Eli was stunned to discover that Lani was living in Rome -- at a convent, of all places.
"Why are you dressed like a nun?" Eli asked. "Because after I take my final vows tonight, I'll be one," Lani replied with a shrug. "That makes no sense -- I mean, I just saw your dad [earlier, and] he said that you were in a committed relationship," Eli argued. "I am -- with God," Lani clarified.
"What are you doing here?" Lani asked. "I came to find Kristen DiMera," Eli replied before telling Lani everything. "You work for DiMera [now]? That doesn't even sound like something you would want to do," Lani protested. "Well, my options were kind of limited after I resigned from being police commissioner," Eli explained with obvious bitterness. "So, you work for Tony?" Lani assumed. "Gabi's CEO now," Eli revealed. "You work for Gabi?" Lani incredulously repeated. "I work with Gabi. I live with her. I share a bed with her," Eli pointedly clarified.
"I can't believe this..." Lani muttered, horrified. "Did you think I was gonna run off and become a monk after you dumped me?" Eli wondered, scoffing dismissively at Lani's habit. "You broke my heart [and] humiliated me [with] no explanation, [and] Gabi put me back together [and] showed me what real happiness is," Eli stressed. "This is so cruel..." Lani grumbled, fighting back tears. "Cruel?" Eli repeated, confused. "You can't do this, Eli, okay? You cannot be with Gabi!" Lani insisted. "Give me one good reason why not," Eli demanded.
"You know what? This conversation is over!" Eli impatiently declared when Lani didn't immediately respond. "I need to find Kristen, so...good luck...with that," Eli added, scoffing dismissively at Lani's habit again.
Meanwhile, J.J. kept a gun pointed at Kristen but found that being high -- not to mention tense with rage -- made it difficult to hold the weapon steady.
"What are you doing here?" Kristen asked. "I'm here to take from you what you took from Haley," J.J. replied with a scowl. "What's with the getup?" J.J. wondered. "I'm about to take my vows to become a nun," Kristen explained, drawing a chuckle of disbelief from J.J. "Is this some kind of sick joke? [I mean, seriously] -- you are going to become a nun? Do they know you're a murderer?" J.J. spat.
"I never meant to hurt [Haley -- I was just] out of my mind with grief --" Kristen began to stress. "'Postpartum depression' -- the magic words [that cleared you of all] charges," J.J. bitterly recalled. "I am so sorry for the pain that I caused you -- and so many other people -- [and] the only way to atone for the damage that I have done is to give myself over to God," Kristen continued.
"You think all this 'atonement' will get you into heaven? [Well], it's too late, [because] I am sending you straight to hell!" J.J. countered. "All you have ever done is hurt people and destroy lives...[but], 'Sister,' it ends now -- I am going to correct what happened in that courtroom, so...say hello to your judge and jury...and executioner," J.J. continued while clumsily cocking the gun.
"You're high," Kristen gently observed. "So what if I am? [Even] sober, I have waited for this moment -- [and] it's finally here," J.J. raved. "And [you're willing to] do anything to numb the pain [or] make it stop --" Kristen knowingly began to summarize. "What do you know about pain? You only cause it!" J.J. spat. "Yes, I have, [and] I regret all the things I've done...[but] I have learned from my actions, [which is why I know that revenge] doesn't take the pain away -- [it] only causes more," Kristen warned. "If you're trying to talk me down, [then] you failed," J.J. dismissively insisted.
"Okay -- [then] let's get this over with. Do what you need to do," Kristen urged J.J. "That's it? You're not even going to beg for your life?" J.J. asked incredulously. "Do you not think killing myself ever crossed my mind? [See], it turns out, I'm a coward...and it's a sin... But if you do it, that bullet will set me free -- my pain, my guilt...[all] gone in a flash," Kristen calmly replied.
"Believe it or not, I was raised to be very devout -- see, once upon a time, I was a social worker, [and] I volunteered with children, [and] I was a model citizen..." Kristen revealed, stunning J.J. "[But then] I fell in love...and then I lost the man I love...and then -- worse, so much worse -- I lost his baby... [See], I've buried two babies --" Kristen continued. "I've buried two lovers," J.J. bitterly stressed. "[Then] you understand [that] when life [goes] wrong, it can break you, and then you do things you never would do otherwise -- things that you never thought you were capable of..." Kristen summarized.
"[Look], I know what people think of me, but until that night, I never killed someone...and the weight of that innocent life lost [was] just too much for me...[which is why I came here], to a place where I could find something close to peace [and] do something with this pain... I thought I was gonna offer it up to God, but maybe this is a better way -- maybe...maybe God didn't want me to take my vows today; maybe he sent you to do his work... I'm gonna submit to his will [and let you] do what you need to do to be at peace," Kristen concluded before kneeling in front of J.J. expectantly.
J.J. shakily aimed the gun at Kristen's head. "It's all right, J.J. [Just] release me from my pain -- and your own. Pull the trigger," Kristen urged J.J. -- just as Eli approached.
"Do you mind? I'm kind of busy here," J.J. snapped at Eli while keeping the gun aimed at Kristen's head. "J.J., put the damn gun down --" Eli began to advise. "Your gun," J.J. revealed. "[See], I stole it from your hotel room after I stowed away on your jet. Does Gabi have any idea how much you suck as her security chief?" J.J. continued with a chuckle.
"[Now], keep being useless and get the hell out of here, 'cause you can't stop me," J.J. concluded. "Then maybe I can," Lani countered while approaching, surprising J.J.
At Salem University Hospital, Jennifer received a visit from Abigail, who quickly realized that something was wrong. "Your dad just brought me this flash drive [of] old news stories from the Spectator -- he thought maybe I could catch up on everything I missed this past year -- [but] when I put [it] into the computer [just now], I was just hit with this crazy déjà vu [from when I tried to look at Rolf's flash drive on] the night that I fell," Jennifer explained before complaining that the memory of what had happened next was still missing. "We might never know [what was on Rolf's flash drive], because it [was never] found," Abigail revealed.
Jennifer insisted that Rolf's flash drive should have been in the USB port of the Bistro's computer at the time of the fall, but Abigail was certain that Eve's case file hadn't mentioned anything about a flash drive, and a quick check of the crime scene photographs confirmed that the USB port of the Bistro's computer had been empty at the time that the photographs had been taken. Jennifer wanted to share the new information with Hope right away, fearing that Rolf might have been at the Bistro that night, but Abigail thought it would be best to hold off on that for the time being, since Hope was against the idea of reexamining Eve's case file.
"What if I take you there? What if we go back to the Bistro [and] retrace your steps together [to] see if maybe anything comes back to you?" Abigail suggested. "Let's do it," Jennifer agreed without hesitation.
Gina entered the makeshift palace and started complaining to Stefano about Abigail's sudden demand for access to Eve's case file. "Perhaps you can get your son to talk some sense into his wife [and] get her to drop this," Gina hopefully suggested. "Impossible -- for the moment, at least. Chad is out of the country, trying to procure Kristen's company shares before she signs them over to those infernal nuns. I expect to hear from him any minute," Stefano replied while staring at a cell phone expectantly. "[Well], perhaps I am overthinking this -- [I mean], it is not as if Abigail would ever find a trace of evidence against me," Gina decided.
"You are not paying attention," Gina snapped when Stefano didn't immediately respond. "I wish to hell I knew what was going on with [Chad]. I need to be out in the world, not stuck in this room with another man's face, presumed dead by almost everyone and dependent on my son to do my bidding!" Stefano complained. "[Well, in the meantime], let us hope that your son does not let you down," Gina advised with a shrug.
At the Brady Pub, Kate greeted Chad, who had just returned for lunch and more conversation. "What can I get you?" Kate asked. "Gabi DiMera's head on a platter," Chad replied with a scowl.
"[I knew] this whole idea of you rolling with [the] 'let bygones be bygones' [philosophy where Gabi's concerned was] a bunch of crap," Kate said to Chad, who hesitantly confirmed that there was a plan in place to regain control of DiMera Enterprises. "By decapitating Gabi?" Kate teasingly guessed. "Too messy," Chad grudgingly admitted. "[Anyway, my plan has] taken a bit of a hit," Chad continued. "Want to talk about it? I mean, I'm a pretty good listener...[and], happily, I am out of the game -- so out of the game -- [so] your secrets are safe with me," Kate replied, and Chad accepted the offer after a moment of thought.
"So, you're sulking 'cause you were outmaneuvered," Kate summarized after Chad explained everything. "Whose side are you on?" Chad asked Kate defensively. "Well, you know I'm not on Gabi's...but I have to give credit where it's due. Today, she came out on top; tomorrow, that could be you...and I hope it's you," Kate replied with a shrug before going to get Chad's order.
Kate returned while Chad was reading a text message. "Oh, my God -- is that a message from Stefano?" Kate asked incredulously. "I could lie to you...[but if] you promise to, uh...to keep this confidential..." Chad began before admitting to Kate that Stefano had recently resurfaced. "Oh, my God... I really believed he was dead... Maybe I should have known better than to count that man out," Kate mused with a shake of the head before impatiently wondering why Chad wasn't responding to the text message. "I don't want to [respond] until I have some good news. I don't want [him] to know that Gabi got the best of me," Chad explained.
"Do you think that's smart -- to keep secrets from Stefano?" Kate asked. "I don't want to disappoint him -- I'm afraid if I do, I'll never see him again," Chad replied with a sigh. "After parenting the likes of Kristen and Peter and Andre...believe me, you would have to do a whole hell of a lot to disappoint [your father]," Kate assured Chad.
Julie was delighted to receive a lunchtime visit from Gabi at Julie's Place but was disappointed -- and surprised -- to hear that a table for two wouldn't be necessary because Eli was in Rome. "Eli could be in danger -- [I mean], you know what [Kristen's] capable of!" Julie fretted after Gabi explained everything. "He's gonna be fine," Gabi dismissively assured Julie before declaring with a scowl that Chad was the DiMera who truly posed a threat to Eli's future -- as an employee at DiMera Enterprises, at least. "I hope you can resolve this happily for everyone," Julie stressed, and Gabi nodded in response, pretending to want the same thing.
"[After all], I know, better than most, how hard it is to let go of a grudge...but I have learned a thing or two in this long life of mine, [and one of those things is that my grudges] had no good outcome," Julie continued. "[The] things that a grudge will make you do -- crazy, take-to-your-grave kind of things..." Gabi mused with a shake of the head. "Like...?" Julie curiously wondered.
"Well...when you were in the hospital, [and] Eli asked me to donate [Stefan's] heart [to you], I refused [at first -- I said], 'Julie Williams is a spiteful, evil bitch, and I hope she dies.' [And then] I did something worse -- [see], Lani asked me, [too...and] I finally said yes -- [after] I made her beg, on her knees," Gabi eventually elaborated. "That's it?" Julie asked, waving a hand dismissively. "Isn't that enough?" Gabi replied. "You were crazy with grief...[and besides], it's a little difficult for me to feel sympathy for Lani after what she did to Eli," Julie explained with a shrug.
While passing through Horton Town Square, Gina looked up and saw that Jennifer and Abigail were standing on the Bistro's balcony. "What are they doing up there?" Gina worriedly muttered.
At the Brady Pub, Chad sent a text message to Stefano -- "Working on closing the deal. Will be in touch soon." Chad squirmed guiltily while reading Stefano's response -- "I have complete confidence in you, my son."
Stefano set aside a cell phone as the door to the makeshift palace opened. "Good -- you're here. You'll be pleased to know that Chad has the Kristen situation well in hand," Stefano began. "No, he doesn't -- your son is lying to you," Kate replied.
Lani pleads with J.J. to spare Kristen
In the convent garden in Rome, J.J. held Kristen at gunpoint. Eli pleaded with J.J. to put down the weapon, but J.J. noted that Eli could not stop him. "But maybe I can," Lani said as she walked into the garden.
"Lani? You're a nun, too?" A bewildered J.J .asked. With a laugh J.J. noted that he had to be hallucinating. Lani begged J.J. not to shoot Kristen. "You don't understand. Kristen murdered my girlfriend!" J.J. yelled. Lani said she knew about Haley. Lani stepped between the gun and Kristen. "This isn't you," Lani whispered. Lani warned J.J. that he would regret it if he pulled the trigger.
J.J. crossed the clearing, pushed Lani away, and grabbed Kristen by her neck. "Shooting this bitch in the back of the head is the only thing that will bring me peace," J.J. growled. Lani told J.J. that she had spent months with Kristen and that Kristen had shown genuine remorse for Haley's death during that time.
When Lani noted that Kristen has lost her child, J.J. countered that Kristen had used the death of her daughter as an excuse to murder Haley. Lani told J.J. that Kristen had not had the opportunity to hold her child. "I know that pain, and so does Eli. You were there for me when I lost David, so you should understand that," Lani said. J.J. warned Lani not to make excuses for Kristen.
"I'm not saying it was right, but it was out of her control. Just like it was out of your control when you shot my brother," Lani said. "I can't believe you are bringing up Theo!" J.J. yelled. Lani explained that J.J. was exhibiting the same grief that her father had shown after Theo's shooting.
"He was consumed by anger and hatred, but he forgave you. And so did Theo. And so did I. For that, understand that there is a better way. Don't punish Kristen. Forgive her," Lani pleaded. J.J. said he could not forgive the woman that had killed his only chance at happiness. Eli interrupted to tell J.J. that though his situation was different, it was possible to move on after losing someone.
"I thought I'd never find happiness again, but I did. I found a new life with Gabi," Eli said. "Are you serious? Gabi?" Kristen blurted out. A shocked Eli stammered as Kristen called him an idiot. Lani attempted to quiet Kristen, but she refused to be silent. Kristen argued that she and Lani had owned their mistakes and had vowed to be better people.
"We pray every day for healing for ourselves and for you, and how do you expect to heal when all you do is feel sorry for yourself?" Kristen said to Eli. Kristen turned her attention to J.J. "Love heals, J.J. Not murder," Kristen said. Kristen encouraged J.J. to use the love of his family to light his path forward in life.
"If you truly believe that you will find peace in pulling that trigger, then that is your choice, and there is nothing I can do about it," Kristen said. Kristen clasped her hands around J.J.'s as he held the gun. "I know this won't be the end for me. I rose from the ashes before, and I will do it again. Like the Phoenix," Kristen said. J.J. stared in silence. The bells in the convent rang. Kristen told J.J. that he would have to shoot her in the back because she and Lani had "more important things to do." Kristen put her arm around Lani, and they walked away.
"What just happened?" J.J. asked Eli. Eli took his gun back from J.J. "I wish I knew," Eli said. Eli yelled at J.J. for his recklessness. J.J. was eager for a pill but out of them. "What we need to do is get you out of here!" Eli insisted. Eli's phone beeped with a message from Gabi. J.J. encouraged Eli to handle his business with Kristen and leave J.J. alone. Eli refused to leave. "The priority is keeping your ass out of jail," Eli said.
In the church, Kristen asked Lani if she was okay. "You are so brave," Lani told Kristen. "I was terrified, but there was no way I was going to let those men shame us. Make us feel less than, when we know our truth. That we are right with God and our hearts," Kristen said. Lani thanked Kristen for standing up for her. Lani asked Kristen if she was ready to take her vows.
"No. No, I'm getting out of here. I'm going to go back to Salem and live my best life," Kristen said. Kristen took off her habit and laughed. Kristen claimed that God had opened her eyes. "I'm going to claim what is rightfully mine. My place in the DiMera family, my home, and the man that I love," Kristen announced. Kristen asked Lani if she was going to let Gabi take Eli from her.
"What Gabi did to me and Eli and Julie is bad enough, but for that bitch to just steal him for herself?" Lani said angrily. Kristen urged Lani to join her in taking back what was theirs. Lani ripped the habit off of her head. "You're damn right I am!" Lani said.
Abigail escorted Jennifer out of the hospital in Salem and over to the scene of her accident in the square in the hopes that it would jog her memory. Jennifer retraced her steps in the Bistro. "I remember. Someone came in," Jennifer exclaimed as she stood in the same spot she had been that fateful night.
In the square, Gina noticed Jennifer and Abigail on the terrace of the Bistro upstairs. "What are those nosy Horton women up to now?" Gina muttered to herself. "Hope! Is something wrong?" Jack asked as he approached Gina. Jack explained that he had been unable to find Jennifer or Abigail. "Hope" informed Jack that Abigail had dragged Jennifer to the Bistro. Jack looked up then ran upstairs.
On the Bistro terrace, Jennifer told Abigail that she had sensed someone enter behind her. "It was...Hope," Jennifer said. Jennifer nodded at "Hope" as she entered the Bistro. Jennifer explained to Jack and "Hope" that Abigail had suggested that she retrace her steps from the night of the fall.
"Mom was just on the verge of having a memory," Abigail said. Jennifer told Jack that she had remembered someone behind her. As "Hope" pursed her lips nervously, Jennifer swooned in exhaustion. Jack helped Jennifer into her wheelchair. "Hope" whispered at Abigail, "Why couldn't you just listen to me?"
"Hope" told Jennifer that the stress of the experiment had been too much for Jennifer. "Abigail, we'll see you back at the hospital," Jack said. Abigail apologized to her mother, but Jennifer smiled and told Abigail not to worry about her. Jack wheeled Jennifer out.
"You really have to stop pushing this. For your mother's sake," "Hope" said firmly. "Hope" added that all the evidence showed that Eve had pushed Jennifer. "Something in this case, it just doesn't add up," Abigail said. Abigail argued that someone had taken the flash drive that Jennifer had been using. Hope countered that the flash drive was irrelevant. Abigail was taken aback.
"Do you remember anything? Do you remember seeing a flash drive in the computer?" Abigail asked. "Hope" thought about when she had stolen the flash drive. "I don't," "Hope" lied. "Hope" explained that she had been focused on Jennifer and had not taken stock of evidence in that moment. Abigail noted that "Hope's" timeline did not add up. Confused, Abigail asked "Hope" how she could have missed the assailant when "Hope" had exited the elevator right as Jennifer had screamed.
Cornered, "Hope" changed her story. "Maybe I was still in the elevator when I heard your mom scream. Which would mean that Eve escaped down the stairwell," "Hope" said. Concerned, Abigail questioned "Hope" about her revised statement. When Abigail stated that as a reporter, she knew the importance of an accurate statement, "Hope" lost her temper.
"You've been a reporter for five seconds," "Hope" said. "Excuse me?" Abigail shot back. "Hope" apologized and claimed that she was frustrated. "You're so obsessed about this case, and it's been solved. The perp is behind bars where she belongs," "Hope" said. "But what about the truth? There are questions that have not been answered," Abigail argued. Abigail added that she could not risk her mother's safety. "Hope" hugged Abigail.
"I understand why you won't let this go. I guess there's only one thing to be done," "Hope" said. "Hope" imagined shoving Abigail off the terrace. "You said there is only one thing to be done. What is it?" Abigail asked.
At the hospital, Jack gently helped Jennifer back into her bed. Jennifer told Jack that the exercise had been good for her. Jack disagreed. Jack said that he and Jennifer needed to concentrate on her health. "And J.J. We need to focus on J.J., because I'm really worried about him. I have left him so many messages," Jennifer said. Jack stressed that J.J. had not mentioned anything about suicide.
"Don't even say that. He's just not himself, and I have no idea what he is up to," Jennifer said. Jack promised Jennifer that they would find a way to help their son. "I will find a way for us to be together as a family and happy at Christmas. All of us," Jack promised.
In Stefano's loft, he reviewed a text from Chad that confirmed that things with Kristen were under control. Stefano texted Chad, "I have complete confidence in you, my son!" As Stefano sat down, someone entered the loft. "Good. You're here. You will be pleased to know that Chad is handling the Kristen situation," Stefano told Kate as she walked in.
"Your son lied to you," Kate said. Kate told Stefano about her encounter with Chad at the pub. "Gabi outmaneuvered him," Kate added. Kate urged Stefano to act, or else he would miss out on obtaining Kristen's shares. "This isn't the first time that my son has lied to me, and it won't be the last," Stefano said. With a smile, Stefano said he was pleased that Kate had realized that waitressing was not for her.
Kate thought about an incident from ten months prior when Gabi had complained about her meal. "Can we try this again, please, or is that too much for you to handle," Gabi had said as she had shoved her plate into Kate's hand. Kate told Stefano that she had wanted to strangle Gabi that day. "But then, it got worse," Kate said.
Kate thought about the note that Gabi had left with her bill that day. It had read, "Here's the only tip you're going to get, Kate...Be a better waitress...or get a better job!" When Kate had crumpled the note in disgust, her phone had beeped with a message from Stefano informing her of his return to Salem.
"Our timing, as usual, was impeccable," Stefano said. "You knew I wouldn't be able to resist, didn't you?" Kate said as she recalled the memory of when she had discovered Stefano at the loft. Kate had been surprised to see "Steve" in Stefano's loft. "Hello, Katerina. It's been such a long time," "Steve" had said when they had first reunited. Stefano had told Kate what Rolf had done to incorporate him into Steve's body.
"I never would have chosen Steve Johnson as my host, but my choices were limited," Stefano had explained. Kate had been reluctant to believe that the man before her had been Stefano and not Steve. In an effort to confirm Stefano's identity, Kate had asked him to tell her something that only Stefano would know. Stefano had reminded Kate of when they had danced together the night he had blackmailed her into marriage. Stefano had leaned forward and had kissed Kate's neck.
"That was one of your favorite spots," Stefano had whispered. "You've come back," Kate had said through tears. Kate had asked Stefano what he'd wanted from her. Stefano smiled at the memory. "I wanted your beauty, your strength, and your passion. I wanted an ally," Stefano said. When Stefano had first reunited with Kate, he had reminded her that she loved power, and he had argued that she did not belong in a pub.
"I have an honest job. Besides, I couldn't be seen with Stefano DiMera or the likes of Steve Johnson," Kate had countered. Stefano had asked Kate to keep her job at the pub and keep her eyes open for him. Stefano had promised Kate that she would end up on the winning side. Concerned, Kate had asked Stefano why she should trust him. Stefano had pointed out that he had shown her his new face and where he lived.
"If you reveal my presence, my plan? It will be over for me. But I choose to trust you, because I believe the gamble is worth the prize, and I'm betting you will take that gamble on me," Stefano had said. Convinced, Kate had given Stefano her hand, and he had kissed it. In the present, Kate told Stefano, "I still wonder if I made the right decision, making a deal with the devil." Stefano thanked Kate for her information about Chad.
"What are you going to do about him and his lie?" Kate asked. "Nothing for you to worry about, Katerina. I will take care of my son," Stefano said. Stefano kissed Kate on the cheek. Flustered, Kate rushed out of the loft.
At the DiMera mansion, Gabi packed Chad's belongings into a bag. Chad walked in and told Gabi to stop. "It is time for you, your wife, and your bratty kids to get the hell out of my house!" Gabi barked. Chad told Gabi that she had sunk to a new low in deciding to kick out his family. Gabi said she would reconsider if Chad admitted that he could not beat her.
With a shake of his head, Chad told Gabi that Kristen would not sell her shares to anyone but family. Chad told Gabi that she would need to get a court order to remove him and his family from the house. With a smirk, Gabi reminded Chad that the last time they had fought, Chad had retreated to Paris.
"The reason that we left was because you were trying to tear my family apart," Chad muttered. Chad said he planned to stay this time. "[Abigail] gets her strength from the one thing you don't have. A heart," Chad said. Chad told Gabi that she was no match for him and Abigail together.
"You can stay for now, but you want a war? You got it. But be warned, I intend to win," Gabi said. "Bring it," Chad responded. After Gabi walked out, Chad unpacked the bag Gabi had left on his bed. Chad's phone beeped with a text from Stefano. "We need to discuss why you've been lying to your father," the text read. Chad sighed in frustration.
At the Brady Pub, Gabi texted Eli. "Did U get Kristen's shares? LMK the minute U DO!" Gabi texted. Kate walked over with a pot of coffee. "Make it hot this time," Gabi demanded. Kate swallowed her anger as she looked at Gabi with disgust.
Mackenzie receives a grim diagnosis
At the hospital, Kayla chatted with Marlena while waiting for Mackenzie's test results. "I think you've gone above and beyond the call of duty [already, and] I'm on duty for a few more hours, [so]..." Marlena eventually offered, and Kayla gratefully accepted because there were pressing matters to attend to at the Brady townhouse. "It's a very special day today -- [see], Justin's moving in with me," Kayla revealed.
"This is a big step," Marlena pointed out. "I know...[and], I have to admit, I'm a little nervous... [I mean], I love Justin, [but] I just wish that I could have had some real closure with Steve... I mean, I sent him those divorce papers as a scare tactic [to get him] to come back home, and instead, I just...I just got them back in the mail, signed... [It was] so hurtful, and so unlike Steve... [Anyway], I feel so good about moving on...[but] sometimes, a flood of memories of my life with Steve come up, and I...I just don't know... [But] I need to move on -- I mean, what am I waiting for? It's not like Steve's gonna come back," Kayla replied.
Xander watched through the window of Mackenzie's room as Sarah and Eric checked the child's temperature again. Sarah emerged from the room a short time later to let Xander know that Mackenzie's temperature had gone down a bit. "This has to be so hard on you -- [I mean], you've been there every step of the way for Mickey since she was born, and even before that..." Sarah began to acknowledge. "And now, thanks to Eric's demands, I'm literally on the outside, looking in," Xander bitterly concluded for Sarah. "I don't agree with the hard line that Eric is taking, either, [but] he's just being --" Sarah tried to explain. "An arrogant jerk," Xander spat.
"I want you to know how much I appreciate you being here," Sarah assured Xander -- just as Marlena approached with Mackenzie's test results. "I would prefer to discuss [this with Mickey's] parents first," Marlena began. "Oh, for God's sake..." Xander grumbled. "Marlena, after we go over the results [with Eric], would you please tell Xander what's going on?" Sarah requested. "Of course," Marlena agreed.
"I'm afraid the test results show that [Mickey] has neuroblastoma," Marlena revealed once alone with Eric and Sarah in Mackenzie's room. "Our daughter has cancer," Sarah translated for Eric while fighting back tears. "Is that a tumor?" Eric asked. "It is," Marlena replied. "[Then] it can be removed, right?" Eric assumed. "I'm afraid that it can't, in her case, [because] the cancer has metastasized," Marlena clarified.
"[So], tomorrow, I've arranged for an oncologist to see [Mickey] and go over all the possible treatments with you --" Marlena continued. "What kind of treatments?" Eric wondered. "It's probably a combination of -- of chemo and radiation, and -- and maybe surgery..." Sarah guessed. "After treatment...well, there's a good possibility that she could be just fine," Marlena stressed.
Later, Marlena pulled Xander aside and began to explain what was going on with Mackenzie. Meanwhile, Eric asked Sarah if Mackenzie was going to survive. "I don't know," Sarah tearfully admitted.
Ciara entered the Kiriakis mansion and discovered that the foyer was filled with boxes of stuff. "Guess Maggie's taking donations for the church's clothing drive again..." Ciara mused while cringing at the sight of a well-worn sweatshirt that was sticking out of the top of one of the boxes. "Uh, no -- [those] are my clothes," Justin defensively clarified from upstairs. "[I'm] moving in with Kayla...and I'm taking my lucky sweatshirt with me," Justin continued. "'Lucky'? Yeah, no -- I...I guess that's a word that you could use to describe that..." Ciara dryly conceded before sincerely congratulating Justin on the move.
As Justin started carrying boxes out to a car, Ciara received a phone call from Ben, who had bad news to share. "Your lawyer quit? [But] you were about to start your last appeal!" Ciara protested, outraged. "He thinks it's a waste of time," Ben explained, sounding defeated. "Did you tell him [that] we think my grandfather is setting you up?" Ciara asked. "I don't think it would have changed his mind, [since] we don't have any solid proof --" Ben replied. "[But] it's just a matter of time --" Ciara tried to stress. "You know I appreciate all the digging you've been doing, but...I think we've done all we can here," Ben countered.
"No, Ben, we haven't!" Ciara insisted. "Forget all the spy stuff -- [I mean], my father always taught me that the best approach is the direct one, [so] I'm going to go to Xander, and I'm gonna get him to confess that my grandfather recruited him to kill Jordan," Ciara spontaneously decided. "No, Ciara --" Ben tried to protest. "I don't have any other choice, okay? You're gonna be executed unless I can get Xander to confess!" Ciara pointed out. "Ciara, please, don't --" Ben tried to beg. "I'm sorry, Ben, but...I've made up my mind," Ciara stressed before ending the call.
Justin, who was still in the process of carrying boxes out to a car, returned to the mansion just as Ciara started to head upstairs in search of Xander. "He's at the hospital," Justin revealed before telling Ciara about what was going on with Mackenzie. "Is there something I can help you with?" Justin wondered. "You can trust me," Justin stressed when Ciara didn't immediately respond. "It's about Ben..." Ciara hesitantly began.
"I know how determined you are to help Ben, but confronting Xander with your suspicions is not going to accomplish what you want," Justin advised after Ciara finished explaining everything. "Xander is a career criminal. He's never going to confess anything to you, and once he knows you're gunning for him, all bets are off -- and he's a very dangerous man," Justin continued. "Okay, fine..." Ciara grudgingly agreed.
"[But] I can't just sit back and do nothing, [so]...maybe I could get Grandpa to confess [instead] --" Ciara began to suggest. "No," Justin predicted. "[Then] maybe he would open up to you --" Ciara continued. "I am the head of Titan's legal department, so if Victor confessed to me, I would be bound by client-attorney privilege," Justin pointed out. "However...there might be another way I can help you," Justin decided.
Shortly after finishing the conversation with Justin, Ciara received another phone call from Ben, who had been struggling with horrific thoughts about what Xander might do if backed into a corner. Ben breathed a sigh of relief when Ciara answered the call and promised not to confront Xander. "Someone talked me out of it," Ciara explained. "Who was it?" Ben asked. "Your new lawyer," Ciara replied.
At the Brady townhouse, Kayla drank wine while filling a garbage bag with Steve's clothes to clear closet space for Justin's arrival. Kayla also tried to throw away a framed wedding photograph but ended up hiding it in the nook of a side table instead, unable to part with it. Justin arrived shortly after Kayla finished the cleaning project, and they shared a meal to celebrate their first night together in the townhouse.
Gina continued pretending to be Hope while alone with Abigail on the Bistro's balcony. "We need to put your questions to rest -- once and for all -- [so] you have left me no choice..." Gina declared while grabbing Abigail by the arms. "But to officially reopen your mom's case," Gina continued with a forced smile, prompting Abigail to offer a hug of gratitude.
After parting ways with Abigail, Gina returned to the makeshift palace and told Stefano about what had just happened at the Bistro. "I can still hear that little pest [Abigail] buzzing about in my ear... She all but accused me of lying about --" Gina complained. "You did lie," Stefano pointed out. "Oh, shut up -- I know that, but she does not...and she never shall, thanks to a rather shrewd move on my part," Gina countered.
"[See], Abigail has learned that once a case is closed, reporters are allowed complete access to all of the evidence, so -- of course, 'in the best interest of justice' -- I agreed to reopen the case, which means that Abigail's access just went up in smoke," Gina proudly explained. "Forgive me for raining on your parade, but do you really think that's going to stop Abigail from pursuing the truth?" Stefano skeptically wondered.
Meanwhile, at the DiMera mansion, Chad and Abigail caught each other up on everything that had happened since they had parted ways at the Brady Pub earlier that day. "Ugh, that woman -- that bitch!" Abigail spat while Chad was recapping everything that had happened with Gabi earlier. "I was trying to keep [my father] in the dark [about Gabi's win], but...somehow, he found out...[and] I don't know why that would surprise me, because, I mean, after this many years in the family, uh, you know, there's one thing that I've learned -- you cannot keep a secret from Stefano DiMera," Chad acknowledged with a sigh.
"It was over a year ago," Chad pointed out while Abigail was pondering the troubling inconsistencies in Hope's account of what had happened on the night that someone had pushed Jennifer off the Bistro's balcony. "[Yeah, but]...I just feel like there's something different about Hope -- [like] maybe she's hiding something... [I mean, it's] like she's acting warm, and she's acting concerned and protective, but there's these moments where she has this anger [toward] me [for] looking into this, [as if] she's...I don't know...guilty of something --" Abigail tried to explain.
"You think that Hope tried to kill your mother?" Chad asked incredulously. "No, no, no -- I'm not -- no, no, that's..." Abigail hesitantly replied, apparently considering the idea for the first time.
"I just think [that] digging into this [has made me] skeptical of everyone..." Abigail eventually reasoned with a shrug. "[Well], Rolf is a solid lead," Chad encouraged Abigail. "[But] how do we explain the [surveillance] footage of Eve?" Chad continued. "Eve says that it was doctored," Abigail explained. "Which your uncle couldn't prove in court," Chad pointed out. "Right...[but] if anybody could outsmart a bunch of experts, it's Dr. Rolf -- I mean, that guy's a genius," Abigail countered. "I wish there was some way for me to prove if the video were real or not, but..." Abigail fretted. "Actually...there is," Chad suddenly realized.
"DiMera owns this -- this tech company, uh, that developed, uh, this artificial intelligence program [that's] really sophisticated --" Chad began to explain. "If it were so good, though, [then] how come Justin didn't use it last year?" Abigail asked. "They just developed it within, like, the last few months, so it wouldn't have --" Chad replied. "Call [them]!" Abigail excitedly requested.
Meanwhile, Gina and Stefano continued discussing Abigail. "I do realize that Abigail shall continue to dig...but at least I have slowed her down," Gina reasoned. "Perhaps...but, unfortunately, that young woman is causing problems on my end, too -- her impudence is rubbing off on my son. [He] had the audacity to lie to me tonight, [and] I have no doubt it's his wife's influence," Stefano complained.
"She appears to be a thorn in both of our sides..." Gina acknowledged. "I would have to agree...and, if things don't change, it might be necessary to have Abigail removed from the picture -- permanently," Stefano declared.
Meanwhile, Chad slept soundly next to Abigail, who was wide awake, still pondering Hope's strange behavior.
Will has an unexpected encounter with Justin
The morning after Mackenzie's diagnosis of stage three neuroblastoma, the news quickly spread -- Eric told Roman, Sarah told Maggie, and Marlena told Brady, who then told Nicole.
Maggie, alone with Sarah in the living room of the Kiriakis mansion, wondered why Xander hadn't been told about Mackenzie's scheduled appointment with an oncologist. "[Eric] doesn't want Xander around," Sarah explained. "Eric is calling the shots now?" Maggie summarized with obvious disapproval. "I don't want to have this conversation with you right --" Sarah tried to protest. "And I don't want [Eric -- a] man that hurt you so badly -- to tell you who you can and can't [allow to] get you through this!" Maggie countered.
"You did name the baby after Mickey, [remember -- and he] wasn't your biological father, but he proved that being a father is [about] a whole lot more than just giving your DNA; [it's] about the 2:00 a.m. feedings, and the changing of the diapers, [and] reading bedtime stories -- all of which Xander has done. And [Xander] was there for you, too -- all through your pregnancy -- [so] I don't think it's fair that Eric gets to say that Xander won't be a part of this baby's life [anymore] -- especially now," Maggie argued.
"I have to pick my battles right now, and Xander is not one of them," Sarah vaguely explained to Maggie before rushing upstairs to get Mackenzie ready for the appointment.
Eric ran into Nicole while en route to the hospital. "Last night, after I -- I left the hospital, I went for a walk, and I prayed, [and] I decided that God brought me into my little girl's life [right when] she really needed me, [and that] he's handling this his way -- the right way -- [and that] I can't be helping [her] if I'm bitter..." Eric began to explain to Nicole. "Does that mean you forgive me?" Nicole asked hopefully. "I, uh..." Eric hesitantly began to respond. "Let me help you through this --" Nicole begged while reaching out to comfort Eric with a hug. "I'm sorry -- I can't think about anything but my daughter right now..." Eric insisted while recoiling from Nicole.
At the hospital, Kayla caught Xander in her office, searching through a stack of files on her desk. She snatched them from him while protesting that he wasn't allowed to read people's confidential medical records.
"I didn't read any of [those] -- I'm just looking for Mickey's file," Xander dismissively explained while continuing to search Kayla's desk. "And you're not gonna read that [one], either. Eric specifically said that you were to be denied access to [Mickey's] records, [and he] is her father, [so] I have no choice but to respect his wishes," Kayla countered. "[But] I just want to know if my little girl's gonna be okay...or if I'm gonna lose the best thing that's ever happened to me," Xander fretted. "I'm sorry -- I can see that [this is] tearing you apart..." Kayla began to acknowledge, somewhat surprised. "[But] my hands are tied," Kayla apologetically maintained.
"You're gonna have to talk to Eric --" Kayla began to advise. "That would be pointless -- he won't let me anywhere near Mickey, [and] he even threatened Sarah that he'd take Mickey away from her if she let me be a part of [Mickey's] life! [He's being] so unfair!" Xander complained. "Well, maybe he thinks it's unfair that you decided that he didn't need to know that he had a child -- [and] I can't blame him [for that]. Can you?" Kayla countered. Defeated, Xander started to leave Kayla's office -- just as Sarah and Maggie exited a nearby elevator with Mackenzie.
Sarah explained to Xander that Mackenzie was back at the hospital for an appointment with an oncologist. "It's okay -- Daddy's here..." Xander assured Mackenzie after taking the child from Sarah -- and Eric approached in time to hear the statement. "I thought I made myself clear -- I don't want you anywhere near my child!" Eric snapped at Xander. "I didn't know that [Xander] was gonna be here --" Sarah began to explain. "Mickey was upset, [and] Xander has a way with her --" Maggie added. "Right..." Eric bitterly countered as Xander handed Mackenzie back to Sarah.
"You and I don't see eye to eye on a lot, [but] we both want Mickey to get through this, so...please, tell me what's going on, so I can help -- and please, let me come to that appointment," Xander begged, but Eric refused.
"Sarah knows how much you love Mickey, [so] she'll tell you what's going on [after the appointment]...and if she doesn't, I will," Maggie assured Xander after Sarah and Eric left with Mackenzie.
Outside the Brady Pub, Sonny continued a phone conversation with Gabi. "It's no problem -- I know that you're swamped, so, uh...some other time... No, you're right -- no, I'm -- I'm -- I am going through a lot, but I -- I think I can manage to have breakfast alone, uh, without falling apart," Sonny assured Gabi with feigned confidence before ending the call with a sigh and staring at the entrance to the pub apprehensively. Sonny considered trying to instead arrange to have breakfast with Evan -- who approached from behind just then and called out a greeting, making the decision easier.
Sonny and Evan entered the pub together and each ordered a cup of coffee -- from Kate, who immediately sensed that something was going on between the two men. After Kate handed over Sonny and Evan's cups of coffee, the two men claimed a table and sat across from each other there in awkward silence for a while, each taking a drink from time to time.
"I was gonna order another cup of coffee, but the waitress is kinda scaring me..." Evan eventually admitted with a chuckle. "What?" Sonny distractedly replied. "I was just trying -- unsuccessfully, it seems -- to make some lighthearted conversation," Evan explained. "Sorry --" Sonny began to stress. "No -- I am," Evan insisted. "I don't think I should have invited myself to have breakfast with you -- [you know, since] the last time I saw you, I kissed you... All you wanted to do was return my scarf, and I acted like it was a date," Evan continued. "It's no big deal," Sonny declared.
"Well, it's a big deal to me!" Kate interjected from a nearby table. "What the hell are you doing, hitting on my grandson's husband?" Kate snapped at Evan. "You are still a married man, in case you've forgotten!" Kate snapped at Sonny. "He didn't do anything; it was me," Evan clarified for Sonny. "I don't know your name --" Kate began to respond. "I'm --" Evan tried to reveal. "And let's keep it that way," Kate continued, silencing Evan. "You need to go see Will," Kate told Sonny. "He doesn't want me to, so, once again, you're shooting off your mouth when you don't know what the hell you're talking about," Sonny countered.
"Actually, Sonny, I do know what I'm talking about, [because] I went to see Will in prison, and he told me what he said to you -- [that] he wanted you to stay away -- [and] I said to him that that was ridiculous! [Look], I know that [you're] grieving about Adrienne, [but] there are so many couples in this town who have -- who have survived worse than this --" Kate argued. "My husband is in prison for killing my mother! This is more than a romantic tiff!" Sonny snapped. "You and Will have been through so much -- you love each other so much -- [and] you can't just give up like this!" Kate maintained.
"I'm gonna shove off --" Evan awkwardly interjected, but Sonny insisted that wasn't necessary. "Look, I have done everything to try and save my marriage --" Sonny tried to assure Kate. "Okay, then you need to do more, [because] Will came back from the dead to be with you! Don't give up on him like this!" Kate countered before walking away.
"Okay, so...I am really sorry I brought all [that] down on you --" Evan began to stress. "You didn't," Sonny insisted. "What do you say we finish this conversation somewhere else? I hate the service here," Sonny continued while irritably throwing some cash down on the table. Kate watched from the bar as Sonny stormed out of the pub, with Evan close behind.
"I'm taking an early lunch," Kate spontaneously informed Roman, who was too busy researching neuroblastoma to bother responding.
At Statesville, Will entered the visitor's lounge and froze in shock at the sight of Justin, who was preparing to leave. "Fancy...seeing you here..." Will awkwardly began. "Yeah... I, um, just met with Ben -- I'm representing him now," Justin explained. "Yeah, he -- he told me...and I told him that he's very lucky, 'cause you're the best," Will replied. "Well, we'll see about that..." Justin humbly countered.
"[Anyway], um...take care of yourself," Justin, who seemed just as uncomfortable as Will, concluded before starting to leave. "Uh, J-Justin? Can I, uh, talk to you? Please?" Will hesitantly called out, stopping Justin.
"Um, I -- I know I've said this, uh...a million...times before...but I just want to say, again, that I'm so sorry for what -- what happened...with Adrienne..." Will began to stress. "You don't have to say that, Will -- I know," Justin replied. "I hope you [also] know that...I loved her -- [although I guess that] doesn't really set me apart, [because] everyone who knew her loved her... [And] I know that she -- she didn't think I was good enough for Sonny...and I actually agreed with her on that...but I think [that], eventually, she came to love me..." Will continued. "She did -- very much," Justin confirmed.
"I think about her every day -- you know, her smile, and...that great laugh -- and...I will never stop hating myself for taking her away from you and Sonny... I'll, um -- I'm never gonna have, uh, peace of mind again, knowing that I'm the reason that, uh...knowing that, because of me, Adrienne is gone..." Will admitted with a sigh of regret as Justin looked away.
"She was your precious wife, [and] she was Sonny's mother...and I felt like she was my mom, too -- and not just [as] an in-law, you know, but in my heart... She was just so -- so different from Sami -- well, maybe not that different, now that I think about it; [after all], my mom [is] fiercely devoted to her kids, and highly opinionated, [and] strong-willed, [and] kind, and nurturing...just like Adrienne was..." Will continued. "I know you didn't mean to hurt her," Justin stressed, turning to face Will again. "Thank you for saying that..." Will replied, swallowing hard.
"Do you also know that, um, I told Sonny to stay away?" Will wondered. "Yeah -- he told me," Justin confirmed. "Just -- just trying to do the right thing..." Will explained with a shrug. "I don't know if there really is a 'right thing' in all of this... I know that, um, you know, a big part of this whole tragedy is what it's done to Sonny --" Justin began to muse. "You mean...what I've done to Sonny..." Will guessed. "No, I don't -- I don't mean that --" Justin tried to protest. "I understand... I -- you -- you have, uh, a lot of reason to hate me..." Will continued.
"I don't hate you; I hate what you did, [but] I could never hate you," Justin insisted, silencing Will. "You said that Adrienne became like a mom to you, [right]? Well, guess what -- I felt like a dad to you...and not just in law [but] in my heart... And a dad can be angry at his son, can be disappointed in his son, and can be hurt by his son...but he can't stop loving him. You're one of my kids, Will -- you're a part of our family, for better or worse -- and I hate that Adrienne is gone, and I hate that what you did tore you and Sonny apart, but I still love you, no matter what," Justin stressed.
Will stared at Justin in stunned silence. "I can't believe you just said that..." Will eventually began to respond, turning away from Justin. "Well, it's the truth," Justin insisted with a shrug. "'The truth' is that you and Adrienne invited me into your family, and because of me, you are all alone," Will argued. "Platitudes are, uh -- are often very...irritating...but they're also sometimes very true...[like this one] -- 'life goes on' --" Justin tried to assure Will. "What a life..." Will sarcastically countered. "I'm not alone, Will -- Kayla and I are together now," Justin continued, surprising Will again.
"Are you -- are you...happy?" Will asked hesitantly, turning to face Justin again. "Yeah, I am," Justin confirmed with a smile. "We're great friends, beyond anything else, but we've also grown to love each other deeply...and, as crazy as it sounds, we're, um...we're living together now," Justin continued. "I...I'm glad -- I...I...I'm glad to hear you say that..." Will stressed, fighting back tears.
"Don't give up on life -- not yet, not ever..." Justin advised before giving Will a hug.
After Justin left, Will received a visit from Kate. "I've come to tell you something -- you need to get over yourself and start fighting for Sonny, or you're going to lose him forever," Kate began. "I saw him this morning -- with a guy he apparently kissed," Kate continued. "Sonny...kissed another man?" Will repeated, stunned. "Well, technically, I -- I...I suppose the guy kissed him...but I -- I really don't think that matters; I recognize chemistry, you know?" Kate stressed. "I am so happy that you shared that with me..." Will sarcastically muttered. "Okay, well, look...it's Rafe's nanny, 'Ethan something' --" Kate elaborated. "Evan," Will clarified.
"Ari and I see, uh, him and -- and David in the park sometimes... He's...he's a nice guy..." Will continued. "Sonny doesn't need 'a nice guy'; Sonny needs you -- and you need him, you idiot!" Kate argued. "I love talking to you so much..." Will sarcastically muttered. "The two of you are meant for each other! You have lost so much already --" Kate tried to argue. "Yeah, well, he's lost so much more...and I'm the one who took it from him, so maybe it's time that you and everybody else get used to the fact that I have let him go," Will countered.
"You are not going to be spending your life here -- you're gonna be getting out, [and] you're gonna have the best years of your life ahead of you, [and] you should be spending them with Sonny!" Kate reasoned. "I hate the thought of Sonny with another man, [but] --" Will began to argue. "Then do something about it! [Just]...please, stop pushing him away -- you're giving him an excuse to forget about you!" Kate advised.
Meanwhile, at the park, Sonny continued complaining to Evan about Kate. "I'm sorry I talked about kissing you --" Evan eventually began to reiterate. "It's not a problem," Sonny maintained. "Actually, I'm sorry I did kiss you -- [and] it's not that I didn't enjoy it; it's just...you know, with everything you're going through...[and given the fact that] you're still married... [Look, I was just] having such a great time [with you, and] I didn't think," Evan continued. "You don't have to apologize -- Kate did not throw that fit because of you. This is -- this is happening because...I'm letting Will push me away," Sonny acknowledged.
"We tried to get over what he did to my mom...but it's just too hard --" Sonny began to explain. "Understandable," Evan declared. "And...I just don't know if I can find a way to ever forgive him, so...when he asked me to stay away, I didn't fight him on it," Sonny continued. "Look, I know you're going through a bad time, and I know you're still married, and I respect that... I don't want to make things tougher on you, so...I think...you know, I should just keep my distance --" Evan tried to reason. "I don't want you to leave. The truth is, I -- I -- I could really use a friend right now, and...and I like you," Sonny protested. "I like you, [too]," Evan stressed.
"But, to be honest...the way I feel about you -- it...it goes beyond friendship," Evan continued. "Well, there aren't many people that I can talk to the way that I can talk to you, [so] I don't want to lose that," Sonny maintained.
Evan locked eyes with Sonny -- whose cell phone rang just then. "It's the prison -- must be Will," Sonny explained. "Right... are you gonna answer it?" Evan wondered.
"I need to see you," Will began when Sonny answered the call.
Kate returned to the pub and started complaining about what was happening with Will and Sonny but soon realized that Roman wasn't listening.
Roman told Kate about what was going on with Mackenzie, already sounding resigned to the worst possible outcome. "Remember when I was diagnosed with cancer? [You know], everyone thought I was on my way out, but I was so bound and determined to fight it -- and I did, and look at me now! [Listen], if your little granddaughter is anything like your son and Maggie's feisty daughter, then she's gonna fight, too -- [and] she's gonna beat this thing," Kate stressed, and Roman nodded in agreement, suddenly feeling a bit better.
At the Brady townhouse, Justin confided in Kayla about the earlier encounter with Will. "It was rough... [But], driving back from the prison, I thought about you -- that I could tell you about it, and that you'd understand -- [and] that was such a comfort to me... [But] then...I thought about Sonny, and how he and Will have to go through this whole thing all alone..." Justin fretted. "[Well], maybe they will find a way back to each other...or they'll find a way to move on," Kayla suggested, and Justin nodded in response.
After meeting with an oncologist, Eric and Sarah began preparations to leave town with Mackenzie -- news that stunned Nicole and Xander.
Software proves the Eve video is doctored
Ciara told Ben about Mackenzie's cancer diagnosis. "Xander is losing his mind. The guy's a monster, but he is nuts about that baby," Ciara said. When Ben asked Ciara what the news was, Ciara said that she did not want to take advantage of someone in a vulnerable state, but she intended to befriend Xander. Ciara justified her plan by noting that Ben's situation was life and death. Ben warned Ciara that Xander was already suspicious of her.
"If grandpa can put you on death row for nothing, then he can go to hell," Ciara grumbled. "I can't lose you," Ciara added. Ben said he felt the same way, and he begged Ciara to let Justin handle the situation so that she did not get herself killed. "I can't avoid Xander. I live in the same house as him. I work with him. But I won't do anything stupid," Ciara promised. When the guard looked away, Ciara and Ben kissed. Ben grunted.
"What's wrong?" Ciara asked. Ben lied and said that his pulled muscle hurt. Suspicious, Ciara demanded to know the truth. "I got shivved," Ben admitted. Ben explained that the wound was superficial and that he was fine. When Ciara asked for details, Ben told her about Clyde and Will. Worried, Ciara asked how long Clyde would be in solitary. Ben quietly assured Ciara that he would be fine. Ben returned to his cell and found a dead rat in his bed.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sarah told Xander that she was leaving town with Eric and Mackenzie for Mackenzie's cancer treatment. Xander begged to go with Sarah, but she refused because Eric would not allow it. Sarah told Xander that she wanted Xander with her in Boston, but she needed to focus on Mackenzie. When Sarah added that Xander needed to run Titan, Xander said he would give up his job in a heartbeat for Sarah and the baby. Sarah asked Xander to stay, and he reluctantly agreed.
"I know how unfair it is to ask you to stay behind, and I know how much you are going to miss her," Sarah said. Sarah promised to update Xander. "Babies are the most resilient patients in the world," Sarah added. In tears, Sarah blamed herself for not noticing that Mackenzie was ill sooner.
"You're human, which is more than most people say about me," Xander said. Wiping away tears, Sarah said she needed to pack. Xander asked to say goodbye to Mackenzie. When Sarah returned with the baby, Xander held Mackenzie in his arms and fussed over her. Xander asked Sarah if she could take the teddy bear that he had gotten for Mackenzie, but Sarah said she needed to keep Mackenzie's room sterile.
"My father taught me to be a fighter," Xander whispered to Mackenzie. Xander asked Mackenzie to fight. Sarah promised to call Xander from Boston. "I love her so much. And I love you. It's not going to change, no matter how long you are gone," Xander said. "Goodbye, Xander," Sarah said as she carried Mackenzie upstairs.
In Eric's apartment, Nicole told Eric that she would pray for Mackenzie to get better. Eric made a dismissive comment about Nicole's prayer, but Nicole explained that she had prayed every day since she had first worked with Eric at the Horton Center. "And now I pray that you will forgive me," Nicole said. Eric lashed out at Nicole for keeping his daughter away from him.
"This was Sarah's secret to tell. She begged me," Nicole said. Eric argued that Nicole had kept Sarah's secret for selfish reasons. Fighting tears, Nicole reminded Eric that he had counseled her that it was God's plan to forgive. Nicole added that she had taken Eric's advice, and she had forgiven Eric for killing Daniel. Nicole said she had expected Eric would do the same for her. Eric's face fell.
"I didn't mean to throw Daniel in your face," Nicole said. Nicole offered to find another apartment. "I don't know how long I'm going to be in Boston. You can stay. As long as you want. Or move," Eric said. With a nod, Nicole said she knew it had taken her a long time to forgive Eric for Daniel, and she planned to wait for Eric.
"It was two years after Daniel died, waiting for you to forgive me. You wait as long as you want," Eric said. Nicole asked Eric if he could update her about Mackenzie. Eric suggested that Nicole speak with his family instead. As he left, Nicole wished Eric luck.
At Titan, an emotional Xander punched his desk. Xander looked at his photo of Mackenzie and Sarah. Ciara entered with a stack of files for signing. "Leave it!" Xander shouted. As Ciara placed the files on Xander's desk, she said, "I heard about Mackenzie. Xander, I'm really sorry." Xander asked Ciara to overnight a gift for Sarah to Boston. Xander pulled his lockbox out of the cabinet, and he told Ciara that inside was a bracelet from his mother.
"It is used to ward off evil," Xander explained. Xander's key did not open the box. "It's always opened it before, and now it doesn't," Xander said as he scowled at Ciara. Ciara suggested that Xander might have the wrong key. "It isn't the right box. Somebody switched it out. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?" Xander asked.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Eric and Sarah carried their bags downstairs and prepared to leave for the airport. "This is going to be her first flight," Sarah said as she started to cry again.
Jack took Jennifer home from the hospital. With a grin, Jack scooped Jennifer in his arms to carry her over the threshold. Jennifer reminded Jack of his bad back, but he ignored it. "That was very romantic," Jennifer said as Jack placed her on the couch. "My back says you're welcome," Jack joked. When Jennifer asked about the empty house, Jack said he had not wanted to overwhelm Jennifer too quickly. Jack told Jennifer that Abigail planned to visit.
"I'm sorry. You wanted a party," Jack said. Jennifer assured Jack she was fine. "We never did have a wedding night, you know?" Jack pointed out. Jack grabbed the photo album and showed it to Jennifer. Jennifer smiled at their wedding photos then sighed sadly when she saw a photo of Adrienne.
"What a difference a year makes," Jennifer said. Jack said they had spent too much time apart in their lives, and he promised that nothing would keep him away from Jennifer ever again. After a quick kiss, Jack told Jennifer he had a surprise for her. When Jack returned from the kitchen, he presented Jennifer with a wedding cake.
"It was bought with love," Jack said. Jack explained that his attempt at baking had failed. "I love this cake, Jack!" Jennifer squealed. Jack and Jennifer cut the cake together. As Jack and Jennifer ate cake, they discussed the details of their missed party. Jack lamented that he had not taken dance lessons, but Jennifer told Jack that she loved the way he held her when they danced. Jennifer suggested that they have their first dance. Jack took Jennifer in his arms, and they swayed back and forth.
At the police station, Abigail and Chad told "Hope" that they had new software at a tech firm that could review the footage of Eve for anomalies. "I really wish you had spoken to me before you consulted this person," Hope said. Hope explained that since the case was reopened, civilians could not review the footage. Rafe suggested that they use Chad's expert friend as a consultant. Reluctantly, "Hope" agreed. Rafe offered to set up the footage for the expert to review.
When the expert arrived, Chad introduced him to "Hope" and Rafe as Buck Darrow. Rafe escorted Buck, Chad, and Abigail into the room where he had set up the footage. Alone in the bullpen, "Hope" called Stefano and left him a message detailing the situation with the footage. "You must get me on a plane out of the country," "Hope" whispered. "Hope" saw Rafe, and she ended her call. "Did you say you're leaving the country?" Rafe asked.
Hope lied and said that Shawn and Belle would not be home for Christmas, and she wanted to visit them in Hong Kong. "You're going to miss the Horton family Christmas," Rafe noted. Chad and Abigail returned and announced that Buck had determined that the video had been doctored. Buck noted that his technology could unscramble the edits to reveal the original footage.
"You're about to find out who your culprit really is," Buck said. "Hope" started to cough, and she excused herself to go retrieve a glass of water. "Hope" called Stefano again for help. "Time is running out for me. Where are you?" "Hope" asked frantically. Rafe followed "Hope" into the main area of the precinct and asked where she was going.
Chad left to meet the Titan jet at the airport, and Abigail promised to keep him updated. "It shouldn't be much longer," Buck said. "Oh, my God," Abigail whispered as Buck clarified the image of the assailant.