At Statesville, Kristen received a visit from Brady, who was alone. "[Rachel] has a slight fever, so Marlena and I both agreed that we probably shouldn't bring her, just to be on the safe side," Brady explained to Kristen, who understood but was still disappointed. "Christmas, for children, is such a magical time, and I was so looking forward to seeing it through her eyes," Kristen admitted, prompting Brady to point out that there was nothing stopping them from at least imagining future Christmas celebrations. Kristen delighted in telling Brady about a fantasy in which they were the owners of the Kiriakis mansion -- and Victor, Maggie, and Xander were their loyal servants. Later, Brady gave Kristen a Christmas card that Rachel had made.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Maggie entered the living room and cheerfully greeted Victor, who was fiddling with a tablet computer. Maggie protested that Victor needed to take a break from work because it was Christmas Eve -- and they would soon have guests to entertain, anyway. Maggie produced a Santa hat and started to beg Victor to wear it -- but the request was denied before even a single word of it could be spoken. Maggie fretted that Victor would scare all the guests away without the help of something disarming, like the hat, that would give them the illusion of a man who was in the holiday spirit. Victor really liked the idea of scaring all the guests away -- but eventually agreed to humor Maggie, albeit grudgingly and with a caveat. "Not until the people get here!" Victor insisted.
Meanwhile, in an upstairs bedroom, Sarah wrapped up a phone conversation with Xander. "When we broke up to smoke out whatever Philip's up to at Titan, I didn't count on this -- being apart at Christmas!" Xander grumbled. "It's funny, isn't it? The only thing that I want for Christmas, I can't have -- which is you. But I will be thinking of you every minute," Sarah replied before ending the call.
"Was that Xander?" Philip, who had been eavesdropping from the hallway, demanded to know. "God, no -- that was my sister Melissa; she wanted to come and join us for Christmas, but she can't," Sarah coolly replied, prompting Philip to apologize for having jumped to the wrong conclusion.
"I [also] want to apologize for kissing you before. I know you're on the rebound [and] don't want another relationship, and I will try to respect that from now on...[although], I will confess, I'm very attracted to you -- which you probably guessed -- and I think we'd be good together," Philip stressed while locking eyes with Sarah, who flirtatiously claimed to feel the same way. "But I am not ready to rush into anything," Sarah insisted. "I'll try to be patient...but a word of caution -- avoid the mistletoe, [or] I might get ideas," Philip replied, drawing a forced laugh from Sarah.
While passing through the town square, Chloe spotted Xander, who was peering inside a charitable organization's collection kettle -- which, despite having no protective covering, had been left unattended. "Still looking for easy money?" Chloe assumed. "Actually, I was just about to...donate..." Xander claimed before producing a twenty-dollar bill and dropping it in the kettle.
"Merry Christmas!" Xander said to Chloe cheerfully. "Or should I say...'Feliz Navidad'?" Xander continued, drawing a sarcastic laugh from Chloe, who took the question as a reference to what had happened in Mexico a few years earlier. "About that..." Xander began. "What, are you 'terribly sorry'?" Chloe skeptically summarized. "I am, actually -- even though it was more Theresa's fault that we left you behind [with El Fideo]..." Xander stressed. "Ah, there it is -- the Xander we all know and despise, always passing the buck," Chloe observed. "Perhaps I deserve that," Xander conceded.
"But you survived, [so]...in the spirit of Christmas...can we let bygones be bygones?" Xander hopefully suggested. "I've put what happened in Mexico behind me," Chloe assured Xander.
"And, from what Philip says, so have you -- [I mean], wow, it's a big step up from working with drug lords and diamond smugglers to running Titan," Chloe acknowledged. "You and Philip go way back," Xander remembered. "Yeah, we do -- we're friends. And, because he's my friend, I warned him not to turn his back on you [because] he might find a knife in it," Chloe stressed. "You're the one who's handy with a knife, from what I recall," Xander countered, drawing a scoff from Chloe, who started to walk away.
"For the record...I'm not the man I was in Mexico," Xander insisted, stopping Chloe. "Really? 'New and improved'?" Chloe asked skeptically. "Yeah -- love will do that," Xander wistfully replied. "Why are you alone on Christmas Eve, then?" Chloe challenged Xander. "Sarah and I broke up, so I'm persona non grata at the Kiriakis mansion," Xander explained with a sigh.
"Why aren't you with your family?" Xander challenged Chloe. "Well, I was planning on being with them, but my flight was canceled due to bad weather," Chloe explained with a shrug.
Just then, Xander received a phone call from Maggie, who demanded Xander's presence at the Kiriakis family's Christmas Eve celebration. "Well, looks like I'm going to be with my family, after all," Xander bragged to Chloe after ending the call. "Lucky you," Chloe replied. "You shouldn't be alone on Christmas Eve -- why don't you join me?" Xander suggested. "Victor would have a fit!" Chloe predicted.
At the cemetery, Justin placed a poinsettia on Adrienne's grave. "I woke up this morning and turned over to take you in my arms and kiss you -- then I realized I was dreaming again..." Justin admitted with a sigh. "Remember when Christmas Eve meant staying up half the night, putting together toys for our boys? And then you [would] teach our sons that Christmas wasn't about just the toys under the tree -- it was about the joy of giving, and [us] all being together. And now our boys are carrying on that tradition with their own families. Lord, how I miss them..." Justin continued. "But, most of all...I miss you," Justin concluded before breaking down.
Later, Justin ran into Bonnie outside the Brady Pub. "How was your date with your young stud?" Justin asked. "Oh, my date... Yeah... Well, you know the good thing about young guys -- a lot of giddy-up in the saddle..." Bonnie replied. "You're trying to make me jealous," Justin decided. "Why would I do that -- [and] why would you be jealous, [anyway], now that you're back with Kayla?" Bonnie countered. "I am not back with Kayla -- [actually], I was late for our date because Kayla needed some emergency legal help for her son," Justin clarified before starting to walk away, prompting Bonnie to admit that nothing was really going on with the other guy.
"We could have that date now, if you wanted..." Bonnie hopefully suggested. "I would like that --" Justin hesitantly began. "You would?" Bonnie interjected, stunned. "Except...I'm celebrating Christmas Eve with my family --" Justin continued. "Oh, yeah -- right, of course..." Bonnie muttered. "[And] I'd invite you, but --" Justin continued. "Oh, your family hates me," Bonnie summarized, managing a chuckle. "There's that," Justin concluded. "I get it," Bonnie assured Justin before starting to walk away. "Wait," Justin called out, stopping Bonnie.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Maggie hesitantly started to break some news to Sarah -- just as Xander entered the living room. Sarah suppressed a smile and made a big show of objecting to Maggie's decision to invite Xander to the family's Christmas Eve celebration. "There is no better time than Christmas to be with the ones you love!" Maggie argued. "Well, I don't even like Xander [anymore] -- I've moved on!" Sarah declared before walking over to the mantel, where Philip was standing. "Good to hear...because I've moved on, myself..." Xander announced -- just as Chloe entered the mansion.
"Absolutely not -- I'd rather have coal in my stocking than Chloe Lane in this house!" Victor protested. "Yeah, yeah -- merry Christmas to you, as well, Vic," Chloe countered. "That's no way to treat my date!" Xander snapped at Victor before flashing Philip a smirk. "Date?" Chloe whispered to Xander -- and Sarah was surprised, too, but said nothing.
"Hope you won't be too jealous," Xander said to Sarah. "Why would I be jealous?" Sarah replied before grabbing a branch of mistletoe and showing it to Philip, who happily took the bait then flashed Xander a smirk. "Not happening," Chloe insisted when Xander tried to pull the same move with another branch of mistletoe, drawing laughs from Sarah and Philip. "Must suck to have two women so completely repulsed by you," Philip mused. "Shut your mouth!" Xander warned. "Okay, boys -- let's just keep the peace..." Maggie interjected.
Xander coolly informed Philip that Maggie was right. "Your father is counting on us to behave like adults [and] work together -- and I wouldn't want to let Uncle Vic down," Xander declared while joining Victor on the couch -- and before Philip could respond, Justin entered the mansion and greeted everyone.
"I brought a guest..." Justin eventually began to reveal. "Sonny?" Victor asked hopefully. "No, Sonny couldn't make it this year, unfortunately -- [but] he sends his love, of course," Justin regretfully replied. "Who'd you bring, then -- [and] where is he?" Victor wondered. "She, actually -- and she's waiting outside a few minutes because I wanted to sort of prepare you for her arrival --" Justin explained. "Oh, enough of this damn suspense -- just tell us who the hell you brought!" Victor demanded. "It's me," Bonnie, who had just entered the mansion, revealed with a nervous laugh.
"Get that woman out of this house right now! We are not doing a celebration of Christmas Eve -- or any other damn eve -- with Bonnie Lockhart!" Victor snapped at Justin. "For once, I agree with my husband -- [I mean], how could you bring that woman into this home after what she did to your wife?" Maggie challenged Justin.
"Bonnie deeply regrets everything she did, [and] she has resolved to become a better person --" Justin stressed. "Oh, cue the violins..." Victor interjected. "A lot of people talk about changing, [but] Bonnie actually did it -- she could have kept her large settlement and lived the life that she was always chasing, but she didn't; she donated the entire amount to Sonny's new business venture to help women who have breast cancer," Justin continued, apparently revealing new information to everyone except Bonnie. "And, since then, we've become friends...so, if she's not welcome here, we'll just leave," Justin concluded with a shrug.
"No!" Bonnie protested. "Justin, you stay with your family -- I'll go. It was a mistake to ever come here. I'm sorry," Bonnie added before starting to rush off. "Wait," Victor called out, stopping Bonnie, who braced for a lecture. "Justin is a wonderful man. He's the best of us -- kind, forgiving, a big heart... We should all try to be like him. I must say, I don't see what he sees in you, Bonnie...but if Justin wants to include you in our Christmas Eve celebration, you're welcome to stay," Victor declared, stunning Bonnie, who gratefully accepted the invitation while fighting back tears.
"I guess you're a bigger softy than you let on," Bonnie said to Victor teasingly. "It must be the hat," Maggie joked while smiling at Victor proudly, drawing chuckles of agreement from everyone else.
Later, Philip seized an opportunity to talk to Chloe privately at the bar. "I'm glad you're not alone on Christmas -- even if you did have to come with Xander..." Philip stressed. "I should have known something was up when he invited me," Chloe admitted. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the living room, Sarah and Xander whispered flirtatious comments to each other while also pretending to be fighting over a plate of snacks.
Eventually, Philip rejoined Sarah, and Xander rejoined Chloe. "I know that kiss was just for show, but...I think it kind of felt a little more than a 'just want to take things slow' [kiss]," Philip flirtatiously whispered to Sarah, who apologized for having sent mixed signals. "I think I'm just...confused -- and I don't think I'm the only one," Sarah quietly declared, having sensed that Philip still had feelings for Chloe.
Sarah soon walked away so Philip could initiate another private conversation with Chloe, and the exes reminisced about a poem that Philip had written for Chloe as a Christmas gift back when they had still been in high school. Meanwhile, Justin and Bonnie held hands while exchanging stories about their kids and grandkids.
After the event, Chloe returned to the Salem Inn and contacted Parker -- and, back at the Kiriakis mansion, Philip stared wistfully at a hat that Chloe had accidentally left behind. Meanwhile, Xander climbed through the window of Sarah's upstairs bedroom so they could spend the night together. Justin walked Bonnie home -- and seized a kiss while they were passing through the town square.
Shawn surprises Belle
Belle and Shawn walked through the square after they finished their Christmas shopping. With a sly smile, Shawn held a sprig of mistletoe over Belle's head and kissed her.
At the penthouse, John cried as he watched a movie on TV. Marlena returned home, and John quickly wiped away the tears on his face. "Is something wrong?" Marlena asked. John insisted he was fine, but Marlena pushed him to confess that he had been emotional about a Christmas movie. Marlena turned the TV back on so that they could watch the end.
At Nicole's apartment, Nicole gave Allie an early Christmas gift. Inside the gift bag was a pair of Santa footie pajamas for Henry. "I love it!" Allie said as she hugged Nicole. Nicole offered to watch baby Henry rather than go to the party. When Allie raised an eyebrow, Nicole grinned. "Can you keep a secret? Eric's coming home!" Nicole said. Nicole explained that Eric's return was a surprise for everyone.
"I just want a little time alone with Eric before we go to John and Marlena's," Nicole confessed. Allie said she understood. "Of course, you want some alone time. Your secret is safe with me," Allie said. There was a knock at the door. Nicole rushed to open it for Eric, but it was Will at the door. As Nicole's smile faded, Will said, "Merry Christmas!" When Nicole greeted Will with low enthusiasm, Nicole explained that she had been expecting a different visitor.
"That is a surprise, too," Allie interjected. With a chuckle, Will changed the subject to the Christmas Eve party, and he asked Allie for a ride. "Grandma will be so happy to see you. Just like I am!" Allie said as she hugged Will. While Will and Allie chatted on the couch, Nicole carried in a sleeping Henry for Will to see.
"He's beautiful! He's gotten so big," Will said. Nicole announced that she was going to check on Holly in the bedroom before her visitor arrived. Once alone, Will apologized to Allie again for his role in Sami's plan. Allie told Will all was forgiven, because she understood how difficult it was to say no to their mother.
"I guess it worked out, anyway. Despite [Sami's] intervention. Henry's thriving, and you seem happy," Will said. Allie credited Nicole with helping her through a difficult time. "I guess Mom kind of got what she wanted. I'm raising my baby," Allie said. "I know you didn't really want to at first," Will said. "I can't imagine my life without him," Allie admitted.
As Will and Allie rose to leave for the party, Nicole returned to the living room. Will invited Nicole to join them, but Nicole politely declined. "I mean she really doesn't want to miss the big surprise," Allie teased Nicole. Nicole winked playfully back at Allie. After Will and Allie left, Nicole set up a romantic dinner for her and Eric. "Merry Christmas to me," Nicole whispered. There was a knock at the door, and Nicole ran to open it. "Merry Christmas, sweetheart!" Nicole shouted as she opened the door. Nicole's smile fell away.
Claire called Charlie at his apartment to double-check that he still planned to attend her family's Christmas Eve gathering. "Wouldn't miss it for the world, though I might be late. I had some last-minute wrapping to do," Charlie said as he looked over at Ava. Tied to a chair, Ava glared at her son. When Charlie ended his call, he joked about putting a string of lights on Ava as decoration. As Ava narrowed her eyes, Charlie reminded her that she had tied up many people in her lifetime.
"Turn-around is fair play, right?" Charlie said. Charlie took Ava's gag off, and she screamed. Charlie told Ava that no one would pay any mind to Ava's screams. Ava demanded to be released, but Charlie told her she would be alone for Christmas. "I cannot believe you are doing this to me," Ava complained. Charlie reminded Ava that she had taught him to kidnap people that were a danger to him.
"I am not a danger to you," Ava protested. "You're going to tell everybody that I'm a rapist. I could go to jail. I could lose Claire," Charlie said. Ava swore she would not tell anyone about the rape. When Ava mentioned that the status quo was fine because Tripp would not be charged, Charlie groaned. "I just want to protect both of my sons," Ava said. "No. You are just trying to con me into letting you free," Charlie countered.
"This is our first Christmas together. Let's celebrate," Ava said. Ava suggested that they go get a tree together and cook dinner. "That is all I've ever wanted," Charlie said. Charlie added that he hated Ava, and it was too late to have the Christmas he had dreamed of as a child. "You should have tried when I was ten," Charlie said. Charlie gagged Ava again. Charlie turned on a movie on the TV for Ava, and he left. Ava started to work on the ropes to free herself from the chair.
At the penthouse, John and Marlena welcomed Brady, Claire, Belle, and Shawn as they arrived for the party. "Go ahead and put your presents under the tree, and John is making his famous eggnog," Marlena said. Brady gave Marlena a gift from him and Kristen. It was a framed photo of Marlena with Rachel. "I will thank Kristen when I visit her next," Marlena said.
Across the room, Belle asked Claire about her boyfriend. "He'll be here. He just had some things to take care of," Claire said. Nearby, Brady teased John about crying over Christmas movies. "Is he giving you a hard time?" Belle asked. "Always," John said with a grin. Brady admitted that it was difficult to get used to seeing John get emotional. John said he liked having stronger emotional responses, because it made him appreciate having the family together for the holiday.
"Except the last time the family was together. I kind of blew it big time, and I'm sorry for that," John said. Belle assured John that Jan had ruined the wedding, not John. "Hopefully I'll be able to get those charges dropped after the holidays," Belle said. While John went over to the refreshments table to help Marlena, Shawn noted that it would be a good evening for a wedding.
"Guess you can't get married without rings, right?" Shawn said. "Actually, you can," Brady interjected. With a frown, Shawn stuck his hand in his pocket. "What is this?" Shawn said. Shawn pulled their wedding rings out of his pocket, and he explained that he had the rings just in case. "In case of what?" Brady asked in a mocking tone. "In case of an impromptu wedding," Shawn said. Shawn dropped to one knee and held the rings out.
"Will you marry me? Today?" Shawn asked. Belle dropped her face in her hands and said yes. As Brady and Claire clapped, Marlena and John kissed. When Charlie arrived, he had flowers for Marlena. "This is for you," Charlie said as he pulled a package out of his pocket. Claire told Charlie to put his present under the tree with her present for him. As Charlie glanced over at the tree, he saw John.
"Why is your grandfather crying?" Charlie asked. Claire explained that her parents had decided to get married that night. "That's great," Charlie whispered. Belle greeted Charlie, and he congratulated her on her nuptials. John greeted Charlie then took Belle by the arm. Marlena started the ceremony, but Marlena's phone rang. "I'm so sorry. I forgot to turn that off," Marlena said. As Marlena looked to see who the caller was, she noted, "It's Sami."
"Don't you dare answer that phone!" Belle objected. Belle argued that Sami could leave a message. "I thought you might want to tell her that you were getting married," Marlena said. "Why would I want to tell Sami anything?" Belle asked. Belle noted that Sami had unleashed Jan on Salem, and Sami had ruined too much already. Marlena turned her phone off, and she continued with the ceremony.
"We're here to celebrate the marriage of Belle and Shawn. We rejoice in their love and commitment to one another, and we offer unconditional support for the beginning of their new life together," Marlena said. Marlena encouraged Belle and Shawn to say their own vows.
"Shawn, love my life, from this day forward, I promise you these things. I promise to laugh with you in times of joy. And I promise to comfort you in times of sorrow. And I promise to share in your dreams and support you as you strive to achieve all your goals. I promise to listen with compassion and understanding, and I promise to speak to you with tons of encouragement," Belle said. Belle added that she promised to be faithful to Shawn, her best friend.
"Belle, when I look into your eyes, I'm reminded of just how lucky I am. I'm a better man with you by my side, and I vow that I'll always be there. I'll be there to listen to you as long as it takes until you feel heard. And I vow to watch you, in awe, as you kick ass and take names. And I vow to be your unrelenting cheer squad on days when things are just too much. And I vow to love you always, forever and beyond," Shawn said.
Shawn and Belle said their I do's, and they exchanged rings. After Marlena pronounced Shawn and Belle as husband and wife, Shawn kissed Belle as the family cheered. "I think this calls for some Champagne!" John said. While John set out glasses, Brady answered the doorbell. Will and Allie were there. "I wish you would have been here a couple minutes ago. You wouldn't have missed the wedding," Brady said. Brady told Allie and Will about Belle and Shawn's surprise ceremony.
Claire waved to Allie from across the room, and Allie rushed over to hug her. Charlie returned with a box of champagne from the kitchen. "Charlie, this is my adorable cousin Allie," Claire said. The smile faded from Charlie's face. "It's nice to meet you," Allie said. "Nice to meet you, too," Charlie responded. "I'm sorry, do I know you?" Allie asked Charlie. With a shrug, Charlie said he did not know. "You just seem so familiar," Allie said. "I just have one of those faces, I guess," Charlie said before he scurried over to the table to set the box down.
While Brady gathered the family together for pictures, Claire walked over to Charlie and asked him if something was wrong. Charlie lied and said that he did not feel well. "I think I should go home," Charlie said. Claire felt Charlie's forehead. Charlie said he felt like he was coming down with something, and he did not want to get sick at the party. Claire offered to go with Charlie, but he told her to stay with her family. "I'll call you tomorrow," Charlie said. Charlie kissed Claire on the cheek, and he ran out the door.
"Where is Charlie going?" Allie asked Claire. Claire explained that Charlie had felt ill. Claire and Allie joined the rest of the family for a Christmas picture, but Claire's face in the photo was distracted. After the photo, John noticed Claire in the corner, and he asked her about Charlie. Claire said Charlie had been ill, and she worried because Charlie was alone for Christmas. While Claire went to get water, Marlena joined John.
"Are you happy?" John asked. "What could be better than having a house full of family?" Marlena countered. John asked Marlena if Sami had left a voicemail. Marlena confirmed that Sami had left an apology for not being able to return to Salem for Christmas. Marlena admitted that the wedding might not have happened if Sami had been in town. John agreed.
"I think it is going to take a bit of time for Belle. She's still pretty angry about all that," John said. "With very good reason," Marlena agreed. John told Marlena that happy endings were always emotional because they arrived after a bunch of hurdles. "And we have overcome our share of hurdles this time, haven't we?" Marlena asked. John said yes. John told Marlena that they had a lot of happy memories to look forward to in the future. With tears in his eyes, John told Marlena that he was thankful to share his life with her.
"You know the good thing about getting married on Christmas Eve? You'll never forget our anniversary," Belle teased Shawn. Shawn pulled another jewelry box out of his pocket, with a pair of earrings. Belle kissed her groom. Across the room, Allie told Claire that she was surprised that Charlie had left so suddenly. Claire said she had wanted Charlie to get to know Allie. "I have this feeling that I already do," Allie said.
At Charlie's apartment, Ava finished untying her restraints. When Ava threw open the door to escape, Charlie was there in the hallway. "Going somewhere?" Charlie asked.
The Hortons have their annual tree-trimming ceremony
At the Walker-Brady apartment, Nicole's visitor -- Rafe, not Eric -- made a joke about having just been greeted as "sweetheart," prompting Nicole to excitedly inform Rafe that Eric was en route to Salem for the holidays. Rafe was happy for Nicole -- and promised not to ruin the surprise for anyone who wasn't expecting a visit from Eric.
"David and I -- last year, we baked cookies, [and] I thought I'd do it again this year...[but, without David], I have a surplus, so..." Rafe explained with a shrug before handing over a gift bag then starting to rush off -- just as Nicole received a phone call from Eric, who was stuck in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. "The flight he was supposed to take had mechanical issues, and there's no definite answer about rebooking tickets, [so] I guess he's not coming home for Christmas..." Nicole summarized for Rafe with a forced smile after ending the call.
Rafe tried to optimistically reason that Eric would still be back in Salem sometime soon, but Nicole was no longer confident that a holiday reunion was in the cards. "It depends on the flights, it depends on his work..." Nicole acknowledged. "I was just so looking forward to seeing him...[but] I only have myself to blame, I guess -- I mean, I'm the one who supported him going to Africa..." Nicole admitted. "And now you regret it," Rafe assumed. "No -- I just...I didn't realize how slowly time would go with him gone; it just feels like he's been away forever," Nicole clarified.
Just then, a timer chimed. "Oh, great -- my dinner's ready," Nicole glumly declared before offering Eric's portion of the meal to Rafe. "Allie won't eat it?" Rafe asked. "Are you kidding? She's gone to two parties already!" Nicole replied. "Holly?" Rafe wondered. "She hates poultry -- all kinds," Nicole revealed. "Henry?" Rafe asked. "He has no teeth," Nicole replied.
Having politely declined enough times already, Rafe happily agreed to share a meal with Nicole -- who was eager to sample the cookies afterward. "Oh, I love these -- galletas garabatos!" Nicole declared after realizing which type of cookie Rafe had baked. "Wait -- you know these?" Rafe asked incredulously. "Uh, hello -- I was born 'Nicole Mendez,' you know!" Nicole indignantly replied. "Oh, that's right..." Rafe conceded. "My grandmother -- my abuela -- used to make these when I was a kid, [and that's] one of the few pleasant memories I have [from] back then..." Nicole revealed.
Nicole shuddered, not wanting to dwell on that period of time, then ate one of the cookies and gave Rafe a nod of approval. "Seriously? You like them?" Rafe asked. "Yes -- [and] I've really enjoyed this evening, too...even though this isn't at all the Christmas I expected," Nicole replied. "Me, neither..." Rafe admitted. "Because you're with me on Christmas Eve -- and not Hope," Nicole translated.
"I'm sorry that it didn't work out for you two..." Nicole began to stress. "Me, too," Rafe muttered. "Actually, in all honesty, I'm not really that sorry -- because, you know, Hope's not really my favorite person; in fact, she kind of drives me crazy --" Nicole continued. "Okay --" Rafe started to object. "But before you get mad about me saying that...I just think [that] if she were willing to let you go, [and]...given what she's gone through, I get it...but, [still], I think she's making a mistake. [And I think that] you deserve better -- you deserve a woman who appreciates you -- [and] I know that she's out there somewhere," Nicole concluded.
Doug went to the police station to try to convince Eli to attend the Horton family's annual tree-trimming ceremony -- and, at the same time, Julie went to the Price-Grant apartment to make the same appeal to Lani. "I'm just not in the mood," Eli apologetically explained to Doug. "I'm staying home tonight," Lani apologetically explained to Julie. "Poppycock! [Look], Lani's not even coming to the party!" Doug said to Eli. "I won't take 'no' for an answer! [And besides], Eli is working late tonight, [so] he won't be there!" Julie said to Lani.
Claire went to the Salem Inn to see Ben -- who was no longer staying there but had provided the hotel staff with a forwarding address that could be passed along to visitors. "Oh -- so, this is the new place..." Claire began after arriving at an auto repair shop and finding an apartment above it. "Jake offered it to me," Ben explained.
"I had to get out of that hotel room -- just...all the memories, and..." Ben reasoned with a shrug, and Claire insisted that was understandable. "So, what brings you by?" Ben asked, eager to change the subject. "This," Claire replied, holding up a gift bag. "It's not from me -- it's from Ciara," Claire revealed when Ben tried to politely decline the Christmas gift.
Confused, Ben hesitantly reached inside the bag and pulled out a box that was covered with velvet -- and contained a personalized ornament, in the style of the ones that hung on the tree at the Horton house each Christmas. "My Grandma Hope had it made [for Ciara and] sent it to me before she left Salem [so I could] give it to you," Claire explained. "I don't have a Christmas tree this year, but I will definitely find a special place for it," Ben declared. "Or...you could come with me to Doug and Julie's [and] hang it on their tree," Claire suggested. "No, I couldn't -- I would not crash your family celebration," Ben insisted. "They are your family, too -- now and always," Claire stressed. "Thank you, [but] I don't think I'm really feeling up to it," Ben admitted. "I understand -- I'm not feeling totally up for it, either -- [but] it could be comforting," Claire countered.
At the Horton house, Allie watched as Jennifer opened the Christmas gift that Jack had dropped off earlier. "Wow, cool -- it's, like, a retro time-turner!" Allie observed. "It's an hourglass," Jennifer clarified.
A note was attached, and Jennifer read it aloud: "Dear Jennifer Rose, I wish I could turn back time, but I can't change the past -- only the future. I waited a year for you to come back to me the last time, and I will wait as long as it takes this time, because I'm never giving up on us." Jennifer fought back tears, clearly touched.
Doug soon arrived with Eli -- and, a short time later, Julie arrived with Lani. "I thought you were working tonight," Lani said to Eli. "I thought you weren't coming," Eli said to Lani. "Well, since you're both here, let's make the best of it, shall we?" Julie suggested before trading winks with Doug. "Don't even think about putting us under the mistletoe!" Eli warned Doug and Julie while trading glares with Lani.
Just then, Claire arrived with Ben, who was greeted warmly -- but the interruption was only a temporary reprieve for Eli and Lani, who were soon at Doug and Julie's mercy once again. "I am not happy about this, Grandma," Eli stressed. "I know...but trust me -- you will be..." Julie countered.
Julie and Doug shoved Eli and Lani toward each other, and the estranged couple reluctantly agreed to step outside for a private conversation. "Let's just forget the small talk -- I have something to say," Eli began. "I'm listening," Lani replied. "I'm sorry -- I'm sorry that I went behind your back about Kristen, and I'm sorry that I was an ass at the hospital when you told me I couldn't be your birthing coach. I lost my temper, and I didn't mean what I said," Eli stressed. "Yeah, you did...[but] you were right," Lani countered. "Wait -- what?" Eli stammered. "I can't shut you out of our children's lives -- and I don't want to. [Look], I am not thrilled about the way you went about any of this...but, after thinking it over, [I now understand that] everything that you did was for me and our babies -- our family," Lani conceded. "Does that mean that we can move past this?" Eli asked.
Inside, Jennifer admitted to Julie that Jack apparently wasn't still sleeping with Kate. "Does this make a difference? Is there a chance you can forgive him now?" Julie, who had never really believed Jennifer's theory about Jack being Kate's new mystery man, asked hopefully -- but Claire interrupted just then and wondered if the tree-trimming ceremony would be starting soon.
"We have to wait for Eli and Lani to come back," Julie insisted. "They have been out there for an awfully long time," Claire noted. "Hopefully, that's a good sign," Jennifer mused. "Only one way to find out!" Julie declared before rushing off to check on Eli and Lani -- who were in the midst of a kiss. "Well, well -- look who made up!" Doug whispered, joining Julie at the front door.
Eventually, Julie started the tree-trimming ceremony with a big speech, and Doug added a toast to Tom and Alice -- the originators of the long-standing family tradition. The Hortons took turns placing ornaments on the tree -- including a new one for Henry -- and Ben watched Doug and Julie closely throughout the ceremony, seemingly envious of the fact that they had gotten to spend so many years together. Ciara's ornament ended up being near the bottom of the pile, and Doug suggested to Ben that they could hang it on the tree together. "I'm sorry -- I can't," Ben shakily replied before rushing off to the kitchen.
Claire volunteered to check on Ben, but Doug advised that it would probably be best to give Ben a few minutes of privacy. Julie resumed the ceremony, skipping Ciara's ornament for the time being and instead prompting Eli and Lani to hang their respective ornaments on the tree. "And, next year, two more for those precious babies!" Julie raved -- and, as if on cue, Lani's water broke.
Ben eventually returned to the living room -- and found that Claire was the only other person there. Claire informed Ben that Lani had gone into labor earlier, putting an end to the tree-trimming ceremony. "You okay?" Claire asked. "Yeah," Ben replied. "I'm sorry I couldn't hang that ornament that Ciara gave me --" Ben shakily began to explain. "You wanted to be alone with her," Claire guessed.
Claire produced Ciara's ornament, which had never been placed on the tree, and handed it to Ben then rushed off to the kitchen. Ben took a deep breath then hesitantly approached the tree -- and immediately began trembling and sweating. "It's okay, Ben -- we can do it together," Ciara said, appearing behind Ben suddenly -- and both of their ornaments were hanging on the tree seconds later, as if by magic.
"Ciara, I miss you so damn much -- every minute of every day... I don't know how to live without you..." Ben, who was staring at the ornaments, admitted while fighting back tears. "Yes, you do, Ben -- because I'm right here; I'm always right here," Ciara stressed, appearing behind Ben again -- and Ben hesitantly turned to face Ciara then seized a kiss.
At the Walker-Brady apartment, Allie and Nicole took turns updating each other on everything that had happened since their previous conversation. At the Horton Town Square, Rafe recorded a voicemail message for Hope. At the hospital, Doug and Julie sang Christmas carols to help Eli keep Lani's mind off the labor pains.
Meanwhile, back at the Horton house, Claire rejoined Ben in the living room. "Who were you talking to?" Claire asked. "Ciara," Ben replied. "I can feel her presence here... Thank you for giving us a moment alone together," Ben added, and Claire nodded in response then returned to the kitchen. "Merry Christmas, Ciara -- I love you...always and forever," Ben whispered.
Lani and Eli become the parents of a healthy baby boy and girl
Joey entered the Brady Pub while Roman was in the process of getting the place ready for a family dinner. "Better set out an extra plate," Joey warned, startling Roman, who quickly seized a hug. "You are, without a doubt, the best Christmas gift the Bradys are gonna get this year!" Roman raved.
"It's Ava Vitali we have to thank [for my early release]," Joey stressed. "Mixed feelings about that one -- after what she did to your mom, and... [Well], it just seems to me [like] that entire family gets away with a lot of criminal behavior," Roman declared. "You mean Tripp," Joey translated. "Did you hear?" Roman asked. "I know what they're saying about him, but..." Joey replied. "I get it -- he's your brother. [And] it's Christmas, so...we won't get into all that today, all right?" Roman conceded. "Sounds good to me," Joey agreed.
Steve went to the Vitali apartment to see Tripp -- and was surprised to learn that Ava was still missing. "I'm starting to get worried," Tripp admitted. "How long's it been now?" Steve asked. "Two days," Tripp replied. "And she's not answering her phone?" Steve assumed. "Or responding to texts," Tripp confirmed.
"[Well, then]...I know you're not gonna want to hear this, but...I think there's a good chance that Ava's left town, and she's not coming back," Steve warned. "No -- she wouldn't just take off without telling me," Tripp insisted. "You sure about that?" Steve asked. "Yeah -- she made a big point of letting me know how committed she was to building a relationship with me," Tripp replied. "Your mother can be very convincing --" Steve argued. "No -- this wasn't just all talk, okay?" Tripp countered.
"[Well, in any case]...I know you want to get to know your mother, but...I have to be honest -- I'll be relieved if she doesn't become a part of your life," Steve admitted. "That doesn't surprise me," Tripp replied. "I'll give her the benefit of the doubt [on her claim] that she wants the best for you...but, like I told you [before], she's not well -- her love will get all twisted up, and she'll end up hurting you," Steve warned. "Yeah, well...[after] all that she's been through, maybe she needs me more than I need her," Tripp suggested. "That's what scares me," Steve stressed, but Tripp still wasn't concerned.
"I found this -- I thought it was ornaments I could decorate the tree with..." Tripp, who had purchased a small Christmas tree for the apartment and had been hoping to surprise Ava with it, explained to Steve while handing over a festive box. "Christmas cards," Steve summarized after examining the contents of the box. "She wrote one to me every year that we were apart!" Tripp raved. "But she never mailed 'em," Steve noted. "She didn't know where I was!" Tripp reasoned.
"But, in every single one of these, she makes the same wish -- that all she wants for Christmas is to be with her son. And, you know, growing up, I had the same wish -- I mean, I remember being in some crappy mall in Arizona, sitting on Santa's lap and telling him that all I ever wanted was to be with my real mom and dad," Tripp admitted. "You are with me now, son --" Steve stressed. "Yeah, and I'm grateful for that...but, this Christmas, I wanted to be with my mom, too -- and I know she wanted to be with me!" Tripp countered.
Just then, Steve's cell phone chimed. "You've gotta go," Tripp guessed. "Yeah -- I'm supposed to meet Joe at the pub... Roman's having this thing..." Steve explained. "Go ahead," Tripp advised. "I'm sorry --" Steve stressed. "No, it's okay -- I know I'm not welcome there," Tripp conceded before giving Steve a hug.
While waiting for Steve to reach the Brady Pub, Joey continued a phone conversation with Stephanie. "I'm so sorry you can't be here," Joey said. "Well, yeah -- I mean, if you got that much work going on, of course everyone will understand," Joey said. "We'll do a family video chat later -- for sure," Joey said.
"I just wanted to say...those letters you sent me while I was in prison, they basically got me through it -- I mean, in times when I really felt like I was losing all hope, you constantly reminded me that this day would come. So...thank you," Joey said.
"Really? Yeah, that'd be great -- I'd love to help you out with work!" Joey said. "I'll do whatever you need me to do -- and, honestly, Steph, you wouldn't have to pay me much!" Joey said. "Let me know when it would be a good time, and I'll be there -- I can come to Seattle anytime," Joey said.
Just then, Steve entered the pub. "Hey, Dad just walked in -- you want to say hi?" Joey said to Stephanie. "Oh... Okay..." Joey said to Stephanie before ending the call with a hint of confusion. "That was Steph -- she...had to run, I guess..." Joey explained to Steve with a shrug. "But she's really bummed she can't be here for the holidays, [and] she wants to do a video chat later, when we're all free, so..." Joey added, prompting Steve to report that Kayla was at the mercy of Lani and Eli's twins for the foreseeable future -- and neither child seemed to be in a hurry to enter the world.
Abe entered the hospital and found Eli near the nurses' station. "Lani's resting right now, but this is taking a lot longer than we thought," Eli informed Abe, who had apparently been at the hospital during an earlier stage of Lani's labor but had then left without any explanation. "I had to go to the airport and pick up someone..." Abe began to clarify -- and, as if on cue, Valerie exited a nearby elevator.
Meanwhile, in the Price-Grant room, Lani fretted to Kayla that it was starting to look like a Christmas Day birth wasn't in the cards for the twins -- and, as if on cue, the labor pains began in earnest. Kayla rushed off to the nurses' station and interrupted Eli's reunion with Valerie to announce that it was finally "showtime" for the twins' father.
Steve thanked Roman for a delicious meal then started to rush out of the Brady Pub, knowing that Lucas and Allie would be arriving soon with Henry -- but they all ran into each other at the front door. Allie and Lucas both greeted Steve just as tersely as Roman had earlier, and Joey -- who had received warmer greetings from Lucas and Allie -- watched awkwardly for a minute or two then helpfully pointed out that Steve was needed at the hospital for the annual Christmas party.
Once the coast was clear, Roman declared that Lucas and Allie's timing had been bad in one way but had been good in another way -- because it meant that they weren't going to miss a planned videoconference with Sami. "Did you have a nice Christmas?" Allie asked Sami during the videoconference. "It was lovely...except for missing all of you -- especially my precious grandson," Sami replied -- and, as if on cue, Henry woke up from a nap just then. "Oh, great -- I get to see him!" Sami raved after hearing the news.
Allie lovingly held Henry up to the camera of Roman's laptop so Sami could see the child. "You know what, Allie? I would like to say that you do my heart good -- and, I'm sure, your mom's, as well -- with how close you have gotten with this little guy," Roman declared. "And how you dealt with the anger and the hurt that you rightly felt -- and, I'm sure, you still do feel -- about the circumstances of Henry's conception," Roman continued, failing to understand Lucas' subtle attempt to cut the comment short. "Wait -- what?" Sami interjected, but Roman just kept talking.
"What do you mean, 'the circumstances of Henry's conception'?" Sami demanded to know once Roman was finished. "I'm sorry -- I thought your mom knew..." Roman admitted to Allie as Sami waited impatiently for someone to clarify the situation. "Christmas really isn't the day to get into this, so --" Allie tried to advise Sami. "I don't care -- I want to know what is going on, [and] I am not gonna let this go!" Sami countered.
Allie sighed and nodded then asked Lucas and Roman to watch Henry in the kitchen for a while. "You're starting to scare me!" Sami admitted to Allie once Roman, Lucas, and Henry were gone. "Well, there's no need to be scared --" Allie assured Sami. "Just tell me what this is about!" Sami begged. "Okay..." Allie agreed before taking a deep breath. "When I got pregnant with Henry...I was raped," Allie revealed, drawing a gasp of pain from Sami. "I wanted to tell you -- I really did -- but...oh, it's just...I was struggling so much myself, and I was afraid that --" Allie tried to explain. "I would make it about me," Sami guessed.
"I'm so sorry, Allie -- I'm so sorry that I wasn't there for you, I'm sorry that you didn't feel that you could come to me, and I'm so sorry that this happened to you," Sami tearfully stressed. "It's okay -- I mean, really, I am fine now," Allie insisted. "What can I do?" Sami wondered. "Just...love my little boy the same [way] you would otherwise?" Allie requested. "Of course!" Sami promised.
"I know this happened to you, too -- when you were in high school," Allie revealed. "It did -- and the son of a bitch who did it paid dearly..." Sami stressed. "Yeah -- I heard all about that," Allie admitted. "How?" Sami asked. "Dad told me," Allie replied. "Okay... What did they do -- did the police catch this person, this man who did this to you? Is he in jail now?" Sami wondered. "Well, that's kind of a long story..." Allie muttered. "What do you mean?" Sami asked. "Can we just save that for another day?" Allie replied. "I want to know!" Sami demanded. "Please!" Allie countered.
"Okay -- I understand..." Sami conceded, seeing that Allie was on the verge of tears -- but, seconds later, the questions began again. "Do you know who it was -- do you know the name of the man who hurt you?" Sami asked. "It was Uncle Steve's son -- Tripp Dalton," Allie replied. "The child he had with Ava Vitali?" Sami recalled. "Yes," Allie confirmed. "Oh, my God..." Sami muttered.
"Are you dealing with this? Are you handling it? Are you talking to someone?" Sami wondered. "I'm dealing with it," Allie insisted.
"I mean, it hasn't been easy, but...actually, I've learned, through this, that I'm a lot like you," Allie admitted, stunning Sami. "[I'm] a fighter -- I am so much stronger than I ever thought I could be," Allie elaborated. "Of course you are -- I could have told you that!" Sami declared. "[But] you don't have to be strong all the time, okay, sweetheart?" Sami stressed. "I know," Allie agreed.
At the Vitali apartment, Tripp finished surrounding the base of the Christmas tree with all of Ava's unsent cards then stepped back and sadly inspected the arrangement. "All these years, I didn't think you wanted me...but now I know that's not true..." Tripp mused. "Where are you, Mom?" Tripp wondered.
At the hospital, Eli and Lani reminisced about David while taking turns holding their twins -- a boy and a girl, who had both been born without any complications, to their parents' relief. Valerie eventually entered the Price-Grant room with Abe -- who was delighted to receive confirmation that Eli wasn't the only person Lani had decided to forgive the previous night.
Abe and Valerie also took turns holding the twins. "What are their names?" Abe wondered. "We don't know yet," Eli admitted. "We're working on it," Lani promised. "We made a list of possible contenders --" Eli began to explain. "[And] we'd planned to narrow it down --" Lani started to elaborate. "But --" Eli and Lani said simultaneously before taking turns clarifying that their fight had interrupted the process.
Meanwhile, Kayla greeted "Patchy Claus" -- and they flirted a bit while waiting for the Christmas party to begin. Once the hospital's youngest patients were all in place, Kayla read the Christmas story to them -- and then Steve gave them each a gift. Afterward, Joey informed Steve and Kayla that Stephanie had called during the party. "Look, I know I just got home, but...I'm looking to start fresh -- and, turns out, my sister needs me...and maybe I need her, too...[so] I just accepted a job," Joey explained. "In Seattle?" Kayla translated. "Yeah," Joey confirmed.
"This is happening soon?" Steve assumed. "I'm gonna go tomorrow," Joey revealed. "Tomorrow?" Kayla protested. "Like I said, Stephanie needs me -- and I need to start supporting myself," Joey reasoned with an apologetic shrug. "I hope you guys know how much I love being here with you -- and I hope you'll understand why I have to go," Joey stressed, and Steve and Kayla both nodded in response -- then comforted each other with a hug after Joey rushed off to start making preparations for the move to Seattle.
Roman rejoined Allie at the Brady Pub and wondered if the conversation with Sami had gone well. "Everything is okay," Allie reported. "I apologize for opening my big trap --" Roman began to stress. "Don't worry about it -- I mean, she was going to find out soon enough," Allie conceded.
Changing the subject, Roman curiously noted that Lucas had disappeared during Allie's conversation with Sami and hadn't returned yet. Meanwhile, Tripp started to leave the Vitali apartment with the intention of filing a missing persons report at the police station -- but Lucas was standing outside.
Steve tells Kayla his DNA theory
At the penthouse, a messenger dropped off a package for John. With a laugh, Marlena called John spoiled. "I feel spoiled every time I look into your eyes," John said. When Marlena opened the card on the package, she announced it was from Steve. "I'm not really interested in any gift from Stephen Johnson," John muttered. Marlena opened the card.
"John, I know we're not in a good place right now, but you and I have been in some bad places before. It never stopped me from buying my old friend a drink. So, this one is on me," Marlena read as John pulled a bottle of liquor out the gift bag. "He's got a lot of nerve, doesn't he?" John said. John ripped up the card, and he refused to forgive Steve's defense of Tripp.
"I wish you could have some empathy toward Steve. You've shown empathy toward your own children when they've made some mistakes," Marlena said. "They've never destroyed a young woman's life!" John objected. Marlena countered that John's children had hurt people, and John had made an effort to help his children move on with their lives. "I don't know why you're begrudging Steve the same right," Marlena said. John argued that Steve was not doing the same thing.
"Steve is supporting Tripp's lies when he should be convincing him to own it and face the consequences," John said. Frustrated, John grabbed the bottle of liquor and announced that he was going to find Steve. Marlena stepped in front of the front door. "No, you are not. Not until you hear me out," Marlena said. John and Marlena sat on the couch.
"We both know that Sami has done some questionable things in her life. I've always stood by her, so I can understand why Steve is standing by Tripp," Marlena said. "And his lies," John added. Marlena reminded John that Steve was an honest man with a decent heart. "If [Steve] is standing by his son, he must believe that he is innocent," Marlena said. With a shake of his head, John asked Marlena how it was possible for Tripp to be innocent in light of the DNA evidence.
"The two of you have been partners for a long time. You stood by each other through good times and bad times, and maybe this offering is just Steve trying to bridge the divide. I hope to hell you can accept that," Marlena said.
Steve visited Kayla in her office at the hospital to deliver her flowers. "There is that beautiful smile I was hoping to see," Steve said. "I'm sorry I got so upset before. It's like I said, Joey just got back, and now he's going to be gone again. And I was really hoping Stephanie would be home for Christmas," Kayla said. Steve said he was thankful that Stephanie had a job she loved and that their son was free from prison.
"I certainly don't want to be the parents that guilt [Joey] into not doing what he wants to do," Kayla added. "I know our kids aren't in Salem anymore, but you still got me. Do I still have you?" Steve said. Confused, Kayla asked Steve what he meant. Steve noted that he loved Tripp just as much as they loved Joey. "I know you're still upset with me that I asked you to have him move out," Kayla whispered. Steve said he understood why Kayla had asked, and he agreed that the three of them would not have been able to live together.
"Just because Tripp is out of sight, or out of our house, anyway, doesn't mean he's not still on my mind. He is. Constantly. And I'm still working to clear his name. The truth is, I could use your help," Steve said. Kayla asked Steve what he wanted. Steve told Kayla about his conversation with Allie in the square, and the two flashes of memory that Allie had told him about.
"Allie said a hand. Not Tripp's hand," Steve stressed. "Who else's could it be?" Kayla asked. Steve theorized aloud that the first memory was of Tripp putting Claire to bed, and that the second memory might be of the assailant that had arrived after Tripp had left. "But what about the DNA? How do you explain that? This hypothetical person wouldn't have Tripp's DNA," Kayla said. "Not unless he was related to Tripp," Steve countered.
When Steve asked Kayla about his theory, she noted that it was already a crazy coincidence that Tripp and Allie had met up in London. Steve agreed. Kayla continued that the likelihood of a relative of Tripp's attacking Allie the same night was pretty farfetched. Steve agreed, and he asked if his theory could explain the DNA match to Tripp.
"That test was looking to see if Henry and Tripp shared similar DNA. When they came back related, we all just assumed that Tripp was the father," Kayla said. "So hypothetically, someone who shares Tripp's DNA could be the father?" Steve asked. Kayla nodded yes. "But who could that someone be?" Kayla asked. Steve shrugged. Kayla noted that the person would have to be a close blood relative to match Tripp. John walked in with Steve's present clutched in his hand.
"Looks like old John is here to return my Christmas gift," Steve said. Kayla told Steve that they would finish their conversation later, and she left. "I know we're on different sides about what happened with Allie, but I was hoping, just for Christmas, we could agree to disagree. I guess I was wrong," Steve said. As Steve reached to take the bottle back, John pulled the present away. John said he was there to share a drink with an old friend.
Nicole visited Rafe at the police station. "What are you doing here on Christmas?" Rafe asked. Nicole thanked Rafe for having kept her company on Christmas Eve. "I felt terrible that the only reason I was there was that Eric was not," Rafe said. Nicole informed Rafe that she had talked to Eric, and he had said he would attempt to visit Salem soon. As Nicole glanced down at Rafe's desk, she saw a file for Ava.
"According to Tripp, she may have gone missing," Rafe said. Nicole asked Rafe if he agreed with Tripp. With a shrug, Rafe noted that Tripp did not know Ava like he did, and Rafe believed Ava had left town after getting the charges against her dropped. "Without a word? Even though she and her son are getting to know each other?" Nicole asked. Rafe noted that Ava only cared about herself. Nicole disagreed. Nicole reminded Rafe that she had been friends with Ava.
"I just don't think that Ava would run out on her son," Nicole said. Rafe pointed out that Tripp was supposed to formally file a missing persons report, but he had not shown up at the precinct. "Maybe something is wrong. Maybe someone stopped Tripp from coming here," Nicole suggested. Nicole urged Rafe to go to Ava's and talk to Tripp.
A worried Tripp paced Ava's apartment and left his mother another voicemail, begging her to call him. There was a knock at the door. Tripp ran to answer the knock in the hopes that it was his mother, but it was Lucas. "I came here to make sure you pay for what you did to my daughter," Lucas said. Tripp started to walk past Lucas to leave for the police station, but Lucas stopped him. Tripp reiterated that he had never had sex with Allie.
"Are you calling my daughter a liar?" Lucas bellowed. Tripp stressed that he knew the truth. Lucas yelled at Tripp for emotionally scarring Allie. Tripp reminded Lucas that the police had decided not to press charges due to lack of evidence. "If I had a gun right now, I would point it right between your legs, and I'd pull the trigger!" Lucas yelled. "Well, your daughter has already tried that," Tripp countered.
"My daughter did what?" Lucas asked. Tripp told Lucas about his confrontation with Allie. Lucas smiled. "I guess Allie is a little more like her mom than I thought, isn't she? And I guess Ava Vitali could say the same thing about you, because you are just as sick and twisted as she is," Lucas said. Tripp agreed that the rape was horrible, but he reiterated that he was not to blame. Tripp asked Lucas to leave. Lucas grabbed a pair of scissors from the desk and clutched them tight.
"I might not have a gun right now, but I could sure as hell make you pay for what you did to my daughter," Lucas said. Tripp backed away. "What is the matter? Your mommy not here to save you this time?" Lucas asked. Tripp called Lucas crazy as he continued to back away. "I'm just as crazy as the justice system is that lets a rapist free just so he can do the same thing again to an innocent girl!" Lucas yelled. Lucas vowed to stop Tripp. As Lucas pulled his arm back to stab at Tripp, Rafe yelled at Lucas to stop.
Lucas turned and saw Rafe standing in the doorway. "This is between me and my daughter's rapist. Don't you have somewhere to go?" Lucas countered. Rafe yelled at Lucas to give him the scissors. Reluctantly, Lucas handed the scissors to Rafe. Lucas demanded that Rafe arrest Tripp, but Rafe stressed that he did not have jurisdiction over the crime.
"Why don't you leave before I decide to press charges," Tripp interjected. "Fine but I'll be back," Lucas said. Tripp warned Lucas that he did not want to press charges, but he would if Lucas continued to make threats. "You're going to protect him?" Lucas asked. "The only one I'm protecting here is you," Rafe told Lucas. With a grunt, Lucas walked out as he shouted, "See you around, Tripp!"
Tripp followed Rafe back to the police precinct to file a missing persons report for Ava. After Rafe filed the case, he told Tripp that he believed Ava had left town of her own accord. "Everyone keeps saying that, but not me. No, I've got a bad feeling my mom is in trouble," Tripp said.
At the Brady house, Allie told Claire about her conversation with Sami. "[Sami] was surprisingly calm. For her, I mean. I don't know. Maybe she realized that I don't need her help to fight my battles," Allie said. With a sigh, Allie changed the subject to Claire and her boyfriend. Allie asked Claire if she believed that Charlie had left the party because he was sick. With a shrug, Claire said she was not sure. "[Charlie] still has not called me back," Claire said.
With a smile, Claire asked Allie about her first impression of Charlie. "I told you, he just seemed so familiar. I know I've seen him before, and I just don't know where," Allie said. Claire told Allie that Charlie was from Philadelphia. Claire suggested that Allie had likely seen Charlie around town. With a shrug, Allie grabbed Charlie's present and told Claire to open it.
"I am dying to know what he got me," Claire admitted. Claire opened the box. "He got me tickets to my most favorite band in the entire world! Allie, these are impossible to get!" Claire yelped. With a swoony sigh, Claire noted that the tickets were for Valentine's Day. "Damn, why won't he call me back?" Claire wondered aloud. Allie encouraged Claire to take her present for Charlie to his apartment and surprise him. "It would be so cool to surprise him, but I don't know where he lives," Claire said. Allie told Claire to get his address from Titan. Excited, Claire thanked Allie for the idea.
After Allie picked up Henry from Roman, she went to the penthouse to see Marlena. Allie told Marlena about her video call with Sami. "That must have been a hard conversation to have with your mother," Marlena said. Allie admitted that she was relieved that Sami was halfway around the world and could not do anything to Tripp.
"[Sami] was sweet. Sad. She said that she wished she could take me in her arms, and I wished that, too," Allie said through tears. "I'm here, sweetheart," Marlena said as she pulled Allie into a hug.
In Charlie's apartment, Ava remained gagged and tied to a chair. Charlie presented Ava with a bowl of oatmeal. "Christmas feast. Okay, so maybe it's all I could find in the fridge, but I did warm it up for you," Charlie said. "Get me out of here!" Ava yelled through her gag. Charlie warned Ava to thank him for forgiving her after her escape attempt.
"Since you offered to spend your holiday with me, I want to make sure you get your wish," Charlie said. Charlie removed the gag to feed Ava, and she demanded that Charlie untie her. "Serious trust issues. You understand," Charlie said. Ava grudgingly took a bite and frowned. "It's terrible," Ava said. With a nod, Charlie threw the bowl against the wall, where it shattered.
"It's not like I had a mom to teach me how to cook," Charlie said. As Ava apologized, Charlie added, "And then you tried to leave and go to the cops!" Charlie's phone rang, but he declined the call. Ava asked Charlie what had happened with Claire on Christmas Eve. "Allie Horton was there," Charlie said. Charlie explained that Allie had not recognized him and that he had left the party.
"You were face to face with the woman you violated. Yeah, that would kill the Christmas mood," Ava said. Charlie stressed that Allie had not recognized him, though she had said he had looked familiar to her. "She still thinks Tripp is the one that did it," Charlie confirmed. "For now, but now that that girl saw you, honey, it is only a matter of time before she remembers that you were the one who raped her," Ava warned Charlie.
"You're wrong. I'm in the clear. Allie is not going to remember anything," Charlie said. Ava asked Charlie what he planned to do if Allie remembered. "Like you care," Charlie said. Ava argued that no matter what, Charlie was her son, and she wanted to help him.
"I have a lot to make up for, and clearly, you are very angry with me, and I understand. But if I can help you, if I could help you navigate your way through this, if I could prove to you that I want to make amends, then maybe, maybe it would be the first step to us fixing our relationship," Ava said.
"You'd really help me?" Charlie asked. Ava promised to help Charlie, and she encouraged Charlie to confess to the police. Charlie refused. Ava argued that Allie would remember and that Charlie should confess before that happened. "You don't give a damn about what happens to me! All you care about is what happens to Tripp!" Charlie yelled.
"But Tripp didn't rape Allie. You did," Ava said. "Yeah, and nobody knows about that. Except you," Charlie said. Charlie told Ava that he did not have another choice. "You cannot keep me tied up and gagged forever," Ava said. "The way I see it, letting you go isn't an option," Charlie said. Ava promised to help Charlie, but he said that he did not believe her.
"I've spent a lifetime watching you choose Tripp. Well, now, I choose me! My happiness!" Charlie screamed. Charlie noted that he could not have everything he wanted with Ava around. Ava pleaded with Charlie to work with her to build their relationship, but Charlie said he had wasted too many years waiting for Ava to do that.
"I have a shot at real love, and I'm not going to let you stand in the way of that," Charlie said. Charlie added, "At least we will always have today. Our first and last Christmas." Charlie gagged Ava as she told her son that she loved him. There was a knock at the door, and Ava screamed through the gag for help. "Charlie? Are you there?" Claire called out from the hallway outside the apartment.