At the Evans-Black townhouse, Claire checked Ciara's wedding dress for wrinkles while raving to Marlena that the big event was going to feature the most beautiful bride ever. "That's because she has such a conscientious maid of honor," Marlena declared, studying Claire critically. "Well, I just want to make sure that everything is perfect for her," Claire explained, giving Marlena a shrug.
"It was very generous of Ciara [to] give you the benefit of the doubt after what happened -- [you know], the nail polish on the wedding gown, [the] missing engagement ring..." Marlena stressed, still studying Claire critically. "Who told you about that?" Claire asked. "Nobody had to tell me about that -- I've been watching you very closely; that's a condition of you being out of Bayview," Marlena replied. "Okay... [Well], I really hope you know that I would never do something so cheesy and awful as destroying my best friend's wedding dress!" Claire assured Marlena, who silently expressed skepticism.
"Well, uh...I mean, I wouldn't do something like that now -- not after I worked so hard to get better!" Claire backpedaled. "I'm actually doing everything I possibly can to make it up to Ciara -- I am going to be the best maid of honor that anyone has ever had! [Of course], I really wish that I'd had time to throw her an actual bachelorette party...but at least we went out for drinks with Allie last night," Claire continued before pausing to confirm Marlena's hope that Allie hadn't consumed any alcoholic beverages. "[Anyway], it was really, really fun -- yeah, almost like old times between Ciara and me..." Claire concluded before rushing off with the dress.
Ciara was at Hope's house, sleeping on the couch, when a wave of nausea struck.
Ciara rushed off to the nearest bathroom then emerged from it a few minutes later and fretted to Hope that being sick on the day of the wedding might be some sort of sign. "It's not a sign," Hope insisted, assuming that Ciara had simply consumed too much alcohol the previous night. "I only had one drink," Ciara protested. "[Well], you don't seem to have a fever, [but] it could be the stomach flu... [Or]... Is there any chance [that]...you could be pregnant?" Hope suggested. "No, I can't be pregnant -- I'm 100% sure of that," Ciara decided after some thought.
"Okay... Well, I don't think it's food poisoning -- that would have kicked in a few hours after you ate..." Hope continued, causing Ciara to suddenly think of another possibility -- just as Claire entered the house with the dress.
Hope rushed off to the nearest pharmacy to buy some medicine, leaving Ciara alone with Claire, who dramatically fretted that it was unbelievable that the bride was experiencing so much bad luck. "What the hell did you do to me, Claire Brady?" Ciara demanded to know, eyeing Claire suspiciously. "You were the one who said that we had to go out last night, you were the one who bought me my drink, and you were the one who made fun of me for getting sick that time in high school when we drank too many Zombies!" Ciara reminded Claire. "Ciara, I would never try and make you sick!" Claire insisted, but Ciara wasn't convinced.
"Three strikes -- you're out," Ciara decided. "I don't want you to be my maid of honor, I don't want you at my wedding, and I never want to see your face ever again!" Ciara elaborated before ordering Claire to leave.
Claire tried to protest, but Ciara felt another wave of nausea just then -- one that didn't arrive with enough warning for a trip to the bathroom. Claire managed to protect the dress from Ciara's vomit but got caught in the crossfire. "I'd do a lot worse than that to you if I wasn't feeling so rotten," Ciara spat. "All I wanted to do was make your wedding day special --" Claire sadly stressed. "Oh, it's 'special,' all right..." Ciara bitterly admitted. "I wanted my best friend back --" Claire insisted. "You are not my friend -- and you never were!" Ciara countered, prompting Claire to leave the house in tears -- just as Hope returned.
Ciara fainted while explaining what had happened, prompting Hope to dial 9-1-1.
At the Salem Inn, Ben awoke to the sight of a woman who was wearing a wedding dress. "Ciara, I thought you didn't want me to see you in that dress [before the wedding]..." Ben began, prompting the woman to turn around. "Jordan?" Ben realized. "You can't be here..." Ben protested. "Eh, I'm dead -- I get to take dramatic license," Jordan reasoned with a shrug.
"This is a nightmare..." Ben decided. "I am your conscience, Ollie," Jordan explained with a flourish. "This isn't happening..." Ben maintained. "[You know], I was a good sister to you; [I used to] always take care of you, [because] that's what I did -- I was a caretaker. [But when I was finally] on a path to finding real happiness [myself], you stole that happiness away from me! Rafe loved me, and I could have married him, and we would be raising David together [right now]! It should be me in a dress like this! You ruined everything for me!" Jordan spat.
"No, I tried to save you, Jordan! [Look], it was David's father who killed you --" Ben tried to clarify. "If it hadn't been Christian, it would have been you -- we both know that! I mean, they put you on death row [and] almost executed you because everyone knew that you had it in you!" Jordan countered. "Not Ciara! She believed in me, [even] when I didn't believe in myself, Jordan -- she saved my life!" Ben stressed. "[And then she] helped you 'find the true meaning of love' [or whatever]," Jordan tiredly summarized. "She did," Ben insisted. "And, today, she's marrying me," Ben concluded.
"Poor little deluded girl... [You know], one day, Ciara's gonna look back [and] know that her wedding day was the absolute worst day of her life, [because] one of these days, she is going to get on your nerves, [and then] you will just snap, just like you did the last time..." Jordan predicted. "I have never hurt Ciara -- and I never will," Ben protested. "[And then] you will grab [a necktie and] wrap it around her neck, tighter and tighter, until... [It might even happen] on your wedding night -- you know, maybe [because of] something she does...[or] doesn't do..." Jordan continued, ignoring Ben's objections.
"It's a really brutal way to go -- I should know," Jordan, who had donned the necktie that went with Ben's wedding suit, concluded before suddenly pulling the ends of the item in opposite directions.
Marlena was still at the Evans-Black townhouse, trying to decide if Claire could be trusted, when a clearly shaken Ben called and begged for an emergency meeting.
Marlena rushed over to the Salem Inn to see Ben, who managed to stay composed long enough to give a summary of the nightmare but broke down immediately afterward. "You've got a lot going on -- you know, it's a huge life change, [this wedding in which you'll be] committing to being with Ciara for the rest of your life -- and marriage is complicated [and] does not come without a lot of stress attached to it," Marlena reasoned. "I thought I was gonna be alone for the rest of my life -- [you know], I thought it was safer that way..." Ben admitted, apparently beginning to allow for that possibility again.
"You're doing everything right; [I mean], you're staying on your medication, [and] you're continuing your therapy, and your illness is under control --" Marlena tried to assure Ben. "But that doesn't necessarily mean [it will be] forever...right?" Ben argued. "Well...I mean, uh...I can't guarantee that -- nobody can guarantee that," Marlena conceded. "[So], the person that I once was -- [the person] that did these horrible, unspeakable things -- [is] still inside of me, isn't he? [And] that Ben Weston -- that killer that my sister was just railing against in my dream -- he's always gonna be a part of me, won't he?" Ben assumed.
"I never would have gotten out of Bayview [or] met Ciara if it weren't for you, and I didn't deserve your support, Dr. Evans -- not after what I did to Will -- [so you can] be honest with me," Ben stressed, shaking with concern. "May I tell you how gratifying it's been to me to see how hard you have worked to get well? And I know Will feels the same way, or he never would have agreed to be your best man," Marlena countered with a warm smile. "Yeah..." Ben conceded, starting to calm down a bit. "Anything else I can do for you?" Marlena offered. "Honestly, I feel a lot better now -- thank you," Ben replied.
"[Well, then]...I imagine you have to get ready for the wedding, [so] I will see you there..." Marlena said while standing to leave. "I'll look for you," Ben promised. "I'm on the groom's side," Marlena declared with a wink. "Well, I appreciate that, but you, uh...you might be alone -- I don't really have that much family, other than Clyde...and he's in the joint..." Ben admitted with a sigh. "You know, this is probably, uh...probably a weird thing to say to your therapist, but...you kind of make me feel like I have some type of family -- a normal one..." Ben revealed before asking for permission to seize a hug -- a request that Marlena decided to grant after some thought.
After Marlena left, Ben started to get dressed -- but Jordan soon reappeared in the hotel room, still wearing a wedding dress. "I know you're not really here," Ben stressed. "[But] I am in your head, I am in your heart, [and] I am in your soul," Jordan bragged. "Leave me alone, or I will --" Ben began to warn. "What, kill me?" Jordan concluded with a mocking laugh.
"You're hallucinating -- [and] that's what crazy people do," Jordan pointed out, drawing a gulp of concern from Ben.
At the Evans-Black townhouse, Claire vented to Marlena, who acknowledged that Ciara's suspicions were understandable. "Why doesn't anybody believe in me?" Claire grumbled before storming out of the townhouse, ignoring Marlena's protests. Meanwhile, at the Salem Inn, Ben received a phone call from Ciara that caused Jordan to disappear again. "I don't think we can get married today," Ciara informed Ben after explaining everything.
Gabi went to the auto repair shop to see Jake, who was stunned to learn that Vivian had died the previous night after suffering a heart attack. "Guess it was all a little too much for her -- [you know], finding out that the son that she loved didn't actually come back from the dead [but did have an] identical twin [who was] a lowlife mechanic..." Jake mused with a sigh. "I'm really sorry for your loss," Gabi stressed.
"I hate to drop news on you like this and leave... Where's Gwen?" Gabi continued. "Out spending the DiMera fortune she's certain I'm going to inherit," Jake grumbled. "Well, I don't know if this helps or not, but Rafe told me Ivan's gonna have some sort of wake for Vivian this morning," Gabi revealed. "I wouldn't know anybody there," Jake noted. "I could go with you," Gabi offered. "You didn't even like her," Jake recalled. "You wouldn't have liked her, either," Gabi predicted. "Why would you do this for me? I'm nobody to you," Jake argued. "You are Stefan's brother, [so] you will always mean something to me," Gabi reasoned.
"I'm sorry for the way that I treated you last night," Gabi whispered. "You were grieving for your husband all over again, [and] you needed to do it alone," Jake acknowledged.
"Just like I need to do this alone, so...thank you for the offer, [but]..." Jake continued. "Sure... Maybe we will see each other again sometime..." Gabi replied. "Maybe," Jake agreed as Gabi exited the shop.
Kate went to the cemetery and found Vivian's casket. "Here's to you, Viv," Kate, who was holding a bottle of Champagne in one hand and a glass in the other, began while opening the bottle and filling the glass. "When I woke to the news that you had croaked, it was like a tonic -- I practically skipped here to see you laid out, and the air smelled fresher, and the birds sang sweeter, and..." Kate continued before releasing a sigh of contentment. "[So], did you die a wretched death? Because after everything that you have done to me [over the] years, you damn well better not have gone gently into this good night," Kate concluded before taking a drink.
"Well, I guess it doesn't really matter how it happened -- [the bottom line is that], finally, you have gotten what you deserve," Kate decided after some thought. "Or have you? Because, honestly, [it] would be just your style [to] stage your death -- you know, to give me false hope... I could be talking to an empty coffin right now!" Kate suddenly realized.
"I suppose there's only one way to find out..." Kate acknowledged before starting to open the casket -- just as Ivan arrived. "What are you doing?" Ivan demanded to know. "Vivian was my lifelong nemesis -- I want to see, with my own eyes, that she's really dead," Kate explained. "I was at the police station yesterday when she collapsed," Ivan reported. "Did she suffer?" Kate begged to know. "The paramedics worked on her for quite some time," Ivan continued. "Pounding on her chest, like on TV?" Kate assumed, relishing the mental image. "Yes... Then they said there was no use -- she...died instantly," Ivan concluded. "Damn it!" Kate grumbled.
"[Actually, wait] -- why would I believe a word that you had to say? You did her bidding for years; if she asked you to stage her death, you'd do it," Kate decided after some thought. "Madame died in front of half of the police staff," Ivan stressed. "Oh, I see... Okay... [Well, then], if everything is so on the up and up, why did you stop me from taking a look at her?" Kate countered. "I would hate to disturb her eternal slumber..." Ivan reasoned. "Did you really just say that to me?" Kate protested. "But if that's what it takes to satisfy your ghoulish obsession..." Ivan conceded before opening the casket with a sigh.
"She looks pretty peaceful for someone whose soul is burning in hell..." Kate observed before starting to pour some Champagne on Vivian's seemingly lifeless body -- just as Jake arrived. "Looks like I got here just in time," Jake mused. "Jacob," Ivan said to Jake with a hint of gratitude, relieved that Kate hadn't managed to do anything to Vivian's body. "It's --" Jake tried to remind Ivan. "Your dear mother made it clear that, had she known of your existence, she would have preferred a name with a more...continental flair...[so] I took the liberty of adding a few consonants to your name in her obituary," Ivan explained with a shrug, surprising Jake.
"I made her obituary?" Jake repeated. "Well, why wouldn't you? I mean, you're her son...though not her precious son, as she suspected," Kate acknowledged. "No -- just his not-so-precious twin brother," Jake conceded. "But one that shows great respect in being here for her funeral," Ivan stressed. "Well, I may not have known the lady, but she was my birth mother, [and] it's my last chance to see her..." Jake reasoned. "Madame was a wonderful woman," Ivan declared with a sigh. "'Madame' was a vicious viper!" Kate countered with a scoff. "Don't listen to her," Ivan advised Jake. "You weren't a fan of Vivian's?" Jake said to Kate.
"Let me buy you a drink [and] tell you a few stories about your Mommie Dearest -- perhaps ease your loss when you find out how lucky you are never to have known the bitch," Kate offered while leading Jake away.
"Madame, I'm awfully sorry you had to endure such a vicious attack from Katerina -- I don't know how you stood it..." Ivan stressed once the coast was clear. "Wasn't easy," Vivian admitted, sitting up in the casket.
Outside the Brady Pub, Kate finished telling Jake about Vivian's past then handed over the bottle of Champagne and walked away -- just as Gabi approached the restaurant.
At the cemetery, Vivian and Ivan celebrated their success with a bottle of Champagne. "I've learned one thing from this experience, Ivan -- it's not easy being dead," Vivian declared with a sigh. "You don't know how hard it was, listening to Kate fill my son's head with all those lies --" Vivian continued. "In the interest of fairness, Madame, they were -- " Ivan began to point out. "Bite your tongue!" Vivian snapped.
"I can't believe I have to abandon him now that I've found out he's mine," Vivian admitted, sighing again. "Madame, he's an adult, and these transitory maternal feelings are a side effect of the drug you ingested," Ivan argued. "Oh, that's true -- they worked very well, didn't they? [I mean, even] the paramedics thought I was toast," Vivian bragged. "Well, you are lucky Dr. Wu has not gone into retirement," Ivan acknowledged. "Oh, he has served me so well over the years..." Vivian agreed. "My favorite was, Madame, when you drugged Carly Manning," Ivan revealed. "Oh, yes -- and buried her alive. That was heaven!" Vivian recalled.
"I'm so glad you showed up at the police station so you could extricate me from my legal problems," Vivian stressed. "A word of advice, Madame -- if you're going to shoot up a wedding, it's best that you don't choose the mayor's daughter as your target next time," Ivan advised. "And there will be a 'next time,' Ivan -- there always is," Vivian conceded.
Ben and Ciara's wedding starts
Inside St. Luke's Church, Julie practiced officiating Ben and Ciara's wedding. When Julie announced that the groom could kiss the bride, Doug pulled Julie close. "I will be, repeatedly," Doug said with a chuckle. "Not now. I need to keep practicing," Julie said. Doug noted that Julie was on edge.
"This wedding is going to go off without a hitch, especially since Claire and Ciara have finally mended fences," Doug said. Doug cautioned Julie not to rehearse too much. With a shake of her head, Julie said that if she let down her guard, things would go wrong. When Doug argued that nothing would go wrong, Julie reminded him of Rafe and Hope's wedding when they had learned that Rafe had slept with Sami.
"Is there anything Rafe could have done that would have hurt Hope more?" Julie asked. "Did I just hear my name?" Rafe asked as he walked into the church. Julie admitted that she had mentioned Hope and Rafe's wedding as a cautionary tale. "On a happier note, we are thrilled that you are walking our granddaughter down the aisle," Doug said. Doug thanked Rafe for being a father figure to Ciara after Bo's death.
Rafe excused himself to wait out front for Ciara. Doug asked Julie if she was still nervous. Julie admitted that she felt better, but she was still nervous. "That's your most beautiful girl in the world smile," Doug said. "Despite all my complaints and all my anxieties, I do understand that I am quite a handful sometimes," Julie said. Julie told Doug that he was the most wonderful man in the world. "You make me so happy," Julie said.
Doug encouraged Julie to look at him during the ceremony if she had any trouble. Julie warned Doug not to sing anything to her. "No promises," Doug said. "What would I ever do without you?" Julie asked. "Well, you're never going to have to find out," Doug countered.
Belle arrived at the penthouse, and hugged Marlena and John hello. When Allie entered the living room, Belle said, "I had no idea you were pregnant." Allie admitted that she had sworn everyone to secrecy, but Sami had learned the truth anyway. "Sami didn't know? How'd that go over?" Belle asked. "As you would expect," John said. Marlena urged Belle to get ready for the wedding. As Belle grabbed her suitcase, Claire walked into the living room.
"I thought you'd be at Hope's, helping Ciara get ready. Aren't you the maid of honor?" Belle asked. "Not anymore," Claire grumbled. Belle hugged her daughter as she cried out, "How could she do this to me? This is just so unfair!" Belle urged Claire to calm down and tell her what had happened. Claire said that Ciara was sick and blamed Claire. When Belle asked Claire why Ciara blamed her, Claire yelled, "Forget it!" Claire stomped back to her room.
At Hope's house, Shawn greeted his mother. Hope told Shawn that Ciara was in the hospital and suspected that Claire had drugged her to make her sick. "It's a theory," Hope said. With a nod, Shawn agreed that it was only a theory. "This isn't and wouldn't be the first incident," Hope said. Hope argued that Ciara should not spend her wedding day worried about her maid of honor.
"It breaks my heart because I was just so hopeful that Claire was like herself again, and that she had made amends to Ciara and everybody she's hurt," Shawn said. Hope admitted that she had been hopeful, too. "My focus has to be on Ciara today. Your sister deserves a happy, peaceful wedding," Hope said. With tears in his eyes, Shawn nodded yes.
Xander arrived at the Kiriakis mansion, and he found Victor sitting in the living room alone. "Ciara is in the hospital," Victor said. Frustrated by the lack of information, Victor announced that he was headed to see Ciara. Xander offered to take Victor to the hospital.
In the hospital, a rehydrated Ciara smiled at Sarah. "I'm feeling a lot better," Ciara said. When Ciara asked about her lab results, Sarah confirmed that Ciara was not pregnant. "No, I knew that," Ciara said. Ciara asked if she had been drugged. "The tests were kind of inconclusive," Sarah said. Sarah explained that if Ciara had been drugged, the drug was out of her system.
At the penthouse, Allie told John and Marlena, "It is nice not to be the one causing trouble for a change." Allie announced that she was headed over to Hope's to help Ciara, and John jumped to his feet, eager to offer his assistance. After John and Allie left, Belle asked Marlena about Claire. Marlena assured Belle that Claire was fine, just upset about the wedding.
"I think she saw this as an opportunity to show Ciara that she was better and, you know, really be there for her, and now the whole thing just seems to have blown up in her face," Belle said. Talk turned to more trivial matters, and after cooling off, Claire returned to the living room and asked to speak to Belle alone.
While Marlena headed to her room to change her earrings, Claire sat next to her mom on the couch. "It just feels like no matter what I do, people are still going to look at me like I'm broken, and they just blame me for everything bad that happens," Claire said. Belle counseled Claire to believe in herself. Upset, Claire asked how that would be enough when people had accused her of awful things.
"I wanted to make everything perfect for [Ciara], and now it is just such a mess," Claire said. When Belle noted that Claire's relationship with Ciara would improve over time, Claire shook her head in disagreement. "I think our friendship is over," Claire said. Belle hugged her daughter.
At the Salem Inn, Ben yelled at Will to get out of his way so that he could see Ciara. Will stressed that it was bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. When Ben yelled that Ciara had been drugged by her maid of honor, Will countered, "We don't know that for sure." Ben asked Will for his phone so that he could call Ciara to check on her.
When Ben called Ciara, she answered, "You shouldn't be calling me." Ben said he was going to visit her at the hospital, regardless of luck. Ciara assured Ben that it was not necessary to visit her. Sarah confirmed that Ciara was cleared to be released. "Who am I to stand in the way of a wedding?" Sarah said. Ben asked what drugs had been in Ciara's system. Sarah explained that she had not found anything.
"So, we can't even prove [Claire] did it," Ben said. "I'm getting out of here, baby," Ciara told Ben. "I cannot wait to make you my wife. I love you so much," Ben said. After the call, Ben continued to get dressed at the Salem Inn while Will apologized for not letting Ben see Ciara. Ben assured Will that he understood Will had been doing his job as best man. Ben's phone rang. It was a call from Clyde at Statesville.
"I should have known he was going to try and ruin this day," Ben muttered. Ben shrugged, and he accepted the call. After a brief chat, Clyde wished Ben well on his wedding day. Ben told Will that Clyde had been upset that Ben had not invited Clyde to the wedding.
"As if he could go. It's not like they are going to give him a day pass," Will said with a laugh. "He said he just wanted an invite as a keepsake," Ben explained. Ben added that Clyde had sent a wedding present. "From prison?" Will asked. "You know he has his ways," Ben said. Will suggested that they leave for the church, but he stopped Ben at the door. Will pointed out that Ben's tie was crooked. As Will straightened the tie, the smile fell away from his face. Ben started to say something, but Will stopped him. "It's fixed," Will said quietly. Ben thanked Will. "Let's get you to the church!" Will said with a grin.
As Sarah walked down the hospital hallway, she was focused on her computer tablet, and she ran into Xander. Sarah scowled. "I have nothing to say to you," Sarah said. Xander asked what he could do to prove his love. "You're the first thought in my head every morning, the last thing I think about every night. The loneliness without you," Xander said. Sarah interrupted to say, "You haven't been lonely at all." Sarah told Xander that she knew he had slept with a woman the day he had moved out of the mansion.
"That's not true. I haven't slept with anyone else," Xander objected. Sarah told Xander that she had seen a woman enter Xander's hotel room. "From an agency, that is apparently 'the best'," Sarah said. Confused, Xander muttered, "From an agency?" When Sarah yelled at Xander for not being able to wait five minutes before "hooking up with some hooker," Xander laughed. Xander explained that the woman had been a masseuse.
When Sarah scoffed at the suggestion, Xander pulled out his phone and offered to call the service. "I believe you," Sarah said. Sarah apologized for jumping to conclusions. Curious, Xander asked Sarah why she had visited his room. "I had a conversation with Victor who pointed out you do mess up sometimes," Sarah said. Sarah added that she knew that Xander had worked hard to win her trust back.
"You wanted to try and work things out?" Xander asked. Sarah stammered, unsure of what to say. Xander told Sarah that she did not need to answer the question. Sarah noted that she needed to go home and get ready for the wedding. "I have an idea. You're going to the wedding. I'm going to the wedding. What do you say we go together?" Xander asked. "Why the hell not?" Sarah said.
Victor visited Ciara in her hospital room. "You really think Claire is responsible for you being put in here?" Victor asked. Ciara said she did not want to believe that Claire meant her ill, but after three incidents, she could not ignore the possibility. Ciara said she did not want to spend her wedding day looking over her shoulder. "I won't take sides in this dispute that you're having with Claire. I love you both," Victor said. Ciara smiled, and she asked Victor if she would see him at the wedding. Victor said no.
"Is it because you still don't approve of Ben?" Ciara asked. Victor noted that he would never approve of Ben, but that was not the reason. Victor explained that Maggie was ill and that he wanted to stay home and look after her. "I understand. You know she is very lucky to have you. Most of the time," Ciara said. Victor chuckled. Ciara promised to take plenty of photos and video for Victor and Maggie to review later. "We'll be there in spirit," Victor said. Victor wished Ciara a wonderful wedding and a happy life.
At the penthouse, Belle told Shawn about her conversation with Claire. "Do you believe her?" Shawn asked. "I want to, but I was just so hopeful that she was going to be herself again. Our sweet Claire, and now with everything she has done and everything she is being accused of, I just don't know. I don't know what to believe," Belle admitted. In the hallway, Claire eavesdropped on her parents' conversation. Belle worried aloud that Claire's mental illness might be more resistant to treatment than they had suspected.
"I hope that's not true, but I'm really worried that she wasn't ready," Belle said. "I'm worried too," Shawn admitted. As Belle and Shawn hugged, Claire peeked around the corner at them, then retreated back to the hallway. Belle urged Shawn to go to the wedding while she stayed home with Claire. Shawn asked about Claire, and Belle explained that Claire had announced that she was tired and in need of a nap. With a nod, Shawn said goodbye and left.
In Ciara's hospital room, Hope and Allie arrived with Ciara's dress and makeup. "Are you ready to be the most gorgeous bride the world has ever seen?" Hope asked. Ciara thanked Allie for her help. "I know it's kind of last minute, but I was wondering if you would consider being my maid of honor?" Ciara asked. Thrilled, Allie cheerfully accepted.
While Hope fixed Ciara's hair, Allie gave Ciara a hair clip to serve as her "something borrowed" item. Hope pointed out the bouquet of flowers to serve as "something new." For the "something blue" item, Hope gave Ciara a garter with a blue ribbon. "We just need something old," Ciara said. Hope gave Ciara a pair of diamond earrings from Bo.
"Think he was starting to realize that he wouldn't see this day. He ordered them without telling me, so he asked me to hold onto them until your wedding day," Hope explained. "[Bo's] always with me," Ciara whispered. Ciara wiped tears from her eyes and said, "It looks like I'm going to have my dream wedding, after all."
At the church, Shawn informed Doug that Belle was home with Claire. At the altar, Ben and Will took their places. "Aren't you glad I didn't let you run to the hospital?" Will teased Ben. "I have to admit. You were right. I know I have the tendency to be a little overprotective when I don't have to be. Ciara is a very strong woman. She can take care of herself," Ben said. "You have a lifetime to take care of each other," Will said.
Xander and Sarah arrived at the church, and Xander whispered to her that he was grateful she had agreed to accompany him. "I'm glad. It doesn't mean we're back together, you know that, right?" Sarah said. Xander said he understood. "But it gives me hope, and that's something I haven't felt in a very long time," Xander said.
When John and Marlena walked in, Marlena went over to talk to Ben privately. "How are you feeling?" Marlena asked. Ben thanked Marlena for her help. "I really thought I was past all that. I feel like I've come so far, and sometimes, that doubt creeps back in. I don't know if I even deserve to be happy. I don't know if I deserve Ciara's love," Ben said. Marlena stressed to Ben that he deserved those things.
"I know how hard you've worked to become a good man. A good person," Marlena said. Ben gave Ciara the credit, but Marlena urged Ben to give himself some credit, too. "More than helping me, saving me, I really just want you to know that everything we have here now, everything that's good in my life now, I really owe to you," Ben said. Ben thanked Marlena for her support.
Hope arrived at the entrance to the church, and Rafe told her that she looked beautiful. Hope told Rafe that Allie was filling in as the maid of honor. "We all just decided it was best that Claire wasn't in the wedding today," Hope said.
At the penthouse, Belle was returning to the couch with a snack when Claire returned home. "I thought you were resting?" Belle asked. "I couldn't sleep," Claire said. When Belle asked why Claire had not told her she was going out, Claire said she had not wanted to interrupt Belle and Shawn's conversation. "Where'd you go?" Belle asked. "Nowhere special," Claire said. Belle looked at Claire with suspicion. Claire thanked Belle for believing in her. "Always," Belle said as she hugged her daughter.
At the church, Allie and Ciara joined Rafe and Hope at the entrance. "You look stunning," Rafe said as he hugged Ciara. "I'm feeling off-the-charts happy and excited. I mean, how could I not?" Ciara said. Nearby, a bomb planted behind a statue beeped. "I'm about to marry the love of my life," Ciara said.
A bomb threatens to derail the wedding
Outside the Brady Pub, Jake finished telling Gabi about Vivian's funeral -- and the things that Kate had revealed after it had ended.
"When I first found out, years ago, that I was adopted, I started having all these...fantasies...about who my birth parents were..." Jake informed Gabi. "[But I never imagined that I was] the son of two murderers, the brother of a rapist --" Jake admitted, prompting Gabi to argue that labeling Stefan a rapist wasn't fair. "Sorry -- I know how much you loved him," Jake conceded, not wanting to debate the matter with Gabi. "[Anyway]...tell you what -- we got the majority of a really nice bottle of Champagne [here, thanks to Kate, so]...care to join me in a toast to my dead mother? [I mean], I try not to drink alone, [so]..." Jake said to Gabi, who agreed.
"To Vivian..." Jake began. "Alamain," Gabi reminded Jake. "May she...rest in peace?" Jake concluded with a shrug before gulping down some of the Champagne then passing the bottle to Gabi, who also took a drink.
"That was a...really nice...toast to your mother," Gabi declared with a hint of sarcasm. "She wasn't a very nice lady," Jake explained, shrugging again. "[What gave you that idea -- when she] tried to kill somebody at their wedding --" Gabi began to ask dryly. "Oh, my God -- wedding!" Jake blurted out, suddenly remembering that it was the day of Ben and Ciara's wedding ceremony. "Ben invited you," Gabi realized, surprised and confused. "We've become friends -- probably because I remind him of his old pal Stefan, but still..." Jake clarified. "Yeah -- Ben saw the good in Stefan...[which] makes two of us..." Gabi acknowledged.
"Come with me," Jake suggested. "What about Gwen?" Gabi asked. "You're here -- she's not," Jake replied. "Oh, she's gonna be so mad!" Gabi predicted. "She's always 'so mad' at me," Jake admitted.
At the Evans-Black townhouse, Belle informed a curious Claire that Shawn was at St. Luke's at that moment. "Wait -- he's at the wedding?" Claire translated with a hint of surprise. "Are you upset about that?" Belle wondered. "No -- I mean, of course he's at the wedding; Ciara's his sister," Claire backpedaled, forcing a smile and shrugging dismissively. "[It's just that] I'm actually very surprised that you didn't go [with him]. You still can, if you want -- uh, I am very fine here, alone..." Claire insisted. "Honey, you're not 'fine'; you're upset that you're unable to attend the wedding. [And] I get [that]," Belle countered.
"I am not 'unable' to attend, Mother," Claire bitterly began to clarify. "No, I have been fired -- banned -- from the wedding and Ciara's life!" Claire stressed. "Which, I know, is terribly hurtful, and that's why [I stayed] here -- to be here for you," Belle replied. "Really? Or maybe you just wanted to guard me -- you know, make sure I didn't do something crazy!" Claire suggested, punctuating the last word with a sudden movement that made Belle jump. "I heard you and Dad [earlier] -- you actually think [that] I put nail polish on Ciara's wedding dress, [and] made her engagement ring disappear, [and] made her sick!" Claire grumbled.
"Honey, your father and I want to believe you...[but] I think that we're...we're just worried that...when you got out of Bayview, you set all these expectations -- [you know], you were gonna make up for everything you did to Ciara, and you were gonna be her best friend again -- and, you know, I know what a perfectionist you are, and how hard you try, [so]...I mean, maybe you just put too much pressure on yourself --" Belle carefully explained. "[And...what], I snapped?" Claire indignantly concluded. "Mom, I swear that I am telling you the truth, okay? I did not do any of these horrible things!" Claire stressed.
"It's just...from the moment I saw the save-the-date card on Dr. Morris' desk, I knew that I had to find a way to be in Ciara's wedding, [because] I was so sure that if I just convinced her of how sorry I was, and then she trusted me enough to let me be her maid of honor, then everything would be okay between us again," Claire explained. "But, somehow, everything has been ruined, and everybody has just decided to blame me!" Claire complained. "What?" Claire challenged Belle, who seemed to be lost in thought. "When your father and I told you about Ciara's wedding, you acted like you [had just] heard that for the first time," Belle reminded Claire.
"So...?" Claire prodded Belle. "So...you lied to us," Belle summarized, referring back to what Claire had just revealed about seeing Ciara and Ben's wedding invitation on a doctor's desk. "I knew that if I told you and Dad the truth, [then] you would look at me the exact same way you're looking at me right now -- like you think that I am obsessed with Ciara and her wedding," Claire explained. "Honey...are you?" Belle wondered. "Oh, my God -- no, Mom, I swear to God, I am not!" Claire insisted. "I love [Ciara], and I want her to be happy, and all I have tried to do is show that to her...[but] it's just not gonna [ever] be enough!" Claire fretted.
"[As far as your father and I are concerned], you are 'enough,' and we love you," Belle assured Claire. "I am so sorry I upset you...[and], for the record, I am not here to 'guard' you -- I am here because I miss you, and I want to spend time with you," Belle stressed before seizing a hug from Claire, who stiffened but didn't object. "Look, I know how much you want to make amends to Ciara -- and I really, really do believe that, in time, she will give you the chance to do that -- [but]...right now...I think...maybe you should...come home to Hong Kong with your father and me," Belle cautiously suggested after pulling away from Claire.
At St. Luke's, Will tried to keep Ben calm as they stood together at the pulpit, waiting for the wedding ceremony to begin.
"You couldn't [possibly] be nervous about marrying Ciara, could you?" Will teasingly challenged Ben. "No, it's this room, man -- all these eyes, all these people who don't think I'm good enough for her... It makes me wonder if I am," Ben explained. "Well...I mean, you don't have a lot of fans in this room...but who cares, right? I mean, all that matters is [that] Ciara chose you, right? So, [if] you want to prove all the haters wrong, all you gotta do is stand up there [and] marry her [then] give her the best 'happily ever after' ever," Will advised. "Think I can?" Ben asked. "I would not be standing up for you if I didn't," Will replied.
Feeling better, Ben shook Will's hand and flashed a smile of gratitude -- unaware that a bomb had been hidden in the lobby.
Julie soon signaled for the wedding ceremony to begin -- but the lobby doors didn't swing open in response. "You think something's wrong?" Ben eventually asked Will quietly. "Nope -- and, uh, I'm your best man, so you have to believe me," Will replied in an equally hushed tone, despite clearly sharing Ben's confusion.
Meanwhile, Eli and Lani -- who, seconds earlier, had burst into the church together and had practically ordered Hope not to open the lobby doors, as if it were a matter of life and death -- breathlessly clarified that they hadn't meant to make it seem like there was some sort of emergency to deal with; they simply wanted to claim their seats before people started marching down the aisle, so they wouldn't steal attention from those people. "The dress that I planned on wearing -- it didn't fit, [so] I had to run out and get a new one [at the last minute]," Lani apologetically explained. "I can relate to that," Allie stressed, as the other woman in the lobby who was pregnant.
Just then, Jake entered the church with Gabi, surprising not only Eli and Lani but also Rafe, who just scoffed at the apparent couple. "Crashing another wedding?" Lani snapped at Gabi. "Nobody's 'crashing' anything -- she's my plus-one," Jake clarified for Gabi before advancing from the lobby to an available pair of seats on the groom's side of the aisle. "See? Just some late arrivals. All good," Will quietly assured Ben as Eli and Lani also advanced from the lobby to an available pair of seats on the groom's side of the aisle. "I hope so..." Ben whispered to Will with a nervous sigh as Gabi and Julie locked eyes then traded scowls.
Finally, Hope marched down the aisle -- and then Allie did the same, confusing the few guests who had heard that Claire was going to be Ciara's maid of honor and hadn't heard anything to the contrary since then. After another long pause, during which Ciara fretted to Rafe in the lobby about the possibility of tripping in front of everyone, they marched down the aisle together, drawing sighs of relief from those who had started to get concerned again, including Ben and Will. "You look so beautiful..." Ben declared when Ciara arrived at the pulpit, drawing a cough from Julie, who sensed that the groom was about to give the bride an early kiss.
"If anyone here has just cause why these two should not be joined together, let..." Julie soon began to say to the crowd before deciding to skip that part of the wedding ceremony.
"I would like to proceed with the wedding by [telling] a story about the bride. [You see], many years ago -- well, not so many; when Ciara was just about [knee-high] -- a feral cat moved under the porch of our house, and this 'cat' was the meanest, mangiest, scariest creature [on] God's green earth, and Doug and I did everything in our power to try to get rid of it, but this 'tomcat' would not be moved..." Julie continued.
"[Anyway], one day, Doug and I were coming home, [and] sitting in [Ciara's] arms is the 'tomcat' -- purring away! [And] Doug and I are afraid that the 'cat' might be rabid, so I yell out to her, 'Ciara, you shouldn't let that "cat" anywhere near you!' But she just held it tighter in her arms, and then she said to me, 'Grandma Julie, don't you ever tell me it's not okay to love somebody!' [And] I'm sure, sadly, everybody in this church has been told, at some time or another in their life, it's not okay to love somebody...and, sadder still, I'm afraid some of us have been the one to say [those words]...but love -- true love -- is never wrong," Julie continued.
Julie's words seemed to resonate most with not only Ciara and Ben but also Gabi and Jake, Sarah and Xander, and Will. "Sometimes, it takes years and years for people to learn that, but this beautiful young lady has known it her entire life, [so] I am honored today to marry her to the man she has decided it's okay to love," Julie concluded before stepping aside so Shawn could have the stage.
"When my sister asked me to do, uh, a reading for her wedding, I did my homework, and, uh...well, I decided that there's only one way to do this..." Shawn began before producing a box and pulling a giant fortune cookie out of it, surprising Ciara and Ben. "A Chinese wedding poem," Shawn continued while breaking the cookie in half and digging out the enclosed fortune. "I want to be your friend forever and ever, without break or decay. When the hills are all flat and the rivers are all dry; when there's lightning and thunder in winter; when it rains and snows in summer; when heaven and earth mingle -- not until then will I part from you," Shawn concluded.
"Thank you for that -- and, um...I'm so sorry about Claire," Ciara said to Shawn. "I'm sorry, too...but this is your day -- it's not Claire's [or] mine [or] anybody else's," Shawn assured Ciara.
After Shawn left the pulpit, Julie informed the wedding guests that Ben and Ciara had each written custom vows.
Ben looked to Marlena and Will for support then took a deep breath and turned to face Ciara.
"No one here today will be telling any heartwarming stories about me...but that's okay, [because] the stories people would have told [from the time] before I met [you] would not be the [kind] anybody would want to hear," Ben began with a hint of emotion after grasping Ciara's hands. "[I mean], I think we all know I'm the feral cat," Ben continued, speaking to the crowd. "But I've owned my past to the best of my abilities, [and] I've made amends when I could, and the way I see it now, my real story -- my real life -- began the day I met you," Ben concluded, speaking directly to Ciara again.
Ben stopped the vows for a moment to tell everyone the story behind Ciara's makeshift engagement ring.
"People, my whole life, have told me that I'm no good -- that nobody would ever care about me," Ben began again, turning back to Ciara. "My story was not supposed to be this -- it was not supposed to be a love story -- [but] by some kind of miracle -- you -- it is," Ben continued, getting emotional again. "Yes, I fixed your broken bike [and] your broken leg, but when you met me, my heart and my soul -- everything about me -- was broken...until you loved me, [and] your love fixed me," Ben concluded.
Ciara gave Ben a smile and a nod before responding.
"You've told me, so many times, that I believed in you when no one else would, but what was hard for me wasn't believing in you -- it was believing in myself," Ciara began, still grasping Ben's hands. "When we met, Ben, I was so mad at the world, and I just wanted to make sure that no one could ever hurt me again...but then I woke up in that cabin after I crashed my bike, and you were so kind [and] gentle, and you made me feel safer than I've ever felt in my entire life, and I've felt safe every day since -- safe to trust again, and safe to be myself again," Ciara continued, fighting back tears.
"I know that our life won't be easy, [but] I also know that it's okay for me to be scared sometimes because I'm gonna have you right by my side every single day, [and it was] your love and your strength that taught me to open my heart again -- to you and to the entire world. [I mean], you say that I'm the one who fixed you, and that may be true, but I was just as broken as you were when we first met, and it turns out that your love was the only thing that could fix me, too," Ciara concluded, giving Ben another smile.
At the Evans-Black townhouse, Claire agreed to move back to Hong Kong with Belle and Shawn. "The sooner the better," Claire stressed. "I thought you were gonna fight me on this," Belle admitted. "What's to fight? [I mean], I really hoped that Ciara and I could be friends again, and she could forgive me, but it's just not gonna happen. Nope, I totally...blew up...my only chance to fix things with her..." Claire reasoned with a shrug.
At St. Luke's, Julie walked Ben and Ciara through the exchanging of the rings then pronounced them husband and wife.
Ben and Ciara shared a very lengthy kiss then finally started to leave the church together, but when they reached the lobby, Ciara suddenly left Ben's side and rushed back down the aisle to seize a hug from Hope.
While Ben was alone in the lobby, waiting for Ciara, the bomb suddenly went off, and the blast slammed the lobby doors shut, trapping Ben there.
Ciara worries about Ben after the explosion
After a bomb went off during the final moments of Ben and Ciara's wedding ceremony at St. Luke's, parts of the church collapsed, and flames engulfed the lobby, where the blast had originated.
Sarah and Xander -- the latter of whom had protectively shielded the former from harm at the first sign of disaster -- were among the first to recover from the force of the blast. "I'll start evacuating people," Xander decided. "I'm gonna see if anybody needs medical attention," Sarah decided. "Be careful," Xander warned Sarah. "You, too," Sarah warned Xander.
John briefly lost consciousness but soon recovered and frantically started searching for Marlena -- but found Will first. "I just got her out. She's okay," Will assured John. "Good job," John praised Will, breathing a sigh of relief. "Are you all right?" Will wondered, eyeing John's open head wound. "I've survived worse," John declared, dismissing Will's concern.
"Where's your sister?" John asked Will -- but Allie approached them just then, settling the matter. "Are you [and] the baby okay?" Will asked Allie. "I...think we're okay..." Allie replied, giving Will a shrug of uncertainty. "Okay, well, we need to get you checked out," Will decided before calling out to Sarah, who rushed over to examine Allie, with Xander close behind. "It just looks like you have a couple of minor cuts and some bruising," Sarah informed Allie. "Is the baby okay?" Allie asked Sarah. "This place is gonna collapse -- we gotta go!" Xander interjected. "You don't have to tell me twice..." Allie declared before suddenly fainting in Will's arms.
On the other side of the church, Eli and Lani were in the midst of a similar conversation. "We can't go -- there's people who need our help!" Lani argued. "But, Lani, the baby!" Eli countered. "The baby's fine, [and] we have to find your grandparents --" Lani maintained. "No, they're okay -- I told them to get as far away from the church as possible," Shawn revealed, joining Eli and Lani. "I'm gonna take you to them, then I'll come back and help the others [here]," Eli said to Lani, who reluctantly accepted the compromise. Meanwhile, Rafe found Gabi, who was with Jake and had an ankle injury.
Eli and Lani left the church together, and Rafe and Jake helped Gabi out of the church, but Shawn stayed behind -- and soon spotted Hope, who had just regained consciousness. "You're okay!" Hope raved. "Grandpa Doug and Grandma Julie are okay, too," Shawn reported. "Where's your sister?" Hope wondered, prompting Shawn to start searching for Ciara -- who was eventually found under a pile of rubble. "What happened?" Ciara asked Shawn and Hope after regaining consciousness. "I think there was a bomb --" Shawn began to explain. "Ben!" Ciara suddenly remembered, turning to the place where the groom had last been seen -- the burning lobby.
As Shawn rushed off in search of a fire extinguisher, Rafe reentered the church and helped Hope restrain Ciara, who was threatening to run through the flames in search of Ben. Shawn soon returned with a fire extinguisher and put out the flames -- but, to Ciara's horror, the lobby remained inaccessible; a pile of rubble prevented its inner doors from being opened, and its outer doors simply refused to budge for some reason, as if they were locked. Shawn and Rafe began clearing the pile of rubble away from the lobby's inner doors as Hope tried to comfort Ciara, who repeatedly called out to Ben in desperation but never received even the slightest response.
Meanwhile, Jake helped Gabi over to a stone bench in the church's garden, where Julie was in the process of fretting to Doug about the safety of their loved ones who were still inside the church. "Well, I might have known you'd survive -- the cockroaches will bury us all..." Julie said to Gabi with a scowl. "Oh, shut up!" Gabi countered. "What were you doing at that wedding, anyway?" Julie asked Gabi. "She's my plus-one, if you must know," Jake replied for Gabi. "Which was a huge mistake -- [I mean], because of you, I was almost killed!" Gabi snapped at Jake. "That girl -- she's a menace to civilization!" Julie complained to Doug.
Eli and Lani soon entered the garden together and took turns providing Julie and Doug with updates on the people who were still inside the church -- but Lani's updates included quite a few pauses for coughing fits. "That's it -- I'm getting you to the hospital," Eli eventually said to Lani. "No, I can get myself to the hospital -- you go back to the church [and] help the others," Lani countered, pushing Eli away gently. "I will get your beautiful bride to the hospital -- right away," Doug promised Eli, who reluctantly accepted the compromise. Meanwhile, Gabi continued lashing out at Jake, still upset about having been invited to an event that had ended disastrously.
"That bomb going off was not my fault! You are a pain in the ass -- you know that?" Jake snapped. "Go away!" Gabi demanded. "[And] leave you to get home [on your own] with that ankle?" Jake countered. "I can manage!" Gabi insisted before trying to hop away on one foot. "Oh, for God's sake..." Jake muttered, unable to resist laughing at the spectacle.
Jake eventually carried Gabi back to the DiMera mansion, enduring a barrage of insults on the way. Gabi eventually calmed down and apologized to Jake for the earlier outburst. "I was being a jerk to you because [it hit me earlier that] you're not Stefan. [I mean], you look like him -- [except that you] don't dress like him -- and you sound like him -- except for that accent -- [but] you're not him, [and] you're never gonna be him," Gabi explained. "Well, for what it's worth, I'm sorry," Jake stressed. "Why? I mean, you get to live your life [now, with] no more questions about who you really are --" Gabi argued. "I have a lot of questions [still]," Jake clarified.
"I mean, sure, Kate gave me my mother's life story -- scary as hell, by the way -- but I [still] don't know anything about my father [or the other] DiMeras, except for what I've read, [and this place] is a far cry from the wrong side of the tracks in Philly," Jake elaborated while looking around the mansion in disbelief. "If you're curious about your father's family, I could tell you a little bit about them -- [I mean], it's not like I can do anything else right now..." Gabi offered. "I don't know... I, uh, feel like I should check on Ben... I'm worried about him -- if anything happened to him, I..." Jake replied before starting to rush off.
Gabi argued that there was nothing that Jake could do for Ben at that moment. "You might as well just stay. [And besides], I'm not gonna offer this ever again, [so]..." Gabi stressed. "All right -- tell me about the DiMeras," Jake agreed after some thought, prompting Gabi to begin with a list of Stefano's children. "I have eleven siblings," Jake translated with a shake of the head. "[But] some of them are dead, [so] only Tony, Kristen, Peter, E.J., and Chad are left to make your life miserable," Gabi summarized. "No wonder Stefano needed a house this size..." Jake mused. "Well...I mean, they didn't all live here at the same time..." Gabi clarified.
Jake eventually received a text message -- and was disappointed to see that it wasn't from Ben. "You're really worried about him," Gabi observed. "I am... [And I'm also] worried that [the explosion] could have been my fault, [because of] the whole mob thing," Jake admitted. "The ego on you! Really? You think that the mob came all the way from Philadelphia [just] to blow up a church full of people because of you? [Come on] -- don't you think [that] they would have left some sort of message, like a horse head on your bed? [Look], all those people in that church, they have so many enemies -- it could have been anybody!" Gabi argued.
At the hospital, Will, Marlena, and John waited for an update on Allie's condition, hoping that the earlier fainting spell had simply been a result of smoke inhalation. "We should thank Xander [later]," Marlena acknowledged, and John agreed. "[He] carried you all the way here," Will explained to Allie. "The hot guy? That's embarrassing..." Allie fretted.
"We should call your parents and let them know what happened --" Marlena suggested. "No!" Allie protested. "Sweetie, you can't keep pushing your parents out of your life --" John advised. "I'd like to try," Allie countered. "They're just going to hover and make everything about them -- and Mom's probably gonna get in a food fight [again]! And I just don't feel like dealing with that right now!" Allie reasoned. "[But] you don't want Mom going ballistic because we kept something from her again, do you?" Will warned. "Okay -- if they call you, you can tell them," Allie said to Marlena after some thought.
"But until then, can we just hold off -- [or] at least until I know that the baby and I are totally okay?" Allie begged. "Against my better judgment...all right -- but only until we know that everything is okay," Marlena agreed after some thought. Allie breathed a sigh of relief and thanked Marlena with a hug then changed the subject, wanting to know if anyone had been seriously injured earlier. John reported that, as of a recent update Hope had sent via text message, Ben's status was still unknown. "That's terrible! Poor Ciara -- she just married the man of her dreams, [and now]...what if she's already lost him?" Allie mused.
Meanwhile, Julie and Doug waited for an update on Lani's condition, hoping that the earlier coughing fits had simply been a result of smoke inhalation. "I just don't understand it -- I don't understand how anybody could be so wicked! [I mean], to bomb a church [during] a wedding... [And] Hope's still in there with Ciara and Rafe and Eli, [and] it's such a dangerous place, [so] anything could happen to them --" Julie fretted. "Is there anything we can do for you?" Doug asked Lani as a way of silencing Julie's grim thoughts. "Yeah -- you can call my dad and let him know that we're all okay," Lani replied.
Sarah entered Lani's room while Doug and Julie were exiting it. "You have a little bit of spotting, [but] the fetal monitor is reading normal, so let's not panic, [because] it could be nothing --" Sarah began to explain after examining Lani. "Yeah, but it could also be something!" Lani countered. "We're just gonna run a couple of tests to be sure --" Sarah continued. "Sarah, I cannot lose this baby!" Lani stressed.
At St. Luke's, Shawn and Rafe continued clearing the pile of rubble away from the lobby's inner doors as Hope tended to a large cut on Ciara's left arm. Firefighters eventually arrived to help with the rescue mission, and Eli eventually joined in, as well. "I just... I don't understand... I mean, if it was a bomb, who would have planted it?" Ciara mused. "Have you received anything that could be a threat?" Rafe asked. "No," Ciara replied.
Before any further discussion on the matter could occur, a path to the lobby's inner doors finally opened up, allowing Ciara to approach and peer through a hole that had been burned in one of them. "Oh, my God -- his shoe!" Ciara cried out after studying the scene for a few seconds. "I see his shoe!" Ciara stressed, starting to panic. The firefighters quickly broke down the doors then began working with Rafe and Eli again to clear away the new pile of rubble that awaited them in the lobby, and Shawn followed behind the group with the fire extinguisher to put out the few remaining flames as needed.
"If Ben is under all of that debris..." Ciara began to fret to Hope, fearing the worst. "Ben just married the love of his life. [Don't tell me] you really think he's gonna let something as little as an explosion get in the way of your life together," Hope countered, managing to draw a slight chuckle from Ciara.
As the rescue mission continued, Eli suffered an injury and, after a lot of encouragement from Rafe and Shawn, rushed off to the hospital to seek treatment -- and, of course, check on Lani and the baby.
At the hospital, Xander tracked down Sarah and handed over a cup of coffee, sensing that it was going to be a long night. "It was really impressive, the way you [carried Allie] all the way here," Sarah raved. "Well, seeing Allie like that, it just...it reminded me of you by the side of the road last year, and...the thought of something happening to her child, the way it happened...the way it happened to Mickey..." Xander explained. "Yeah..." Sarah agreed before changing the subject, encouraging Xander to call it a night. "Before the wedding, we were finally making some progress, so there's no way I'm leaving your side now," Xander insisted.
Will sneaked a package of gummy bears into Allie's room, fresh from a vending machine. "My favorite! [You know], you have always been the best big brother..." Allie raved. "I don't know about 'best'..." Will objected. "Are you kidding? I remember when you used to sneak these into my lunch box when Mom wasn't looking," Allie countered. "I don't know if that makes me a good brother or a bad one..." Will admitted. "Well, in my book, it makes you a great one," Allie maintained.
"And you're a great dad -- I can see it on Ari's face, how happy she is... [Anyway], look, I'm sorry that this whole adoption situation is so messed up... If I hadn't asked Rafe first --" Allie tried to explain. "Allie, it's okay -- [I mean], we talked about this [already]. Whatever you decide -- whether it's Sonny and me, or Rafe -- um...I'm gonna respect your decision," Will insisted. "You mean it?" Allie asked. "Yeah, of course... Of course. I love you," Will replied with a smile before quickly giving Allie a hug -- a move that prevented any rising hints of sadness from being seen.
"Do you think it's weird that I'm concerned about this kid, even though I'm giving it away?" Allie wondered after pulling away from Will. "No -- of course not," Will insisted. "When I first found out I was pregnant, I freaked out -- all I could think about was this kid screwing up my life -- but...now I've kind of gotten to know him or her, and...judging by the kicking and squirming going on in here, this kid is a night owl, like me, and loves classic rock and cold pizza for breakfast... Yeah, this is -- this is a pretty cool little kid in here, and now...all I can think about is not screwing up its life, [so]...adoption," Allie explained.
"You are a very wise young woman," Will declared. "You don't think I'm selfish?" Allie asked. "I mean, you're putting your kid first -- that's kind of the opposite of 'selfish,'" Will replied. "And that's why you're my favorite brother," Allie stressed -- just as Marlena and John returned. "You and the baby are fine...[which means] it is time to call your parents," Marlena announced, causing Allie to transition from relief to dread in seconds.
Meanwhile, Julie sneaked a cup of pudding into Lani's room, fresh from the cafeteria. "I can't," Lani managed to choke out, fighting back tears while waving the cup of pudding away. "I'm spotting... Sarah's running tests, and she told me not to worry, but how can I not worry? [You know], I just started letting myself be hopeful about this baby -- I even started making a list of baby names, and thinking about its first steps and birthday parties, and... What if I jinxed it?" Lani fretted. "No, baby -- the universe doesn't work that way," Julie argued.
Eli soon arrived, sporting a bandaged hand, and filled Lani and Julie in on where things stood at the church. Sarah soon interrupted to announce that the baby was fine -- but Lani needed to stay overnight for observation, just to be on the safe side. After leaving Lani's room, Sarah rejoined Xander and reported that Allie and Lani were both doing well, as was each woman's unborn baby. Sarah again encouraged Xander to call it a night. "If you'll promise to let me take you out to dinner -- and I know we have a lot to work out, so before you object --" Xander began to request. "I'm not objecting," Sarah interjected.
At St. Luke's, the last of the rubble was cleared away from the lobby -- but, aside from Ben's shoes, there was no trace of the groom anywhere.
Ciara accuses Claire of bombing the church
Will kept Allie company in her hospital room. Allie encouraged Will to go home to his husband and child, but Will decided to keep his promise. "Fend off any and all parents together," Will said. Allie noted that Rafe had not mentioned Sami at the church, and Allie told Will that she hoped Sami had been nice to Rafe when she had talked to him. Will thought about when he had yelled at Sami for attacking Rafe, and Sami had said she wanted Will to adopt Allie's baby. Sami had told Will to keep his "mouth shut."
Before Will could say anything about Rafe, Sami and Lucas rushed into the room. Allie assured Sami that she and the baby were fine. "How could you let my mother tell me? Why didn't you call me?" Sami barked at Will. When Sami turned her attention to Allie with a list of rapid-fire questions, Will urged Sami to calm down. "We're all good," Will said. Allie asked for privacy so that she could sleep.
"What were you two thinking? How could you even consider being the best man and maid of honor at the wedding of a murderer?" Sami asked. Allie rolled her eyes. Will argued that Ben was a changed man. Worried, Sami refused to drop her concerns. Will's phone beeped with a message from Sonny about Arianna. Allie urged Will to go home to his daughter. When Will noted that he did not want to leave Allie alone with their parents, Sami groaned.
"Would both of you stop acting like I'm the problem here?" Sami said. Allie assured Will that she was fine, and she thanked him for looking out for her. "I'm always going to be looking out for you," Will said. Sami thanked Will for helping Allie out of the church. "Actually, it was Xander," Will said. As Will started to tell the story about when Allie passed out, Lucas and Sami both grew agitated. Allie told Will to leave before he said anything else.
After Will left, Sami told Allie that incidents like that "help you understand just how precious life is." When Sami said she hoped Allie would come to her senses and keep her child, Allie said she was more certain than ever that she wanted to give up the baby.
"This kid deserves a stable, mature parent. Not some party girl who doesn't know how to take care of anyone except herself. And I don't even do that very well, which you have pointed out many times," Allie said. Allie told Sami about the moment she had witnessed between Rafe and Ciara before the wedding. "I realized what an amazing father figure he is to her," Allie said. Allie added that she wanted that for her child. Sami reminded Allie that Will and Sonny were interested, as well. Allie nodded yes, and she countered that she had made the offer to Rafe first. "So, whatever happens next, it's Rafe's decision. No one else's," Allie stressed.
At the penthouse, John arrived home with a bandaged head. "What happened?" Belle exclaimed when she saw her father. John told Belle what had happened. "Exploded? Do they know what caused it?" Claire asked as she walked into the living room. John said he had no information. Claire asked about Ciara. John noted that Ciara was fine, but Ben was missing. John grabbed a change of clothes for Marlena, and he left.
Belle called Marlena at the hospital to get an update on Ciara. "Heartbreaking, and on the night of her wedding," Marlena said. When Belle ended her call, she turned to see Claire wander into the room, staring at Ciara's Save the Date card. In tears, Claire hugged her mother.
Shawn, Ciara, Rafe, and Hope removed rubble in the church vestibule, but they did not find Ben. "I don't understand. Where could [Ben] possibly be?" Ciara asked. Ciara called out to Ben, but there was no answer. Shawn suggested that Ben might be disoriented and wandering around. Ciara announced that she needed to search for her husband. Ciara asked Shawn and Rafe to call her if they learned anything about Ben.
After Ciara and Hope left, Rafe and Shawn lamented that a happy day had ended in terror. Shawn offered to secure the scene so that Rafe could go to the hospital. "Let's hope that someone brought [Ben] in," Rafe said. "Let's hope that somebody saw something," Shawn agreed.
In the square, a frantic Ciara paced as she called Ben's cell phone. The call went to voicemail. Hope caught up to Ciara. Ciara lamented that she had lost her phone at the church because she did not know if Ben had attempted to contact her on it. "Maybe he lost his phone," Hope suggested. Hope informed Ciara that she had canvassed local businesses,` and no one had seen Ben. Shawn ran up with news. "The fire department found remnants of a detonator," Shawn said.
"Somebody blew up my wedding on purpose?" Ciara said. Shawn reminded Ciara that Ben had a lot of enemies. "Whoever did this wasn't trying to hurt Ben. They were trying to hurt me. And whoever that person is, they're gonna answer for it," Ciara growled. Ciara stormed off.
At the penthouse, a teary-eyed Claire argued that she should have been at the wedding. "But you were at my wedding," Ciara said as she marched into the penthouse. Claire jumped to her feet, and she ran over to hug Ciara. "I'm so glad you're okay!" Claire exclaimed. Ciara shoved Claire away. "Claire was the one who planted the bomb. You tried to kill me and my husband," Ciara said.
"I would never do something like that! I love you!" Claire proclaimed. "Like hell you do!" Ciara objected. Ciara reminded Claire that she had attempted to set her on fire twice already. Belle stepped between the two women, and she argued that the explosion had probably been an accident. Ciara corrected Belle.
"For once in your godforsaken life, do the decent thing and tell the damn truth!" Ciara screamed at Claire. Ciara argued that Claire had been angry about being dismissed from the wedding and hated Ben. "You wanted to ruin any chance I've ever had at being happy. You wanted that so badly. Bad enough that you blew up the church," Ciara said. Ciara's eyes flared with anger. Claire admitted that she had been angry but said that she had not planted a bomb.
"Just listen to yourself! This is crazy!" Claire pleaded. Ciara laughed. "Crazy? You would know," Ciara said. Ciara said she had overheard Claire say to Marlena that she should have been at the wedding. Ciara nodded yes. "I should have been there so I could have stopped all of this from happening!" Claire argued. As Ciara broke down in tears, Shawn and Hope walked in and pulled Ciara away from Claire.
"Mom! She's the one who did it," Ciara said. Ciara called Claire a liar. "Attacking Claire is not going to solve anything," Shawn said. Claire told Ciara that she would never hurt her because Ciara was her best friend. "With best friends like you, my dear, who needs homicidal maniacs?" Ciara yelled. Frustrated, Claire walked Ciara through her theory. Claire argued that the theory would mean that Claire had built a bomb in her grandparents' condo and then planted the bomb in a place where her family and loved ones would be sitting.
"Does this even begin to make sense to you?" Claire asked. "Yes, it does, Claire, because you didn't think that anyone else would get hurt. You knew that Ben and I would be the first people to walk through the door," Ciara said before she started to sob. Ciara asked Shawn and Hope if she was the only person that believed that Claire was capable of planting a bomb. The room was silent. Ciara asked Hope to call Rafe and ask him to arrest Claire.
"Claire is not going anywhere. There's no proof that she did anything," Belle said. "Yet. There's no proof yet," Ciara corrected. Ciara asked Claire to confess. "I didn't do it!" Claire screamed. Hope quietly told Ciara that it was time to go home. "I know you did it," Ciara said. Hope gently guided Ciara to the door, but she stopped and turned to face Claire.
"I'm going to find proof that you did this. And they're gonna arrest you. And they're gonna lock you up again, and this time, I'm going to do everything that I can, for as long as it takes, to make sure that you never, ever get out again," Ciara said. Ciara and Hope left. Claire looked at her parents. "You know that I didn't plant a bomb at Ciara's wedding?" Claire asked. "Of course not," Shawn said.
"You say that to my face, but what about when I leave the room, Dad?" Claire asked. Shawn told Claire that she had their support. Claire announced that she would leave so that Belle and Shawn could talk about her. After Claire stomped off toward her bedroom, Belle and Shawn exchanged looks. Shawn argued that Claire could not have planted the bomb because she had been home with Belle all night. "That's not exactly true," Belle said.
Rafe arrived at the hospital and approached John and Marlena, who were talking by the coffee cart. "Any news on Ben?" Marlena asked. Rafe shook his head no. "I was hoping he might have checked in here, but no luck," Rafe said. John asked about the explosion. Rafe confirmed that a bomb had been planted in the vestibule.
After talking to Allie, Sami went into the hallway and overheard Rafe talking on the phone about the bomb. "So, it was intentional?" Sami asked. Rafe nodded yes. With a shrug, Sami noted that Ben had more enemies in town than friends. "Good thing I have an alibi," Sami joked. Rafe bristled at the humor, and he reminded Sami that Ben was missing. Sami countered that the world would be a better place without Ben. Rafe asked about Allie and the baby.
"Since you bring it up, maybe it's time for you and I to have another little chat about my daughter and her child," Sami said. "You made your feelings abundantly clear," Rafe said. Sami apologized. "I just want what's best for my child," Sami said. Rafe disagreed. "You want what is best for you," Rafe said. Rafe reminded Sami that they were divorced, and she could not order him around.
"You're right. I overstepped. It's not my place to interfere," Sami admitted. Rafe shook his head in disbelief. "So, you're saying that you're giving me your blessing to adopt Allie's baby?" Rafe asked. "You know damn well that is not what I meant!" Sami barked. Rafe chuckled. "There's the Sami I know," Rafe said. Sami told Rafe that he was a great father, and she asked him not to adopt Allie's child.
Marlena poured a cup of coffee in the hospital lounge as Will walked in. "Any word on Ben?" Will asked. Marlena said she had no news, but the police had confirmed that the explosion had been from a bomb. Marlena asked about Will. "I'm good. I was just with Allie," Will said. Marlena thanked Will for being patient with Allie.
"I just want Allie to do what makes her happy, and if Rafe decides not to adopt her baby, Sonny and I would obviously be over the moon to have another child," Will said. Marlena remarked that she knew that Allie would make her own decision.
After Will left for home, Marlena met up with John at the nurses' station. Marlena ordered John to stop picking at his bandage. "I'm so glad that you weren't seriously hurt," Marlena said. "When I think about Ciara and Ben, I'm telling you, Doc, we gotta find that boy alive," John said. Marlena asked John if he had any leads. John shook his head no. John said that despite all that had happened leading up to the wedding, John was confident that no one could blame Claire for the explosion.
In Allie's room, she asked Lucas if it was his turn to talk to her about keeping the baby. "Don't ever do that to me again. Don't scare me like that," Lucas said, his voice trembling. Allie nodded yes. Lucas asked for a hug, and Allie obliged. Lucas admitted that he felt out of the loop with Allie because he had not been around when she had been growing up.
"I know that your mom and I have been driving you crazy, but that's just what parents do. Parents just want their kids to be happy," Lucas said. Lucas admitted that parents could be wrong. "Look how wrong I was about Sonny and Will, but they are great parents to their daughter," Lucas said. With suspicious eyes, Allie asked Lucas if he was pitching Will as an adoptive father. "No pressure," Lucas said. Allie refused to change her mind about her baby.
"[Will] understands that I am the one who gets to decide what's best for my child," Allie said. Lucas said that he understood that the decision was Allie's, but as the grandfather, Lucas said he felt he could say something. Allie nodded yes. "I never thought I'd be saying this, but I actually agree with your mother. I think you should keep the baby," Lucas said. Allie was upset. Lucas explained that he also felt that Will was a better option than Rafe.
"There it is, I said it. That's my two cents," Lucas said. Allie asked Lucas to help her with Sami. "You are not a disappointment to your mom," Lucas stressed. Allie pointed out that Sami constantly told Allie that she had screwed things up. Lucas explained that Sami was hard on herself because Sami had made a lot of mistakes in her life. "That makes [Sami] obsessively driven to control everybody else's [lives]," Lucas said.
After Lucas' chat with Allie he found Sami in the hospital lounge. "[Allie] is as stubborn as her mother is. She's set on giving the baby to Rafe," Lucas said. Lucas told Sami to give Allie space. Sami nodded yes. "Best thing we can do is step back and hope that it works out," Sami said.
In Allie's hospital room, Rafe visited Allie to check on her and talk to her about the baby. "You've made a decision?" Allie said. "I thought a lot about this," Rafe started. Rafe said that after everything that had happened with David, he was not ready to be a father again yet. The smile fell away from Allie's face.
At the Salem Inn, Hope escorted Ciara home. Hope offered to stay, but Ciara said she wanted to be alone. "If it's okay with you, I'm going to stay out here. Just in case you need me," Hope said. Hope hugged her daughter, then sat on the floor in the hallway as Ciara went into her room. Inside, Ciara cried as she looked around at the wedding night decorations. Ciara thought about her wedding. Overwhelmed, Ciara collapsed onto the bed in tears. Somewhere in Salem, an unconscious Ben lay in the trunk of a car. The lid slammed shut on him.