At Eric's apartment, Sarah stared at Nicole with a mixture of shock and sadness, already anticipating the aftermath of the unexpected turn of events.
Eric was also shocked to see Nicole -- but was mainly just overjoyed. "I don't understand... I was there; I saw what happened..." Eric stammered while holding Nicole tightly. "I've been trying to live with the idea of never seeing you or holding you... God, I love you," Eric added before showering Nicole with passionate kisses, inadvertently hurting Sarah with both the words and the actions.
"How?" Eric eventually asked. "I'll explain it all -- to you and to Holly," Nicole replied. "I'll take you to her now," Eric offered. "I can't wait to see her...but it's -- it's so late, and she'll be shocked to see me -- [and] might even think she's seen a ghost," Nicole protested. "If she's feeling what I'm feeling right now, she'll [just] think, 'This is a miracle!'" Eric happily declared before kissing Nicole again.
"We should go," Sarah told Rex, clearly feeling uncomfortable. "It's okay. Nicole's alive. I mean, there's nothing more important than that," Sarah added with a forced smile as Eric struggled to think of a way to apologize.
After leaving the apartment, Sarah and Rex headed over to the Kiriakis mansion, planning to spend the night there so Eric and Nicole could have some privacy. "I saw pictures of that explosion! I can't imagine how Nicole made it out of there alive!" Sarah mused. "Maybe we shouldn't be surprised -- I mean, Xander [was in] the same blast, [and] he's alive," Rex pointed out. "Weird things do happen in this town..." Sarah conceded, prompting Rex to happily note that, on the bright side, the weird thing that had happened earlier had been a good thing. Sarah forced a smile and nodded in agreement.
Changing the subject, Rex curiously wondered what Sarah and Eric had been about to announce right before Nicole's surprise appearance. "Eh...it seems so trivial now, given that Nicole is alive..." Sarah evasively replied.
At the DiMera mansion, Chloe frantically informed Stefan that Holly was missing. "Parker is fine. He didn't see or hear anything," Chloe breathlessly added, confused and terrified.
Chloe wanted to contact the police right away, but Stefan contacted Ben instead -- and decided, after a brief conversation, that there was no reason to worry. "We did a whole overhaul of the security system after Hector broke in, [and] Ben swears it hasn't been tripped, [so] Holly has to be in the house somewhere. Maybe she woke up and went exploring," Stefan assured Chloe, who fretted that it could take days to search both the interior and exterior of such a massive property. Stefan calmly dismissed the concern, insisting that Ben's security team could easily handle the seemingly impossible task.
A short time later, Ben called Stefan back and reported that the security team had not yet been able to locate Holly. Stefan still refused to consider that the child could have been kidnapped from the DiMera mansion, of all places, but Chloe wasn't as confident -- and impatiently insisted that it was past time to get the police involved.
At Doug's Place, Hope hesitantly admitted to having feelings for Ted. "[But] I'm married...[and] yes, with each day that goes by, it is getting harder and harder to see how Rafe and I could..." Hope began to add before stopping abruptly. "I'm not giving up," Hope concluded with finality. Before Ted could respond, Hope received a phone call from Stefan, who reported that Holly was missing.
"Maybe it's the father?" Ted suggested as Hope prepared to leave. "No -- Holly's father's dead; so is her biological mother," Hope revealed. "Wait, wait, wait -- Chloe is not the birth mother?" Ted asked incredulously. "She's the surrogate for Nicole Walker," Hope clarified. "Poor Holly -- she's already been through so much in this life, and now this... I gotta go," Hope added. "Let me go with you," Ted offered. "No," Hope firmly replied.
Shortly after Hope exited the club, Ted received a phone call from someone. "Let me guess -- mission accomplished," Ted preemptively summarized for the caller, grinning wickedly.
Abe entered the Brady Pub and approached Eli, who was sitting at the bar. "Drinking alone?" Abe asked curiously, eyeing Eli's glass of beer. "Not by choice. Your daughter has a new man in her life," Eli replied, sighing. Abe was concerned at first -- and remained concerned, albeit for different reasons than before, after realizing that Eli was referring to Jordan's son.
Eli soon received a text message from Hope. "I thought Chloe and her kids were out of danger," Abe admitted after Eli read the text message aloud. "We all thought that," Eli replied before rushing off.
At the Hernandez house, Rafe told Lani about what had happened at Doug's Place. "[Hope's] been through so much with Ciara [lately]... Maybe she just lost her perspective," Lani suggested. "It's happened before," Rafe conceded, recalling what had happened with Aiden. Changing the subject, Rafe tried to relieve Lani of babysitting duties for the rest of the night, assuming that Eli was off duty and would like some company. Lani declined the offer, admitting that things with Eli had hit a bit of a rough patch earlier. Rafe was sorry to hear about Lani and Eli's earlier argument -- but was quite happy to continue accepting Lani's help with David.
At the Horton Town Square, Abe approached Sheila, who was sitting alone at a table, stuffing fliers in envelopes between bites of food. "You should've been off the clock hours ago," he pointed out. "Not with your polling numbers dropping like a fly ball at Wrigley when the wind blows in," she countered. "They're that bad?" he asked. "And they're about to get worse," she warned, having already heard about the latest drama.
"I'm telling you, Chloe Lane ought to pack up those babies and get the hell out of here. She'd be better off, and so would Salem's crime rate," Sheila mused with a shake of the head. "Jack Deveraux is gonna be all over this," Sheila worriedly predicted. Conceding the point, Abe took a seat at Sheila's table, ready to help with the fliers. "This is one way to swap spit," Sheila joked after sealing an envelope and handing it to Abe. "Must you be so graphic?" Abe complained. "If my mouth is so bad, why did you try to kiss it?" Sheila asked. "You initiated the kissing!" Abe insisted. "Maybe that's the way you see it..." Sheila countered.
"Okay, fine -- maybe I did try to kiss you," Sheila eventually admitted to Abe. "I don't even know what got into me. It's not like you're even my type. I mean, you're old enough to be my dad, and you definitely dress like him. And you like country music!" she added with a shake of the head. "You've made your point. You can stop now," he grumbled, but she forged ahead, noting that she wasn't exactly his type, either. "[Sure], we get along together, [but] that doesn't mean anything...right?" she concluded. "There were times when I... [But] I'm sure you're right -- it really doesn't mean anything," he replied.
"Only one way to find out," Sheila decided before kissing Abe. "That was kind of..." he hesitantly began afterward. "Like kissing your sister?" she guessed, having apparently reached a similar conclusion. "Yeah... Right, right..." he confirmed, perhaps not quite as certain that the experience had been a bad one. "At least we know where we stand [now -- and] what a relief!" she declared before preparing to leave. "You want the rest of this crab roll?" she asked. "I don't care for seafood," he replied. "What? I can't believe that! That's my idea of a deal-breaker -- I wish I would've known that from the get-go!" she admitted.
"[Then] munch on these while you kick back and listen to your redneck music," Sheila advised Abe while handing over a bag of chips. "You can't say things like 'redneck'!" he protested. "Whoa, we really dodged a bullet," she mused with a shake of the head. "I mean, can I get an 'amen'?" she added, eyeing him expectantly. "Amen..." he replied, still not sounding quite as convincing.
At Eric's apartment, Nicole began to explain everything. "The fire was closing in on me, [and] there was smoke everywhere, [and] I could barely breathe...[and then] I vaguely remember someone coming toward me..." Nicole recalled. "One of the rescue workers?" Eric assumed. "Maybe? I have no idea -- I must have passed out from the smoke [at that point]," Nicole replied, shrugging. "When I came to, I was in the ICU, [and] I was in really bad shape... [And] I couldn't even remember my name, [and] I didn't have an I.D. on me, [so] they had no one they could call, [and] it took me forever to get back on my feet..." Nicole continued, fighting back tears.
"I got the hell out of there as soon as I felt I was able to find my way back here, [and] I made it, [and] I'm never leaving you again -- never!" Nicole concluded before kissing Eric again.
Nicole eventually pulled away from Eric, stopping things from progressing any further. "I know you want me as much as I want you...[but] I don't think you're ready to see me without my clothes," she explained. "It doesn't matter to me," he insisted. "I think it will... I -- I was severely burned... I'm -- I'm not the same..." she maintained. "You're beautiful to me," he stressed. "I know you love me for who I am, not for what I look like...but the thing is, I haven't made peace with what I look like," she admitted. "And, you know, it's been quite a day, and I'm exhausted," she quickly added. "I can wait as long... I can wait forever," he promised.
"All that matters is that you're here with me now," Eric assured Nicole. "I'm sorry that you had to live this way -- thinking that you would never see me again, grieving..." Nicole began to stress, inadvertently making Eric feel guilty for having been prepared to move on with Sarah. "What's wrong?" Nicole asked curiously, sensing that Eric was distracted. "It just hit me so quickly -- how life can change..." Eric claimed.
Hope and Eli arrived at the DiMera mansion together and began probing for details about Holly's disappearance, convinced that the lack of taunting communications from the cartel meant that someone else was responsible. "I have officers searching the house and the grounds," Hope assured Chloe before starting to contact Lani, wanting another detective on the case. "[Let's] find someone else. She shouldn't be working a missing-child case yet," Eli suggested, and Hope didn't argue the point. "Brady was right -- I never should have moved in here! I should have just been with Holly and Parker instead [of] having a date with you!" Chloe told Stefan between sobs.
Stefan dismissively insisted that Chloe had done nothing wrong. Meanwhile, Eli began dusting for fingerprints, and Hope rushed off to the police station to question Hector, wanting to confirm the hunch about the cartel.
Hope soon returned and reported that Hector had sworn, under threat of a revoked plea deal, that the cartel wasn't involved in Holly's disappearance. "Then where the hell is she?" Chloe asked worriedly.
Meanwhile, in an undisclosed location, Ted met with Holly's captor -- Xander.
Nicole blames Chloe for Holly's kidnapping
In the living room of the DiMera mansion, a worried Chloe fretted to Stefan about Holly. Stefan assured Chloe that Holly would be back in Chloe's arms soon. Hope walked in and asked Stefan for access to his security cameras, and Stefan eagerly gave his blessing. Hope assured Chloe that she was doing everything she could to find Holly.
After Hope left, Stefan suggested that Chloe go upstairs to rest, but Chloe refused. Chloe explained that she needed to talk to Maggie. With a groan, Chloe walked out.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Maggie was surprised to find Sarah sitting on the couch in the living room. Maggie asked Sarah what "that jerk" Rex had done "this time." "I appreciate the vote of confidence, but for once, this jerk didn't do anything wrong," Rex said as he entered the room. Maggie apologized for her name-calling.
"Why are you so upset?" Maggie asked Sarah. "I'm not upset. I'm just trying to process some incredible news," Sarah said. Concerned, Maggie asked what was wrong. Sarah told Maggie that Nicole was alive. Fighting tears, Maggie refused to believe that Nicole had returned. Sarah confirmed that she had seen Nicole.
"Holly! She's finally going to have her mother back!" Maggie said through tears. Rex confirmed that Eric was with Nicole. "After all this time, he still loves her," Rex said. Maggie turned and looked at Sarah. Chloe marched in.
"It's Holly. She's missing," Chloe blurted out. Chloe explained what had happened and that they believed the cartel had taken Holly. "This is all my fault," Chloe said through tears. Sarah started to tell Chloe that Nicole was alive, but Chloe's phone rang with a call from Nancy. Chloe stepped outside to take the call. Sarah offered to tell Nicole about the kidnapping, and she ran out the door.
When Chloe returned from outside, Rex told Chloe that Nicole was alive. Chloe gasped. "I can't believe it," Chloe whispered. Maggie started to cry as she realized that Nicole would not be reunited with Holly. Maggie ran upstairs to talk to Victor about help with the search. Chloe asked Rex where Nicole had been. Rex said he did not know the whole story yet, but Nicole was with Eric. Rex offered to take Chloe to see Nicole, but Chloe shook her head no. Chloe blamed herself for the kidnapping.
"I shouldn't have let my guard down!" Chloe cried out as she wiped away tears. Rex told Chloe that she could not have predicted that anyone would take Holly.
Eric and Nicole sat curled up in one another's arms on the couch in his living room. "We're finally going to be together. And after all this time, things are exactly as they should be," Nicole said. Eric kissed Nicole. With a sigh, Nicole corrected her statement and said that once she had Holly in her arms, things would be normal again. Eric suggested that they go to collect Holly, but Nicole wanted to wait until the morning.
Eric showed Nicole his most recent pictures of Holly. Nicole gasped as she looked at how big her daughter had grown. "She's your beautiful little girl," Eric said softly. Nicole worried aloud that Holly had been scared after her disappearance. Eric confirmed that Holly had been surrounded by love.
"Knowing [Holly] was surrounded by family does make me feel better. And how about you? How have you been, my darling?" Nicole asked. Eric confirmed that he had been struggling to rebuild his life. Nicole said she was grateful that he had not closed himself off from the world. Sheepishly, Eric noted that he and Sarah had become good friends.
"[Sarah's] great. She helped so much," Nicole said. Eric added he was glad that Sarah had helped Nicole. Exhausted, Nicole announced that she wanted to clean up. While Nicole was in the bathroom, Sarah burst into the apartment. When Sarah said she needed to talk to Eric urgently, Eric apologized for not being able to talk to her earlier about Nicole's return. Sarah said she understood that the romantic situation between her and Eric had changed, and that she was not there to talk about that. Sarah told Eric that Chloe believed that Holly had been kidnapped. Nicole overheard Sarah when she returned to the room.
Sarah explained that someone had kidnapped Holly from the DiMera mansion. Nicole was confused and worried, and she demanded answers. Eric offered to drive Nicole to the DiMera mansion. Sarah stayed behind and thought about her conversation and kiss with Eric at the pub. Sarah then thought about Eric's reaction to seeing and reuniting with Nicole. Frustrated, Sarah threw her mug against the wall.
"What the hell?" Rex said as he rushed into the apartment. Sarah cried on the couch, and Rex asked what was wrong. Sarah said she was rattled by everything. Rex hugged Sarah and told her everything would be fine.
In the DiMera living room, Nicole and Eric walked in and demanded answers from Stefan. Stefan told them that while he had been eating dinner with Chloe, someone had kidnapped Holly. Nicole asked Stefan if an enemy of his family had taken Holly. Stefan said that he believed Holly had been taken as retribution against Chloe by the drug cartel. Confused, Nicole asked Stefan what he was talking about. Stefan explained that the police were talking to Hector, a representative of the cartel. Stefan added that Hector had sworn that he had no connection to the kidnapping.
"If not the cartel, then who? Who would want to take my daughter?" Nicole asked. Stefan promised Nicole that he would find Holly. Nicole picked up one of Holly's dolls and said, "She must be so scared." Eric reminded Nicole that Holly was resilient. Stefan agreed. Chloe walked in and gasped when she saw Nicole. Chloe hugged Nicole. Furious, Nicole growled at Chloe to take her hands off of her.
"You were supposed to take care of Holly, and she's missing, and it's your fault," Nicole yelled. Stefan defended Chloe, but Nicole was furious that Chloe had let down her guard. Nicole told Chloe that she had put Holly in danger with a cartel and had failed to take the necessary precautions to protect Holly.
"Yet again, Chloe was only thinking of herself and hooking up with the latest DiMera bastard!" Nicole said. Nicole swore that she would blame Chloe if anything happened to Holly. Nicole stormed out with Eric right behind her. Chloe broke down in tears, and Stefan pulled her into his arms to comfort her.
At a hotel, Ted met with Xander. Xander cautioned Ted to be quiet so as not to wake Holly. "Chloe must be going out of her mind. I can't believe you pulled this off," Ted said. "I couldn't have done it without you," Xander countered. Ted said he had been happy to help provide updates on Chloe, but he had never wanted to be a part of a kidnapping. Ted added that he was disgusted that Xander had taken Holly from her happy home. Xander smiled at Holly and noted that he had previously been Holly's stepfather.
"It's not like we're taking her away from her real mother," Xander added. Xander handed Ted an envelope of money. After checking the amount, Ted opened his briefcase. Xander grabbed the jewelry case and asked if it was for Hope. Ted admitted it was. Xander leaned in menacingly and warned Ted not to let his romance interfere with their plan. Ted noted that the payment was short. Xander explained that the other half would be delivered after Ted completed the assignment. Xander ordered Ted to convince Hector to take the blame for the kidnapping.
"I'll give you all the info you need to persuade him," Xander said. Ted refused. Xander grabbed a file from a drawer and shoved it into Ted's hands. Xander added that if Ted did not cooperate, he would make sure that Hope knew that Ted had not changed his ways.
A smiling Ciara stood in Ben's cabin on the DiMera property and thought about her night with Ben. When Ben returned home, he was visibly shaken. Ben explained that he had found no trace of Holly. With a sigh, Ben apologized for having to cut their first night together short, but Ciara agreed that the search for Holly was more important. Ben hugged Ciara. Ben was eager to head out again, but Ciara encouraged Ben to take a shower first. Reluctantly, Ben agreed.
While Ben was in the shower, Hope stopped by. Hope's jaw dropped as she saw Ciara standing, clad in Ben's shirt. "I don't suppose you want to join me in the shower?" Ben asked as he trotted back into the room, clad in a towel. Hope stammered, so Ciara asked if Hope was there to talk to her. Hope averted her eyes and said that she needed to talk to Ben about the security footage.
Ben said he would get Hope the access codes after he got dressed. While Ben was in the bathroom, Hope asked, "You're having sex?" Ciara took her mother's hand and escorted her into the cabin. "You can't be too surprised," Ciara said. Hope nodded. Ciara said that despite Hope's feelings about Ben, she wanted Hope to understand that Ben made her happy.
"I've never felt this way about anybody before. When we are alone together, I see this kind, genuine person," Ciara said. Ciara said that Ben believed in her, and she believed in him. Struggling to convey how she felt to Hope, Ciara said that her relationship reminded her of the stories she had heard about the start of Hope's relationship with Bo.
"Don't ever compare Ben to your father. Not ever, Ciara," Hope said firmly. Hope reminded Ciara that Bo would not approve of Ben. "You know who else daddy would not approve of? Ted Laurent," Ciara countered. Ciara said she did not like that Ted was upsetting Hope's marriage to Rafe. Hope told Ciara not to worry about her. Ciara reminded Hope that she could take care of herself, too.
"Maybe we should start trusting each other's judgment," Ciara suggested. Ben returned and provided the access codes. Hope thanked Ben for his help, and she hugged her daughter goodbye. After Hope left, Ciara told Ben that Hope knew they had slept together.
"I think I calmed her down," Ciara added as Ben's face fell. Ben apologized if their relationship had caused a rift between her and Hope. Ciara said she understood how Hope felt because she was overprotective of her mother and worried about Hope's relationship with Ted.
"Why would she trust a guy like that after everything she had been through?" Ciara wondered aloud. Ben donned his jacket, and he apologized again for cutting their evening short. With a kiss goodbye, Ciara promised Ben that she would be waiting for him.
At the police station, Ted asked Hope what she was doing. Staring at her laptop, Hope said she was reviewing security footage. When Hope said she wanted to question Hector again, Ted discouraged it. Suspicious, Hope asked why. Ted offered to talk to Hector instead. "I know I can make him talk," Ted said. Hope agreed to give it a shot.
At the hotel, Xander called his partner and left a voicemail. "Give me a call when you get this message, and we can discuss the next step of our plan," Xander said.
Jack blindsides Abe during the final debate
At the Salem Inn, Eve stared in disbelief at the screen of a tablet computer, annoyed that Abe had somehow managed to pull even with Jack in every poll right before the start of the final mayoral debate. "Don't you worry -- we got this," Jack confidently assured Eve. "I have a little something up my sleeve that should do just the trick," Jack added with a wicked grin.
At the Brady Pub, Abe greeted Sheila, who was pleased to see that he was wearing the sneakers that she had purchased for him a few months earlier. "The last debate was a fiasco, so I thought I'd cover all my bases," he explained with a shrug, referring to the fact that she had previously deemed the sneakers to be lucky. As if on cue, she received a news alert on her cell phone that revealed the latest poll results, prompting her to joke that the lucky sneakers were responsible for the turn of events. They celebrated the good news with a hug but maintained that they were just friends.
"Can we just forget the kiss ever happened?" Sheila asked Abe. "I would like nothing more," he assured her, sounding much more convincing than he had the previous day.
"It never happened," Abe stressed. "What never happened?" Valerie, who had just entered the pub, asked curiously. "We were just talking about the first debate, with that skank Melinda Trask, [and how] that whole thing turned into a circus [that we'd rather put] behind us [so we can] focus on the present [debate, which] is gonna kick some serious ass," Sheila answered for Abe, who quickly changed the subject, wanting to celebrate Valerie's surprise appearance. "I wouldn't miss seeing you in this debate for the world, [and] I'm so proud that the man I love is standing up for everything that is decent and right," Valerie declared before giving Abe a kiss.
At the Horton Town Square, Eli approached J.J. and Claire, who had been complaining to each other about Tripp and Haley's marriage. "Glad I ran into you," Eli said to J.J. "I wanted you to know that Forensics got back to me about that lighter...[and] there was nothing that linked [it] to the fire, so we're back to where we started," Eli added before returning the item to J.J.
"Well...guess that settles it," Claire, who had been listening intently, said to J.J. with a sigh of relief after Eli walked away. "Eh... I don't know... I respect the P.D.'s forensics team, but I still can't shake the feeling that this is the same lighter [that Ben used to set the first cabin fire]," J.J. replied, eyeing the item suspiciously. "You almost say that like you're still a cop...except you're not, so, um...case closed, right?" Claire dismissively countered. "Looks that way," J.J. reluctantly conceded before asking if Claire wanted the lighter back. "Sure, why not?" Claire reasoned without hesitation.
Eve, who had arrived with Jack in time to witness the exchange, quickly pulled Claire aside and advised that it would be a bad idea to keep the lighter. "The cops couldn't connect it to the fire, [so] there's really nothing to worry about," Claire assured Eve, who wasn't convinced. Claire added that there were bigger things to worry about, anyway. "My whole entire life is going up in flames!" Claire dramatically declared. "That's a real bad choice of words..." Eve noted, but Claire ignored the point and forged ahead, complaining about Tripp and Haley's marriage. "It was never supposed to go this far!" Claire pointed out.
"Well, it has...[and] you're just gonna have to deal with [that]," Eve bluntly countered. "Oh, I'll 'deal' with it...[by finding] a way to end it, Eve -- for good," Claire vowed. "[You'd better] get this jealousy thing under control, 'cause the last time it got the best of you, you nearly killed Ciara," Eve quietly noted. "That was one time, Eve. I am not a crazy lunatic. That is not gonna happen ever again," Claire dismissively insisted. "I hope you mean that, [because] if you try something like that again, you're not gonna get away with it," Eve warned Claire, who just smirked in response.
Meanwhile, Jack asked if J.J. was going to attend the debate. "No -- just grabbing some coffee," J.J. replied. "Ah. Well, how 'bout your mom? Is she gonna be here?" Jack wondered with a hint of hopefulness. "Mom left town. She told me it was to visit Abigail, but I know she just needed to get away from you and Eve," J.J. revealed. "I never intended to hurt your mother," Jack stressed. "How [did] you think she would feel? She kidnapped you to stop you from marrying Eve [and] tell you the truth about the man you were [and] the amazing life you had together, and you threw it in her face when you married that snake [anyway]," J.J. incredulously countered.
"You traded whatever humanity you had for something you think is going to make you happy...but it never will," J.J. added. "Son --" Jack began to respond. "I am not your son," J.J. snapped before walking away.
Tripp entered the loft apartment with a stack of mail and somewhat excitedly informed Haley that the first item of correspondence for "Mr. and Mrs. Dalton" had just arrived, making their marriage suddenly feel even more real than it had before. "Oh, God -- it's not from ICE, is it?" she asked nervously. "Relax, Mrs. Dalton -- it's from the photographer," he teasingly clarified before opening the envelope and removing a stack of wedding photographs from it. "You look beautiful," he observed with a smile. "I look like someone who married a nice guy for a green card," she countered with a sigh.
Confused, Tripp wondered why Haley was in such a weird mood. "It's just...today is the day -- the deadline. It's been exactly thirty days since I got my deportation notice," she explained. "And Agent Smith seemed to buy the wedding, and ICE hasn't hassled us at all, so...chill, okay?" he advised. "Or I should just go pack my bags right now..." she muttered -- just as her cell phone began ringing.
"So...?" Tripp asked expectantly after Haley's brief conversation with Justin. "I'm...not getting deported..." Haley somewhat numbly revealed, still in shock. "That's amazing! That's the best news! That means we actually pulled this off!" Tripp excitedly summarized, causing Haley to get excited, too. "This never would have happened without you. I owe you everything," Haley gratefully acknowledged.
Haley gave Tripp a hug but made a point of ending it quickly. "Wouldn't want Claire to walk in on us," Haley awkwardly explained to Tripp. "Eh, she knows that this is important, and she's just as dedicated to making sure that you're not gonna be deported," Tripp assured Haley, who feared that Claire might soon have a change of heart. "Justin had some other news...and it's not [as] good -- [and] it affects you, too," Haley began.
Lani ran into Smith while strolling through the park with David. "You clearly love your son very much," Smith observed. "Yeah," Lani confirmed. "I mean...um...actually, he's...he's not mine," Lani quickly clarified. "The kidnapping of that little girl really has this town on edge. I hope you're being careful," Smith stressed. "Thank you for the warning, but I would never let anything happen to my baby," Lani insisted. "I thought you said he wasn't yours," Smith curiously noted. "He's...he's not... I just feel so responsible for him..." Lani awkwardly explained. Smith watched with obvious concern as Lani rushed off with David.
A short time later, Lani ran into Eli and Valerie outside the Brady Pub. Eli, who had been confiding in Valerie about Lani's seemingly unhealthy attachment to David, soon rushed off to work. Valerie seized the opportunity to try to talk to Lani about the matter, but Lani immediately got defensive and stormed off with David, insisting that there was no reason for anyone to be concerned about a few innocent babysitting sessions.
J.J. was in the park, trying to calm down after what had just happened with Jack, when Lani returned with David, who had lost a teething ring earlier. "Do you think that it's wrong for me to be taking care of Jordan's baby?" Lani asked. "Of course not. Rafe's been out of commission and busy, [and] I think it's incredibly generous that you stepped up," J.J. replied. "Certain people seem to have a problem with it -- [like] Eli [and] his mom -- [when] all I'm doing is trying to keep this little guy safe," Lani complained. "I don't see how there could possibly be anything wrong with taking great care of him -- [and] you obviously are," J.J. reasoned.
Claire entered the loft apartment and quickly noticed that Tripp and Haley both looked quite serious. "I'll leave you two alone," Haley announced before retreating to one of the bedrooms. "Haley's [deportation] deadline was today --" Tripp began to explain to Claire once the coast was clear. Assuming that Haley had received bad news, Claire interrupted and made a show of complaining about the injustice of the situation. "Actually, she can stay," Tripp clarified, prompting Claire to force a smile and rave about the good news.
"But...there is some other news -- um, not-great news..." Tripp reluctantly admitted. "According to Justin, Agent Smith is gonna be eagle-eyeing us until Haley gets her green card..." Tripp continued. "Okay, well, how long is that gonna take -- what, months?" Claire asked. "It could take years," Tripp revealed. "Years?" Claire incredulously repeated. "Are you freaking kidding me?" Claire snapped, smacking Tripp's chest. "How many years?" Claire demanded to know. "I don't know -- maybe...three?" Tripp guessed with a shrug.
Smith arrived a short time later, while Tripp was trying to stop Claire's meltdown. "You all right?" Smith asked Claire curiously. "Allergies," Claire claimed, forcing a smile. "What brings you here this fine morning?" Smith continued. "Well, I do live here..." Claire somewhat defensively replied. "You live here? With your ex and his new wife? I've heard of modern relationships, but that's a new one," Smith suspiciously joked. "And, I have to say, it's something that ICE will be taking a closer look at, just in case this has all been a charade," Smith warned Tripp.
Just then, Haley returned with a box, having obviously heard everything. "Good morning," Haley said to Smith, pretending to be surprised to see a visitor in the apartment. "It's certainly an interesting one..." Smith replied, still quite suspicious. "I found this," Haley calmly told Claire, handing over the box. "There's more in our room, and if you need, we can help you pack," Haley continued, walking away from Claire and stopping at Tripp's side. "Pack?" Smith curiously repeated. "Yeah, that's why Claire's here -- she's moving out today," Haley explained.
Claire reluctantly played along but backpedaled as soon as Smith exited the apartment. "There is no way in hell that I'm moving out of here!" Claire insisted before starting to lash out at Haley for having dared to even suggest such a ridiculous idea. Tripp quickly interrupted, telling Claire that Haley was right. "Now that [Haley and I are] married...I hate to say it -- more than you know -- but...you really shouldn't live here anymore," Tripp apologetically added, reasoning that there really wasn't a believable way to explain such an unconventional living arrangement.
"Fine! I do not want to live somewhere I'm not wanted!" Claire snapped before retreating to her bedroom and slamming the door shut.
Claire packed a few things then returned to the living room and found that Tripp and Haley were both gone. Claire sadly began to exit the apartment -- then stopped abruptly, having just noticed Tripp and Haley's wedding photographs. Claire tore one of the photographs into two pieces then retrieved the lighter, produced a flame, and stared at it intently while moving it toward Haley's portion of the photograph.
At the Horton Town Square, Eve spotted J.J. in the crowd of people who had gathered for the debate. "I thought you weren't coming," Eve snapped. "Changed my mind," J.J. explained. "You gonna cause some trouble? Shoot your mouth off because Daddy upset you?" Eve mockingly guessed before trying to chase J.J. off. "It's a free country, Eve. I'm staying," J.J. replied with finality, wanting to support Abe.
During the debate, Abe and Jack were asked about the breaking news that Haley's deportation had been canceled. "Haley and Tripp Dalton have been questioned extensively by ICE, and their marriage has been deemed legitimate by a government agency, so I say...'Let them live in peace,'" Abe reasoned, drawing mixed reactions from the crowd. "Haley Chen found an accomplice and gamed the system! [And] before that, she took advantage of my son -- she moved in with him, and then she dumped him when things weren't going her way! She's a liar and a user!" Jack argued, also drawing mixed reactions from the crowd.
J.J. sprang to Haley's defense, ignoring the moderator's protests. "Haley never took advantage of me! I betrayed her, [and then] she fell in love with Tripp Dalton and married him -- and I was their best man, [so] I can assure everyone here that their marriage is 100% legit!" J.J. told the crowd. "If anyone has a fake marriage, it's you and your campaign manager!" J.J. snapped at Jack. "My father only cares about one thing, and that's winning this election, and he'll do whatever he has to do -- including hurt innocent people and marry a woman who he doesn't love -- to get what he wants! Jack Deveraux is a total fraud!" J.J. warned the crowd.
"Our marriage is legitimate -- in every way," Eve suggestively assured the crowd, but J.J. maintained that it had been done as a publicity stunt.
"Modern families can be very complicated, can't they? [But] whatever differences my son and I may have, I can assure you that there is only one fraud in this race, and that is my opponent," Jack declared, drawing confused reactions from the crowd. "People may disagree with me on some of the issues, but I've always been upfront about where I stand and who I am," Abe countered.
"Have you been upfront about your personal life? [You insist you're] in a committed relationship with Dr. Valerie Grant..." Jack skeptically began. "We may be miles away [from each other], but we are certainly a committed couple," Valerie defensively confirmed for Abe. "Good to know. [So], how do you feel about your partner's relationship with his ex-con assistant, Sheila Watkins?" Jack asked Valerie.
"I have been very open about the fact that I wanted to give my assistant a chance after she served her debt to society," Abe pointed out. "But you haven't been quite so open about being romantically involved with her," Jack countered. "These are baseless accusations! [We] are not romantically involved!" Abe insisted. "I was hoping you'd say that...because I have proof," Jack claimed.
Jack directed everyone's attention to a television monitor, and Eve turned it on, revealing a photograph that a private investigator had taken the previous day -- one that showed Sheila and Abe in the middle of a kiss.
J.J. alerts the press to Jack's dark past
At the police station, Eli learned that Lani was planning to take a leave of absence in order to continue caring for David.
"Is this your idea?" Eli asked Rafe, who was standing nearby but didn't know what was being discussed. "There's no reason for you to make [this] kind of sacrifice," Rafe told Lani after getting caught up. "Yeah, it's too damn much!" Eli agreed. "The whole reason Rafe took Jordan's son in the first place is because he didn't want him around strangers," Lani pointed out. "Well, yeah, sort of, but --" Rafe began to respond. "This is the best solution...and it doesn't even have to [involve] a leave of absence; I have a ton of vacation days that I will lose if I don't use [them]," Lani continued.
"What about Miami? [You and I have] talked about going there, [and] we both have vacation days coming," Eli reminded Lani as Rafe rushed off, not wanting to be stuck in the middle of the argument any longer. "I would love that, Eli...but right now, David needs me," Lani replied with a shrug as Eli received a text message about Holly's kidnapping. "Look, I don't have time to sit here and argue with you about this. There's another child that needs help," Eli pointedly told Lani before rushing off. Undeterred, Lani stayed put, waiting for Rafe -- who eventually returned and reluctantly agreed to go along with the sudden new arrangement.
Haley went to the hospital to see Kayla, hoping that, with the deportation case settled, it might be possible to return to work. "There definitely was some staff that objected to your employment because of your immigration status, but they were in the minority," Kayla assured Haley before happily accepting the offer. "I'm kind of looking forward to working with my daughter-in-law," Kayla admitted with a grin before changing the subject, wondering how Claire was handling everything. "Okay..." Haley unconvincingly claimed. "When a girlfriend crashes a wedding, she's generally not 'okay,'" Kayla knowingly countered.
At the loft apartment, Tripp emerged from a bedroom just in time to stop Claire from igniting Haley's section of the torn wedding photograph, which Claire quickly hid. "Look, I know you're upset about moving, but please tell me you're not getting back into bad habits," Tripp began after noticing the lighter, which Claire had not managed to hide quite as effectively. "No, I am not smoking again," Claire insisted with a dismissive scoff. "Then why do you have that?" Tripp wondered. "Forensics did not find anything. Turns out...it's just a lighter," Claire explained with a shrug, adding that J.J. had returned it as a result.
Tripp seemed concerned but didn't have much time to ponder the matter before Claire changed the subject, complaining again about being forced to move out of the apartment. "I'm so sorry --" Tripp began to stress. "You know, it's funny, 'cause you keep saying that, but when Haley came up with the bright idea to kick me out, [it seemed like] you were more than okay with it," Claire bitterly mused. "We can't live together [right now], but that doesn't mean I'm any less committed to you -- to us -- [so]...please, tell me how I can make this up to you," Tripp continued. "Make love to me one last time before I go," Claire requested.
"Do you not want to be with me anymore?" Claire asked incredulously when Tripp didn't immediately accept the invitation. "Of course I still want you..." Tripp awkwardly began. "Forget it. I'm sorry I asked. I'll see you in three years -- or never," Claire snapped before starting to storm out of the apartment. "Agent Smith doesn't have a key or anything -- it's not like she's gonna bust in on us..." Tripp hesitantly conceded, clearly feeling guilty and wanting to make Claire happy. "Thank you, but I think I'll skip the mercy sex," Claire bitterly countered.
Sighing, Tripp gave Claire a kiss then wondered if it had seemed like an act of mercy. "I don't know. Can we try it again?" she replied, prompting him to give her another kiss. Seemingly satisfied, she followed him to one of the bedrooms -- but they soon returned to the living room, each with only a few buttons undone.
Claire, who had apparently decided that being the rejecter was better than being the rejectee, started to storm out of the apartment again, ignoring Tripp's protests. "It was wrong of me to ask you to move out," Tripp admitted in a last-ditch effort to placate Claire. "Wait -- do you want me to stay?" Claire asked hopefully, perking up in an instant. "What I meant was...Haley and I should move out," Tripp awkwardly clarified, disappointing Claire, who forced a smile and declined the offer. "There's a million empty rooms at the [Kiriakis] mansion," Claire conceded.
"You are the best!" Tripp raved before thanking Claire with another kiss, pleased that she was suddenly being so understanding. "You know...if you want to..." he flirtatiously added, pointing her toward one of the bedrooms. "No, no -- I mean, you [were] right [earlier] -- the ICE agent could walk in here any minute...and, um, besides, I want to go get, um...get settled in my new home," she told him before starting to exit the apartment, grinning mischievously. He followed her out to her car, carrying a box of her belongings. When he returned to the apartment a short time later, he found his section of the torn wedding photograph.
Meanwhile, at the Kiriakis mansion, Claire ignited Haley's section of the torn wedding photograph and dropped it in the living room's fireplace then smirked while watching it burn.
At the Horton Town Square, Jack and Eve reveled in the aftermath of the display of photographic proof that Abe and Sheila had shared a kiss. "This is a hit job! That photo is fake!" Sheila told the crowd. "No, what is 'fake' is Mayor Carver's slick fašade of integrity and honesty!" Eve countered, also addressing the crowd. "If he would cheat on a woman that loves him, how can you trust him to protect, to respect, and [to] honor you -- to do what is best for you, the good people of Salem?" Eve added, getting the crowd riled up.
"What do you say, Mr. Mayor? What are we looking at here -- fake news...or the truth?" Jack asked expectantly, delighting in watching Abe squirm. "The picture is real," Abe hesitantly admitted, glaring at Jack.
"This isn't what it looks like. I can explain everything," Sheila assured everyone -- but mainly Valerie. "I don't want to hear anything you have to say," Valerie snapped at Sheila before storming off in tears.
Abe chased after Valerie, refusing to give a statement to the press first. "I think, since Mayor Carver has run away from [both] questions [and] this debate, it's only fair to assume that he has no honest answers for the people of Salem!" Jack told the crowd, trying to avoid eye contact with J.J., who was watching with obvious disgust.
"You want a comment?" Sheila asked the members of the press. "Well, I have all kinds, 'cause it's not what you think. [See], there was a kiss -- one kiss, that kiss [on the monitor -- but] the mayor didn't kiss me; I kissed him. It was all me. I was wrong, and I'm not proud of it, and I acted inappropriately, because sometimes I do that -- well, a lot [of times, actually]. And because Mayor Carver is the coolest and most decent man I've ever met, he made it very clear that he was in a committed relationship with Dr. Grant," Sheila continued.
"You are the victim here, Ms. Watkins," Eve argued, clearly worried about losing control of the narrative that Jack had spun. "Did you really just say that? I'm no one's victim!" Sheila insisted. "There's no reason for you to defend Mayor Carver," Eve advised, pretending to be on Sheila's side. "He didn't do anything wrong," Sheila tiredly maintained. "The picture says otherwise, [and] now you're free to tell the truth!" Jack encouraged Sheila, who scoffed and walked away with a shake of the head, fed up. "Did Mayor Carver force himself on you?" Jack called out as Sheila disappeared from view.
"Abe Carver is an honorable, decent man [who] would never do something like [that]!" J.J. angrily insisted, getting right in Jack's face. "Hell, the only man here who's ever forced himself on a woman is you!" J.J. reminded Jack with obvious disgust before remembering that other people were around.
Jack didn't respond, and J.J. rushed off without saying another word, disappointing everyone who had been waiting anxiously for more details. "Look, there is absolutely nothing going on here except a son who's angry at his father," Eve insisted, trying to do damage control. "So, there's no basis for what he said about your candidate and husband forcing himself on a woman?" one of the reporters asked. "Absolutely not!" Eve replied with a scoff, as if that should have been obvious to everyone all along. Jack silently followed Eve out of the town square, having lost every bit of the bluster that had been on display earlier.
Abe caught up with Valerie in the park and began to explain how the kiss with Sheila had transpired. "Maybe it was curiosity...or loneliness...but whatever [it] was, we felt nothing [when it happened that one time...except that] it was a mistake," Abe stressed. "It was incredibly irresponsible!" Valerie countered, still quite hurt. "Yes, it was...and I've thought about my [reasons] quite a lot, [and] I've realized that maybe the reason I was wondering what it would be like to be with someone else is that maybe there was a problem between you and me," Abe admitted. "Don't you dare try to blame me!" Valerie snapped. "I'm not," Abe insisted.
"But what we have -- this long-distance thing -- I've thought about it a lot...[and] I'm afraid it's just not working for me," Abe admitted to Valerie, who said it wasn't working for her, either.
"When I accepted the job in D.C., I pictured myself flying back and forth, and you coming to see me every weekend... I guess I was a little too optimistic... I mean, your life is here, and I love my life in D.C.," Valerie explained to Abe. "[And] I'm so proud of you [and] what you've accomplished [there]. You're an extraordinary woman," he told her. "Who loves an extraordinary man who lives too far away," she summarized, shrugging sadly. "I'm so sorry I hurt you so deeply before we had a chance to talk about this," he stressed. "The only thing I ever thought when I kissed you was how right it was," she admitted, and he agreed.
"I guess, um...someday, if we're both in the same zip code..." Valerie began before abruptly changing the subject, wondering if Abe's reelection campaign could survive what had happened earlier. "That's my problem; it's not yours," he reasoned, and she conceded the point. "You know...we're in the same zip code right now... [So], would you mind if I kissed you goodbye?" he asked, and she granted the request.
Afterward, Valerie walked away, and Sheila, who had arrived in time to witness the goodbye kiss, approached Abe and took full responsibility for everything. "Valerie and I -- we...we had our own issues," Abe stressed, refusing to blame Sheila. "Yeah, but I made it worse...and now you may not be reelected, [all because] I had the stupid idea of trying to kiss you," Sheila regretfully argued.
"I hereby tender my resignation," Sheila announced, drawing a string of protests from Abe. "The fact that you don't want me to resign over that photo, even though it [could] cost you everything [if I don't] -- that's why I'm leaving. [See], this town needs all that decency of yours, [and] if I stay, the election will be about that kiss, but if I go, you'll still have a fighting chance," she reasoned, but he continued protesting. "You're not the boss of me anymore," she told him. "Was I ever?" he jokingly countered, making her laugh. "It's not your call, Mr. C -- I quit," she declared with finality, and he reluctantly agreed to accept her decision.
"I would give you a hug, but you never know who's watching..." Sheila reminded Abe. "I don't give a damn who's watching -- or what they think," he assured her. "You keep wearing those lucky sneakers, Mr. Mayor, and don't worry about this election, 'cause if you can win over a hard case like yours truly, you won't have too much trouble getting the votes you need," she told him after they embraced. He sighed as he watched her walk away.
Eli ran into Valerie outside the Brady Pub and quickly realized that something was wrong. "I'm going back home," Valerie revealed before proceeding to tell Eli about what had happened earlier. "So...it's, like...really over?" Eli asked at the end of the tale, stunned. "As much as Abe and I loved each other, the distance and the separate lives -- it was just too much," Valerie explained with a shrug, fighting back fresh tears.
"I just hope that this doesn't come between your relationship with Lani," Valerie added. "Lani and I have much bigger problems than you breaking up with her dad," Eli sadly admitted.
At the Salem Inn, Eve gloated about Abe's earlier downfall and gleefully declared that Jack was definitely going to win the election.
"What about what J.J. said?" Jack asked, still deflated. "What happened with Kayla is ancient history. Nobody remembers it," Eve dismissively insisted, but Jack wasn't convinced. "I assaulted a woman -- [and] not just any woman; my wife. I raped her. [And] it was made public," Jack reminded Eve, who remained unconcerned, reasoning that there wasn't enough time left for the whole story to emerge before the following day's election -- and if it emerged at any point afterward, it would be too late for it to actually matter, and it would be easy enough to explain away. "I'm not sure that I can even explain it to myself," Jack admitted.
J.J. went to the hospital to see Kayla but ran into Haley first. "I heard you're not getting deported. That is great news!" J.J. told Haley as Kayla approached.
"May I speak to you in private?" J.J. asked Kayla, who nodded and led the way to the nearest unoccupied examination room. "I'm so sorry," J.J. stressed after telling Kayla about what had happened earlier. "I know that you don't want what my dad did to you to be made public all over again, [and] I feel terrible," J.J. fretted. "You know, to be honest, I'm actually surprised, given all the media attention, that, uh, it's stayed a secret this long," Kayla admitted. "Thank you for the heads-up, [but] I'll handle whatever happens, [so] don't worry about it, all right?" Kayla assured J.J., who seemed relieved to hear those words.
After Kayla left the examination room, Haley entered it. "Looks like I'm going to be stuck in this marriage to Tripp a lot longer than I thought," Haley somewhat sadly informed J.J.
Meanwhile, a reporter approached the nurses' station, where Kayla was going through files. "Can you confirm that in 1988, your then-husband, Jack Deveraux, raped you?" the reporter asked. "Yes, he did," Kayla replied.
Abe and Sheila find themselves in the hot seat
At the bar in Doug's Place, Gabi thought about her conversation with Brady about seducing Stefan and stealing his company. Gabi imagined celebrating her first wedding anniversary with Stefan. Stefan talked about their overwhelming attraction to one another. After Stefan talked about how grateful he was to have Gabi as a wife, he gave her a diamond necklace. For her wedding anniversary gift, Gabi gave Stefan divorce papers.
"I'm going to take you for everything you're worth. Happy anniversary, sweetheart," Gabi purred sweetly. Gabi smiled over the fantasy and sipped her cocktail.
At the hospital, Sarah informed Marlena that Will was hopeful about his treatment. Grateful, Marlena said she wanted to wait in Will's room for him to return and see how it went. As Marlena took a seat, Sarah apologized for lying to Marlena about Eric. Sarah confessed that she had misled Marlena into believing that Eric had told Sarah about his feelings.
"I should absolutely never have put you in that position," Sarah said. Marlena said she was not angry because she had encouraged Eric to tell Sarah the truth. "Now that you know how he really feels about you, have you spoken to him?" Marlena asked. The color drained from Sarah's face. Sarah told Marlena about her conversation with Eric at the pub. When Marlena asked if Sarah was going to get together with Eric, Sarah shook her head no. Sarah told Marlena that Nicole was alive.
"Eric and I were on our way to break the news to Rex that we wanted to be together, and before we could get a word out, there she was, in the flesh," Sarah said. Sarah fought back tears as she talked about how happy Eric was to have Nicole back. "For him to get a second chance at happiness, I would never stand in his way. I just want what is best for him, and now with Holly missing, he and Nicole need each other more than ever," Sarah said.
"After all those two have been through, they didn't deserve this," Marlena said. Sarah said she was glad that Eric was with Nicole to help her deal with Holly's kidnapping. Marlena encouraged Sarah to take time to heal from her emotional wounds. With a nod, Sarah noted, "At least I never got a chance to tell Rex how I felt." Sarah said she was hopeful that Rex would not have to experience the pain she had felt.
"So, now you're going to go back to Rex?" Marlena asked. "I have to accept that Eric is gone," Sarah said. Sarah said she needed to move on with her life and marry Rex.
Eric paced his apartment and talked to Hope on the phone about the kidnapping. After the call, Eric told Nicole that the police continued to talk to Hector about whether his people had been involved. Nicole muttered under her breath about Chloe's decision to go on a date while Holly was alone upstairs. Eric assured Nicole that Chloe had been very protective of Holly.
"We need focus on Holly and bringing her home," Eric said. With a shake of her head, Nicole worried aloud that the cartel would take out their revenge on her daughter. "I just need to know that she's safe!" Nicole said. Eric reassured Nicole that they would find Holly and be a family again. Nicole asked Eric how he could be so sure that everything would turn out fine.
"I believe in us," Eric said. "I do, too," Nicole agreed. Eric promised he would not let anyone stand in the way of their dream to be a family. With a nod, Eric handed his phone to Nicole, and he went into the bathroom to shower. Nicole paced until Eric returned to the living room. Nicole wanted to go to the police station, but Eric discouraged her because he did not want to interfere in the investigation. Anxious, Nicole suggested that they leave the apartment for air.
At the DiMera mansion, Chloe blamed herself for Holly's kidnapping, and Stefan cautioned Chloe to remember that it was not her fault. "I let you wine and dine me while someone took Holly," Chloe said ruefully. Chloe was anxious to search for Holly, and Stefan offered to drive her around town. Chloe noted that security and the nanny were watching Parker, but she said that she would feel safer if Stefan were at the house with Parker, as well. Chloe headed out.
In the police station bullpen, Rafe and Hope discussed Lani's decision to take a leave of absence. When Rafe suggested that the kidnapper might be interested in David, Ted interrupted to announce that the kidnapper was in custody. Ted said that Hector's people were willing to hand over Holly in exchange for a deal. Hope told Ted to talk to a judge about extradition. With a nod, Ted walked away.
"Is there anything that guy could tell you that you wouldn't believe?" Rafe asked. Hope noted that Ted had lost a child, and she believed he would do whatever it took to have Holly returned. As Hope said she needed to update Nicole, Rafe's eyes flew open wide. "Nicole?" Rafe asked in disbelief. Hope informed Rafe that Nicole had returned from the dead.
When Chloe arrived at the station, she asked Rafe for an update about Holly. Rafe said that Ted had confirmed with Hector that the cartel had claimed responsibility for taking Holly. Rafe told Chloe that he was concerned they could not trust Ted. Confused, Chloe asked Rafe why he did not trust Ted. Rafe said his only concern was locating Holly. Chloe asked Rafe if he could continue to keep her in the loop, and Rafe agreed. With a tired smile, Chloe noted that Stefan had been very supportive.
When Gabi arrived at the DiMera mansion to discuss business, she watched Stefan yell at Ben on the phone about tracking down Holly. After Stefan ended the call in a huff, he turned and groaned when he saw Gabi standing in the living room doorway. Gabi asked Stefan if Chloe had blamed Stefan for Holly's disappearance.
"No, she's pretty much blaming herself," Stefan said. Gabi questioned Stefan about his date with Chloe, but he evaded the questions. When Stefan asked Gabi if there was a purpose to her line of questioning, Gabi explained that she wanted to know if Chloe had spent the night with Stefan.
"Don't be crude, Gabi," Stefan said sternly. "Oh, so it's really easy to be a gentleman now with Chloe, is that what it is?" Gabi asked. With a furrowed brow, Stefan asked Gabi what she meant. "It means that after your wild night with me, you got rid of all that pent-up sexual frustration," Gabi said.
"What happened between us, Gabi, shouldn't have happened. So, I hope you didn't come here thinking you were going to get lucky," Stefan said as he gestured at Gabi's tight dress. Gabi laughed. "Oh, please, you're the one that got lucky. I'm here on business," Gabi explained. Stefan refused, noting that he did not want to work while Holly was missing.
"I can deal with this without you," Gabi said as she started to storm out. Stefan stopped Gabi. "There is nothing I can do at this exact moment to help Chloe, anyway, so why don't you tell me what the problem is," Stefan said.
Reluctantly, Gabi flounced down on the couch next to Stefan. Stefan could not help but eyeball Gabi's cleavage and was obviously distracted by it. Stefan attempted to avert his eyes, but he kept glancing over as Gabi talked. Noticing Stefan's fidgeting, Gabi asked him to focus on the business deal she was discussing and not Chloe.
"This is has nothing to do with Chloe," Stefan said. Annoyed, Gabi asked Stefan why he was distracted. "Because I'm...worried about Holly," Stefan said. Gabi noted that everyone was worried about Holly, but they still needed to deal with business issues.
Frustrated, Gabi said she would deal with the situation on her own, since Stefan could not concentrate. Stefan asked Gabi if she was threatening him. With a sigh, Gabi said it was not a threat and that she would talk to the board and leave Stefan alone. Gabi rushed out of the living room with Stefan in pursuit. Stefan ran up behind Gabi and shut the front door as she started to open it.
"You're not going anywhere," Stefan said as he leaned in close, his face hovering next to Gabi's. "What are you doing?" Gabi asked. Stefan reminded Gabi that she was the head of Gabi Chic, and he was the head of DiMera Enterprises. Gabi smirked.
"You work for me. You do as I say," Stefan whispered. "Oh, really," Gabi said mockingly. "I'm the one who is in charge here," Stefan said. As Gabi started to insult Stefan, he grabbed her and kissed her. Gabi pulled away and said, "This cannot happen again. I'm gonna go." Stefan crossed his arms and told Gabi to leave.
"You want me to stay? You want to watch me stay and watch you pine for Chloe?" Gabi asked. Stefan said he was not pining over Chloe. Gabi disagreed. "Prove it," Gabi said challengingly. Stefan kissed Gabi passionately, and they stumbled upstairs.
"You want me so badly," Gabi purred as Stefan pushed her onto the bed. "As badly as you want me," Stefan said. Gabi grabbed Stefan's tie and pulled him on top of her. After Stefan and Gabi had sex, they breathlessly agreed they did not know why they had done it again.
"What the hell are we doing?" Gabi asked. "I have no idea," Stefan said. Stefan and Gabi lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. Downstairs, Chloe returned home and called out Stefan's name.
At the motel, Xander sang a lullaby to Holly as she fussed in her crib. Xander called his partner to inform them that he was waiting to hear back from Ted. "He's setting up our poor guy as we speak," Xander said.
When Ted arrived, Xander joked that Holly was napping because she was drunk. Ted bristled, but Xander assured Ted that Holly was tired out from playing tag all morning. Xander asked for an update. Ted said that Hope had believed his explanation about Hector and had backed his plan to talk to a judge about extradition.
"I've done some unethical things, but this is a step too far," Ted said with disgust. Ted demanded to know what the end game of the kidnapping would be. Ted asked Xander if his desire was to be a hero. With a shrug, Xander said no one would believe he was a hero.
"Unfortunately, Holly will not be reunited with her mother," Xander said. Furious, Ted refused to be a part of any plan that did not reunite Holly with her family. Xander warned Ted that he was in too deep already. Ted noted that Hope would forgive him if he returned Holly. Xander chuckled and noted that he knew Hope well enough to know she would never forgive anyone involved in a child's kidnapping.
"If you don't play ball, Hope Brady is not the only thing you'll lose," Xander said. "That's a chance I'm willing to take," Ted said.
In the Kiriakis living room, Maggie told Brady that someone had kidnapped Holly. Brady wanted to find Chloe, but Maggie stopped him to warn him about Nicole. Brady was worked up about his need to help Chloe, and he would not listen as Maggie attempted to tell him the news. Brady turned to leave and saw Nicole walk through the door with Eric.
"Nicole," Brady said in quiet disbelief. Maggie rushed over and hugged Nicole. Dumbfounded, Brady asked how Nicole was alive. Nicole apologized for everyone's suffering in thinking she had died. Brady stammered that he had dragged Eric out of the building and had held him back from returning. Tears brimmed in Brady's eyes.
"How are you here?" Brady asked. "It's a miracle," Eric said. "You have every reason in the world to hate me after what I did," Brady said. Nicole started to tell Brady she did not hate him, but Brady interrupted to apologize to Nicole for everything he had done to her. Brady promised all the resources of the Kiriakis empire to help her.
"This happened because I trusted Chloe with the most important thing in my life. And she failed. She failed me, and she failed my little girl," Nicole said. Hope arrived and told Nicole that the cartel had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and had asked for a deal. Nicole thanked Hope for working to find her daughter.
"You can trust Hope to look out for her," Eric told Nicole. Maggie asked Brady to talk privately in the foyer. Maggie urged Brady to update Chloe on the search for Holly. Brady nodded in agreement. In the living room, Eric comforted Nicole.
When Hope returned to the police station, she told Rafe that she had spoken to Nicole. Ted marched in. "I know where Holly is," Ted said.