At the Abbott mansion, Kyle asked Jack if the photo Abby had circulated of the young man in Dina's old photo had prompted any calls. Kyle recalled that Jack had seemed confident the mystery man could be his father. Jack claimed the photo wouldn't likely lead him to the answers he desired. After Jack left, Kyle seemed surprised by Jack's sudden lack of enthusiasm.
In Billy's office at Jabot, Billy apologized to Ashley for having made her feel marginalized after he'd taken over as CEO. Billy praised Ashley's experience and expertise and noted that her contributions were vital to Jabot's success. Acknowledging Ashley's recent concerns about his risky expenditures, Billy assured Ashley that he'd revisited budgets and would do his best to end unnecessary expenses. Ashley replied, "Well, Billy, I'm glad you realized that, but just remember that making cuts in the wrong places can do more harm than good." Billy heaped additional praise on Ashley and added that one day, he anticipated being as respected by Jabot's employees as she was. Billy promised Ashley he'd succeed and make her proud of him.
At the police station, Abby marched in and confronted Rey. Abby told Rey that she should be promoting Dark Horse, but she was instead engaged in damage-control mode due to Rey's stunt. Rey defended himself and insisted that Nick's arrest hadn't been a stunt. Abby recalled that Rey had hijacked her event to serve his unspecified purposes. Rey told Abby she should be able to downplay the incident because Nick hadn't been charged.
Abby, concerned about the fallout from Nick's public arrest, showed Rey the headline printed in the newspaper, claiming that Nick's startup was in meltdown. Abby demanded the police department release a statement clearing Nick's name. Rey explained that he couldn't give anyone special treatment. Abby noted that Rey had timed the arrest to inflict the most damage. Rey agreed and said if he could do it over, he'd have handled the matter differently.
Rey relented to Abby's demands. Rey told Abby he'd make arrangements to release a statement clearing Nick. Rey added, "But what I'm not going to do is lay off investigating J.T." Abby said she hoped the police would find J.T. and punish him. Rey acknowledged that both he and Abby were protective of their families.
In his office at Dark Horse, Nick read the sensationalized newspaper headline about his arrest. Summer entered the office, noticed the headline displayed on a television screen, and recalled that she'd left the launch event before Nick's arrest. Summer insisted she was on her dad's side and had attended the launch event to show her support. Nick replied, "Well, considering I had to bribe you so you wouldn't torpedo my life with Sharon, how much of this am I supposed to believe?"
Summer cried that Nick had always been her rock, and she expressed concern that she might have lost her dad when she'd accepted his check. Nick said that though he didn't always approve of Summer's behavior, he loved her and would always be supportive. Summer sadly explained that she'd taken a friend for granted and had lost him. Nick suggested Summer apologize. Summer expressed hope that she might be able to salvage her friendship. Before Summer left, Nick wished his daughter good luck.
After Summer left, Jack entered Nick's office. Jack appeared worried. Nick immediately admitted that he'd hacked Newman Enterprises by impersonating J.T. Nick added that he'd made a deal in exchange for full immunity. Nick insisted the matter had been settled because even Victor had chosen to keep it quiet. Jack replied, "Hacking, as you know, still leaves digital fingerprints." Jack warned that though local authorities had dropped the matter, Nick might still face federal charges.
Nick acknowledged Jack's concern and said there was no point in hanging onto the stolen files, which had served their purpose. Nick added, "I'll just hire a cybersecurity expert to wipe all the data." Jack said he was surprised to hear what Nick had pulled off, noting that it was so like a scheme Victor might have pulled. Nick said he was sick and tired of the comparisons to his father. Jack replied, "All men measure themselves against their father." Jack added that even Victor had done so.
Nick tensed up at the thought of his grandfather and said that Albert Miller had set a pretty low bar. Nick added, "Anyone would compare favorably to that bastard." Jack apologized for recalling such a painful experience for Victor and Nick, when they'd confronted Albert at the nursing home. Nick cried that Albert had never expressed remorse for having abandoned his family. Nick added that it would have been better had Victor gone on believing that Albert had died.
Jack winced as Nick explained that Albert "got inside Victor's head" that fateful day. Nick acknowledged that the hatred in Albert's eyes and his failure to offer praise had remained seared forever in Victor's mind. Nick admitted that though Victor had been determined not to be like his father, he'd ended up being alienated from his son, too. Jack replied, "Such a shame. Not the legacy anyone would've hoped for." Nick said Albert's toxic influence had tainted his family's relationships. Jack said Nick had made him sympathize with Victor. Nick cried that Victor should have taken steps to end the cycle of pain.
At Crimson Lights, Arturo introduced Abby to Lola. Lola greeted Abby with a hug and admitted she'd been following Abby online. Abby mentioned Arturo and Lola's brother, Rey. Abby said Rey had agreed to help her by issuing a statement clearing Nick. Arturo warned that Rey always wanted something in return. Arturo added that Rey had been wanting to reconnect with Lola. Lola seemed nervous when Arturo mentioned Rey.
Lola admitted to Arturo and Abby that she'd already called Rey on her own. Arturo wasn't pleased, but Lola explained that if she wanted to see Rey again, it had to be on her terms. Abby asked Arturo if perhaps Rey had matured since they'd last been close. Rey suddenly showed up, and Arturo and Abby left. Rey asked Lola if she regretted her decision to meet with him. Lola rushed to Rey and warmly embraced him.
Billy stopped by Victoria's office to return Katie's favorite elephant toy. Victoria turned down Billy's offer to take her to lunch, citing too much work. Victoria and Billy discussed business instead of having lunch together. Victoria admitted that no board members except Phyllis supported Billy. Billy acknowledged that he was nothing more than a figurehead because the board expected Ashley to run the business behind the scenes.
Billy told Victoria that the board of directors had reacted negatively when he'd begun making his own decisions and implementing his innovative ideas to drag Jabot into the 21st Century. Billy acknowledged that he'd not fallen in line with the board's desire to strike down the blood-Abbott clause. Victoria replied, "Well, maybe it's not your performance in business, but the way that you conduct yourself in your personal life." Victoria asked Billy if his family, Lauren, and the other board members were aware of his gambling. Billy defended himself by noting that he'd taken Phyllis with him on a recent gambling trip.
Victoria expressed concern that Billy could spiral out of control, as he had before. Billy remained defensive and said that at least Phyllis understood him. Victoria said that Phyllis was scared to death. Victoria reminded Billy that she'd been in Phyllis' position and had already tried and failed to protect her loved one from himself. Victoria warned that it was only a matter of time before something bad happened. Billy told Victoria that he'd add her name to the list of people waiting for him to fail.
Outside Billy's office, Kyle phoned an acquaintance named Shane. Kyle said, "Hey, that big betting syndicate you told me about in Manhattan, is that still around? Retired bookies who do the handicapping? Right, for the high-roller crowd." Kyle asked his friend to send information and noted that it wasn't for him, as the betting was too rich for his blood. Kyle glanced toward Billy's office and said, "But I know someone who might be interested."
While Billy was working on budget spreadsheets, he noticed a forwarded email from Shane Walsh. The email extended an invitation for Billy to join a meeting of New York's "finest handicapping minds." Billy, reading aloud the body of the email, said, "Join us in the winner's circle. Amazing opportunity for elite gamblers. Our syndicate boasts only the world's leading oddsmakers -- ensures that you'll come out ahead." Billy closed the lid of his laptop when Kyle entered. Kyle, noting that Billy had pulled funding for a subscription fragrance service, agreed that procrastinating the launch had given competitors an advantage. Billy told Kyle there were plenty of projects to keep him busy.
After Billy left for a meeting, Summer entered the office and apologized to Kyle for hurting him. Summer promised Kyle she'd change the way she treated him. Kyle said he probably knew Summer better than anyone, but she didn't get him at all. Summer asked Kyle why he thought she didn't understand him. Kyle told Summer that she lacked self-insight. As an example, Kyle recalled that Summer's desire to compete with her mother had made her convince herself that Billy was crazy for her. Kyle recalled that Summer had ended up getting hurt.
Kyle told Summer he was no longer her go-to friend for comfort because his world didn't revolve around her. Kyle added that he had lofty goals. Kyle admitted he'd likely push too hard and go too far to achieve his objectives. Summer claimed that she felt the same way. Kyle said he'd initially believed they could work together, though he feared they'd end up ripping each other to shreds. Summer insisted that she'd changed, but Kyle expressed doubt. Kyle cried that he couldn't turn his feelings off and on like a switch. Summer seemed stunned when Kyle announced that he was ending their relationship.
At the Genoa City Athletic Club, Ashley met with a man named Andrew. Ashley said she was surprised Andrew had chosen to meet her in public. Andrew replied, "Well, I never actually thought we'd be having this conversation. Our little arrangement has worked out so well and all, up until now." Ashley asked what had happened. Andrew explained that he'd received a letter. Ashley interrupted Andrew when she spotted Neil.
Ashley introduced Neil to Andrew, explaining that Andrew was her new chemist. Ashley told Andrew that Neil and his son Devon owned Hamilton-Winters. Andrew praised Hamilton-Winters' acquisition of Mergeron. Neil thanked Andrew for the compliment and said he'd let Andrew and Ashley get back to discussing business. Neil seemed uncomfortable and left.
After Ashley learned from Andrew that Billy had stopped funding Type A Consulting, she phoned Billy. Ashley told Billy that Type A Consulting handled matters related to research and development. Billy claimed he hadn't canceled her contract but had simply put it on hold. Ashley replied, "Save your breath. I should've known better than to give you the benefit of the doubt." After Ashley ended her call to Billy, she told Andrew she'd never believe another word out of Billy's mouth. Ashley took out her checkbook and told Andrew she'd pay for his services from her personal account.
Abby and Arturo, still discussing his longstanding feud with Rey, entered Nick's office together. Abby told Arturo she didn't understand why he wouldn't want to make things better. Jack overheard Arturo ask Nick if he would ever forgive his father. Nick replied, "Not in this lifetime. We have reached the point of no return." Jack, still standing outside Nick's office, bit his lip when he heard Nick's response to Arturo's question. Abby stepped out and ran into Jack. Abby asked Jack if he'd spoken to Victor. Jack replied, "No way, and I don't want you speaking to Victor about this, either. Or anyone else. Promise me, Abby."
Ashley stopped by Neil's penthouse and reassured him that her meeting with Andrew had been nothing but business. After Ashley and Neil made love, Ashley asked Neil if he felt reassured about their relationship. Neil said he felt very reassured. Neil massaged Ashley's shoulders and asked why she was tense. Ashley said she felt like she was spending her whole life putting out one fire after another. Neil suggested a relaxing getaway to New York. Ashley said work required her full attention, so she couldn't leave town.
After Billy returned to his office, he paced nervously. Billy took a seat at his desk and opened his laptop. Billy reread the email offer from Shane Walsh, inviting him to New York. Billy wrote "I'm in" and hit the reply button. Afterward, Billy sat back in his chair and seemed less anxious.
Rey summoned Victor to the police station and inquired about the last time Victor had seen J.T. Victor recalled that it had been in his hospital room, just after he'd awakened from his coma, and he'd been unable to speak to tell the cops that J.T. had been responsible for his condition. Rey pledged to find "the bastard" and make him pay for what he'd done to Victor. Rey added that the problem was that J.T. had disappeared without a trace after last being seen at Victoria's house, and he wondered how J.T. had managed that. Victor asked if Rey was requesting his opinion or making an accusation.
Rey reasoned that Victor knew J.T. as well as anyone. Victor pointed out that J.T. had worked in security, so he knew how to evade surveillance cameras and stay off the grid. Victor indicated that J.T. had eluded Victor's investigators for months, and Rey imagined that Victor had been angry when he'd found out that Nick had hacked into Newman's servers, not J.T. Victor haughtily inquired whether Rey was listening to himself theorize or asking a question.
Rey replied that thinking out loud helped. Rey noted that despite the public feud between Victor and Nick, Victor had checked to make sure Nick was all right after he'd been arrested. Victor asserted that he and his son had a strong bond in spite of their differences, and Rey mused that many men might leave their families for a lot less. Victor snarled that such people shouldn't be called fathers -- or men.
At Jabot, Billy told someone over the phone that he'd thought he had more shares in his account. He insisted that he needed the money for an emergency, and he became irritated when he learned that he couldn't get access to it that day. Phyllis walked in, and Billy quickly hung up and closed his laptop. Billy claimed that he'd been dealing with budget issues, but a skeptical Phyllis observed that he'd ended the call and hidden whatever was on his computer screen when she'd entered. She thought that since it was the end of the business day, it would be a good idea to discuss their plans for the evening.
Phyllis noted that Billy was in a rotten mood, and he grumbled that he couldn't just waltz out of there with the impending launch. Phyllis questioned whether the budget issue had to do with Jabot or if it was really about his gambling. He informed her about the sophisticated sports gambling syndicate for players who weren't risk-averse. He contended that the payouts were huge, and she surmised that the price to buy in was equally large. Billy assured her that he could afford it, but Phyllis cited the increase in his gambling activity and wondered if he really thought it was wise. Billy told Phyllis that he had a finite amount of money set aside for gambling every month, and he was very disciplined about not spending more.
Billy stressed that it was under control, unlike things around there. He wished Fenmore's recognized that things were spread thin because of the launch, and he encouraged Phyllis to talk to Lauren about not making any unusual demands until after the launch. Phyllis supported Billy's decision to forge ahead with the boutiques, but she cautioned that he was putting everything on the line and alienating people by allocating a majority of resources to one project. His phone pinged, and he claimed that he had a call to make. Billy expressed confidence that they'd end up way ahead of where they'd been before, and Phyllis hoped so for his sake.
Summer approached Kyle in the corridor and asked if he could look over her report about fashion trends. She suggested that he give her his thoughts via email so they wouldn't have to spend time together, since it was clear that he wanted her out of his life. Kyle swore that he wasn't ghosting her, because they had to work together, but he complained that only she could be such a drama queen about something as dry as trend analysis. Summer blasted him for being rude and condescending when she was trying to fix their friendship, and she stalked off.
Summer repeatedly pressed the elevator button, and Phyllis lectured that it wouldn't make the car get there any faster. Phyllis requested Summer's help in reviewing Fenmore's projects to see what they could postpone, and Summer sarcastically said it sounded like a blast. Phyllis recognized that they weren't in the best place, but they had to work together. Summer became choked up as she recounted that "he" had said the same thing, and she wailed that she didn't know what to do.
Summer confided that she and Kyle had had a massive falling-out, and he hated her like everyone else did. Phyllis insisted that no one hated Summer, and she suggested that Summer tell her about it over a drink. Phyllis added that no matter what had gone down, she was still Summer's mother, and she would help if she could. They boarded the elevator together.
Outside the building, Lola called out to the next customer in line at her food truck. She recognized Kyle and remarked that she never forgot a difficult customer. He planned to become a regular because her food was fantastic, and he gushed that he'd dreamed about it. She recommended that day's special, but she insisted that he place his order before the line backed up. He guessed that she wasn't making it easy to give her a compliment because he'd acted like an entitled snob the other day, and he apologized. He told her his name because he expected to be there a lot, and she introduced herself. He departed.
Rey approached and declared that he'd had to see Lola's truck for himself, and she informed him that she was about to close. He said he was proud of her for starting her own business, and she told him that it meant a lot. Rey imagined that the truck had been expensive, but Lola explained that she'd gotten a bargain. He quizzed her about whether it was up to code and if she had the necessary permits, and he hoped that she was parking in safe neighborhoods and only working during the day.
An irritated Lola griped that she'd moved in with Arturo because he gave her credit, whereas Rey treated her like an incompetent child. She ranted that she'd been a social outcast because of Rey's stupid rules, but she'd spent the past couple of years doing all the things he hadn't let her do, and nothing bad had happened. Rey pressed to meet whoever she was dating, but Lola snapped that she was an adult, so he needed to back off.
Mariah entered Crimson Lights and wrapped her arms around Tessa from behind. Tessa winced, and Mariah wondered why she'd reacted that way. Tessa fibbed that she had a bruise from smacking into the corner of the counter, and Mariah demanded to see it. Tessa cried out when Mariah grabbed her arm, and Mariah panicked when she found Tessa's arms covered in bruises. Mariah pressed to know what had happened while she'd been gone and why Tessa was lying to her about it.
Mariah examined the bruises on Tessa's back, and Tessa explained that one of the guys who had been demanding money had jumped her. Tessa shared that she hadn't called the police for obvious reasons, but she'd seen a doctor who had determined that she was okay. Mariah fretted about what would happen if the guys got impatient and wanted to get rid of Tessa, but Tessa thought it would be over once she got them the money. Mariah offered to use her savings, but Tessa vehemently protested. Tessa asked Mariah to help her find a job with better pay and more hours so that she could make as much money as she could as quickly as possible.
Later, Kyle almost didn't recognize Lola at the coffeehouse, and she asked how he'd liked his dinner. He called it the highlight of his day, and he offered to buy her a cup of coffee. She requested a double espresso. He invited her to join him, but she said it depended. "Are you going to ask me out or what?" she queried.
Kyle claimed that he'd been savoring the anticipation as he worked up to asking Lola out, but she warned him not to wait too long. He asked if she'd like to go on a date with him, and she replied that she'd get back to him. He requested her number, and she offered to send him a text message with some ideas about where to go. Lola wondered if she was being too pushy, but Kyle reasoned that he'd prefer to take her to a place she wanted to be to guarantee the evening started out right. She thanked him for the espresso and looked forward to their date.
At Dark Horse, Nick prompted Jack to talk about what was bugging him. Jack apologized for being preoccupied, and Nick assumed that it had to do with Jack's search for his dad. Jack confirmed that he'd been wondering whether he should end the "whole damn thing" because people had warned him to be careful what he wished for.
Later, Victor appeared in Nick's office doorway and asked how Nick had been doing since his arrest. Nick stated that he was doing damage control, and Victor referred to the media's hatchet job on the new company. Nick admitted that he'd suspected that Victor had turned him in to the cops and leaked the story. Victor understood why Nick would think that, but he hadn't.
Victor described his meeting with Rey as a fishing expedition to find out more about Victor's relationship with Nick. Nick recounted that Rey had made a point of asking him about Victor, as well, but the complexities in their relationship were nothing compared to what Victor had had with his own father. Nick revealed that he'd mentioned Victor and Albert when talking to Jack about his search for his biological father, and Victor hoped that Nick had told Jack that Albert wasn't worth the breath spent talking about him. Nick replied that he hadn't been that kind, but he'd given Jack food for thought.
After Victor departed, Mariah stopped by the office and asked Nick to hire Tessa. He realized that he could use help on a short-term project, making deliveries to a tech company and catching up on filing. He inquired whether Tessa was willing to work nights, and Mariah thought Tessa would be thrilled. Nick said Tessa could start that night, and Mariah thanked him with a hug.
That evening, Nick instructed Tessa to organize some papers, and he mentioned that she'd be running hardware back and forth to a security firm. She asked what was wrong with their computers, but he declined to provide any details other than that she'd be removing files from the servers. He told her to call him if she had any problems, and she thanked him for saving her life by giving her a job. He headed out, but he smiled when he turned around and saw her excitedly jumping up and down.
Tessa heard a door close, and she called out to ask if anyone was there. She hid as someone approached, and she yelled out to stay away because she was armed. Mariah appeared with her headphones on, and she removed them and asked if Tessa was going to staple her to death. Mariah apologized for spooking Tessa, and she dropped off some food and figured she'd keep Tessa company. Tessa lamented that it seemed like she just kept taking while Mariah kept giving, but Mariah swore that Tessa made her feel happy and loved. They kissed.
At the Dive Bar, Summer explained that she'd thought she and Kyle were friends who could taunt and tease each other, but it had meant something different to him than to her. Phyllis advised her to give it time and not to stop gently reaching out to him. Phyllis added that it wasn't about what Summer wanted but what Kyle was feeling, and Summer curtly thanked her for the drink and prepared to leave. Phyllis was surprised because she'd thought Summer was willing to take her advice, but Summer spat that she'd remembered that she was talking to a woman who always put herself first.
Phyllis insisted that she was trying to build a bridge, which a lot of women wouldn't do after their daughter had gone after their boyfriend. Phyllis didn't understand why Summer had done that to her, and Summer admitted that while she'd been attracted to Billy, she'd eventually realized that she'd done it to hurt Phyllis. Phyllis wondered what she'd done to justify Summer betraying her like that. Summer recounted that her mother had lied, cheated, and manipulated, but Phyllis had always had an explanation for every terrible thing she'd done. Summer thought that putting distance between them had made her start seeing things in a new light.
Summer blasted Phyllis for what she'd done to Jack by sneaking around with Billy, but Phyllis defended that she and Jack had both been broken people whose marriage had been in shambles. Summer thought Phyllis should have had the decency to walk away instead of sleeping with Jack's brother, and she pointed out that Phyllis had cheated on Billy, too. Summer condemned Phyllis for constantly hurting everyone around her, and Phyllis was stunned by how much pent-up anger Summer had toward her. Summer said she still loved Phyllis, but she didn't think their relationship would ever be the same again.
Phyllis wanted to find a way for her and Summer to forgive one another and move on. Summer doubted that was possible, and Phyllis conceded that it would take time because they had serious baggage. Phyllis thought that they had to start with honesty and understanding, and the conversation they were having had been the most real one they'd shared since Summer had been back. Phyllis believed it was a step forward, and she was grateful for that.
At the Athletic Club bar, Billy reviewed a text message about the impending deadline to buy into the elite gaming service. Jack asked if Billy had a minute for a drink, and Billy agreed while he waited for his takeout. Jack observed that Billy looked beat, and he guessed they were both having a rough day. Billy confided that he was contemplating an opportunity that felt like the right thing to do, and Jack questioned whether Billy had thought it through or if it was another notorious impulse.
Jack thought Billy was being cagey with the details, and he asked if anyone could get hurt. Billy replied no, and Jack urged him to go for it. Billy wondered why Jack was having such a rough day, and Jack explained that he was at a crossroads about whether to dig deeper in his search for his father or give it up. Billy contemplated whether there was any payoff when the man might be dead or a lowlife, and even if he wasn't either, it wasn't possible that the guy was as good as John Abbott. Billy saw a lot of potential for downside, and Jack thought it made sense.
Gloria primped at her desk and was startled when Billy returned. She announced that she was going home and pouring a big glass of wine, but he ordered her to send a confidential wire from Jabot's account before she left. He handed her a slip of paper with the transfer details, and she noted that it was quite a chunk of change. He claimed that it was to meet the deadline to pay off a business loan, and he stepped into his office.
Gloria reported that the wire had gone through, and Bill told her to enjoy the rest of her evening. She lectured that he shouldn't wait until the last minute, and he promised that there wouldn't be a next time.
Jack settled down with a drink at home. He got up to answer the door, but he stopped in his tracks when he saw Victor standing there. Victor accused Jack of prying into Victor's family's business, but Jack countered that he was only interested in his own family tree. Victor referred to the picture on GC Buzz of the man Jack thought was his father, and he announced that it was a picture of his father, Albert Miller. Victor questioned what had made Jack think that he was Albert's son.
Jack explained that the photo had been taken at the country club, where his mother had claimed she'd met his father, and all the other candidates in the picture had been eliminated. Victor huffed that Jack was basing his theory on nothing, but Jack suspected that Victor was there because he believed it himself. Victor imagined that Jack despised the idea that they might be related as much as he did, and he wondered why Jack was pursuing it. Victor guessed that Jack was after a stake in the company that Victor had built from the ground up.
Victor contended that Albert hadn't had anything to do with it, and Victor refused to let Jack ever claim a piece of Newman Enterprises. Jack contended that he was merely looking for the truth, but Victor retorted that Jack wouldn't know the truth if it bit him "in the ass." Jack divulged that he'd planned to drop it, but he'd reconsidered after seeing Victor's reaction. Victor barked that Albert Miller was burning in hell, and he would ask the devil to turn up the flames. Victor warned Jack not to take one step closer to his legacy and family. "Just try and stop me," Jack dared.
Dressed in her graduation gown, Sharon sat at her desk at home, writing something. Nick entered. He reminded Sharon that the hard part was over. Sharon said it wasn't over until she walked away from the podium because she'd been chosen to give the student address at the graduation ceremony. Nick was stunned. Sharon said she was excited and that was the big finish for her. Nick reminded her that she was no longer a student but a graduate, and he was very proud of her.
Nick was delighted that Sharon was so fired up about public speaking, and he had confidence in her, since she'd been the spokesperson for Jabot and Newman cosmetics. Sharon said the speech was more intimidating because it wasn't about a face cream -- it was personal.
Mariah entered and saw the cap and Sharon dressed in her graduation gown. Mariah said it was official -- her baby had grown up, and Mariah was very proud of her. Sharon asked Mariah for pointers on how to present her speech. Mariah advised Sharon to be warm and inviting, to focus on one person, and to bring the audience on her journey. She said that if Sharon flubbed a line or stumbled, she'd show everyone that she was a real person. Sharon, Nick, and Mariah left for the graduation ceremony, but seconds later, Sharon returned for her cap. As she picked it up, she smiled.
At graduation, Sharon spoke about her mental illness and about rebuilding her life. She spoke about the things she'd learned at Genoa City University. Nick and Mariah sat proudly in the audience during the applause.
After the ceremony, Sharon, Nick, and Mariah returned home. Sharon was surprised to see the living room had been decorated with a congratulatory banner, balloons, and Champagne on ice. While he poured the Champagne, Nick said that Sharon's accomplishment had been huge. Mariah toasted Sharon, saying Sharon had raised her children, helped strangers, run a coffee shop, hit the books with Christian on her knee, and made dinner for the family. Mariah proudly announced that Sharon was her hero.
Nick said that he'd been very proud when Sharon had given her speech, but he'd also felt guilty because Sharon had given up her dream of graduating to raise Noah. He said it was her time to shine, and he couldn't wait to see what she did next. Nick said it had been a huge year for them -- Sharon's graduation, launching Dark Horse, and planning their wedding. Things were very different from their first wedding. Nick said that Sharon was the same girl he'd fallen in love with, and he reflected on how far they'd come.
Nick told Sharon there was one thing left to do. He took Sharon to the bedroom, and they made love.
At the police station, Rey was reading the file on J.T. when Paul walked out of his office and told Rey they needed to talk. Rey agreed, and he told Paul that he'd had an interesting conversation with Victor the previous day. Paul said that unless Victor had told Rey where J.T. was hiding out, it didn't matter. Rey reminded Paul that he'd been brought in to run J.T.'s investigation. Paul said that Rey had been brought in by the Police Commission and not by him. He had to justify what Rey was costing his department, and at that moment, Paul didn't have justification because Rey had nothing to show for the time he'd spent.
Rey reminded Paul that if he wrapped up the case, Paul would get the credit. Paul countered that it wasn't about the credit; it was about solving the case. Rey said he would, and he wanted Paul to hear his plan. They went into Paul's office.
Rey told Paul that he'd followed up with the leads, but he'd been blindsided by Nick's impersonation of J.T. Paul sarcastically commented that Rey made mistakes, yet he'd been told that Rey was the best of the best. Rey said he learned from his mistakes, and he knew when to walk away. That was what made him the best, and he wasn't about to let that case beat him.
Paul accused Rey of getting personally involved. Rey pointed out that Paul was personally involved, since Paul had been the one who'd brought J.T. back to town so he could dig into Newman business. He reminded Paul that J.T. had gone off the rails on Paul's watch. Rey wasn't sure whether Paul was more worried whether Rey would find J.T. or that he wouldn't. Paul warned Rey to watch himself because Rey was wasting his own time and the department's resources, and he was seriously pissing Paul off in the process.
Rey told Paul that his plan was to go back to the night J.T. had disappeared. J.T. had been in Victoria's house, and he'd taken off without a trace. Rey said he'd start there and follow the trail. He said that half the information he'd received when he'd taken over the case had led to the night that J.T. had taken off. The other half was J.T.'s sudden reappearance on his way back to Genoa City. Rey said that once Nick had been removed from the equation, the trail ended at Victoria's house.
Rey told Paul that he knew J.T. had run into Cane Ashby at Crimson Lights and that J.T. had talked about packing it in. Later, J.T. had shown up at Victoria's house, where five women who disliked each other had been helping Victoria get over her breakup with J.T. Paul told Rey that he'd repeatedly questioned all the women. Rey said Paul's questioning had been the only reason Victoria had admitted that she'd helped J.T. leave town.
Rey said that he could piece together J.T.'s time before he arrived at Victoria's house, but not after. The reports were clear about the fact that he'd been abusing Victoria emotionally, but the night J.T. had shown up at Victoria's house, she'd helped him. He wanted to know where J.T. had gone. There was no security footage, no car rental, and no train or airplane tickets purchased. There was no straight line.
Rey said Paul knew as well as he did that someone couldn't just disappear. He felt that Victoria had been withholding information, something she'd done previously. Rey admitted that he'd acquainted himself with everyone under false pretenses, but he'd been rebuilding those relationships. Paul asked if Rey planned on questioning the women individually and who Rey wanted to begin with.
Rey told Paul that Nikki was warm on the outside but stone cold on the inside. He also knew that Paul and Nikki had a history. Victoria was too high-strung, and the longer the case went on, the more rattled she became, so Rey wanted to let Victoria ride that one out. Rey knew Phyllis wouldn't crack. Rey wanted to work on the weakest link: Sharon.
Rey said Sharon had just graduated with a degree in psychology with plans to go into social work. There just happened to be an opening for a victim liaison position within the police department. Paul agreed that Sharon would be a strong candidate. Rey suggested they hire Sharon, and she'd be where he'd be able to keep an eye on her. Rey said something had happened the night of the party, and he promised he'd get an answer to the J.T. puzzle.
Billy arrived at Jabot, and Gloria gave him a folder for his signature. She asked Billy if she should send Phyllis in when she arrived. Billy asked Gloria to give him a minute before sending Phyllis in because he had a few things he needed to handle. Before entering his office, Billy thanked Gloria for helping him with the wire transfer the previous evening. Gloria said she was certain there would be something extra in her next paycheck. Billy quipped there would be emojis and smiley faces. Gloria looked crestfallen.
Billy made a phone call to confirm that the wire transfer had been received. He told the party on the other end that they knew where to send the winnings when they started rolling in.
Phyllis arrived at Jabot. Gloria tried to stop Phyllis from entering Billy's office, but Phyllis ignored Gloria and barged in. Phyllis told Billy that she and Summer had had a huge talk; they had put everything on the table, and it hadn't been pretty. Phyllis said that she and Summer had discussed the three of them. Summer had been painfully honest, and she'd admitted that her actions had all been about hurting Phyllis. Phyllis thought that after their talk, they were fine. Phyllis said that deep down, she'd suspected what Summer had been doing. It had been brutal, but it had needed to happen.
Phyllis told Billy that Summer had been painfully honest about pursuing Billy, and it had been all about making Phyllis suffer. Summer had saved up all her resentment, and when she'd become an adult, she'd gone after Billy. Summer had known that it would drive a wedge between Phyllis and Billy, and she knew what made Phyllis bleed. Phyllis said that Summer's plan hadn't worked because she and Billy were solid. Billy wanted them to go somewhere private because there was more to talk about.
Billy and Phyllis entered the Abbotts' home. Billy questioned why Phyllis had felt the need to explain what had transpired between her and Summer and if there had been a hidden message. He said it felt as though Phyllis wanted to remind him to be honest and tell her everything. Phyllis said that Billy had been different recently, and she knew something was going on. Billy told Phyllis about the gambling syndicate. He admitted it had been a six-figure buy-in. Phyllis was shocked. She asked Billy where he'd gotten the money. Billy avoided revealing his source by telling Phyllis that he had it covered. Billy said he felt better when Phyllis knew everything.
Phyllis told Billy the reason she'd wanted to go to Vegas with him had been because she'd wanted to be on board with his gambling and to feel what he'd felt. She admitted that Vegas hadn't felt the same for her as it had for Billy. She said that for Billy, it had made him want more, but she didn't know what the end game was, so to her, it felt a little dangerous. Angry, Billy said he'd thought they'd been in it together, but he realized that Phyllis wanted to be the exciting sexy girlfriend who was fun-loving and free, but in reality, she was waiting for the moment to fix him, just like Victoria had. Victoria had drawn a line, and she'd warned him not to cross it.
Phyllis told Billy that there had to be moderation. She said that she wanted to be with Billy, but she wouldn't enable him. Phyllis wanted a happy life together. Billy said he was happy; if Phyllis wanted to be with him, that was fine, but if she didn't want to stay with him, that was fine, too. She had to make a choice. Phyllis said she wanted to be with Billy, but she had to figure out if his life was what she wanted as her life.
Kyle met Ashley at the Athletic Club. Ashely noted how pleased Kyle looked with himself. Kyle admitted that he was. He reminded Ashley that they'd agreed to allow Billy to implode and fall from grace on his own. He said their wait was over. Kyle said that Billy had dived into the deep end of the betting pool and that he'd stolen from the company to support his habit. Ashley was stunned. She told Kyle that Billy's gambling had been off limits and that Kyle had respected her decision.
Ashley accused Kyle of preying on Billy's addiction. Kyle said that he hadn't been the one who'd convinced Billy to lose the company yacht in a poker game. Kyle said that Billy hadn't sought out help for his addiction after that nor had it kept Billy from the poker tables. Kyle said Billy was a grenade waiting to go off, and Billy had pulled the pin himself.
Kyle told Ashley that a friend of his on Wall Street knew a guy who owned a betting syndicate. Members pooled their money, made huge bets, and each received a cut of the winnings. It was big risk, big reward, and big excitement. Kyle said that his friend had mentioned that the syndicate guy had bragged about signing up a CEO from Genoa City, and it sounded a lot like Billy. Kyle said the buy-in was mid-six figures. Ashley asked if that was all Kyle had -- a rumor out of New York. Ashley said that Billy didn't have access to that kind of cash. Kyle said that Billy hadn't used his own money when he'd bet Jaboat. Ashley didn't believe that Billy could get his hands on that kind of money.
Kyle pulled out his tablet and showed Ashley some new files on the Jabot server, showing financial transactions had been made after hours the previous evening and that they were password protected. Ashley said they could be anything. Kyle said they could also be Billy using Jabot money to play "big spender." Ashley thought Kyle just saw what he wanted to see, but Kyle said he couldn't see anything with a password lock.
Ashley said she was COO, and she wouldn't be locked out of the company files. However, when she tried to log into the files, she discovered that she'd been locked out. Kyle said the more Ashley turned a blind eye, the more damage Billy could do to Jabot. Ashley said that the grudge Kyle had against Billy had clouded his judgment, and she told him not to waste any more time on it. Ashley was angry and left.
At Jabot, Kyle tried to cajole Gloria into giving him the password for access to the financial information by presenting her with a red velvet cupcake. Gloria refused. He said that there had been a huge chunk of change that had been wired out, and the COO required the information. Gloria refused and suggested that Kyle wait for Billy to arrive and get the information from him. Kyle asked who had authorized the transfer, but Gloria refused to tell him.
Kyle reminded Gloria that she'd weaseled her way back into Jabot, where everyone had been waiting for her to "fall on [her] ass." Kyle warned Gloria that she'd be the one to suffer because Billy would save his own ass and let Gloria take the fall.
Kyle later met with Ashley in Billy's office. Caustically, Ashley asked if Kyle had been looking for betting slips or lottery tickets. Kyle said that Billy had gone beyond betting slips. He told Ashley that Gloria had given him the files for the locked data. Jt showed that a $500,000 wire transfer had been made the previous evening to New York City, and the receiving bank was associated with the gambling syndicate. He told Ashley that he'd confirmed the routing number with his contact. The company funds had left Jabot and were with other peoples' money, awaiting the next sure thing. He said that Billy wasn't only a guy with a gambling problem -- he was a CEO with an embezzling problem.
Ashley reminded Kyle that it wasn't only about the funds; Billy was her brother, and if the information was accurate, Billy was an addict and was spiraling. Ashley said that she'd wanted to have Billy removed as CEO, but she'd wanted it done in the right way. Kyle asked if Ashley would ignore what was right in front of her face. He asked if she hoped that Billy would fail in a more respectful way.
Kyle warned that Billy was over the edge, and he'd take down the company. Kyle suggested that if Ashley saved Jabot, she'd save her brother. He asked what would happen if she didn't save Billy. As Ashley was about to leave, Kyle asked what Ashley planned to do. Ashley left without answering.
At Dark Horse, Abby admired the new office, and Jack credited Arturo with making it happen. Abby wondered if Jack had summoned her to get more information about their new head of construction, but he wanted to talk to her about Victor. She was blown away that Jack and Victor could be brothers, and Jack requested her help to continue the investigation by getting a sample of Victor's DNA. Abby balked.
Jack recognized that he was asking a lot, and Abby hesitated to go behind her father's back. Jack asserted that he was just looking for something Victor wouldn't miss, like a toothbrush or some strands of hair. Abby understood that Jack was anxious to find out who he was, but she felt uncomfortable being caught in the middle. He chased her to the elevator and begged her to hear him out, but she firmly said she was sorry. He vowed not to give up until he knew the truth.
At the Athletic Club, Victor and Victoria discussed the restructuring of their real estate division after the losses it had suffered. She looked distracted, and he asked if she was all right. She insisted that it was just warm in there. Nate interrupted to check on Victor, who confirmed that he'd been following his diet and exercise plan. Victor thanked him for checking in, but Victoria snapped that it hadn't been necessary because her father was fine. Nate stepped away, and Victor commented that Nate had turned out to be a fine doctor.
Jack spotted Victor and Victoria and lingered out of sight until they finished their meeting. After the Newmans left, Jack made his way over to their empty table and swiped Victor's napkin. Devon approached and asked what Jack was doing, and Jack claimed that he'd just finished breakfast. Devon pointed out that Jack had put a napkin in his pocket, and Jack pretended that he hadn't realized it. He placed the napkin back on the table, and he scowled when a waiter took it away. Jack made a call and asked to meet with someone.
Across the dining room, Devon told Nate that he was worried about Lily. Devon bemoaned that she'd only spent a couple of weeks in prison, but it had killed him to see her there. Nate imagined that Devon's visit had lifted her spirits, and Devon acknowledged that he wouldn't have gone without the push from Charlie. Devon was glad that Charlie had been mature enough to reach out, and Nate remarked that it was amazing what people could do when they were willing to take the first step.
Later, Jack thanked Matt Miller for taking time away from visiting friends in Madison to meet with him. Matt remarked that it had been a long time since he'd been in Genoa City, and Jack guessed that Matt hadn't remained close with Victor. Matt clarified that he and Victor were on no terms rather than bad ones, and Jack indicated that his rivalry with Victor was as strong as ever. Matt assumed that Jack had contacted him for some sort of help with Victor, but Jack revealed that he knew Matt had called GC Buzz to identify his father in the photo.
Jack divulged that he'd been the one trying to find out who the man in the picture was, since he had reason to believe the guy could be his own biological father. Matt realized that they could be brothers, and Jack said he needed Matt's help to determine if he was Victor's brother, too. Jack explained that Abby had been making a film of Dina's life to capture her grandmother's memories while Dina still had them, and Dina had let them know that John wasn't Jack's father. Jack continued that Dina couldn't remember who his father was and that she might never do so, and Matt sympathized with Dina's condition.
Jack lamented that he had lost the only father he'd ever known and that he was losing his mother, and he needed help to find out who he was connected to. Matt realized that Jack wanted a DNA sample, and he surmised that asking Victor was out of the question. Matt recognized that he and Victor weren't close, but he didn't want to do anything to upset his brother, and Matt understood better than anyone why Victor didn't need another reminder of Albert Miller in his life. Victor glowered at them from across the room.
Victor asked "what the hell" Matt was doing there, and Matt dryly replied that it was good to see him, too. Jack explained that he'd invited Matt to have a drink, and Victor snarled that he knew why Jack had done it, but the question was why Matt had agreed. Matt said he hadn't known what Jack had wanted to talk about, and he hadn't offered to help with anything yet. Victor condemned Matt for discussing family matters, and he questioned whether Matt's loyalty to his brother meant nothing.
Jack inquired whether Victor would feel loyalty toward him if he ended up being Victor's brother. Matt understood that Jack just wanted answers about his family, and he was curious about whether Jack belonged to theirs. Victor huffed that he already knew everything about Jack, and so should Matt. Victor walked away, and Matt wondered if Jack should just drop it. Jack pleaded for Matt's help, since it was Jack's last shot at finding out whether he and Victor were brothers.
Charlie stopped by to see Shauna at Devon's penthouse, and he wished her a happy birthday and handed her a gift. She called him sweet, but she warned that Devon wasn't there. Charlie didn't want to get her in trouble, and he imagined that his gift was nothing compared to what Devon had gotten her. Shauna revealed that she hadn't told Devon that it was her birthday.
Charlie filmed Shauna on his phone as she opened her present. She found a bracelet from their prom inside, and he called it the best night ever, thanks to Hilary. Shauna gushed that she would think of Hilary and Charlie every time she looked at it. They leaned in to kiss, but Nate interrupted when he walked in. Nate wished Shauna a happy birthday, and she asked how he'd known. He referred to the birthday-themed wrapping paper, and the teens headed to the coffeehouse to celebrate.
Later, Devon was surprised to learn from Nate that it was Shauna's 18th birthday. Nate figured that Shauna had thought Devon had a lot going on, and Devon recounted that he hadn't wanted to cause a commotion on his birthday when he'd been in foster care, especially with parents he'd liked. Nate recalled Devon's first birthday with Neil and Dru, when Malcolm had rescued Devon from being eaten by a lion at the zoo. Nate mentioned that Charlie had taken Shauna to Crimson Lights, and he suggested that Devon have his hotel chef whip up a fancy cake to surprise her when she got home. Devon intended to do much better than that.
Victoria experienced trouble concentrating at work. She sent a text message to Nate, inviting him to give it his best shot if he wanted to help. Devon asked Nate if it was good news, and Nate indicated that a window of opportunity had opened up, but he was sure it wouldn't be long before it slammed shut again. Nate referred to the not-so-fun part of his job -- calling on difficult patients. Devon wished him luck, and Nate headed out. Victoria started to type another message to order Nate not to show up, but she erased the message before sending it.
At Crimson Lights, Sharon ordered Rey not to take another step. He swore that he was just there to congratulate her on her recent graduation, but she asked if he was still spying on her. He pointed out that it was hardly a secret because Nick had been bragging about her, but she curtly informed him that she wasn't interested in making small talk. Rey announced that he wanted to offer her a job with the police department. Sharon protested that she would make a lousy cop, but Rey explained that he wasn't looking for a cadet but a victim liaison.
Sharon realized that the job would be working with crime victims, and Rey contended that the work saved lives by offering emotional support. Sharon considered it a simple thing to let someone know others cared, but Rey admitted that most cops got caught up in crime-solving and forgot about the human aspect. Sharon surmised that the job would include working closely with the police as well as the victims, and Rey confirmed that there was a solid relationship between the cops and the liaison. He added that he'd already talked to Paul, and the job was hers if she wanted it. She thanked him for thinking of her, but she turned him down.
Sharon asked Rey if she could get him anything else, and he requested a change of heart. He hoped that she hadn't turned down the job because of him, and she shared that she wasn't sure it was the direction she wanted to take her career in. He figured that it wasn't much different from her work on the crisis line, helping people who would otherwise fall through the cracks. Sharon conceded that it had felt good to do that, and Rey anticipated that she'd have that every day on the liaison job. She agreed to talk it over with Nick and the rest of her family to see what they thought.
On the patio, Sharon presented Shauna with a cupcake on the house, complete with a candle. Charlie prompted Shauna to make a wish, and Shauna paused for a moment before blowing out the candle. He asked what she'd wished for, but she clucked that it wouldn't happen if she told him. Mattie joined them and declared that it was time to go, since her birthday gift to Shauna was a spa day. Charlie questioned how Mattie had known Shauna was there, and Mattie pointedly replied that Devon wanted Charlie to call him.
Nate entered Victoria's office, and Victoria wished she hadn't summoned him, since she was just overworked. She insisted that she was already following a workout regimen if he planned on prescribing one. He agreed that it was an excellent stress reliever, and she asked why it wasn't working. Nate suspected that stress was a symptom of the real problem, and he warned that it might never get better if he didn't find out what was causing it. Victoria maintained that she wasn't interested in therapy, and Nate proposed a solution that didn't involve counseling.
Nate recalled that J.T. had made Victoria feel like she wasn't in control of her own life, and he wanted to give her that control back by helping her not to feel powerless anymore. He sensed that her fear would go away if she felt like she could protect herself, and he offered to teach her a few basic self-defense moves. He pulled out a karate uniform and mentioned that he'd studied various martial arts. Victoria argued that she wasn't a violent person, but Nate countered that it was about empowerment to make her feel strong again. She admitted that she would like that, and she accepted the outfit from him.
After Victoria changed into the uniform, Nate instructed her how to relax her body. He had her lunge toward him, and he caught her when she almost toppled over. He coached her on how to maintain her balance, since balance equaled control, which was one of five tenets of tae kwon do. He compared martial arts to ballet, where multiple disciplines were blended to create the perfect dance. She requested that he teach her how to do a high kick, and he reminded her that it wasn't about inflicting pain. He guided her through the move, and they bonded when she successfully completed it.
Nate volunteered to teach Victoria a few more techniques, but she received a text message and claimed that she had to help Sharon with some wedding stuff. Nate told Victoria to call if she needed anything, and he suggested that she keep the outfit. He handed over her suit jacket, and she left. He looked pleased.
After going to the spa, Mattie and Shauna stepped off the elevator outside Devon's penthouse. Shauna fretted about the cost, but Mattie thought they'd had to do something special for Shauna's birthday. Mattie added that it was nice having someone to go with, since she usually went with her mom and really missed her. Shauna mentioned that her parents had called for her birthday, but it wasn't the same. Mattie hoped that she'd made Shauna's day a little better, and Shauna exclaimed that it couldn't get any better.
The girls entered the penthouse and found it festively decorated. Friends and family yelled, "Surprise!" Devon hugged Shauna and wished her a happy birthday, and Charlie swore that he hadn't said anything about it. Devon said he would have invited her parents if he'd known, but Shauna reported that they'd just gotten new jobs in Colorado. Devon proposed a toast and contemplated listing the reasons he was glad she was in his life, but he thought he'd let Hilary do those honors.
Devon pulled out a list that Hilary had compiled to convince him that it was a good idea for Shauna to move in with them. Devon read that Shauna had needed Hilary and that Shauna was a great kid who was smart, kind, and a hard worker who deserved a break. Devon continued that Hilary had believed that Shauna could help her more than Hilary could ever help Shauna. Devon declared that Hilary had seen something special in Shauna, and Shauna had given him much joy in the short time he'd known her. He added that the world was a better place with Shauna in it, and he wished her a happy 18th birthday. They hugged.
Charlie asked if Shauna was having a good time; she called the party amazing, but she was worried about him. She suspected that he was thinking about his mom, but he thought Lily would be mad if he was moping instead of having a good time with his friends. Mattie presented Shauna with a gift that cost nothing but was worth a lot, and Shauna opened a voter registration form. Nate arrived and greeted the birthday girl, and he hoped she wasn't angry with him for spilling the beans. Shauna gushed that it was the best birthday she'd ever had.
After the guests left, Devon asked a quiet Shauna if she was okay. She insisted that she couldn't have asked for more, but he could think of at least one thing that was missing. Shauna believed that Hilary would have loved what he'd done, and Devon explained that he'd wanted to mark the milestone in a special way for Shauna. Shauna pointed out that being 18 meant that she was old enough to live on her own.
Devon supposed that had been why Shauna had kept her birthday from him. Shauna recognized that it had been Hilary's idea for her to move in, and she didn't want Devon to feel that she had to stay. Devon adamantly stated that it had never crossed his mind once to ask Shauna to move out, since they were family, and there was no expiration date on that. He proclaimed that it was time for her to open her present.
Shauna opened an envelope and protested that it was too much, since she knew how much college cost. She unveiled her plan to go to community college while saving money and applying for scholarships, but Devon announced that Shauna was the first recipient of the Hilary Curtis-Hamilton Memorial Scholarship, which covered all expenses to a four-year university anywhere in the world. Shauna squealed that she'd never dreamed of going to a college like that, and Devon recalled that Hilary had always encouraged her to dream big. He recounted that Hilary had been excited about Shauna's future, and he wanted Shauna to have everything Hilary had wanted her to have. Shauna pledged to make him proud, and she tearfully thanked him.
Victoria met Sharon at the coffeehouse and was shocked to hear that Rey had offered Sharon a job. Victoria pushed Sharon to accept it, since Rey was trying to get information out of Sharon, and the best way to stop him was to turn the tables on him. Victoria expected that Sharon could keep tabs on Rey and the investigation into J.T.'s disappearance, and Sharon would also have access to confidential information, so she could warn them if there was any new evidence. Victoria envisioned being able to keep Rey off their trail long enough to have the case go cold, and she imagined what a relief it would be. Sharon hated the idea of lying to her coworkers every day, but Victoria questioned whether it was worse than the idea of going to prison.
Rey returned to the coffeehouse in response to a text message from Sharon. She announced that she had an answer for him after speaking to some friends whose opinion she respected. Rey guessed that they'd agreed that she'd be a perfect fit, but she found it daunting to be part of the police force compared to working with victims on the hotline. She confided that it was unfamiliar territory to face situations that she couldn't control, but she'd decided to take the job to go outside her comfort zone. Rey hoped that she would eventually feel at home, and he proposed that she start the next day. He welcomed her to the force, and they shook hands.
At the police station, Rey told someone over the phone that a new employee would be starting that day, and he wanted to be sure that Sharon's desk was assigned near his. Meanwhile, at the cottage, Nick asked if Sharon was excited, but he noticed that she was on the phone. She informed him that she was on hold with the police station, since she'd decided that taking the job wasn't such a good idea. Sharon decided to call back in a few minutes, and Nick wondered why the great new job that she'd been handpicked for wasn't so great after all. She complained that it was happening too fast, but he chalked it up to first-day jitters.
Sharon groaned that she'd barely taken her cap and gown off when Rey had dangled the job in front of her, and she didn't trust him. Nick reasoned that she couldn't hold a grudge against a cop who had been doing his job, and he pointed out that Sharon would be working for Paul, who she did trust. Sharon snapped at Nick for pushing it, and he apologized. She worried that dealing with crime victims was sensitive work, and she might say the wrong thing and make a terrible situation worse.
Nick countered that Sharon could save people's lives, and he questioned what a certified counselor with a brand-new diploma would tell her to do. Sharon recognized that there were people who needed help, and she shouldn't let old anxieties creep in, because she was a more capable and confident person than she had been. She owed it to those people to show up for them. She declared that she didn't want to be late for her first day of work, and they kissed. She looked uncertain as she headed to the door.
At the Athletic Club, Jack thanked Matt for meeting him again, but Matt warned that he wasn't there to give Jack the answers he wanted to hear. Jack figured that Victor had gotten to him, but Matt revealed that Victor had been avoiding him by refusing to accept his calls. Jack swore that he didn't want to cause a rift, but he needed answers, and Matt was his last resort because Victor wouldn't provide his DNA. Matt sympathized, but he maintained that Jack had to get his answers elsewhere.
Matt explained that helping Jack felt like betraying Victor. Jack scoffed at the idea that Victor had been good to Matt, but Matt insisted that Victor was still his brother, and any DNA Jack got would have to be from Victor. Nick interrupted, and Jack was surprised that Nick didn't recognize Matt. Jack introduced Nick to his uncle, and Nick felt like they should have met at Thanksgiving dinner instead. Matt indicated that he'd been living in Oregon, and Nick asked why he was in town. Matt deferred to Jack, and Jack quipped that he was trying to figure out whether Nick should start calling him "uncle," as well.
Jack and Matt updated Nick about Jack's plea for assistance, but Jack understood that Matt didn't want to go behind Victor's back. Nick stated that he was the polar opposite, and he wondered if he could provide a DNA sample. Jack indicated that he could only get a definitive sample from Matt or Victor, and Nick asked if Matt was sure he didn't want to help. Matt recalled that Victor clearly hadn't liked being surprised, but he volunteered to try to strike a compromise with his brother. Nick cautioned that he didn't know anyone who could talk Victor into anything, and he advised Jack to be careful what he wished for.
Sharon arrived at the police station and found a congratulatory balloon and a plant delivery on her desk. Rey informed her that the balloon was from him to show her how glad he was that she was there. She thanked him, and she read the card on the plant, which was from Phyllis, Nikki, and Victoria. Sharon forced a smile and claimed that Nick had sent it.
Sharon had her employee photo taken and groused that it looked like a mug shot. She protested that Rey hadn't needed to go with her to HR or buy her a balloon, but he was determined to chip away at her anger and create a conducive working environment. She lectured that he had a long way to go, and he asked who was running Crimson Lights. She explained that she'd prepared her staff because she'd anticipated stepping back when she got her career up and running, but she could always fall back on it. Rey called her a natural, and he offered to get her anything she needed.
Rey greeted a woman named Ivy and led her into Paul's office. He privately informed Sharon that the woman was connected to a drug gang in the city, and Sharon observed that Ivy looked like a victim. Rey remarked that sometimes people could be both, and he mentioned that Ivy had just been released because the charges against her had been dropped. He hoped to get Ivy to testify against the gang, and Sharon questioned why he was involved in cases other than J.T.'s. Rey claimed that Paul was just getting his money's worth, and he didn't mind chipping in. He added that he could use Sharon's help.
Sharon briefly reviewed a file before stepping into Paul's office. Rey began to introduce Sharon to Ivy, but Sharon cut him off, shook Ivy's hand, and explained that her job was to be an advocate for people whose lives had been affected by crime. Sharon added that she was there to look out for Ivy because she was on Ivy's side, and she pulled up a chair. Rey said they'd just been talking about Ivy helping the police by testifying, and Sharon urged Ivy to remember that she didn't have to do anything she didn't want to do, including testifying.
Sharon imagined that Ivy was relieved to have the homicide charges dropped, and Rey contended that Ivy had been defending herself, so it didn't matter that she'd been at the scene to get drugs. Sharon explained that Ivy was being asked to testify against the man her drug dealer had worked for, and Rey assured Ivy that the police protected their witnesses. Sharon confided that she knew someone in witness protection, and no one had ever found him. Sharon understood that it was difficult for Ivy to let go of her fear after years of being terrorized by her dealer and his friends. Sharon shared that she'd had a friend who'd been abused, so she knew from experience that the most important thing was that no one would ever harm Ivy again.
Rey promised that he would never put Ivy in danger, and he took pride in keeping his word. Ivy worried about her family, and she revealed that her husband had taken her kids from her to protect them. Ivy confessed that she'd gone to rehab but still kept doing drugs, and she'd broken her husband's trust by lying to him. Sharon stressed that what happened next was Ivy's decision, and Ivy asserted that she wanted her husband and children to be proud of her. Sharon pointed out that Ivy could have that by helping the police make sure the dealers never did to another family what they'd done to hers.
Sharon completed some paperwork at her desk, and Rey emerged from the office and announced that Ivy had agreed to testify, thanks to Sharon. Rey marveled that Sharon had spoken Ivy's language, and he thought it was rare to see the empathy Sharon had shown. Sharon teased that he hadn't liked it at first, and he admitted that he'd almost lost it when she'd said Ivy didn't have to testify, but Sharon had gotten her to sign on the dotted line. Sharon applauded Rey for being nice to Ivy, and he confessed that his old chief had told him that he had a soft touch because he'd taken in a witness who hadn't had a roof over his head for months.
Rey conceded that he sometimes got too personally involved, but he didn't know any other way to work. Sharon told him about how she'd taken in a homeless woman and her kids, and Rey imagined that Nick had gotten a kick out of it. Rey figured that they had some things in common, so maybe working together would turn out okay. He commended her for a job well done on her first day. Later, Rey sent a text message to Paul and reported that he and Sharon had built trust, so everything was going according to plan.
Sharon returned home and informed Nick that her first day had been very eye-opening. She cited one case in particular, where there had been lots of collateral damage because of lies. He mused that it was a good lesson about honesty. They both struggled with the secrets they were keeping.
At the Abbott mansion, Kyle sent a text message to Ashley to ask where she was, since it was important that they talk. Billy entered and asked if Kyle was communicating with Ashley, but Kyle reported that he'd had no luck reaching her. Ashley returned home, followed by Traci. Billy was surprised because Traci was supposed to be on a book tour, and Ashley shot Kyle a knowing look. Traci stammered that she'd decided to visit home for a while, so Ashley had picked her up from the airport.
Traci reported that she'd had an awesome turnout at her venues, and Billy questioned why she'd returned early when she'd still had a few weeks on her tour. Traci divulged that she'd had a long talk with Ashley about their mother's decline. Traci recognized that Jack had moved back in to help, and she'd felt that she needed to be there, too. Billy hesitated to go to the office when Traci had just gotten there, and Ashley suggested that they all have breakfast together.
Traci stepped out to say hello to Mrs. Martinez, and Billy joined her. Kyle doubted that Ashley had just happened to call Traci about Dina when they were relying on Traci to take over from Billy, but Ashley insisted that she'd wanted to reconnect with her sister. Kyle griped about Ashley sidelining him even though she'd claimed to believe he'd had nothing to do with Billy's gambling, but Ashley thought the real question was why Kyle kept forcing it.
Over the phone, Billy blasted someone for losing $50,000 of his money in less than 48 hours when the idea was to minimize risk. He complained about there being no payout that week, and he warned that it better not happen again. After he hung up, Kyle asked if everything was all right, and Billy claimed that a supplier had missed a deadline, so he had to get to the office. Ashley declared her intention to work from home, and Billy left. Ashley offered to join Traci for her visit with Dina, but Traci insisted that she would be fine because Dina always liked her, even if she didn't remember that Traci was her daughter.
Traci thanked Ashley for calling and getting her home, and she headed upstairs. Kyle wondered if Ashley had noticed Billy's mood, since Billy usually didn't get that tense with suppliers. Ashley testily theorized that Billy didn't like having his addiction manipulated by a family member, but Kyle took credit for uncovering that Billy's gambling had led to him stealing from his own company. Ashley conceded that she had an obligation to Jabot, and she vowed to put Jabot first. Kyle proclaimed that he'd always been in her corner and still was, and she mumbled, "Good to know."
Later, Traci returned downstairs and bemoaned that Dina seemed disconnected. Ashley hated to add to the burden, but she revealed that Billy's demons had resurfaced. Ashley divulged that she'd seen documentation of him buying into a high-priced gambling syndicate with a six-figure price tag. Ashley asserted that she had an obligation as COO to protect Jabot, and she thought Billy had to step aside to deal with it, but they'd have to use other means if he refused to do it voluntarily. Traci argued that she wasn't qualified to run Jabot, but Ashley assured her that it would only be long enough to get rid of the blood Abbott clause and appoint someone else to take over because of their skills and not their DNA.
Traci thought that helping Billy couldn't wait, and Ashley excitedly asked if Traci would help the company. Traci maintained that she had no place running Jabot, even temporarily, but she knew of something else that might work better that they could implement right away. Traci suspected that taking Billy's job away might make things worse, and she recommended that they stage an intervention instead.
At Jabot, Billy hissed over the phone that it had better be a one-time thing. Kyle entered and asked if Billy wanted him to deal with the supplier, but Billy snapped that he didn't need help. Kyle recognized that being CEO was a demanding job, and he cautioned that it would be rolling the dice with the company to pretend otherwise. Billy said Kyle reminded him of the old stories about Jack, who hadn't had any check on his ambition. Billy warned that Jack had only found pain and disappointment, since Jack had ended up working as a subordinate for a Newman.
Billy advised Kyle not to end up just like Jack -- on the outside, looking in. Kyle found it odd that Billy was accusing him of being blindly ambitious when Billy had screwed over his brother to take over the place. Kyle argued that Jack would still be there if Billy hadn't decided to keep the blood Abbott clause, and he insinuated that actions had consequences. Billy demanded to know what that meant, but Kyle wordlessly walked out.
At Newman Enterprises, Victor poured a cup of coffee in the break room, where Abby tracked him down. She wondered how he was doing with everything that was going on with Jack, and he huffed that he wanted nothing to do with the search to find out if they were brothers. Abby reported that Jack wasn't about to give up.
Abby voiced concern about Jack's search causing Victor unnecessary stress when her father had recently been seriously ill. Victor invited her to join him for his physical therapy session that day to put her worries to rest. Abby noted that she still had a lot to learn, so she needed him healthy and strong. He assured her that working out took his mind off all the nonsense, especially Jack trying to get Victor's DNA. Victor headed out, and Abby thoughtfully stared at his coffee cup before she set it in the sink.
After Nate examined Victor with Abby present, Victor thanked Nate for reassuring his daughter. Nate reported that everything checked out fine, but he inquired whether there was any new stress Victor was dealing with. Victor indicated that there was nothing out of the ordinary, and Abby promised to try to contain her concerns. Victor insisted that he was in perfectly capable hands, and she headed out. Nate sensed that Victor hadn't been truthful about there not being any new stress.
Matt appeared at the door, and Victor introduced Nate as a friend of the family. After Nate left, Matt apologized if his arrival in town had caused tension. Victor recalled that they hadn't talked much over the years, but he'd thought he could rely on Matt's understanding and loyalty. Matt insisted that Victor could, and he thought they'd hashed out their feelings about Albert years earlier. Victor thought they'd agreed to never talk about their father again, but Matt doubted that it was a workable solution to pretend Jack's questions didn't exist. Victor stated that Matt was the only brother he wanted.
Matt found it sad that he'd been as close as Madison and never thought to stop by and say hello, and Victor acknowledged that closeness between brothers depended on both sides. Matt inquired whether it was an accusation or a confession, and Victor commented that sometimes even the relationships with people he lived with weren't what he'd envisioned. Matt considered it all the more reason to give Jack the information he needed, since maybe it would turn the page for Jack and Victor. Victor barked that he had zero interest in establishing a relationship with Jack, who had no spine.
Matt asserted that it took a strong man to overcome his past and look toward an uncertain future, just like Victor had. Matt recounted that Victor had changed his name and made a new name for himself, but Victor thought he and Jack couldn't be compared on any level. Matt suspected that the reason Victor couldn't entertain the idea that he and Jack might be related had to do with their father, but Victor firmly stated that Albert was no longer a presence in his life. Matt agreed that they were better off without the "bastard" in their lives, and he thought Victor had a chance to prove it.
Later, Jack arrived at Newman in response to a vague message from Matt. Victor appeared and declared that Nate would take samples from their cheeks to submit for a DNA test. Jack was amazed that Victor had found reason, but Victor clarified that he was only doing it to prove once and for all that they weren't related. Jack asked how long it would take, and Nate anticipated getting the results as early as the next day. Nate handed swabs to Jack and Victor.