you were trying to get revenge [against Abigail] for killing Andre?" Chad asked. "Not entirely," Kate vaguely replied.
"So, Stefan blackmailed you to do his dirty work, and then Gabi blackmailed you based on [knowledge of Stefan's blackmail]," Chad summarized after Kate confessed to everything. "Yes. [And] when I found out about the paternity test, I told [Gabi] that she had gone too far -- [that] she had to tell you the truth," Kate stressed. "You should have told me," Chad insisted. "Yeah, I should have. [And] I wanted to tell you so many times -- I [even] wrote a note to you -- [but] I couldn't," Kate explained. "I'm sorry," Kate quietly added. "No, you're not...but you are who you are," Chad replied with a shrug before giving Kate a hug.
"Now, stay the hell out of my life," Chad calmly added before exiting Kate's hotel room.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan entered the living room and tauntingly offered some breakfast foods to Gabi, who was tied to a chair and gagged. "Oh -- where are my manners? I am nothing if not a gracious host!" he said before removing the gag so she could respond to the offer. She started screaming for help instead, but he wasn't fazed. "You can scream all you want. The staff is off for the holidays. No one can hear you. No one is coming to your rescue," he revealed with a laugh. "What the hell do you want?" she asked nervously while struggling to break free from the bindings. "That's easy -- revenge," he whispered in her ear.
"What are you gonna do? You gonna torture me? Is that your plan?" Gabi asked Stefan, trying to sound defiant. "Why not? You tortured me," he replied with a shrug. "The pain you have caused me is rather indescribable...but I promise you, I will do my best to show you," he added, scowling at her. "[But first]...tell me why you did it," he demanded. "[You really have to] ask me that? [I did it because] I wanted to make sure that you would lose everything that I lost [at the hands of] you and your imaginary girlfriend!" she spat. "And did you enjoy it -- hurting me?" he wondered. "Every. Single. Second," she confirmed.
"And they call me a monster," Stefan mused with a shake of the head. "You can do whatever you want to do to me, [but it won't change the fact that] I am not sorry for making you suffer," Gabi spat.
"You know, in a strange way, I actually respect what you did to me. [I mean], someone hurts you, you hurt them... [But] the thing about revenge is [that] it's a vicious cycle...[and] now it's my turn again. [And] I could just end the cycle -- right here, right now..." Stefan said to Gabi. "You're gonna kill me?" she nervously concluded. "Eh...I always told myself that murder wasn't a line I would cross. My mother tried to convince me to kill Andre, [but] I couldn't. Kate Roberts tried to get me to do away with someone, [but] I said no. [And] I'm not gonna kill you, either," he clarified. "So, you do have some humanity in you," she mused.
"Or maybe [I'd just rather see you] suffer," Stefan said to Gabi before walking over to the fireplace and picking up a fire poker that had been heating on the burning logs the whole time. "You know, they say -- those who say things -- that revenge is a dish best served cold, [but] I happen to disagree," he added while approaching her with the fire poker. "You know, one thing I've noticed about you [is] how important your appearance is to you. [And] it'd certainly be a shame if anything were to happen to that face. It'd be a constant reminder of all the mistakes that you've made, [and] how truly ugly you are inside," he mused while holding the fire poker near her face.
Gabi squirmed in fear until Stefan pulled the fire poker away, at which point she went back to acting defiant. "You think I don't know how ugly I am inside? I live with it every single day!" she told him. "Go ahead and do it! Burn me! Burn me! Burn my arms! Burn my face! Burn my body! Maybe it will set free all of this anger that I have inside -- all of this bitterness that is eating me up -- so do it! [I mean], you couldn't possibly make me feel uglier than I already do, [so] make me as empty as I made you!" she challenged him. "What are you waiting for?" she asked when he didn't make a move right away. "Do it! I don't care anymore!" she added.
"This will be over quick," Stefan promised Gabi before moving the fire poker toward her face again. She held her breath and leaned back as far as she could in an effort to avoid being burned, having lost all of her earlier nerve in an instant -- but when the fire poker was just an inch or two away from her face, he reached down with his free hand and undid her bindings.
"You're letting me go?" Gabi asked with obvious confusion as Stefan backed away and lowered the fire poker. He gave her a nod and watched as she ran out of the mansion in tears. He returned the fire poker to the fireplace then filled a glass with whiskey and settled in a chair with a sigh, eyeing his father's portrait. "What?" he asked defensively. "Okay, so I'm not as ruthless as you are," he added with a shrug before draining the glass.
"Is that a blessing or a curse?" Kate asked, joining Stefan in the living room. "What do you want?" Stefan tiredly wondered. "I just wanted you to know that I told Chad that you blackmailed me into helping you, [which means you] no longer have any power over me," Kate cheerfully explained. "[And] you convinced him that you were the victim," Stefan guessed. "No, he knows that I sabotaged him -- [after all], there's really no way to spin that," Kate clarified with a shrug. "He was like a son to me, and now I've probably lost him forever," Kate added, sighing heavily. "There's a lot of that going around these days," Stefan noted with obvious bitterness.
"Get the hell out of my house," Stefan demanded. "I'm going...[but first], one more thing -- your mother's death [was] no accident, and she deserved it," Kate replied before exiting the mansion, leaving Stefan speechless.
Chad went to the Horton house to let Abigail know that Gabi was apparently on the run. "Is that the only reason you came?" Abigail wondered. "Not the only one..." Chad replied. "Can I see Charlotte?" Chad asked hopefully. "She's asleep," Abigail reported. "Well, I'm sure we could find something to talk about [until she wakes up]," Chad suggested. "I'd rather not," Abigail insisted.
"[But]...on Christmas, I thought that we were gonna find a way to work things out," Chad protested, confused. "[Look], I'm glad that Charlotte is yours [and] not Stefan's, but that doesn't change the fact that you stood by [and] watched while they ripped that baby right out of my arms just after I delivered her, and it doesn't change the fact that you believed Gabi over me, and it certainly doesn't change the fact that, apparently, you were about to take our son and move in with that bitch, so I think we're a long way away from working things out," Abigail replied, glaring at Chad.
"I know," Chad quietly conceded. "But you didn't then, when it counted, and you should have, Chad -- of all the people, you should have known," Abigail spat before slamming the door in Chad's face.
At the police station, Hope joined Ted in one of the conference rooms. "Finally! Is it 2019 yet? I've been stuck in this room for [what feels like days]!" Ted complained. "Why did your cop bring me down here from the cabin? I'm not safe in Salem! If Stefan DiMera finds me here, I'm [as] good as dead!" Ted continued. "[You're here because] I've done everything I can to protect you, [and] I can't do it anymore," Hope explained with a shrug.
"The resources of the Salem P.D. are limited, [and] there's nothing more I can do as commissioner to help you," Hope elaborated. "[In other words], you're gonna cut me loose [as punishment] because I could not deliver Ben Weston," Ted bitterly summarized. "[Look], Rafe confronted Stefan about kidnapping you, [and Stefan] insisted he doesn't care about you," Hope revealed. "And you believe him? He's a psychopath! [He's] crazy! Do you have any idea what he's capable of?" Ted countered. "Believe me, I have no delusions about who Stefan is or what he's capable of...[but] there's nothing more I can do," Hope maintained, shrugging again.
"So, what now? [Am I just supposed to] walk out the door and hope for the best?" Ted asked incredulously. "If Stefan makes a move against you, [just] call me, and I'll do everything in my power to back you up," Hope promised. "Maybe I'm insane, but...I believe you," Ted said after a moment of thought. "You took a lot of risks to keep me safe, and I'm always gonna be grateful," Ted added, managing to flash Hope a smile.
Ted started to leave then stopped abruptly and turned to face Hope again. "Look, maybe this is none of my business, but...your husband -- he should trust you more," Ted noted. "He knows that nothing happened between us," Hope defensively insisted. "Of course -- [now, after] you proved it to him," Ted stressed. "To me, it looks like you two are trying to put a patch on something that is still broken," Ted added before walking away.
Later, Rafe joined Hope in the same conference room and revealed with a sigh that Gabi was apparently on the run. "This is beyond cruel!" Hope insisted after Rafe explained what Gabi had done to Abigail and Chad. "Can't argue with that," Rafe admitted with a sigh. "But I need to find my sister, because I can only imagine that Stefan's out for blood, [since] I know Chad is. [And she does need] to be held accountable for what she's done -- [just not by them]," Rafe worriedly added. "I'm gonna put an APB out on her," Rafe told Hope before starting to dial a phone number.
"Don't bother," Gabi said, joining Rafe and Hope in the conference room. "I'm here to turn myself in," Gabi added.
A mystery guest crashes the party
There was a knock at the door while Eli was in the shower of his apartment. When Eli rushed to open the front door, he found Lani standing in the hall. "I thought I was picking you up?" Eli asked. "So did I. But I've been waiting for half an hour, so I decided to come get you," Lani said. Lani asked Eli if he'd been delayed by Sheila's need for a shower again. Eli grinned.
While Eli dressed, Lani admitted that she was annoyed that Eli and Sheila often walked around his apartment naked. Eli said that Sheila planned to move out soon. Eli added that Sheila was in Brookville at a TLC concert. "It's just you and me," Eli whispered before he kissed Lani's neck. With a chuckle, Lani warned Eli to get dressed, or they would never make it to the party.
"Okay but since you picked me up, did you bring me a corsage?" Eli joked. With a groan, Lani pushed Eli toward the bathroom to finish getting ready to leave.
At the hospital nurses' station, Haley ran into J.J. and asked him about his New Year's Eve plans. J.J. said he was going to a party. When J.J. asked about Haley's plans, she joked about enjoying the holiday at home with the TV. J.J. thought about when he had found Haley unconscious on the floor.
"Just say it. I mean it's obvious what you were thinking, right? You were wondering if I was going to try and kill myself again tonight," Haley said. J.J. explained that he had asked about Haley's plans because he had wanted to see if she wanted to go to a party with him. "You mean like a date?" Haley asked.
"I guess it would be a date but as friends," J.J. clarified. Haley asked about the party, and J.J. explained that it was for a good cause. When Haley noted that she did not have money for a ticket, J.J. pulled an extra ticket out of his jacket pocket. Haley warily eyed J.J. J.J. reiterated that they would be two friends going out for the evening. Sheepish, Haley argued that she did not have anything to wear for the party. J.J. countered that Haley looked great already. Haley protested that she was dressed too casually, and she promised to meet J.J. at the party.
At the Horton house, Dr. Henry Shah arrived for his date with Jennifer. Jennifer was pleased to see her former paramour. The doctor confessed that he had been thinking about Jennifer after he had heard about her breakup with her fiancÚ, Eric. Surprised, Jennifer asked Henry how he had learned about the breakup.
"It was your cousin Sarah," Henry said. Henry asked what had happened with Eric. "Eric and I just weren't meant to be together," Jennifer said. Jennifer noted that Nicole had been Eric's true love, and she had died. "I know how he feels. Sometimes, you feel like the pain is never going to go away," Jennifer said. With a smile, Jennifer dismissed the glum conversation and suggested that she and Henry head over to the party for some fun.
In the Kiriakis living room, Adrienne yelled at someone on the phone. Sarah overheard Adrienne, and she asked Adrienne what Justin had done. "No, I wasn't chewing out my husband. I was chewing out my bullheaded brother Steve," Adrienne explained. Adrienne told Sarah that Steve was working to find out who had accessed his bionic eye, and she had told Steve to conduct his investigation from home.
"Was there a reason he is staying away?" Sarah asked. "Going it alone is kind of a Johnson family trait," Adrienne said with a shrug. Adrienne admitted she also tended to "go off half-cocked," but she added that she was not as bad about it as her brothers Steve and Jack.
"Jack Deveraux! I remember him. He was engaged to my sister Melissa before he met Jennifer," Sarah said. "Jack and Jennifer were perfect together. I miss him every day. I mean, we all do. I don't know, maybe that is why I'm so hard on Steve. He has the option to be able to come home. Jack never will," Adrienne said. Sarah assured Adrienne that Steve would take his sister's words to heart.
At Eric's new apartment, Justin met with Eric to discuss Eric's desire to sue Chloe for custody of Holly. Justin reminded Eric that Chloe had won a previous custody case. "I'm not sure this is a good idea," Justin said. Justin explained that he had been the one to hand over Nicole's letter to Chloe and that it would be a conflict of interest to represent Eric in a custody dispute. Eric insisted that he wanted Justin to represent him because he knew Holly.
"I also care about Maggie, and Maggie wants both of Daniel's children raised together. And I don't think you really want to go against her wishes, do you?" Justin asked. "But it is Nicole's daughter, and I don't want to go against her wishes," Eric countered. Justin told Eric that he admired Eric's dedication, but it would be a brutal custody case because of Eric's past.
"I'm the reason that Holly's father is dead," Eric whispered. Justin apologized for mentioning the past on the anniversary of Daniel's accident. Justin advised Eric to remember the ugliness of custody battles. When Eric reminded Justin of Nicole's dying wish, Justin shook his head no. Justin advised Eric to realize that it appeared that Eric was fighting the wishes outlined in Nicole's letter.
"No, Nicole only wrote that letter because she thought we would never be together again. Justin, we found each other, we were going to be a family, then she thought she was going to die. She asked me to take care of Holly!" Eric said. Eric added that Brady had heard Nicole's final wish. "The court almost always sides with the family," Justin counseled.
"Chloe's not family!" Eric protested. "But Maggie is. She's Holly's grandmother and next of kin, so challenging her is fruitless," Justin said. Justin urged Eric to think about the situation before he made any decisions. When Justin turned to leave, he told Eric he would see him at the party. Eric refused to go to the party because he did not want to be reminded of Nicole.
"That's exactly why you should go. To honor Nicole. To remember all the amazing things she did for the center. She gave people hope for a brighter future. Isn't that what tonight is all about?" Justin asked. Eric stared silently at Justin. With a nod, Justin left.
When Justin returned home, he found Adrienne and Sarah chatting in the living room. Adrienne admitted that she had been a little weepy after talking about her brothers and that Sarah had helped her fix her makeup. "You look beautiful. Both of you," Justin said. When Justin asked the ladies if they were ready to say goodbye to 2018, Sarah and Adrienne both smirked.
"You mean to say goodbye to my lying, cheating ex-fiancÚ?" Sarah asked. "And my evil twin Bonnie Lockhart?" Adrienne added. "Yes!" Adrienne and Sarah yelled in unison. With a laugh, Justin, Adrienne, and Sarah headed out to the party.
At Doug's Place, Chloe fretted over the preparations for New Year's Eve at the club. Brady offered his assistance. "Aren't you invited as a guest?" Chloe asked. "I can fill in for Julie; that is not a problem," Brady said. Elated, Chloe gratefully accepted the help and hugged Brady. Brady set to work carrying supplies up from the basement. Brady confided to Chloe that he remembered the previous year when he had crashed the party with Eve.
"Then Vivian Alamain flew in here on her broomstick," Chloe added. "Luckily that wicked witch is dead. She's not going to be making any surprise appearances this year," Brady muttered. Chloe talked about when Brady had planned to toy with Eve and steal Basic Black from her control. Brady admitted that he had been a fool and regretted hurting Eve.
"I should have told her as soon as I started having feelings for her. I should have come clean," Brady said. With a shake of his head, Brady apologized for talking about Eve. Chloe said that Brady sounded like he missed Eve, and she urged Brady to give Eve a call. With a shake of his head, Brady said no. Brady said he was not sure he wanted to chase after Eve.
"This is my pattern. I go from one bad relationship to another. I'm sick of it. I'm tired of it. Why can't I just be with a woman and it is normal and easy?" Brady wondered aloud. "At least you and I are still friends now, right?" Brady asked. Chloe nodded yes and hugged Brady.
In a hotel room, an unknown woman stared at a story about the Horton Center fundraiser at Doug's Place. The mysterious woman dabbed perfume at her wrists. Across the room, an unidentified male entered the room. The man zipped up the woman's dress then picked up tickets to the party from the nearby desk.
As the guests started to arrive at Doug's Place, Chloe poured glasses of Champagne. Adrienne complained to Justin that Sonny was not at the party because of Leo. Justin urged Adrienne to keep her anger in check and enjoy the festivities. Sarah walked over to Brady and Chloe and commented on how nice the restaurant looked. Chloe thanked Sarah, and she added that Brady had helped her set up the room.
While Brady went into the kitchen to check on the food, Sarah apologized to Chloe for yelling at her. "You didn't deserve that," Sarah said. "It's okay. You're protective of Holly. You're her aunt. You want what is best for her," Chloe said. "I do," Sarah said. With a nod, Chloe excused herself to tend to the guests.
When Lani and Eli walked in, Eli noted that he was disappointed Julie could not attend the party. "The good news is that [Julie] is okay, and everyone will know what a hero she is," Lani said. "Yes, thanks to my badass grandma, the truth finally came out about Gabi," Eli said. J.J. walked in and overheard Eli. J.J. asked Eli what they were talking about.
In the corner of the party, Jennifer thanked Chloe for handling the party solo without Julie. Chloe said she was happy to help raise money for the Horton Center. Brady interrupted to borrow Chloe for help in the back. "That was Brady," Jennifer explained to Henry as Brady and Chloe hurried away. As Henry and Jennifer stood awkwardly in the corner, Eric walked into the party. Jennifer turned her back to him.
"You okay?" Henry asked. Jennifer lied and said she was fine. Henry pointed out that Jennifer's ex had entered the party. With a tight smile on her face, Jennifer said she was aware. J.J. walked over and asked to talk to Jennifer alone. Henry headed off to retrieve Champagne. J.J. told Jennifer that he had learned that Gabi was in jail.
"Abigail's baby, it's Chad's?" J.J. asked. Jennifer nodded yes. Jennifer said that Abigail was relieved that Stefan was not Charlotte's father, but the situation was still an emotional one. Jennifer added that she had attempted to reach J.J. to tell him, but he had been unavailable. "I guess I've been preoccupied," J.J. admitted. When Jennifer probed J.J. for information, J.J. explained that he had met a nurse named Haley. Jennifer smiled wide.
"It's not like that!" J.J. stressed. J.J. explained that Haley was going through a hard time, and he had wanted her to meet Eric. "She won't open up with me, but maybe she will talk to him," J.J. said. Haley walked in. "This woman really needs help," J.J. said as Haley walked up behind him. Haley's face fell in disappointment. "Is that a fact?" Haley asked gruffly. J.J. introduced Haley to Jennifer, but Haley said she was leaving. J.J. followed Haley out of the restaurant.
Sarah rushed over to Eric when she saw him. With a smile, Eric said someone had convinced him how important it was for him to attend the party. "For Nicole and Holly," Eric added. Eric told Sarah about his conversation with Justin. Sarah cautioned Eric to get a second legal opinion.
"Justin didn't say I shouldn't fight. He just wanted me to know that it tends to be an uphill battle," Eric said. Eric looked around the room for Chloe. Sarah told Eric that she had "tried to make nice with [Chloe]." Sarah noted that it was important that she and Chloe get along for Holly's sake.
Adrienne asked Jennifer about her date. With a grin, Jennifer explained that her date was Dr. Henry Shah. "A doctor? What's the prognosis?" Adrienne teased Jennifer. "We dated a little bit last year, and we were just getting reacquainted," Jennifer explained. Jennifer changed the subject to the new intern at the paper. With a broad grin, Jennifer admitted, "I love seeing his passion for journalism. It reminds me of someone I know."
"Jack. You know I was just talking about him," Adrienne said. Jennifer said Jack would rather chase a story than mill around at a party in a tux. Adrienne chuckled. "I love running this newspaper with you. It makes me feel like I'm carrying on his legacy somehow. Really supporting the one thing he really loved. Besides you," Adrienne said. Jennifer laughed.
Outside Doug's Place, J.J. told Haley that he had asked her there because he wanted to introduce her to his friend Eric. "He was helping me with everything I was going through," J.J. explained. "For the last time, I don't need help," Haley growled.
"I hear you, and I'm sorry if I overstepped," J.J. said. J.J. asked Haley to join him at the party, and he promised not to push the issue any more. "I will tell you anything you want to know about me. Deal?" J.J. asked. "Deal," Haley agreed. The two headed back into the party.
At the bar, Chloe and Brady ran into Sarah and Eric. The four wished one another happy New Year. "I assume that Holly is with Maggie tonight?" Eric asked. Chloe explained that her mother, Nancy, had flown in to watch Parker and Holly. "If you want to swing by tomorrow to see her," Chloe started to say. Brady interrupted to remind Chloe that Eric might be suing for custody.
"Stop it, Brady," Chloe whispered. "It's none of your business," Eric grumbled. "It is my business! Because I care about Holly," Brady said. "And I don't?" Eric asked. Brady argued that if Eric cared about Holly, he would not stand in Chloe's way. Eric warned Brady to stay out of the matter. "Enough! Both of you! It's New Year's Eve," Sarah said firmly. Chloe raised a glass and agreed.
"I'm not going to be all idealistic here and pretend that we're all going to see eye to eye on everything. But one thing I think we can all agree on is that we just want to make sure that Holly is taken care of," Sarah said. Brady agreed, and he promised that Holly would be taken care of, no matter what. Annoyed, Eric suggested to Sarah that they get a refill on their drinks.
As Eric and Sarah walked away, an annoyed Chloe warned Brady, "You were antagonizing your brother when what Sarah said is true. We're all in this for Holly." Brady apologized to Chloe. Brady added that he was protective of Chloe and was worried that Eric would take her to court. "Let's hope it doesn't come to that," Chloe said.
Across the way, Eric told Sarah, "If I decided to sue Chloe for child custody, I don't expect her to be nice to me." "At least she was trying, Brady on the other hand," Sarah commented. Eric asked Sarah to drop the issue so that they could have fun at the party. Sarah and Eric clinked glasses.
J.J. introduced Haley to Justin and Adrienne. When Adrienne asked J.J. about Henry, J.J. said he just wanted his mother to be happy. "We all do," Adrienne said. As Adrienne and Justin went to get food, Haley asked J.J. whether his mother was dating Dr. Shah. "I guess so," J.J. said.
"So, your parents are divorced?" Haley asked. J.J. explained that his father had died six years earlier. Across the room, Jennifer grabbed a microphone and started her speech. Jennifer welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending the event that Julie had organized.
"My grandparents, Tom and Alice Horton, for twenty-five years, they took families in need into their home. And because of their kindness and their generosity and their unwavering commitment to this community, that is why the Horton Center is here. And I really am so proud. So proud of them, so proud of our community," Jennifer said. Jennifer introduced Eric as the director of the center, and she handed him the microphone. Eric thanked Jennifer and Julie for their work for the center.
"What I would like to really talk about is second chances. You know there was a time not that long ago when I was in a very dark place. When I felt hopeless. A place where people would try to reach out to me, and I rejected them. But Jennifer, she never gave up on me. She said that she had a job for me at the center. An opportunity to help others. And, in turn, that would help me. Well, it has, in a great way. The work that I do has given me a new outlook on life," Eric said.
"A similar thing happened to a great woman named Nicole Walker," Eric continued. "Miss Walker, she worked for the center. She said it helped her get out of her head, step back, and see things that were really important. Nicole treated everyone with dignity and respect. She brought light into their eyes and hope into their hearts. As many of you know, Nicole recently passed. Far too soon. But I want you to know that her spirit will forever remain at the Horton Center. So, your donation tonight will not only honor Nicole's memory but all the others in need," Eric said. Eric passed the microphone back to Jennifer.
"I can't say it enough what an asset Nicole was to the center, and she will be so missed," Jennifer said. Everyone clapped and returned to milling about the party. "It's almost like Nicole's spirit will be here tonight," Eric said to Sarah.
Outside Doug's Place, the mysterious woman approached the entrance to the party. Inside the party, Justin and Adrienne handed a donation to Jennifer for the center. Lani told Eli she had bid on a skydiving package. "Hell, no!" Eli said with a laugh. At the buffet, J.J. asked Haley if she was having fun. Haley nodded yes. "I'm glad you stuck around," J.J. said. "Me, too," Haley agreed.
By the bar, Chloe asked Brady about Eric's speech. "I don't know if I'm going to really be able to forgive myself for what I did to Nicole. There's just no way to take it back," Brady said. "I'd give anything just to have her walk through those doors right now," Brady added. "Stranger things have happened," Chloe said.
Outside the doorway of the restaurant, the mysterious woman took a deep breath and adjusted her cloak. Inside the party, Jennifer confided to Henry that things had been awkward with Eric. "It is amazing how much changes in a year," Jennifer said. Henry asked Jennifer if she had meant it when she had said that she was ready to move on from Eric. Jennifer nodded yes. Henry asked Jennifer if she was open to dating him again.
The countdown to the New Year started. Everyone in the room counted down to midnight, and confetti fell from the ceiling at the stroke of midnight. Brady kissed Chloe, Eric and Sarah hugged, and Jennifer nodded yes to Henry's question about dating. Across the room Lani and Eli kissed, and J.J. and Haley clinked their glasses together. The front door opened, and the cloaked woman walked into the room.
"Oh, my God! Is that Vivian?" Chloe wondered aloud. Eve threw back the hood of her cloak to reveal her face. "Hello, everyone! I'm sorry I missed the countdown, but better late than never, right?" Eve asked. J.J. frowned. Eve shrugged the cloak off of her back and let it fall to the floor. "Let's really get this party started, shall we?" Eve said.