Someone was reading a newspaper in one of the apartments of a complex somewhere in Chicago when Jennifer burst in, with Jack and Eric right behind. "Wilhelm Rolf!" Jennifer declared with a gasp of excitement when the person lowered the newspaper. "You really are alive!" Jack observed, equally excited. "Just like you, Mr. Deveraux. You're looking well...thanks to me," Rolf pointedly replied.
Rolf went back to reading the newspaper, prompting Eric to snatch it. "Where are Nicole and Holly?" Eric impatiently demanded to know. "You can come out now," Rolf tiredly called out to someone.
"Vivian Alamain?" Jennifer declared with a gasp of shock when the person entered the living room. "Miss me?" Vivian countered, grinning mischievously. "I remember you from the warehouse! You were behind the door marked 'V.A.'!" Jack recalled. "She is Stefan DiMera's mother. [Kayla] pronounced her dead a year ago at University Hospital," Jennifer explained. "Luckily, that quack was wrong. There was still some life left in the ol' girl yet," Vivian summarized, shrugging. "I'm assuming this was all you?" Eric asked Rolf. "Well, it wasn't Dr. Doolittle..." Rolf replied, drawing a laugh from Vivian. "How do you find this funny?" Eric snapped at Rolf and Vivian.
"We came here to get information, [so] let's let the two of them speak," Jennifer advised Eric before prompting Vivian to continue. "On that fateful night, I was abandoned in the operating room, [and] Rolf swept in, cloaked in full medical attire, and saved me [while I was] at death's door, still as a stone, white as freshly fallen snow... He swiftly, like a wind, injected me with that miracle, life-saving serum of his!" Vivian summarized before giving Rolf a nod of gratitude. "How did you come to need the serum [in the first place]?" Jack asked. "I was shot -- by that cold-hearted bitch Kate Roberts!" Vivian replied before starting another dramatic recap.
"None of this matters! All I care about is where Holly and Nicole are!" Eric tiredly interjected. "I have no idea! It's just the two of us here!" Rolf insisted before seeking backup from Vivian, who just flashed a smile that further aroused Eric's suspicion. "Jack, keep an eye on these two," Eric demanded before rushing off with Jennifer to search the apartment for answers, determined to tear the whole place apart, if necessary.
"I remember how nosy those two can be," Vivian complained to Rolf, who nodded in agreement. "'Remember'? Does that mean you got your memory back?" Jack asked excitedly as Vivian started preparing a martini. "How do you know Kate shot you?" Jack continued. "I have a hole in my chest," Vivian dryly explained. "[But] Rolf's serum tends to have the unfortunate effect of wiping out the memory of whoever it's used on. That's what happened to me -- and to Will Horton. [So], what I mean is...did Rolf tell you [Kate shot you], or do you actually remember it because Rolf restored your memory?" Jack clarified.
Jennifer and Eric returned just then and reported that Nicole and Holly were nowhere to be found. "But we did find Holly's favorite blanket -- which disappeared the night she was kidnapped," Eric, who was still clutching the item, stressed. "Which means they were here at some point," Jennifer concluded. "Okay -- Nicole was here, [and] so was the kid...[but now they're] gone," Vivian admitted, shrugging. "Gone?" Eric worriedly repeated. "Relax -- [they're] alive. [Or], at least, they were...the last time we saw them," Vivian clarified. "Which [was] when?" Eric impatiently demanded to know. "Just before they escaped," Vivian elaborated.
"How did this happen? You just let Nicole run off?" Eric asked incredulously. "What was I supposed to do?" Vivian innocently replied. "Maybe she went to Salem," Jennifer told Eric. "[Or] perhaps the guards tracked her down," Vivian helpfully suggested. "Guards?" Eric worriedly repeated. "Kristen couldn't risk Nicole breaking free and making her way back to Salem, [because] then there would [have been] two Nicoles in the [town], and that would have put a serious crimp in her plans," Rolf explained, shrugging. "Have either one of you heard from the guards since they [started chasing] after Nicole?" Eric wondered. "Not a word," Rolf insisted.
"Kristen didn't say anything to me about an escape," Jack protested. "She doesn't know. I tried calling her, but she didn't answer," Rolf explained. "Because Kristen has been arrested," Jennifer clarified.
"Maybe [Nicole] was on her way to Salem when we were headed here," Jennifer repeated. "I don't think so, because that would be the first place that the [guards] would look for her," Eric argued.
"She could be anywhere by now...but she could also be very close," Eric acknowledged, eyeing Rolf skeptically. "Don't look at me. I already told you [that] I have no idea where she is," Rolf maintained. "[Maybe not], but you let this happen!" Eric snapped. "Look, Kristen hired me to bring people back from the brink of death, not to be a [babysitter]. Stop harassing me. I've told you everything," Rolf countered.
"Except if Vivian's memory is intact," Jack pointed out. "Yes, of course it is. I remember everything -- especially my precious son," Vivian admitted, smiling. "So, the serum caused you to lose your memory, but Rolf was able to restore it?" Jennifer summarized. "Of course I was!" Rolf tiredly confirmed. "[Then]...please, do the same thing for Jack!" Jennifer begged. "Impossible," Rolf insisted.
"[See], I've lost access to the antidote. It was destroyed in the explosion," Rolf explained. "Come back to Salem with us, [and] we can set you up in the hospital, in your own lab, and you can recreate everything [there]," Jennifer suggested. "We'll make it well worth your while," Jack promised. "Meaning...what, exactly?" Rolf asked, intrigued. "Meaning, uh...fully funded research, going forward," Jack spontaneously replied. "So, I would maintain total independence? There would be no oversight?" Rolf summarized. "Uh... Uh... Agreed?" Jack confirmed. "Well, let's go, then!" Rolf decided, clearly pleased with the arrangement.
"You go. I'm staying," Eric announced, not yet fully convinced that Nicole wasn't in the area. "If we see or hear anything, we'll let you know...and, please, keep us posted," Jack told Eric.
"Did Nicole seem okay? Did she have everything she needed to take care of Holly? [Were they] sick [or] hurt?" Eric asked Vivian after the others left. "How am I supposed to know?" Vivian tiredly replied.
At Salem University Hospital, Kayla entered one of the break rooms and greeted Sarah, who had been staring blankly at a wall. "You're worried about Eric," Kayla guessed while filling a cup with coffee. "This is just...it's a lot -- for everyone," Sarah explained with a sigh. "Including you," Kayla sympathetically acknowledged. "If it turns out that Nicole is alive, then...it's over for me and Eric -- if it already isn't," Sarah sadly confirmed. "I just meant that this news is a lot for you to take in," Kayla clarified, confused. "Why would you say that your relationship with Eric [might] be over?" Kayla wondered.
"[Even if Eric] doesn't find Nicole in Chicago, [he's] never gonna stop looking for her -- and he shouldn't. [He] should be free [to do that...which is why] I tried to break up with him [earlier]. But he wouldn't let me. He said that he still loves me. [But] I know that [he] will never love me as much as he loves [her, because] she's the love of his life. [And] I wish that I could make his eyes light up the way that she does, but I can't...[and] I can try to make him happy -- and I think, to a degree, I do -- but [his] greatest happiness is and will always be with [her]," Sarah reasoned with a shrug.
"Besides, he deserves so much better than me, anyways. [I told him earlier] that...like, I don't want [her] to be dead...but part of me would be relieved if she were," Sarah admitted. "You're in love with him. It makes perfect sense that you have mixed feelings," Kayla insisted. "I would fight harder [for him] if it was just me and Nicole, but Holly's involved, and she's my niece, and I love her, and [she] adores [him, and] it was his dream to have a family with her and Nicole, [so] if they have a chance at that, I would never stand in the way," Sarah stressed before checking a cell phone and sighing.
"Call him," Kayla advised. "I don't want to interrupt...[you know], if he and Nicole are 'reuniting'..." Sarah explained before changing the subject, wondering if Kayla believed that Rolf could have survived the warehouse explosion. "Dodging death is his specialty," Kayla confirmed. "[And] if three people from Salem show up [and start] asking Rolf questions, [and] he feels threatened or cornered, somebody could get hurt?" Sarah asked, sensing that Rolf was capable of anything. "Rolf is dangerous and unpredictable...and as smart as Eric is, it's understandable that you would be worried about him...[so] call him," Kayla insisted.
After Kayla walked away, Sarah contacted Eric, who was still trying to get answers out of Vivian. "Sorry to bother you -- I've just been worried sick... Is there any news?" Sarah asked. "Actually...there is," Eric replied.
While passing through Horton Town Square, Ciara spotted Ben, who was staring at the screen of a cell phone. "I thought you were supposed to be at work today," Ciara began after rushing over and greeting Ben with a kiss. "Stefan told me I could take the night off," Ben explained with a shrug. "Hmm. That's, uh...that's really surprising... After everything that happened with Kristen, I thought that he and Gabi would be really concerned about security," Ciara mused. "Yeah, well, they have a new concern now," Ben clarified before proceeding to fill Ciara in on Kate's unexpected power play.
"Didn't Kate kill Stefan's mother?" Ciara asked afterward. "Yeah, there's gonna be some serious fireworks in that house tonight. Pretty sure Stefan didn't want anybody around for when they went off," Ben replied.
At the DiMera mansion, Kate desperately tried to convince Stefan to lower Vivian's gun. "I can't do that. This is too perfect -- hell, it's poetic. I'm going to use this gun to kill you in cold blood, the same way you killed my mother," Stefan spat. "Vivian's death was an accident," Kate insisted. "We both know that's not true," Stefan countered, recalling a previous argument that had ended with Kate defiantly admitting to having seized an opportunity to get rid of Vivian for good. "I wasn't serious," Kate stressed. "You seemed pretty serious -- dead serious," Stefan argued.
"[Then] why didn't you go to the police?" Kate asked. "I had no proof -- and you knew that; [otherwise], you never would've confessed to me. It was my word against yours," Stefan replied. "And everyone knows that the word of Stefan DiMera means nothing," Kate summarized. "Oh, I keep my promises, Kate. When you killed my mother, I promised you would pay, and that time has come," Stefan countered. "You're not gonna pull that trigger. [You just want] to scare me, like the last time you stuck that pistol in my face. [But] I haven't put any bullets in [it], so you're not gonna scare me this time," Kate insisted.
"You sure about that?" Stefan asked with a smirk before aiming the gun at the floor and firing a shot, causing Kate to jump back in shock.
At the park, Gabi watched skeptically as Julie writhed in pain and begged for help. "I'm having a heart attack!" Julie stressed. "Oh, please -- you're obviously faking it, [and] I'm not gonna fall for [it] again," Gabi countered, recalling a previous argument that had ended with Julie faking a heart attack. "This is real!" Julie frantically insisted. "You should take some acting classes," Gabi tiredly advised. "I think I might be dying!" Julie choked out. "I hope so, [because I'm still] pretty bummed that [your] header down the stairs didn't do the trick," Gabi admitted before walking away.
Meanwhile, at the town square, Ciara informed Ben that Tripp had moved to California to attend medical school. "Can't say I'm gonna miss him," Ben admitted with a shrug, and Ciara nodded in response, having expected that reaction. Changing the subject, Ben wondered if Ciara wanted to grab some food then head over to the loft apartment and spend the rest of the night there, since Stefan and Kate were likely turning the DiMera property into a battlefield at that moment. Ciara, who had talked to J.J. and Haley earlier, hinted to Ben that the couple had seemed eager to take advantage of their newfound privacy. "[Then]...I got the perfect idea," Ben decided.
Ben rushed off to a nearby Chinese restaurant and placed a takeout order then carried the food back to Ciara's location and suggested that they could finally have a proper picnic date in the park, since their first picnic date -- their first date, period -- had taken place in December, which wasn't exactly the best month for a picnic date. "You know what, though? We ended up having an amazing time," Ciara stressed. "And we had an amazing kiss," Ben recalled. "As my fortune cookie predicted," Ciara teasingly bragged. "Yeah, I had a feeling you made that up," Ben dismissively countered, getting the hint.
Ben and Ciara headed to the park with the food -- and stumbled upon Julie while en route to the site of the previous picnic. Ben rushed to Julie's side as Ciara called for an ambulance. "I can't find a pulse," Ben reported after Ciara ended the call -- but one second later, Julie regained consciousness. "Don't kill me!" Julie begged. "No, no, no, Grandma -- Ben isn't trying to kill you; he's trying to save you!" Ciara clarified.
At the DiMera mansion, Kate tearfully assured Stefan that, at the very least, what had happened with Vivian hadn't been premeditated. "You have to understand our history. [Your mother] tortured me for years -- she did horrible things [to me -- and on] that night, we [were having] the most horrific argument, [and] I told her that all of her schemes would come out, [including] hiring Leo [and] conspiring with Andre, unless she turned over control of DiMera to me and walked away, [so] she pulled out that gun, and she aimed it at me, and she was about to pull the trigger, [so] I lunged at her, and I struggled with her, [and] I snapped," Kate summarized.
"But it's over [now, so] you need to move on, [because] DiMera Enterprises is your legacy, [and] I know how much you want to honor Stefano by bringing his company back to the top, where it belongs...and now, with Vivian gone, the only one who can help you with that is me. [And you do need help -- even] your mother thought so. [In order] to make DiMera succeed, you have to be realistic, and [the truth is that] you and Gabi [just] don't have what it takes to be a CEO. I know that, but most importantly, your biggest competitor knows that. [Titan] has been wiping the floor with you...but I can stop that," Kate continued.
"Up until a few days ago, I was working at Titan, and Brady [might have] had the big, fancy title, but I know that company -- [and] Victor -- better than anyone [else does]. I know where all the vulnerabilities are, [and] I know how to exploit them. So, [if] you and I [work] together, we can make a fortune," Kate concluded. "There's not enough money in the world [to] make me want to work with a murderer like you," Stefan insisted. "You don't care about your family? You don't care about the future DiMeras to come?" Kate asked. "I care about avenging my mother's death...and, quite frankly, I can't wait another second," Stefan replied.
Gabi entered the mansion just then and released a gasp of horror, realizing what was going on. Kate breathed a sigh of relief as Gabi stepped in front of the gun and began trying to reason with Stefan. "If you do this, they're gonna arrest you for murder, [and then] you're gonna be sent to prison, and that's gonna destroy me, [because] I love you!" Gabi stressed. "If you love me, you'll keep your mouth shut. [See], I gave the staff the night off, [so] you're the only witness. [Now], I'm gonna kill her, [then] you're gonna help me get rid of the body, and no one will ever know, [so]...honey, please get out of the way," Stefan countered.
"I tried to get rid of a body once. A man [was trying] to rape me, [and] I hit him over the head with a rock. [Kate] and Sami helped me get rid of his body [by dumping] it into a river, [and that whole experience] was horrible. [Afterward], we thought it was all over, but then he showed up, months later --" Gabi began to admit, staying put. "Obviously, you didn't check to see that you had a corpse. I will," Stefan dismissively countered. "What if somebody walks in here and sees the body? What about DNA, blood, gunshot residue --" Gabi tried to argue. "We'll clean up after ourselves," Stefan confidently reasoned, still not concerned.
"Kate's got a family, friends, colleagues... Someone's gonna realize that she's missing," Gabi pointed out, not yet ready to give up. "We'll make her write a letter before I kill her -- something about how miserable and pathetic her life is," Stefan decided. "They're gonna insist on an investigation, [and] you're gonna be the prime suspect. You're gonna be locked up for the rest of your life," Gabi maintained. "It would almost be worth it to watch her die," Stefan insisted. "We are on the verge of happiness -- something that I never thought I could ever have again -- [so]...please, don't throw it all away! [Just]...for us, just...don't!" Gabi begged.
Stefan gave Gabi's words some thought then grudgingly lowered the gun. Kate breathed a sigh of relief and thanked Gabi, who was also relieved. "Don't go pissing me off, Kate. I'm gonna hang onto [this]," Stefan warned, waving the gun again. Kate seized a full decanter of whiskey from the bar then left the living room with it. "Not doing a good job of not pissing me off," Stefan called out as Kate retreated to an upstairs bedroom.
Stefan soon received a phone call from an unfamiliar number. "I should get it. Could be Shin," Stefan told Gabi before stepping into the foyer. "Oh, my darling boy! It's me -- your mother!" Vivian declared when Stefan answered the call. Meanwhile, Gabi sipped vodka while thinking about the earlier encounter with Julie. "I'm sure that hag was faking it," Gabi decided with a smirk.
At the hospital, Ciara worriedly seized a hug from Ben while waiting for an update on Julie's condition.
Kayla struggles to save Julie's life
While in the hospital lounge, Sarah talked to Eric on the phone about his trip to Chicago. Eric confirmed that Rolf was alive and that Rolf had confirmed that Nicole and Holly had been with him until recently. The news appeared to knock the wind out of Sarah. "That's good news!" Sarah managed to blurt out. When Sarah asked Eric if he knew where to find Nicole and Holly, Eric said he had to go. Sarah told Eric that she loved him, but he ended the call.
In the hallway outside of Rolf's apartment, a guard held a gun to Eric's head. Eric lied and announced that he was with the Chicago Police Department. Eric asked about Holly and Nicole. "I need to see a badge," the guard demanded. Eric advised the guard to tell him the truth. Eric warned the guard that he knew that Nicole and Holly had been there and that the guard would have to shoot him before he would walk away.
In the DiMera mansion, Gabi thought about her run-in with Julie, and she muttered to herself that Julie had to have been faking a heart attack. "It's not like she hasn't done it before, but she completely overplayed it. Why would she try to make me look bad in front of no one?" Gabi wondered aloud.
In the foyer, Stefan answered a call and was shocked to hear his mother, Vivian, on the line. Stefan said he had seen his mother's body. Vivian informed Stefan that Rolf had revived her with his serum, but she had not been able to reach out to Stefan sooner.
"I have not been well enough to travel, but even if I could have, I doubt your half-sister would have allowed it," Vivian said. Stefan vowed to destroy Kristen if she had hurt Vivian, but Vivian assured her son that she was fine. Vivian added that the company she had kept was "sheer torture." Stefan promised to rush to see Vivian.
"It's a miracle. I love you, mother," Stefan said. Giddy, Stefan ended the call and rushed into the living room to tell Gabi the news. "Vivian. She's alive," Stefan announced. "That sucks!" Gabi countered. Gabi reminded Stefan that Vivian had stolen her company. When Gabi noted that Vivian was a liar and schemer, Stefan smiled.
"Lucky for me, I fell for a woman that reminds me of dear old mom," Stefan quipped. Stefan asked Gabi if she could be happy for him. "I'm sure Vivian regrets everything she did to hurt you," Stefan said. Gabi said she was reluctant to believe that Vivian had returned to life as a new version of herself. Stefan asked Gabi to give Vivian a chance.
"I know that Vivian's scheme to steal Gabi Chic from you was the tipping point that caused you to lose everything, but I was involved in that, too," Stefan said. Stefan noted that Gabi had forgiven him, and he hoped Gabi could do the same for his mother. "Damn it," Gabi muttered. Stefan grinned. Gabi said she would make an effort to be civil to his mother.
"You're the best," Stefan said. "I'm an idiot," Gabi countered. "Who loves me!" Stefan added. Gabi nodded and joked that she did not love Stefan "very much at this moment." When Gabi suggested that they go upstairs, Stefan begged off because he needed to go to Chicago to get Vivian. With a chuckle, Gabi said the upside of the news was that she would be able to see Kate's face when she learned that Vivian was alive.
"Aren't you happy that I stopped you from killing [Kate]?" Gabi asked. Stefan asked Gabi to keep the news under wraps. Stefan explained that they would need to use Vivian's return to their advantage against Kate. Gabi advised Stefan to send Ben to retrieve Vivian so that Stefan's absence would not arouse Kate's suspicion. Stefan joked that if they were lucky, Kate would have a heart attack when she saw Vivian.
"Maybe even a real one," Gabi muttered. Stefan asked what Gabi meant. Gabi said she had fought with Julie in the park, and Julie had faked a heart attack. "It wasn't the first time she's done this," Gabi added. Stefan shrugged and commented that Julie did love drama.
In Chicago, the guard shoved Eric into Rolf's apartment with Vivian. "Where's Rolf?" the guard asked. "He left," Vivian said. Surprised, the guard asked, "What the hell?" The guard asked Vivian why she had not attempted to stop Rolf. Vivian shrugged and said there was nothing she could have done. Eric informed the guard that the police had arrested Kristen. Eric reiterated his request for information about Nicole and Holly.
"The boss is a DiMera. I don't care if she's behind bars, no way I'm saying a word," the guard grumbled. Eric said Kristen had promised that the guard would give him the information. "You think I'm stupid?" the guard asked. "Who do you think gave me the address?" Eric countered. The guard faltered. Eric explained that the police would free Kristen as soon as Eric was reunited with Holly and Nicole.
"Can you imagine what Kristen is going to feel like when she finds out that you were the one guy who blew her chance at freedom?" Eric asked. The guard refused to tell Eric anything. "Maybe she's not the only person I answer to," the guard said. When Eric pushed for details, the guard stayed silent. Eric glowered at Vivian. Vivian denied that she had been part of the scheme.
"As you can see, I'm hardly in any condition to be a threat to anyone," Vivian complained. Eric asked the guard who else had given him orders. When the guard remained silent, Eric started to leave. The guard cocked the gun. "You don't need to worry about Nicole Walker, because your search ends here and now," the guard said.
At the hospital, Ben comforted Ciara as they waited for news from Kayla about Julie's condition. Ciara called her mother's cell phone, but there was no answer. Ciara called Doug's phone, but his voicemail was full. As Ciara wondered aloud what to do next, Sarah walked around the corner. Ciara updated Sarah about Julie's collapse.
In the ER, Kayla encouraged an unconscious Julie to fight. Julie dreamed about when she had pleaded with Gabi for help and Gabi had taunted her. Julie's heart flatlined. Kayla used paddles to restart Julie's heart, as Julie continued to think about her confrontation with Gabi in the park. Julie's heart started to beat on its own. Kayla encouraged Julie to fight. Julie startled awake as Sarah walked into the room.
"She left me to die," Julie whispered. When Kayla asked for details, Julie drifted unconscious again. Kayla asked Sarah to monitor Julie's vitals. Once Julie was stable, Sarah went into the hallway to update Ciara and Ben. After Sarah left, Ciara worried aloud to Ben that Sarah had kept information from her. Ben's phone beeped with a text from Stefan. Ciara told Ben to go meet with Stefan so that Gabi would not have a reason to fire him. Reluctantly, Ben left.
In the hospital lounge, Kayla and Sarah talked about Julie's condition. Sarah apologized for not being in the ER when Julie had arrived. Kayla said she understood that Sarah had been preoccupied, and she asked if Sarah had called Eric. "He confirmed what Kristen said. Holly and Nicole are both alive," Sarah said. Sarah added that Eric had not found them yet. Kayla warned Sarah not to assume that Eric would get back together with Nicole. Sarah said she wanted to focus on Julie.
At Doug's Place, Doug confided to Hope that he was worried that he had not heard from Julie. Hope assured Doug that Julie was likely still shopping due to all the Labor Day sales. "Shop 'til you drop! It's one of her favorite mantras," Doug said with a chuckle.
As Doug looked at Hope, he noticed that she appeared preoccupied. Hope showed Doug the letter Ted had left for her. Hope admitted she had not read the letter yet because she thought the letter was full of more lies. "You must be curious," Doug said as he pointed out that Hope had not thrown out the letter. Doug offered to read the letter for Hope. Hope agreed. The letter offered an apology for Ted's lies.
"Now that you've left me, I've nothing to lose by being honest," Doug read. Doug stopped and asked Hope if she wanted to continue. When Hope asked why, Doug suggested that they toss the letter out. Hope took the letter and read it. In the letter, Ted confessed that he had lied about losing a child. Doug said he was grateful that Ted was out of Hope's life. With a sigh, Hope read on. Ted confessed he had lied about a dead wife, as well.
"I am dead to the woman I married, which is what I deserve," Ted explained in the letter. Hope continued. "I'd give anything to look you in the eye and confess all my lies and misdeeds, if only for the privilege of once again being in your beautiful presence," Hope read aloud. The letter concluded with a declaration of love for Hope.
"I knew Ted was a flawed man. Lived a flawed life. I knew he wasn't perfect," Hope said. Doug asked Hope if she was okay, and Hope confided that she did not think she could love anyone again like she had loved Bo. With a smile, Doug said he understood because he had the same kind of love with Julie.
"A love for the ages," Doug said. "Love is not always forever. Sometimes it just ends on its own. If you're really, really lucky, then love lasts forever," Doug added. "One of the greatest gifts life can bring is to love and be loved," Hope said. Doug called Hope a romantic, like him. When Hope's phone finished recharging, she checked it for messages. Hope gasped, "Julie."
When Ben arrived at the DiMera mansion, Stefan asked him to pick up a woman in Chicago in secret. "I swore to Ciara after everything that happened with Gabi, I would never do anything like that again," Ben said as he glanced over at Gabi. "It's not going to be anything like the day you ripped me out of my home on Christmas Day," Gabi grumbled. Stefan told Ben that the woman was his mother, Vivian, and that she wanted to return to Salem voluntarily. Stefan gave Ben a gun as a precaution.
"I appreciate you doing this on such short notice. I'd do it myself, but it's got to be under the radar," Stefan explained. Ben said he needed to contact Ciara to tell her he would not return to the hospital. "Is she okay?" Gabi asked. Ben explained that Julie had suffered a massive heart attack. Stefan glanced over at Gabi.
At the hospital, Ciara hugged Hope and Doug when they arrived. Kayla walked out with an update. "I need you to brace yourself. I have some bad news," Kayla announced.
Kayla shares bad news about Julie's condition
At the hospital, Kayla regretfully informed Doug, Hope, and Ciara that Julie's heart attack had caused significant damage. "But...you can fix that...right?" Doug asked hopefully. "I'm sorry, Doug -- I...I can't promise anything," Kayla hesitantly replied. "She has checkups! She is healthy!" Doug protested. "I know...but, like I said, there's been some...damage," Kayla repeated. "Are you trying to tell me...that Julie is going to die?" Doug wondered.
At the DiMera mansion, Gabi laughed off Ben's report that Julie had suffered a heart attack. "She's done this before. She's fine," Gabi dismissively insisted. "'She's fine'? Ciara and I found her unconscious on the ground near the square. I gave her CPR while Ciara called 9-1-1. The EMTs said [that] if we [hadn't found] her when we did, she could have died there," Ben gravely countered, causing the color to drain from Gabi's face.
"Oh, my God -- she wasn't faking it! What have I done?" Gabi fretted to Stefan after Ben exited the mansion. "I really thought she was faking it! She's faked before! Everyone thinks she's a drama queen [and] a phony! You know, she's always looking at people with that spiteful look in her eyes -- those evil eyes -- like she's gonna say something cruel and mean..." Gabi continued, shuddering. "How do you really feel about her?" Stefan asked dryly. "I'm sorry! I swear I didn't know she was having a real heart attack!" Gabi tearfully replied. "So you've been saying..." Stefan muttered, somewhat amused.
Ben paused outside the mansion to contact Ciara. "Stefan has a job for me, but I'll tell him to get somebody else," Ben offered after hearing about Julie's condition. "I think it's just family right now," Ciara awkwardly declined.
Meanwhile, back inside, Gabi frantically dialed the hospital's phone number and tried to get information from the person who answered the call. "Family? I was married to her cousin Nick," Gabi revealed when asked. "What do you mean, 'that Gabi Hernandez'?" Gabi indignantly countered seconds later. "Turns out, she was around when Nick was shot," Gabi complained to Stefan after ending the call. "You know, using the passive voice doesn't change the fact that you're the one who shot him," Stefan pointed out, amused again. "I don't need reminding, okay? Yes, I shot my abusive, blackmailing ex-husband!" Gabi tiredly countered.
Gabi started to rush off to the hospital, desperate to find out how Julie was doing. "If she dies, it's my fault!" Gabi fretted while grabbing a purse. "You didn't cause her to have a heart attack," Stefan argued. "[But] I didn't do anything [about it]!" Gabi countered. "I'm not sure Julie's family's gonna be thrilled to see you," Stefan warned. "Okay, well...I have to go, [anyway]," Gabi maintained. "Then I'm going with you," Stefan insisted.
At the police station, Eli joined Lani in one of the conference rooms and slammed the door shut with a heavy sigh of frustration. "[Your meeting with Trask] went that well, huh?" Lani concluded. "That woman... You know, it's like she lives -- she lives -- to provoke people! [And] I get [that] she's ticked off, [but] why rake me over the coals [instead of] our dumbass mayor? He's the one that's [gone] over her head to get Kristen immunity!" Eli complained. "The mayor can fire her. You have to take what she shovels out. [And] the first rule of politics is, 'When something goes wrong, blame it on someone else,'" Lani pointed out.
"Know what made it worse? [She] said that the Salem P.D. better be ready for whatever the hell Kristen's gonna do next -- that if you give a sociopath with control issues immunity, you better be prepared for the consequences -- [and]...I think she's right," Eli admitted. "Yeah, I don't see Kristen seeing the error of her ways anytime soon..." Lani agreed before suddenly gasping, having just realized something. "The engagement party that your grandmother wants to throw us -- Eli, [that would put] everyone that Kristen hates in one place!" Lani worriedly pointed out. "Think you can 'smudge' a place against future chaos?" Eli dryly wondered.
"Have you talked to your grandmother since our little chat?" Lani asked. "No...and I'm still worried that we went too hard on her," Eli replied. "I don't think [so]... I mean, even if she was hurt initially, I honestly think that she was grateful that we...sort of...raised her consciousness [and] made her aware that, sometimes, the things that she says can be misconstrued. And she said she wanted to do better, [so]... Look, your grandma can be really harsh at times...but I've also seen the compassionate, kind side of her. She has a really good heart," Lani assured Eli, who agreed then changed the subject, ready to head home for the evening.
Lani started to follow Eli out of the police station while simultaneously checking a cell phone. "Oh, my God... [Ciara] couldn't reach you, so she messaged me... [Julie] had a heart attack," Lani regretfully informed Eli.
Eli and Lani rushed over to the hospital and tracked down Doug, Hope, Ciara, and Kayla. "Kayla was just telling us --" Hope began to inform Eli and Lani. "I don't want to hear it again," Doug insisted before getting Kayla's permission to stay with Julie for a while. Hope asked Ciara to go with Doug, and Eli issued the same request to Lani. "[Now]...what aren't you telling us?" Hope knowingly challenged Kayla once the coast was clear.
Kayla led Hope and Eli to one of the break rooms then regretfully began to elaborate. "[Julie's] heart isn't strong enough to pump the blood she needs to the other parts of her body [anymore, and] I'm afraid that medication won't [change that]," Kayla admitted. "You're saying she needs a new heart," Hope realized. "[Then] put her on the transplant list," Eli reasoned. "I'm afraid [that's] not an option, [either]," Kayla clarified.
"You can't even get on the heart transplant list unless you are under 70 years old [because], statistically, the survival rate for people over 70 [goes down considerably]...and there are so many people that need transplants, and there is a limited number of hearts available, so the people with the best chance of living the longest go to the top of the list," Kayla explained. "[And]...without a new heart, she'll die? [It's] just a matter of when?" Hope tearfully summarized. "I'm sorry... I wish that I could reassure you..." Kayla gently confirmed. "How long?" Hope asked. "Weeks?" Kayla replied, shrugging. "Or days," Eli knowingly added for Kayla.
"My dad can't handle this tonight...and we don't want Julie giving up hope..." Hope stressed. "Of course," Kayla agreed. "Thank you for being honest... I know it wasn't easy..." Hope acknowledged before giving Kayla a hug.
Meanwhile, Julie awoke and weakly greeted Doug, Ciara, and Lani. "I'm so scared," Julie admitted. "And you hate that, don't you?" Doug knowingly summarized. "I hate being here, lying here..." Julie confirmed. "I know. [But], for the first time in your life, you are going to do as you're told so you can come home, and get better, [and] boss me around again," Doug lovingly stressed before stepping outside for a moment, not wanting to cry in front of Julie. Ciara went with Doug, leaving Julie alone with Lani, who tried to backpedal on the things that had been said earlier. "Doug's Place is...is perfect, and...we don't have to sage it anymore," Lani assured Julie.
"[And] I know that [Eli and I gave] you a really hard time [earlier about some of the things you've said] about Gabi --" Lani continued. "Gabi -- [she] was there...[and] she left me...to die," Julie revealed. "Are you sure about this?" Lani wondered, stunned. "She was there...in the park... I begged her to help... She laughed...[and] stepped over me...and walked away... She left me...to die," Julie maintained.
Doug returned with Ciara just then and thanked Lani for having kept Julie company. Lani nodded then rushed off without repeating what Julie had just revealed, wanting to look for Gabi -- who just happened to be waiting with Stefan at the nurses' station. "You stood there and watched Julie have that heart attack, and then you just left her there to die!" Lani snapped. "That is not what happened!" Gabi protested. "Gabi thought [Julie] was faking -- again," Stefan clarified. "Isn't there an Aesop's fable -- 'The Old Crone Who Cried Coronary Arrest'?" Stefan continued, annoying Lani, who insisted that the situation wasn't funny.
"No, it's not funny; [it's] horrible, [and] when I found out [that] it was real -- that she was in the hospital -- I came right down!" Gabi stressed. "Yeah, because you are exactly who she wants to see," Lani sarcastically summarized. "If I had known it was real, I would've done something!" Gabi insisted. "Bull. [This] was a second chance, wasn't it? You've wanted Julie dead all along -- ever since she came back from that fall down the stairs. [This] was an answer to your prayer. [This was] your fondest dream, just handed to you on a platter. [This was a second chance] to kill Julie. [And] all you had to do [this time] was walk away," Lani countered.
"You don't get to talk to her like that," Stefan protectively interjected. "Think I'm tarnishing her good name?" Lani countered. "It's funny, because [Eli and I were actually just telling Julie earlier] that she shouldn't call you names anymore...but calling someone names is nothing compared to the things you've done, Gabi!" Lani continued. "Okay, lady, you are thisclose to a lawsuit!" Stefan irritably warned. "I'm done, anyway...[but, Gabi, as] you're drifting off to sleep tonight, I want you to think about Julie -- lying on that ground as wave after wave of excruciating pain washes over her, and she's all alone... Sweet dreams," Lani spat before storming off.
Lani rejoined Doug and Ciara in Julie's room, where Hope and Eli had also ended up. "Where were you? Something wrong?" Eli asked. "Nothing you need to worry about," Lani replied.
"It's gonna take more than a heart attack to take me away from my beautiful family. I'm gonna be here -- I'm gonna be with you for a long, long time," Julie assured the group, oblivious to the look that Hope and Eli were exchanging with each other. "When can I go home?" Julie asked impatiently. "When Kayla says you can... Unfortunately, that's...not going to be tonight, though," Hope carefully replied.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan advised Gabi to forget about what Lani had said earlier. "[But] she's gonna tell everybody, [and] she's probably [even] gonna put it in skywriting -- 'Heartless Gabi Hernandez Leaves a Woman to Die!' -- [and then] everyone's gonna think I'm a horrible person!" Gabi fretted. "Honey...they already do," Stefan countered while stifling a laugh, but Gabi wasn't amused. "But I don't," Stefan assured Gabi.
In Chicago, Vivian sipped a martini and watched with great interest as Eric continued facing off with the guard who had been tracking Nicole and Holly. "I'll never stop looking," Eric warned the guard before trying again to exit Rolf's apartment. "I don't think the, uh, 'shining knight on a quest' thing is gonna work out so good for you. Like, if I was only working for Kristen DiMera -- a woman with a taste for young men -- I might have you washed and sent to her tent...[but] my other boss [is] all business, [so] I really think I gotta kill you," the guard countered while keeping a gun aimed at Eric, whom Vivian seemed thrilled to be picturing as a sex slave.
"You [already have] two bosses, [so] how 'bout a third? [I mean], you're obviously doing [this] for the money," Eric began to offer. "No, I'm doing research for my novel," the guard sarcastically clarified. "Whatever they're paying you, I'll double it," Eric continued. "Sorry -- my professional ethics preclude me from welching on a deal," the guard insisted with a smirk before preparing to shoot Eric, prompting Vivian to suddenly intervene.
"[So], you lied, Vivian -- [you are] his [other] boss," Eric concluded. "I'm not his [other] boss; I just loathe gore," Vivian clarified. "You buried Carly Manning alive," Eric skeptically protested. "Oh, please -- that was bloodless!" Vivian dismissively countered. "But when Kate shot me at point-blank range -- [that] was not [bloodless]. Rolf may have brought me back to life, [but now] I suffer very badly from PTSD, [so] the mere thought of blood and guts everywhere just makes me feel... [Anyway], if you'll excuse me, I will find myself a magazine to read in the next room..." Vivian concluded before starting to exit the living room.
"If you don't want to watch me shoot him, fine -- I'll start with you [instead]," the guard announced, stopping Vivian, who seemed shocked. "You don't think I'm gonna leave any witnesses, do you?" the guard reasoned.
"You can't kill me! Don't you know who I am?" Vivian indignantly protested. "A royal pain in the neck?" the guard guessed. "I am Stefan DiMera's mother!" Vivian dramatically clarified. "I'm scared," the guard claimed, feigning a shaking fit. "You should be, 'cause I was just in contact with [my son -- who], any minute, will be coming through those doors -- and if he sees that you have harmed me...oh, your life won't be worth living! So, darling...just put down the gun and leave us," Vivian sweetly advised. "[Or I could] finish you two off fast and be on my merry way before the cavalry gets here," the guard countered before preparing to shoot.
Eric protectively shielded Vivian and braced for the worst, but Ben burst into the apartment just then and started struggling with the guard for control of the gun, which eventually went off.
Eric and Vivian each breathed a sigh of relief as the guard collapsed to the floor, dead. "I know that we're not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but that man was really tedious...[and] arrogant...[and] pleased with himself..." Vivian complained. "[And] the only man who [knew] where Nicole and Holly are!" Eric pointed out, annoyed. "I'm sorry --" Ben began to stress. "Oh, don't apologize -- you finally killed somebody who deserved it," Vivian assured Ben, who wasn't amused. "I get it. There are things I've done [that] I'd rather forget, [too...but] it's Salem -- you have to make your own fun," Vivian reasoned, giving Ben a shrug.
"What are we supposed to do now?" Eric snapped. "Well, I suggest that you get the hell out of here, [because] this goon's boss is gonna show up and check on things [eventually]," Vivian advised. "Nah, there's no way Kristen's gonna show up and risk her immunity at a crime scene," Ben reasoned. "Yeah, [but he apparently] had another boss -- and now we're never gonna know who that is, either!" Eric irritably clarified. "Remind me not to save your life, 'cause you get really petulant," Vivian told Eric before sweetly thanking Ben. "I really did not want to go through that whole 'getting shot, Lazarus' thing again," Vivian admitted.
"Got a phone!" Eric, who had been searching the guard's pockets, interjected. "[But] it's locked..." Eric grumbled before starting to toss aside the device with a sigh of defeat. "Give it to me," Vivian requested. "Like that's gonna happen," Eric snapped. "Do you have to be so unpleasant? [Look], you stepped in front of me when I was about to be shot, [and] I am trying to return the favor," Vivian countered.
"Come on, fella -- I'm very good at opening things that are locked," Vivian sweetly bragged, prompting Eric to hesitantly hand over the guard's cell phone. "Let's start with the obvious..." Vivian mused while approaching the guard's bloody corpse. "What happened to your PTSD?" Eric asked suspiciously. "Luckily, it seems to only apply when it's my blood," Vivian cheerfully replied, giving Eric a shrug.
Vivian pressed the guard's left thumb against the cell phone's fingerprint scanner. "Voilà!" Vivian triumphantly declared before handing the unlocked device back to Eric, who finally managed a smile.
Victor decides to get Ciara away from Ben
Kate joined Gabi in the living room of the DiMera mansion and hopefully wondered if Stefan was going to be gone for a while.
"He has business to attend to," Gabi vaguely confirmed. "You wouldn't accept that explanation, and neither do I, [so tell me] -- what kind of 'business'?" Kate suspiciously wondered. "I suggested he spend the day with his masseuse," Gabi claimed. "Oh, God... Well, a session with Marlena would have been a better use of his time, because she could tell him that he's a psychopath -- a chip off the old block. [You know], if you hadn't walked in on [him last night] and talked him down, I would probably be in the DiMera crypt right now," Kate declared. "Well, when everything was going down with Nick, you were there for me," Gabi acknowledged.
"[And besides], you're Arianna's great-grandmother, [so] we need to stick together," Gabi reasoned with a shrug. "Seriously! We need to have a united front! [I mean], I am back in charge [of DiMera now, which means that] Gabi Chic is safe, and Stefan is what they call...'redundant'...[so you just] need to hand him those walking papers [now, and then] our revenge will be complete!" Kate enthusiastically agreed.
"I'm sorry -- I can't do that," Gabi insisted. "[But] you said that you wanted to get even with Stefan!" Kate protested. "Yes, yes -- that is what I told everybody, including myself...[and] falling in love with him was not part of the plan...but it happened!" Gabi explained with a groan, feeling like a fool. "You're not a fool; you're just human," Kate acknowledged with a sympathetic sigh, not surprised.
"Believe me, I've fallen for my share of monsters," Kate admitted, cringing at the memories. "Stefan's not a monster!" Gabi insisted. "Stefan is the son of Vivian Alamain and Stefano DiMera -- two of the biggest, most vicious, cold-blooded monsters this town has seen!" Kate countered. "And if I hadn't 'dealt with' Vivian, [then] right now, your new mother-in-law would be plotting ways to get rid of you in the most painful way possible! [You know], you're lucky [that] Stefano has vanished and Vivian's deader than a doornail!" Kate concluded before exiting the mansion. "Oh, you are in for a surprise..." Gabi muttered, shuddering.
Stefan went to the Salem Inn to see Ben, who had Vivian hidden in one of the rooms. "Oh, my darling son!" Vivian exclaimed with a squeal of delight when Ben let Stefan into the room. "I don't believe it..." Stefan muttered as Vivian seized a hug. "I've changed, haven't I? But you've changed, too!" Vivian observed as Stefan wiped away tears of joy. "Need anything else?" Ben awkwardly interjected. "No, not a thing. You can go. But remember -- you can't say anything to anyone about Mother. Not even Ciara," Stefan stressed. "I understand," Ben agreed. "Thank you," Stefan called out as Ben exited the room.
"Okay...son...I realize that you've been under a lot of stress...but would you like to explain to Mother why you sent a serial killer to rescue her?" Vivian asked incredulously once the coast was clear. "He's a different person now," Stefan replied, shrugging. "Without a second thought, he murdered one of Kristen's henchmen, [so I'd say] he is keeping up on his skills!" Vivian argued. "[But] the important thing is that, [thanks to him], you are home, and you are with me [again]," Stefan countered. "'Home' -- what a beautiful word!" Vivian excitedly declared before telling Stefan to lead the way to the DiMera mansion.
"[We can't go there] -- well, I mean, I can, but you can't...[because] the woman who shot you is living there [now...as] the new CEO of DiMera Enterprises," Stefan revealed, horrifying Vivian, who immediately reached for the hotel room's phone and dialed the front desk's number. "I'd like you to book me on the first flight to Hong Kong!" Vivian told the receptionist. "You're not going to Hong Kong!" Stefan insisted, ending the call. "Somebody has to go [over there and] tell that...simpleton Shin...that he's making the worst mistake of his life [by] railroading you!" Vivian protectively reasoned.
"You said those kidnapping charges against you were bogus, [so why aren't you back in charge]...? Oh, I know what's going on here -- he hasn't forgotten that you made such a fool of yourself over that Abigail Deveraux in a wig...or whatever she was calling herself --" Vivian continued. "Gabby...[and] she's not the problem," Stefan clarified. "Then...what is the problem?" Vivian wondered. "[The other] Gabi...[who] is now my chief ally...[and] also my wife," Stefan elaborated, again horrifying Vivian, who immediately reached for a purse and pulled out a flask. "Did your doctor [allow that]?" Stefan asked. "Oh, he insisted on it," Vivian replied.
Stefan nodded skeptically as Vivian gulped down some alcohol. "[This is] a disaster!" Vivian declared afterwards. "This is not a disaster," Stefan insisted. "Oh, that's right -- [and] neither was the Hindenburg! [Now], let me get this straight -- my murderer is now running the company, and you, my beloved son, are legally bound to that disgusting, money-grubbing little slut!" Vivian continued. "Don't talk about her like that. Gabi's my soul mate, [and] she makes me happy," Stefan stressed, prompting Vivian to gulp down more alcohol. "I expected so much for you -- so much more..." Vivian fretted, sighing dramatically.
"Okay... Mother, when we first met, you were still with Ivan, [and] you said something to me -- you said [that] love was the only thing that mattered," Stefan reminded Vivian. "Oh, Ivan..." Vivian wistfully muttered. "You still miss him, don't you?" Stefan guessed. "Oh, of course I do...[but] he's the reason you and I got separated," Vivian bitterly acknowledged before changing the subject, promising to help Stefan reclaim DiMera Enterprises, which Stefano would surely not want Kate, of all people, to be running for even a second. "Oh, believe me -- I'm not gonna let her be in charge for very long, [after] what she did to you," Stefan assured Vivian.
"Why isn't she locked up?" Vivian wondered. "She told the police that the shooting was an accident," Stefan explained. "It was no accident! [Granted, I] had trouble regaining my memory, but once it started to come back, I very clearly saw that she was standing there with a gun in her hand and, very calmly, [just] pulled the trigger!" Vivian insisted. "She [eventually] admitted to me that she killed you in cold blood," Stefan confirmed. "[And] she would have succeeded...if Dr. Rolf hadn't gotten to me [just in time]!" Vivian stressed. "[I recently] came very close to [killing her, but...a] cooler head prevailed," Stefan revealed. "Gabi?" Vivian guessed.
"Don't you understand? Gabi and Kate are working together!" Vivian worriedly warned. "No, Gabi's on my side. [She] convinced me that I'd be throwing my life away if I killed Kate. [But] just because I didn't shoot Kate, [that] doesn't mean we're not gonna get our revenge," Stefan cryptically clarified. "Ooh -- that's my boy!" Vivian declared with a squeal of delight before excitedly begging for all the gory details of Stefan's plan. "We need to somehow destroy her credibility in the minds of the board members, [so] I was thinking we could find a way to use what she did to you," Stefan elaborated, and Vivian eagerly agreed.
"This can't be rushed...[but] when it's over, [we're] gonna be back on top at DiMera, and Kate is gonna be fighting for her life," Stefan promised. "You're right -- the timing has to be perfect -- [but]...the longer it takes [for us] to take the reins from Kate... [I mean], what if Kristen's henchmen come after me [in the meantime -- or Kate finds out I'm alive and] decides to finish up the job she started?" Vivian fretted before gulping down more alcohol.
"What if I give you this?" Stefan suggested, producing Vivian's gun. "Oh, Belinda -- I missed you!" Vivian declared while kissing the gun and rubbing it lovingly. "Feel a little less vulnerable [now]?" Stefan asked. "Definitely," Vivian replied. "[Good, because I] really must get going...[but] I'll stay in touch. [In the meantime, remember to] keep your head low and stay out of sight," Stefan stressed. "You bet," Vivian agreed, grinning mischievously.
Later, while Kate was passing through the park, Vivian approached with the gun drawn. "Oh, my God... This can't be... I killed you..." Kate protested while backing away from Vivian, horrified. "A cat has nine lives. Unfortunately for you, a bitch only has one," Vivian declared with a shrug and a scowl before preparing to shoot Kate.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sarah received a phone call from Eric, who had spent the night in Chicago, looking for Nicole and Holly.
"Did I wake you?" Eric asked. "No...um, I've been up for hours. My stomach is in knots. I've been so damn scared for you," Sarah replied before changing the subject, wondering how the search was progressing.
"I got a phone off one of Kristen's men, [and] I found text messages [on it from] another goon... It was all [in a] kind of code, [but] I think [he] was saying that he has Nicole and Holly... [So], I'm gonna try to use this phone [to] pretend to be the other guy, and try to get a location on where they're at," Eric reported. "I really don't like the sound of that," Sarah fretted. "[This guy will be] on the lookout for cops. I'm not going to put Nicole and Holly's lives in jeopardy," Eric reasoned. "All right -- look, I can't tell you what to do, [so]...just promise me that you'll take care of yourself. [And] I really hope you find [them]," Sarah stressed before hanging up.
"You're a really good liar," Xander, who had been eavesdropping outside Sarah's bedroom, observed with obvious admiration. "Get out!" Sarah, who wasn't fully dressed, snapped while covering up with a blanket.
"You don't usually stay asleep so late, [so] I was just making sure you're all right," Xander explained, staying put. "I'm fine," Sarah insisted. "'Fine'? After telling Eric you hope he finds Nicole?" Xander asked skeptically. "I meant it," Sarah hesitantly replied. "That's not what you said last night," Xander recalled. "I was being selfish [then]. It's not a moment that I'm proud of," Sarah admitted. "So, you're 'fine' with being left out in the cold -- that's what you're telling me?" Xander summarized. "Nicole is the love of [Eric's] life, [and] I'd rather [be alone] than be with a man who's pining after another woman," Sarah reasoned with a shrug.
"You don't have to [be alone]; you could be with a man who only wants you," Xander stressed. "I got a queasy feeling you're talking about yourself," Sarah countered. "I'm not trying to make some joke here! [Look], I'm a different man [now], because I [met] you, [and I'm ready to] spend the rest of my life, making you happy! [I can] love you and care for you the way you deserve to be loved and cared for! You would never come second to anyone else! And I would never try and break your spirit, because it's a big part of what makes you such a beautiful person!" Xander maintained.
"That...almost sounded...sincere..." Sarah acknowledged with obvious shock, prompting Xander to boldly lean in for a kiss.
Sarah dodged Xander's kiss at the last second and rushed over to a nearby trash can to vomit -- then rushed into the bathroom in anticipation of the next wave of nausea.
"I knew you didn't fancy me, but I didn't realize I make you puke," Xander grumbled when Sarah emerged from the bathroom. "No... I mean, yes...but that wasn't about you... I don't know -- I suddenly just got super nauseous... I don't know if it's, like, nerves 'cause I'm so worried about Eric, or maybe it's just a stomach virus..." Sarah clarified. "Or maybe you're preggers," Xander jokingly suggested, but Sarah wasn't amused. "I'm a doctor. I know how to keep from getting pregnant. There's no chance," Sarah insisted. "Right..." Xander agreed before starting to carry the trash can downstairs to get it cleaned.
"Thank you for all the really nice things that you said about me. I don't really know if I believe them...but I really do appreciate it," Sarah stressed, and Xander nodded in response.
After Xander left, Sarah loaded a calendar app on a cell phone and started counting fingers. "Oh, my God -- what if Xander's right?" Sarah worriedly mused.
Meanwhile, Victor summoned Brady to the living room for a chat. "If you're gonna lean into me about Kristen --" Brady preemptively began to protest. "[This is] not about her; this is about Kate," Victor clarified. "Please tell me you didn't promote her," Brady begged with a groan of concern. "Where the hell have you been? [She's] gone!" Victor revealed, clearly annoyed that Brady, as CEO of Titan, wasn't already aware of that fact. "No!" Brady incredulously blurted out. "Yes! [She] said the only way she would stay [was] if I made her CEO," Victor elaborated, leaving Brady even more surprised.
"[Perhaps I should] have turned on you -- God knows I had enough cause to doubt your judgment -- but I didn't do it; I couldn't," Victor stressed. "Well, I'll be damned..." Brady muttered, still in shock. "That's all you have to say?" Victor asked impatiently. "Thank you?" Brady hesitantly replied. "I need to know that I've made the right choice, [and] that this tryst that you had with [that] 'Nicole'-Kristen hybrid or whatever is over!" Victor clarified. "I don't want to talk about [that]," Brady insisted, but Victor forged ahead. "This wasn't your first rodeo with either one of these mares, [so] how could you not tell them apart?" Victor wondered.
"Kristen's good. [She] tricked me," Brady explained with a shrug. "But I detest the woman, [and] nothing's gonna change my mind about that, okay?" Brady declared with finality.
"Where have I heard that before?" Victor skeptically mused. "What is it with this family? Sonny is forced to marry some two-bit hustler, Claire is out of her mind over Ava Vitali's whelp, and you can't tell one homicidal tramp from the other! And Ciara, who's supposed to be the hope of this family, thinks she's in love with Clyde Weston's serial-killer son! Well, I can tell you one thing -- [it's] gonna end, right here and right now!" Victor continued. "What ingenious plan have you come up with [to] save us from ourselves?" Brady asked. "It's not all of you, thank God -- Will is with Sonny now, and you're rid of Kristen, and Claire's getting help," Victor replied.
"[So], it sounds like you have your sights set on Ciara," Brady concluded. "She was always the smart one, the tough one... Even when she was a kid, [she] would pick up on stuff that most adults would miss," Victor recalled. "You mean...she's a lot like you," Brady summarized. "Not anymore! [She's] disappeared down a rabbit hole!" Victor complained. "And Ben Weston would be...the Mad Hatter?" Brady guessed. "It's time we circled the wagons in this family [and] stopped letting the crazies in! Ben Weston has got his father's hillbilly charm -- and, right beneath that, a sadistic streak! He has got to be eliminated from my granddaughter's life!" Victor insisted.
"Why are you telling me all this?" Brady asked. "Because you're gonna help me do it," Victor replied.
Brady rushed out of the mansion after getting instructions from Victor, who spotted Xander passing by seconds later. "Ah -- just the scoundrel I wanted to see," Victor declared before asking for Xander's help. "I'm more than happy to be of service," Xander stressed, pleasantly surprised -- and clearly willing to ignore the dig. "It's a family matter. Brady's handling part of it, [and] I need your expertise for another area," Victor began to elaborate.
Ben went to the hospital and found Ciara in one of the break rooms. "If it weren't for you, Julie may not be alive right now. My family owes you," Ciara gratefully stressed after seizing a hug from Ben. "You owe me nothing," Ben insisted. "You're a hero," Ciara maintained. "Yeah, people say that about me all the time," Ben sarcastically agreed, but Ciara wasn't amused. "Kayla said [that] if you hadn't given Julie CPR, [then] she'd be dead by now," Ciara revealed, surprising Ben. "Anyone would have done what I did," Ben argued. "I've always seen the good in you, Ben. And now my family does, too," Ciara countered.
"Is there anything I can do -- for you, for your family...?" Ben asked after Ciara shared the bad news about Julie's condition. "[I'd] kill for a decent cup of coffee," Ciara admitted. "[Then I'll] swing by the pub [and] get breakfast and coffee for everybody," Ben decided before rushing off, leaving Ciara alone in the break room -- which Brady soon entered.
Ciara again shared the bad news about Julie's condition, and Brady promised to pass it on to Victor. "I came down here, actually, for two reasons -- [because of Julie, and because] I have a proposition for you. [See], Victor and I were talking, [and] your name popped up, and we both agreed...that it's time that you join the family business," Brady told Ciara.
Xander sneaked up to the entrance of the Brady Pub and used a chokehold to knock out Ben, who had been about to step inside. Meanwhile, at the Kiriakis mansion, Victor picked up a framed photograph of Bo and sighed. "Hope tried her best, but she couldn't get the job done...and now she's afraid of losing her daughter, so she's caving. And you're not here to protect your little girl. [So], I will -- I promise you that," Victor declared.
In Chicago, Eric paced Rolf's apartment while exchanging text messages with the guard who apparently had Nicole and Holly. The guard didn't want to return to Rolf's apartment, even after Eric insisted that Nicole and Holly wouldn't be able to escape from it again, so Eric offered to deliver some supplies to the guard's new hideout instead.
After getting an address, Eric rushed off -- and eventually ended up at a seemingly abandoned cabin. Eric started searching the cabin with a gun drawn, but the guard eventually emerged from a hiding place, also wielding a gun, and forcibly disarmed Eric. "Saw you and your friends on the surveillance camera [at the apartment]. You're gonna pay for what you did to my colleague," the guard snapped before preparing to shoot Eric, who knocked the gun out of the guard's hand in a sudden move of desperation. A fight ensued, and Eric eventually managed to get the upper hand.
Once the guard was unconscious, Eric called out for Nicole, who cautiously emerged from a bedroom and seized a hug.
Victor strangles Ben
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sarah thought about Xander's suggestion that she might be pregnant. In the living room, Victor asked Sarah why she had not eaten the seafood breakfast. Sarah tamped down a wave of nausea, and Victor asked her if she was feeling well. Sarah admitted that she might have picked up a bug from the hospital.
Concerned, Sarah went to the hospital to get a blood test. Sarah entered an empty exam room, and she prepared to draw blood from her arm. Kayla entered and questioned why Sarah was attempting to draw her own blood. Sarah lied and said that she was late for a checkup. When Kayla reminded Sarah that she needed to be examined by a physician, Sarah nodded. Kayla offered to draw Sarah's blood, and Sarah agreed. When Kayla asked about Eric, Sarah admitted that Eric was still out looking for "the love of his life." After, when Kayla started to leave, Sarah offered to take the blood to the lab. Kayla shrugged.
At the doorway, Kayla stopped and reminded Sarah that Sarah could talk to her about anything. Reluctantly, Sarah admitted that she needed a pregnancy test. Sarah told Kayla about her symptoms and that if she was pregnant, Eric was the father. With a nod, Kayla countered that stress could also cause a woman to miss her period. Kayla promised to be discreet with the blood work. Sarah sighed and said, "The last thing Eric needs is me being pregnant with his baby."
When the pregnancy test results were ready, Sarah took them to the lounge so that she could digest the news in private. Slowly, Sarah opened the envelope and read the results. "Oh, my God. I am pregnant."
In a cabin outside Chicago, Eric and Nicole reunited after the police hauled off her captor. "No one's ever going to keep me from finding you," Eric whispered to Nicole. Nicole told Eric about Kristen's plan, but Eric calmed her and informed her that the police had arrested Kristen. Eric told Nicole that his promise to her to protect Holly had kept him going after he had thought Nicole had died in the fire. Eric asked if Holly was okay.
As if on cue, Holly wandered into the living room. Relieved, Eric hugged Holly tightly. Eric assured Holly that they would be going home to Salem soon. While Holly returned to her room, Nicole told Eric that she had shielded Holly from the danger of their situation. Nicole said she did not believe that Holly had suffered much trauma from the ordeal.
"All I wanted was to keep [Holly] safe," Eric stressed. Nicole told Eric that she was sorry he had been forced to mourn Holly. Eric shared with Nicole the accusations that Kristen had made, and Nicole apologized again. Nicole explained that when she had told Kristen that no one would believe Nicole would pick Brady over Eric, Kristen had devised the plan to "kill" Holly. Nicole said Kristen had not threatened Holly directly but that Kristen had used Nicole's daughter for leverage.
Eric lamented that he had not seen through Kristen's ruse earlier, but Nicole assured Eric that she had questioned her own sanity when she had first seen Kristen dressed as Nicole. Nicole said she was angry that Eric had suffered under Kristen's scheme. When Nicole expressed concern for Brady, Eric shifted his eyes away. Nicole asked what was wrong. Eric confirmed that Kristen had managed to sleep with Brady.
"Are you sure he still believed it was me?" Nicole asked. Eric said if it had been him, then he would have known that Kristen was not Nicole. With a smile, Eric said that everyone would be happy to see Holly again. "Especially Maggie and --" Eric stopped himself. With a sigh, Eric said he needed to tell Nicole something. Eric told Nicole that he had grown close to someone after he'd believed Nicole had died.
At the hospital, Brady talked to Ciara in the lounge about a job offer with Titan. Brady pitched an executive training program to Ciara. Suspicious, Ciara asked Brady if he believed she was ready to enter a program of that caliber. Ciara confided her worry that the job offer was a way to distract her from her boyfriend. Brady admitted that the family did not want Ciara to date a "psycho." Annoyed, Ciara pointed out that Brady had a sordid romantic history with psychos.
Brady admitted that he had made a mistake with Kristen, and he noted that he had once believed that Kristen could change like Ciara believed Ben could change. Defensive, Ciara complained that she and Brady could never grow closer to one another if Brady did not see how important Ben was to her. Brady expressed his reluctance to believe that anyone could change, including Ben.
"I get what it's like to find the good in someone even though they've done horrible, horrible things," Ciara said. Ciara added that it was obvious that Brady still loved Kristen. "Can you honestly say you wouldn't want one more chance with Kristen?" Ciara asked. Brady turned the conversation back to the job offer. Ciara refused to take the job if it meant giving up Ben.
Brady said that Ciara was free to date whomever she wanted because the job offer was not contingent on whether or not Ciara broke up with Ben. Ciara agreed to consider the job. As Brady started to leave, Ciara stopped him. Ciara informed Brady that Ben had saved Julie's life after Julie's heart attack. Ciara said she wanted the whole family to know what kind of person Ben was.
In the Kiriakis living room, Ben awoke tied to a chair with Xander and Victor staring at him. Ben noted that the situation was an extreme way to have a conversation about Ciara. "Ciara's love saved my life, and I'm a better man in every way because of it," Ben said. Xander's face softened. Victor told Ben that he did not doubt that Ciara had been good for Ben, but Ben would never be good enough to deserve Victor's granddaughter. Victor warned Ben to break up with Ciara. Ben refused.
When Victor noted that both Ben's father and sister were a mess, Ben argued that he was nothing like his father. Victor nodded at Xander. Xander started to untie his tie and remove it. Victor cautioned Ben to agree to dump Ciara, or Xander would break his neck. Ben laughed and noted, "Good one, gramps."
When Victor asked what was funny, Ben said he did not believe Victor would murder him because he was too smart to give Xander blackmail material. Victor nodded again, and Xander wrapped the necktie around Ben's neck and choked him.
"Now, who you calling gramps?" Victor muttered. Xander eased up on the necktie to give Ben a moment to speak. Ben refused to dump Ciara. "I will love her till the day I die," Ben said. "I'm afraid that day is today," Victor countered. Xander started to choke Ben again, but he stopped. Angry, Victor asked what was wrong.
"I promised Sarah I'm a changed man," Xander said. Annoyed, Victor complained that Xander could not do anything right. Victor noted that Sarah would never give Xander the time of day. Victor took the necktie from Xander and announced that he would kill Ben himself. Xander stepped back as Victor looped the tie around Ben's neck. As Ben struggled against the tie, Brady walked into the living room.
In the park, Vivian pointed a gun a Kate. Vivian announced that she had recovered the memory of when Kate had murdered her "in cold blood." Kate protested that the shooting had been an accident, but Vivian promised to "return the favor." Kate offered to run DiMera with Vivian. Vivian appeared to consider the offer, but instead of drawing up the paperwork, she arranged to meet with Kate in the cemetery. Kate was horrified when Vivian walked her over to an open grave. Vivian said she had no intention of running the company with Kate.
Kate pleaded with Vivian not to bury her alive like she had done with Carly and Maggie. "Who said anything about alive?" Vivian said as she pointed the gun at Kate. Kate grabbed for the gun, and it fired. Kate fell backward into the grave. After Vivian closed the coffin, she grabbed a shovel and pushed dirt into the grave as she smiled.