At the hospital, Marlena tried to help Sarah realize that there was no reason to settle for a relationship with Rex simply because a relationship with Eric was no longer an option.
"It's not like I don't love Rex," Sarah reminded Marlena. "It's just...this thing with Eric --" Sarah began to add -- just as Rex arrived. "What about my brother?" Rex asked curiously.
"Could you let me know about my grandson?" Marlena requested, buying Sarah some time. "Yes, absolutely -- he's doing so great, [and] he should be out [of Radiology] any minute," Rex reported.
Rex quickly shifted the conversation back to its original topic, still curious to know why Sarah and Marlena had been talking about Eric earlier. "Um...well, I don't -- I don't want to upset you, and I certainly don't want you and Eric to be upset with each other...[but] Eric and I were talking [earlier], and...it turns out [that] he's still upset with me for the whole mistake I made with Xander," Sarah hesitantly explained as Marlena remained silent. "What? No! [I mean], if I can get over that..." Rex began to protest, shocked and confused. "I don't think it'll be an issue anymore -- especially now that Nicole is back," Sarah assured Rex, ignoring Marlena's look of concern.
Rex rushed off to check on Will after somewhat reluctantly promising not to say anything to Eric about the matter. Marlena warned that Rex might not be able to keep that promise, but Sarah wasn't worried. "Besides, what was I supposed to say -- that I was gonna leave him for his brother if Nicole hadn't come back from the dead?" Sarah asked. "Don't answer that," Sarah added, avoiding eye contact with Marlena, who clearly didn't approve.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Victor interrupted Eric's attempt to assure Nicole that Holly's kidnapping was going to have a happy ending.
"Well, well, well -- look what the cat dragged in," Victor observed, eyeing Nicole with obvious contempt. "Maggie gave me the bad news last night," Victor added with a sigh. "About Holly?" Nicole assumed. "That, too," Victor dryly replied. "Don't make this personal," Eric protectively warned Victor on Nicole's behalf. "As far as I'm concerned, it's extremely personal. Daniel's daughter has been kidnapped -- because of you," Victor matter-of-factly argued, still glaring at Nicole. "You [fell] victim to Xander and Kristen, which caused you to turn Holly over to that bimbo Chloe Lane, which caused [Holly] to be kidnapped," Victor reasoned.
"Wow. You must be so proud, Victor -- knowing that your own flesh and blood blackmailed me with a recording of my confession [to Deimos' murder]. First your grandson used it to make me leave the man I love, and then your nephew used it to make me marry him. Congratulations," Nicole countered, giving Victor a sarcastic round of applause. "As one of the many, many men who can say 'been there, done that,' I would have strongly advised [Xander] against becoming your husband," Victor replied before pointedly advising Eric not to take any bubble baths while Nicole was around.
Changing the subject, Victor produced a cell phone and threatened to inform the authorities that Nicole had murdered Deimos. Eric tried to protest, but Nicole went a step further, tiredly snatching the device out of Victor's hand. "Oh, wonderful -- now I can charge you with theft, as well," Victor dryly noted. Sighing, Nicole tossed the cell phone onto the coffee table then pointed out that practically everyone had hated Deimos, anyway -- including Victor. "[Yes, but] you know what they say -- 'do the crime, do the time,'" Victor argued. "I did do the time!" Nicole countered, referring to the fact that life hadn't exactly been a barrel of laughs since then.
"What goes around comes around," Victor reasoned with a shrug. "Are you saying I deserve this?" Nicole asked incredulously. "No. I don't believe in karma. Although it could be the universe paying you back for all the terrible things you've done..." Victor replied -- just as Sarah entered the mansion with Rex. "How dare you!" Sarah snapped. "Don't take that tone with me, missy! You are a guest in this house!" Victor shot back. "Of my mom's, so unless you want to hear what she thinks about you verbally assaulting the mother of her grandchild, you better back the hell off and apologize!" Sarah demanded. "I tell 'em like I see 'em," Victor tiredly maintained.
"I am so, so sorry! He is completely out of line!" Sarah said to Nicole after Victor left the living room. "Maybe he's right; maybe it is my karma coming back around," Nicole tearfully conceded. "I don't believe that for a second. I think that Holly [simply] got caught up in a bad situation -- which you didn't even know about," Sarah argued. "[That's just it] -- I had no idea what was going on with my own daughter!" Nicole fretted, but Sarah maintained that there was no reason for Nicole to feel guilty about that, given the extenuating circumstances. Eric smiled, seemingly impressed with Sarah's willingness to stand up for Nicole, of all people.
"Sarah and Nicole got really close -- talked on the phone almost every single day -- when Nicole was staying at Sarah's place in Nashville," Rex explained to Eric after Sarah led Nicole to the nearest bathroom to wipe away all traces of tears. "[With] Xander," Eric grumbled. "Yeah... Look, man, Sarah feels awful -- guilty and embarrassed... I think it's time that -- that you try to let that go," Rex blurted out, confusing Eric, who played along after realizing the reason for the abrupt and seemingly random change of subject. "Enough is enough. It was a one-time mistake. Can't you just drop it?" Rex added, and Eric agreed to do so -- just as Sarah returned with Nicole.
At the police station, Ted apologetically informed Hope and Rafe that Hector had agreed to reveal Holly's whereabouts -- but only if the police stayed out of the matter.
Rafe thought it was suspiciously convenient that Hector was only sharing information with Ted -- someone who had a history of shady dealings -- but Hope thought it was perfectly understandable that a member of a drug cartel would consider an unarmed district attorney at least slightly more trustworthy than an armed police force. "I don't like this [idea]...but it might be the only opportunity we have to get Holly back, so I am giving Ted the go-ahead to set up [a meeting] with the kidnapper," Hope announced after a moment of consideration. "Is that final, Commissioner?" Rafe asked bitterly. "It is," Hope confirmed, causing Rafe to storm off in disgust.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan started to feel guilty for having gone behind Chloe's back to engage in another round of meaningless sex with Gabi -- especially when Holly was still missing. "I'd call it multitasking," Gabi joked, but Stefan wasn't amused. "My point is, you're very stressed out, [and] you needed relief," Gabi clarified. "So...what, this [was] a good thing?" Stefan asked incredulously. "Well, I wouldn't go that far...but it did serve a purpose. [See], now that your head's clear, you're in a much better place to [help with finding] Holly," Gabi reasoned. "I guess you're right..." Stefan hesitantly conceded, making Gabi smirk.
Meanwhile, Chloe headed upstairs in search of Stefan -- but didn't even reach the top step before someone rang the doorbell. Chloe raced back downstairs and opened the front door, hoping the visitor might have an update on Holly's whereabouts, but it was only Brady, who wanted to patch things up with Chloe and offer moral support as a concerned friend. Chloe accepted Brady's apology and soon began fretting about Holly's kidnapping, taking full responsibility for it -- not just as the person who had been entrusted with the task of keeping Holly safe but also as the person who had started a war with a drug cartel after killing its leader.
Brady insisted that Chloe wasn't to blame for what had happened -- and that Holly's kidnapping was going to have a happy ending. As if on cue, Chloe's cell phone, which was in the living room, began ringing. Chloe rushed into the living room, leaving Brady alone in the foyer -- just as Stefan and Gabi emerged from a bedroom and headed downstairs together. "What the hell is going on here?" Brady asked with a knowing smirk. "You have no idea what you're talking about!" Stefan defensively insisted. "I will deal with [this]," Gabi assured Stefan, who nodded in response then went to look for Chloe. "Heh -- talk about a walk of shame," Brady crassly said to Gabi.
"Thought we agreed to give up the plan," Brady added after following Gabi outside. "No, you gave up. I never said I was out," Gabi clarified. "So...Stefan is in?" Brady suggestively assumed before starting to rush back inside, wanting to tell Chloe the news right away. "Stefan and I did not sleep together," Gabi claimed, stopping Brady. "What were you doing up there -- playing darts?" Brady asked skeptically. "I threw myself at him, [and the] jerk rejected me [because] he's into Chloe," Gabi grumbled. "If you march in there, not only [will you] look like a fool, [you'll also] humiliate me, and I already feel really stupid," Gabi fretted.
Meanwhile, Chloe tried to tell Stefan that Hope had just called with news about Holly's kidnapping. "Are you expecting someone?" Chloe eventually asked, having noticed that Stefan seemed distracted. "I...could have sworn I heard voices before," Stefan hesitantly claimed. "Oh. Well, Brady came by [earlier to] check on me," Chloe revealed. "That must have been it," Stefan declared with an uneasy chuckle. Nodding, Chloe headed off to another room to contact Nancy and pass along the latest update. As soon as the coast was clear, Stefan rushed back out to the foyer, where Gabi was waiting.
"What'd you tell Brady?" Stefan asked worriedly. "That I threw myself [at] you, and that you rejected me," Gabi replied. "Brady thinks that you hate me, [so] why would he believe that you threw yourself at me?" Stefan wondered. "I told him [that even though] I think you're a disgusting, pathetic excuse for a human being, I somehow am insanely attracted to you. [And] if anybody understands having the hots for somebody in your freaky family, it's Brady; I mean, he did fall for your twisted sister," Gabi explained. "That's true...but I'm nothing like Kristen," Stefan argued. "Well, why don't we take a moment and think about that..." Gabi countered.
"So, wait -- you would rather have Brady think that you are some total reject loser [than] think that we..." Stefan incredulously summarized, ignoring the dig. "Yes, [because] I knew that as soon as I told Brady the truth, he'd go and tell Chloe, and [she's] all upset about Holly, [so] I didn't want to add to her pain -- especially because whatever happened between us is never gonna happen again," Gabi explained.
"Wow. Well, uh...thanks for taking the bullet on this one," Stefan said to Gabi, impressed. "Yeah, well...what are frenemies for?" she replied with a shrug before strutting out of the mansion, aware that he was watching.
Brady went to the hospital to see Will but ran into Marlena first. "I'm afraid, uh, he's asleep. He just -- he just finished with his radiation," Marlena informed Brady.
Changing the subject, Marlena wondered how the search for Holly was progressing. Brady offered a quick update then asked if Marlena had heard the good news about Nicole. Nodding, Marlena declared it incredible.
Gabi went to Doug's Place for a drink to celebrate the progress that had been made with Stefan. "Forget Brady -- I don't need him or anybody else to take down Stefan DiMera. I've been doing fine on my own...and now that I've got that dishy fish on my hook, I'm gonna reel him in, gut him, and toss back his sad, worthless remains," she vowed with a smirk between sips of a martini.
Nicole and Eric rushed over to the police station after receiving a phone call from Hope, leaving Rex and Sarah alone in the living room of the Kiriakis mansion. "You laying into Victor earlier -- that was...that was pretty impressive," Rex admitted while filling two glasses with whiskey. "I saved that old goat's life last Thanksgiving, [and] I'm starting to regret it," Sarah grumbled.
Chuckling, Rex handed over one of the glasses then hesitantly changed the subject, telling Sarah about the earlier chat with Eric. Sarah was a bit annoyed at first but decided to forgive Rex -- then made another decision. "I know that we [already] set a [wedding] date, but maybe we can make it sooner -- [like] as soon as Holly comes home," Sarah suggested, and Rex happily agreed.
At the police station, Hope got Nicole and Eric up to speed on the deal that was in progress at that moment. Meanwhile, Rafe followed Ted to the place where Holly's kidnapper was supposed to be waiting to hand over the child. "You gotta leave -- now! Hector's associate is gonna [be here] any minute! If he knows there's a cop here --" Ted fretted -- just as a cell phone began ringing.
"Too late," Ted concluded with a sigh before answering the call. "Yes, yes -- I'm Hector's contact... No, no -- of course I'm alone... No, no, no -- there's no one else with me... No, there's no cops... No, you --" Ted said before ending the call with another sigh. "He hung up!" Ted snapped at Rafe -- just as the sounds of a crying baby and a starting vehicle interrupted the conversation.
Rafe rushed off in pursuit of the kidnapper. "What an idiot..." Ted mused in French, chuckling at Rafe's gullibility.
At the police station, Nicole and Eric anxiously waited for Hope to receive an update from Ted -- but Rafe called first. "I can't talk right now. I'm waiting for news about Holly," Hope told Rafe. "Yeah, that's why I'm calling. I was pursuing the kidnapper," Rafe admitted. "You're not supposed to be anywhere near this!" Hope snapped before demanding to know what had happened.
"There's been a terrible accident..." Rafe began to reveal while peering over the remains of a guardrail at the edge of a cliff.
Nicole learns Holly's fate
At the pub, John met up with Marlena for dinner. Marlena followed John into the pub and noted that the setup was romantic. "It's not my birthday. It isn't our anniversary. Well I don't think it's any of our anniversaries," Marlena said. John noted that it was the six-month anniversary of their latest marriage. John added that Will supported the anniversary. With a smile, Marlena noted, "If Will is on board, I'm on board."
"Let's count our blessings, starting with you being my wife," John said. "And you, my husband," Marlena said. John kissed Marlena. As they sat down to dinner, Marlena told John that Will's treatment had gone well but that Will was tired. John reminded Marlena that she would not be the woman he loved if she did not worry about her family. With a grin, John slid a covered plate across the table to Marlena. John noted that the dessert was not the usual strawberries and whipped cream because they had lost their romantic luster. John lifted the lid to reveal a chocolate mousse. As Marlena ate, she frowned. John asked what was wrong. Marlena admitted that she was anxious for news about Holly.
"I got a feeling tonight wasn't the right night for a celebration," John said. Marlena apologized, but John assured her that he understood. Marlena admitted she was also worried about Eric. When John pushed Marlena to confide in him, Marlena told John that Eric had told her that he was in love with Sarah. Marlena added that because of what had happened with Brady and Nicole, Eric had decided not to pursue Sarah.
"When I was in the hospital, Eric made a promise to God that if he would let me live, [Eric] would push Sarah away," Marlena said. Marlena added that she had inadvertently told Sarah the truth about Eric's feelings, and Sarah and Eric had decided to tell Rex that they wanted to be together. Marlena added that when Eric and Sarah had gone to Rex, Nicole had been there. With a nod, John asked what had happened with Sarah. Marlena said that Sarah had decided to marry Rex anyway.
"I remember when Roman came back to me, and I thought we could just pick up where we left off," Marlena reminisced. Marlena said she had been wrong to think she could have forgotten her feelings for John, and she believed that Sarah would feel the same way. John took Marlena's hand in his. Marlena wondered aloud if Kristen had survived the explosion along with Xander and Nicole.
"I think if Kristen were alive, we would know about it," John said confidently. "That's kind of what I'm afraid of," Marlena countered. John assured Marlena that love would beat hate every time. John kissed Marlena, and they headed home.
At the police station, Eric attempted to calm Nicole by talking about being a family once Holly returned home. Rafe called Hope and told her that he had pursued the kidnapper. Shocked, Hope asked why Rafe had done what he had been told not to do. "Oh, my God," Rafe whispered as he looked over the edge of a ravine. At the station, Hope told Nicole that the kidnapper's car had driven off the road and crashed.
"What are you saying? What happened to Holly?" Nicole asked nervously. Hope explained that Rafe had been unable to see if anyone had survived the accident. Frustrated, Nicole said she could not wait for news. Hope took Nicole by the arm and led her out of the station with Eric close behind.
At the seedy motel, Ted left a voicemail for Xander and asked for an update. "I don't want a dead kid on my hands," Ted grumbled. Ted ordered Xander to call him back.
In the Kiriakis living room, Rex noted to Sarah that he and Eric were each with the women they belonged with. "As soon as Holly comes home, let's get married right away," Sarah said. Rex eagerly accepted. Maggie overheard Rex on the way into the living room and asked why he was still pressuring Sarah to marry him. Sarah defended Rex and said that the quick wedding had been her idea. Upset, Maggie said she did not think it was proper to make wedding plans when Holly was still missing. When Maggie asked why Victor had left, Sarah told Maggie that Victor had been annoying Nicole.
"On the subject of Nicole, Victor is insufferable," Maggie admitted. Sarah worried aloud that Victor would kick her out of the house for standing up to him on Nicole's behalf. With an exaggerated eyebrow waggle, Sarah urged Rex to make a sandwich in the kitchen. Taking the hint, Rex left. Sarah told Maggie that she had heard Maggie and Victor arguing, and she asked what was wrong. Maggie admitted that she was upset that Victor had hired Kate to help make inroads with Philip. Sarah asked what had happened with Victor and Philip.
"The same thing that happens with everyone," Maggie commented. Sarah nodded in comprehension. "You are such a kind and moral person, not to mention beautiful, smart as hell, and strong," Sarah said. Maggie said she was with Victor because she loved him. "More often than not, I used to believe he loved me," Maggie said. Maggie admitted that she no longer believed that Victor loved her.
"Now that Holly is missing, he's not here. Why? Why doesn't he know that I need him? I mean, why doesn't he care?" Maggie said as she broke down in tears. Sarah hugged her mother. Shaking off her emotions, Maggie asked Sarah why she was pushing to get married quickly. Sarah denied that she was marrying Rex to avoid her feelings for Eric. Sarah wiped away tears.
"I have forgiven Rex, and we are fine now," Sarah insisted. "Just like I have forgiven Victor for all the transgressions over the years?" Maggie said. With a nod, Sarah agreed not to bother Maggie about Victor anymore. Sarah asked Maggie to stop mentioning Rex's shortcomings. Maggie agreed to not say anything if Sarah agreed to tell Rex about her feelings for Eric.
"I want to marry him, end of story!" Sarah insisted. Sarah said she was offended that Maggie was hopeful that Sarah would change her mind about marrying Rex. Maggie reminded Sarah that Rex was a serial cheater, and she was worried that Rex would cheat again. Sarah shushed Maggie when she heard Rex returning. Rex poked his head in and asked if there was news about Holly. With a shrug, Maggie said she was worried because there was no news about Holly.
On the side of the road, Hope, Nicole, and Eric arrived at the scene of the accident. Eric climbed over the side of the embankment to go down to the crashed car in the ravine. When Ted arrived, he hurriedly dropped over the side to help Eric with the crash. Hope quietly interrogated Rafe about why he had followed Ted. Rafe argued that Ted's actions had been too suspicious to ignore. Nicole noted that she smelled gas. The wreck below exploded.
Eric climbed up the side of the ravine, and Rafe helped him onto the road. Eric then helped Ted onto the road. Nicole screamed out Holly's name. Eric wrapped his arms around Nicole and told her that he had not been able to see anyone in the car. "I think they got themselves out," Eric said. Hope promised not to give up until the police found Holly. "She can't be gone!" Nicole cried out. Eric placed his medal in Nicole's hand and urged her to have faith.
As firemen worked on the wreck, Hope advised Ted to have someone look at the cut on his hand. Nearby, Rafe stared wild-eyed at the scene, unsure about what to do. Hope's phone rang with a call from the fire chief down below. Hope told Nicole that the firemen had found a male adult and a female child burned in the wreck. Nicole broke down sobbing in Eric's arms. Behind Hope, Rafe stared in disbelief at Nicole.
At Doug's Place, Kate teased Victor about whether he was at the bar to avoid Maggie. Victor complained that he was avoiding Nicole, Rex, and Sarah. Kate defended Sarah and reminded Victor that she was not aware of his history with Nicole. Victor countered that Kate had also attempted to murder him, but Kate corrected the statement and said that, unlike Nicole, Kate had been a woman scorned.
"Hiring a hit man seems fairly premeditated for a crime of passion," Victor grumbled. "No wonder women want to kill you," Kate joked. Victor complained that Sarah was a "pit bull." Kate asked Victor if he had information about Sarah. Reluctantly, Victor said, "Rex is not the only one with a wandering eye." Victor explained that Sarah had cheated on Rex with Xander. Kate was furious. Victor asked Kate what she planned to do with the information. Kate asked for details.
"I do want to get her back, but I don't want to alienate Rex," Kate said. Victor informed Kate that Rex already knew the truth and had forgiven Sarah. "I think Sarah and Rex will implode without your help," Victor confided. Victor asked about Philip, and Kate urged Victor to reach out to Philip himself. Kate asked Victor if he had hired her back to make amends with Philip.
"It may have had something to do with me hiring you," Victor said. Victor added that the company had been its most profitable when Kate had been with Titan. Victor said he hoped Kate would help him crush DiMera Enterprises. Kate smiled. Kate promised to help Victor with Philip. As Kate kissed Victor's cheek, Maggie walked in. "Holly's dead," Maggie announced.
As the rescue team lifted the bodies up from the wreck, Nicole begged to see her daughter. Hope urged Nicole not to look. "Not like this," Hope whispered. In the motel room, Ted met up with Xander and asked him about Holly. "Sleeping peacefully on her way to her new home," Xander assured Ted.
At the DiMera mansion, Sarah wept in Rex's arms, as she worried aloud about Nicole. "Thank God I've had you to lean on," Sarah said. "You always will. Always," Rex reassured Sarah.
Nicole lashes out at Eric for failing Holly
At the accident site, Eric tried to comfort Nicole, who was struggling to process the claim that her daughter had just died. "Tell me it's not true," she begged between sobs. "I'd give anything to give you that [assurance]. I'm sorry," he sadly replied. "Don't you say [that]!" she snapped, slapping and shoving him. "If you do, [that] means it really happened, and it didn't -- it couldn't have!" she added before breaking down in his arms.
After recovering slightly, Nicole turned to Hope for answers. "You said everything was gonna be all right -- you said I would have Holly back today -- and now I'm never gonna see her again!" Nicole tearfully noted. "It wasn't supposed to end like this..." Hope sadly stressed, clearly feeling Nicole's pain as someone who had also lost a child quite suddenly. "That's it? That's all you have to say?" Nicole asked incredulously. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," Hope added. "The police [did] everything they could. If anyone is to blame, it's the kidnappers. [Let's just] go home," Eric interjected. "I don't have a home! Holly was my home!" Nicole countered.
As Nicole reluctantly walked away with Eric, Hope approached the cliff's edge and released a cry of frustration while staring down at the wreckage. "You think I made this happen," Rafe quietly guessed, speaking for the first time since the explosion. "You did!" Hope insisted. "I will be tortured by [my actions] for the rest of my life, but I could not let Ted walk into this situation alone, [because] my gut told me that he wanted to meet with that kidnapper by himself for his own reasons," Rafe explained. "What possible reason --" Hope skeptically began to ask. "I don't know! That's what I was trying to find out!" Rafe defensively replied, defeated.
"You're on suspension -- effective immediately," Hope informed Rafe with finality. "And how long is this suspension gonna last?" he asked numbly. "Indefinitely," she replied without hesitation. "Indefinitely?" he incredulously repeated. "Your insubordination led directly to the death of a child," she reasoned. "I just hope you're not taking something out on me professionally [because of] what's happening with us personally," he mused while handing over his badge and gun. "That is so unfair to say...and it is definitely not true," she defensively insisted before starting to walk away, fighting back fresh tears.
"We both know this marriage isn't working, so maybe we should, uh...maybe we should think about making this separation more permanent," Rafe called out, stopping Hope. "Is that what you want?" she asked, surprised. "It's what you want...isn't it?" he evasively replied. "What I want...is just not to be sad anymore," she quietly admitted before continuing on her way.
Sighing, Rafe removed his wedding ring and tossed it over the side of the cliff.
Meanwhile, at the nearby motel, Xander praised Ted's earlier performance and declared that, together, they had just pulled off a major victory. "I wouldn't say it went exactly as planned..." Ted argued, apparently upset about having been kept in the dark about certain parts of the ruse. "Oh, don't be like that!" Xander dismissively replied, but Ted forged ahead, noting that it was cruel and sadistic to make Holly's loved ones believe that the child had just died in an explosion. "Exactly!" Xander agreed, as if that had been the whole point all along. "And it's just the beginning..." Xander cryptically added, smirking.
Ted wondered who had really died in the explosion. "I don't know...or care," Xander admitted with a shrug before starting to pour a stiff drink. "I care! I want to know who I helped you kill!" Ted impatiently stressed. "No one. That's the beauty of it -- those stiffs were already in the morgue," Xander tiredly clarified. "How did you manage that?" Ted asked, stunned.
"Let's just say that my partner is very...resourceful," Xander vaguely explained. "When are you going to introduce me to this partner?" Ted wondered. "My partner wishes to remain anonymous for now," Xander teasingly revealed. "After everything I've done for the two of you, I deserve to know!" Ted argued. "All right, you forced it out of me -- it's Julie Williams. [See], she didn't fancy running that [club] by herself while Chloe was off playing mom, [so] she decided [Holly] had to go," Xander joked. "Don't play with me, you jackass!" Ted snapped, unamused. "Trust me, Theodore -- the less you know about our boss, the better off you'll be," Xander insisted.
"Why have you got your knickers in a twist, anyway? Everything's working out in our favor -- [but] especially yours, [because] now the rest of the world thinks that Detective Hernandez spooked the kidnappers and made a right bollocks of the rescue," Xander added. "That moron... [You know], I've got to admit -- [this all] played out perfectly, [and it] has to be the end between him and Hope," Ted mused, chuckling triumphantly.
Xander nodded and handed Ted another wrapped stack of cash. Meanwhile, Hope approached the motel room door and inserted a key while finishing a phone conversation with someone at the police station. Xander hid before Hope managed to enter the room, but Ted stayed behind and claimed to have been searching the place for answers. "[I'm just] wondering if I could have done anything differently," Ted elaborated. "It's not your fault," Hope insisted. "I was so close to getting Holly back, but then Rafe... [But] I'm not blaming him -- he must already feel terrible..." Ted continued. "I suspended him...[and] I think my marriage is over," Hope revealed.
Ted comforted Hope with a hug, and she broke down in his arms.
At the DiMera mansion, Chloe joined Stefan in the living room and reported that Parker was still sleeping soundly. "How are you?" Stefan asked. "If we don't hear something soon, I'm gonna lose my mind," Chloe replied -- just as Ben and Ciara arrived, both looking somber. "I need you to go to police headquarters [and] make them talk to you. I'm starting to believe Nicole convinced them to shut us out, and I'm not gonna let her do that to Chloe, [because] she has just as much of a right to --" Stefan began telling Ben. "You know something, don't you?" Chloe realized, interrupting Stefan's rant. "I just got word [from] an EMT..." Ben apologetically began.
Later, Stefan helped a devastated Chloe take a sleeping pill and get settled in bed. "I don't want to be alone tonight. Would you mind staying with me?" she asked. "Not at all," he replied.
Meanwhile, at the guesthouse, Ben admitted to Ciara that it had been really difficult to deliver such terrible news to Chloe earlier. "Thank you for coming with me," Ben added. "I didn't even say anything... I couldn't..." Ciara regretfully noted. "Yeah, but you were there, [and that] meant a lot," Ben stressed. "Before I was born, my, uh...my parents lost my older brother [after] he got hit by a car, [and] I don't think my mom [is] over it [yet]," Ciara sadly revealed. "How is somebody ever supposed to get over something like that?" Ben mused with a sigh and a shake of the head.
Ben felt guilty for having failed to keep Chloe and the kids safe, but Ciara insisted that nothing more could have been done. Seemingly unsure, Ben sighed again then changed the subject, admitting that the tragedy had been a harsh reminder that life was short. "I got my little nephew living in this town now, [and] I haven't even tried to go see him. I feel like I'm turning my back on him," Ben added. "With the way Jordan feels about you now, I don't --" Ciara hesitantly began to warn. "No, no -- I'm not talking about, like, getting custody or anything like that. I'm not ready for that, [and] no judge is going to allow that to happen, [anyway]," Ben clarified.
"I just feel like maybe I should be a part of his life -- you know, just make an attempt to try to help Rafe just keep an eye out for him. Is that, like, a terrible idea?" Ben added. "That is a wonderful, amazing idea," Ciara insisted, but Ben remained uncertain, guessing that Rafe might disagree. Ciara promised to talk to Rafe about the matter on Ben's behalf.
At Doug's Place, Kate watched as Victor passed Maggie a handkerchief. "Losing Daniel was beyond awful, [and] when I found out about Holly, she was, uh...she was like a miracle baby, [and] whenever she smiled, it was like I was seeing Daniel again," Maggie tearfully noted. "Well, you still have Melanie, and you have Parker," Kate cheerfully pointed out. "Holly is dead because of the way Chloe lives her life. [That little girl would still be] alive today if Chloe hadn't shacked up with Stefan DiMera," Victor insisted. "She did that because of you," Maggie argued, recalling that Victor had refused to let Chloe stay at the Kiriakis mansion.
"I said we'd be glad to take in the children!" Victor defensively clarified. "[But] you knew Chloe would never agree to live apart from her kids!" Maggie bitterly countered.
"It doesn't help to point fingers at a person during a time like this. You're not the only one hurting," Kate reminded Maggie. "[And] if Chloe was a decent mother, she would have accepted Victor's offer; she would have known that keeping her children a distance from her was the safest thing she could do for them. But she's not decent," Kate added, drawing a scoff from Maggie, who clearly thought there was hypocrisy in that statement. "I may not bake cookies, but I would never take a slut's side over my husband's. Victor gave you the opportunity to protect your grandchildren, and you did not do it," Kate maintained, ignoring Maggie's dig.
"That's enough," Victor told Kate. "Thank you," Maggie said to Victor. "Could we please go home now?" Maggie requested. "[Tell] the driver [to take] you home then come back for me. I'm gonna have one more drink," Victor replied. "Are you kidding?" Maggie asked incredulously. "I need some time alone," Victor explained, shrugging unapologetically. "Alone," Maggie skeptically repeated, eyeing Kate. "Fine," Maggie added before storming off.
Later, Victor and Kate made a toast to Holly's memory. Meanwhile, at the Kiriakis mansion, Maggie stared at a framed photograph of Holly while thinking about Kate's earlier argument that Victor wasn't the one who had failed to protect the child. Sobbing, Maggie headed over to the bar, shakily filled a glass with whiskey, and stared at it for a while -- then poured its contents back in the decanter and rushed out of the mansion in horror.
At Eric's apartment, Nicole sadly wondered how everything had gone so wrong. "I tried so hard to get here, [and] through all the pain and the surgeries, the one thing that kept me going was picturing the moment that I saw my daughter and she saw me, [and] I was so close to having that moment...and now it is never, ever gonna happen! I wish I'd blown up in that building! [Then] at least I'd be with Holly now!" Nicole fretted. "Do not say that! [Look], I know what you're going through --" Eric began to protest. "You do not know what I am going through!" Nicole snapped.
"When I thought I was gonna die, and I sent you away, I actually found some peace, because I thought Holly was gonna be safe [with you...and I know I told you before that I understood, but] I don't understand -- how could you let Chloe take my daughter from you? Why didn't you keep your promise to me? Why?" Nicole demanded to know, smacking Eric's chest. "I had every intention of honoring your wishes..." Eric stressed before explaining that Maggie's objections had prompted Chloe and Brady to get involved. "[And] I told Justin that I wanted to fight [them, but then] your letter showed up..." Eric added.
"I totally forgot about that..." Nicole admitted after getting Eric to elaborate. "I wrote it when Xander forced me to marry him, [because] I didn't know what he had in mind for me, and I sure as hell didn't want him to end up with my daughter..." Nicole added. "[Well, Justin] thought it was too strong of an argument [against] what you verbally said to me [right before the explosion, and even though] I told Justin that I wanted to fight, [I ultimately] had to think [about] what's best for Holly, [and Chloe] gave birth to [Holly and] was the mother of Holly's brother...[so, in the end, I just] made a decision not to fight," Eric explained.
"I get [that]..." Nicole admitted, drawing a sigh of relief from Eric.
"[But] when I wrote that [letter], it didn't dawn on me that Chloe would be hunted down by that drug cartel... Holly was in danger, and you did nothing!" Nicole added, smacking Eric's chest again. "You made a promise, [and then] you broke it because it wasn't convenient for you, and now my daughter is dead -- [and] I blame you!" Nicole spat before storming out of the apartment, ignoring Eric's protests.
Jack makes a surprising suggestion to Kayla
At the Brady Pub, David slept soundly as Lani and Abe ate breakfast and sadly discussed what had happened the previous night.
"I tried calling the squad room, but all they would tell me was that something went wrong," Lani reported. "What did Rafe say?" Abe wondered. "He didn't come home last night," Lani revealed. "He left you there with this baby, without even calling?" Abe asked incredulously. Lani evasively pointed out that Abe had more important things to worry about -- like the fact that the outcome of the mayoral race was just hours away from being decided.
Just then, Eli entered the pub and immediately began lashing out at Abe for having broken Valerie's heart. "You're gonna lose a lot of votes over this -- including mine," Eli warned before reluctantly agreeing to hear Abe's side of the story, which helped but didn't completely resolve the matter. "I need to hear Sheila's side of the story, [too]. Unfortunately, I can't find her anywhere..." Eli mused. Abe explained that Sheila had resigned -- and had then quietly left town -- the previous day in an effort to salvage the reelection campaign. "It was her choice...but what hurts me is that she was forced into it," Abe grumbled, blaming Jack for having caused the scandal.
"I'm sorry I went off on you [earlier]. You still got my vote. [Besides], the last thing I want is Eve and Jack Deveraux running this town," Eli told Abe after giving the matter some thought.
"My dad has to win. He has to," Lani told Eli after Abe rushed off. Eli nodded then changed the subject, observing that it seemed like Lani was taking really good care of David. "I know that you're afraid of me getting too attached, [but] I'll be fine -- and I'll know that I did everything I could for this little guy who's all alone," Lani stressed. "I miss you," Eli admitted. "I miss you, too," Lani replied before giving Eli a kiss.
At the Horton Town Square, J.J. stepped into a voting booth as Eve watched nearby.
"I'm guessing that vote wasn't for your daddy," Eve called out when J.J. stepped back out of the booth a few seconds later. "I try to vote for candidates who tell me the truth -- kind of rules Dad out," J.J. replied, shrugging. "We don't need your vote, anyway, because we kind of have this thing wrapped up," Eve bragged as J.J. tried to walk away. "Only if the people of Salem aren't as smart as they look. A two-year-old could see through that smear campaign you're doing on Abe," J.J. argued, turning to face Eve again. "Are you proud of yourself?" J.J. wondered. "Are you?" Eve countered.
"You're the one that threw that ancient history with Kayla right in your dad's face," Eve continued. "'Ancient history'? That's how you spin a rape?" J.J. asked incredulously. "I wasn't planning on saying a word about Dad and Kayla, but saying that Abe -- Abe -- is guilty of sexual harassment... I mean, that was an out-and-out lie, [and when I heard it], I thought my head was going to explode," J.J. explained, shrugging again. "And then you just couldn't stop yourself from shooting your mouth off about something so private, right, little boy?" Eve bitterly summarized.
"You knew exactly what you were doing, [and] the thought of you standing up there on your high horse when Jack and I were just telling the truth about Haley and Tripp's fake marriage -- it makes my stomach turn!" Eve spat. "You know what makes my stomach turn? Knowing my dad would ruin a young girl's life so he could win an election to be mayor of Salem," J.J. countered, scoffing at the triviality of Jack's motive. "[And] knowing that he married you. You two are a match made in hell," J.J. added with obvious disgust before walking away.
At the loft apartment, Tripp released a sigh of concern while staring at the remaining section of the torn wedding photograph -- then pocketed it as Haley entered the living room.
"What's that?" Tripp asked, eyeing the item that Haley was holding. "A frame for our wedding picture. I just, uh, figured we should have it out -- you know, just in case Agent Smith decides to drop by," Haley explained. "[But] I don't know where the photo is..." Haley added while looking around. "It's probably around here somewhere..." Tripp evasively replied.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Will and Sonny entered the living room and found Claire kneeling beside the fireplace, using a poker to scatter some ashes.
"You're up early," Will observed, startling Claire. "What, are you guys spying on me?" Claire defensively snapped. "Why would we be?" Sonny asked curiously.
"Sorry -- I don't know why I snapped at you guys like that. Um...I'm just so worried about poor little Holly..." Claire claimed after calming down a bit. "We all are, yeah -- it's, um...a horrible tragedy," Sonny noted. "I think we were up, like...what, 25 times last night, checking on Ari?" Sonny added while turning to Will, who nodded in response and sighed heavily. "Do you mind, um -- can we stop by St. Luke's on the way to vote? I -- I'd like to, you know, light a candle or something," Will said to Sonny, who liked that idea. "When do you have to be at the hospital?" Sonny asked Will. "We got time," Will vaguely assured Sonny, clearly nervous about the appointment.
"Are you having more radiation?" Claire interjected. "Uh...hopefully not; we're -- I'm -- just getting a scan to see if the tumor has shrunk," Will clarified. "Okay, well, I am praying for you," Claire stressed.
Will and Sonny ran into Tripp while exiting the mansion. "This is a surprise!" Claire happily declared when Tripp entered the living room. "I heard about Mrs. Kiriakis' granddaughter. Uh...can you give her these doughnuts from the pub?" Tripp replied before handing a box to Claire, who accepted it with obvious disappointment. "I don't really know why she'd want to eat doughnuts right now, but I -- I didn't really know what else to do, and she's always been so nice to me..." Tripp continued, but Claire was barely listening. "Did I say something wrong?" Tripp asked, confused. "Well...I was hoping that you had come by to see me..." Claire admitted with a sigh.
"That's the other reason I'm here..." Tripp began to reveal, causing Claire to perk back up in an instant. "We could sneak upstairs to my room..." Claire flirtatiously suggested, but Tripp refused to take any more unnecessary risks. "[Besides], I was actually hoping you could explain this," Tripp clarified, producing the remaining section of the torn wedding photograph. "You think I tore it?" Claire asked with a scoff of indignation. "You're the only person who was at the loft after we got this," Tripp pointed out. "I lost it for a minute," Claire reluctantly admitted, trapped.
"Do you have any idea how hard this is for me, [having] to pretend that I am okay with you being married to another woman? Like, do you know how much I hate that sweet little way that Haley has of reminding me that I cannot be seen with you at all? And now...what, we might have to wait three years for her to get a green card?" Claire complained. "I get all that, [but] how am I supposed to explain this to Haley -- or maybe even the ICE agent?" Tripp asked. "Oh, it's a ripped photograph, for God's sake! It's not like I ripped Haley's face in half!" Claire dismissively replied.
"Boy, you do hate her, don't you?" Tripp observed. "I really don't like her, no -- is that a crime?" Claire snapped. "No, but...it's not good for you to keep all that inside," Tripp noted before gently suggesting that it might be wise for Claire to schedule a few sessions with Marlena. "Do you think I'm crazy?" Claire asked defensively. "No, I don't think that; [it's just that] you're so full of anger right now, and it kind of scares me," Tripp clarified. "I am doing the very best job I can, [given the circumstances]!" Claire insisted. "You're right... None of this is fair to you..." Tripp conceded, sighing.
"Maybe the best thing for me to do is just to let you go," Tripp added. "Are you breaking up with me?" Claire asked incredulously. "How am I supposed to ask you to wait for me when I'm married to another woman and you're not even supposed to be in the same room as me? [Look], you are talented, and beautiful, and lots of guys would be lucky to --" Tripp began to reason. "I don't want any other guys, Tripp -- I just want you!" Claire protested. "Just think about it, okay? You might change your mind," Tripp replied, dodging Claire's attempts to seize a kiss. "Take care of yourself," Tripp advised before exiting the mansion.
"I'm not gonna lose you, Tripp -- not to a little bitch like Haley," Claire tearfully vowed while picking up the fireplace poker with one hand and threateningly smacking it against the open palm of the other hand.
At the hospital, Jack approached the nurses' station and greeted Kayla. "Being bothered by the press?" Jack wondered. "I'm not taking those calls," Kayla replied.
"Well, maybe you should just put it to rest," Jack suggested before handing over a statement for Kayla to release to the press. "A regrettable incident occurred during a challenging time in our marriage. It is a matter of public record. Jack and I have no interest in reliving that difficult time. I respect my former husband for doing the hard work necessary to deal with this unfortunate episode, and I bear him no ill will. I hope the voters will understand and forgive him, as I have," Kayla read aloud before giving Jack a look of disbelief. "What?" Jack asked innocently, flashing a smile.
"'A regrettable incident'? 'An unfortunate episode'? It sounds like you just...backed your car into a tree!" Kayla incredulously noted. "We did work through our issues," Jack argued. "They were your issues, Jack -- that's why they call it rape!" Kayla countered. "And you did forgive me, for which I'll be forever grateful," Jack continued, ignoring Kayla's point.
"What did you say here? Um...'I hope the voters will understand and forgive him, as I have.' This is like a -- a -- an endorsement! Are you for real? Do you really expect me to release this garbage to the press?" Kayla asked, outraged. "So...you won't help me out?" Jack concluded with a sigh as J.J. exited a nearby elevator. "It took me years to recover and forgive you for what you did, Jack! I'm not gonna minimize that so that you can pull this election out of the fire!" Kayla replied before ripping up the statement and throwing the remains at Jack in anger.
J.J. approached Jack after Kayla stormed off in disgust. "You may have just brought your old man down. You happy now?" Jack asked. "I didn't plan on saying anything. I didn't want to do that to Kayla. But then you -- you said that crap about Abe..." J.J. began to explain. "So, it's my fault?" Jack incredulously summarized. "Did you really try to -- try to get Kayla to sign something saying she forgives you?" J.J. wondered, ignoring Jack's outrage. "I did, yes -- because she did forgive me," Jack reasoned with a shrug.
"People make mistakes. Don't they deserve a second chance?" Jack added. "Are you giving Haley a second chance?" J.J. pointedly countered. "No -- you can't, can you? [Because exploiting her immigration status is] your only shot at winning, now that people know you raped your own wife," J.J. knowingly answered for Jack. "The polls have just opened. Anything's possible," Jack argued, not yet ready to admit defeat. "Man...you are one cold son of a bitch," J.J. observed with a shake of the head while glaring at Jack, who scoffed and walked away with an unapologetic smirk.
Later, J.J. tracked Haley down in an otherwise unoccupied examination room. "The, uh, nurse at the desk told me you were in here, waiting for a new patient, [so] I told her that I brought the guy in this morning [and] wanted to check on him," J.J. explained to stop Haley from worrying about the possibility that they might be seen together. "I wish I could vote for Mayor Carver," Haley admitted with a sigh after noticing J.J.'s voting sticker. J.J. assured Haley that the majority of Salem's voters would probably vote for Abe, given what had been revealed at the debate the previous day.
"Did your dad really do that to Kayla?" Haley asked gently. "Yeah," J.J. sadly confirmed. "Abe is too much of a gentleman to use [the information, and] for some reason, the press didn't write about it, so...I put it out there. [And] I don't feel great [about it...but] if what I said was the break Abe needed to win, I'll get over it," J.J. added with a shrug.
After voting, Will and Sonny went to the hospital and met up with Kayla, who was covering for Rex due to what had happened the previous night. "I was gonna call, um, Maggie today, but, um, I just was afraid it'd be an intrusion," Kayla revealed with a sigh. "Sarah's with her," Sonny reported, and Will added that Holly's death had left everyone devastated.
Kayla nodded then changed the subject, announcing that Radiology was ready for Will.
"How was it?" Sonny asked when Will returned after the brain scan. "Eh, no big deal," Will reported with a shrug. "They're taking really good care of you," Sonny noted. "I know... But I don't know what I would do if you weren't taking care of me. You were so great earlier with Arianna, when I was zoned out from the radiation. I don't even think she noticed I was feeling weird," Will replied. "She's really smart, though -- you know, she already asked, like, what was wrong with Maggie," Sonny warned. "Yeah... We're gonna have to tell her about Holly... I mean, what the hell do we say?" Will fretted. "Maybe we could ask Marlena," Sonny suggested, and Will agreed.
Kayla soon arrived with the results of Will's brain scan. "[This] scan is used to measure the tumor very accurately... We had hoped that the initial dose of radiation would show a marked reduction in its size...[but] the tumor is the same," Kayla regretfully reported. "Oh... Um... Okay, just -- I mean, can you just give it to me again?" Will asked. "We might be able to give another dose, but I need to make that decision with Rex and Sarah," Kayla replied. "[In the meantime], I am going to take another look at your biopsy report. You are family, Will, and I am going to know your case backwards and forwards by the end of the day," Kayla assured Will with determination.
"Don't lose hope," Kayla urged Will. "And remember, it's not malignant, okay? You -- you do not have cancer," Sonny stressed. "Yes, that is true...but it is pressing on a part of my brain that makes me act very weird sometimes, and I don't like that," Will fretted. "Well, I hate to break it to you, but you -- you -- you kind of always act a little weird every now and then. It's part of your charm," Sonny lovingly joked, making Will laugh.
At the Salem Inn, Eve wondered why Jack wasn't out in public, shaking hands and kissing babies in the hope of securing more votes. "I tried. A fair number of people didn't want to shake my hand, let alone let me kiss their babies. I can only assume it's because of what J.J. said," Jack explained with a sigh. "I take it [Kayla] didn't, uh, sign your statement," Eve guessed. "Did you really think she would?" Jack wondered. "I don't know, Jack -- I mean, it was worth a try!" Eve replied. "We gotta come up with something [else]! We gotta do something fast, something that'll hit the news this morning!" Eve insisted, desperate to salvage Jack's election campaign.
"I just wish that we could prove somehow that Haley's marriage is nothing but a business arrangement..." Eve added. "I could give you that..." Claire mischievously declared, entering the hotel room through the door that had been left partially open. "Do you really have something?" Eve asked hopefully after chasing Jack off. "Well..." Claire began with a grin before playing a recording in which Tripp admitted the truth.
"How long have you had that?" Eve wondered, stunned. "Um...about three or four days," Claire admitted. "Are you kidding me? Oh, my God -- why didn't you call me? I mean, Jack needs that!" Eve complained. "Okay, well, I need things, too!" Claire countered. "What, exactly, do you need?" Eve asked, confused. "I need Tripp not to find out that I was a part of getting Haley deported, [and] I need Tripp not to go to prison for helping Haley, [because] the point of this is to get him back full-time, not just on visiting days," Claire explained, forcing Eve to scramble to think of a way to satisfy those demands.
Later, while passing through the park, Claire ran into Tripp, who was on a break from work. She apologized for what had happened earlier and innocently assured him that she was going to start working on her anger issues.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sonny tried to keep Will in good spirits, pointing out that it could take more than one course of radiation for the tumor to shrink. "I think [that] right now, we need to focus on breaking the news about Holly to Ari. I want her to hear it from us," Sonny added. "What happened to Holly?" Will asked. "You know what happened -- the accident..." Sonny replied, confused. "I have no idea what you're talking about," Will insisted.
At the hospital, Kayla took another look at Will's chart. "Wait a second... How did I miss that before?" she muttered while staring at something in disbelief.
J.J. and Haley were still alone in one of the examination rooms, fantasizing about being together, when Eve arrived. "The nurse said that you might be in here, but she did not mention that you had a guest," Eve told Haley while eyeing J.J. suspiciously. "I was just waiting to see a new patient I brought in this morning," J.J. explained. Nodding skeptically, Eve toyed with Haley and J.J. for a bit then delighted in playing Claire's recording.
At the Horton Town Square, Jack interrupted a reporter's attempt to question Abe about Valerie's notable absence. "Valerie and I reached the sad conclusion that a long-distance relationship wasn't what either one of us wanted," Abe explained to the reporter. "Or was it the close relationship with you and Sheila?" Jack asked pointedly. "I wouldn't push this, Jack, given your history with women. Maybe you don't remember the details, [but] I do," Abe countered, shutting Jack up. As Abe walked away, the reporter turned to Jack, who squirmed while claiming to still have Eve's full support in the wake of J.J.'s revelation.
After the reporter walked away, Jack turned and spotted Jennifer, who had just returned to town.
Eve blackmails Haley
At the Kiriakis mansion, a bleary-eyed Eric showed up on the doorstep. Brady told Eric that he was sorry to hear about Holly. When Brady asked about Nicole, Eric admitted that Nicole had walked out on him. Eric asked Brady if he had seen Nicole. Confused, Brady asked Eric why Nicole was not with him. Eric explained that Nicole had blamed him for Holly's death.
"No, Eric. She's in shock. She just lost her only child. She's grieving. You know when people are grieving, they say things in sadness and anger. It doesn't mean they are true," Brady counseled. "They are true, Brady! Nobody understands that better than you," Eric yelped. Eric argued that Brady had begged him to convince Chloe to move out of the DiMera mansion.
"Why do you think Holly was with Chloe in the first place, hmm? That's on me, Eric. I put that whole thing in motion. If I hadn't blackmailed Nicole and forced her to leave town, out of jealousy, Chloe would have never had Holly in the first place," Brady said. Eric countered that Brady would have done whatever it took to keep Holly safe. Brady corrected Eric and said his motives had also been selfish. Brady admitted that he had wanted to be with Chloe and had used lies and manipulation to attempt to force Chloe to move out of the mansion.
"Nicole's dying wish was for me to take care of her daughter. I promised I would do that, and I didn't. I didn't even fight for custody," Eric lamented. Brady reminded Eric that he had attempted to fight for Holly but had backed off because Eric had known it had been the right thing. Eric called himself a coward.
"[Holly's] gone. And now I've lost Nicole, too, so maybe I am the only one to blame," Eric said breathlessly. Brady cautioned Eric to have patience with Nicole because Nicole knew that Eric loved Holly and had fought for her. Brady told Eric that everyone would tell Nicole that Eric had fought Chloe for custody. With a groan, Eric repeated that Nicole had been furious with him.
"She lashed out at you, right? You know why she said those things to you? Because she could. You're closer to her than anyone in the world. You are the one guy that she knew she could express herself to. All that grief and all that anger because she knew that you would never abandon her or judge her. All you would do was keep loving her, no matter what. And that's the truth," Brady said.
Outside the Brady Pub, Nicole sat on the bench and stared at the ground, lost in thought. "Nicole?" Abe asked in surprise. Nicole burst into tears. Abe sat next to Nicole and hugged her. "I'm so sorry," Abe murmured as he rubbed Nicole's back to soothe her. Abe told Nicole that Brandon was thrilled to know his sister had survived the explosion.
"I think I'm better off dead," Nicole said. Nicole explained that Holly had been her whole world. Abe reminded Nicole that a lot of people loved and wanted to support her. Abe urged Nicole to join him inside the pub so they could talk.
Inside the pub, Maggie talked to Melanie on the phone, and she barely held back sobs. Maggie asked Melanie to stay away for the time being. As Maggie ended her call, she wept and clutched her hands together tightly. A waitress asked Maggie if she needed anything.
"Can I get a vodka?" Maggie asked. When the waitress returned with the drink, Maggie lifted it to her lips. Nicole and Abe walked in. Maggie and Nicole hugged one another tightly. Abe stepped aside so the women could talk privately. Maggie told Nicole that she was there for her. With a sad smile, Maggie said, "I'm sure at a time like this, you want to lean on Eric."
"Actually, Eric is the last person I want to lean on. What happened to Holly is his fault," Nicole whispered. As Maggie and Nicole sat down at Maggie's table, Nicole wondered aloud why Eric had not protected Holly. Nicole said her one hope while she had been separated from Holly had been that Eric would uphold his promise to protect Holly.
"He had full intentions of honoring your wishes. See, in the end, he thought it would be best for Holly if she were raised with Parker," Maggie said. Nicole reminded Maggie that Eric had known about the threat from the cartel. "Why didn't somebody do something?" Nicole cried out. Maggie noted that Brady had advocated removing Holly from the DiMera mansion.
"In the beginning, he was adamant that Chloe and the kids not move in with Stefan. And he wanted me to convince Chloe that they would be safer at our house, and he was livid when I wouldn't do it," Maggie said. "I'm so stunned that Brady was the voice of reason," Nicole said. Nicole started to cough. With a tickle in her throat, Nicole reached for Maggie's glass but stopped short when she smelled the contents.
"This is vodka. Maggie, are you drinking again?" Nicole asked with worry. Maggie explained that she had ordered the drink out of weakness, but she had not taken a sip yet. "It's so hard," Maggie said as she fought back tears. Nicole asked Maggie if she was going to a meeting.
"No. I want to go home," Maggie said. Nicole offered to take Maggie back to the Kiriakis mansion. "It's amazing that [with] all that you're going through, you are the one to comfort me," Maggie said in awe. Nicole started to cry, too, and held Maggie's hand.
While J.J. and Haley were talking in a patient's empty room, Eve confronted them with a recording of Claire and Tripp. The recording proved that Tripp had only married Haley in order to help her secure a green card. J.J. accused Eve of creating a fake recording. Eve smiled. J.J. asked Eve how she had obtained the recording. Eve admitted that the campaign had been keeping tabs on Haley and Tripp. Eve explained that she had made the recording before the wedding but had held it back to wait for the perfect time to release the audio. Fighting tears, Haley begged Eve not to release the recording.
"There's no reason for us to go public with it," Eve said. J.J. asked why. Eve urged that Haley should confess instead. Eve added that Haley should say that she had seduced Tripp so that Tripp would not go to prison. Suspicious, J.J. asked Eve why she wanted to protect Tripp. Eve deflected and told J.J. not to give her a hard time for helping his cousin.
"You don't give a damn about [Tripp], so there has got to be some other reason you want to keep him out of this. I want to know what it is," J.J. demanded. Eve explained that she did not want to harm Jack's nephew. J.J. shook his head in disbelief. Eve added that the recording implicated Tripp and Claire as accomplices in a felony. Haley said she did not want to hurt Tripp or Claire. Eve urged Haley to come clean instead.
"Is this [about] more votes? It's too late for that. It's Election Day. My dad is going to lose," J.J. said. Eve argued that there was plenty of time before the polls closed. Eve said she intended to call a press conference and left the decision up to Haley. With a nod, Eve walked out. Haley turned to J.J. and asked for advice.
"Don't give in, Haley. Don't let them win," J.J. said. Confused, Haley asked what she should do. J.J. suggested that Haley let the situation play out. With a shake of her head, Haley said she did not want to hurt Tripp or Claire. "Really think about this before you do something you might regret for the rest of your life," J.J. said.
In the park, Claire promised Tripp that she would wait for him as long as he needed. Claire said she loved Tripp and wanted to prove that she could be a better person. With a shake of his head, Tripp said he had been horrible to Claire and was sorry. Tripp and Claire hugged.
"What the hell are you doing?" Melinda Trask hissed as she walked over. Melinda reminded Claire and Tripp that if anyone had caught them, it could adversely affect Haley's immigration status. Tripp promised that they had been careful.
"Then why were you caught on video?" Melinda asked. Confused, Tripp asked Melinda what she was talking about. Melinda explained that she had discovered a video of Tripp and Claire in bed at the Salem Inn, talking about the sham marriage with Haley. "How? Why?" Tripp asked.
"I assume it was set up by someone with a vested interest," Melinda said. Claire thought about when Eve had helped her set up the camera to record the video. Melinda blamed Jack and Eve, but Tripp was unsure why Eve would have held back the video. Melinda admitted that she had intervened and erased the video when she had learned about it.
"I didn't think you would go that far to protect Haley. You told her that she was on her own," Tripp said. "She's my family. I had to do something," Melinda countered. Melinda said that she had known from experience that Jack and Eve would go to great lengths to destroy people's lives.
In the square, Jack ran into Jennifer as she left the voting booth. Jack asked Jennifer why she had returned to town. "Because of you," Jennifer said. Jack told Jennifer that he was glad Jennifer had returned, and he hoped they would be able to work through their differences. Jennifer clarified that she had returned to town to vote against Jack.
"You really came back from Europe just to vote against me?" Jack asked. "I came back to cast my vote for Abe," Jennifer said. Jack argued that Abe was not a saint. With a scowl, Jennifer told Jack that he had crossed the line when he had shown the photo of Abe kissing Sheila. Jack argued that Abe was a hypocrite. Jack added that he had been shedding votes because of J.J.'s mention of Jack's past with Kayla and not because of the photo of Abe.
Jack told Jennifer that he had asked Kayla to put out a statement in support. Shocked, Jennifer's eyes went wide. "That you didn't rape her?" Jennifer asked. Jack said he had asked Kayla to issue a statement noting that she had forgiven him. When Jack groaned that Kayla had refused to help, Jennifer laughed ruefully.
"This is amazing that you are now angry with the woman that you sexually assaulted because she couldn't save your campaign. That is victim blaming," Jennifer said. Jack argued that was not the case. Jack said Kayla had told him that she had forgiven him, and Jennifer had forgiven him in the past. He did not understand why Kayla would not admit that for him. Jack said his past should not be a reason to keep him out of office.
"I can tell you so many reasons why you should not be mayor. At the top of the list is your wife," Jennifer growled. Jack called Jennifer vindictive. With a scoff, Jennifer countered that Eve was only one of the reasons she did not believe Jack was fit to be mayor. Abe interrupted and thanked Jennifer for her support.
"It is totally my pleasure," Jennifer said. Abe looked at Jack and reminded him that Abe was still in the race. Jack warned Abe not to count him out of the race, either. "Whatever you may have up your sleeve, it may be too little, too late," Abe said. Jennifer agreed. A gleeful Eve walked over and asked Jack to talk in private. After Jack and Eve stepped aside, Jennifer told Abe that she was certain that the voters would see that Jack and Eve were opportunists, but she was not sure what surprise the campaign had waiting.
At the café, Claire bussed a table while Tripp noticed that a podium has been set up over by Jack. Concerned, Tripp texted Haley, "Haley something is going down at the square. Where R U??" Nearby, Melinda approached Abe. "I'm already in a fight. I don't want to have another," Abe said. Melinda agreed and thanked Abe for supporting her sister even though he had been in a race against Melinda at the time.
"I meant what I said. She deserves to live in peace," Abe said. "For what it's worth, I've thrown my full weight behind you," Melinda said. Across the square, Jack called attention to everyone. Eve whispered to Jack that she did not see Haley. Jack asked if they should wait. Eve said no. Eve took over the microphone and said she had a special announcement. Haley arrived, and Eve saw her. Tripp rushed over to Haley, and she assured him that all was well.
"When I say we have a big announcement, it is actually HUGE!" Eve said with a chuckle. Jack invited Haley up to the podium. Melinda stopped her sister and asked her what she was doing. "What I have to do," Haley said. Haley gave a speech about her arrival in the US and her life in the country.
"Despite all the obstacles I had to overcome, I had this feeling inside me. This strange mix of excitement and optimism that I now realize was hope because everywhere I looked, there was opportunities, a chance to grow, to learn, to connect. And when I was scared or unsure, there were people -- kind, generous people -- willing to help me," Haley said.
"I love this country, and I love Salem. It's my home. And words cannot express how grateful I am for what so many wonderful people here have done for me," Haley said. Haley added that she had hoped her work as a nurse would give back to the community that had supported her. In conclusion, Haley said that Jack had been right about her marriage.
"This charade has taken a terrible toll on everyone I care about, and that has to end now. It's time for me to be honest with each and every one of you and admit that my marriage is a fraud," Haley said. Haley added that she had lied to Tripp and that he should not be punished because he was the victim. Haley said she was ready to face the consequences of her actions. Claire smiled across the square at Eve.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Maggie thanked Nicole for escorting her home. Nicole asked Maggie if she needed anything. Tired, Maggie admitted that she had not slept the night before. After a quick hug, Maggie went upstairs to nap. In the living room, Eric started to leave.
"I'm so glad to see you," Nicole said as she walked into the room. Nicole walked past Eric and embraced Brady. "I'm sorry about Holly," Brady said. "I've been worried, too. You didn't come back home last night," Eric said. Nicole admitted she had gone to the Salem Inn to be alone. Nicole thanked Brady for fighting to protect Holly.
"It means so much to me that someone had the good sense to look after my daughter. Seems like you were alone in your efforts," Nicole said as she threw a scowl toward Eric. "We all loved Holly. We all tried to keep her safe. Especially Eric," Brady said. Nicole disagreed. Eric begged Nicole to talk to him. Nicole refused.
"I know you hate me. I hate myself, and I'm not asking you for forgiveness or to stop hating me. I'm just asking you to talk to me," Eric pleaded. Nicole refused. Eric asked Nicole what she needed. "The only thing I need from you right now, Eric, is for you to leave," Nicole said. Reluctantly, Eric walked out.
"Eric showed up here, out of his mind with worry. All he wants to do is be here for you. You need each other right now. The man is devastated," Brady said. Nicole asked Brady not to defend Eric. "My daughter is dead, and you are the only one who fought for her. The only one!" Nicole cried out as she started to weep. Brady hugged Nicole and comforted her.
"Pardon the interruption, but would you mind taking your hands off my wife," Xander said from the doorway. Brady and Nicole jumped apart as they stared in shock at the new arrival.