In Ric and Nina's hotel suite, Madeline lurked in the hallway, wearing a bathrobe, as she eavesdropped on Ric and Nina's conversation in the living room. Ric was dressed in a matching robe as he tried to calm Nina down, but Nina was upset because Franco had told her that Madeline had managed to get out of jail with the help of a good attorney. Nina questioned if Ric might have helped her mother, but Ric vehemently denied it as he inched closer to a chair where he had spotted Madeline's purse. He deftly positioned his body to keep Nina from noticing the damaging evidence as he distracted Nina by accusing Madeline of being a monster who had hurt Nina in numerous awful ways.
Satisfied, Nina confessed that she feared Madeline might be plotting a sneak attack by scheming with someone to get her hands on Nina's fortune. Ric immediately offered to help Nina block Madeline's efforts, but Nina worried that it might be too late. Ric promised to take care of everything then shifted gears to get Nina out of the suite by offering to meet her in the restaurant, but Nina refused because she didn't want to endure another moment of seeing Franco with his date, Denise. Ric slyly suggested that he and Nina flaunt their own bliss under Franco's nose to show Franco that Nina had made the right decision by kicking Franco to the curb.
Nina liked to the idea of turning the tables on Franco, so she agreed. After Ric disappeared down the hallway to get dressed, Nina recalled toasting to a new beginning with Franco during their first night in the suite. Meanwhile, Ric quietly ordered Madeline to be gone by the time he and Nina returned from the restaurant. Madeline assured him that it wouldn't be a problem, but she pointed out that Ric had the perfect excuse to have Nina sign over power of attorney to him.
At Metro Court Restaurant, Franco asked "Denise" what their "squishy couple name" should be. "DeFranco or Franise?" Franco asked. Denise barely paid attention to Franco as she watched Morgan and Kiki at the bar, but she promised to "ship" whatever name Franco picked. Pleased, Franco was relieved that Denise remained committed to their pretense of being a couple, so she suddenly suggested they practice "canoodling." Franco agreed, prompting her to quickly kiss him just as Morgan looked over.
At the bar, Morgan scowled as he watched Denise passionately kiss Franco, but he reluctantly followed Kiki as she approached the couple to invite Franco and Denise to join Kiki and Morgan for dinner. Morgan tensed at the idea of spending time with Denise and Franco, but Franco happily accepted the invitation. Denise nervously excused herself to powder her nose, so Morgan quickly muttered an excuse then followed Denise. Kiki smiled politely as she and Franco sat down at a nearby table.
Kiki explained that Morgan was concerned Franco might hurt Denise, but Franco promised Kiki there was nothing to worry about because Franco and Denise were the "real thing." Kiki was relieved because she had hoped Denise might help Franco forget Nina.
Nearby, Morgan called out to Denise, but she tried to ignore him. Morgan refused to be dismissed, but Denise insisted there was nothing for them to talk about because they couldn't risk hurting Kiki. Morgan begged Denise not to date someone like Franco because Franco was dangerous, violent, and wrong for her, but Denise explained that she didn't have a choice because she needed to move on. Denise started to turn away, but Morgan reached for her hand. She quickly jerked free then sternly warned him that whatever they had shared was over.
Meanwhile, Kiki wondered where Morgan and Denise were. She immediately relaxed when they returned to the table, explaining they had been delayed by long lines at the bathrooms. Denise added that Morgan had filled in her in about Michael's troubles at ELQ, so Kiki admitted she was concerned about Morgan's brother. Denise feigned concerned for Michael then seized the opportunity to ask for his phone number so she could schedule a visit with Avery. Franco became distracted when he spotted Ric and Nina approach the bar.
As soon as Franco saw Nina, he grabbed Denise to kiss her breathless. At the bar, Nina watched Franco and Denise with growing fury until she suddenly tugged Ric close then kissed him with equal fervor. Madeline rounded the corner, but stopped short when she saw Nina and Ric. Eventually, Ric managed to pull away from his wife's enthusiastic show of affection, but he was curious what had sparked it. Nina claimed that she had felt a sudden burst of hot desire for her husband, so Ric smiled awkwardly.
Ric appreciated Nina's passion, but he reminded her that they had important matters to discuss. Nina half listened as she continued to watch Franco and Denise with their hands all over each other, which allowed Ric the opportunity to slide the power of attorney under Nina's nose and ask her to sign it. Nina quickly glanced at where Ric had indicated then scribbled her name without reading the document. Meanwhile, Denise stepped away from Franco, but Franco barely noticed as he intently stared at Nina.
In a quiet corner, Denise left a voicemail message asking Michael to return her call because she wanted to schedule a visit with Avery for the following day. Denise explained that she loved her baby niece and felt a maternal connection to her "twin's" daughter.
At Greystone Manor, Sonny and Carly were surprised when they saw Michael enter the living room with Sabrina and the baby. Sonny was curious why Michael was there, so Sabrina approached Sonny with the baby. Sonny greeted his daughter, but Carly tactfully reminded Sonny that Michael preferred the baby be called "A.J." Michael admitted that it didn't matter because he was there to return his sister. Michael promised to talk to Judge Walters in the morning to have Avery's custody transferred to Sonny.
Stunned, Sonny wondered if Morgan had talked to Michael, but Michael credited Sabrina with helping Michael to work past the anger and do the right thing. Sabrina appreciated the praise, but she insisted that Michael had made the decision. Tears of joy shimmered in Sonny's eyes as he confessed that he was at a loss for words. Carly was equally shocked because both she and Sonny had been concerned about Michael after what had had happened at ELQ. Michael revealed that losing ELQ had been part of the reason he had decided to return Avery.
Michael explained that Lucy Coe had been the deciding vote, and she had sided with Nikolas in part because Michael had taken Avery away from Sonny. Michael conceded that he had acted out of spite and a desire to punish Sonny, but he promised that he genuinely loved his sister and had wanted to protect her. However, Michael acknowledged that it hadn't justified him tearing Avery's family apart, which Sonny was a part of. Michael admitted that at first he had felt disloyal to his father for considering it, but Michael was certain that A.J. would have been the first to tell him that the only person Michael had let down was Avery.
Michael was determined to break the cycle, but he warned Sonny not to make him regret it. Michael expected Sonny to keep Avery safe, so Sonny promised that he would. Michael kissed Avery's head then handed his sister to Sonny. Sabrina hugged Michael as Sonny welcomed Avery home.
Later, Sabrina carried a few of Avery's things in as Carly admitted she had never been more proud of Michael. Carly knew she had hurt her son, but she deeply regretted it because Michael had deserved better from her. Sonny vowed to keep Avery safe, so Michael admitted that he didn't know if he and Sonny could ever be father and son again. However, Michael warned Sonny not to let Avery down the way he had Michael because Avery would eventually grow to worship Sonny.
Sonny made it clear that he would guard Avery with his life, so Michael asked to hold his sister. Sonny handed the baby to Michael, who tearfully assured his sister that he loved her because she had provided both joy and light in his life. Michael promised to continue to watch over her then handed her back to Sonny.
After Michael and Sabrina left, Sonny and Carly basked in their good fortune. They praised themselves for raising a good son, so Sonny admitted that he doubted he could have been as strong as Michael had been if their situations had been reversed. Later, Carly confessed that she saw very little of Ava, or Denise, in Avery because Avery looked more like Sonny every day. Sonny gave his daughter a bottle then rocked her in his arms as he smiled at her content expression. Carly suggested it was time for Avery to go to bed, but Sonny wanted to spend a little more time with his daughter. Carly assured him that Avery would be there in the morning, so he reluctantly followed Carly to the nursery as he softly whispered to Avery that she was finally home to stay.
At Sabrina's apartment, Michael and Sabrina entered the living room. Michael's expression clouded with sadness when he saw one of Avery's toys. Sabrina knew it was difficult for Michael, so she hugged him. Moments later, his phone rang, but he put the phone down, determined not to answer it for the rest of the evening. Sabrina kissed Michael, but she became concerned when he pulled back from the embrace.
Michael tried to lighten the mood by pointing out that losing his job meant he would get to spend more time with Sabrina. Sabrina reminded him that she was in the same position, so Michael told her that she could finally rest easy because she was no longer dating her boss. Sabrina hugged Michael as he quietly confessed that he was trying not to think about Avery. Sabrina suggested they help each other forget, and she kissed him. Things quickly heated up as Michael and Sabrina went to her bedroom and made love.
Later, Michael snuggled next to Sabrina in bed as he showered her with compliments and admitted that he had wanted her for a long time. Their conversation then drifted to Avery because Michael hated the idea of waking up in the morning without his sister there to greet him. Sabrina assured Michael that he could spend the night with Sabrina.
At the loft, Valerie assured Dante that he was not alone because she was there for him. Dante looked deep into Valerie's eyes then kissed her. Startled, Valerie initially responded to the heated kiss but pulled away to breathlessly ask what Dante was doing. Dante confessed that he couldn't get the thought of Lulu and Dillon out of his head, so Valerie pointed out that kissing her wasn't the answer. Dante disagreed because he knew she had felt something slowly simmering between them. Valerie admitted that Dante was a great guy, who was smart, funny, generous, and compassionate.
Valerie was grateful for all Dante had done for her because he had truly helped her deal with her mother's death, but he was not the kind of man who cheated on his wife. Dante argued that he hadn't thought Lulu was the kind of wife who would cheat, but he had been wrong. Valerie admitted that Lulu would have to be the dumbest woman on the planet to hook up with Dillon, but Dante owed it to himself to confront Lulu rather than making the same mistake as his wife. Valerie insisted that Dante had been a good friend, so she didn't want to lose what they had over something he would regret. Valerie went to check on Rocco while Dante took the time to pull himself together.
Later, Dante expressed his frustration with Lulu. Valerie commiserated because she knew he was troubled by the secret Lulu and Dillon were keeping. Dante blamed himself for his wife's betrayal because he had no idea how to be a good husband, since he had been raised by a single mother. Valerie refused to let him beat himself up because he was an exceptional father and husband. Dante smiled weakly because he feared he had been a lousy friend by kissing her. Valerie assured him that the kiss had been forgotten, so their friendship remained intact.
Valerie decided to head home, but Dante assured her that it wasn't necessary. Valerie disagreed because they both needed a little space. Dante didn't argue, so Valerie left. In the hallway, Valerie stopped to take a deep breath as her composure slipped. Meanwhile, Dante picked up a framed photograph of him and Lulu on their wedding day.
In British Columbia, Dillon lounged on the hotel bed as Lulu anxiously waited for news about Lucky. She decided to call her parents to remind them what her room number was, but Dillon stopped her because he was confident Luke and Laura would contact them when they had news. Lulu agreed, so her thoughts drifted to her husband. She was concerned that something had been troubling Dante because he had seemed cold and distant on the phone. Lulu started to call Dante but quickly changed her mind when she realized that she would have to continue to lie to him.
Dillon decided to distract Lulu by giving her a copy of a screenplay to read. He was eager for her opinion, so Lulu settled back to give it her full attention. Later, Dillon asked what Lulu thought of the storyline, but Lulu pointed out that she hadn't finished the screenplay. Dillon argued that she had read enough to have formed an opinion, so Lulu confessed that the relationship between the two lead characters hadn't been believable.
Lulu was surprised when Dillon confessed that the characters had been based on him and his first girlfriend after Georgie had died. Lulu smiled because Dillon clearly had a high opinion of himself, since the character based on him had been perfect. Dillon chuckled then agreed to give the character a few flaws, but Lulu laughed because the character would still be perfect. Lulu thanked Dillon for keeping her mind off of worrying about Lucky.
In Luke and Laura's hotel room, Luke and Laura were shocked when they realized the intruder was Holly Sutton. Holly aimed a gun at Laura as Laura pointed hers at Holly and demanded to know if Holly had kidnapped Lucky. Holly seemed shocked by the news, so Luke lowered his gun then approached Holly to force her gun hand down. Finally, Luke glared at Laura to put her gun away so they could get some answers. Laura reluctantly complied as Holly revealed that Ethan had been abducted.
Holly explained that she had gone to check on Ethan at his apartment in Perth, but Ethan had been missing, and the place had been ransacked. Holly had searched her son's apartment for a clue and had discovered a matchbook from a hotel in British Columbia. Holly had realized instantly that the matchbook had been a lead, so she had followed it. Luke looked at the matchbook Holly had found in Ethan's apartment, which had Luke and Laura's room number written on the inside. It confirmed Luke's suspicion that the same people had kidnapped both of his sons.
Moments later, Laura's cell phone rang. It was a call from an unknown number, so Luke had her put the call on speaker. A man with a disguised voice greeted Laura, but she cut to the chase by demanding to know where her son was. Holly quietly asked Laura to find out if Ethan was with Lucky, but the kidnapper had heard Holly. The kidnapper was pleased that Holly had found the clue he had left for her, so he promised to call back with more information the following day. Holly growled with frustration when the kidnapper abruptly ended the call.
At Sabrina's apartment, Michael woke up in bed with Sabrina cuddled next to him. "A.J.," he said as he started to jump out of bed until he realized it was his first morning without his sister. Sabrina stirred beside him as he leaned back against the pillows. She wondered if he had any regrets, but Michael shook his head because he knew it had been the right thing to return his sister to Sonny. Sabrina smiled because she was proud of him for taking such a big step.
Michael returned Sabrina's smile as he quietly confessed that he had enjoyed their night together, so Sabrina seductively invited him to make love to her again. Michael grinned as he leaned down to kiss Sabrina's waiting lips.
At the Quartermaine mansion, Tracy placed Edward's portrait on the wall in the foyer. She vowed that her father's portrait would soon be returned to its rightful place at ELQ because she refused to allow Nikolas to remain in control of the family company. Tracy began to rant about Nikolas until she heard someone knock on the French doors in the living room. Annoyed, Tracy asked if people had forgotten the concept of using a front door.
Moments later, Ava introduced herself to Tracy as Ava's twin sister Denise. Tracy wasn't impressed, so Denise asked if Michael was around because Denise had arranged to visit with her "baby niece." Tracy admitted that Michael was not at home, which infuriated Denise. Denise demanded to know where Michael was, but Tracy clarified that Tracy was not Michael's keeper. Denise became increasingly upset, so she decided to check on Avery but Tracy blocked Denise from storming into the nursery.
Tracy explained that Avery had already been kidnapped twice, so Tracy would not risk it happening again. Denise argued that she hadn't made her way all the way to the Quartermaine mansion only to be turned away. Denise desperately wanted to see Avery, but Tracy was unmoved by Denise's pleas. Tracy admitted that she wanted romance, adventure, and the corporate power to crush her enemies, but like Denise, Tracy would not be getting what she wanted that day. Denise warned Tracy not to push her, but Tracy wasn't intimidated because Tracy was itching for a fight.
Denise was relieved when Michael and Sabrina arrived, so she immediately asked Michael to take her to Avery. Denise was stunned when Michael explained that he had returned Avery to Sonny. Denise reminded Michael that Sonny was a killer and that Sonny's loved ones tended to get hurt around him, but Michael assured Denise that Sonny had promised to keep Avery safe. Denise recalled hearing that Sonny had made a similar promise to Michael. "How'd that turn out for you, Michael?" Denise asked.
Michael appreciated Denise's concerns, but he advised her to take it up with Sonny if she had a problem. After Denise left, Tracy confessed that she would miss Avery. Sabrina tried to cheer Tracy up by asking her about Ned and Dillon as children. Tracy smiled as she reminisced about her sons, but she pointed out that all the men she loved, whether she birthed them or married them, eventually left her.
At Kelly's, Elizabeth was reading the Port Charles Press, which featured a story about Nikolas taking over ELQ. She set the newspaper down when Jake walked in, but he had seen the story. Pretending to be shocked about the developments at ELQ, Elizabeth asked if Jake had had any inkling about Nikolas' plans. Jake admitted that he had discovered the plot too late to stop Nikolas, but Jake was curious if Elizabeth had known anything. Elizabeth denied any knowledge about Nikolas' nefarious scheme just as Nikolas entered the diner then approached their table.
Jake glared at Nikolas as he remarked that Nikolas appeared to have the "whole sneaking up on people thing" down to a science. Nikolas flashed a polite smile as he asked if he had interrupted anything important. Jake didn't try to hide his contempt for Nikolas as he admitted that he and Elizabeth had been talking about the story in the newspaper. Nikolas claimed the article had been biased because it had favored the Quartermaines. Jake argued that Nikolas deserved the backlash because Nikolas had used blackmail, extortion, and corporate espionage to obtain the shares of ELQ, which were all criminal acts.
Nikolas questioned Jake's strong loyalty to a family Jake had just met and barely knew, but Elizabeth quickly interceded to keep things from escalating by imploring both men to stop arguing. Jake backed down but continued to stare down Nikolas. Nikolas ignored the hostility in Jake's gaze as he praised Jake for figuring things out. Nikolas had been impressed by Jake's insight and skill, so he invited Jake to remain a part of ELQ. Jake refused, but Nikolas urged Jake to reconsider, since it would ultimately benefit the Quartermaines to help stabilize the company after the recent changes.
Nikolas handed Jake an envelope that contained a "generous" offer for Jake, but Jake wasn't interested. Elizabeth tactfully asked if Jake could have some time to think things over, but Jake assured her that it wouldn't be necessary because Jake would rather take a job with anyone else. Jake informed Nikolas that he intended to repay Nikolas for covering Jake's hospital bill, but Nikolas assured Jake it wasn't necessary because it had been a gift. Jake didn't trust Nikolas because Jake suspected Nikolas always had an agenda.
Jake promised to do whatever was necessary to rip ELQ from Nikolas' grasp then send Nikolas to prison for the various crimes Nikolas had committed. Jake vowed to help Michael because Michael had given Jake a chance when no one else had, and Michael had proven himself to be a loyal and honorable man. Nikolas was disappointed by Jake's decision, but Jake didn't care. After Nikolas walked away from the table, Elizabeth tried to calm Jake down. He was too agitated, so he asked if she wanted to go for a ride, but she declined because she suspected he needed some time alone.
Elizabeth also confessed that she wanted to check on Nikolas because Nikolas was her friend. Jake warned her not to apologize on his behalf, so she promised that she would never presume to speak for Jake. After Jake left, Elizabeth approached Nikolas. Nikolas assured Elizabeth that he had only tried to help, but Elizabeth confessed that she had no idea what had gotten into Jake. She feared he might try to go after Nikolas, but Nikolas wasn't concerned because Jake had had the perfect opportunity to sabotage Nikolas from within by accepting Nikolas' job offer.
Elizabeth realized that perhaps it had been for the best that Jake hadn't accepted Nikolas' job offer, since the Quartermaines would still be a presence at ELQ even though they weren't in charge. Elizabeth didn't want to risk Jake remembering who he was by exposing him to Sam, Michael, and the other Quartermaines.
Meanwhile, Jake dropped by the Quartermaine mansion to apologize to Michael for failing to uncover Nikolas' plot before it was too late. Michael refused to allow Jake to take responsibility, so Jake suggested they agree that Nikolas was a "treacherous son of a bitch." Michael smiled, so Jake offered to help Michael take Nikolas down. Michael assured Jake it wasn't necessary, but Jake insisted he still worked for Michael.
At Greystone Manor, Avery sat on her father's lap as Sonny played with his daughter and reminded her that she was finally home for good. Moments later, Dante entered the living room, but he wasn't pleased when he saw his father with the baby because he feared that Sonny had snatched Avery without Michael's consent. Dante was surprised when Sonny admitted that Michael had returned Avery home, so he commended his brother for choosing to make peace for the good of the family. Dante admitted that not everyone could be that selfless.
Sonny became defensive because he suspected Dante had been referring to him, but Dante clarified that he had been thinking about Lulu. Sonny put Avery into the playpen as Dante told his father about following Lulu to the Quartermaine mansion and Lulu's sudden trip out of town with Dillon. Dante accused Lulu of cheating, but he confessed that he had nearly followed suit with her cousin Valerie. Sonny was not pleased, but Dante assured him that Valerie had quickly put a stop to things and had kept Dante from tracking down Lulu and Dillon until Dante had calmed down.
Sonny agreed it had been good advice, but Sonny also urged Dante to talk to Lulu as soon as possible. Dante explained that he had stopped by to ask Sonny to watch Rocco, so Dante could fly to Vancouver to confront Lulu. Sonny agreed to watch his grandson, but he asked Dante to promise to give Lulu an opportunity to explain her side of things because Dante might have jumped to the wrong conclusion. Dante agreed then thanked his father.
After Dante left, Sonny put the children down for a nap. After he checked the monitor, he went to answer the door. "Denise" stood on his doorstep.
In British Columbia, Luke lay in bed, sandwiched between Laura and Holly. He looked at both of his ex-wives, who each stared off into space, lost in their own troubled thoughts. "Well, this is different," Luke quietly said as he focused on the ceiling. Luke asked if either woman had slept, but they each confessed that they hadn't. Luke confided that he hadn't either. He blamed it on the mattress -- a torture device he was certain he had once been strapped to in a flophouse.
Laura suggested perhaps Luke hadn't been able to sleep because he had been in bed with two ex-wives. Holly smirked as she readily agreed with Laura's assessment. Luke sat up then changed the subject by announcing that he was tired of waiting to hear from the kidnappers. Everyone jumped out of bed as Holly pointed out that they didn't have a choice. Laura agreed with Holly because they didn't have any leads or any idea who had kidnapped their sons.
Holly disagreed because they had one small clue. Stunned, Luke and Laura demanded to know why Holly had waited to mention it, so she quickly clarified that it had been more of an observation. Holly explained that whoever had kidnapped Ethan and Lucky had clearly intended to hurt Luke, which meant that Luke was the main target. Luke became upset because he knew Holly was right, but both Laura and Holly rushed to assure Luke that he was not to blame for the abductions.
Luke became defensive because he didn't believe either ex-wife. Hurt and angry, he decided to check on Lulu to make certain no one snatched her because of him. After Luke slammed the door behind him, Holly regretted sharing her theory. Laura explained that Luke had a lot on his mind, but Holly pointed out that they were all worried about Ethan and Lucky. Laura tried to ease Holly's mind by reminding Holly that Ethan was perfectly capable of taking care of himself.
Holly appreciated Laura's words of encouragement, especially since she knew Ethan was a painful reminder of Luke's infidelity. Laura admitted that both she and Luke had kept secrets, so their marriage had been doomed. Laura promised that she had made peace with the past, so Holly opened up about the night Holly had run into Luke at a casino in Singapore. Holly admitted that it had been years since she had seen Luke, but all the old feelings had rushed back. Holly assured Laura that the affair had only lasted a weekend and that she hadn't known about Luke and Laura's marriage or that they'd had a son.
Holly conceded that she hadn't wanted to ask, but she had learned the truth when she had discovered that she had been pregnant with Ethan. Holly had refused to break up Luke's family, so Holly had made the difficult decision to give her son up for adoption. However, she insisted she had never regretted having her son, but she had been deeply sorry for hurting Laura. Laura promised that it was in the past. The conversation abruptly ended when Laura's cell phone rang. It was the kidnapper.
Laura and Holly demanded proof that their sons were okay, but the kidnapper informed them that what they wanted was irrelevant. However, he advised them to check the hallway because he had left them something. Laura dashed to the hallway as the kidnapper disconnected the call. She returned with an envelope, which she immediately opened. Laura and Holly were horrified when they saw a picture of their sons seated side by side, tied to chairs with their mouths covered in duct tape.
In another hotel room, Dillon woke Lulu up by handing her a cup of coffee. Lulu gratefully accepted the hot drink and took a sip as Dillon opened the blinds. Lulu asked if Dillon had slept, so he admitted that he had been up all night. Lulu felt bad, but reminded him that she had offered to take the floor. Dillon confessed he couldn't have, in good conscience, taken the bed, so Lulu shifted gears to ask if Dillon had heard from Luke and Laura. Dillon shook his head, so Lulu decided to call her parents.
Dillon urged Lulu to reconsider because he was certain her parents would call with an update when the kidnappers contacted Luke and Laura. Lulu reluctantly agreed, so Dillon invited her to join him for breakfast because they would need their strength to help rescue Lucky. Lulu grinned when Dillon confessed that he had charged the breakfast cart to Luke and Laura's room, so she grabbed something off a plate. Meanwhile, Dillon revealed that he had spent the night editing his screenplay to incorporate her suggestions.
Dillon was eager to hear Lulu's feedback. Lulu was glad she had been able to help Dillon because it had taken the edge off her guilt over lying to her husband. Dillon admitted that he felt equally guilty for not telling his mother the truth, but he was certain that Dante would understand and forgive Lulu once Lucky was safe and she was free to tell her husband the truth. Lulu regretted unloading her problems on Dillon, but he assured her that he didn't mind.
Later, Lulu rushed to the door when she heard a knock. She was relieved when she saw her father standing on the doorstep, so she immediately asked for an update. Luke filled Lulu and Dillon in about Holly's appearance and Ethan's kidnapping. Lulu was distraught that two of her brothers were at the mercy of unknown kidnappers, but Luke refused to allow Lulu to wallow in fear. He gave her five seconds to be afraid then instructed her to pull herself together because they were Spencers.
Lulu assured her father that she didn't need five seconds because she was ready to take action. Luke was confident that, with a little luck, they would be able to rescue his sons. Lulu hoped they accomplished their mission quickly because she didn't know how much longer she could lie to her husband. Luke promised to help Lulu explain things to Dante when everything was done, but Dillon was curious what Luke intended to do about Tracy, so Luke admitted that he hated that he had lied to Tracy and hurt her, but Luke promised to spend the rest of his days making it up to her if she forgave him. Satisfied, Dillon, Lulu, and Luke left to join Laura and Holly.
A short time later, Laura and Holly showed Luke, Lulu, and Dillon the picture the kidnappers had sent. Luke promised everyone that they would find Ethan and Lucky and kill whoever had abducted his sons.
Meanwhile, Dante knocked on Dillon and Lulu's hotel room door, but no one answered. He spotted a maid, so he identified himself as a police officer then asked her to let him into the room because someone might be in danger. The maid immediately opened the door. Dante entered then looked around until his eyes landed on the bed where Lulu and Dillon's clothes were scattered. Alarmed by the expression on Dante's face, the maid asked if anyone had been hurt. "Not yet," Dante answered.
At the Quartermaine mansion, Jake entered the living room to apologize to Michael for failing to stop Nikolas from seizing control of ELQ. Michael took full responsibility for what had happened, but Jake objected, so they decided to blame Nikolas, whom they agreed was a "treacherous son of a bitch." Jake offered to help Michael wrest control of ELQ away from Nikolas, but Michael assured Jake that it wasn't necessary. Jake disagreed because he still worked for Michael as far as Jake was concerned. Michael smiled with relief as he welcomed Jake back on board then offered to fetch Sabrina and Tracy to join their conversation.
Jake advised Michael against it because the fewer people who knew about Jake and Michael's plans, the less likely Nikolas would find out. Michael assured Jake that Sabrina could be trusted, but he conceded his great-aunt had been through a lot of emotional turmoil in recent years, including a broken engagement. Jake felt bad for Tracy, but he was eager to make Nikolas pay for taking ELQ from Michael. Jake told Michael about Nikolas' job offer and Jake's refusal to accept it because Jake refused to work for someone who lacked any honor.
Jake despised liar and cheats because, at the end of the day, all people had was their word, which meant something to Jake. Michael confessed that Jake reminded him of Jason, which surprised Jake because Spinelli had said the same thing. Michael assured Jake that it had been a compliment then opened up about how Jason had taught Michael about the importance of honor, keeping one's word, and using whatever means necessary to protect what belonged to Michael. Jake wondered if Jason had had any words of wisdom when facing an adversary who had them out-funded, out-maneuvered, and out-gunned.
Michael revealed that the only way to stop Nikolas was to get back the shares of ELQ. Jake asked if the shares were like bearer bonds in that whoever possessed the shares owned them. Michael nodded, so Michael suspected that Nikolas guarded the shares with his life. Jake was confident that he could get his hands on the shares, but Michael made it clear that he didn't want any violence. Michael wasn't interested in ruining Nikolas or hurting the Cassadines because revenge never worked the way it was intended. Jake explained that he was certain Nikolas had been hiding something, so Jake intended to find out what it was to gain leverage over Nikolas.
Outside Kelly's, Nikolas called to check in with Rosalie. She reminded him that it was the Fourth of July, but Nikolas didn't care because he had a lot of work to do to get ELQ back into shape. Nikolas instructed Rosalie to set up a television interview because he needed to work on improving his image, but he quickly ended the call when Sam walked up. Sam didn't hesitate to let Nikolas know that she was unhappy with her cousin because he had betrayed Michael.
Nikolas insisted it had just been business and unavoidable because Helena and Victor had siphoned off a large chunk of the family fortune, but Sam was not satisfied because she saw shades of Helena and Victor in Nikolas. She noted that her cousin wasn't the same man he had once been, and she wasn't pleased with the changes. Sam wanted to know what was going on with Nikolas, but he didn't think it was necessary to explain, since she knew what it was like to lose someone. Sam resented Nikolas trying to blame his unethical business practices on financial losses and his breakup with Britt.
Nikolas went on the offensive by questioning why Sam would defend the Quartermaines when they had never embraced her. Sam argued that her son was both a Quartermaine and Cassadine equally, but Nikolas scoffed at the notion that Sam cared about the Quartermaines because she had readily let go of her and Danny's shares of ELQ. Sam explained that she had hoped to avoid getting between Michael and Tracy, but she wanted what was best for Jason's family. Sam accused Nikolas of behaving like a "dismissive jerk" then informed him that Jason would kick his "ass" if Jason were alive.
"Then I guess I'm lucky he's not alive," Nikolas snidely replied. Hurt, Sam asked how Nikolas could say something like that to her. He immediately regretted his harsh remark and apologized, but Sam sensed a lack of sincerity in his tone. Nikolas assured Sam that he loved her, so she reluctantly admitted that she loved him too. However, Sam was furious that Nikolas had hurt Michael. Nikolas realized he and Sam were at an impasse, but he hoped they would eventually get past it.
After Nikolas left, Sam called Patrick, who had been busy at the hospital, operating on two patients. She quietly confessed that she had needed to hear his voice because she'd had a heated argument with Nikolas about Michael and ELQ. Sam explained that she was frustrated because she wished there was a way for her to help the Quartermaines. "Maybe there is," Jake said as he walked up.
At the nurses' station, Liesl grumbled about the staff not following instructions when filling out hospital paperwork. She ranted about people scribbling an x rather than using more legible checkmarks as Franco walked up. Liesl was happy to see him but explained that she didn't have time for a visit. Franco insisted that he needed to talk to her about Denise, so he offered to buy Liesl's favorite candy bar from the vending machine if she gave him five minutes. Liesl agreed then accompanied Franco to the vending machine area as he filled her in about his encounter with Denise at Metro Court Restaurant.
Liesl was surprised that Franco would want to date someone like Denise because Denise was a "low-rent" version of Franco's ex, Ava. She urged Franco to take things slowly with Denise, but Franco assured Liesl that it wasn't necessary because he was only dating Denise as a ruse to make Nina jealous. However, Franco was concerned about Denise's willingness to go along with the lie. Liesl wondered if Franco had a theory, so he admitted that Denise had kissed him just as Morgan had entered the restaurant.
Liesl pointed out that Morgan was significantly younger than Denise, but Franco reminded Liesl that the age gap hadn't stopped Morgan and Ava. Liesl was curious why Denise's motives mattered if Denise was helping Franco's cause. Franco explained that he was concerned for Kiki's sake because Kiki and Morgan were dating. Moments later, Liesl received a text message reminding her of a meeting, so she promised to catch up with Franco later to finish their conversation.
At Silas' apartment, Morgan read the Port Charles Press, which featured a story about Denise. Kiki entered the living room to model a patriotic string bikini top and cut-off jean shorts, but Morgan was distracted as he told her that she looked great. Kiki was disappointed by his lack of enthusiasm, so he confessed that he was concerned about Denise and Franco. Hurt, Kiki reminded Morgan that her aunt was perfectly capable of taking care of herself, but Morgan reminded Kiki that Franco had hurt Carly.
Kiki agreed that Franco had been wrong to lash out at Carly as he had, but Kiki understood the pain Franco had felt because she would have felt equally betrayed if Morgan had cheated on her. Morgan worriedly asked if Kiki had been taking bomb-building tips from Franco, so Kiki assured him that she would never go to the extremes that Franco had. However, she would be upset if Morgan cheated on her. Morgan's expression briefly clouded with guilt, but he quickly forced a smile as he hugged Kiki.
Morgan insisted that he didn't have any reason to stray when he had a sexy girlfriend like Kiki waiting for him. He kissed her to prove his point then untied the back of her bikini. After Kiki and Morgan made love on the sofa, Kiki suggested they enjoy the holiday. She jumped up to take a shower, so Morgan offered to join her. Kiki declined because she doubted they would leave the apartment if he took a shower with her. Later, Kiki returned to the living room to announce that she intended to fetch something for them to eat at Kelly's while he showered, and she would meet him in the park for the fireworks show.
At Greystone Manor, Sonny glared at "Denise" as she stood on his doorstep. He coldly asked what she wanted, so Ava pasted on a polite smile then nervously explained that she had stopped by to visit her "baby niece." Sonny explained it wasn't a good idea, but Ava refused to give up. She acknowledged that they had gotten off on the wrong foot, but a DNA test had confirmed that she was Ava's twin sister. Sonny remained skeptical, but he decided to invite "Denise" inside.
Ava was eager to see her daughter, but Sonny quickly informed "Denise" that he had wanted to discuss Denise's relationship with Morgan. Ava feigned ignorance, but Sonny revealed that Morgan had told Sonny about Morgan and Denise's sexually charged encounters. Sonny suspected Morgan was drawn to Denise because she looked like Ava, but he didn't trust Denise because he was certain Denise had taken advantage of his son.
Ava tried to ease Sonny's fears by explaining that she had moved on with Franco, but Sonny rolled his eyes in disgust. Ava repeated the story she had told everyone about running into Franco and feeling an instant connection with him, but Sonny didn't care as long as Denise stayed away from Morgan. Ava assured Sonny that it wouldn't be a problem then changed the subject by asking to see Avery. Sonny refused because he didn't want anyone involved with Franco near his daughter.
Ava's temper flared when Sonny ordered her to leave. She vowed that it was not over and stormed out. A short time later, Michael called to let Sonny know that Denise might stop by to visit Avery. Sonny admitted that Denise had already been there, but he had sent her packing.
At Silas' apartment, Morgan emerged from the bathroom, wearing a towel, and he heard a knock at the door. He was startled when he saw Denise standing on the doorstep.
Meanwhile, Kiki bumped into Franco at Kelly's. After they exchanged greetings, Franco asked if Kiki had any plans. She told him that she intended to meet Morgan in the park for the fireworks show, but Franco admitted that he didn't think it was a good idea.
In British Columbia, Laura and Holly showed Luke, Lulu, and Dillon the picture the kidnappers had sent of Ethan and Lucky bound to chairs and their mouths covered in duct tape. Luke promised to find and rescue both Ethan and Lucky before Luke killed the person behind the abductions. "Not you. Us," Holly corrected. Lulu was curious how they would find the person or persons responsible for her brothers' kidnappings, but no one had an answer. Luke studied the picture until he noticed a clue.
Luke pointed out that two fingers on Ethan's right hand were crossed, which had been a signal that Ethan and Luke had used in card games when someone had been holding jacks. Lulu wondered if it was possible that Ethan was trying to tell them that Jerry Jacks had kidnapped Ethan and Lucky. Laura agreed it was a good theory, but she noticed that Ethan had also been holding out three fingers on his left hand. "Three jacks," Luke muttered, but he had no idea what it meant.
Laura, Holly, Luke, Dillon, and Lulu continued to study the picture until Lulu realized that Lucky had also tried to send a message by pointing a finger at himself. Luke had no idea what Ethan and Lucky were attempting to tell him because Luke had never taught Lucky the card signals. Dillon suggested that perhaps Lucky was trying to indicate what Lucky meant to people. Luke's face lit up as he listed all the things Lucky was including a father, a cop, and a son. "Three Jackson," Laura said. Lulu quickly looked up the address on the Internet and discovered there was a lumberyard nearby at the address.
A short time later, Luke, Laura, Holly, Dillon, and Lulu arrived at the lumberyard. They carefully hid out of sight when they spotted two guards with guns patrolling the area. Holly pointed out that they outnumbered the guards, so she was confident they could quickly neutralize the men, but Luke pointed out that there might be more guards inside the building. They quickly realized they would need a distraction so someone could sneak past the guards to check the building.
Laura objected when Lulu volunteered for the job, but Lulu explained it was the only way because the guards had no idea who Lulu and Dillon were, so they wouldn't be expecting them. Luke and Holly reluctantly agreed. Lulu and Dillon quickly devised a plan then put it into motion.
Moments later, Lulu and Dillon approached the guards. Lulu had shoved something under her shirt to make it appear that she was very pregnant. She cried out in pain, pretending to be in labor, as Dillon begged the guards to help his wife. The guards gruffly ordered the couple to leave, claiming they couldn't help, but Dillon continued to implore the guards for assistance by asking for a ride to the hospital. Eventually, one of the guards agreed to drive Dillon and Lulu to the hospital. Lulu made a show of being afraid of the gun the man held, so the guard handed it to his companion before leading Dillon and Lulu to the car.
After Dillon and Lulu left, Luke and Laura moved in. They pretended to be concerned parents looking for their pregnant daughter, while Holly slipped up behind the guard and quickly disarmed him. After Holly knocked the man unconscious, Luke suggested they split up in case it was a trap. Holly and Laura reluctantly agreed to find other points of entry, while Luke used the main door. He stopped short when he saw someone.
"I'll be damned," Luke said in a surprised tone.
At ELQ, Nikolas was focused on his cell phone as he exited the elevator, barking orders at Rosalie. However, he glanced up when he realized the reception area was deserted. Nikolas entered his office, calling out to his assistant, but instead he saw Spencer seated behind the desk, sporting a patriotic top hat. Spencer informed his father that Rosalie been given the day off, so Nikolas would have to deal with Spencer. Nikolas didn't appreciate his son's disrespectful tone, but Spencer was unapologetic because "desperate times call for desperate measures." Spencer then compared Nikolas to Scrooge for making Rosalie work on a national holiday. Nikolas quickly noted that the story of Ebenezer Scrooge was a Christmas story -- not an Independence Day tale.
Nikolas decided to cut to the chase by asking what Spencer wanted, so Spencer questioned why Nikolas had stolen ELQ from the Quartermaines. Nikolas calmly explained that it had been a business decision and perfectly legal, but Spencer was skeptical because the newspapers had accused Nikolas of being a corporate raider who had lied. Spencer reminded Nikolas that Nikolas had taught Spencer that lying was wrong, so Spencer wanted to know why Nikolas had done it. "For you," Nikolas answered.
Spencer argued that he had never asked his father to take ELQ from the Quartermaines, but Nikolas revealed that the Cassadines had needed the money. Stunned, Spencer asked if they were broke. Nikolas carefully explained that they had some savings, but they were cash poor, so it had been necessary to secure control of ELQ. Nikolas joked that Spencer would have been a "townie" if Nikolas hadn't taken action, but Spencer surprised his father by asking what would have been wrong with that.
Nikolas was taken aback by the question because he knew how Spencer felt about townies, but Spencer revealed that he'd had a change of heart when Spencer had learned that Courtney had been one. Nikolas demanded to know who had told Spencer that, but Spencer insisted it didn't matter, since it was true. Nikolas agreed that Courtney hadn't been born into wealth, but Nikolas had been determined to preserve Spencer's lifestyle. Spencer assured his father that money and prestige weren't everything, especially if it meant hurting good people like Josslyn's brother Michael.
Spencer explained that after the fire, he had been worried about people perceiving him as ugly on the outside because of his scars, but instead, Spencer had become ugly on the inside. Spencer realized he might have hurt someone when he had dropped sandbags from the rafters during Cameron and Emma's performance at the Nurses Ball. However, Spencer's family had been there to save Spencer from becoming a bad person, so Spencer wanted to do the same for his father. He picked up the phone then handed it to Nikolas, expecting Nikolas to set things right with the Quartermaines, but Nikolas explained that business didn't work like that.
Spencer was disappointed until Nikolas agreed to think about it then changed the subject by inviting his son to watch the fireworks display in the park. Spencer happily agreed.
In Kelly's courtyard, Sam spoke to Patrick on the phone about the heated argument she'd had with Nikolas. Jake walked up as she admitted to Patrick that she wished she could help Michael. Jake suggested there might be a way, so Sam quickly ended her call with Patrick to hear Jake out. Jake was curious if Sam had been serious about helping Michael, and Sam assured Jake that she would do whatever was necessary to right her cousin's wrong.
Sam doubted Nikolas would simply hand over the majority shares of ELQ, but Jake explained there might be a way to force Nikolas to cooperate. Sam was surprised when Jake confided that he suspected Nikolas was hiding something, so Jake wanted to find out what it was and use it to coerce Nikolas into returning the shares of ELQ to their rightful owners. Jake admitted that he felt obligated to help Michael because he had let Michael down, but Jake realized it might be too much to ask for Sam to turn against her cousin. She assured him that she would do it for Michael, but she warned Jake that Elizabeth might not be happy about their plans because Elizabeth and Nikolas had been friends for a very long time.
Jake hated keeping secrets from Elizabeth, but he believed it was necessary because Nikolas' behavior had raised questions, especially after Nikolas had failed to tell Sam about Jason's wedding ring for weeks. Sam explained that Nikolas had been dealing with a lot at the time because Spencer had been injured in a fire, but Jake was certain Nikolas could have found the time for Sam. Sam wondered if Jake thought Nikolas had been keeping secrets about Jason from her. Jake admitted that he didn't know, but a lot of what Nikolas had said in recent months hadn't added up.
Inside Kelly's, Kiki told Franco that she planned to meet Morgan in the park for the fireworks show, but Franco didn't think it was a good idea. Kiki realized that Franco didn't like a lot of people, including Morgan, but Franco quickly clarified that it had nothing to do with his personal feelings for Morgan. Franco revealed that he had concerns about Morgan's relationship with Denise. Kiki was curious why, so Franco hinted that Morgan and Denise might be attracted to each other.
Kiki immediately dismissed the possibility and blamed Franco's fears on his tendency to be insecure about the women he dated. Kiki was shocked when Franco blurted out that he and Denise were not an actual couple. He quickly explained that he had hoped to convince Nina that he had moved on by claiming Denise was his date, but he hadn't expected Denise to go along with the ruse. Franco had grown suspicious of Denise's motives when she had kissed him just as Morgan had arrived at the restaurant. Kiki was curious if Franco had asked Denise why she had agreed to go along with the lie.
Franco admitted that Denise had blamed it on Kiki's efforts to play matchmaker between Denise and Silas, so Kiki confessed it was the truth because Kiki had thought Denise and Silas might hit it off. Kiki wanted Franco to find happiness, but she was certain that nothing was going on between her aunt and Morgan. Franco hoped Kiki was right.
At Silas' apartment, Morgan emerged from the bathroom after his shower wearing a towel as he answered a knock at the door. It was "Denise." Ava's eyes rounded with anxiety as she took in Morgan's state of undress, but he was too distracted to notice when he asked why she was there. Ava entered the apartment as she explained that she needed to talk to him about Avery. Ava explained that Sonny had denied her visitation with her "niece" because Morgan had told his father about Morgan and Denise's passionate encounters.
Morgan admitted that his attraction to Denise had been weighing heavily on him, so Morgan had turned to his father for advice. Ava expected Morgan to straighten things out by assuring Sonny that nothing had happened between them, but Morgan confessed that he couldn't because it would be a lie. Ava assured Morgan that she had no intention on acting on her attraction to him because she didn't want to hurt Kiki. Morgan admitted that it wouldn't be easy to sway Sonny because a part of Morgan wondered if Denise was really Ava trying to scam all of them.
Morgan realized it was an irrational fear because Ava would never have put her loved ones through the agony of believing she was dead when she was not. Ava hid her guilt behind a brittle smile then changed the subject by asking why Morgan had told Sonny about the encounters with her. Morgan confessed that Ava had been the first woman he had ever truly loved, so when he looked at Denise, he couldn't help but think of what might have been between him and Ava. Morgan confided that he saw Ava's fire and passion in Denise, but he was determined not hurt or lose Kiki.
Morgan was curious why Denise was drawn to him. Ava looked at his chiseled chest as she pointed out that it should be obvious, but she also refused to betray Kiki. Satisfied, Morgan promised to talk to Sonny, so Ava thanked him then left.
At the loft, Dante slammed the door as he arrived home in a foul mood. His thoughts drifted to his trip to British Columbia and what he had seen in Dillon and Lulu's hotel room. Frustrated, Dante picked up a picture of him and Lulu only to slam it back down on the counter.
A short time later, Dante answered a knock at the door. It was Valerie. Valerie was relieved when she saw him because she had left several voicemail messages for him without any response. Dante invited her in as he explained that he hadn't bothered to check his voicemail. He offered her a beer, so she accepted as he filled her in about his trip to British Columbia to confront Lulu.
Valerie was stunned when Dante revealed that he had been in Dillon and Lulu's hotel room, but the couple hadn't been there. However, Dante had seen a breakfast cart and both Dillon and Lulu's clothes strewn about on the rumpled bed. Valerie was curious what Lulu had said, but Dante admitted that he hadn't bothered to stay to hear Lulu's excuses. Valerie agreed that it appeared damaging, but she urged Dante to speak to Lulu before jumping to conclusions. Dante argued that he didn't need to see Dillon and Lulu in bed together to know that Lulu was cheating.
Valerie admitted it was difficult for her to believe that Lulu had been unfaithful because Lulu had seemed sincerely concerned when she had questioned Valerie and Dante's relationship. Dante explained that Lulu was possessive, but there was also a side of his wife that thrived on the thrill of danger. Dante suspected that Dillon's arrival had stirred up those feelings in Lulu, but Valerie remained skeptical because Lulu had seemed genuinely in love with Dante and Rocco. Dante's voice choked up with emotion as he reminded Valerie that his wife was on a trip with Dillon.
Valerie grabbed Dante's hand to gently suggest they fetch Rocco from Sonny's place. She was certain that Dante would feel better once he spent some time with his son, but Dante confessed that he would rather remain at the loft with Valerie. Valerie nervously glanced down at their joined hands.
In British Columbia, Lulu feigned labor pains as Dillon played the concerned husband. The guard they had lured away from the lumberyard told them to wait while he disabled the alarm so he could drive Lulu and Dillon to the hospital. After the guard stepped away, Lulu frantically asked Dillon what they should do because they couldn't get into the car with the guard.
Nearby, Luke and Laura approached the second guard, claiming they were looking for their pregnant daughter. Holly seized the opportunity to sneak up on the guard with a gun. After the trio quickly disarmed the guard, Holly knocked the man out. Luke feared they might be walking into a trap, so he suggested they split up. Luke instructed Holly and Laura to find another way into the building but to remain out of sight because they couldn't afford to engage any other guards until Ethan and Lucky had been safely rescued.
Meanwhile, the guard returned to escort Lulu and Dillon to the car, but she quickly dropped to the ground, writhing in agony. Lulu claimed it was too late to go the hospital because her baby was about to be born. Concerned, the guard insisted on taking her to the hospital because it was too dangerous for her to give birth in the lumberyard. However, the guard's partner suddenly staggered up to warn his cohort that it was a trap. As if on cue, a bag filled with woodchips, which Lulu had stuffed under her shirt, split open.
A brief scuffle ensued as the guards sprang into action. Within minutes, one of the guards had managed to grab Lulu from behind. He threatened to break her neck if Dillon refused to cooperate, so Dillon immediately stilled. Pleased, one of the guards made light of Lulu's ineffectiveness, so she decided to prove her value by jabbing the guard holding her in the stomach with her elbow. Dillon didn't hesitate to take action by knocking out the man watching over him.
After both guards had been rendered unconscious, Lulu and Dillon dashed off to help Luke. However, one of the guards regained consciousness and made a phone call.
In the lumber mill, Luke was pleasantly surprised when he saw his son Ethan standing in the center of the room. Luke started to approach Ethan, but Ethan warned his father to stay back unless Luke wanted to die. Ethan pointed to the pressure mine under Ethan's foot, which would detonate if Ethan stepped off it. Ethan swayed on his feet as he confessed that he felt woozy, so he implored Luke to get out before it was too late, but Luke flatly refused.
Ethan admitted that he had to tell his father something, so Luke looked around for a way to help his son as Ethan revealed that Lucky had managed to get loose. However, the guards had returned before Lucky had been able to free Ethan, so Lucky had fled with the guards in hot pursuit. Ethan was concerned about his brother because he had heard gunshots ring out, but Luke remained focused on trying to help Ethan. Ethan stumbled back, but he managed to right himself before his foot slid off the pressure mine. He once again begged Luke to leave, but Luke ignored Ethan.
Resigned, Ethan watched his father grab some tools from a toolbox then closely examine the bomb, so Ethan explained how he had been abducted. According to Ethan, Lucky had called to ask for Ethan's help with an important matter, but Lucky hadn't gone into detail because Lucky had been certain that the phones had been bugged. Ethan urged Luke to find Lucky because Lucky might be hurt, but Luke calmly worked on the bomb. Several minutes later, Luke managed to cut a wire without detonating the bomb, so he was confident that he had disarmed it.
Ethan was reluctant to test Luke's theory until Luke had left the building, but Luke made it clear that he would save his son or die trying. Ethan told his father that he loved him, so Luke assured Ethan that he loved Ethan, too, because Ethan was the kind of man that Luke had always wanted to be. Ethan was touched, but Luke shifted gears to instruct Ethan to step off the bomb on the count of three. Luke reached for his son's hand, counted to two, then shoved Ethan off the bomb. Ethan's relief was short-lived because he was furious that his father had acted on the count of two instead of three.
Luke refused to apologize because he knew Ethan would have tried to push Luke away if Luke hadn't tricked his son. Luke and Ethan's good mood quickly evaporated when several armed guards suddenly entered the building, leading Holly, Laura, Lulu, and Dillon. The guards shoved their hostages into the center of the room as Luke demanded to see their boss. "Unfortunately for you, he feels the same way," one of the guards replied. Luke and Laura were stunned when someone entered the room. "My God. No." Laura said in disbelief as she shook her head. "It can't be," Luke added in shock.
At Greystone Manor, Sonny spoke to Morgan on the phone. He informed his son that his answer was no and that their discussion was over. Sonny told Morgan to enjoy the evening then abruptly ended the call. "Bitch isn't getting her hands on my kid," Sonny muttered under his breath as Carly entered the living room with two large festive cocktails. Carly handed one to Sonny as she explained that his maid, Graciella, had made them, so Carly had no idea what was in the drinks. Sonny gratefully accepted the drink as Carly talked about the children having fun.
Sonny tensed when Carly suddenly asked if Rocco was at Sonny's because Dante and Lulu had a hot date. "Not exactly," Sonny carefully replied, which immediately led to more questions. Sonny was given a short reprieve when Molly and T.J. entered the living room and chatted with Sonny and Carly for a few minutes before heading to the park to watch the fireworks. Carly picked up where she had left off as she continued to question Sonny about Dante and Lulu until Sonny blurted out that Lulu had cheated on Dante with Dillon.
Carly burst out laughing, but Sonny assured her there was proof. Carly asked if Dante had walked in on Lulu and Dillon in bed together, so Sonny explained that the evidence was damaging. Carly was certain there was another explanation, since her cousin was devoted to both Dante and Rocco. Carly was curious what Dante had done about his suspicions, so Sonny told her about Dante's plans to confront Lulu in British Columbia. Carly was shocked that Sonny hadn't stopped Dante, but Sonny insisted his son was a grown man.
Sonny confessed that he was more concerned about Dante overreacting again, which prompted another series of question from Carly. Sonny refused to discuss it, but Carly warned him that she would continue to badger him until he told her what Dante had done. Reluctantly, Sonny revealed that Dante had kissed Valerie, but he quickly added that Valerie had put a stop to things right away. Carly was relieved that her newfound cousin had done the right thing, but Carly was concerned about Dante's actions because she doubted that Lulu would understand.
Sonny insisted he and Carly needed to stay out of it, especially since they had their own problems to deal with. Surprised, Carly wondered what Sonny was talking about, so he told her about Morgan's attraction to Denise and Denise's attempt to visit Avery. Carly refused to believe that her son was drawn to Ava's "tacky twin," especially since Denise was dating Franco. Sonny had no idea what Denise was up to, but he had warned her to stay away from both Avery and Morgan. Moments later, the fireworks lit up the night sky, so Sonny and Carly stepped onto the terrace to watch the show and bask in their blessings.
At the loft, Valerie reached for Dante's hand as she suggested they fetch his son because she was certain that Rocco would cheer him up. Dante confessed that he wanted to stay at the loft with her. Valerie warned him that it wasn't a good idea, but Dante assured her it wasn't what she thought. He admitted that he feared Rocco might sense something was wrong with him, so Valerie praised Dante for being a good father.
Dante confessed he was grateful that he didn't have to hide how he was feeling around Valerie, but he tensed when someone knocked on the door. Valerie wondered who it was, so Dante went to the door as Valerie carried a couple of empty beer bottles to the kitchen. Maxie and Nathan happily greeted Dante then invited him to grab Lulu and Rocco, so they could all watch the fireworks in the park together. Dante explained that it wasn't a good time, but Maxie pushed past Dante, calling out to Lulu. She stopped short when she saw Valerie standing by the kitchen counter.
Maxie's eyes narrowed, but Nathan politely greeted Valerie. Maxie wondered where Lulu was, so Dante decided to stick to Lulu's lie by claiming that Lulu had flown to Italy at the last minute to help Lesley. Maxie frowned because it wasn't like Lulu not to tell Maxie she was leaving town, but then Maxie suddenly recalled Lulu had confided that Lulu and Dillon had a secret. Maxie quickly switched gears by inviting Dante and Rocco to join her and Nathan in the park, so Nathan made a point of including Valerie. Dante declined by claiming Rocco had a cold and needed to rest.
Nathan appeared to pick up on Dante's tension, so he quickly hustled Maxie out the door. Afterwards, Valerie confessed that the encounter had been awkward, but she was curious why Dante hadn't told Maxie the truth about Lulu's trip. Dante explained that Maxie would have been on the first flight out of town to track down Lulu, provided Maxie had believed him. Dante also hadn't been in the mood to hear Maxie defend his wayward wife.
Valerie shifted gears to ask if they could watch the fireworks from the loft. Dante assured her that it wouldn't be a problem, so Valerie confessed that the Fourth of July had been her mother's favorite holiday. Valerie's eyes filled with tears as she quietly reminisced about past holidays with her mother, including the final year when Pat had been too weak to attend a fireworks display in town. Valerie recalled staying home with her mother and listening to the booms of the fireworks as she and her mother had pretended to watch the night sky light up with brilliant colors.
Valerie revealed that after the sounds of the fireworks had faded, her mother had told her about the decision to move to the clinic. Dante's expression filled with compassion as Valerie quietly added that her mother hadn't lived to see another Fourth of July. Moments later, Dante and Valerie heard the sounds of the fireworks in the park, so Dante led Valerie to the bedroom to watch the show from the window. Valerie sat on the bed as tears filled her eyes. Dante sat next to her, wrapped his arm around her, and held her as she rested her head on his shoulder.
In the park, Molly and T.J. spread out a blanket as they talked about T.J.'s decision to move in with Sonny. Molly wondered if T.J. had accepted her uncle's offer just to stick it to Jordan, but T.J. justified his animosity toward his mother by reminding Molly that Jordan hadn't had T.J.'s back when he had needed her. Molly gently pointed out that Jordan had been in an impossible situation because Jordan had been both a mother and a police commissioner. "So?" T.J. stubbornly asked.
Molly explained that Jordan couldn't afford to lose her job because someone needed to cover T.J.'s tuition, since Shawn was out of the picture. T.J. quickly changed the subject by revealing that he had a surprise for Molly. He pulled a small black velvet box from his pocket then set it in the center of the blanket. Molly smiled when she lifted the lid and saw the earrings she had wanted. T.J. revealed that Wyndham's Department Store had sent the earrings to him as an apology, but he regretted that he hadn't been able to give her the gift before her valedictorian speech.
Molly was touched by the gesture and assured T.J. that she loved the earrings but not as much as she loved him. T.J. smiled then wrapped his arms around Molly as they looked up to watch the fireworks.
In another area of the park, Nathan and Maxie found a secluded corner to spread out their blanket and open a bottle of wine. Maxie was upset that Valerie had been at the loft because she didn't trust Lulu's cousin. Nathan defended Valerie by admitting that she seemed like a good person who was trying to get to know her family. "Well, God help us if I ever have a cousin who pops up out of the woodwork," Maxie grumbled. Nathan started to assemble a small table as he suggested that perhaps Maxie might have overreacted.
Maxie disagreed because Lulu had been worried about Valerie's intentions toward Dante from the beginning. Nathan finished putting the table together, but Maxie decided she wanted to return to the loft to keep an eye on Valerie for Lulu. Nathan tried to dissuade Maxie, but she was determined to go. Resigned, Nathan pulled out a set of handcuffs then slapped one end on her wrist and another on his. Maxie smiled, but quickly adopted a stern expression as she sputtered with outrage.
Nathan grinned as he reminded Maxie it was the one-year anniversary of the night he had realized how deeply in love he was with Maxie. Maxie and Nathan toasted to their anniversary then reminisced about their trek through the park the previous Fourth of July. Fireworks filled the night sky as Maxie asked if Nathan had a key to the handcuffs, but Nathan told her it didn't matter. Maxie agreed then kissed him.
In another area of the park, Kiki walked up as Morgan ended his call with Sonny. She greeted Morgan with a quick kiss, so he teasingly confessed that he had been afraid she might have stood him up. Kiki explained that she had bumped into Franco at Kelly's. Morgan was relieved that he hadn't accompanied Kiki to the diner, but Kiki confessed that he might have been interested to hear what Franco had revealed about Franco and Denise's relationship.
A short time later, Kiki and Morgan sat on a blanket and nibbled on the food Kiki had picked up, so Morgan seized the opportunity to subtly question Kiki about her earlier remark regarding Franco and Denise. Kiki confided that Franco and Denise's relationship was a ruse to make Nina jealous. Morgan was surprised by the news, but he was curious why Denise had gone along with Franco's plan. Kiki grinned as she explained that Franco suspected Denise and Morgan had feelings for each other. Shocked, Morgan insisted Franco was wrong, so Kiki assured Morgan that she believed him.
However, Kiki was concerned that Michael might object to Denise spending time with Avery because of Denise's association with Franco. Morgan revealed that it wouldn't be a problem because Michael had returned Avery to Sonny. Elated, Kiki wondered why Morgan hadn't mentioned it sooner. Morgan carefully explained that Denise had stopped by Silas' apartment to tell Morgan in the hopes of enlisting Morgan's help to persuade Sonny to allow Denise to visit with Avery. He admitted he had tried, but Sonny had adamantly refused.
Kiki felt bad for her aunt, but she wasn't surprised because she imagined Denise reminded Sonny of Ava. Morgan confided that he hadn't broken the news to Denise yet, so Kiki urged him to tell Denise sooner rather than later because she didn't want her aunt to get her hopes up. Shortly after Morgan told Denise about Sonny's decision, Kiki and Morgan were cuddled up on the blanket as they watched the fireworks. Kiki noticed Morgan seemed distracted, so she asked him to stop worrying about Denise's problems for a while and enjoy the magic in the sky. Morgan tried to relax but failed, so Kiki suggested they make their own magic and kissed him.
In Kelly's courtyard, Ava greeted Franco by referring to him as her "fake boyfriend," so Franco returned the greeting in a similar fashion. Franco was surprised to see "Denise" because he had expected her to be watching the fireworks with Avery, but Ava explained that Michael had returned Avery to Sonny. Franco was shocked because he hadn't expected Michael to forgive Sonny after the efforts Franco had made to destroy Sonny and Carly's relationship with Michael.
Annoyed that Franco had made it all about himself, Ava entered the diner. Franco was close on her heels as he continued to rant about Michael's decision to give Avery to Sonny. He asked if Michael had forgiven Sonny, but Ava confessed that she had no idea because Sonny hadn't confided to her when he had prohibited her from visiting Avery. Ava complained that every day that passed was another day Avery was without her family, but Franco reminded her that Sonny was Avery's father.
Ava's temper flared as she argued that she was Avery's "aunt," but she quickly calmed down because Morgan had agreed to talk to Sonny on her behalf. Franco was curious when Morgan had made the promise, so Ava explained that she had stopped by Silas' apartment earlier. Franco realized Morgan and Denise had been together, while he had been talking to Kiki. He was instantly suspicious as he asked if there was anything going on between Denise and Morgan. Startled, Ava reminded Franco that Morgan was Kiki's boyfriend, but Franco countered that it hadn't stopped Ava.
Ava's unease turned to fury when Franco admitted that he had told Kiki the truth about his relationship with Denise and his concerns about Denise's relationship with Morgan. Ava reminded him that she had agreed to go along with his ruse to avoid being set up with Kiki's father. Ava was hurt that Franco had jeopardized her relationship with Kiki by making unfounded accusations and possibly hurting Kiki's feelings about Silas, so Franco apologized. Ava argued that it didn't matter because Kiki might tell others the truth about Denise and Franco's relationship. Franco offered to make things up to Denise by taking her to the park to watch the fireworks, but her phone rang.
Ava quickly excused herself to take the call when she saw it was Morgan. She stepped outside as Morgan regretfully explained that Sonny had denied Morgan's request for Denise to visit Avery. Ava quickly ended the call then burst into tears. Franco pulled her into his arms as she tearfully told him about Sonny's decision. "That little girl is never going to know her mother," Ava wailed.
Franco gently reminded Denise that she was not Avery's mother. Ava assured him that she knew that, so Franco urged her to keep fighting for a relationship with Avery. As the fireworks lit up the sky, Franco glanced up while he kept a comforting arm around Ava's shoulders. Ava softly explained the real reason Avery was important to her was because Avery was her daughter.
In British Columbia, gunmen surrounded Luke, Laura, Holly, Ethan, Lulu, and Dillon as a man in a wheelchair entered the room. Luke and Laura were stunned when they recognized Frank Smith. Dillon was curious who Frank was, so Luke explained that Frank was at the top of Luke's list of oldest enemies. "Right up there with Helena Cassadine," Frank added with an evil grin. Luke revealed that Frank was the reason Luke and Laura had been forced into hiding for several years when Lucky had been a child.
"I got to hand it to you, Frank. I never saw you coming," Luke said as Laura stared at Frank with horror. Frank was surprised because Luke should have realized only Frank would have tried to arrange a night of "bliss" for Luke and Jennifer. Luke wondered how Frank had managed to survive Luke's deadly bullet during their showdown in the cemetery twenty years earlier, so Frank reminded Luke that Luke had been too focused on trying to get Luke's friend to the hospital to check if Frank had taken his last breath.
According to Frank, Luke's bullet had severed Frank's spinal cord, which had forced Frank to crawl through mud to the road for help. Luke made a snide remark, but Frank was not amused because Frank had spent two decades confined to a wheelchair because of Luke. "And now -- finally -- it's payback time, Luke," Frank said. Frank smiled with menace as a guard forced Luke to his knees. Frank aimed a gun at Luke, but Luke pleaded with Frank to let everyone else go.
Frank glared at Laura as he accused Laura of murdering Frank's son, but Laura denied killing Damian. Frank ignored her as he informed Luke that he intended to kill each member of Luke's family before ending Luke's life. Frank invited Luke to pick the first person to die, but Dillon stepped forward to warn Frank that Frank would have to go through Dillon to get to Lulu. Annoyed, Frank instructed one of his men to deal with Dillon, so the guard knocked Dillon out. Lulu rushed to check on Dillon as Frank reminded Luke to pick someone.
Luke warned Frank that Lucky would arrive at any moment with reinforcements, but Frank wasn't concerned because Lucky had no idea that Luke was there. Luke explained that Lucky would return for Ethan because Spencers never left a family member behind. Frank grew tired of arguing with Luke, so he fired the gun. Ethan fell to his knees as the bullet struck his arm. Outraged, Luke reminded Frank that Frank's grudge was with Luke not Luke's loved ones.
Surprisingly, Frank agreed to let the other hostages go. Holly immediately helped Ethan out as Dillon trailed behind. Laura started to follow Lulu, but Frank announced that Laura had to stay. Lulu tearfully objected, but Frank refused to release Laura. Laura assured her daughter that it would be fine then forced Lulu to go. After Lulu left, Laura returned to Luke's side as her eyes filled with tears.
"Here we are, the three of us, as it was meant to be," Frank said with satisfaction. Frank debated who to shoot first then decided Laura's death would cause Luke the greatest pain.
Outside, Holly helped Ethan to a vehicle so she could take him to the hospital. Lulu and Ethan exchanged a quick hug before Ethan climbed into the passenger seat. After Holly and Ethan left, Dillon and Lulu returned to the lumber mill to rescue her parents, but Dillon and Lulu were startled when they heard a gunshot ring out.