In Paul's car, J.T. and Paul discussed J.T.'s undercover role. Paul said it was crucial to find evidence proving that Victor had been involved in global price fixing. Paul chided J.T. for failing to discover and turn over evidence after working on the case for weeks. Paul added that as head of security at Newman Enterprises, J.T. should have sufficient clearance to conduct searches. J.T. explained that Victor Newman knew how to cover his tracks, which was why Paul and Christine had failed in their own missions to find evidence.
Paul warned that the longer the case dragged on, the higher the chances were for them to be exposed. Paul, exasperated, announced that he would end the investigation. J.T. insisted he be allowed more time to uncover evidence of corruption, such as signed contracts. Paul cautioned J.T. to be careful because he'd be all on his own if anything went awry. J.T. seemed apprehensive but determined to press on.
At the Newman ranch, Victor and Reed played chess. Victor shared insights equating the game's strategies to success in life overall. Victor said, "Chess is more than a game. It's more than a metaphor for life. It's a strategy. It teaches you how to think about what you want and how to get it. Now, surround yourself with strength, and you will be protected." As Victor placed a key playing piece on Reed's end of the board, he warned that vigilance was the key to ward off stealth attacks. Reed tentatively moved one of his playing pieces. Victor advised Reed to keep his strategies a secret because nothing was more powerful than a secret.
From her home, Victoria phoned J.T. and left a message begging him to return home. Victoria explained that her father would allow her to remain at Newman Enterprises, though the offer had drawbacks she wished to discuss. J.T. returned home before listening to Victoria's message. Victoria apologized to J.T. for lying to him about her role in Jack's deception. J.T. agreed to move on. Victoria was relieved.
Victoria explained to J.T. that she'd either have to leave Newman Enterprises or accept a demotion. Victoria said she was considering cutting ties with her father so she and J.T. could be free of Victor's control. J.T. urged Victoria to stay, show Victor her worth, and secure what should be hers. Victoria's confidence seemed renewed by J.T.'s faith in her. Victoria told J.T. that his advice mattered to her most of all.
J.T. checked his mail and discovered an invitation from Walnut Grove to attend a reunion. J.T. sadly noted that Colleen wouldn't be present. Victoria offered to accompany J.T., just in case Mac showed up. J.T. said he'd rather leave the past where it belonged. Victoria told J.T. she was supposed to pick up Reed at the Newman ranch. J.T. offered to pick up their son so Victoria could discuss her decision with Victor when she was ready. Victoria agreed to send J.T. in her place.
After J.T. arrived at the ranch house, Reed abandoned the chess game and said he'd collect his things. Victor reminded Reed that they hadn't finished their game. Victor added that not even Faith would leave a game of chess with her grandfather. J.T. encouraged Reed to sit and finish the game. J.T. went upstairs, claiming he had to take a phone call. Reed rejoined the game.
Donning latex gloves, J.T. entered Victor's study and searched files lying on a desk. J.T. rifled through desk drawers and opened the doors of a wall unit. Inside the wall unit, J.T. found a large safe. J.T. snapped photos of the keypad affixed to safe's door. Victoria phoned, but J.T. cut the call short. After J.T. stepped out of the study, Victor, standing in the hallway, said, "What are you doing here?" J.T. said he'd sought a private space to make his phone call.
Changing the subject, J.T. asked about Reed's chess skills. Victor replied, "You know, in situations like these, a better poker face could've changed things." J.T. nervously acknowledged that Reed had the advantage of Newman genes. After J.T. left, Victor opened the door to his study and peeked inside. Victor seemed suspicious of J.T.
After J.T. and Reed returned home, Reed complained about Victor barraging him for two hours with life lessons. J.T. offered to talk to Victoria about it. Victoria entered the room. J.T. noted that Reed had found a new love for chess. Victoria replied, "I'm just going to assume that that's not sarcasm." Before Reed went upstairs, he replied, "It's totally sincere. Honestly. For real."
Victoria asked J.T. if Victor had mentioned his ultimatum. J.T. joked that such a discussion was above his pay grade. Victoria said she'd decided to stay at Newman, play the long game, and win. J.T. vowed to support Victoria, and he suggested they spend more time with Victor. J.T. said, "Now it's time for us to beat Victor at his own game." J.T. told Victoria that Newman Enterprises would cease to exist after Victor passed on if he failed to acknowledge that Victoria was the company's future. Victoria said she'd phone Nikki to arrange everything. J.T. replied, "This should be at the ranch, on his turf. Let Victor feel like he's in complete control."
Later, J.T. phoned Paul. J.T. said he'd made arrangements to have access to the ranch. J.T. reported that Victor's safe was "crackable." Paul replied, "This is a risky move, J.T." J.T. replied, "It's what you wanted. This time tomorrow, we'll have all the information we need to take Victor down, all right? I'll be in touch when it's time." After the call ended, Victoria entered the room and told J.T. that everything had been arranged. J.T. replied, "I think tomorrow could change everything for us."
At Crimson Lights, Phyllis greeted Nick and teased him about not being able to get enough of Sharon's coffee. Nick rebuffed Phyllis' insinuations and noted that he had a lot on his mind. Phyllis encouraged Nick to talk to his confidante. Nick explained that something was going on with his mom that he was struggling to wrap his mind around. Phyllis replied, "Nikki's young, hot lover? That's crazy, right?" Phyllis explained that she'd seen Nikki at the Athletic Club, accompany a young man upstairs, and had just happened to notice Nikki the following day, smiling contentedly and heading downstairs, dressed in the same clothing. Nick cried that he wasn't sure what his mother was doing having an affair with Arturo Rosales.
Nick told Phyllis that Arturo was the contractor in charge of renovating Rainbow Gardens. Phyllis noted that Nikki seemed happy. Nick said if Victor found out, he'd punish Arturo and Nikki. Phyllis told Nick that he would have to help Nikki keep her affair a secret. Phyllis added, "Once the novelty wears off, this whole sidepiece fun thing will be over." Nick sighed in disgust, so Phyllis changed the subject.
Phyllis asked Nick how he and Christian were getting along. Nick said Christian asked about Connor and Chelsea daily. Nick, agreeing with Phyllis that the situation was heartbreaking, acknowledged that it was what it was. Phyllis suggested that Sharon would like to step in. Nick told Phyllis to back off where Sharon was concerned. Nick added that though the truth hurt, he appreciated Sharon for having told him about Christian's paternity. Nick recalled his promise to Adam to look after Connor. Nick said perhaps Adam had hoped he'd care for Christian in the event that Christian's paternity was revealed. Nick insisted that Christian would always be his son, and he pleaded with Phyllis not to say a word about it.
Nick met with Nikki at the Athletic Club. Nick asked his mom what was going on with Arturo. Nikki admitted she felt embarrassed and insisted she and Arturo had been discreet. Nick said, "What's going to happen when Dad catches wind of this?" Nikki said she and Victor had a "don't ask, don't tell" arrangement, though she noted that Victor didn't know about Arturo. Nikki reminded Nick that when she and Victor had renewed their vows, it had been based on practicalities rather than romance. Nick sighed in disgust.
Nikki told Nick that she yearned for peace, so she and Victor kept separate bedrooms and separate social schedules. Nick said he feared Nikki could be hurt. Nikki acknowledged that life was complicated. Nikki insisted that Nick not say a word to Arturo. Nick warned that Victor would find out. Nikki assured her son that everything would be okay. Nick made Nikki promise to seek his help if Arturo stepped out of line.
At the Genoa City Athletic Club, Billy greeted Lily and said he'd heard that she'd opened her own modeling agency. Lily said she'd decided to control her own career and call the shots instead of being told what to do. Billy invited Lily to enjoy a drink, but she said she'd set up a casting call. Lily, describing her day, noted that she'd "be drowning in models." After Lily went upstairs, Billy mumbled to himself, "Drowning in models."
Lily was rushing around her office when Billy entered and said he'd forgotten to remind her about Walnut Grove's Centennial Bash. Mattie interrupted and announced that the models were ready. Before Lily stepped out, she told Billy she'd attend the celebration because she anticipated lots of drama. Billy hung around, and Lily invited him to stay and offer feedback. Lily, teasing Billy, explained that the models would be topless.
Billy anticipated women posing semi-nude. Charlie opened the door to Lily's office. Male models paraded in, none wearing a shirt. Mattie and Charlie smiled when they saw Billy's reaction. After the models exited, Lily chuckled about Billy's dashed expectations.
Billy offered to help Mattie and Charlie record notes about the models. Lily, charmed by Billy's enthusiasm, told him that she might be able to poach him from Chancellor. Later, Mattie and Charlie shared their impressions of the models with Lily. Lily praised Mattie and Charlie's detailed insights. Lily was elated when Charlie and Mattie presented her with a nameplate for her desk.
At Crimson Lights, Lily told Abby that she wanted to be excited about her new company, but it made her sick to her stomach every time she saw Hilary, knowing that Hilary and Devon were planning to have a baby together. Lily swore that she hadn't given up on putting an end to it. Lily inquired how Dina was doing, and Abby sadly relayed that Dina's good moments were becoming fewer and farther between.
Abby announced her plan to videotape Dina when she was lucid to capture her life story, but she needed to learn how to work her new video camera and find someone to organize and edit the footage. Lily offered Charlie's assistance with the project, and she promised to have him stop by that afternoon. Abby went to the counter to get a refill and bumped into Arturo, who she eyed with interest.
At Hamilton-Winters, Hilary insisted on shuffling around the shooting schedule to give her time off around her artificial insemination appointment. Mariah noted that Hilary and Devon were moving really fast, and Hilary reasoned that neither of them wanted to wait. Hilary hoped to get pregnant on the first try, since she was feeling pretty lucky. Lily arrived at work and listened as Mariah and Hilary finished scheduling to accommodate Hilary's insemination date.
Charlie entered the office and handed Hilary a smoothie, and Lily asked him to lend Abby his video expertise that day. After Charlie and Mariah left, Lily insisted on talking to Hilary about Hilary's intention to have a baby with Devon. Hilary told Lily to save her breath, but Lily insisted on preventing the pregnancy from happening before it was too late. Hilary spat for Lily to get a life, but Lily growled that Hilary would listen if she'd ever given "a damn" about Devon.
Hilary wondered why Lily was threatened by the idea of Hilary having a child of her own, and Lily invited her to have ten of them -- just not with Devon. Lily was sure that her brother wanted a home and a wife to raise a family by his side, but Hilary was trying to saddle him with a baby that wouldn't be conceived in love to support for the rest of his life. Lily contended that it was wrong, and she begged Hilary not to ask Devon to make the sacrifice. "Man, you're good," Hilary remarked, noting that people called her manipulative, but Lily had just given a master class.
Once alone, Lily searched for the number for Dr. Chasen's office on her phone. She called and pretended to be Hilary's assistant, and she claimed that Hilary had to cancel her upcoming appointment because she wouldn't be going through with the insemination.
At the Abbott mansion, Abby wondered if Dina was up for telling her life story, and Dina crowed that she had stories to tell that would knock Abby's socks off. Charlie arrived and showed Abby how to use the camera, and he offered to stick around in case she had questions and to edit the footage afterward. Abby asked him to set up an app on her phone while she set up the interview with Dina, and she led Dina to a chair. Abby turned on the camera, and Dina hoped that she didn't mess up. Abby excitedly prepared to ask about family stories that she'd always wondered about, but Dina warned that she couldn't promise that she would remember them.
Abby insisted that there was no pressure, and she asked how Dina had met John. Dina recounted that she'd known him for almost her entire life, and they'd gone to Walnut Grove together. Abby inquired about Dina's classmates, and Dina mentioned Kay Shepherd, Neil Fenmore, Stuart Brooks, and an awful girl named Joanna Manning. Abby mentioned a story about John and Kay going skinny-dipping, and Dina revealed that she'd caught them, so she'd stripped down and joined them. Abby couldn't imagine her grandfather doing that, and Dina recounted that John had had a playful side and that he could be wonderfully romantic.
Abby prompted Dina to talk about how she and John had fallen in love and gotten married, and Dina reflected back on the intimate wedding ceremony they'd had at the country club. Dina added that it had almost never happened, since there had been a huge hailstorm. A confused Abby pointed out that her grandparents had gotten married in the summer, and Dina recalled the exact date and time on a Saturday in June. Dina continued that she'd been afraid the storm would ruin everything, but John had told her that a rare event like that meant they were a rare couple.
Abby gently asked whether it had actually been a rainstorm, but Dina adamantly maintained that there had been a hailstorm. Charlie looked up the event on his phone and proclaimed that a freak hailstorm had occurred on the exact date Dina had mentioned. Dina mused that it was a day she'd remember all her life.
Dina recalled convincing John to spend three months overseas after their college years, and Abby noted that it had been a long trip when John had been getting Jabot off the ground. Dina lamented that John worked too hard, and she inquired whether he'd be leaving the office to return home soon. Abby said she doubted it, and she turned off the camera and suggested that Dina get some rest. Dina hoped to do more reminiscing again, and Abby promised that they would. They hugged.
Later, Hilary called to Charlie at Crimson Lights and asked how his assignment for his mom had gone. He replied that it had been okay, but it hadn't taught him much about being a producer. Hilary invited him to become her personal intern at GC Buzz, and she promised that it would be a worthwhile learning experience.
At the cottage, Sharon walked in on Nick working out in the living room. She asked if he wanted to talk about it, since furrowing his brow and working out later than usual meant he was trying to blow off steam about something, and she swore that whatever he said wouldn't leave the room. Nick revealed that his mom was seeing someone much younger on the side, and the guy worked with Nick and Nikki. Nick griped that his mother expected him to pretend that it was business as usual, but he didn't know "how the hell" to do it.
Sharon was stunned to hear that Victor and Nikki were in an open relationship, and she exclaimed, "You go, girl!" Sharon conceded that it was probably best that Victor never found out, and Nick debated whether he should tell Arturo that he knew what was going on when they met at Crimson Lights later. Sharon advised that there was nothing to be gained by cornering Arturo in an awkward conversation, and she urged Nick not to mess with it because the men had been working well together. Nick contemplated how he'd get through the meeting, and Sharon told him that she would be there for work if he needed moral support. She encouraged him to respect his mom's wishes and not blow things up behind Nikki's back, and Nick agreed to leave it alone.
At Crimson Lights, Nick informed Arturo of his goal to expand the concept to create more affordable housing, but he worried that his general contractor was moving on to another project after Rainbow Gardens was complete. Arturo declared that he was willing to work with Nick and Nikki exclusively, but Nick chided him for being presumptuous about getting the work. Arturo clarified that he was interested, but Nick hesitated to make a commitment. Arturo sensed that Nick was pissed off about something, and he asked if he had been wrong to think that they'd become friends.
Across the coffeehouse, Mariah complained to Sharon that Hilary and Devon weren't even waiting a month to try to get pregnant, but Sharon was obviously distracted by Nick's conversation with Arturo. Sharon worried that things seemed tense between the men, and Mariah observed that Sharon wasn't looking at Nick like he was someone who was in the friend zone. Sharon insisted that Nick was only staying with her until he got over the shock of what Chelsea had done and that it was nothing more. Mariah encouraged Sharon to examine the signals that she and Nick were putting out, since Mariah sensed more than a friendly vibe from both of them.
Nick asked Arturo to put some figures together, but Arturo demanded an answer about what had changed, since Nick could barely look him in the eye. Nick admitted that he'd seen Arturo kissing Nikki, so he knew they were involved. Arturo called Nikki an incredible person, but Nick groused that they had nothing in common. Arturo understood that Nick was protective of his mother, but he swore that he wasn't going to hurt Nikki and that he was just enjoying her company for however long it lasted. Arturo stalked out.
At home, Victoria and J.T. prepared to go to dinner at the ranch. She groaned that she wasn't looking forward to spending time with her father after Victor had demoted her, but J.T. considered it a chance for her to handle things in a dignified way to get back into Victor's good graces. Victoria worried that she also had to be strong and confident, since her father would see it as a sign of weakness if she was too self-effacing. She suggested that they host the dinner on their own turf instead. When J.T. protested, Victoria questioned why he was fighting her idea to have dinner at their place.
J.T. wished that he didn't have to hang out with Victor, but he thought he had to play his part, and he believed Victoria should do the same thing by stroking her father's ego and reminding him that she was still a loyal subject. J.T. reasoned that Nikki already had the chef making things, so it would be rude to cancel, and it would make Victor mad. Victoria agreed to go to the ranch, but she hoped Victor resisted pushing her buttons, since she didn't want to do or say anything she'd regret. J.T. intended for it to be a very productive night.
At the Newman ranch, Victor requested Nikki's input about a memo he'd written to his employees, and she found it to be a little harsh. She asked if it was necessary for him to shame their daughter in front of the entire organization, but he contended that Victoria had been rude in her behavior toward Ashley. Nikki thought the memo would only make things worse, and she suggested that he simply tell people that Victoria was stepping down and let it go at that. She suspected that he might feel differently after they spent time together as a family, and he wondered what had put her in such a good mood.
Nikki questioned whether she could be happy without Victor getting suspicious, and she hoped that the compromise she'd suggested would keep Victoria at Newman and help heal the rift between Victor and Victoria. Victor huffed that it wouldn't be simple after Victoria had colluded with Jack, and he anticipated that it would take awhile for her to regain his trust. Nikki pointed out that their get-together that evening had been Victoria's idea, and she pressed Victor not to make Victoria feel worse than she already did. Nikki implored Victor to keep an open mind.
J.T. and Victoria arrived at the ranch with Reed, Johnny, and Katie, and Victor and Nikki hugged the kids. Victor announced that he'd set up a film for Johnny and Katie in the media room, and Reed led his siblings away. Victor recalled that he and Victoria hadn't had much time to talk on the phone, but he thought he'd been generous to keep her on, especially since Ashley had wanted to see her gone. Victoria stated that she was thankful to remain on as senior vice president of operations, and she suggested that they sit down the next day to go over the chain of command. J.T. complained that not knowing where to quit where work was concerned had gotten Victoria into the mess, and he insisted that they enjoy the family occasion. Victoria went to get a glass of wine.
Victor volunteered to teach Reed to box once the teen mastered chess, since both activities were about discipline, patience, and strategy. Victoria suspected that Reed wanted to hone those qualities with music, but J.T. supported Victor's idea. J.T. suggested that Victor and Reed head to the gym to give it a shot, but Nikki preferred to play the duet that she and Reed had been working on, since music also taught discipline. Nikki and Reed headed to the piano.
Nikki and Reed finished their duet, and J.T. was surprised that Reed was that good on the piano. Nikki received a text message from Nick, who wanted to discuss something urgent. Nikki recognized that Nick wasn't one to cry wolf, and she promised that she would be right back. After Nikki left, J.T. suggested that Victoria and Victor spend some time together by taking the kids to see the horses while J.T. held down the fort with Reed.
Reed suggested that he and J.T. check out what was on television, but J.T. insisted on returning some work calls first. J.T. headed upstairs, put on his gloves, and crept into Victor's study. He opened the credenza to expose the safe and pulled out an electronic safecracking device. J.T. rifled through the safe's contents and found a key.
At the cottage, Nick pitched his idea to Nikki about forming a new nonprofit for a series of projects. An irritated Nikki pointed out that he'd said it was urgent, and she snapped at him to call her the next day. Nick mentioned that Arturo had seemed to like the idea and that he'd asked Arturo to put together a proposal. Nikki hoped that Nick had kept things professional, and Nick confessed that he'd voiced his concerns about what was going on. Nikki blasted Nick for going to Arturo when she'd asked him not to, but Nick refused to apologize for caring. Nikki barked that he had to accept her choices if she had to stomach him living with Sharon.
After Nikki left, Sharon squirmed when she walked in on a shirtless Nick. She said she'd hoped to talk to him before he'd left the coffeehouse, and she assumed that he hadn't been able to keep what he knew to himself. She expected Nikki to have a fit, and Nick indicated that he'd already cleared the air with his mother. An uncomfortable Sharon turned away, and Nick asked if she was upset that he'd confronted Arturo.
Sharon stammered that she hoped the issue with Arturo wouldn't make things awkward. She rambled that Arturo had contacts in architecture and housing, and Nick would need a more permanent place to live at some point. Nick thought Sharon had wanted him and Christian there, and Sharon swore that she did, but she imagined that he'd eventually want his own space. Nick obliviously stated that he was glad they'd cleared it up, and Sharon nervously rushed upstairs to take care of something.
Nikki returned home, and Reed informed her that he didn't know where his father was. She quizzed Reed about how his parents had been getting along, and Reed said he hadn't noticed anything tense. Nikki assured Reed that she was there if he needed someone to talk to. Johnny and Katie ran in, excitedly babbling about how they'd fed the horses. Victoria asked where J.T. was, and Reed reported that his dad was on a business call. J.T. entered with a tray of food and claimed that he'd had the chef make something to tide the kids over. Victor knowingly eyed J.T.
After dinner, J.T. rounded up the kids to leave because it was past their bedtime. After J.T. and Victoria departed with their family, Victor remarked that Victoria had handled herself well. Nikki praised Victor for doing the same thing, and she observed that the tension level had been down when Victor and Victoria had returned from the stables. Victor reported that J.T. had urged Victoria to accept the demotion instead of quitting, and he was surprised because J.T. had never been a good influence on Victoria. Nikki grumbled that J.T. liked to express his opinion, and she found him to be very controling. Victor stepped out to check on something, and Nikki sent a text message to Arturo to ask if he was free.
After Victoria and J.T. put the kids to bed, she asked for his honest opinion about how the night had really gone. J.T. chided her for talking about business at dinner, but he otherwise thought things had been fantastic. She hoped that she'd turned things around with her dad, and J.T. muttered that he was sure the night would pay off in the long run. Meanwhile, Victor watched footage from a hidden camera inside the safe, showing that J.T. had broken in and taken the key.
At the ranch, Victor was on the phone and instructed someone to follow J.T. and find out who his contact was.
At home, Victoria told J.T. that she wasn't looking forward to going to work. J.T. told her he wasn't going to Newman because he had an outside meeting. Victoria claimed that she really needed his support, but J.T. reminded her that she was Victoria Newman, and she needed to go in and show everyone who she was.
Cane and Billy met at the Athletic Club. Cane teased Billy about the male models and asked if Hilary had been in the office at the time. Billy said she hadn't been there. Cane claimed that Hilary wouldn't miss an opportunity to laugh and undermine Lily's agency. Charlie arrived, and Cane wanted to know why he wasn't in school. Charlie told him that Hilary had asked him to be her personal intern.
Charlie asked Cane to put in a good word with Lily before she exercised her personal issues and spoiled things for him. Cane reminded Charlie that he'd be an unpaid errand boy, but Charlie saw it as an opportunity to be on a syndicated television show that did live recordings. He said he felt the experience would be perfect for his résumé, and he left.
Hilary and Devon had been discussing their parental contract when Lily arrived at the Hamilton-Winters office. Lily eavesdropped on their conversation. Hilary and Devon were discussing the insemination when Hilary received a phone call from the doctor's office, offering to reschedule her appointment. Hilary claimed she hadn't canceled her appointment. She was advised that her assistant had called and canceled it.
After she'd ended her conversation with the doctor's office, Hilary told Devon she'd been able to get another appointment later that day, but she hadn't canceled the appointment nor did she have an assistant.
Cane arrived and wanted a word with Hilary. Cane told Lily that Hilary wanted Charlie to be her personal intern. Lily couldn't believe that Hilary would try to use her son against her. Hilary claimed that Charlie wanted real world experience. Cane asked if that meant keeping him out of school. Devon stepped in and stated that Charlie would be his personal intern, and all issues would be dealt by him. Hilary resented being accused of brainwashing Charlie. Hilary accused Lily of sabotaging her appointment.
Lily claimed she didn't know who Hilary's doctor was. Hilary said that she and Devon wanted a child and accused Lily of trying to prevent them from having that child. Lily felt it was a bad idea for Devon to have a baby with Hilary, and she had concerns about the rest of her brother's life.
Hilary maintained the Lily had canceled the appointment. Devon said that Lily knew it had been his decision and that his mind had been made up, so it would've been pointless for Lily to do anything. Hilary demanded that Lily admit she'd done it. Devon said the problem had been resolved because Hilary had another appointment.
After Lily and Cane left, Hilary told Devon that Lily's remark about her being an unfit mother had upset her. Devon understood. He reminded Hilary that she and Lily had history. Devon assured her that it had been his decision, it was his life, and Lily understood that. Hilary wanted to sign the contract, but Devon claimed there was a gap in the contract that didn't cover the time between inception and birth.
Devon wanted to attend the Lamaze classes with Hilary. He said that he'd be involved in the delivery, and he needed to know what to do. Hilary agreed but added that during and after the pregnancy, they would be co-parents and nothing more. They signed the contract and shook hands. Hilary said she knew there were no guarantees, but she was confident that the insemination would work on the first try.
At the Abbotts', Victor told Ashley that Victoria had accepted her demotion, and he hoped Ashley would return to Newman, since she'd gotten what she'd asked for. Ashley reminded him that she'd wanted Victoria fired because she'd deserved it, but Victor claimed that he couldn't do that because Victoria had contributed too much to the company. Ashley said that she wanted the COO title, but Victor said the job would remain vacant.
Ashley claimed that wasn't good enough. Ashley didn't want to have an altercation with Victoria every time she had to make a decision. Victor assured Ashley that when it was required, Victoria would answer to her. Victor wanted the whole situation kept under wraps other than an internal email, because there had been too much bad PR recently. He said he'd handle the PR from then on.
J.T. arrived at the ranch and asked the housekeeper if she'd seen Katie's bunny. The housekeeper claimed she hadn't, and she went upstairs. J.T. hid the bunny behind a cushion and proceeded to look for a lock that would fit the key he'd found in Victor's safe. He zeroed in on the case under the chess board. The key fit, but as he was about to unlock it, Nikki arrived. He told Nikki he'd been looking for Katie's bunny. He moved the cushion and said he'd found the bunny.
Nikki told J.T. that Victoria had been having a tough time at work, and Nikki hoped that he supported her. Nikki said that some of J.T.'s remarks appeared overly critical. He asked if Victoria had mentioned that, but Nikki said it had been something she'd noticed. J.T. appreciated Nikki's insight, and he left.
At the Newman office, Victor told Victoria that Ashley had the superior position. He wanted Victoria to make peace with Ashley and avoid future problems. Victoria knew Victor was afraid Ashley would leak the news to the press. Victor acknowledged that the situation had been hard for Victoria, but what she'd done to Ashley with Jack had been out of character. He said he'd looked at other questionable decisions she'd made -- like having J.T. move in with her. He knew they'd been close, but J.T. and Victoria had been apart for some time, and he wondered what she knew about J.T.
Victor told Victoria that he had a number of assignments he wanted to assign to J.T., but Victor didn't know if he could trust him. Victoria assured Victor that he could. Victor asked what J.T. had done in Poland. Victoria said it had been a very unhappy time for J.T. and Mac. Victor was surprised that Victoria didn't know what had happened between J.T. and Mac.
Later, Victoria met Ashley at the Athletic Club. Ashley wanted to help make Victoria's transition easy, but Victoria claimed that her duties and responsibilities wouldn't change much. Ashley reminded Victoria that she'd be answering to Ashley. Victoria claimed that that would rarely happen. Ashley admitted she'd admired Victoria's competitive edge until it had become resentment and turned into a weakness that had affected Victoria's ability to manage effectively. Ashley hoped Victoria would trust Ashley for the good of Newman. Victoria stated that everything she did was for the good of Newman.
Ashley hoped that Victoria could differentiate between a real threat to Newman and what Victoria perceived as a personal threat. Victoria's actions had reminded Ashley of a conniving little girl who'd desperately tried to break up Ashley and Victor's marriage. Victoria assured Ashley that she wasn't that insecure child. Ashley said she'd seen the facts in Victoria's actions.
Victoria told Ashley that women in business sometimes had their intelligence underestimated. She didn't want them to fall into that trap. She claimed that Ashley could understand how hard it was for Victoria to ignore certain other related facts, such as Ashley's bond with Jack, her mother's health crisis that Ashley and Jack had been involved with, and the lengths Jack had been willing to go to get Ashley back to Jabot and to him. Ashley failed to see the relevance. Victoria claimed she'd mentioned it for the good of the company and Ashley's career.
Victoria said that she wanted to get past Ashley's carefully composed exterior, and she wanted to know what was really going on. Victoria said she saw a bitter and angry woman who was intent on using Newman and even taking it over if she thought it was possible. Ashley reminded Victoria that Victor had made it clear that he had no plans of retiring anytime soon and again questioned the relevance of Victoria's query.
Victoria warned that she'd be watching Ashley. Ashley advised Victoria to watch and learn. She told Victoria to prepare a summary with projections on the Coldfest project. Ashley said she'd need it on her desk on her first day back.
At another table, Lily confessed to Cane that she'd canceled Hilary's appointment. She was certain that Devon had figured it out. She'd been trying to buy Devon some time so he could smell "the bitch's" poison coffee. Lily didn't believe Hilary would be capable of keeping up the pretense of being the changed woman act for a full thirty days. Cane agreed that Hilary would use the baby against Devon to get what she wanted. He suspected that that was what Hilary had done with Sam when Cane had lived at the Chancellor house.
Lily knew that Hilary had visited Cane at the Chancellor house. At that time, Cane had believed he'd seen a different side of Hilary. Cane realized that Hilary had been currying favor with him in case the truth about what Hilary had told Juliet would be revealed. He admitted that it would be the biggest mistake of Devon's life if he and Hilary had a child together. He said that if Lily wanted to stop it from happening, she should consider it a joint effort. They toasted to their plan.
J.T. returned home, and it appeared there was a camera in the house. J.T. opened the mail and saw a notice of hearing for custody of Dylan and Becca Hellstrom. Billy arrived to pick up his kids. J.T. was annoyed and informed Billy that Hannah had taken them out. Billy decided to wait, much to J.T.'s chagrin. Billy mentioned the Walnut Grove reunion. He asked if J.T. would be attending. J.T. said he didn't want to see the same guys doing the same stupid things they'd done fifteen years before. He claimed that he had a great life and a great woman. He still had goals.
J.T. reminded Billy that he and Victoria were a couple. Billy reminded J.T. that he and Victoria had kids together, and that wouldn't change. J.T. accused Billy of using the kids for whatever hold he had on Victoria and insisted that Billy was what was wrong with Victoria. Billy and Victor held her back, and J.T. was sick of it. He had become agitated and told Billy it was time for him to leave. When J.T. went to get Billy's coat, Billy saw the notice of hearing. J.T. grabbed the document and said that it was none of Billy's business. Billy claimed it was his business if the man living under the same roof as his kids had been accused of being an unfit father.
Billy accused J.T. of arriving in town, and five minutes later moving in with Victoria and securing a high-paying job from her. Billy thought perhaps someone impartial who saw the situation might not believe that things were as cool as J.T. claimed. Perhaps J.T. had been trying too hard to grab onto something, especially after Mac had cut him loose and filed for full custody of the kids. Billy said that Mac was the sweetest person he'd known, and if she thought J.T. was a deadbeat father, Billy wouldn't argue.
At that moment, Victoria arrived. Billy claimed that he and J.T. had been discussing the Walnut Grove reunion. Victoria said she'd tried to convince J.T. to attend and reconnect with old friends. She added that no one was keeping score. Billy said even if they were, it didn't matter. Billy said he'd text Hannah and ask her to drop the kids off at his place.
After Billy left, J.T. questioned Victoria's comment that no one was keeping score. Victoria said she hadn't meant anything by it, but J.T. claimed that what she'd meant was that he wouldn't look so hot. He accused her of putting him down. He admitted he'd been a little touchy because Billy had rambled on how about Victoria was his boss and had given him a job. Victoria asked why J.T. cared what Billy thought. J.T. said he didn't care because he expected Billy to talk trash, but he didn't expect it from Victoria. He said he'd run into Nikki earlier, and she'd given him a surprise lecture about being too critical.
Victoria denied that she'd said anything to Nikki, but J.T. didn't believe her because she'd lied to him about her plot with Jack. Annoyed, Victoria said she'd been punched long enough. J.T. said that the lies and deception didn't work for him, and he couldn't forget them. He pointed out that every time there had been an issue, instead of trying to resolve the problem, they'd rip off each other's clothes and end up in bed for three hours. At the end of the day, nothing had changed.
J.T. claimed that Victoria had a routine with Billy and that divorced parents didn't behave the way they did. There was an intimacy between them that reinforced the idea that everyone else in their lives was temporary. Victoria never drew boundaries with Billy -- she just let things go. He accused Victoria of letting her family dictate way too much, especially the way she felt about him. Victoria assured him that she hadn't said anything negative about him to her family. She'd told them how good he'd been to her and how much he'd cared about her. She said that she'd defended him and had accepted everything about him.
Victoria said that perhaps she'd been too accepting. She wanted to know what had happened to J.T.'s job in Warsaw and his marriage to Mac. She wanted to know why Mac had pursued full custody of the kids. J.T. asked if Victor shared her curiosity. He accused Victor of undermining him and his relationship. He asked if Victoria wanted to please daddy and to view J.T. as a loser. Victoria said he was acting like a pathetic, insecure loser. J.T. snidely said that the comment was from someone with an incredible lack of self-awareness -- a side effect of growing up in the Newman bubble.
J.T. said the world saw Victoria as a woman who couldn't hold on to a screw-up like Billy Abbott, who'd run her company into the ground after she'd made one bad decision after another, and who'd done a faceplant on live television because of some cheap face product she'd developed. Victoria tried to walk away, but J.T. stopped her to continue his tirade.
J.T. said that after daddy had bailed Victoria out, she'd been so threatened by competition that she'd tried to frame Ashley with a ridiculous plot. She couldn't even do that right. She'd lost her dignity, her title, and her father's respect, and she'd also thrown J.T. under the bus. She'd made him look like a complete moron to Victor and the company. Victoria tried again to leave, but J.T. said he hadn't told her what he thought about Reed. He claimed that when Reed had returned to town, he'd immediately hit the skids, complete with a DUI.
J.T. said that Victoria had failed as an executive -- she was a bad mother and a worse wife, not to mention all her daddy issues. Victoria said she'd had enough, but J.T. wouldn't let her leave. A struggle ensued. J.T. grabbed Victoria by the throat and called her a bitch. He pushed Victoria into a wall, and in a fit of anger, punched the door beside her head.
At the Abbott mansion, Jack arrived home, and Abby sourly asked if there hadn't been other continents that he hadn't been able to wait to visit. He presented her with a gift, and Ashley entered and feigned shock that he was showing his face after being conveniently absent. Jack handed Ashley a gift to let her know that he'd been thinking about her, and she replied that she'd gotten him something, too. She served him with papers and announced that she was suing him for defamation of character, dryly adding, "Welcome home."
Jack wondered why Ashley was "so damn angry," and she blasted him for damaging her reputation. He contended that none of it had gone public, but everyone would know if she took the matter to court. Dina demanded to know who was arguing, and Ashley whispered that they couldn't fight in front of their mother because Dina was upset enough. Dina mistook Jack for John and told him that she was furious at him for running off to Europe, leaving her with children who acted like spoiled brats. Jack suggested that they'd have peace in the house because he was back.
Jack asked if Dina understood and forgave him, and he gave his word that it would never happen again. Privately, he asked Ashley and Abby if Dina was on new medication, but Ashley bemoaned that there was nothing they could do. Abby refused to throw her hands up in defeat, and she revealed her plan to interview Dina to document her life stories. Jack suddenly said he had to run to catch up on things, but he swore that he would be doing some real good that day.
Ashley called her attorney to advise him that she'd served Jack. After Ashley hung up, Abby protested that Jack hadn't been out to hurt Ashley, but Ashley grumbled that he could have fooled her. Dina walked in and squealed that she was ready for her close-up. Abby hesitated to start recording because Dina had had a busy morning, but Dina bellowed that it was nonsense, and Abby set up the camera. Ashley asked if "Mother" was sure she was up for it, and Dina huffed that it was totally inappropriate for a showbiz type to use that term with her when they hadn't been formally introduced. Abby suggested that they start the recording by talking about Dina's beautiful, brilliant daughter, Ashley.
Dina recounted that John had always called Ashley "my beauty," and she admitted that Ashley was a stunner. Abby inquired about Dina's favorite memory of Ashley, but Dina struggled to answer because she'd lost touch with her daughter years earlier. Abby referred to when Ashley had been younger, but Dina thought Ashley was still a child who had always been difficult. Dina thanked heaven for Jack, and Abby prompted her to tell more about her children. Dina mused that she hadn't thought about them in very long time, but she remembered taking them to the park.
Dina recalled that Ashley had been sad because her father had been out of town on a business trip, and Ashley had insisted on wearing her favorite dress instead of the play clothes Dina had instructed her to put on. Dina continued that Jack had been playing ball with his friends, but he'd left them to plop down with Ashley and set up her little tea set. Dina reflected back on Ashley lighting up like the sun, honored and excited that the big brother she worshipped was having tea with her. Ashley murmured that she remembered that day, and Dina snapped at her for intruding on the memory. Ashley explained that the story had been very touching, and Abby thought it was the love they needed to remember.
At the cottage, Nick couldn't decide between two ties, and Sharon asked if it was for a wedding or a funeral. He replied that he was joining his mom for a meeting with potential benefactors for their low-income housing project, and Sharon was surprised that he'd set it up already. He mentioned that the meeting was later that afternoon, and he inquired whether she'd be around. She chirped that she wouldn't mind helping out, and she recommended a tie to wear.
Sharon changed into a nice dress and called Mariah to ask her to babysit Christian and Faith between the time the nanny had to leave and when Sharon and Nick returned from the meeting. Sharon hung up as Nick reentered the room, and she asked where the meeting would take place. Nick reported that it was at the main house, and he noticed her attire and cluelessly asked if she had plans, too. Covering her disappointment, Sharon claimed that she'd been going through old clothes. Nick complimented her outfit and suggested that she not give it away, and he requested that she wish him luck. "Always," she dejectedly mumbled, and he departed.
At the Newman ranch, Nikki observed that Jack looked rested, and he figured that the jet lag hadn't kicked in yet. Jack joined Devon and Nick in the living room, and Devon mentioned being there to talk about contributing to a good cause. Nick revealed that he and Nikki wanted to put their Rainbow Gardens idea on steroids, and Devon anticipated that they also wanted big checks. Nikki replied that she and Nick needed more than money -- they needed Devon and Jack. Victor walked in and remarked that it was quite a proposition.
Nikki explained that the idea was in the early stages, and she and Nick were in the process of getting benefactors. Victor pulled her aside and chided her for inviting Jack into their home after what he'd done to Ashley, but Nikki countered that Victoria had been equally involved. She invited Victor to join her guests, and he reminded her that he'd offered to help with her project before. Nikki informed him that she and Nick had expanded their goals, and they were forming a new charitable trust company and asking Devon and Jack to join the board. She continued that they intended to serve low-income families with affordable housing statewide and eventually all over the country, and she welcomed Victor's input and deep pockets if he was still offering.
Meanwhile, Devon surmised that Nick hadn't expected Victor to show up, and Nick admitted that he'd thought his dad would be at the office. Nikki declared that they would be adding another supporter to the ranks, and she handed Victor some preliminary notes to look over. Nick pulled her aside and questioned why she'd included Victor in the project, and she assured Nick that it wouldn't be a problem and that it was worth it to have Victor's money and connections. Victor voiced concern about financial investment in a project that size, and Nikki answered the door and introduced Arturo as the answer to all their prayers. Nick scowled.
Arturo explained that the numbers were feasible because of an adjustment he'd made in the design to create fewer hallways, and Devon quizzed him about sustainable construction. Nick privately warned Nikki that it had been dangerous for her to ask Arturo there, but she insisted that it was just business. Nick worried that his father might claim to be okay with an open relationship, but Victor had one set of rules for himself and another for everyone else -- and it wouldn't be pretty if Victor found out that he'd entertained Nikki's companion in his own home.
Later, Victor privately asked Nick if his son had any objection to his involvement, but Nick's only concern was that the project stay focused on the homeless and not become part of Victor's PR machine. Nick headed out, and Nikki showed Devon and Arturo to the door. Victor growled at Jack for showing his face there after what he'd done to Ashley, and Jack wondered if it had been Victor's idea for Ashley to sue Jack. Victor stated that he'd had nothing to do with it, but he would do everything he could to help her win -- and she would, since Jack lost every time he went up against Victor. Victor taunted that Jack had driven Ashley away for good.
Jack incredulously asked if it was completely lost on Victor that his own daughter felt sold out by him, but Victor countered that Victoria had long-standing issues with Ashley. Jack barked that Victoria had turned to him because of Victor's disloyalty, but Victor retorted that Victoria was still with him at his company, and Ashley was also there instead of at Jabot. Nikki attempted to intervene, but the men's argument escalated, and Arturo held Jack back from throwing a punch. Jack bellowed that he couldn't wait for the day Victor dropped dead, so everyone wouldn't have to deal with Victor's "crap" anymore. Jack apologized to Nikki and slammed the door on his way out.
Nick returned to the cottage, excitedly chattering about how everyone had agreed to be part of a new nonprofit. Sharon sullenly replied that she was glad the meeting had gone well, and she reported that Christian was napping. Nick noticed that she was perusing real estate listings, and he wondered if Mariah was looking for a place of her own. Sharon clarified that Nick was. She figured that her living arrangement with Nick couldn't go on indefinitely, and it was confusing because they were exes who were living together when neither of them was involved with anyone else.
Sharon worried that it was too easy to get relaxed with one another, and throwing Christian into the mix made things more complicated. Nick asked if them being there was causing her distress, and she denied it. He asserted that he couldn't care less if other people disapproved, since she'd been a great friend to him, and he valued that. Sharon echoed the sentiment, but she had to think about what was best for everyone, and she believed they would all be better off if he got his own place. Nick was taken aback by her sudden change of heart, but he agreed to it if it was what she really wanted. He headed upstairs.
At Victoria's home, J.T. held a terrified Victoria by the throat up against the wall. He released her, and she bolted upstairs. She locked herself inside the bathroom and tearfully sank to the floor in fear and shock, gasping for breath. Meanwhile, a video camera taped footage of the foyer.
From the other side of the bathroom door, J.T. softly called out to ask if Victoria was okay. She braced herself against the door and asked what had happened downstairs. He sat down outside the door and apologized. Choking back sobs, she recalled the hateful things he'd said to her and the way he'd acted, and he conceded that they'd both gotten carried away. He begged her not to cry, and she whimpered that they couldn't stay together because it was the only way to make sure they didn't hurt one another again. Victoria insisted that he had to go, but J.T. questioned whether that was what she really wanted.
J.T. refused to leave without seeing Victoria to make sure she was okay. She wondered why he wouldn't just leave right away, since he'd made it clear that he disapproved of everything she did. He insisted that wasn't true, and he chalked up what had happened to them pushing one another's buttons. He thought they loved one another in spite of and because of it. Victoria noted that that wasn't the issue, and he cited the real issue was him looking like a loser next to her. J.T. lamented that he'd only had a bunch of hopes and dreams until he'd been with her, but she remained conflicted.
J.T. recognized that sometimes it felt like he was competing with Victoria, but he swore that he supported her. He insisted that a life with her and time with Reed were what he'd always wanted, but he became judgmental and pushy because he was scared that he'd lose it. J.T. pledged that he was fighting for her and Reed with everything he had, and he asked if she was still there because she'd grown quiet. She stared at her disheveled reflection in the mirror and examined her bruised neck.
Victoria's hands shook as she applied makeup to the bruises, and she winced as she touched her neck. J.T. waited at the bottom of the stairs as she descended them, her blouse buttoned to the top button to hide the marks. J.T. swore that he would never hit her, but she pointed out that he'd grabbed her throat. He reasoned that he'd only done it because she'd gone ballistic and slapped him, and he reached out to gently touch her face. He said he hated himself for what he'd done to her, but she countered that it hadn't just been that day, since the animosity had been building between them for a while.
Victoria recounted that J.T. had constantly put her down and made her second-guess herself, and he was always criticizing her. J.T. defended that he'd never intended to make her feel unworthy, but he only wanted what was best for her. He added that his only agenda was to love her and be honest with her, and he implored her to tell him if she was ready to give up. Reed suddenly arrived home and prepared to ask his parents something, but he noted the tension and asked what was going on.
Victoria fibbed that she and J.T. had been talking about work, but she doubted that Reed wanted to hear about it. Reed requested permission to stay at his friend's house until after dinner so they could work on music, and he pointed out that his homework was done and that his friend's mom would be there. Victoria relented, but she was clearly rattled. Reed asked if there was something wrong, but J.T. suggested that the teen take yes for an answer. Reed mentioned that his friend had offered to let him spend the night, and J.T. agreed to it that one time. Reed excitedly ran upstairs to pack his bag, and J.T. inquired whether he should pack a bag, too.
Victoria told Reed not to make her regret letting him stay over at his friend's house, and he left. J.T. imagined how terrible it would have been if Reed had walked in on them earlier, and Victoria was relieved that they'd done right by their son. She thought it was too bad that they couldn't figure out a way to do right by one another, but J.T. thought maybe they could. He noted that they'd finally been honest with one another when they'd been upstairs, and the most honest thing he'd said was that he loved her and that he would never let anything like that happen again. He recognized that they were two strong, passionate people who disagreed, but they wanted what was best for one another and to be together. Victoria looked unsure.
J.T. asked Victoria to answer one question before he left: "Who am I?" He recalled that he'd asked the same thing on the night he'd proposed, and they'd determined that they loved one another, that he made her laugh, and that he made her bad days better. She recalled that they'd said they could always tell one another the truth, and the truth was that she'd slapped him and he'd grabbed her neck. J.T. questioned why she was letting that be the one moment that defined them, rather than the hours he'd held her hand when she'd almost died right before their child had been born or their wedding day or all the late nights they'd walked the floor with Reed.
J.T. contended that Reed was what defined them, and he couldn't live with the thought of never hearing Johnny and Katie sing in the car or seeing them dance in the kitchen while Reed played the guitar. J.T. wailed that the thought of him not being there for Victoria after a big fight with her father or not having the kids in his life killed him, and she admitted that she felt the same way. He pleaded with her not to let one bad moment ruin all of it, and she cried that she was sorry and pulled him into a kiss. He said he was sorry, too, but she pulled away and protested that she couldn't do it because it might happen again. J.T. swore that it wouldn't.
Victoria referred to J.T.'s question about who he was. She pointed out that he'd been the guy who'd vowed to love her until death but hadn't, and he'd given her a baby but taken it away. J.T. promised never to raise a hand to her again. Victoria recognized that they hadn't been lying when they'd made promises before, but they'd been wrong to believe them. She worried that they'd be wrong again, but he begged her to trust herself and to be trusting. He held out his hands, and she reluctantly placed hers in his.
J.T. told Victoria to close her eyes and imagine never being together again, and he urged her not to let one bad moment ruin what would be thousands of beautiful ones. Victoria assured him that she trusted him, and she committed to going back to the way things had been, since they would only get better. J.T. suddenly asked a stunned Victoria to marry him, rambling that he was the guy who'd loved her the longest and the best, and he'd learned from his mistakes. He contemplated the odds of him returning to town and her being there, and he swore that they couldn't throw it away when they could hold onto it forever if she married him. He kissed her passionately, and they began to make love.
Jack arrived home, and Ashley and Abby chided him for slamming the door with Dina resting upstairs. Jack griped that Victor had insinuated himself into the meeting with nothing but ugliness and sneers, and he sarcastically gave Ashley kudos for bolstering Victor's ego. Ashley asserted that it was on Jack if he'd gotten into it with Victor, and Jack barked that he had much bigger issues to focus on, like his sister suing him. Ashley lectured that they had to learn to live together, and Jack ranted that he would be in a hotel if his mother didn't need full-time care. He poured a drink and chugged it.
Jack groused that Victor had been delighted to rub in his face that Ashley had gone over to the dark side, and Ashley questioned whether Jack hated her or Victor. Abby told Jack not to blame her mom for his own mistakes, and Jack conceded that he'd made an error with the blood Abbott clause, but he maintained that Ashley had been happy to run to Victor's side. Jack demanded to know how long he'd have to pay for one wrong move, and Abby admonished him for playing the victim when he hadn't even considered Ashley's feelings. Ashley added that Jack had only thought about himself.
Ashley snapped that Victor had the right to sneer at Jack for pushing her out of Jabot, and she mocked Jack for thinking he was king of the hill because he was one of the few blood Abbotts. Jack retorted that he was hardly lucky when his mother had dementia and he'd all but lost Ashley and Abby, but Ashley reiterated that he'd forced her out. Abby stressed that Dina didn't need the arguing, and Ashley sourly headed upstairs to see if Dina was awake to tell stories about the good old days. Jack admonished Ashley for walking away when they weren't done.
Dina and Ashley returned downstairs a short time later. Dina worried that her makeup had smudged while she'd been resting, but Ashley assured her that she was camera-ready. Dina insisted to "John" that it be ladies only, and Jack started to say he wasn't John, but he caught himself and simply agreed not to interfere while he finished his drink. Dina complained that she wouldn't be able to speak freely with him watching, and she asked why he was being stubborn. Jack swallowed the rest of his drink and grumbled about being in the way in his own home, and he stormed out to get a cab.
Dina was shocked to see "John" that short-tempered, and she imagined that something was really bothering him. Ashley mused that Dina was absolutely right, and she headed out. Abby asked if Dina was ready to call it a night, but Dina proclaimed that she was just getting started, since she had a few things to get off her chest about John. With the camera rolling, Dina recalled that John had once attached a lovely brooch to her wrap and waited for her to notice. Abby asked if he'd always made such romantic gestures, and Dina regretted that all she could feel was guilt, since she'd taken him for granted more than once.
Abby asked Dina to help her understand why Dina had spent time with other men. Dina explained that her need for more had led her to do terrible things and keep terrible secrets, including a shame that she would take to her grave, since John didn't know everything. Abby apologized because the camera had gone out of focus, and she asked if Dina wanted to stop. Dina didn't want to stop yet, and Abby inquired whether Dina had been talking about how Brent was Ashley's father. Dina stated that John clearly knew about that, but what she'd referred to had nothing to do with Brent or Ashley.
Dina admitted that she'd had multiple affairs with many consequences, but she'd kept one secret for good reason. Abby gently pressed her grandmother to elaborate, and Dina recalled that she'd needed more than John had ever been able to give her when she'd been young, but she'd gotten more than she'd ever bargained for. Dina revealed that she was talking about Jack, and she became agitated. Dina wailed that Jack was the consequence, and she announced that Jack was not John's son. Abby was floored.
At the cottage, Nick reported that Christian had gone to sleep, and he mentioned that he'd received a text message from Faith. Sharon barely responded on her way out, but Nick stopped her from leaving and insisted on talking about the elephant in the room -- why she really wanted him to move out. Nick asked if he'd done something wrong, and Sharon pointed out that it wasn't a punishment and that he didn't have to move out the next day. Sharon contended that there was too much history between them to live under the same roof, but Nick suspected that something had happened to lead her to the decision she'd made. He pressed to know if he'd ticked her off, but she said she was late, and she hurried out.
Nick called a real estate agent and expressed interest in finding a three-bedroom home or apartment that was available immediately. "What the hell?" Mariah exclaimed when she walked in, and Nick quickly hung up. A disapproving Mariah assumed that he was bailing, but Nick indicated that Sharon had asked him to look for his own place. Mariah wondered what he'd done to make Sharon want him gone, and he replied that he had no clue. Mariah ordered him to put his thinking cap on and figure out how he'd screwed up.
Nick recounted that Sharon had been excited for him because of the big meeting for the new housing project. Mariah asked if he and Sharon had attended the meeting, and he rattled off a list of people who had been there and marveled about how much they'd accomplished. Mariah noted that Sharon had been the one who'd inspired the project after she'd taken strangers into her home, yet Nick had traipsed off to the meeting, leaving her home alone. Nick realized that it sounded bad, and Mariah confirmed that it was really bad. She was adamant that he try to fix it.
Sharon spotted Jack at the Athletic Club bar and asked if the seat next to him was taken. He said it depended on whether she was going to give him a hard time or file a lawsuit against him, and she was relieved by his bad mood, since she wasn't up for cheerful small talk. She ordered a vodka tonic, and he asked what was wrong. Sharon revealed that she'd asked Nick to move out, and Jack realized that he'd missed a lot because he hadn't even known that Nick had moved in.
Sharon insisted that nothing had happened between her and Nick, and Jack assumed that was the issue. She prepared to find another seat, but Jack reasoned that it was natural for exes to feel something for one another. Sharon explained that she'd progressed too far to be taken for granted, and she hated that she was expected to give and give without getting some recognition. Jack asked if she'd told Nick, and she lamented that the point was that she was angry with Nick, but she was furious with herself.
Sharon encouraged Jack to vent, but he said he was there to drink and not talk, and she assumed that it was about Victor. Jack complained that Victor had made even a charitable gesture ugly and annoying, and he preferred to talk about Nick moving in with her. Sharon thought that she gravitated back to Nick the same way Jack always aimed at Victor, and Jack called Victor a bully and a self-absorbed egomaniac. Sharon reminded Jack of a time that he'd decided not to focus all of his energy on his obsession with Victor. Jack regretted that he'd let his guard down, but he could fight back, unlike other people who'd been lured to the dark side. "When is that bastard finally going to get what's coming to him?" Jack questioned.
Later, Jack drunkenly approached Ashley and asked if she was sending one last text message to her boss. She revealed that she was getting Jack a cab, since she still cared about him in spite of his horrible treatment of her. He loudly slurred that she was the woman suing him and working for the enemy, and she warned that he was sloppy and making a scene. She asked if he was wallowing in self-pity because his sleazy scheme had backfired in his face, and he guessed that her next words were going to be that their dad would have been ashamed.
Ashley insisted that she still saw greatness in Jack, unless he drowned himself in booze and raged against his enemies. He clarified that he had one enemy who would ruin all of them, and he anticipated that he would have a battle to fight as long as the man was on the planet, so it was about time he got started. Jack prepared to get a cab before he sullied the Abbott name, and Ashley asked if he was going to Victor's. "What do you think?" he hissed as he stumbled out. Ashley left a voicemail for Victor to let him know that a drunk and angry Jack might be headed his way.
Nick straightened up the cottage as Sharon returned home, and he mentioned that he'd talked to Mariah and realized that he'd been a giant idiot. He acknowledged that Sharon should have been at the housing meeting, and he swore that she would be as involved as she wanted to be. He admitted that he'd screwed up by never stopping to look at things from her point of view, and he recognized that she'd changed. Sharon conceded that she had her own issues, and it had been unfair for her to tell him to just move out without giving him a decent reason.
Nick praised Sharon for going above and beyond by inviting him and Christian to stay and giving them support. He swore that he didn't take her for granted, and they hugged. They pulled apart and gazed at one another for a moment before succumbing to a tender kiss.
After Victoria and J.T. had sex on the couch, he reveled in the euphoria of being together. She stammered that she just needed some time, and she pulled a blanket around her and scurried upstairs. Victoria turned on the light in the bathroom and stared at the bruises on her neck. Victoria covered the marks with makeup, and she flashed back to J.T.'s hateful tirade against her. Meanwhile, J.T. paced in the living room, and he stared at Victoria when she appeared on the stairs.
J.T. asked if Victoria was okay as they settled in on the couch, and she remarked that the day had been intense and that she'd never felt that way before. J.T. pointed out that they'd never had that kind of passion when they'd made up before, either. She considered it frightening, but he found it exhilarating, since no one else had what they had. He believed that most people were sleepwalking through life, but they were wide awake every second. He was sure that she'd never have anything close to that with anyone else. Victoria agreed, and they kissed.
J.T. asked if the kiss was a response to his proposal, but Victoria countered that she hadn't said a word. He pushed for an answer, and she responded yes. He declared that it was everything he'd ever wanted, and she replied that it was everything she'd ever wanted, too. J.T. suggested that they have a special dinner to tell Reed and the kids, but she preferred to ease them into it. Victoria offered to make a cake to mark the occasion, but J.T. protested that it wasn't a birthday. She suddenly had an idea, and she said she'd be right back.
At the Newman ranch, Victor congratulated Nikki on getting her housing project off to a good start. She told him not to feel obligated to attend the next meeting, and she scolded him for goading Jack. Victor argued that Jack had gone after him, and he pledged to teach Jack a lesson he'd never forget the next time, since Jack would never win against him.
Nikki sent a text message to Arturo to ask him to meet her at the Athletic Club, and he responded that he would see her soon. Victor returned to the room and found her smiling, and he asked what had made her so happy. She informed him that she was about to leave for town and that she might take a room for the night, and she went upstairs to pack a bag. Victor called J.T. and requested that they meet at the office the next morning to discuss security protocol. Victor pointedly added that he was leaving for Chicago that night, so he might not be back until late morning.
As J.T. hung up, Victoria presented him with the engagement ring that he'd given her before their first marriage. She confided that she hadn't been able to let it go, and he swore that he would never let her go. He placed the ring on her finger, and they kissed. Her phone pinged with a message, and she reported that her mom wanted to stop by. She prepared to tell Nikki that they already had plans, but J.T. insisted that Nikki's visit would give him a chance to run out and get some Champagne to properly celebrate. Meanwhile, Victor answered a call and asked for something to be sent to him immediately.
After J.T. left, Victoria checked her bruised neck in the mirror before answering the door. Nikki immediately spotted the ring and asked what it meant, and Victoria replied that it meant Nikki should be happy for her. Nikki worried that the engagement was a little rushed, but Victoria reasoned that it wasn't as if she and J.T. had just met. Nikki pointed out that J.T. had just been with Mac a few months earlier and that Victoria and J.T. wouldn't have even been in touch if Paul hadn't asked him to investigate Newman. Victoria attributed it to fate getting them back together.
Victoria compared J.T. showing up to someone turning on the lights, since she had a constant rush of energy and excitement. Nikki understood what it was like to be attracted to a powerful man, but she cautioned that Victoria didn't feel like she could speak her mind to J.T. Victoria insisted that he was the one person she trusted to tell her the truth. Nikki imagined that Victoria had felt a little vulnerable after a difficult year, so she'd needed someone to lean on. Victoria argued that people leaned on those they loved, and she knew that she could count on and trust J.T., so she didn't need Nikki telling her otherwise.
J.T. entered the darkened ranch and began to search through drawers. The lights suddenly turned on, and Victor barked, "Upstairs, now!" J.T. reluctantly met Victor in the study, and he realized that the Chicago trip had been a setup. Victor ominously questioned whether J.T. had really thought he could break into the safe without Victor knowing, and J.T. admitted that he'd gotten careless, but he'd had a guilty party in his sights. Victor huffed that J.T. didn't know what he was up against, and he pulled out a tablet with footage of Victoria and J.T.'s confrontation in the foyer of their home.
J.T. argued that it was one second of a fight, and he blasted Victor for planting cameras in his house. Victor countered that J.T. had been spying to try to find dirt to take him down, and he surmised that J.T. was working for Paul or Christine. J.T. taunted that it had been a pleasure to try to take Victor out while working right under his nose. J.T. growled that it was time for Victor to pay for his past sins, since it didn't even bother Victor that Colleen was dead because of him. Victor spat that only a weak man would hide behind a dead girl or rough up Victoria. Victor demanded that J.T. pack his things that night and "get the hell out of town," or Victor would remove J.T. himself.
J.T. questioned why he should run, and he dared Victor to tell Victoria to stay away from him, since she wouldn't listen to her father. J.T. snarled that Victor had been the most important man in her life, but J.T. had become that man, since they'd gotten engaged after the incident on the video. Victor anticipated that Victoria would always stand with her family, and he threatened to ensure that J.T. lost everything if he stayed in town. Victor vowed to see to it that J.T. spent the rest of his life in absolute misery, and he bellowed that J.T. had lost because he was a loser and always would be. J.T. took a swing at Victor, but Victor dodged it and pummeled J.T., throwing him across the desk.
Meanwhile, Nikki entered her hotel room and amorously called out for Arturo. Victoria left a message for J.T., wondering if he was on his way, since she'd expected him back by then.
Victor continued to beat up J.T., who managed to punch Victor in the gut before staggering into the corridor. Victor followed J.T. and threw him into the wall, knocking lamps and vases to the floor. Victor got J.T. into a stranglehold from behind, but J.T. elbowed him in the ribs to get free as Victor hovered at the top of the stairs. J.T. furiously pushed Victor, sending him tumbling headfirst down the stairs. A seething J.T. gazed down at Victor's motionless body.