At Julie's Place, Jennifer curiously asked Abigail to hand over the letter that Jack had written to Kate -- and, at the same time, Kate indignantly demanded to know how Abigail had acquired the letter in the first place.
"I went to your room to borrow a pair of shoes --" Abigail began to explain. "Without asking me!" Kate stressed. "Yep!" Abigail confirmed, shrugging shamelessly. "Sorry if that offends your rigid moral code," Abigail dryly added. "Anyway...a box fell off the shelf, and it wasn't filled with shoes -- it was actually filled with old letters. [And] one of the envelopes caught my eye because the handwriting on it happened to be my father's -- [which, of course, made me] wonder why my father wrote you a letter while my mother was in a coma!" Abigail concluded. "I'd be interested to know that, too..." Jennifer quietly admitted, turning to Jack for an explanation.
"The letter is nothing!" Kate insisted. "Then why did you save it?" Jennifer countered. "Because [it was] a very thoughtful letter [that] Jack wrote me [as thanks] for some flowers I had sent to your room. [So], I saved it, [and] then I forgot about it," Kate explained. "You are so lying!" Abigail protested. "I read the letter, and it was very clear that it wasn't 'flowers' that my father was thanking you for!" Abigail stressed. "While my poor mother was in a coma, you were..." Abigail began to clarify before doubling over in pain.
"Abigail, sweetie...why don't you and I and your dad go somewhere [so] we can talk about this in private --" Jennifer suggested. "Do not protect him!" Abigail snapped. "Okay, then...why don't you tell me what the letter says?" Jennifer carefully encouraged Abigail, who started to respond then threw the letter to the floor and rushed off to the bathroom, feeling nauseous.
Kate tried to pick up the letter, but Jennifer managed to get to it first. "Dear Kate..." Jennifer curiously began reading aloud. "I knew this had to end the moment I woke up..." Jennifer continued before choking on the next word of the letter. "In your bed this morning," Jennifer shakily concluded before looking at Jack with a mixture of pain and anger.
"That letter is ancient history --" Jack tried to assure Jennifer. "I don't need to read another word to know what the two of you did behind my back!" Jennifer spat before shoving the letter at Jack then storming out of the restaurant in tears. Jack dropped the letter and chased after Jennifer, ignoring J.J.'s attempt to advise against that course of action.
Kate picked up the letter as Steve approached. "So, you put the move on my brother when his wife was in a coma --" Steve began to summarize. "Whoa, guy, take it easy -- nobody knows what happened," Jake argued, rushing over to get between Steve and Kate. "I've known this woman a lot longer than you have, [so] I have a pretty good idea of what happened," Steve countered. "Just leave her alone," Jake maintained.
"Thank you, but I am more than capable of defending myself," Kate assured Jake. "Must be really comfy up there on that high moral ground, huh? You're talking about me while you're turning a blind eye to the fact that your son raped my granddaughter!" Kate snapped at Steve before storming out of the restaurant. "Wow..." Jake, who hadn't heard that information before, muttered at Steve before chasing after Kate -- and, at the same time, J.J. also reacted to the information, albeit silently. Kayla rushed over to comfort Steve, despite their earlier argument.
Gwen, who had gleefully watched the whole scene play out, suddenly realized that someone else was missing from the original audience. Gwen started searching the restaurant and eventually found Chad outside the bathroom. Gwen observed that Chad seemed angry. "[Abigail] knows she's not supposed to mix alcohol with the medication she's on!" Chad grumbled. "Well, I suppose she forgot -- she was so upset..." Gwen reasoned, and Chad conceded the point then changed the subject, wanting to know the contents of the letter. "I think that [it's] Abigail's job to tell you --" Gwen argued. "This is my family, [so] if you know what's going on, I'd like to [hear it]," Chad begged. "[Well, in that case...apparently], Jennifer's not the only woman for Jack," Gwen summarized.
Jack caught up with Jennifer at the park. "I don't want to talk to you -- it'll just be more lies!" Jennifer spat. "I didn't lie to you --" Jack insisted. "You didn't tell me the truth!" Jennifer countered. "I was waiting for the right moment --" Jack explained. "There's not gonna be a 'right moment' for you to tell me that you slept with another woman while I was in a coma!" Jennifer stressed.
"If you'd let me explain --" Jack begged. "There's nothing to 'explain'!" Jennifer snapped. "Do you remember how I defended you when Eve barged into our wedding and told everybody that she was pregnant with your baby? I stood there and told everybody that you and I had a love so strong that nothing and no one could ever, ever break it again, or come between us... [And then, tonight], you stood there, in front of our friends and our family, and soaked it all in while they told you what a loving and loyal husband you were!" Jennifer tearfully summarized.
"I should have told you about Kate the moment that you were stronger... I...I know how...how hurt you must feel --" Jack acknowledged. "And humiliated -- let's not forget that!" Jennifer stressed. "But now you know -- a part of it, [at least]. I think you deserve to know the whole truth...if you will just let me tell you...?" Jack continued.
Jennifer didn't respond, so Jack forged ahead. "I was telling the truth when I said I spent most of every day at your bedside... [And] the hourglass -- [well], I told you about the day that I turned it over, and you...you opened your eyes...[but] I didn't tell you about all those other days, when you did nothing... Those days turned into weeks, and the weeks became months, and...I...I was afraid that you'd never open your eyes, and I began to lose hope --" Jack continued. "So, in your hour of doubt, you turned to another woman?" Jennifer incredulously interjected. "It wasn't like that..." Jack stressed.
Jake followed Kate to the DiMera mansion. "You okay?" Jake began after entering Kate's bedroom. "Yeah, I'm fine -- come through worse evenings than this without a scratch, you know..." Kate -- who, before Jake's arrival, had disgustedly kicked the pile of letters that Abigail had left on the floor -- insisted while forcing a smile. "I really hate having my privacy invaded, though," Kate admitted, drawing a nod of understanding from Jake.
"So, um...did you really do the dirty with Abigail's father?" Jake wondered, drawing a scoff from Kate. "For your information, it wasn't like that..." Kate stressed.
Jack, who had started drinking at the Brady Pub every night out of disappointment that there had been no change in Jennifer's condition that day, had usually ended up there during Kate's shift -- and had eventually started confiding in the waitress. "I'm gonna call you a cab --" Kate offered one night, when Jack was even more drunk than usual. "No!" Jack insisted, not wanting to spend another night at the Horton house without Jennifer.
Kate led Jack to the upstairs apartment. "I'm going to sleep on the sofa --" Kate decided after Jack collapsed on the bed. "What am I gonna do without her?" Jack fretted, having decided that Jennifer was never going to wake up. Kate released a sigh of empathy then joined Jack on the bed and offered a hug of comfort. Jack broke down in Kate's arms but soon recovered -- and, at that point, they started kissing.
Jack woke up the following morning, naked and alone in Kate's bed, and immediately started feeling guilty about what had happened the previous night. Jack got dressed then rushed out of the pub, sharing only a look with Kate on the way, and headed over to the hospital and found Abigail with Jennifer. "I, um...I got a late start..." Jack vaguely explained to Abigail while flipping the hourglass. "Are you okay?" Abigail asked. "Yeah..." Jack stammered. After Abigail headed off to the Spectator office, Jack settled on the edge of Jennifer's bed and released a sigh of regret. "I did it again -- I let you down..." Jack fretted. "I don't even have the right to ask you this, but...someday, when I do tell you, I pray to God you will find it in your heart to forgive me," Jack added before grabbing a pen and a notepad then starting to write a letter to Kate.
A few days later, Kate received Jack's letter in the mail. Kate sighed wistfully while reading the letter during a shift at the pub, which Jack had stopped visiting after their one-night stand.
"You know, seeing Jack so...so scared and alone...well, it sounds strange, but it suddenly occurred to me that...that I was lonely, too. I was actually looking forward to Jack coming into the pub. And all we would talk about is Jennifer, of course, but at the same time, we were making a connection, you know? And I think [that], at the time, neither of us even knew it or felt it...but when I saw him in my bedroom, sitting on my bed, that's when I realized that we were much closer -- much closer -- than we knew," Kate explained to Jake.
"[Anyway], he said in the letter [that] what happened that night could never happen again -- that there could be nothing more between us -- [and] he thanked me for my kindness and said it was best that we never speak [to] anyone about the night we shared. [And then he] never did come into the pub again, and we managed to...to avoid each other, pretty much...at least for a while..." Kate summarized.
Kate found Jack in the study of the DiMera mansion one night and was stunned to learn that the one-time lover wasn't just visiting but had actually moved in earlier that day -- along with Jennifer -- to watch Thomas and Charlotte while Abigail was receiving treatment in Florida. "I...didn't know how to let you know..." Jack admitted. "Is this gonna be a problem -- us under the same roof?" Jack wondered. "No, it's fine, actually -- it's fine... [I mean], it's a very large roof..." Kate insisted. "Yes, but still --" Jack began to argue. "Jack, it was one night, all right? And you have my promise -- no one is ever going to hear about it, not from me. [And, you know, actually, this] gives me an opportunity to thank you for the letter..." Kate stressed. Jack responded with an awkward nod then rushed off to another room, and Kate sighed once the coast was clear.
Gwen -- who had been lurking in the secret tunnels on the day of Kate and Jack's first encounter at the DiMera mansion and had heard everything -- fretted to Chad, as they continued waiting for Abigail at Julie's Place, about having played a part in the exposure of a secret. "Don't blame yourself -- [after all], there's no way you could have known that [a letter like that] was in Kate's closet," Chad argued. "[Still]...Abigail was so happy about this party, and...well, it turned out to be a huge disaster, and...it's 'cause of me and my big, stupid ideas... I just wish I was dead now..." Gwen tearfully declared, prompting Chad to offer a hug.
At the DiMera mansion, Kate continued confiding in Jake about what had happened with Jack. "Why hang onto the letter and risk having someone find it?" Jake asked. "Because it meant something to me," Kate replied. "[But] it was him telling you it was over..." Jake reminded Kate, still confused.
"Are you in love with Jack Deveraux?" Jake challenged Kate, who scoffed in response. "Jack was in a really bad place, and I helped him...[and, you know], normally, I measure my worth in terms of my achievements and my successes, [and] I don't give a damn about people's feelings or what they say, but when I helped Jack...[well], I felt good about that; [I felt] like I was a better person -- a nicer person -- than most people think... [Of course], I'm sure I'm not going to be invited to any Horton family functions anytime soon, [though]...and they -- and you, and the rest of the world -- will continue to think of me as a home-wrecking bitch," Kate summarized. "Probably," Jake jokingly agreed, making Kate laugh. "For what it's worth, I'm not judging you," Jake stressed while locking eyes with Kate.
At the park, Jack continued confessing to Jennifer about what had happened with Kate. "I was afraid I was losing you, one day at a time, [and] Kate was there when I lost all coping strategies... [Look], I regret what I did with every fiber of my being... The day you opened your eyes was the happiest day of my life, but I had this terrible secret that I had to confide, and I promised myself that I would tell you when you were ready, but there was so much [other stuff] that you needed to know first -- Adrienne was dead [as a result of] a terrible accident; Will was the driver that hit her, [and] he was in prison; J.J. was devastated [because] Haley had been killed... [And then, after learning all of that]...somehow, you were still happy to be alive, [and] I didn't want to take that away from you just to get my guilt off my back, [so...no], I didn't tell you that I was lost one night, in the whole year of nights when you were gone," Jack concluded.
At Julie's Place, J.J. joined Gwen and Chad, the latter of whom soon decided to check on Abigail again. "Well, I'm sorry you had to travel halfway around the world for this train wreck..." Gwen said to J.J. after Chad stepped into the bathroom. "I'm glad I did -- I was, uh, missing in action during a really awful year for my family, [so] it's time I stepped up," J.J. admitted to Gwen -- and, just then, Chad emerged from the bathroom and reported that Abigail was missing.
At the park, Jennifer somewhat bitterly thanked Jack for having finally told the truth. "Can you ever forgive me?" Jack asked hopefully as Jennifer was trying to walk away.
Jack argues with Abigail
Charlie called Claire from work to thank her for her help during the blackout. "You've thanked me enough, and I was glad to rescue you," Claire said. Charlie asked Claire out on a date. "You mean like, tonight?" Claire asked. Charlie noted that he had to work late, but he asked if they could meet up over the weekend. As Charlie babbled awkwardly on the phone about the date, Xander walked into the office and overheard.
"I'm such an idiot," Charlie muttered to himself after he ended the call. "No argument here, mate," Xander said. Xander asked about the phone call. Charlie apologized for taking a personal call. When Charlie mentioned he had called a girl, Xander asked for details. Charlie told Xander about Claire.
"You are aware she spent some time in a loony bin, right?" Xander asked. Curious, Charlie asked Xander for information. "If you're interested in Claire, you should have all the facts," Xander said. Xander told Charlie that Claire had been "a firebug." Charlie defended Claire, and he insisted that she had to be better if the institution had released her.
"I'm not going to judge Claire for getting help," Charlie said. Xander muttered to himself, "She didn't have much of a choice." Xander asked Charlie why he had been awkward on the phone. "I didn't want to be pushy," Charlie said. "A real man takes charge," Xander advised Charlie. Xander counseled Charlie to be more assertive.
"I was trying to be considerate. Claire's aunt just died, and she found out something terrible about her ex-boyfriend," Charlie explained. Xander advised Charlie to swoop in and comfort Claire in her time of need. When Xander reminded Charlie that Charlie had not eaten dinner, he suggested that Charlie take Claire out to eat.
"[Claire] did say that she wasn't doing anything tonight," Charlie said. Xander shook his head in disbelief. "[Claire] was giving you a hint. Take it," Xander stressed. Confused, Charlie asked why Xander wanted to help him. With a shrug, Xander said he wanted to offer his expertise, but he also warned Charlie that Victor adored Claire. Xander noted the situation could be good for both of them.
"Why would my dating Claire be good for you?" Charlie asked. Xander explained that Victor wanted to see Claire happy, and he would appreciate it if Xander had helped make that happen. Charlie smiled. "Regardless of my ulterior motive, I'm giving you solid advice. Don't be afraid of making a bold move, and never give up until you get the woman you want," Xander said. Xander released Charlie from work, and he gave Charlie the bouquet of flowers off of Philip's desk.
After Charlie left, Xander reviewed the paperwork that Charlie had left behind. "That's odd," Xander said. Curious, Xander researched on his computer. "Why would Philip transfer those funds?" Xander wondered aloud.
At Hope's house, Theo stopped by to visit while Claire was listening to music. Elated, Claire rushed into Theo's arms and hugged him. "It is so good to see you!" Claire said. Theo told Claire that he had returned to Salem with J.J. for a visit. "I hear you've been doing well," Claire said. "Full recovery," Theo said with a grin. With tears in her eyes, Claire said she was upset about Ciara, and she worried about Ben and Hope. Theo said he was glad that Claire and Ciara had worked things out before her death.
"The past, it hurts too much to even think about it. You know better than anyone how paranoid I was, how jealous of everything. Even you," Claire said. Claire noted that her insecurities had affected her relationship with Ciara. "My desperation to prove that I could beat Ciara at something, it's the reason that you and I broke up," Claire said. Claire apologized to Theo for asking him to help her cheat at the magazine contest.
"I realize now how harsh it was to break up with you over that, and when you came all the way to South Africa to see me, I just refused to listen. I'm so sorry that I hurt you, Claire. I truly regret it," Theo said. Theo changed the subject to the memorial, and he told Claire he had heard that she had sung a song for Ciara. Theo asked to hear the song, so Claire shared her headphones, and they huddled together and listened to the song on her phone.
"You were able to capture Ciara's spirit like no one ever could. I know she would have loved it," Theo said when the song ended. "It's so incredible that you came to see me right now. It's like you felt I needed you," Claire said. Claire kissed Theo. In the still-open doorway, Charlie stopped, and the smile fell away from his face as he saw Claire kissing another man.
While Chad checked on Abigail in the bathroom at the DiMera mansion, Gwen apologized to J.J. for inviting him to witness the train wreck of a party. "I'm glad I [went]. I was missing in action during a really awful year for my family. It's time I stepped up," J.J. said. Chad returned to inform J.J. and Gwen that Abigail was gone. Chad held up Abigail's phone. Gwen suggested that Abigail had left the phone behind so that no one could track her.
After J.J. left to look for his sister, Chad and Gwen waited in the study for Abigail. Gwen told Chad that she had advised Jennifer to cancel the party after Abigail had found the letter, but Abigail had refused. "I don't know why she would want to announce that to everyone," Chad said. Abigail noted that Abigail had started to drink Champagne after Chad had left for the party.
"I told [Abigail] not to mix alcohol with her meds, but I couldn't stop her," Gwen said. "She must have been sneaking more drinks at the party. I saw she was shaky when she got up to give that speech," Chad said. With a shake of his head, Chad lamented that he had not taken Abigail out of the party sooner. Gwen apologized for not telling Chad what had happened with the letter. "I did everything that I could," Gwen said. "I know you did, and I appreciate it," Chad said.
Upstairs in Kate's bedroom, Kate told Jake about her one-night stand with Jack. "They, you, and everyone else will continue to think I'm a home-wrecking bitch," Kate said. "Probably," Jake joked. Jake told Kate that he did not judge her. After a moment, Jake leaned in for a kiss, but Kate stopped him.
"What are you doing?" Kate asked. "Trying to kiss you. Is that a problem?" Jake asked, unsure. Kate told Jake that she did not jump into bed with every lonely man that crossed her path. Jake stressed that he wanted to sleep with Kate, but not because he was lonely. "You're the most gorgeous woman I have seen in a really long time," Jake said. Kate reminded Jake of the age difference, and he said he did not care.
"It's pretty obvious by now that I'm very attracted to you, and we've been dancing around it for quite some time, and if I'm being honest, there is something between us," Jake said. Kate asked Jake what he meant. Jake told Kate she was sexy, but he also admired her intellect. Kate laughed. Kate told Jake that she had enjoyed their flirtation.
"I like how tough you are. I enjoy your confidence and your independence, but when you opened up to me tonight, I saw a whole different side to you. A side that I didn't know was there. A vulnerable side. A side I'm very attracted to," Jake said. Jake leaned toward Kate, and he said he thought Kate felt the connection, too.
"Am I misreading the signs?" Jake asked. "No, you are not," Kate said. Jake nodded, and he took off his jacket. Kate took off her jacket on the other side of the bed. As Kate and Jake smiled at one another from across the room, the two took off their clothes as each watched the other undress.
After sex, Kate threw on a robe, and Jake asked her if she was okay. "Much better than okay," Kate said with a grin. Kate added that she did not think she and Jake should sleep together again. "We just had great sex. Mind-blowing sex, and you're gonna sit here and tell me that can never happen again?" Jake asked. Kate nodded yes. "Don't tell me you got a husband in a coma somewhere that you're cheating on," Jake joked. Kate groaned but chuckled.
"I'm serious," Kate said. Jake asked Kate why. "Chad can't stand you," Kate said. With a shrug, Jake said Kate had known that before she had slept with him. Jake reminded Kate that he did not care what Chad thought about him. "Well, I do," Kate said. Kate explained that she had hurt Chad in the past, and he had forgiven her. "I really don't want to risk alienating him," Kate said. Jake suggested that they could keep having sex in secret. As Jake pitched the idea to Kate, Chad knocked on the door. "Kate? Are you there?" Chad asked.
In the park, Jennifer thanked Jack for telling her the truth about his affair. "Can you ever forgive me?" Jack asked. Jennifer slapped Jack. "I deserved that," Jack said quietly. Jack said he was sick about his actions, and he wanted to make Jennifer understand why he had slept with Kate. "You slept with another woman and lied about it for an entire year! And not just any woman, but Kate Roberts! The tramp who broke up my parents' marriage," Jennifer said. Jennifer reminded Jack that Kate had destroyed her mother and ripped up her family.
"And now it's happening all over again!" Jennifer yelled. Jack argued that his situation was different because Bill had fallen in love with Kate. "You are my everything, you are my heart, you are my soul, I love you and only you!" Jack pleaded. When Jack reached for Jennifer, she pushed him away. Jack begged Jennifer to listen to him, but she did not want to discuss the matter anymore.
"Happy anniversary," Jennifer said before she walked away. Jennifer walked to the pub and sat on the bench outside. "Mom? Are you okay?" J.J. asked as he walked up. "I am not okay," Jennifer said sadly. J.J. asked what had happened with Jack. "He admitted everything. He and Kate slept together. Right up there," Jennifer said as she pointed at a window above the pub. Jennifer told J.J. what Jack had said about his affair with Kate.
"I'm so sorry. I had no idea," J.J. said. Jennifer told J.J. not to feel guilty, but J.J. argued that he had been too high on pills and anger to notice Jack. "You were in real pain," Jennifer said. "So was Dad. Maybe if I had been here, been by his side to support him, he wouldn't have turned to Kate," J.J. said. Jennifer stressed that Jack had made the choice to sleep with Kate.
"I still can't believe it actually happened," J.J. said. "Neither can I," Jennifer agreed. J.J. noted that Jack had done a lot of horrible things in his life, but he did not understand this. "[Jack] was depressed. The more time passed, the more despairing he became, the more frightened he was that I wouldn't wake up," Jennifer said. "But it doesn't excuse what he did," J.J. countered. J.J. offered to take Jennifer home. "I don't want to be under the same roof as Kate or your father," Jennifer said. J.J. put his arm around his mother, and he invited her to stay with him.
In the park, Abigail found Jack sitting on a bench, staring at the ground. Abigail asked about Jennifer's location. Jack said he did not know. "I tried talking to [Jennifer]. Showing her I loved her, but she couldn't, but she slapped me and ran off," Jack said. When Abigail told Jack she was sorry, Jack asked Abigail if she was admitting that the situation was Abigail's fault. Appalled, Abigail reminded Jack that he had slept with another woman.
"You were the one who told everyone in the world at our wedding anniversary!" Jack yelled. "You don't get to make me responsible for what you did!" Abigail shot back. Jack argued that Jennifer had never needed to know about the affair. With a groan, Abigail advised Jack not to document his affairs in a letter.
"I wrote that letter to Kate to tell her to keep her distance and to keep quiet about it. Kate was fine with it. She agreed, no one would ever know," Jack said. "Especially not mom," Abigail muttered. Jack explained that he had made a mistake one night with Kate.
"The last thing [Kate or I] wanted was to hurt your mother," Jack said. Jack added, "You're reckless, thoughtless, decision to blurt it out publicly, it did." Upset, Abigail said she had been forced to tell the truth because she had not been able to listen to any more speeches about Jack being a good husband.
"I'm completely devoted to your mother!" Jack said. When Abigail shouted that all the time that Jack had been flipping the hourglass, he had been sneaking off with Kate, Jack yelled that he had made one mistake with Kate. "Finding that letter, I know how you feel. But you should have come to me," Jack said. "Why? So you could convince me to stay silent?" Abigail asked. "So I could convince you not to hurt your mom," Jack countered. Abigail argued that Jennifer deserved to know the truth.
"And now she does, and she's destroyed. Maybe our marriage is, too. Well done, Abigail. Like the intrepid journalist you are, you dug out the truth, and you brought it to light," Jack said. Jack reminded Abigail that it was not a news story. "I hope you're proud of yourself, because I sure as hell am not," Jack grumbled. Abigail apologized for telling everyone at the party about the affair.
"Why didn't you know that this needed to stay private?" Jack asked. Abigail said she had been so shocked by the letter that she had started drinking. "The next thing I know, all my inhibitions are gone, and, yeah, you saw," Abigail said with a shrug. Abigail said she had not been able to tell Jennifer about the contents of the letter, so she had run away.
"Did you just think that the party was going to continue on like nothing happened?" Jack asked. Jack reminded Abigail she was not supposed to drink with her meds. "You're not supposed to sleep with women that aren't your wife, either," Abigail shot back. Jack told Abigail that he loved her, and he advised her to go home. "I can't stand to look at you," Jack whispered.
Jack returned to the deserted Julie's Place. The "Happy Anniversary" sign was still hanging in the corner, and Jack stared at it. Jack picked up a knife and tapped a glass. Overwhelmed with emotions, Jack crumpled to the floor and dropped his head in his hands.
In the DiMera mansion living room, Gwen stared at the painting of Stefano. "I told you I'd pull it off, old man. Jack and Jennifer's marriage has been blown to smithereens, and it's all little Abigail's fault. I couldn't have planned it any better," Gwen said. Abigail walked in. Gwen asked Abigail if she was okay. Abigail explained that she had run off to be alone but had instead run into her father.
"[Jack] ripped me to shreds and basically blames me for everything," Abigail said. "That's mental. This isn't your fault," Gwen said. With a shrug, Abigail said that Jack believed Abigail had ruined his marriage. "I think he probably hates me," Abigail said.
Xander advises Charlie to fight for Claire
Charlie watched Claire and Theo for a few seconds, scowling slightly, then sneaked out of the Brady house with a shake of the head -- just before Theo pulled away from Claire and requested an explanation for the sudden kiss. "I've missed you so much, [and when we were] listening to my song [just now], I just felt so close to you -- you know, like how we used to be -- [and] it just made me feel so comfortable, [and it] felt so right... [Anyway, it's left me] wondering if maybe you and I could give it another try," Claire clarified.
"Claire, I have a life [in South Africa...and] I'm seeing someone," Theo countered. "Oh, of course... [Sorry, there I go again] -- old, selfish Claire... I really am trying to be better at that... [Anyway], is it serious?" Claire replied. "We've been hanging out for the past couple of months," Theo elaborated.
"You're not seeing anyone?" Theo assumed. "No... I am going to be one of those old maids who collects cats -- just alone forever..." Claire grumbled. "No way, Claire -- you have to have guys that are constantly trying to date you," Theo argued. "No, I really don't..." Claire maintained.
"Except...[well, I mean], there is this one guy who I've been getting to know lately..." Claire admitted. "And you like him?" Theo assumed. "Sure...? I mean, I hardly know him...but, yeah, he's kind of nice..." Claire confirmed before starting to tell Theo more about Charlie. "Go to dinner with him already!" Theo advised after Claire finished gushing about Charlie. "I don't know -- [I mean], this is me we're talking about... I screw everything up -- I screwed things up with you, I screwed things up with Tripp -- [so] what if I start dating Charlie, and then I screw that up, too? I just don't think that I would be able to handle being hurt again. [And, you know], I have a very...complicated...history..." Claire fretted. "Everybody has a past, Claire. You can either get stuck in yours, or you can look forward to the future," Theo advised.
At Titan, Xander contacted Victor and started to explain that Philip was up to something. "What are you up to?" Victor interjected. "Me? I'm not up to anything!" Xander insisted.
"I am looking at a rather alarming spreadsheet, though -- [and] these numbers suggest that Philip --" Xander tried to clarify. "I don't want to hear it, Xander!" Victor insisted. "Uncle Victor, if you could just see these --" Xander tried to elaborate, knowing that Victor was at the town square at that moment and therefore couldn't view the spreadsheet.
"I give you a second chance, and this is what you do with it -- search for some trumped-up problem you can pin on Philip?" Victor assumed. "It's not 'trumped-up'! [Listen], there is a large sum of money missing from one of the corporate accounts -- [and] I followed the trail, and it seems that Philip transferred the money to what looks like a shell company!" Xander reported. "You're sure?" Victor asked. "I'll email you the spreadsheet -- then you can see [for yourself] that he moved the money! [And, you know, he] told me nothing about it, [so]...what if I'd been trying to make a deal, [and] that account was short? [I mean], that's not just bad for me -- that's bad for Titan!" Xander replied. "All right -- I'll handle it," Victor conceded before ending the call.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Philip greeted Sarah, who was reading a book in the living room. "Just getting to the good part?" Philip assumed, and Sarah confirmed the suspicion then rushed upstairs to finish the book in a more comfortable setting. While watching Sarah walk away, Philip received a phone call from Victor, who demanded an explanation for Xander's discovery. "[And] it better not include the word 'embezzlement'!" Victor warned. "No one embezzled anything...[but], given your accusatory tone, I'm assuming Xander was yet again trying to incriminate me for something totally legitimate!" Philip countered.
"Look, the shell company was set up as part of the account of the Mendolsen deal -- we talked about this, remember? [Now], I can email you the contract -- [and] send it to Xander, [as well], to refresh his memory --" Philip continued. "That's not necessary," Victor insisted. "[But], either way, he'll just come up with a new way to frame me for something or get me tossed in jail!" Philip concluded.
"I'll have a word with him," Victor promised. "You've had a lot of words with him, and it hasn't done any good! [Now], look, I'm as unhappy as Xander is about this co-CEO situation...but I love you, Dad, [so] I'm willing to make the effort if it makes you happy. But Xander, [on the other hand] -- his only agenda is to get me gone!" Philip complained.
At Titan, Charlie entered Xander's office with a sigh, still carrying the bouquet of flowers that had been intended for Claire, and started complaining about what had happened at the Brady house. "So, you just...walked away -- didn't say a word?" Xander incredulously summarized at the end of Charlie's tale. "I didn't want to...interrupt..." Charlie explained with a shrug. "You are too damn polite, Charlie Boy!" Xander disapprovingly declared.
"[Now], I will admit that, uh, seeing Claire kissing another guy isn't an ideal start --" Xander conceded. "Tell me about it..." Charlie grumbled. "But it's not necessarily cause for alarm -- [in fact], maybe it's a good thing. [I mean], Claire is beautiful and charming -- of course she's gonna have lots of young men chasing after her! But you, Charlie Dale -- you can be the one that wows her [and] blows away all the wannabes who can only wish that they could offer her what you can!" Xander concluded.
"What, exactly, do I have to offer her?" Charlie wondered. "Oh, my God -- you really do need my help..." Xander realized with a shake of the head. "Well, for starters, you work for the CEO -- the co-CEOs -- of Titan, so your future's golden... You dress well enough... You're decent-looking... And you and Claire already made a connection, right? What's this other guy got to offer her?" Xander argued. "Well, she seemed pretty happy to be kissing him, so...I'm guessing he offers her a lot," Charlie replied.
"Maybe I should just...give up," Charlie suggested with a sigh of defeat while tossing the flowers in a trash can. "'Give up'? Do you think I'd be with the love of my life if I'd just 'given up'?" Xander protested. "It's different with you -- [I mean], with your looks and that accent...well, the women probably fall all over you!" Charlie argued. "Well, of course they do...usually...but Sarah didn't; in fact, when we first met, [Sarah] hated me!" Xander admitted. "And [yet] you never once thought that you didn't have a chance?" Charlie assumed, stunned. "No, never -- because we had a real connection! I felt it, [and] Sarah did, too -- it just took her a little bit longer to admit it," Xander explained.
"You feel that connection with Claire, right?" Xander assumed. "I think so..." Charlie confirmed. "[Then] trust in that feeling -- hang onto it, believe in it! [After all], what is it they say -- 'the path to true love is never smooth'? That is a fact! I mean, Sarah and I had our fair share of bumps along the way --" Xander advised. "Like what?" Charlie wondered. "Details aren't important!" Xander insisted.
"What is important is [that] you can never, ever give up -- you have to make Claire forget all about this other guy she's been kissing!" Xander stressed. "I don't know -- she seemed pretty into him..." Charlie maintained. "That's 'cause you haven't made your move yet -- [but] I promise you, Charlie, if you want to be with Claire, you can make it happen!" Xander countered.
"Okay, so...maybe I need to take a little more initiative...but there's no way I'm going back there tonight!" Charlie decided. "Probably not the best move..." Xander agreed. "So, what is my next move?" Charlie wondered. "Well, maybe it won't be your move at all -- [I mean], you said you and Claire made a connection, [so...maybe] play the long game [and] let her come to you," Xander suggested. "You really think she's gonna come to me? [I mean], someone as hot as Claire -- [who, by the way, is already] kissing another guy?" Charlie asked incredulously. "You really need to give yourself more credit!" Xander tiredly replied while retrieving the flowers from the trash can. "Waste not, want not..." Xander explained to Charlie with a shrug. "[Look], you got this -- I know you do -- [so]...just keep the faith," Xander advised Charlie before rushing off with the flowers, eager to see Sarah.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Philip began a phone conversation with someone. "There was a little hiccup today, but I got it straightened out," Philip whispered. "Xander -- he's starting to get suspicious," Philip whispered. "I can handle him, but we need to be careful," Philip whispered. "I'm doing the best I can, all right?" Philip shouted before ending the call and tossing the phone aside with a few choice expletives -- then suddenly realizing that Sarah had reentered the living room at some point. "Everything okay?" Sarah wondered. "Just frustrated by some roadblocks in the deal I'm putting together," Philip claimed.
Claire went to Titan to surprise Charlie with a Frappuccino. "You said that you were working late, [so I thought] maybe I could help," Claire explained. "Don't you have somewhere else to be?" Charlie asked coldly. "Uh...no...?" Claire replied, confused. "Thanks anyway, but, um, this is actually kind of complicated [work], and there's a deadline, so...maybe some other time..." Charlie insisted. "Sure..." Claire agreed before rushing off, clearly disappointed. Charlie scowled slightly while watching Claire walk away.
Xander entered the Kiriakis mansion and presented Sarah with the bouquet of flowers then rushed off to the kitchen to find something to eat. "I know you don't want to hear this, but I'm pretty sure Philip's up to something," Xander informed Sarah while walking away. "So am I..." Sarah muttered after Xander was out of earshot.
At the DiMera mansion, Chad continued knocking on the door to Kate's bedroom. "Let me in, Kate -- it's important; I need to talk to you!" Chad called out as Kate scrambled to hide Jake, who found the situation amusing.
Kate eventually opened the door and tiredly demanded to know the reason for Chad's visit. "[Are you here] to slam me -- [to] pile on me? [Well, look], I don't want to [hear it tonight; it's been] a very long night for all of us, [and] I really want to go to bed -- [I mean], to sleep!" Kate continued. "[The night's] not over yet. Can I come in?" Chad countered.
Kate sighed and reluctantly stepped aside to let Chad into the bedroom -- and Jake, who had been hiding behind the door, ducked out of the bedroom before Chad turned to face Kate again. "So, what's the big emergency?" Kate asked Chad, suddenly acting friendlier than before. "Abby -- she's disappeared, [and] I thought she may have come here to confront you," Chad explained as Kate noticed Jake's jacket and discreetly kicked it under the bed. "Well...obviously not..." Kate stressed while gesturing around the bedroom, making it clear to Chad that no one else was in it.
"[But], considering the fact that she thought it was okay to go through my personal effects, pick out a personal letter, and read the contents to a roomful of haters...I don't particularly care about her welfare!" Kate continued, getting defensive again. "She left her purse, she doesn't have her phone, I have no way to reach her [and] no clue where she could have gone, [she's] on medication [and] obviously had too much to drink... [Look], I'm really worried that she could be in trouble!" Chad fretted. "I'm sorry -- [I mean], obviously, I do not want to see her come to any harm," Kate stressed, softening again.
"The harm's already been done, Kate -- what the hell were you thinking, sleeping with Abigail's father while her mother was in a coma?" Chad snapped. "Oh, my God, Chad -- it's not like Jack and I were having a torrid affair behind Jennifer's back, okay?" Kate countered, getting defensive once again. "[So]...what, 'it just happened'?" Chad skeptically summarized. "Yes!" Kate insisted.
"[And then] we buried it [because] we knew it couldn't happen again -- [and] it would have stayed buried if Abigail hadn't dug up that letter!" Kate stressed. "Do not put this on Abigail!" Chad warned. "I'm sure she's okay -- she just had a horrible shock tonight, and she probably went off somewhere [to] cool off," Kate assured Chad, softening once again.
Meanwhile, Abigail continued fretting to Gwen about everything that had happened that night. Gwen tried to take full responsibility for having set everything in motion, but Abigail insisted that the discovery of the letter had been an accident. Gwen predicted that the resilient Deveraux clan would surely bounce back from adversity yet again, but Abigail wasn't convinced.
Abigail soon rushed off to the nearest bathroom, feeling nauseous again -- and, a short time later, Jake joined Gwen in the study. "Go away!" Gwen demanded. "[And] miss out on the celebration?" Jake countered. "What are you talking about? It's been a horrible night!" Gwen stressed. "Exactly how you planned it!" Jake summarized.
"You told me it was gonna be 'a night to remember' -- and, right after that, all hell broke loose!" Jake pointed out. "So, let me get this straight -- I came to Salem last year [and] just happened to hear about two strangers having an affair, [and] I decided to keep that news all to myself [while] I wormed my way into this house, [and then I] threw Abigail's parents a party [right after I had] somehow arranged for her to discover this letter [and had also gotten] her drunk, all in the hopes that she would take the bait and destroy her parents' marriage," Gwen countered before laughing at the absurdity of the whole thing -- but the summary didn't change Jake's mind.
Gwen declared Jake a conspiracy theorist then stormed off -- and, a short time later, Abigail reentered the study. "Wish I had never found that letter..." Abigail grumbled. "How did you find it?" Jake wondered. "I was looking through Kate's armoire for a pair of shoes and, uh, knocked loose a box of letters," Abigail explained. "Hmm... Kinda careless of Kate to let you get all nebby in her armoire, knowin' that letter was there..." Jake mused. "Well, she didn't really, like, 'let' me..." Abigail clarified, adding that it had been Gwen's idea to search Kate's armoire for a pair of shoes. "Hmm... That's our Gwenny -- always so helpful..." Jake declared. "Is this the part where you're gonna warn me to watch out for Gwen again?" Abigail assumed. "Seems appropriate -- hell of a night that never would've happened had you not taken her advice..." Jake reasoned.
Abigail politely but firmly asked Jake to stop badmouthing Gwen, who had proven to be a good and loyal friend to the Deveraux clan. Jake backed down and changed the subject, promising to make a hangover cure for Abigail the following day. Gwen walked past the study just then and saw Abigail and Jake sharing a laugh.
Gwen continued walking -- and soon ran into Chad, who had just emerged from Kate's bedroom. Gwen innocently informed Chad that Abigail was in the study. Chad breathed a sigh of relief and thanked Gwen then rushed off to the study -- where Jake was in the process of putting a blanket over Abigail, who had fallen asleep on the couch. "What the hell?" Chad snapped, seeing that Abigail's head was resting in Jake's lap.
Meanwhile, Gwen watched from afar as Kate sneaked off to Jake's bedroom with the mechanic's forgotten jacket. "What are you up to now, Kate?" Gwen muttered.
Belle plans a surprise for Shawn
At the Brady house, Shawn offered to take Belle out for breakfast before the start of their respective workdays. "Oh, I'd love to...but I have a meeting with Philip," Belle revealed. "Yeah, of course you do..." Shawn grumbled. "Hey, we talked about this -- he just needs help --" Belle reiterated. "I know, I know -- and you believe in his case," Shawn conceded.
"Please tell me, [at least], that you're billing him at your highest rate," Shawn continued. "Oh, I am bleeding the sucker dry -- when this is over, we're gonna take a nice vacation, courtesy of Philip Kiriakis," Belle confirmed. "Now you're talking!" Shawn raved before giving Belle a farewell kiss. "Can't wait!" Shawn stressed as Belle was exiting the house.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sarah eavesdropped from the foyer as Philip continued a phone conversation with someone in the living room. "I told you -- I handled the situation," Philip said. "My dad bought my story," Philip said. "He'll get Xander off my back," Philip said. "Trust me -- we have nothing to worry about," Philip said. "I told you -- I'm moving things along as fast as I can!" Philip said. "We have to be smart about this!" Philip said.
Just then, Belle rang the doorbell, startling Sarah, who made a point of loudly jogging in place for a few seconds before opening the front door, wanting to create the illusion of movement through the mansion so that Philip wouldn't suspect that someone had been near the living room the whole time. Sarah ducked out of the mansion after pointing Belle in Philip's direction.
Philip ended the call then greeted Belle. "I had Henderson prepare breakfast -- I know we have a lot of strategizing to do about my case --" Philip continued. "Or maybe not -- I have some news that could change everything..." Belle countered. "Jan decided to drop those ridiculous charges against me?" Philip hopefully assumed. "Nope -- she's still insisting that you're gonna pay for assaulting and threatening her," Belle apologetically clarified. "Which is why I proposed a deal to the D.A. -- [basically], you plead guilty, and you only get a slap on the wrist; [in other words]...no jail time, just a little probation," Belle excitedly elaborated. "Absolutely not!" Philip insisted, surprising Belle, who was quick to warn that it would be risky to take the case to trial.
"Philip, be reasonable -- the D.A. is offering us a really good deal," Belle advised. "The charges are totally bogus!" Philip argued. "Uh...not really -- you did threaten Jan's life --" Belle countered. "It was a figure of speech!" Philip stressed. "[And] you grabbed her arm --" Belle continued. "Oh, come on!" Philip protested. "Philip, you put your hands on a woman --" Belle continued. "I barely touched her!" Philip insisted.
"If I plead guilty to these charges, Xander's gonna use it to drive me out of Titan!" Philip fretted. "Okay, so...we find a way to spin it so it seems like you're just trying to save the taxpayers money," Belle reasoned. "No one's gonna buy that!" Philip argued. "Why? It's true -- if this goes to trial, it could go on a really long time!" Belle countered.
"[And, you know, that means] it's gonna disrupt your whole life --" Belle warned. "If it clears my name, I'm okay with that," Philip insisted. "Well, I don't know if it will be okay with Shawn..." Belle admitted. "I'm sorry if I'm causing problems for you and Shawn, but I'm not gonna sandbag my life to avoid Shawn's jealous temper tantrums!" Philip declared. "Oh, that's not fair! [Look], I am not asking you to take this plea because it's better for me; you're my client, [and] I have your best interests at heart!" Belle stressed. "So, you honestly believe I should take this deal," Philip translated. "Yes!" Belle confirmed.
"[Look], if we go to court [and] lose, you could go to jail...and we don't have a strong case!" Belle warned. "[But] I believe in you -- you're the best lawyer I know, and I trust you, so I'm willing to put my fate in your hands!" Philip countered. "I'm telling you now, that's a mistake...but if you want to fight, I'll fight -- it's your call," Belle replied.
At Titan, Xander scowled and squeezed a stress ball tightly while continuing a phone conversation with Victor. "Yes, Uncle Vic -- I understand," Xander said. "I'm glad Philip had an...'explanation'...for the money transfer," Xander said. "I just wanted an answer...and now that I have one, I'm happy to let this go," Xander said before ending the call and hurling the stress ball at Philip's desk. "There's no way in hell I'm 'letting this go,'" Xander muttered while taking another look at the spreadsheet that had prompted the suspicion. "These numbers do not add up...and neither does your story, Philip..." Xander muttered.
Charlie arrived just then and handed Xander a protein shake. "Good lad!" Xander raved before taking a sip of the protein shake and releasing a sigh of contentment. "And thanks for filing that stack of papers last night," Xander added. "No problem -- it's not like I had anywhere else to be..." Charlie replied. "Still sulking about finding Claire kissing that other guy?" Xander assumed. "I...may or may not have obsessed about it all night..." Charlie muttered. "Well, you can't give up, Charlie! It's like I said [before] -- you play your cards right, Claire might still come crawling back to you!" Xander maintained. "Actually...she already did," Charlie revealed.
"What happened to grabbing the bull by the horns?" Xander wondered after hearing the whole story, disappointed that Charlie hadn't questioned Claire about the other guy who was in the picture. "I'm not big on confrontation!" Charlie explained with a shrug. "You can't just surrender, Charlie!" Xander insisted.
"It's like I told you [before] -- Sarah shot me down a million times! It took over a year, but eventually, my persistence won her over!" Xander reiterated. "You wore her down, huh?" Charlie summarized. "I showed her what she meant to me -- and, more importantly, what I could really offer her!" Xander stressed.
"Now she can't get enough of me --" Xander bragged. "Is that a fact?" Sarah interjected while barging into the office, startling Charlie and amusing Xander. "I was just giving Charlie a wee pep talk about women," Xander explained after introducing Charlie to Sarah. "Okay, well, whatever he told you to do...you know, just do the opposite," Sarah advised Charlie. Xander silently instructed Charlie to ignore Sarah's advice -- and to get lost.
"Well, this is a lovely surprise... What are you doing here?" Xander said to Sarah after Charlie rushed off. "Okay, so...I didn't say anything last night because I didn't want you to freak out, but...I think that you're right about Philip," Sarah admitted. "Did that creep make a move on you?" Xander assumed. "No!" Sarah insisted.
Sarah took Xander to Julie's Place so they could continue their conversation without having to worry about the possibility of Philip overhearing any part of it. "I knew it -- I knew I was right about that entitled little snake!" Xander spat after Sarah finished summarizing Philip's end of two suspicious phone conversations.
At the Horton Town Square, Claire called out to Jan, who was lost in thought.
Jan sauntered into the police station and greeted Shawn. "What the hell do you want now, Jan?" Shawn snapped. "Ooh -- someone's in a mood..." Jan observed. "Yeah -- and it's all your fault!" Shawn stressed. "What did I do now?" Jan wondered. "Well, if you [hadn't] pressed charges against Philip, he wouldn't be spending all of his time with my wife!" Shawn grumbled. "No offense, but...Belle didn't have to take his case..." Jan countered. "Yeah, well...can't argue with you on that one..." Shawn conceded.
"So, where are Philip and Belle, anyway? Melinda Trask and I are supposed to meet with them today," Jan continued. "They've been holed up in there all morning," Shawn reported before stepping into the mentioned conference room to inform Belle and Philip of Jan's arrival -- and catching the ex-lovers making out on the table.
"With a little luck, all my fantasies will soon become a reality -- Shawn will drop Belle like a hot potato, and then he'll be all mine..." Jan muttered before suddenly realizing that Claire was nearby. "Claire... Hi... I didn't realize you were standing there..." Jan stammered. "Obviously not -- I saw you from across the square, and I was calling out your name... You were just...sort of...staring off with this funny smile on your face... [So, tell me]...what were you thinking about?" Claire replied. "Oh...I was, uh...I was daydreaming about...bunnies! I love bunnies!" Jan claimed. "Okay..." Claire muttered, clearly confused.
Jan laughed nervously then quickly changed the subject, producing the healing crystal and handing it to Claire, who accepted it with a squeal of delight and a few words of gratitude. "It's been so long since we've had a chance to talk... [So, tell me]...how ya doin'?" Jan continued. "Honestly? I am a hot mess!" Claire admitted before telling Jan about what had happened with Theo -- and with Charlie -- the previous night.
After hearing the whole story, Jan grabbed Claire's cell phone and started to contact Charlie to demand an explanation for the cold response to the Frappuccino. "Please don't call him -- [that would be] so embarrassing [and] pushy! He will think I am a total freak --" Claire fretted. "Who will think you're a freak?" Charlie, who was passing through the area, wondered, startling Claire.
"Charlie?" Jan assumed. "Yeah... Who are you?" Charlie replied. "Claire's BFF," Jan bragged. "I have a question for you, mister!" Jan announced. "Oh, God -- please don't..." Claire muttered. "This adorable, sweet young woman goes to the trouble of buying you a frothy pick-me-up [then] marches all the way to your place of work [with it] late at night...and you have the nerve to blow her off -- why on earth would you do that?" Jan continued. "Maybe because an hour earlier, she was kissing another guy," Charlie countered, shrugging unapologetically.
"Wait -- how did you know that I was kissing Theo?" Claire wondered. "I saw it with my own two eyes," Charlie clarified. "You were spying on me?" Claire incredulously translated. "No -- of course not!" Charlie defensively insisted before explaining what had really happened. "Boy, did you overreact -- [I mean, that] was just Theo..." Jan dismissively declared before stepping aside to take a phone call.
"No offense, but...isn't that woman a little old to be your 'BFF'?" Charlie asked. "Jan is... Look, just forget Jan -- I want to talk about us!" Claire replied. "Okay," Charlie agreed, prompting Claire to clarify what had happened with Theo -- and why it had happened. "So...just to be clear...you're not dating anybody?" Charlie summarized. "Only you -- if...that's...still what you want..." Claire confirmed.
"How 'bout that dinner?" Charlie suggested. "Tonight?" Claire translated. "We've wasted enough time," Charlie reasoned.
At the police station, Eli approached Lani, who was in the midst of a phone conversation. "No, Brady -- um, I'm glad you told me," Lani said, startling Eli. "Look, as hard as it was, I wouldn't have wanted you to keep that from me," Lani said, making Eli even more concerned. "Hang in there, okay?" Lani said before ending the call and making eye contact with Eli, clearly upset about something.
"What, exactly, did he say?" Eli stammered. "I called to see how Kristen was doing in prison, and he told me that he took Rachel [there]...and, when it was time to go, [she] didn't want to leave her mom, [so] now he's thinking that it might be better not to bring [her] anymore," Lani replied. "I'm sorry -- that's terrible..." Eli muttered, trying not to show signs of relief. "I hate that Kristen can't be with her daughter -- I can't even imagine the pain that she's going through..." Lani fretted, fighting back tears. "Sorry..." Eli repeated, squirming guiltily.
Lani sighed then changed the subject, wondering if Eli was ready to head over to the Brady Pub for breakfast with Abe and Theo. "Sorry, but I gotta skip breakfast -- I still got a lot of work to catch up on," Eli replied. "[But I do] want to say goodbye to Theo, [so] I'll finish up as soon as I can," Eli added. "Okay..." Lani muttered before giving Eli a farewell kiss then rushing off, somewhat confused.
Later, Shawn entered the police station and observed that Eli seemed to be in pretty good shape, despite having recently taken a nasty blow from Ben. "I'm fine," Eli confirmed before changing the subject, arguing that Shawn was the one who truly needed more time to recover from recent nasty blows. "[Yeah, well], we've been short-staffed ever since Rafe left, [so]..." Shawn explained with a shrug.
"Plus, it's probably pretty good for me to keep myself busy, considering Belle is devoting all of her time to Philip's case..." Shawn grumbled. "You don't sound too happy about that..." Eli observed. "Well, let's just say that the three of us have, uh, had a pretty...complicated...history," Shawn admitted. "[Yeah, well], I don't know what happened in the past, but I do know this -- Belle loves you; anyone can see it," Eli stressed. "Yeah..." Shawn muttered. "What, do you have doubts?" Eli wondered. "No, I don't -- I just... I don't know -- the thought of losing the woman that you love... It can make you go a little bit crazy," Shawn clarified.
"Yeah -- I know what you mean..." Eli muttered. "[But]...everything's okay with you and Lani...[right]?" Shawn replied. "Yeah... Uh, I...I just meant that...we've been through a lot in the past year, so..." Eli stammered.
At the Brady Pub, Abe and Lani tried to convince Theo to move back to Salem -- or move to a place that was closer to Salem than South Africa was, at least. "I miss you guys, but...I've kind of made a life for myself there -- I have a good job [and] good friends, including J.J. now..." Theo stressed. "Is it me, Dad, or does it sound like this one [also] has a girlfriend?" Lani teasingly observed. "You know, I was thinking exactly the same thing!" Abe teasingly agreed. Clearly embarrassed, Theo confirmed Lani and Abe's shared suspicion but also argued that, since the relationship was still pretty new, saying too much about it could jinx it.
Playing along, Lani changed the subject, probing for details about Theo's visit with Claire. "It was a little awkward..." Theo admitted. "How so?" Abe wondered. "Well, for starters...she kissed me..." Theo clarified before telling Abe and Lani the rest of the story. Theo hoped that Claire would decide to take the risk of going on a date with Charlie -- and that it would be the start of a great new relationship.
Changing the subject, Theo admitted to being excited about taking on a new role soon -- as an uncle to Lani and Eli's twins. "FYI, 'Theo' is a great name for a boy -- [and] 'Theodosia' for a girl," Theo advised Lani. "Theodosia?" Abe repeated, having apparently never heard the name before. "Hamilton?" Theo replied, apparently finding it impossible to believe that anyone could be unfamiliar with the musical.
"I guess I can run those names by Eli..." Lani promised Theo with a laugh. "How are things with you two? I know it was a little rocky there for a while..." Theo replied. "Yeah, you could say that... Um, I was really mad at him for arresting Kristen behind my back... But we worked past it, and I know that he will never do something like that again," Lani reported. Abe squirmed while listening to Lani and Theo's conversation. "I'm definitely coming back to see those babies," Theo promised before adding that Abe, Lani, Eli, and the babies needed to return the favor with a trip to South Africa at some point.
Eli soon rushed into the Brady Pub to say goodbye to Theo, whose taxi arrived a short time later. Lani got particularly emotional while watching Theo's taxi disappear from view -- but was quick to blame pregnancy hormones for not only that display of emotion but also the earlier display of emotion at the police station. "I'm gonna let Eli fill you in," Lani said to a confused Abe before rushing off to the bathroom to freshen up.
Eli told Abe about Lani's earlier phone conversation with Brady. "I don't know how much longer I can live with this secret -- just waiting for the other shoe to drop -- [but] it's more important now than ever that our marriage is strong -- for those babies who will be here very soon -- [so]...maybe one day in the future, after things have calmed down, I'll be able to tell her what really happened, but for now, as much as I hate it, I think it's just better I keep this on the down low," Eli said to Abe -- unaware that Lani had emerged from the bathroom at some point.
At the police station, Shawn received an unexpected visit from Belle. "How are things going with your client?" Shawn asked with a hint of bitterness. "You mean my former client?" Belle replied, confusing Shawn. "Philip took a plea deal, so our working relationship is officially over," Belle clarified, delighting Shawn.
"Look, I, uh...I want to apologize -- you know, for being so testy when it comes to Philip lately --" Shawn stressed. "No, honey, you don't need to apologize -- I get why you don't want us spending time together, and that's on me. [But] I just hope you know that there was never any reason to worry -- I love you, Shawn, [and] only you," Belle countered. "I know you do...[but] sometimes it's really hard for me to not let my mind go there... I mean, that doubt goes back a long ways..." Shawn explained. "Maybe it's time for me to put those doubts to rest once and for all..." Belle suggested before getting down on bended knee and proposing to Shawn.
"I know the timing isn't ideal -- [I mean], you just lost your sister, and your family's going through so much -- but I did realize that our original wedding anniversary is coming up next week, [so]..." Belle reasoned, and Shawn nodded in response then happily accepted the proposal. As Shawn and Belle sealed the deal with a kiss, Jan watched from outside the conference room with a scowl.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Philip produced a cell phone and stared wistfully at a photograph of Belle that was stored on the device. "Get over it, Kiriakis -- she's gone..." Philip muttered before deciding to go for a jog to blow off some steam. Later, while jogging through the park, Philip spotted someone familiar. "What the hell are you doing here?" Philip demanded to know, looking a bit worried.
Ava Vitali returns to Salem
While Steve poured a cup of coffee, Tripp joined him in the living room. Tripp admitted that although he had not been able to sleep, he had stayed in his room until Kayla had left for work. "You don't have to do that," Steve said. "I don't want to make it uncomfortable for her. I mean, she barely speaks to me," Tripp said. Steve said he had not talked to Kayla much, either. Tripp apologized for driving a wedge between Steve and his wife.
"You haven't done anything wrong," Steve said. "Well, tell that to the D.A.," Tripp countered. With a sigh, Steve informed Tripp that Allie had sent the DNA test results to the police. "I know how it looks but I'm telling you, I'm innocent," Tripp stressed. Steve told Tripp that he believed Tripp. Steve's phone rang. "It's Justin," Steve noted.
While Allie folded laundry in Nicole's apartment, Melinda Trask visited and told her that she would not file charges. "Tripp raped me, and you came here to tell me that there is nothing you can do about it?" Allie asked in disbelief. Trask explained that since the crime had occurred in London, her office did not have jurisdiction.
"So, that's it? [Tripp] doesn't get punished? And I just have to see him walking around town every day, free and clear?" Allie asked. Allie shook her head and noted that Lani had warned her that Trask might not prosecute Tripp. "It takes great courage to report a sexual assault," Trask said. Trask added that she knew Tripp, and he had always been kind to Haley. Furious, Allie accused Trask of not believing her.
"I take your accusations very seriously. I'm just not in a position to do anything about that," Trask stressed. Trask offered to forward the case file to the police in London if Allie wanted. "So, they could still prosecute him there?" Allie asked. Trask noted that the police in London could extradite Tripp to England, and she gave Allie her business card. "Call me when you make your decision," Trask said.
At Steve and Kayla's apartment, Steve told Tripp that the D.A. had decided that Allie's case was not in Salem's jurisdiction. When Tripp did not look relieved, Steve asked what was wrong. "It doesn't change anything," Tripp said. "Of course, it does. You're not going to prison," Steve stressed. Tripp explained that the perception of everyone in town was that he was guilty.
"Some small part of me is conflicted about it. Thinking I could have at least defended myself at trial. Maybe even cleared my name," Tripp said. Steve argued that with the evidence against Tripp, he likely would have been convicted. Tripp nodded in agreement. "I just wish none of this had ever happened," Tripp said. Steve said that he still believed Tripp. Tripp asked why. Steve said that when he had looked in Tripp's eyes, he'd known that Tripp had told the truth.
"I know you're a good man. I've seen you. You're respectful of women. There's not a misogynistic bone in your body. There is no way you could have done what Allie is accusing you of. It's just not in you. I know that," Steve said. With tears in his eyes, Tripp thanked his father for believing in him when no one else had. Tripp lamented that he did not have a way to prove his innocence to Kayla. "I have so much respect for her, but how can I expect her to take my word over scientific evidence?" Tripp said. Steve stressed that Kayla loved Tripp. "I know. But she's not my mom," Tripp said.
Out to pick up dessert, Tripp ran into Trask in the town square. "It's been a long time," Trask said. Tripp told Trask that he was sorry to hear about Haley. "[Haley] was an amazing person," Tripp said. Melinda nodded in agreement, and she confirmed that she had received the card that Tripp had sent her. "It meant a lot to me, and I know you were important to her," Trask said. "I miss her every day," Tripp said. Tripp thanked Trask for dropping the charges. Coldly, Trask told Tripp not to thank her. "I only dropped the charges because I had no choice," Trask said. Tripp asked Trask if she believed he had raped Allie.
"Allie Horton tells a compelling story, and a very painful one, but I can't forget the fact that you tried to help my daughter. And I'll be grateful to you forever for that. So, I'm going to give you the benefit of full disclosure," Trask said. Trask told Tripp that she had talked to Allie, and she had left the choice of whether to forward the charges to the police in London with Allie. "Then, they could still prosecute me over there?" Tripp asked. Trask wished Tripp good luck.
At Nicole's apartment, Allie held Henry in her arms, and she stared at the business card that Trask had left her. Tripp knocked on the door. "I hear you might still tell your story to the London police. I'm here to ask you not to," Tripp said.
At the pub, Eli told Abe that he hoped to tell Lani the truth in the future. "As much as I hate it, I think it's best to keep it on the down low," Eli said. Lani cleared her throat as she returned from the bathroom. Abe smiled at his daughter. "What exactly are you two keeping from me?" Lani asked. Eli covered and said that he and Abe had planned a surprise baby shower. "You two?" Lani asked. "You don't think we can pull it off?" Abe asked. Eli explained that he would ask Julie to handle the details.
"Honestly, I don't think I'm up for a baby shower," Lani said. When Eli asked why, Lani said that it was because of Kristen. "It is tradition that a baby shower is hosted by the mom-to-be's best friend. And not only will Kristen not host it, she won't even be there," Lani said. Lani noted that she could not enjoy her baby shower, knowing that Kristen was locked in prison, away from her daughter. Abe suggested that they video the shower so that Lani could share it with Kristen on her next visit to Statesville.
"That's really thoughtful of you, Dad. Just, let me think about it some more," Lani said. Lani looked at her phone, and she announced that she needed to go back to the station. Lani slipped her phone into her purse on the floor, then she stood up and hugged Abe and Eli goodbye. "I think a baby shower sounds lovely, and I'm sure Kristen wouldn't want me to reject it," Lani said. Lani walked out.
After Lani left, Eli announced, "I cannot keep this lie forever." Abe said he knew that Eli had pressured Kristen because he had wanted to protect Lani. "Maybe it's time for you to come clean with [Lani]," Abe suggested. "I can't jeopardize the health of Lani or the health of our babies," Eli said. Abe warned Eli that Brady could change his mind about keeping the secret. "[I just hope Brady] keeps his promise, and he doesn't tell Lani what really happened," Eli said. As Eli looked up from his hands, Lani was standing behind Abe.
"I left my purse," Lani said. Lani grabbed her purse, said goodbye again, and left. Outside the pub, Lani listened on her phone to a recording of Eli and Abe's conversation. Inside the pub, Eli thanked Abe for keeping his secret. "I just want what's best for Lani and these babies. It's your call," Abe said. Eli admitted that he did not like to lie to his wife. With a chuckle, Abe noted that, soon enough, Eli and Lani would not have time for anything but taking care of their twins.
At Julie's Place, Xander asked Sarah about what she had overheard from Philip. Sarah admitted that she had only heard Philip's side of his phone conversation and that Philip had sounded intimidated by the person on the phone. "Do you think he is taking orders from someone else?" Sarah asked. Xander was not sure. "Who'd want to help Philip take me down?" Xander wondered aloud. Xander guessed that Philip was working with Brady, based on their history.
"You think that Brady is still trying to take down the family business?" Sarah asked. Xander noted that Kristen's prison sentence had to have reignited Brady's anger. Sarah discouraged Xander from confronting Brady. "You tend to be a bit overzealous," Sarah said. Sarah noted that a fight with Brady would not help Xander win over Victor. "I can't just let [Brady] get away with this!" Xander objected. Sarah offered to talk to Brady.
"You would do that for me?" Xander asked. "I would do anything for you. We are a team," Sarah said as she pulled Xander into her arms. With a nod, Sarah told Xander she would see him at home after she talked to Brady.
Sarah went to visit Brady at the Salem Inn. "It has become very clear to Xander and me that Philip might be up to no good at Titan," Sarah said. Brady asked for details, and Sarah told Brady that the evidence pointed to a partner in crime. "Why in the hell would I want to work with Philip?" Brady asked. With a shrug, Sarah mentioned Brady's anger with Xander and Victor. Brady groaned, and he said that he had no interest in the company.
"I have one concern right now, and that is Kristen and trying to take care of my little girl. Nothing else matters," Brady said. Rachel started to cry. While Brady tended to his daughter, Sarah grew agitated. Once Rachel fell back asleep, Sarah was calmer.
"She's gotten so big..." Sarah said quietly. "Since you brought her back to us," Brady finished. With a sniffle, Sarah admitted that she had kept her distance because she had not wanted to cause any problems. Brady nodded. "It's hard. Still. It's why I understand what Kristen is going through, what she is feeling, you know, being taken away from her little girl," Sarah said.
Sarah started to apologize for not reaching out to Brady sooner, and he interrupted to tell her to visit anytime. Brady assured Sarah that neither he nor Kristen harbored any ill will toward Sarah. "What about Xander?" Sarah asked. Brady admitted that he did not like Xander, but he did not blame Xander for Kristen's imprisonment.
After a run, Philip stopped in the park to drink a bottle of water. "What the hell are you doing here?" Philip said as he looked at someone by the bushes. It was Ava Vitali. Philip looked around to see if anyone was nearby, and Ava assured Philip that no one had seen her. "I thought we agreed that you would keep your distance," Philip growled. "Did we?" Ava said. Philip argued that it was best for them if everyone believed that Ava was still dead.
"You're awfully nervous, Philip. What are you so worried about?" Ava said. Philip asked Ava why she was in Salem. Ava said she had wanted to check on Philip's progress. "You know what I want," Ava said. Philip argued that he could not launder mob money through Titan with Xander watching his every move.
"I did as you asked. I came back to Salem and demanded my father put me in charge of Titan. I had no idea I would be stuck with Xander as my co-CEO," Philip complained. With a shrug, Ava told Philip that he owed her for the debt she had paid off on his behalf. "You promised that this deal with Titan was a sure thing, and I vouched for you. I could have let my cousin Angelo deal with you the way that he wanted," Ava said. Suspicious, Philip asked Ava if she was there to check on him or if she had returned to town to see Steve.
"As much as I would like to see Steve, you know I can't show myself to him," Ava said. "Because his son Joey is in prison for murdering you?" Philip asked. Ava laughed. "For starters," Ava said. Ava added that she was wanted by the police. "So, I cannot see Steve or my son," Ava said. When Philip mentioned Tripp, Ave turned her back to him and said she did not want to talk about her son.
"As long as I know you're focused on the right things," Philip said. Angry, Ava told Philip he was the one that needed to stay focused and keep up his end of the bargain. "I was willing to do whatever it took to eliminate Kayla to get what I wanted. Are you capable of making the same commitment to getting rid of your rival?" Ava said. Philip asked Ava if she wanted him to kill Xander. Ava reminded Philip that in life and business, survival of the fittest was the rule to live by. Ava warned Philip that if he did not take care of Xander, he might regret it.
After Philip left, Ava talked on the phone to someone about Philip. "Maybe now he has the proper motivation to deal with his cousin Xander," Ava said. As Ava ended her call, she looked at the picture of Steve on her phone screen. Ava thought about her last passionate night with Steve, and she smiled to herself. Ava went to Steve's apartment, and she knocked on the front door.
Philip returned home, and he found Xander working in the Kiriakis living room. Philip circled behind Xander by the fireplace, and he stared at the back of Xander's head. Philip thought about Ava's warning to take care of Xander or else her family would take care of Philip. Philip grabbed a fire poker, and he imagined hitting Xander over the head.
"Are you okay, Philip?" Xander asked. Philip snapped out of his daydream, fire poker still in his hand. "Yeah, I'm okay," Philip said. Curious, Xander asked about the poker. Philip barked at Xander that he did not need the approval of his co-CEO to make a fire. Sarah walked in, and Philip stomped out of the room in a huff. Sarah closed the doors so that she could talk privately with Xander.
"Everything that guy does is suspicious," Xander muttered. "I can't argue with you," Sarah agreed. Xander asked Sarah about her conversation with Brady. "[Brady] is so moved on from you. He's just focused on his little girl and being a single parent," Sarah said. "If not Brady, who is Philip in cahoots with?" Xander wondered aloud.
Lani went to the Salem Inn to ask Brady about Eli's secret. "I need you to tell me exactly what Eli doesn't want me to know," Lani said.