At the hospital, Kayla approached the nurses' station and was surprised to see Rex standing in front of its computer, typing notes at a rapid pace.
"What are you still doing here? [I mean], it's your wedding night! Go home to your bride!" Kayla advised. "I have to leave these post-op instructions for a patient," Rex explained with a shrug while continuing to type.
"Okay... So, tell me, did you get a chance to call your dad [and] tell him about the wedding?" Kayla asked while watching Rex with a hint of amusement. "Eric actually beat me to the punch. [And, apparently, Dad's somewhat] upset 'cause he didn't get invited to the wedding, [but he's mostly just] happy for me...[which] sets him apart from Maggie," Rex replied, still typing. "And Xander Cook," Rex continued, suddenly getting a bit rougher with the keyboard. "He's got it bad for Sarah -- so bad, in fact, that he gave her a wedding gift when I was standing right there [next to her]. The guy's just a Class-A jerk, all the way," Rex complained through gritted teeth.
At Doug's Place, Hope stared at Sarah's extravagant diamond necklace in shock. "That looks exactly like [the one] Ted Laurent tried giving me [on] the night he disappeared," Hope curiously observed while taking a closer look at the necklace, which Sarah identified as a wedding gift from Xander. "Maybe Ted and Xander just have the same taste in jewelry," Sarah suggested with a shrug. "I mean, it...could be...a coincidence... It's a pretty distinctive necklace, though," Hope argued, and Sarah conceded the point. "And Ted's disappearance [is] just so...strange...[so] there's definitely more to this story, I feel," Hope insisted.
"[And if] it is the same necklace, [then] how did Xander wind up with it?" Hope wondered. "He was just at the Kiriakis mansion, [so] maybe you should talk to [him about it]," Sarah suggested.
Shortly after Hope left, Rex arrived and immediately began commenting on the necklace, deducing that it was the wedding gift that Xander had given Sarah earlier. Rex declared it garish and gaudy, but Sarah disagreed -- and defensively reasoned that it would have been rude to refuse the necklace after Xander had selflessly handed over Rolf's diary to help Will. "You may not have been able to stop [Xander] from buying it [or] from giving it to you, [but] you didn't have to wear it, 'cause now this sick creep has got it in his sick-creep mind that he's branded you as his!" Rex argued. "It's a necklace, Rex, not an engagement ring!" Sarah countered.
"Can we just drop this, please? Can you just trust me enough to not obsess over Xander and a stupid piece of jewelry?" Sarah continued. "I trust you; I don't trust him," Rex clarified.
At the DiMera mansion, Ted and Kate remained trapped together in a room in the secret tunnels, desperately hoping that someone would rescue them before they drove each other crazy.
Kate didn't feel like eating the food that Xander had provided earlier, especially since it could have easily been laced with poison prior to delivery, but Ted was too hungry to resist the temptation -- and too hungry to bother showing any manners. Kate looked away in disgust as Ted began wolfing down the food while simultaneously explaining how Xander might inadvertently alert Hope that something was amiss.
"So...if Xander gives Sarah the necklace, and if Sarah wears it, and if Hope sees Sarah wearing it, then all we have to count on is Hope being a good detective?" Kate incredulously summarized after hearing Ted's plan. "You and I are going to be spending a lot of time here together..." Kate predicted with a groan, but Ted seemed oblivious to the plan's many hurdles.
Kate gave Ted's plan a bit more thought then grudgingly admitted that it might actually work, after all. "I saw Xander give Sarah a wrapped gift [earlier, and] he told her to put it on, so [it could have been a necklace]," Kate recalled, prompting Ted to brag that everything was working out perfectly. "Oh, yeah -- this is a real slam dunk. Any more straws that I can grab at?" Kate sarcastically countered.
"[This is] much better than the food you had me served when you had me imprisoned," Ted raved, ignoring Kate's pessimism. "Oh, my God -- you never let go of anything, do you?" Kate grumbled. "You held me captive for three months!" Ted bitterly summarized. "You deserved much worse than that," Kate insisted. "It was just a little blackmail," Ted dismissively argued. "'Just a little blackmail'? You were torturing my grandson while you were sleeping in my bed! It was a very personal betrayal!" Kate incredulously countered. "I said I was sorry. What else can I do?" Ted asked. "You can shut up," Kate replied.
"And give me a bite of [the food]," Kate continued, having apparently decided that Ted would have already shown signs of poisoning if Xander had indeed tampered with the meal.
As soon as Kate started eating the food, Ted feigned a choking fit then started laughing hysterically when she expressed concern. Unamused, she threw the rest of the food back at him and scolded him for being childish.
Xander went to the Salem Inn after receiving an urgent text message from Kristen.
"I -- 'Nicole' -- ran into Hope again, [and] she would not let up about Ted, and I realized she was gonna keep asking questions, [so] I sent her a 'Dear John' text from Ted's phone...and I want you to do the same with Kate's -- send her loved ones a text so they don't get suspicious," Kristen explained when Xander arrived. "You...did keep her phone...didn't you?" Kristen asked worriedly when Xander didn't immediately produce the device. "Yeah, of course -- I, uh...took it off her before I, uh...dumped her in the...grave," Xander hesitantly confirmed.
"Where, exactly, did you bury Ted and Kate?" Kristen asked curiously. "In the woods on the far end of town," Xander quickly replied.
Just then, Kate's cell phone chimed, announcing the arrival of a text message from Rex. "This is gonna be a lot harder than with Ted. Hope is the only person in the world who gives a damn about him, [but] Kate spawned half a dozen kids, and texts are just gonna keep them at bay for so long," Kristen worriedly mused as Xander replied to Rex's text message.
At Doug's Place, Rex received a text message from Kate's cell phone while Sarah was recapping Hope's theory that Xander had somehow acquired the necklace from Ted. "Going out of town on official Titan business. Don't know when I'll be back," Rex read aloud. "Something's not right," Rex insisted after rereading the text message. "It just...sounds so...cold..." Rex curiously began to explain to Sarah, who struggled to resist the urge to make a joke. "Yes, my mom can be cold...[but] she always ends her texts in 'XOXOXO' -- even when she's laying into me, it's all hugs and kisses in the end," Rex continued, still concerned.
At the loft apartment, Ben watched as Marlena tended to Tripp, who was lying on the floor, unconscious and bleeding. "He's breathing, but he's got a nasty head wound," Marlena informed Ben before trying to rouse Tripp, who eventually responded. "Claire -- we have...we have to stop...we have to stop her..." Tripp struggled to explain as Marlena called for an ambulance. "Ciara and I tried to -- tried to trick Claire into confessing to -- to setting the fires, but she must have figured it out, [because] she flipped out, and she held a knife to my throat, [and] Ciara begged her to stop, and I -- I tried to pull away, [and] I -- I fell and hit my head," Tripp continued.
"I don't remember what happened after that," Tripp concluded with a sigh. "Okay, so...where do you think [Claire took Ciara]?" Ben asked. "I -- I don't know... All I know is, Claire's crazy -- crazy enough to kill," Tripp replied.
Meanwhile, Ciara awoke in a cabin, tied to a bed. "Not again..." Ciara grumbled while tugging desperately at the bindings. "Sorry for the déjà vu," Claire, who was still wielding a knife, stressed while circling the bed menacingly. "It might be a little bit over the top, but I just thought it would be fitting to take you back to the place where it all began -- you know, so that we can put an end to this...once and for all," Claire explained, scowling.
"Claire, we have to go back [to the loft, because] Tripp is hurt, [and] it could be really bad," Ciara patiently warned. "You think I should care? 'Cause he doesn't care about me," Claire dismissively argued. "I know you're really hurt, but you need to stop this -- before you go too far," Ciara maintained, still trying to stay calm. "Are you kidding? [Look], either Tripp is dead, and I killed him, [or] he's alive, and he's telling the police everything right now, [so] at this point, it is [already] too late -- [one way or another], the truth is gonna come out that I'm the one who set this cabin on fire [and] tried to kill you," Claire countered with a shrug.
At the loft apartment, Marlena continued tending to Tripp while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Meanwhile, Ben searched the parking lot for Claire's vehicle. "[It's] gone. They could be anywhere by now," Ben worriedly reported upon returning to the apartment, prompting Marlena to insist that it was time to summon more help. "You can't call the cops right now! Eve won't believe any of this! She'll try to nail me instead of going after [Claire and Ciara]!" Ben protested. "What makes you think I'm calling Eve?" Marlena countered while dialing Hope's cell phone number.
Hope, who had been en route to the Kiriakis mansion to question Xander, arrived at the apartment complex just in time to see Tripp being loaded into an ambulance. Hope rushed inside the building and found Marlena and Ben, who quickly explained everything. "Do you have any idea where [Claire took Ciara]?" Hope asked at the end of the tale. "Criminals always return to the scene of the crime," Ben noted with a shrug.
At the cabin, Ciara responded to Claire's confession with feigned disbelief. "Cut the crap," Claire tiredly demanded. "You were never actually gonna sleep with [Tripp; you were just] trying to get me to confess [because] you knew that I was the one who set those fires -- or, at least, you thought [I was]," Claire guessed, and Ciara reluctantly confirmed the suspicion. "Well, you got what you wanted," Claire bitterly summarized.
"Trust me -- this is not what I wanted," Ciara insisted. "I did not want to believe that you could [try to kill me]. When Ben first told me, I said, 'No, you are so wrong, [because Claire] is my best friend [and] my family, and no matter what we go through, we love each other,'" Ciara continued. "Claire, why? [I mean], why did you try to kill me?" Ciara asked, fighting back tears.
"I didn't mean to, you know? I swear!" Claire insisted. "I was on my laptop [that night, and] your cell phone location popped up, [and I just] wanted to be the hero for once --" Claire started to explain, but Ciara interrupted just then, dryly arguing that, in that case, it probably would have been best to skip the arson and the attempted murder. "See, even now, you just can't help [showing] that superior attitude of yours [that] just drives me absolutely crazy!" Claire bitterly snapped, glaring at Ciara. "You treat me like I am incompetent -- like you are so much more pretty, and smart, and popular than I am!" Claire complained.
"[And] when I got here that night and saw you, you were just -- you were lying there, like, uh -- like, uh, some sort of freaking Sleeping Beauty -- like this smug, not-a-care-in-the-world Sleeping Beauty -- and I hated you so much, [and] I wanted to hurt you, [because] you just kept taking all of these things away from me, [like] Theo [and] the contest, [and] I'm convinced that you did it literally just because you could! [And] you were so freaking smug about it, [and] so superior --" Claire continued. "I didn't take anything that wasn't already mine," Ciara insisted, further infuriating Claire, who impatiently demanded silence.
"[And] I was just staring down at you, knowing that you were never gonna stop...[and] then I realized that I could stop you -- [that] I could make all of this pain and all of this rejection just go away -- and then it was like fate, 'cause I saw Ben's lighter...and I -- I don't really remember picking it up, but I must've, because there it was, in my hand, and then...the next thing I knew, I was just -- I was setting everything on fire, [because that was the only way to ensure that] you would be out of my life -- forever. [But then] I realized what I had done, [so] I came back here [to save you...but] your mom and Rafe beat me to it," Claire continued.
"So...you just thought, 'No harm, no foul'?" Ciara summarized with a scoff of disbelief. "There you go again with that superior attitude!" Claire irritably countered.
At the loft apartment, Hope received a phone call from Eli, who had just finished discreetly checking for Claire's license plate number on traffic cameras near the cabin. "You were right," Hope told Ben after ending the call.
At the cabin, Ciara wondered why Claire had tried to kill Tripp and Haley. "[They] were running away together," Claire replied with a shrug, as if that explained everything. "And that's an excuse to try to kill them?" Ciara asked incredulously. "[That] wasn't me! It was not me! [Look], I don't know how else to [explain it; all I can say is that] I couldn't stop!" Claire defensively insisted. "And you still can't stop, Claire! You need help! [And] you're only making things worse for yourself [right now]," Ciara stressed. "The one thing I'm good at," Claire bitterly mused. "If you just let me go, [then] I will do everything in my power to help you," Ciara continued.
"Since when do you care about me?" Claire asked skeptically. "Since I can remember!" Ciara tearfully replied. "Do you [not] remember coming back from Hong Kong and vowing to 'get' me because of Theo?" Claire wondered. "Okay, you're right, you're right -- we did do some things to each other [in the past that were bad], but we can start over and fix this!" Ciara maintained.
"It's too late. My life is over [already]...and if I'm going down, I am sure as hell taking you with me," Claire insisted before beginning to douse the cabin with gasoline, ignoring Ciara's protests.
At the hospital, Tripp told Kayla about what had happened earlier. Tripp wanted to join the search for Claire and Ciara, but Kayla insisted that wasn't going to happen. "I am going to keep you overnight for observation, just to rule out a concussion...[and] if you're going to keep fighting me, I am going to order restraints," Kayla warned. "[But] this is all my fault!" Tripp fretted.
Kayla insisted that wasn't true, but Tripp maintained that marrying Haley had made Claire more unstable. "That is not why Claire set the fire, [or] why she kidnapped Ciara. [I mean], I'm not a psychiatrist, but, you know, it sounds to me like [what's happening with Claire] goes beyond mental instability; [it] sounds to me like psychotic behavior," Kayla argued. "Like what I did to you when [I thought] you killed my mom," Tripp regretfully mused.
Kayla reasoned that Tripp had been troubled then but had gotten better with the help of family -- and that Claire would, too. "You know, I never got to meet my biological mom, [and] my adoptive mom died when I was really young, [so] I barely even remember her...so, in a way, you're...the only mom I've ever known...[and] I just want to say...I'm so lucky to have you in my life," Tripp stressed. "I'm the lucky one," Kayla insisted.
At the cabin, Claire retrieved a lighter and produced a flame as Ciara continued protesting.
"This is the only way that things will change. I cannot be the loser again. I cannot let you win. [I just] need this pain to go away...and I need you to go away," Claire explained to Ciara with a shrug while eyeing the flame.
Marlena reaches out to Claire
While Carrie closed up the Brady Pub for the day, she saw Rafe sitting at the bar. Carrie smiled at her old friend. After a hug, Carrie explained that she had arrived in town to attend the celebration of life memorial the family had held for Caroline. "I was looking for you at the wake," Carrie said. Rafe explained that he had not wanted to make Hope uncomfortable.
"I heard about the divorce. I'm so sorry," Carrie said. Carrie added that no one ever mentioned how hard it was to maintain a marriage. When Rafe asked for legal advice, Carrie said she did not want to get in the middle of Rafe's divorce. With a nod, Rafe said his advice had nothing to do with Hope.
Carrie poured two cups of coffee and asked Rafe what was on his mind. Rafe explained that he had been watching over Jordan's son and that Jordan had asked him to be David's legal guardian. Rafe said he did not want David to end up in foster care. With a nod, Carrie noted that Rafe had always been a wonderful stepfather. Rafe beamed.
"I always thought that I would have kids, but I did not think I would be raising them on my own. But here I am. I'm doing it. I'm excited about it," Rafe said. Carrie offered to start the legal paperwork on Rafe's behalf. When Rafe noted that he did not want Carrie to stay in town for his benefit because he did not want to upset Austin, Carrie shifted her eyes away. Rafe asked what was wrong.
"We separated," Carrie confided to Rafe. "I'm here if you want to talk about it," Rafe offered. Carrie said she did not know how her marriage had fallen apart. Carrie told Rafe that she and Austin had been living their lives and had drifted apart. "You just stopped communicating?" Rafe asked.
"One day I woke up and realized we hadn't made love for months, and that everything that was us didn't exist anymore. That's when I knew we had a problem," Carrie said. With a sniffle, Carrie apologized. Rafe joked about the cup of coffee he had earned.
"When you left town last time, I couldn't help but wonder if maybe we could have happened, and I thought about it," Rafe said. With a smile, Carrie noted that Rafe was still the rock he had always been. Rafe encouraged Carrie to open up because she could tell him anything. Carrie thanked Rafe for the shoulder to cry on. Rafe said he knew how Carrie felt since the end of his marriage to Hope. Rafe suggested that Carrie and Austin see a counselor. Carrie confirmed that she and Austin had gone to counseling.
"It's really hard to save a marriage when you're the only one fighting for it," Carrie said. Rafe hugged Carrie to comfort her. When Carrie pulled away and smiled, Rafe smiled back. Rafe kissed Carrie.
In J.J.'s apartment, Haley and J.J. lay in bed, entwined in each other's arms. "This definitely beats Beijing," Haley quipped. J.J. suggested that they not joke about her deportation to China because it was too horrible to think about. "We're getting a chance, Haley. Love wins," J.J. whispered. When J.J. smirked, Haley asked him what he was thinking about.
"My dad," J.J. said. Haley raised a questioning eyebrow. J.J. said he could not help but think about how his father would react to learning that his plan to deport Haley had failed. Haley warned J.J. not to push Jack's buttons and make the situation worse.
"News flash, he got the charges dropped against me," J.J. said. Elated, Haley kissed J.J. "What's the catch?" Haley asked. J.J. said he had wondered the same thing. Haley suggested that Jack was like Melinda and that Jack had decided to make things right with J.J.
"Whatever your dad's motive, I'm just so happy he is keeping you out of jail," Haley said. J.J. told Haley that he did not want to be separated from her ever again. After they made love, J.J. and Haley sat on the couch. J.J. played the guitar, and Haley sang.
In her room at the Salem Inn, Eve called and left a voicemail for Claire. Eve warned Claire that Ciara and Tripp might make an effort to trick Claire, and she urged Claire to call her back. Jack returned home. Eve asked about Jack's meeting with his constituents. With a chuckle, Jack said everyone wanted a piece of him.
"Don't lie to me. I know exactly what you did," Eve said. "How did you find out?" Jack asked hesitantly. Eve reminded Jack that she was the police commissioner and would hear that Jack had managed to get the charges against J.J. dropped. Jack sighed in relief. Jack said he saw no point in torturing his son further.
"He still despises you, Jack. Why are you wasting so much time? Your family has made it abundantly clear that they're over you. You need to focus on the future," Eve said. "Maybe we should just try to enjoy the present," Jack suggested. Jack asked Eve to order dinner while he hopped in the shower.
While Jack was in the other room, Eve snooped in Jack's briefcase. When Jack returned, he lifted the lid off of the room service tray to find Rolf's diary. "Were you ever going to tell me?" Eve asked. Annoyed, Jack said, "You went through my briefcase." Eve said she was justified in her actions because Jack had been keeping a secret from her. Eve asked Jack how he had acquired the diary.
"Will Horton had it, and he said the only way he would turn it over to me is if I dropped the charges on J.J. So, I did," Jack said. Eve argued that the only reason Jack would want the diary was because Jack wanted his old life with Jennifer back. Jack countered that he was still a father and wanted to be a part of his children's lives.
"If it was just about reconnecting with your kids, then why lie to me? Why hide it?" Eve asked. Jack admitted that he should have told Eve about the diary. Jack stressed that he was committed to a future with Eve. "What kind of future are we going to have if you take that serum?" Eve asked. Eve worried aloud about whether Jack would develop a tumor. Jack reminded Eve of the antidote, but Eve countered that the treatment was unproven.
"Do you really want to risk your life just to recover your memory?" Eve asked. Jack noted that he was aware of the risks, and he confirmed that he had not made a decision about the serum yet. With a grin, Eve said she had time to talk Jack out of taking the drug. Jack apologized for keeping a secret from her after he had promised not to keep any secrets in their marriage.
"You forgive me?" Jack asked. "There is nothing to forgive," Eve countered. Eve told Jack that he was the best thing that had ever happened to her. Jack and Eve kissed. After they made love, Jack fell asleep. Eve reached for her phone and stared at her last text message to Claire.
Shawn was alarmed when he entered the loft and found a puddle of blood on the rug. Shawn looked around the room, but no one was there. Claire's phone beeped with text messages and voicemails asking Claire to call Eve back. "What the hell is going on?" Shawn whispered. Kayla called. Shawn said he needed to call the police. "Claire wasn't hurt, but why don't you come down to the hospital," Kayla responded.
At Salem University Hospital, Kayla checked the bandage on Tripp's head wound. "This is all my fault. I should have put on the brakes before it went too far," Tripp said. Tripp was frustrated that he could not join the search for Ciara, but Kayla cautioned Tripp not to leave his bed because of concussion protocol.
When Shawn arrived, he asked about Claire and Ciara. Kayla explained that there had been an altercation, but only Tripp had been injured. "It was that maniac Weston, wasn't it? I told him to stay the hell away from [Ciara]," Shawn grumbled. Kayla noted that Ben had not been to blame. When Tripp noted that Claire was to blame, Shawn said he did not believe that Claire was capable of putting Tripp in the hospital.
"Something else must have happened," Shawn said in disbelief. "Something else did happen," Kayla said. Tripp told Shawn that Claire had set the two cabin fires. Shawn called Tripp a liar. Shawn demanded to speak to Claire.
"Claire took off. And she has Ciara," Tripp said. Confused, Shawn asked what had happened. Tripp told Shawn about the plan he had concocted with Ciara to force Claire to confess to the fires. Tripp added that Claire had put a knife to his throat, and then he had been knocked out during a struggle to break free.
"Claire needed your help, and you ambushed her. You provoked her. You reject my daughter, you break her heart, and then you think it's a good idea to set her up?" Shawn said angrily. Shawn blamed Tripp for Claire's actions. Frustrated, Shawn marched out of the room in search of his daughter.
In the cabin, Claire doused the room with gasoline while the hysterical Ciara begged Claire not to light the fire. Ciara struggled against the ropes that tied her to the bed. "This is the only way that things will change. I cannot be the loser again. I cannot let you win," Claire muttered. "I love you! And I know you love me!" Ciara yelled. Claire said that she needed the pain to go away. As Claire flicked the lighter on, she stared at the flame.
Outside, Hope arrived with Marlena and Ben. Ben called out to Ciara, and she yelled back for help. Claire stared at the door, unsure what to do. "Sweetheart, we're here," Hope added. Marlena begged Claire to open the door. Ben busted open the door with his shoulder, and he rushed in with Hope and Marlena right behind him. A flustered Claire held a shaky grip on the lighter.
"Stop! Everybody stop!" Claire cried out. Ben asked Claire to put down the lighter. "What, you think you're some sort of hero, busting down the door? You killed people. You killed people. This is the same place that you took a match to Chad and Abigail," Claire said. "And it ruined my life, Claire. Do not make the same mistake," Ben warned. Claire blamed Ben for her problems with Ciara. Ben told Claire that the only thing that mattered was that she put down the lighter.
"Nothing matters. It's too late," Claire said. "No. It's not too late," Hope said. Claire said she had not wanted to hurt anyone, but the situation had spiraled out of control. "Now you all think I'm some psycho!" Claire lamented. Hope told Claire that she loved her and that she was family.
"We all love each other. And I know that you love me. Love me so much that you would never take [Ciara] away from me. Never. Please let her go," Hope said quietly. Claire fought back tears as Hope pleaded for her daughter's life. After a moment, Claire closed the lighter and let it fall to the ground. Hope thanked Claire then she rushed to Ciara. While Ben and Hope worked to untie Ciara from the bed, Marlena hugged Claire as she broke down in tears.
"I've got this," Marlena said to Hope. As Hope and Ben escorted Ciara out of the cabin, Hope kissed Claire's head. Marlena hugged Claire tighter as she wept. "You did the right thing. Whatever happens next, I will be right here beside you," Marlena whispered. Marlena went to the kitchen to grab a towel to wipe the gas off of Claire. Claire looked down and saw the lighter, and she picked it up. Claire sat on the bed, and she flicked the top open on the lighter.
"Claire. No," Marlena said. "I can't go back after what I've done. Everyone is going to hate me. Please just go. Please just leave me alone. My life is over. It's better for everyone if I just die," Claire said.
Outside the cabin, Ciara assured Hope that she was fine. "I kept telling [Claire] that I loved her and that I wanted to help her, and she kept saying that she wanted me gone," Ciara said through tears. Hope hugged her daughter. "Thanks to Ben, he figured out Claire brought you here," Hope said. Ciara rushed into Ben's arms, and he hugged her tightly. Ciara asked Hope what would happen to Claire. Hope explained that she would need to contact the police, but Marlena would watch over Claire for the time being.
When Hope, Ciara, and Ben arrived at the hospital, Shawn asked what had happened. Hope confirmed that Claire had attempted to kill Ciara. Shawn's face fell, and he hugged his sister. "I knew that she was having problems after the breakup, but I didn't think it was gonna be this," Shawn said. Shawn asked about Claire. Hope confirmed that Marlena was with Claire. Shawn apologized to Ciara for his daughter's actions.
"Both girls are alive because of Ben. He figured out where they were. We got there just in time," Hope confirmed. Shawn thanked Ben. "What am I going to do about Claire? What if I've lost my daughter?" Shawn wondered aloud. Hope stressed that Claire would need Shawn and her family to help her through the situation. As Shawn hugged Hope, he wondered aloud how he would tell Belle about Claire.
At the cabin, Marlena urged Claire to put down the lighter. "I tried to kill Tripp. I tried to kill Ciara. And I love them. I tried to kill Haley, and all Tripp did was try to help her. What kind of monster am I?" Claire wondered aloud. Claire flicked the lighter on. "I'm worse than Ben," Claire whispered.
"There was a time when Ben thought his life meant nothing at all, but he worked hard, he turned that around, and he made a life for himself. You can do that. I'm going to help you do that," Marlena said. "I love you so much! So many people do. You're just going to have to trust in that. You're just going to have to trust me," Marlena pleaded.
"Do you really think that you can help me?" Claire asked. "I know I can because I know you. I know your big heart. I know how hard you try, and ever since you were born, you have been my little granddaughter who could," Marlena said. Marlena told Claire that she would not give up on her. Marlena reached out her hand. Claire closed the lighter and hugged Marlena. "I got you, honey," Marlena whispered. Hand in hand, Marlena and Claire exited the cabin. Claire broke down in tears, and Marlena hugged her tight.
Ciara grows suspicious of Eve
Eric took a tray of breakfast foods to the guest room above the Brady Pub as a brotherly surprise for its latest occupant, Carrie, but ended up getting his own surprise when he discovered that she wasn't alone.
"What are you doing in bed with my sister?" Eric snapped at Rafe. "You may be [newly] divorced from Hope, but that doesn't give you a green light to hit on every woman --" Eric continued. "He didn't hit on me," Carrie tried to clarify, but Eric forged ahead. "What, are you trying to work your way through every woman in my family? Carrie's a happily married woman!" Eric reminded Rafe. "Actually...I'm not," Carrie admitted, stunning Eric.
"I didn't want to get into it at Grandma's wake... [Anyway], the point is that Rafe and I are adults, and what we do is our business," Carrie continued, and Eric conceded the point then rushed off after awkwardly apologizing.
At the police station, Hope and Ben waited impatiently for Eve, who was apparently not in a hurry to start the new workday.
"You need to drop the charges against Ben," Hope insisted when Eve finally arrived. "And why, in my dead daughter's name, would I ever do that?" Eve demanded to know while glaring at Ben. "Because he is innocent," Hope explained, drawing a scoff from Eve, who feigned skepticism -- and dismissively argued that a person would have to be certifiably insane to even think of declaring Ben, of all people, innocent. "He's innocent of setting the [unsolved] fires," Hope tiredly maintained, adding that Claire had just confessed to those crimes.
Eve listened in stunned silence as Hope recapped everything that had happened the previous night. "This is your fault," Ben snapped at Eve afterward. "I tried to talk to you about Claire, [but] you wouldn't hear it, [and] if you had, [then] last night wouldn't have happened," Ben continued, ignoring Hope's advice about staying silent. "Oh, and I'm supposed to take you seriously after you murdered my daughter? My guys caught you at the scene of the crime, Ben -- with a lighter in your hand!" Eve countered. "I didn't set the fire -- Claire did!" Ben maintained.
Hope intervened before things could escalate further. "Eve, what you need to do next is send an officer to the hospital to take Claire's statement...[and then] start the process of dropping the charges against Ben," Hope patiently advised. "Hope, I thought you wanted this freak behind bars [so he'd be] away from your own daughter!" Eve incredulously countered. "I believe in the rule of law, and the law is on Ben's side right now," Hope explained with a shrug. "You gotta drop the charges," Hope maintained. "Well, I'm sorry -- I can't do that," Eve insisted after a moment of thought.
"Three people heard Claire's confession -- including her intended victim!" Hope stressed, stunned and confused. "I know that I'm new at this, but I believe [that's] called 'hearsay,'" Eve dismissively countered. "No, this isn't hearsay; it's fact!" Hope insisted. "All the evidence points to Ben," Eve innocently maintained. "Your evidence is circumstantial!" Hope argued. "I don't care -- [and] I don't care if [Claire's] 'confession' can be corroborated. The charges against Ben Weston stand," Eve declared with finality while shooting Ben another glare.
"That went well..." Ben sarcastically noted after Eve stormed off. "Eventually, she's going to have to accept it," Hope insisted, and Ben nodded in response, hoping that was true.
Ben thanked Hope for the earlier show of support. "I spent a lot of time blaming you for something my granddaughter did, and...I'm really sorry," Hope stressed. "You were just trying to protect Ciara," Ben acknowledged.
At the hospital, Shawn and Ciara comforted each other with a hug as Claire, having been sedated, slept soundly in one of the rooms. "Marlena's afraid that Claire might try to hurt herself," Shawn explained when Ciara noticed that Claire's hands were tethered to the bed with restraints. Ciara was surprised and saddened to learn that, in addition to everything else that had happened the previous night, Claire had also contemplated suicide.
"[Belle] doesn't know [any of this] yet -- she's in court with a really important case, [so I just left her a message, telling] her to call me -- and I'm dreading having to tell her that our little girl was in such a bad place, and we didn't have a clue. [You know, right now, I really] feel like I'm the worst father in the universe," Shawn admitted with a sigh of regret. "That is not what you are. [Look], I had no idea, either," Ciara countered.
"There is just something about me that -- that just... I drove her crazy, Shawn! I am so sorry! I swear, I did not mean to do that!" Ciara stressed while fighting back tears, prompting Shawn to insist that neither Ciara nor Ben was responsible for what had happened to Claire. "I hope Mom gets those charges dropped against Ben -- as soon as possible. [It's bad enough that] Claire did the things that she did, [but to then try] to pin the blame on somebody else..." Shawn mused. "Yeah, well, Ben was a really easy target," Ciara conceded. "[But] he's a completely different guy now," Shawn acknowledged, surprising Ciara.
"He looked after you, and he probably saved your life," Shawn continued. "Three times," Ciara stressed with a chuckle. "I just hope Mom can convince Eve of that," Ciara fretted, prompting Shawn to suddenly remember that someone named Eve had tried to contact Claire the previous night. "I was at the loft, and I found Claire's phone, and it said there was a missed call from 'Eve' -- and they left a message, so...I'm pretty sure it was Eve Deveraux," Shawn explained to Ciara, who curiously wondered why Eve would have been trying to get in touch with Claire. "Something to do with the Haley Chen case?" Shawn suggested, shrugging. "Maybe..." Ciara replied.
Noticing that Claire's cell phone was lying on a side table, Ciara said goodbye to Shawn then rushed off to check in with Hope and Ben, discreetly pocketing the device on the way out of the room.
Meanwhile, John paced around Marlena's office, struggling to figure out how -- and why -- Claire had spun so far out of control. "I think she's dealing with a lot of guilt," Marlena helpfully offered after John failed to reach a satisfying conclusion. "She used to do that, you know -- she would make a mistake [that would] hurt somebody, and [she would] feel terribly guilty about it [afterward...and this wasn't just a mistake; she] tried to kill Ciara..." Marlena continued, emphasizing the point in a sympathetic whisper. "And Tripp, and Haley..." John stressed with a shake of the head.
"Well, she'll be getting help now," Marlena concluded before changing the subject, wondering if John had managed to talk to Belle yet. "She hasn't returned any of my texts -- that's another thing I don't understand," John reported with a shrug and a sigh of frustration -- just as Marlena's office door swung open. "Surprise!" Belle cheerfully shouted before giggling at John and Marlena's reactions.
"I know I probably should have told you guys I was coming, [but] I settled my case at the very last minute, and I just got on the first flight out... I didn't even tell Shawn, so... [You know], I just felt so bad [about] missing Caroline's memorial service that I just really wanted to be here with everyone now," Belle excitedly explained while hugging John and Marlena, who both listened awkwardly. "Anyway, I went by your house, and when [I realized] you weren't there, I decided to come here. Have you seen Shawn and Claire? 'Cause I haven't been able to find them [yet]," Belle continued before finally realizing that something was wrong.
John and Marlena gently explained everything to Belle, who refused to believe any of it at first but eventually accepted that it was all true.
Hope entered the pub while Rex, Sarah, and Eric were discussing plans for the annual Brady-Horton Fourth of July celebration. "Not a good idea? You don't like it? It's too soon after Grandma...?" Rex assumed when Hope didn't react to the plans with the expected level of excitement. "Hope, you all right?" Eric asked worriedly. "I'm not sure..." Hope began with a shrug. "No," Hope tearfully admitted before recapping everything.
Rafe soon emerged from the guest room and headed down to the main section of the pub. "Why are you coming in from upstairs?" Hope curiously wondered.
At the hospital, Belle and Shawn comforted each other with a hug as Claire continued sleeping soundly.
Meanwhile, Ben found Ciara near the nurses' station and reported that Eve had refused to drop the charges.
"I think I know why," Ciara began to tell Ben. "Because she hates my guts," Ben summarized with a sigh of regret. "There's that...and there's this," Ciara continued before playing the voicemail message that Eve had left for Claire the previous night -- a voicemail message that stunned and angered not only Ben but also John and Marlena, who passed by just in time to hear it.
Ben wanted to rush back over to the police station and confront Eve, but John objected. "Don't make any more trouble for yourself. Eve knew that our granddaughter was in crisis, and she kept her mouth shut. You just leave her to me," John assured Ben. "Shawn's with Belle, [so] I'll just go with you," Marlena told John. "Thank you," Ben called out as John and Marlena stormed off.
"I cannot believe that Eve knew what Claire had done [all along]," Ciara complained, still outraged. "What do you expect? It's about justice for her daughter," Ben reasoned with a shrug. "No, no, no -- it's about way more than that. [Eve has been using Claire] since way before the election," Ciara argued. "She's evil!" Ciara insisted, but Ben disagreed. "She's messed up...[but] so is Claire -- way more than anybody knew. Just like I was," Ben acknowledged. "Well, Eve has to drop the charges against you now...right?" Ciara optimistically noted. "Yeah...if she lasts that long," Ben agreed.
"The look on John and Marlena's face when they left here -- I wouldn't want to be in Eve's shoes right now," Ben admitted to Ciara with a shudder.
At the police station, Eve paced around a conference room, thinking about Claire.
"I used you to get what I wanted, and I wasn't there when you needed me," Eve admitted with a sigh of regret. "I failed you, Claire," Eve continued while fighting back tears -- just as John and Marlena stormed into the room.
"You're damn right you did!" John snapped. "You knew that our granddaughter was a very sick young woman [who] was suffering, and you didn't give a damn!" John continued. "Okay, that's -- that's not true! I just found out what happened from Hope! And it's awful! I mean, God, I've always been very fond of Claire --" Eve innocently claimed. "Stop lying to us!" Marlena tiredly demanded.
"We heard your message on Claire's phone," Marlena revealed, causing the color to drain from Eve's face. "You knew what she did, and rather than try to help, you tried to cover it up!" Marlena summarized. "How do you even live with yourself?" John asked incredulously. "Because all [she wants] to do is get revenge on Ben," Marlena guessed. "He murdered my daughter!" Eve defensively reminded John and Marlena.
"Do you know what you did to our granddaughter? She tried to kill herself last night!" Marlena countered, stunning Eve, who hadn't heard that part of the story yet. "Imagine that Claire was your daughter -- you think you would have kept silent then?" John asked, already knowing the answer. "[But] Claire isn't really a human being -- just another weapon in your arsenal, [right]?" John angrily summarized.
"Well, let me tell you something, Eve -- don't you live under the illusion that you're gonna get away with this, because if we have anything to say about what happens next --" John began to warn. "And we do," Marlena stressed. "You're gonna be the one behind bars, not Claire," John concluded before storming off with Marlena, leaving Eve shaken.
Salem celebrates the Fourth of July
J.J. and Haley were showering together when someone started knocking incessantly on the apartment door.
Haley continued showering as J.J., having realized that the visitor had no intention of going away empty-handed, hastily donned some clothes then irritably opened the door -- and found Jennifer standing on the other side of it, looking like a person who was on a mission. "Happy Fourth of July!" Jennifer cheerfully declared before barging into the apartment while simultaneously apologizing for having interrupted J.J.'s shower.
"I was gonna call, but I didn't want to, because I didn't want to give you the option of saying no," Jennifer shamelessly explained. "I know that you have been just a little bit depressed, with Haley having to go back to China, [but] Doug and Julie are having a party, [and] I want us to go, [because] I think the best thing for you right now is to get out of the apartment, just to take your mind off Haley, [so] we're going, [and] it's gonna be great, and I know this is the last thing you want to hear right now, [but] maybe it's a good time for you to meet somebody [new] -- I mean, I know it's soon, but --" Jennifer continued, ignoring J.J.'s attempts to interrupt.
Just then, Haley emerged from the bathroom, wearing only a towel, and started to say something suggestive, unaware that the visitor hadn't left yet -- and was J.J.'s mother, of all people. "Oh, my God!" Haley exclaimed with a gasp of embarrassment before ducking back into the bathroom to get dressed. "My sentiments exactly," Jennifer agreed with an awkward chuckle before turning to J.J. for an explanation.
"So...that's it? I mean, the whole nightmare is over?" Jennifer asked with a mixture of excitement and disbelief after J.J. finished recapping everything that had happened the previous day. "Seems to be," J.J. happily confirmed as Haley emerged from the bathroom again. "Quite a change of heart..." Jennifer curiously noted, referring to Jack's sudden decision to arrange for the charges against J.J. to be dropped. "I don't think he has a heart, [so he has to be] getting something out of this...[but] I just can't figure out what it is," J.J. mused with a hint of concern, and Jennifer sadly agreed that Jack probably had an ulterior motive.
At the police station, Jack entered a conference room and greeted Eve, who was still trying to recover from the confrontation with John and Marlena that had just ended a few minutes earlier. "I just saw John and Marlena storming out of here," Jack revealed before curiously pressing Eve for an explanation. "[They] came in here [and tried] to strong-arm me into dropping the charges [against Ben -- probably just to protect Marlena's professional reputation, because, after all, who's] gonna want to go see a shrink who's, you know, been fooled by a serial killer [and] pyromaniac --" Eve tried to claim, but Jack interrupted, sensing that none of that was true.
"What is it you're not telling me?" Jack asked suspiciously. "Nothing..." Eve replied, squirming. "[I'm just] sick of dealing with self-righteous do-gooders like Marlena! [She's] so worried that Ben's not getting his due process, [but] my little girl never got her due process, because Ben murdered her! He killed my little girl because he liked killing, and...what, now he's, like, the innocent party here?" Eve complained.
Jack comforted Eve with a hug and agreed to drop the subject, and they soon left the police station together, reluctant to celebrate the holiday but aware that their more patriotic constituents would expect them to do so.
At Doug's Place, Julie watched with a hint of annoyance as Lani took note of the club's Fourth of July decorations. "So glad you could make it [to our party]!" Doug stressed while greeting Lani with a hug. "Thank you for inviting me," Lani replied. "Why wouldn't I?" Doug wondered. "Maybe she doesn't want to party with us so soon after breaking up with Eli," Julie interjected. "Subtle," Doug sarcastically observed. "[At least] I said 'breaking up' [instead of] 'broken heart'!" Julie defensively countered, prompting Doug to helpfully offer Lani an easy way out of the conversation in the form of a kitchen tour.
"Actually, Julie and I should talk," Lani decided. "Perhaps you haven't noticed, but Julie gets...a little protective...when it comes to her family," Doug warned. "Thank you, but I'm up for it," Lani assured Doug, who simply shrugged in response then retreated to the kitchen, clearly not ready to see any fireworks yet.
"There's something you should know --" Lani began once the coast was clear, but Julie quickly interrupted. "I understand [that] you were grieving for your baby, [but] you've got to remember, that was Eli's baby, too...[and] seeing you taking care of [and] wanting to practice your mothering skills [on another baby named David -- well], I think it was just asking too much [of Eli]...and, you know, it's so upsetting to Doug and me, as well... [So], at this point, perhaps it's just for the best [that you and Eli have ended things]," Julie declared, ignoring Lani's attempts to interrupt.
Just then, Eli entered the club and greeted Julie with a hug. "Did Lani tell you the good news?" Eli asked Julie before greeting Lani with a kiss. "We're back together!" Eli continued, stunning Julie. "I didn't give her a chance [to tell me]... She didn't get a word in edgewise..." Julie sheepishly admitted before apologizing to Lani. "It's okay," Lani assured Julie. "You were upset -- and with good reason. I was in a bad place, and I was hurting Eli. I -- I didn't think that I was trying to replace our David [with another David], but I was, and Eli is helping me sort that out," Lani explained.
Doug soon returned and greeted Eli then curiously observed that the earlier tension between Julie and Lani had seemingly vanished. "[Eli just] told me that [he and Lani] are back together again, [and I just] apologized to Lani, and everything's fine now," Julie explained. "Julie does get there eventually..." Doug joked.
At the Brady Pub, Hope waited expectantly for a response from Rafe, who just kept stammering awkwardly, reluctant to admit the real reason for having been upstairs earlier. "[The shower] was leaking. I just asked him to check it out," Eric eventually answered for Rafe. "Why didn't he say that?" Hope asked Eric before turning to Rafe for an explanation. "Doesn't matter," Hope, who had much more important things to worry about at that moment, decided before either Rafe or Eric could respond. After numbly filling Rafe in on everything that had happened the previous night, Hope rushed off to the hospital, armed with bags of fresh food for everyone.
"I didn't need you to cover for me," Rafe quietly snapped at Eric once the coast was clear. "I didn't lie to cover for you; I lied because Hope doesn't deserve any more crap in her life [right now]," Eric clarified for Rafe in an equally hushed tone before heading outside to help Rex start the grills. Meanwhile, Sarah contacted Julie and extended an invitation to the barbecue. Julie accepted the invitation with feigned enthusiasm, clearly a bit irked that someone else in town was hosting a Fourth of July celebration. Sarah asked Julie to invite Jennifer, J.J., Eli, and Lani to the event, as well.
Meanwhile, Roman entered the guest room and gave Carrie a look of concern. "Tell me that, uh, that wasn't Rafe I just saw sneaking out of your room," Roman began. "Am I grounded?" Carrie asked with an awkward laugh, but Roman wasn't amused. "It was Rafe...and I'm just gonna speed this up and tell you exactly what you want to know -- yes, Rafe spent the night here last night," Carrie admitted.
"Listen, maybe I'm butting in here, but...did you forget this is Salem -- [a town with] no secrets [and] no privacy? [I mean], what if Austin finds out about this?" Roman asked incredulously, prompting Carrie to reluctantly clarify that Austin wasn't going to be an issue. "Why didn't you tell me [about this sooner]?" Roman wondered. "You had a lot going on with Grandma..." Carrie explained with an apologetic shrug.
"Nobody knows better than I do how sad it is when a marriage comes to an end... Is -- is Noah okay?" Roman asked. "Austin and I are very committed to making sure that he is," Carrie replied.
"Sweetheart, I am so sorry," Roman quietly stressed. "It's so weird -- no matter how messy things are, [as soon as] I tell you about it, [it's like] I almost feel like I can handle it," Carrie gratefully mused.
Roman soon headed outside to help Eric and Rex, who were in the midst of a heated debate about grills. Roman sided with Rex, believing that a gas grill was better for a variety of reasons, but Eric maintained that nothing compared to the taste of food that had been cooked on a charcoal grill. Meanwhile, inside the pub, Carrie and Sarah caught up with each other, thrilled to finally be able to communicate in person instead of via email for a change. "You never told me the real story about you and my brother," Carrie curiously pointed out, drawing a nervous chuckle from Sarah, who didn't immediately realize that the question was about Rex, not Eric.
"I just wasn't sure that you and Rex would be able to work things out," Carrie elaborated, causing Sarah to breathe a sigh of relief. "You look very happy. Congratulations," Carrie continued. "Thank you. I hope that we can be as happy as you and Austin," Sarah replied. "Careful what you wish for," Carrie warned with an awkward laugh before explaining to Sarah that Austin was no longer in the picture -- at least for the time being.
While en route to the pub, Jennifer, J.J., and Haley ran into Jack and Eve, the latter of whom immediately retrieved a cell phone and started to dial a number, intending to report Haley's return to the proper authorities. "Is it fun being married to a woman who has ICE on speed dial?" Jennifer asked Jack pointedly. "You don't need to make that call," J.J. tried to warn Eve. "You can't stop me from reporting an illegal immigrant!" Eve spat, and Jack nodded in agreement. "All right, first of all, it's 'undocumented immigrant'...but that's really beside the point, so here's the thing -- Haley is staying in Salem, [and] there's nothing you can do about it," J.J. countered.
Eve noted, in an effort to avoid having to admit defeat, that it would be pointless to try to alert the proper authorities on a federal holiday, anyway. "But tomorrow, I will be making the call, [because] I'm not gonna take the word of somebody who breaks the law!" Eve dismissively insisted. "That is your son she's talking about! Did you lose your spine when you lost your memory?" Jennifer asked Jack -- who, despite the dig, argued that Eve was right. "Technically, Haley Chen is still an illegal --" Jack began to pontificate. "Undocumented," J.J. stressed again. "Immigrant, and she has no right to be in this country -- that's the law!" Jack continued.
"Okay, Mr. Mayor, if you are all law and order, why did you have the charges dropped against J.J.?" Jennifer asked curiously. "That was... Will Horton... I had... There was... I had to cut a deal..." Jack awkwardly stammered as Eve -- who clearly didn't want Jennifer and J.J. to know that information -- tried to interrupt. "Will? What does he have to do with any of this?" J.J. wondered, confused. "Kayla gave [Rolf's diary to Will]...so you dropped the charges to get [it]," Jennifer guessed. "Which is really interesting, because you said that you weren't interested in getting your memory back...but I am thrilled that you are even thinking about that, Jack," Jennifer added.
"Aren't you?" Jennifer asked Eve teasingly. "I'm just trying to keep my options open. You never know -- there may be...something...[that] I want to remember," Jack explained. "Like his children. When he looks at them, he's very concerned -- and why wouldn't he be? [I mean], without his influence, they're obviously very unstable human beings," Eve reasoned, and Jack didn't object. "I can't speak for Abigail [or] anyone else in the family...but I would be perfectly happy for you to forget all about us -- for good," J.J. matter-of-factly informed Jack before walking away with Haley, and Jennifer followed without saying another word.
After picking up David, who had been with a nanny, Rafe headed back to the pub with the child -- and ran into Doug and Julie on the way. Although Doug tried to act cordial, Julie was quick to bluntly argue that it might be best for Rafe to skip the barbecue, since Hope would surely be there, and that might make things awkward for everyone. "Have you not talked to Hope yet today?" Rafe asked. "No," Doug and Julie replied in unison, confused. "So, you don't know what happened with Claire and Ciara?" Rafe continued. "What are you talking about?" Doug worriedly demanded to know. "Oh, boy..." Rafe muttered with a sigh before explaining everything.
"I am really sorry that you had to hear this from me," Rafe stressed afterward. "You're right -- I'm gonna take a pass on the barbecue, [because it] should just be family," Rafe decided before starting to walk away. Doug and Julie, who were both still struggling to process everything, looked at each other and reached a silent agreement. "You love Ciara, and you've never judged Claire, so...that makes you family," Julie warmly assured Rafe.
Hope entered the pub while Carrie was in the process of telling Sarah about what had happened with Rafe the previous night. "I got to the hospital, and I quickly realized that Shawn and Belle needed some, um, time alone with Claire," Hope explained -- just as Doug and Julie entered the pub with Rafe. While Doug and Julie were comforting Hope, Carrie discreetly warned Rafe about what Hope might have overheard earlier. "She didn't act like she did..." Carrie optimistically noted. "Well, I sure as hell hope she didn't, [because] it's not like she needs more bad news in her life," Rafe worriedly mused.
A short time later, Eli and Lani arrived, and Doug and Julie volunteered to handle the task of filling the couple in on the family crisis. Meanwhile, outside, Roman politely asked Haley for some time alone with Jennifer and J.J.
Later, while everyone was eating, Sarah declared that Eric's charcoal-grilled burger tasted better than Rex's gas-grilled burger, disappointing one brother and delighting the other.
After sunset, Carrie said goodbye to everyone then headed off to the airport. Most of the other barbecue attendees soon headed over to the town square to see the fireworks display.
Eli convinced Lani to go for a walk in the park instead of staying with the others. "Afraid that I would be hovering over David the entire time?" Lani assumed while following Eli through the park. "Actually, I was afraid I would," Eli admitted, surprising Lani. "I was watching [Rafe feed David earlier], and I wished it was me with my son... I get it now -- I get how you felt," Eli continued.
"I keep thinking about Shawn and Belle -- [I mean], they must be going through hell [right now]," Lani sympathetically mused. "Guess that's what you sign up for when you have a kid," Eli reasoned with a sigh and a shrug. "Scares me to death," Lani admitted. "Me, too... But, um...I'd like another shot at it," Eli revealed, and Lani agreed. "Someday," the couple stressed in unison.
"I think the first step -- for me, at least -- would be to have a wife..." Eli noted, and Lani declared that a fairly reasonable first step. "Well, since we're totally on the same wavelength here...I have a question for you," Eli spontaneously announced before getting down on bended knee and proposing to Lani, who happily accepted without hesitation -- just as the fireworks display began.
Meanwhile, at the town square, Rafe promised to always be there if Hope needed anything. "The way you were there for Carrie last night?" Hope asked sadly, drawing a sigh of regret from Rafe.
"Don't worry about it," Hope told Rafe while removing her wedding rings. "It, um...doesn't matter, right? Not anymore," she tearfully added while handing over the rings. "We're not married, so..." she concluded with a shrug.
Meanwhile, Jennifer watched the fireworks display while wistfully recalling past Fourth of July celebrations with Jack. "You deserve better than him," J.J. insisted. "The him he is now, anyway," Jennifer agreed.
On the other side of the town square, Eve noticed that Jack was watching Jennifer and J.J. with a look of sadness. "Jack, the fireworks are over here," Eve stressed before possessively pulling Jack into a kiss.
Kristen makes a discovery
At the Salem Inn, Kristen called Xander to inform him that she had not seen any new messages from Hope on Ted's phone. Kristen asked Xander about Kate's phone. Xander confirmed there were no new messages.
"How many times have I had to tell you that you don't need to worry about that, Kristen?" Xander said. Kristen grew furious. "I've told you not to call me that!" Kristen yelled. Frustrated, Xander said Kate and Ted were still buried, and he did not want to hear about them again. After ending her call, Kristen looked in the mirror to check her Nicole mask.
"I can finally concentrate on taking DiMera by storm. No one is going to get in my way," "Nicole" said. As "Nicole" opened the door, she was dismayed to find Chloe standing in the hallway. "What the hell do you want?" "Nicole" said bluntly. Chloe explained that she wanted to check on Nicole and to deliver oatmeal cookies from Parker.
"That's very sweet of Parker," "Nicole" said. Chloe asked to talk. "Nicole" stated that a tin of cookies would not make up for the death of her daughter. Chloe stressed that she thought about Holly every day. Chloe begged for a moment to speak, but "Nicole" told her no. "Nicole" took the cookies and walked away.
"Those were some fireworks last night," Gabi teased Stefan as she entered the DiMera living room with him. "Sure were. But now? It's time to work," Stefan said. Gabi wondered aloud if Nicole would show up for work.
"I think you should fire her," Gabi said. "So you've said," Stefan noted with a grin. Stefan asked Gabi if she was using his attraction to her to get rid of her perceived rival. Stefan stressed that he kept business separate from pleasure. With a smile, Gabi said, "I know. But we haven't started working yet." Gabi kissed Stefan. With a sigh, Stefan confirmed that they needed to work, and he left to retrieve spreadsheets from the other room.
Gabi thought about the conversation she had had with Kate in the park when Kate had asked Gabi what she would do if she fell in love with Stefan. Gabi had told Kate that she would not fall in love with Stefan because her only concern was money and power.
"Kate's right. I'm not getting sucked in by Stefan. Stefan's getting sucked in by me," Gabi whispered to herself as she stared at the painting of Stefano. Gabi whispered that DiMera Enterprises would be hers. "I will get everything I want," Gabi said as "Nicole" entered the living room behind her. "And what exactly do you want, Gabi?" "Nicole" asked. Gabi said she wanted Gabi Chic to be the crowning jewel of DiMera. "Nicole" wished Gabi luck with her plan.
"Good luck to you, too. This is your first day at work after being two days late, right?" Gabi asked. With a fake smile, "Nicole" said she had been sick. Gabi told "Nicole" that she was a pity hire with no qualifications. "I did an incredible job running Basic Black, and now I'm going to bring it back and make it better," "Nicole" said. Gabi warned "Nicole" that she would not hurt Gabi Chic.
"Nicole" noted that she had reviewed the Gabi Chic website, and she made a "yikes" face. Gabi chuckled and asked "Nicole" if she had noticed the demographics of the traffic on the website. "Nicole" said her designs would not be cheap or trashy. Offended, Gabi started to yell. Stefan walked in and warned both women to stop arguing.
"If we are going to put DiMera back on top, we have to work together," Stefan said. "Nicole" offered Parker's cookies as a peace offering, and she claimed she had made the cookies herself. Gabi and Stefan both frowned. "You made those while you were sick? Gross," Gabi said with a look of disgust. "What are you, five?" "Nicole" countered. Stefan again cautioned Gabi and "Nicole" to stop arguing. Stefan reasoned aloud that they needed to put on a united front.
"We are going to have a Gabi Chic and Basic Black relaunch. And the two of you are going to put it together, starting now," Stefan said. As the group started to brainstorm, Gabi pitched the idea of an unorthodox venue on the beach under the stars. "I think it will be really sexy," Gabi said as she looked into Stefan's eyes. Stefan agreed. "Nicole" rolled her eyes and groaned. Gabi suggested a boardwalk for the runway. When Gabi and Stefan both pitched Jimmy Fallon as the emcee at the same time, they laughed.
"Please! Like he would ever emcee a lame fashion show," "Nicole" chimed in. Unfazed, Gabi argued for live entertainment with multiple bands to showcase multiple lines of clothing. "That is so inspired," Stefan said as he smiled at Gabi. "Are you kidding?" "Nicole" said in frustration. "Nicole" argued that all of Gabi's ideas were terrible.
"Look I remade this company once, and I will do it again. Only not with tiki torches and a fake beach!" "Nicole" barked. Stefan asked "Nicole" what she had in mind. "Nicole" dismissed the idea of a joint event because she did not believe the two brands were on equal footing. "Nicole" urged Stefan to prioritize funding for Basic Black. Gabi jumped in and argued that her company was just as deserving of space at the event. With a dismissive wave, "Nicole" noted they could set up a back room for Gabi Chic.
"She's trying to set me up to fail!" Gabi complained. Gabi asked Stefan to look at the budgets and recognize that Gabi Chic had undergone massive growth. "If anything's a gamble, it's Basic Black!" Gabi complained. "She has a point," Stefan agreed.
"You idiot! This is not what father would have wanted!" "Nicole" yelled. "What did you just say?" Stefan asked with suspicion. "I meant your father," "Nicole" said. "Nicole" explained that she had known Stefano well enough to know what Stefano would have wanted from the launch.
"Why do you care about Stefano? You hated him," Gabi noted. "You can't argue his business acumen," "Nicole" countered. "Nicole" said she had more experience in successful campaigns at the company than Gabi. When Gabi noted that "Nicole" had been out of the fashion business for too long, "Nicole" shot back, "Fashion and style come and go. It's experience that counts."
"You're right. So do fresh ideas," Stefan said. The group continued to brainstorm, and they continued to clash. "Nicole" suggested a 1998 Brut Champagne, and Stefan confirmed he had two cases of it in the cellar. "I remember that from when I lived here before. It's one of Stefano's favorites," "Nicole" said. "Nicole" asked Gabi to retrieve the alcohol from the cellar. Gabi countered that "Nicole" should fetch the alcohol, since it had been her idea.
"I think you should get it," Stefan said. "Nicole" smiled at Gabi and said, "Chop, chop!" Stefan clarified that he meant "Nicole." "When I tell you to do something, you do it. You know the way, right?" Stefan asked. As "Nicole" gritted her teeth, Stefan told her, "Chop, chop!" Gabi smiled at "Nicole." Annoyed, "Nicole" asked Stefan if he was serious.
"Well yes, unless you want your first day at DiMera to be your last," Stefan said. "Schlepping it is," "Nicole" said as she headed into the tunnels. Gabi thanked Stefan for having her back. "It's not about choosing sides. I'll take a good idea whenever I can. What I don't appreciate is her attitude of entitlement," Stefan said. "It's my name on the company logo. Not hers," Stefan stressed.
In the hospital chapel, Eric prayed. Hope greeted him. Eric asked about Claire, and Hope confirmed that the doctors were still evaluating her. Eric explained that he had lit a candle for Caroline and Bo. Hope said she wanted to say a prayer of thanks for the love and support of her family.
"We're so blessed to have each other. We really are," Hope said. Eric said he had felt the love of the family at the Fourth of July barbecue. When Hope commented on Sarah's marriage, Eric's smile fell away. Hope thanked Eric for his effort to spare her feelings about Rafe's night with Carrie.
"He moved on," Hope said softly. Eric hugged Hope and said, "Hopefully you can do the same." Eric asked about Ted. With a sigh, Hope told Eric that Ted had texted her that he was leaving town. "[The] cop in me tells me that there is more to the story. Something is off," Hope said. Hope added that Ted had always been persistent. When Hope mentioned the necklace Ted had attempted to give her, she added that she had seen the necklace on Sarah.
"[Sarah] said that Xander gave it to her as a wedding present," Hope explained. Eric asked Hope if she was sure that it was the same necklace. Hope said she was certain. Eric encouraged Hope to question Xander.
At Eric's apartment, Sarah stared at her wedding photo. When Rex joined Sarah in the living room, she reminded him that they needed to write thank-you notes for their wedding gifts. With a scowl, Rex refused to write a thank you to Xander for the necklace. Sarah joked that the necklace would jazz up her scrubs. Rex's mouth fell open.
"I'm joking! I'm never going to put this necklace back on," Sarah said. Sarah promised Rex that Xander was no threat to their relationship. With a kiss, Sarah said goodbye and left the loft. Rex looked over at the necklace and frowned.
In the Kiriakis living room, Xander packed a bag of supplies for Ted and Kate. "What do you think you're doing?" Brady asked Xander as he walked into the room. Brady explained that everyone was needed at Titan because Kate had gone missing.
Brady's phone beeped with a text message. The message from Rex read, "My mom is out of town on a business trip. As her boss, shouldn't you know about that?" Brady told Xander that he had not authorized any business travel for Kate. "I don't like the way this is smelling," Brady said. Brady said he wanted to call the cops, but Xander said no. When Brady asked why, Xander explained that he had sent Kate to a tech conference in Kuala Lumpur.
"Who do you think you are? What do you think you're doing?" Brady asked. Xander said he had done Brady a favor because Kate's main focus was to keep an eye on Brady for Victor. "I'm very aware of that. I'm also very aware of the fact that I make the decisions. Everything you do, everything needs to be run by me. Do you understand that?" Brady asked. Xander apologized for overstepping his bounds. Brady asked Xander not to overstep again.
In the town square, Rex invited Chloe to sit with him at the café. Chloe told Rex about the cookies she had given to Nicole. Rex noted that it was a bad day for gift giving, and he showed Chloe the necklace. Rex explained that Xander had given the necklace to Sarah, not him.
"So, Xander gave that to your wife?" Chloe said with a grin. "I was actually on my way to give it back to him. Choke him with it," Rex said. Chloe laughed. With a nod, Rex said he had changed his mind about returning the necklace because he did not want Xander to get a refund.
"Maybe I'll give it to you," Rex mused. Chloe laughed nervously. Chloe suggested that Rex should talk to Sarah first. With a shrug, Rex said the gift had been for him and Sarah, and he could dispose of it as he wished. Rex hooked the necklace around Chloe's neck. Brady walked through the square and saw Rex with Chloe.
"What the heck is going on here?" Brady asked good-naturedly. Rex told Brady the story of the necklace. "Thank you, Xander, for having such great taste and such bad judgment," Chloe said. "He's got his nose in the middle of everything lately," Brady complained. When Brady mentioned Kate, Rex's phone beeped with a new text. Rex commented that the text did not sound like his mother.
"It makes me wonder if she even wrote it," Rex said. Rex raised an eyebrow and looked at Brady. "On a biz trip that Xander sent me on, sorry to miss your wedding reception," Rex read. Brady noted the timing was suspicious since the text had gone out right after he had talked to Xander about Kate's trip. Rex showed his text chain to Brady and noted that the last two texts sent after Kate's departure did not include her standard sign-off, "XOXO." Brady said he suspected Xander was to blame.
Back at the Kiriakis mansion, Xander started to leave when Hope walked in. "I thought they fired you as police commissioner?" Xander asked. Hope confirmed that she was there to ask questions as a civilian. With a grin, Xander said he had nothing to say. As Xander turned to leave, Hope said she wanted to talk about Sarah. Xander stopped.
Hope told Xander she had run into Sarah at Doug's Place, and Sarah had been wearing a necklace that had been a gift from Xander. Xander confirmed he had purchased the necklace as a wedding present. "No, you didn't. You're lying, Xander," Hope said. Xander's smile fell away. Hope explained that Ted had bought that necklace for her.
"You didn't buy that necklace. You got it from Ted Laurent," Hope said. Xander clarified, "I did buy the necklace. From Ted." Xander said he had run into Ted, who'd been on the way out of town. With a quizzical eyebrow, Hope asked Xander if he was saying that he had met a stranger on the way out of town who happened to have an expensive piece of jewelry to sell.
"I ran into Ted on his way out of town in a pawn shop," Xander noted. Xander explained that he had offered Ted a better price than the pawn shop had been willing to pay. Hope asked Xander if Ted had mentioned his travel plans. Xander said no. Hope asked Xander if Ted had mentioned Nicole's name.
"Why would Nicole's name come up?" Xander asked. Hope told Xander that Ted had messaged her about good news he had discovered for Nicole. Xander noted that Nicole had lost a child, and there was no good news. "I know what's going on here," Hope said.
In the hospital chapel, Eric sat in a pew and said he would continue to pray for everyone suffering and everyone celebrating. As Eric mentioned Rex and Sarah's marriage out loud, Eric noticed Sarah out of the corner of his eye, standing in the corner of the chapel. Sarah explained that she was there to say a prayer for Claire and Ciara.
"Nice seeing you at the barbecue yesterday," Eric commented. Sarah complimented the burgers that Eric had cooked. "It was nice that you and Rex revived our family getting together despite what we're all going through," Eric said. As Sarah's smile faded, she asked Eric how he was doing. Eric and Sarah said they had both thought about Holly over the holiday.
"I hope she realized how much I loved her," Eric said softly. "She did. You could see it every time you were together," Sarah confirmed. Sarah asked Eric if he planned to talk to Nicole again. Eric added that Nicole had made it clear that she did not want to talk to him again.
"So, you're just giving up? That's not like you," Sarah said. "Never in a million years did I think I'd give up on someone that I loved. Someone who was the love of my life. Nicole's not the same woman anymore," Eric said. Eric stressed he had accepted that his relationship with Nicole was over, but he could not help but think he should have done more.
"I've got to let go," Eric whispered. Sarah sat next to Eric and put an arm around him for comfort. "I'm so sorry for what you're going through," Sarah said. Eric apologized to Sarah for unburdening his problems on her. Sarah said she wanted to return the favor after Eric had done the same for her.
In the dungeon of the DiMera tunnels, Ted banged on the door and yelled for help. Kate warned Ted to stop wasting energy. Kate reminded Ted that no one could hear Ted screaming but her. Ted complained that they had not had anything except Champagne for the past 24 hours.
"I can't believe I would ever say this, but I don't care if I ever see a bottle of Champagne again," Kate grumbled. Ted went to the table and gnawed on the remains of his steak. When Kate commented that Ted smelled, he apologized and grabbed a bottle of Champagne.
"No! We're going to die of alcohol poisoning before we die of salvation!" Kate protested. Ted explained that he was going to bathe in the Champagne to lessen his body odor. As Ted took his shirt off and started to rub Champagne on his body, Kate rolled her eyes and called Ted vain.
"Well I didn't hear any complaints when we were together," Ted muttered. "Maybe that's because you were busy admiring yourself," Kate quipped. Ted joked that Kate wished she could have another shot at him. "But I'm in love with Hope. Sorry!" Ted said with a chuckle. Ted suggested that Kate take off her clothes and wash up. Kate took off her jacket, but she refused to take a Champagne shower. Kate dabbed the Champagne behind her ears.
"You do know that you gave up the best thing that ever happened to you when you betrayed me," Kate said. "Really, Kate? Look who's vain now," Ted countered. Kate guessed that she was still in Ted's head, but Ted noted that Kate would lose that bet. Ted kissed Kate.
In the tunnel outside the dungeon, "Nicole" complained about Stefan. "It's only a matter of time before I, Kristen DiMera, takes over! And then everyone is going to be in for quite the surprise," "Nicole" shouted. As "Nicole" opened the door to the dungeon, she gasped as she saw Ted and Kate kissing.