At the Grand Phoenix, Billy asked Crystal at the front desk if Jesse Gaines was a registered guest. Crystal checked her registry and seemed surprised that Mr. Gaines had suddenly checked out, his bill having been paid in full. Billy said he found it odd that a guest would seemingly disappear. Billy glanced toward the lounge and noticed Victor seated alone.
Billy approached Victor and asked if he'd planned to meet with Jesse Gaines. Victor said it sounded like the name of Billy's bookie. Billy suggested it wasn't a coincidence that Gaines was no longer at the hotel, but Victor was. Victor laughed. Billy, noting that Victor seemed out of place, asked why he was lounging at the hotel. Victor, ignoring Billy, rose from his chair, approached Crystal, and told her he'd be in the restaurant.
From Victoria's office at Newman Enterprises, Ashland phoned Jesse Gaines and left a message. Ashland angrily noted that Gaines had been a no-show at their scheduled meeting. Ashland warned that Gaines had better not renege on their deal because it would be extremely foolish. When Victoria entered, Ashland quickly changed his tone of voice and ended the message by saying he looked forward to meeting to clear things up.
After Ashland hung up, Victoria said it sounded like someone was in trouble, judging by his tone of voice. Ashland claimed that a valued employee simply wasn't adjusting well to the merger. Victoria told Ashland that his explanation, deliberately vague, sounded as if he was hiding something. Ashland insisted he wasn't hiding anything and had the situation with his employee well in hand. Victoria assured Ashland she was his ally and expected him to openly share everything truthfully. Victoria again asked Ashland to explain his phone call. Ashland looked nervous. Nikki interrupted to announce that Leslie Brooks would be performing during the wedding ceremony.
Ashland told Nikki he was impressed and recalled that Leslie was a family friend of the Newmans. Ashland tried to quickly excuse himself, but Victoria told him they hadn't finished their conversation. Nikki apologized and said she'd give them privacy. Ashland replied, "No, no, no, that's all right. Victoria and I can finish up later."
After Ashland abruptly rushed out, Nikki asked Victoria if everything was all right. Victoria appeared stunned, but she replied, "Of course." Victoria said she believed Billy was still harassing Ashland. Nikki explained that other reporters were likely digging into Ashland's past, as well. Victoria said that no one but them was supposed to know that Ashland had changed his identity. Nikki said others could have figured it out on their own.
When Ashland entered the Grand Phoenix, Billy immediately noted that Jesse Gaines had checked out. Victor suddenly reappeared and thanked Ashland for meeting with him. Billy said he had questions to ask them both. Victor replied, "You're a pest, Billy Boy." Billy questioned their choice of meeting space, given that Newman Media was just around the corner.
Ashland noted that he and Victor were about to become family and were not just business colleagues. Victor suggested he and Ashland retreat to his ranch. As Victor and Ashland were leaving, Billy reminded Ashland that Victor hadn't offered help when Ashland had suffered a heart attack. Victor turned to face Billy and said, "You're incorrigible, aren't you, huh? Why don't you take a long walk off a short cliff?"
After Victor and Ashland arrived at the ranch, Victor offered to pour Ashland a drink. Ashland declined the drink, but he thanked Victor for having run interference with Billy, admitting that constant suspicions at every turn had gotten to be a bit too much. Victor replied, "Don't worry about it. I took care of it for you, okay?" Ashland said he hoped it proved true, though he feared Billy was bound and determined to remain a thorn in his side. Victor said he was talking about taking care of the problem with Jesse Gaines. Ashland looked shocked. Victor said, "Would you care for a drink now?"
Ashland claimed that Gaines was an old acquaintance. Victor noted that Jesse Gaines had been collecting $300,000 a year from Ashland for decades without doing "a damn thing." Victor said Gaines seemed to be part of an extortion racket. Victor assured Ashland that he'd paid Gaines a lot of money, so Gaines would stay away. Victor told Ashland it was a wedding gift. Ashland wanted to know if Gaines had asked for money. Victor explained that he'd sought out Gaines to warn him that he'd either be imprisoned for blackmail or accept the terms of a generous offer.
Victor acknowledged that both he and Ashland had dark backgrounds, so he didn't care what the issue was concerning Gaines because bygones should be bygones. Ashland warned that they couldn't trust Gaines to keep his word. Victor said he'd keep an eye on the man. Victor explained that he'd done what he'd done for Victoria because he adored her and wanted her to remain happy with Ashland. Victor warned that what Victor had done could be undone in the blink of an eye. Ashland assured Victor that Victor had no reason to worry because Ashland wanted to make Victoria as happy as he was. Victor lifted his glass and said Ashland had nothing to worry about as long as it stayed that way.
Mariah returned to her suite at the Grand Phoenix and found a note from Tessa explaining that she'd gone out for a while. Mariah set down her bag, began emptying the contents, and found a blue bib. The bib conjured flashbacks of the moment Dominic had been born, the first time Mariah had cradled the infant at the hospital, and the day Mariah had unsettled Abby by taking the baby for a stroll to soothe him. Devon stopped by. Devon explained that both he and Abby had been concerned about Mariah.
Devon admitted to Mariah that none of them involved with Dominic's birth had ever dealt with a situation like it and that he, too, was unsure of his role in the baby's life. Devon said he felt a deepening connection to the baby. Devon admitted he had to remind himself that he was the godfather and that Chance was the father. Mariah asked Devon if he'd discussed his feelings with Abby. Devon said he hadn't, though he understood why Mariah had shared her feelings.
Devon recalled that Mariah still feared Stitch. Devon offered assurance that Stitch and his son were long gone. Mariah said she would be relieved when Stitch was captured and jailed. Mariah announced that she and Tessa had made plans to help her heal emotionally, though she wasn't ready to share their incredibly exciting news. Mariah asked Devon to tell Abby that she was well on the road to recovery.
At Crimson Lights, Tessa thanked Sharon for adhering to Mariah's request to have a little space. Sharon was relieved to hear that Mariah seemed to be in better spirits after moving out of the Chancellor house. Sharon said it was beneficial for Mariah to physically distance herself from the baby. Sharon said she hoped Mariah might benefit from the emotional distance, as well. Tessa replied, "Yeah, I'm not so sure about that."
After Tessa explained that Mariah wanted to start a family, Sharon asked Tessa if she was ready. Tessa indicated she wasn't ready and needed advice on how to approach the subject with Mariah without upsetting her. Tessa broke down in tears and said she feared taking away Mariah's fantasy of them having a baby because it had lifted her spirits and given her something to hold on to. Tessa acknowledged that Mariah wasn't truly ready any more than Tessa was. Sharon agreed and explained that Mariah was grieving and trying to fill a void.
Tessa suggested she might play along to placate Mariah a little longer. Sharon discouraged the idea, explaining that Mariah would suffer another loss after discovering that Tessa wasn't ready to welcome a baby. Sharon advised Tessa to tell Mariah the truth, though it wouldn't be easy. Sharon said she believed Mariah would understand.
After Tessa left, Rey stopped by. Sharon told him Tessa had stopped by, seeking advice. Sharon poured out her heart and cried that because Mariah had been through so much, it had been difficult not to reach out to comfort her. Rey told Sharon that Tessa felt comfortable approaching her and would do so if an emergency arose.
After Devon left Mariah's, he stopped by to visit Abby. Abby said she'd just put Dominic down for a nap. Devon was disappointed and said he'd hoped to spend time with the baby. Devon announced that Amanda had accepted his invitation to move in with him. Abby heard Dominic crying and went to check on him. Abby returned, cradling her fussy infant, and told Devon their discussion would have to wait until another time. Devon offered to take the baby for a walk, so Abby could rest. The baby immediately settled after Devon cradled him in his arms.
When Tessa returned to her hotel room, she told Mariah that they'd received an invitation to Victoria's wedding. Tessa said the wedding trip would give them a much-needed change of scenery. Mariah agreed and said they should enjoy traveling before settling down. Mariah admitted she'd wanted to share their news when Devon had visited earlier. Tessa said that though she knew Mariah was ready to jump in with both feet, she was not ready to change their lives. Mariah said she understood and had gotten over the idea of raising a child of their own.
While Devon pushed Dominic in his stroller through Chancellor Park, he explained their connection to Katherine and said she was a special woman. Devon told Dominic that Katherine was his great-grandmother and that, later on, Dominic would learn stories about her and others in the family that had help build the town. Devon added, "You got the Newmans. You got the Abbotts. You have the Chancellors. You have the Winters. Neil Winters was my dad." Devon became emotional when he told Dominic he wished Dominic could meet Neil.
Rey took Sharon to Society to help get her mind off her troubles. Sharon told Rey that the shirt he was wearing reminded her of their honeymoon because he'd bought it in Miami. Sharon was impressed that Rey had arranged to have a song they'd danced to playing. Rey said he'd ordered the same menu items they'd enjoyed during their honeymoon trip, as well. Sharon was charmed. Rey promised they were just getting started.
Rey had Sharon close her eyes before he waved a scented paper infused with perfume under her nose. Sharon said it smelled like the botanical garden they'd visited in Florida. Sharon picked up the bottle of perfume Rey gave her and promised that when they returned home, she'd be wearing nothing but the flowery scent.
Victoria and Nikki were enjoying coffee at Crimson Lights when they encountered Billy. Billy told Victoria that both he and Ashland had just happened to have a meeting at the same time with a man named Jesse Gaines, who was Ashland's former lawyer. Billy said he could tell by Victoria's reaction that she'd never heard Jesse Gaines's name and was surprised Ashland hadn't mentioned it.
Victoria shook her head in dismay and said, "What is your point, Billy? Ashland and my mother and I are running a multinational conglomerate. Do you really think that we have the time to give each other a rundown of who we speak to in the course of a day?" Billy said Victoria should know about Jesse Gaines. Victoria ordered Billy to stay out of her and Ashland's lives. Nikki glared at Billy. Billy seemed unfazed.
Amanda lugged her suitcases into Devon's penthouse, and Moses joked that Devon needed a bigger place. Amanda swore that it looked like more than what it was, and Moses assured her that it was good to have her there. He begged off helping her with her luggage because he was late to meet Faith, and Amanda told him to have fun. Moses headed out.
Amanda was surprised when Devon appeared, since she'd expected him to be tied up at work all day. He informed her that he'd rearranged his schedule to avoid being home for her move-in day. He offered to get Moses to help her take her things upstairs, but she reported that the teen had already left to meet Faith. Devon was appalled that Moses hadn't volunteered to help, but Amanda said she'd wanted to make sure she got off on the right foot as the new roommate. Devon clarified that she wasn't a roommate -- it was their home.
After Amanda unpacked, she thanked Devon for giving her space in his closet. He revealed that Abby had advised him to provide at least equal if not more closet space if he wanted a woman to live with him, and he offered Amanda tea or something to eat. She purred that she wasn't hungry, but she wanted to do one of her favorite things. She plopped down on the couch and declared that she meant hanging with him.
Devon told Amanda about his trip to the park with Dominic, which had been the first real alone time he'd had with the little guy. Amanda sensed that he was being careful not to call Dominic his son, and Devon considered it an important boundary, especially after seeing how hard things had been for Mariah. Devon resolved not to get overly attached, but Amanda questioned how he couldn't become attached when Dominic had Devon's genes. Devon reported that Mariah was doing better after she'd moved out of the mansion.
Devon was glad he could talk to Amanda about anything. He pressed to know what was going on with her, and she informed him that Naya had been set up with the right doctors. Amanda continued that having a sister was new, but it felt nice to have someone to share her anxieties with and call family. Devon compared it to feeling at home. She cooed that if they were thinking the same thing, it was decadent for the middle of the afternoon.
Devon claimed that he'd been thinking about giving Amanda a tour of the penthouse to show her all the bells and whistles she hadn't seen yet. She figured that she'd seen the shower made for two and the thousand thread count sheets, but he pointed out that it had been as a guest, whereas those things belonged to her then. Amanda decided to do something she'd never done before, and she invited him to join her in their bedroom. He chased her up the stairs.
At Crimson Lights, Sally put some finishing touches on a sketch and mused to herself that the wedding dress would be spectacular.
On the coffeehouse patio, Faith was on the phone with Sharon, apologizing because her teachers had called to report that she was behind on her homework. Faith promised not to go anywhere until every assignment was done, and she refused to jeopardize her grades or disappoint her parents again. A frazzled Faith prepared to hit the books, but her phone chimed with a reminder about her date night with Moses.
Moses met Faith and announced that the plans for their date were all set. He bragged that he should become a professional date planner, since he'd had a ton of fun arranging everything. He wished they didn't have to wait until that night, and she wailed that she couldn't go out that night. He pointed out that they'd talked about it for weeks, and she fibbed that she had to help her mom. Moses offered to talk to Sharon to explain how important the date was. Faith argued that it would just make her mother feel guilty, and Moses realized that Sharon wasn't making Faith work.
Faith admitted that she'd been dying to go on the date with Moses, but she'd fallen behind on her schoolwork. Moses figured that she could knock out some of it that afternoon and finish over the next few days, but Faith divulged that the school had called her mom. She felt terrible for messing things up, but he blamed himself for being the one who'd kept her from her homework. She lamented that she couldn't go out until she got caught up, and it would take hours to type up what she'd documented in her notebook because she was slow on a keyboard.
Faith bemoaned that she'd ruined everything, but Moses chirped that he might have a solution. She couldn't imagine a solution that would finish that amount of schoolwork unless it involved stopping time. Moses suggested that they tackle it together and get it done twice as fast. She hesitated because it seemed like cheating, but he pointed out that he was a wickedly fast typist and could just transcribe what she'd already written in her notebook.
Faith dictated an essay to Moses, who diligently typed the words onto her computer. They playfully completed her homework together, exchanging high-fives. She breathed a sigh of relief when everything was done, and she called it the best date ever -- even if they did nothing else that night. Moses clucked that she was setting the bar pretty low, and he asked if she was ready for the real date. Faith protested that she had to go home and change for the special occasion. He murmured that she looked beautiful the way she was, but he agreed to pick her up in an hour.
At the Grand Phoenix, Phyllis sent a text message to Nick to inquire whether he had any updates on the real Ashland. She jumped when Jack greeted her from behind, and she ordered him not to sneak up on her. He referred to the cryptic text message she'd sent him, and she revealed that Nick had told her about Jack's admission that he still had feelings for her. She was glad it was out in the open, but she was suspicious about why Jack had decided to tell Nick.
Jack explained that he'd had a dream that had inspired him to confide in Nick, since Nick had been upset about Jack's feelings for Phyllis in the dream. Jack admitted that what he'd told her had been weighing on him, and he'd felt guilty about the impact his confession might have on her relationship with Nick. Jack added that he'd realized it hadn't been doing any good to hold his feelings inside, like they were something he should be ashamed of. Phyllis indicated that Nick was doing fine after his talk with Jack.
Phyllis mentioned that Nick had gone out of town to take care of some things before Victoria's wedding. Phyllis added that she didn't know if Nick would be back in Genoa City before they left for Milan, so they might have to meet him there. Jack realized that it might be only him and Phyllis on the jet, but Phyllis assumed Traci would be joining them. Jack shared that Traci had gone to New York to meet with her agent, so he and Phyllis might be flying to Milan alone. He asked if Phyllis was comfortable with that.
Phyllis insisted that there was no situation in the world where she'd feel uncomfortable with Jack, and she apologized for being suspicious about his intentions toward Nick. Victoria approached and inquired whether Phyllis had heard from Nick. After Jack departed, Victoria said she'd just heard that Nick had taken the Newman jet to New Jersey, and she demanded to know why. Phyllis speculated that Nick was traveling on New Hope business. Victoria countered that the charity had no business in New Jersey, but Ashland had gotten his start there. She surmised Nick's trip had to do with Ashland.
Phyllis asked why Victoria was suddenly suspicious of a brother who only wanted what was best for her. Victoria grumbled that there had been a lot of people claiming to have her best interests at heart who were also trying to dig up dirt on Ashland, including Nick. Phyllis implied that Victoria was transferring her suspicions to someplace other than where they should be, since they should be on Ashland, not Nick. Victoria dryly thanked her for the dime store psychoanalysis.
Lauren bustled in with a garment bag and apologies for being late. She excitedly revealed that a team of seamstresses had been hand-sewing Victoria's dress, which she was there to deliver in person. Lauren gushed that one of her favorite designers had outdone herself, and she thought Victoria would love it. Victoria mentioned that she'd only glimpsed at sketches of it, and Lauren stated that she'd reserved a room upstairs for a fitting.
Phyllis handed over a keycard and admitted that she was a little jealous, since she'd only gotten to help Summer with her dress through video chats. Phyllis offered to be another set of eyes to inspect Victoria's gown, but Victoria huffed that Phyllis hadn't yet achieved bridesmaid status. Victoria and Lauren headed to the elevator, passing by an unseen Sally. Sally started to follow them, but Phyllis stopped her and reminded her that she wasn't welcome at the Grand Phoenix. Sally implored Phyllis to get used to the fact that Sally wasn't going anywhere.
Phyllis threatened to get security to throw Sally out. Sally whipped out her camera and invited Phyllis to make yet another scene at the Grand Phoenix. Chloe interrupted and announced that she and Sally were there with a business proposal for Phyllis. Phyllis barked that they weren't on her calendar, and Chloe reasoned that they'd known Phyllis would say no if they'd requested an appointment. Phyllis questioned why she'd do business with the person who'd driven her daughter out of the country.
Sally contended that Summer would have returned to town if she were miserable in Milan, so either Summer loved working at Marchetti, or she secretly hated being around Phyllis and preferred to live thousands of miles away. Chloe intervened by revealing that they wanted to do a fashion shoot at the hotel for their media platform. Chloe pictured stunning models in gorgeous fashions, and she anticipated that it would be a win for the site and publicity for the hotel. Phyllis agreed to do it -- if Chloe fired Sally.
Chloe pulled Sally aside, and Sally apologized for letting Phyllis get under her skin. Sally brightly noted that they hadn't failed on all fronts, since Lauren and Victoria had gone upstairs with what had appeared to be Victoria's wedding gown. Chloe guessed Victoria had turned down Sally's offer to make the dress, and Sally reported that she hadn't even been able to set up a meeting to discuss it. Chloe advised Sally to let it go.
Sally refused to give up, since letting go of things hadn't gotten her to where she was. Chloe flatly pointed out that Sally had alienated half of Genoa City, and it would take a long time for Sally to repair her reputation. Sally thought a first step might be offering Victoria a wedding dress that would have everyone talking. Chloe doubted that Sally trying to insinuate herself into Victoria's wedding plans was the best strategy, since it was more likely to blow up in her face.
In a hotel suite, an unenthused Victoria modeled the wedding gown. Lauren warned that it wasn't finished yet, but she thought it was fabulous. Victoria conceded that it was pretty, but it hadn't been what she'd pictured when she'd looked at the sketches. Lauren made some alteration suggestions to a seamstress and addressed options for a veil, but Victoria cut her off and explained that she wanted her wedding to be something spectacular. Lauren pledged to fix the dress to be worthy of the occasion.
Victoria worried that her wedding day was approaching too quickly. Lauren asked the seamstress to step out and inquired whether the dress was the only thing bothering Victoria. Lauren recalled that she'd helped many powerful women design their dream gowns, and they'd freaked out when things hadn't lived up to their expectations. Victoria asked if she wasn't being Bridezilla enough, and Lauren insisted that it was okay to take out stress on the dress. Victoria maintained that everything was fine.
At Newman Media, Adam opened an invitation to Victoria and Ashland's wedding and looked thoughtful. Later, at Crimson Lights, Jack greeted Adam and mentioned that he'd just read a complimentary article about Adam's "business renaissance" at Newman Media. Adam credited Connor with being his source of inspiration to become a better man. Jack asked if Adam would be in Tuscany for Victoria's big day. Adam shared that he'd received an invitation to the wedding that day, but he was sure the wedding planner had made a mistake, since Victoria had made it clear that he would be persona non grata in Italy.
Jack commented that weddings had a funny way of drawing families together, and he theorized that Victoria was impressed that Adam had turned over a new leaf. Adam doubted she was ready to accept him as a brother she loved, but Jack counseled that attending the wedding would go a long way toward showing that Adam cared. Adam was reluctant to be away from Connor that long, and he didn't want to take the boy out of school. Jack was sure Adam would do the right thing for both himself and Connor.
At Newman Enterprises, Victoria stared at a photo on her phone of her in her wedding dress. Adam entered, and she coldly asked what he was doing there. He imagined that his first instinct had been right, and the wedding invitation he'd received had been a mistake. He suggested they pretend that he'd never stopped by, but she confirmed that it hadn't been a mistake. Victoria clarified that she'd invited him because of their father.
Victoria conceded that the new and improved Adam was lasting longer than she'd thought. She chalked it up to him being in the middle of a renaissance, and he realized that she'd read the article about him. Victoria considered the invitation to be a nice way to thank Victor for being supportive of the merger and her marriage, and she mentioned that he'd even given his blessing to her new portrait. Adam turned around to look at it and squirmed. Victoria thought nothing would make Victor happier than to have their entire family at the wedding, and she recognized that Ashland had a certain respect for Adam.
Adam wondered if Victoria genuinely wanted him at her nuptials. She advised him not to push it, since they both knew that she personally didn't want him there. Adam had thought he'd be doing her a favor by not attending, but it had occurred to him that he'd spent years trying to get her to include him in her life, so it would be a mistake not to go. He added that the wedding was important to her, and that was enough reason to be there to witness it. Victoria ribbed that she might have to upgrade Adam from the kiddie table, but she stressed that it didn't mean they were friends. Adam replied that he'd settle for family, noting that they had to start somewhere.
Chloe and Sally prepared to meet with Adam outside his office. Sally showed Chloe the sketch of a wedding dress and dared her to say it wouldn't look amazing on Victoria. Chloe was impressed by the sophisticated design with hints of old-world glamour, and she figured it would look great on anyone. Sally asserted that she'd designed it specifically for Victoria, so it was a dress for Victoria alone. Chloe marveled at the goldmine of unused designer talent they were sitting on between Chelsea and Sally, and she suspected they could be bigger than just a media platform.
Adam arrived, and Chloe and Sally followed him into his office. Chloe mentioned that Sally was about to head to Society to meet with a fashion magazine editor to discuss the latest trends. Sally inquired whether Adam would be going to Tuscany for the wedding, since she knew he and Victoria didn't get along. Adam shared that he'd just received the invitation that day, and he guessed Sally was angling to find out whether he had a date. He flatly stated that he didn't have one and wasn't looking for one.
Sally teased Adam for being full of himself by making such a presumption. She added that he had her number if he wanted a friend or colleague to join him, and she sauntered out. Once alone, Adam stared at the invitation for a moment before indicating on the RSVP card that he would attend.
At Society, Sally made a call to inquire how long it would take to have a wedding dress made if money were no problem. She was surprised by how fast it could happen, and she grinned as she emailed her design over.
At the Abbott mansion, Jack notified the pilot of a potential adjustment to his flight plan, since it might be just two people on the flight to Milan -- him and Phyllis.
Phyllis left a message for Nick, irritated that he'd let her call go to voicemail when the suspense was killing her. Nick sent a text message, saying he didn't like what he'd found and that he'd fill her in when he saw her.
Victoria received a text message from Ashland, who warned that he might have to cancel dinner because something had popped up, but it was nothing to worry about. Victoria's expression darkened as she looked up at her portrait.
At ChancComm, Billy was on the phone, providing instructions about locating Jesse Gaines. Jack arrived. He asked Billy what had him so worked up. Billy said Lily had gone to visit Mattie, and he was running everything on his own. Jack commented that Billy thrived on chaos. Jack told Billy he'd heard enough of Billy's conversation to know Billy was very frustrated. He asked if Billy was delving into areas that wouldn't make Lily happy. Billy said Lily was aware of what he was doing. Jack asked what Billy was investigating. Billy claimed he was investigating a reason Victoria shouldn't marry Ashland. Jack said Phyllis had hinted that Nick was on a similar mission.
Jack asked why Billy had such an incessant need to dig into Ashland's past, since Billy had already published plenty of material about Ashland. Jack said Ashland was suffering late-stage cancer, and he'd wanted to change part of his life. Jack asked why that wasn't enough for Billy. Jack asked what diabolical scheme Ashland was trying to pull off that Billy and Nick didn't trust.
Billy told Jack that when Ashland had been 20 years old, he'd suddenly had access to enough money to purchase two television stations, which had been the start of his career. Jack suggested an inheritance. Billy stated that Ashland hadn't come from any wealth. In his teens, he'd left home, changed his name, and given himself a new identity. Jack asked where Billy had gotten his information. Billy said he'd been invited to a Newman family gathering, where Ashland had given them a heartfelt confession.
Billy told Jack that Ashland had claimed he'd wanted to escape an abusive father; however, there were no public records of Ashland changing his name. Ashland believed that the information he'd provided had been enough to close the case. Jack suggested perhaps Ashland was trying to protect Harrison, but Billy claimed Ashland had been backed into a corner. Billy said he wasn't the only one who was suspicious; Victor and Nick were also looking into Ashland's past. Ashland's story left too many questions, such as what Ashland's birth name was, something Ashland stated he would never divulge.
Billy assured Jack he didn't want to make any information public. He only wanted to protect Victoria and his children. He said Ashland thought that by providing the bare minimum of information, it would have been enough for everyone to stop asking questions. Jack claimed Ashland was in love with a woman he had limited time with. Jack understood why Ashland wouldn't want to spend time fending off attacks from Victoria's ex, and if Victoria was satisfied, that should be enough. Billy said Victoria wasn't satisfied. Jack asked if Victoria had told him that. Billy said she hadn't, but he knew she'd begun to question Ashland and wonder what else he'd been lying about. Billy stated he wasn't about to let Victoria marry some guy whose life had been built on lies and deception.
Billy told Jack that they didn't know for sure that Ashland was ill. Jack said Ashland was going through chemotherapy, and he'd made the gut-wrenching choice to let Harrison live with Kyle in Italy. Jack asked Billy to listen to his own logic and look at the lengths to which he was going to justify his actions. Billy claimed he was protecting the mother of his children. Jack reminded Billy that Victoria was no longer Billy's responsibility. Jack claimed Billy wasn't protecting Victoria or the kids, and maybe it wasn't about Ashland. Jack claimed Billy was trying to stop Victoria from moving on.
Billy told Jack he wasn't the first person to claim Billy wasn't over Victoria; however, all those people, including Jack, were mistaken. Billy claimed he was very happy with Lily. His life had taken a different direction, and he was happy with that. Jack said historically, that was the time Billy began to sabotage himself. Billy claimed he was concerned about Victoria and the kids' welfare, nothing more. He would have been remis to not look into Ashland, given the number of lies Ashland had told in a very short amount of time.
Jack claimed it was Billy's ego talking. Victoria was capable of looking after her own life. Billy said Nick was also concerned. He asked if Jack saw Nick as an egomaniac, as well. Jack said Nick had taken an unscheduled trip to the East Coast. Phyllis had led him to believe Nick was looking for more than a great wedding gift.
Billy told Jack that Nick had always been on the fence about Ashland, and he'd never believed there was enough reason to keep digging. If Nick was on the East Coast, looking into Ashland, Billy claimed they were after the same thing: figuring out who Ashland really was and protecting the people they loved. Billy claimed he was capable of looking out for his ex without having an ulterior motive.
After Jack left, Billy was on the phone again, claiming that Jesse had been willing to talk about Ashland for a price but had suddenly disappeared. He told the person to keep digging because he needed answers soon.
At the Grand Phoenix, Phyllis received a call from Nick, and he informed her that he was still in Atlantic City because his plane had mechanical issues. Phyllis asked what Nick had uncovered. Nick told her his information had taken him down a rabbit hole, and it wasn't a good one. He had to talk with Rey because his trip had raised some serious questions. Nick said he needed some answers from Ashland before Victoria said, "I do."
At Newman, Nikki questioned Victoria because she appeared slightly agitated. Victoria claimed there was still "so much" left to do. Nikki asked if Victoria's wedding dress was almost ready. Victoria stated she wasn't thrilled with the design; however, Lauren had promised she would fix it. Nikki assured her that the wedding was going to be perfect.
Nikki asked when Victoria had last spoken to Ashland. Victoria said Ashland had canceled their dinner plans because he had to handle some unexpected business. At that moment, Victoria received a call from Ashland. He told her his meeting had ended early, and he wanted to spend the rest of the day with her. Victoria said she couldn't wait to see him and hear all about his business meeting.
Victoria didn't look pleased as she prepared to leave. She told Nikki that after Billy had made that stink about attorney Jesse Gaines, she'd looked him up online, and she'd discovered that Jesse's father had worked as an attorney for Camilla Rhodes, the woman who had mentored Ashland and given him his start. Victoria wanted to know what that attorney's son was doing in Genoa City. Nikki asked if Victoria had asked Ashland about it. Victoria said she had hoped Ashland would have said something to her about it.
Victoria told Nikki she didn't want it to appear that she didn't trust Ashland, because opening up about his past had been difficult for him. Nikki said she'd walked in on Victor and Ashland at the ranch, and they had been talking almost conspiratorially. Victoria wished she didn't have so many doubts so close to the wedding. Victoria claimed it was Billy's fault for planting so many suspicions in her mind, but she couldn't shake them.
At Society, Ashland met with Douglas. Ashland said his circumstances had changed; he no longer needed the money, and he was returning it. Douglas asked if Ashland's wedding surprise had fallen through. Ashland claimed he was certain he would find something even more spectacular. Douglas wished Ashland luck, picked up the briefcase with the money, and left.
Ashland called Victoria and informed her his meeting had ended early. He wanted to spend the rest of the day with her.
Nate arrived at Society. Ashland greeted him warmly. He told Nate he was waiting for Victoria. Nate said he was waiting for Elena to arrive. He told Ashland that as best man, it was his responsibility to look after the groom. He asked how Ashland was managing the effects from the chemotherapy. Ashland claimed that physically, he was managing well, given what the doctors had prepared him for. Ashland claimed he'd had a few stressful days because he'd had to deal with a few troubling matters. Ashland promised he would only focus on spending time with the woman he loved.
Victoria arrived, and Elena arrived immediately behind her. Ashland decided to get a table for four. Victoria wasn't pleased. Once the meal was over, Ashland said he was happy that Nate and Elena would be attending the wedding. Nate and Elena thanked Ashland and Victoria for the company, and they left. Ashland asked Victoria if something was wrong.
Victoria said she felt Ashland was keeping things from her, and she asked why he hadn't told her Nick had flown to New Jersey or about a lawyer named Jesse Gaines, who was connected to Ashland's past and the woman who'd mentored him. Shocked, Ashland suggested they go back to the office so they could speak in private.
Phyllis arrived at the Abbotts' with her luggage, ready for the flight to Milan with Jack. Traci told Phyllis that Jack would be there soon. Traci asked when Nick would arrive. Phyllis said Nick was stuck in Atlantic City because his plane had mechanical issues, and he would take a commercial jet to Milan. Traci asked if it was only going to be Phyllis and Jack on the flight to Milan. Phyllis confirmed it would be. Traci said she would pour them a glass of wine, and they were going to have a little talk.
Jack arrived. He heard Traci and Phyllis laughing. Jack said it was nice to see them getting into the spirit of things. Traci claimed it had been some time since she and Phyllis had had a chance to catch up. Traci said she'd been thinking about the magical oasis Phyllis had created. She said it was a destination with "so much cache," completely respected. Jack said the hotel kept Phyllis busy, and she had poured her heart and soul into that hotel. She'd overcome some obstacles he felt would have been insurmountable for anyone else. Phyllis thanked him.
Traci said it was a reflection of Phyllis -- how much she'd grown over the years and how she had risen from the ashes, like the phoenix, yet mayhem seemed to creep in occasionally, like the surprise ice bath for a rude customer or the grand opening with ecstasy-spiked punch. Jack said not to forget the armed man descending from the ceiling the day of the hostage crisis.
Phyllis told Jack that Nick was stuck in Atlantic City because his plane had mechanical issues, and it would only be the two of them on the flight to Milan. Jack said he would inform the pilot their flight would depart later. They would wait to hear Nick's status. Traci said she had to take care of something, and she left.
Phyllis asked if Jack had said anything about his feelings for her to Traci. Jack assured her he'd only told Nick because it had been the right thing to do. Jack poured Phyllis some wine, but he said he would stick to ginger ale because the last time he'd had anything to drink, he'd poured his heart out to Phyllis. He didn't want to subject her to that again. Phyllis said he could bare his heart and soul to her anytime he wanted to.
Jack told Phyllis that they would soon be in Milan to see their kids become husband and wife. Phyllis said Summer was her miracle. She asked if Jack remembered how many doctors had said that would never happen after Daniel.
In a flashback, Phyllis remembered she and Jack had been in the elevator when Jack had delivered Summer. Phyllis had thanked him for her miracle. Jack had told Phyllis it had been an unexpected surprise when he'd discovered that Kyle was his son. She remembered twenty years prior, on their wedding day: Jack and Phyllis had kissed, and Jack had told her that she took his breath away. Snapping out of her reverie, Phyllis told Jack there was a part of her heart that would never stop loving him, and she loved spending time with him.
Phyllis received a call from Nick. He said he was back in Genoa City, but he had something to do before he joined her and Jack. He wanted to get everything out in the open. Phyllis was relieved that Nick would be flying to Milan with them. Jack said if he had to guess why Nick had gone to New Jersey, it was probably about Ashland. Jack said Billy was convinced Ashland was keeping a secret large enough to have Victoria consider calling off the wedding.
Jack told Phyllis that in the beginning, he'd felt Billy had been trying to keep Victoria from moving on; however, Nick had his suspicions, as well, and Nick would only be involved to protect his sister. He wanted to get proof that Victoria was marrying the wrong guy if that proof existed. Phyllis admitted that Nick knew something, and it was up to Victoria to decide what she wanted to do with it.
Nikki arrived at ChancComm. She told Billy to stop trying to fill Victoria's head with doubts and reminded him that Victor had explicitly warned Billy about interfering in Victoria's happiness. She said Billy knew what Victor was capable of when he was angry. She told Billy to defy Victor -- and her -- at his own risk. Billy claimed he wasn't trying to make Victoria feel anything because she was already questioning Ashland on her own. He said new pieces of evidence popped up daily.
Nikki asked what Billy had learned that was so damning. Billy claimed he was still putting the pieces together. Nikki scoffed and claimed he had no proof of anything. She accused Billy of wanting to derail the wedding to feed his own ego. Billy stated it was a good thing Victoria wasn't blindly accepting Ashland's version of who he was. Nikki wasn't happy that Billy continued to meddle in Victoria's life, and she said Billy had some nerve, criticizing the man Victoria had chosen after the many ways Billy had failed her.
Nikki told Billy to stop undermining Victoria and Ashland because, like it or not, Victoria was going to marry Ashland. Nikki told Billy to "back the hell off," and she said that Billy was no longer welcome to attend the wedding. Nikki left.
Billy called Nick. He said he knew Nick was looking for information about Ashland, and he hoped Nick would tell him that he had the answers they both wanted.
Victoria and Ashland arrived at her office at Newman. Ashland assumed Billy had told her about the attorney. Victoria said it was the former attorney, Jesse Gaines Jr., who'd lost his license through malfeasance. She wanted to know why she hadn't heard about it from Ashland. She said it couldn't be a coincidence that Jesse had shown up in town.
Victoria reminded Ashland that he'd promised he wouldn't keep any more secrets from her about his past, but she kept getting unsettling surprises. It had become very difficult to convince herself there was nothing wrong. She asked him to tell her the truth. She wanted to know why Nick had gone to New Jersey and why Jesse Gaines was in Genoa City. She wanted answers from the man she was about to marry.
Ashland received a text message from Nick: "I need to see you. Now." Ashland told Victoria that Nick had returned, and he wanted to meet with Ashland. Victoria asked what it was about. Ashland said they would soon find out.
Nate and Elena arrived at Crimson Lights. Elena asked if Nate had noticed Victoria's mood. He said it had been hard to miss how distracted she'd been. Elena claimed it shouldn't be that stressful planning such a happy occasion. Nate said when he'd first seen Ashland, he'd appeared in rough shape. It had reminded him of why Ashland was moving so quickly with the wedding. Elena asked what Ashland's oncologist had said about his progress. Nate said they hadn't gone into detail; however, it was clear Ashland wasn't as well as he claimed to be.
Ashland and Victoria arrived at the coffeehouse to meet with Nick. Victoria was miffed. She told Nick he'd ignored her wishes, and he'd gone ahead and delved into Ashland's past. She wanted to know what that was all about.
At Crimson Lights, Victoria asked Nick what he'd discovered in New Jersey. Nick asked if Ashland wanted to talk in front of Victoria. Ashland said that whatever Nick had to say, he could say it in front of Victoria. Nick suggested they talk about a 40-year-old car crash that had killed Bobby DeFranco, and judging by Ashland's expression, it was clear the name meant something to him. Ashland said it was a name he'd never wanted to hear again.
Victoria asked Ashland who Bobby DeFranco was. Victoria was stunned when Ashland said that was who he'd been before he'd become Ashland Locke. Victoria said they had all known Ashland had changed his name. Nick asked Victoria why the crash didn't concern her. She claimed Ashland had covered his tracks by burying his original identity in a car crash.
Nick told Victoria that a young man had died. Ashland admitted it was true. He'd known it had been foolish to believe he could run from what had happened. Victoria wanted to know what he'd wanted to run from. Ashland said he'd been born Robert DeFranco, and everything he'd told Victoria about his past had been true. He'd run away from an abusive father and an enabling mother.
Ashland told Victoria there had been someone who had encouraged him to change his situation. His name had been Ashland Locke, and they had been kindred spirits. As 16-year-olds, they'd done some dumb things, like getting matching tattoos. When his father had seen the tattoo, he'd beaten Bobby badly. His friend Ashland had said they'd had to get out of there after he'd seen what Bobby's father had done to him.
The original Ashland and Bobby had bummed around the beach houses along the New Jersey shore. They'd done odd jobs up and down the Jersey coast. One day, they'd found themselves in an arcade at the boardwalk pavilion in Keansburg. Bobby had heard a commotion, and he had immediately known his father had been looking for him.
Young Ashland had protected Bobby by throwing Bobby under a pinball machine, and he'd told Bobby's father that Bobby had been in Philadelphia with a girl. After that incident, they had become inseparable. The young Ashland hadn't had a family, and, like Bobby, he'd been a loner. They had become family. Bobby had had big plans to strike it rich.
Nick asked Ashland if it had been about money. Ashland asked if that was what Nick got from everything Ashland had said. Ashland said they'd been kids and hadn't had plans for what to do with their lives. The original Ashland had wanted to be involved in broadcasting and communications. He'd snagged an interview with Camilla Rhodes for a job as an intern at one of her television stations.
The young Ashland hadn't been able to make that interview because the night prior to his meeting with her, Bobby and Ashland had been riding around in a beat-up Camaro, and Ashland had liked to drive fast. Ashland had lost control of the car, and he'd wrapped the car around a tree. Bobby had been ejected and knocked unconscious. When he'd regained consciousness, he had walked to the car, and he'd seen that Ashland had been pinned against the steering wheel. Bobby hadn't been able to find a pulse. He'd tried to pull Ashland out of the car, but he hadn't been able to budge him.
The car had caught fire. Bobby had screamed for help. He'd tried to pull Ashland out of the car, but the car had been engulfed in flames, and Bobby had taken off before it had exploded. The explosion had attracted attention. Bobby had known someone would notify the police. Bobby had been afraid the police would take him back to his father, and he had refused to let that happen. Bobby had run into the woods. It had been at that moment that he'd decided to become Ashland Locke. He'd let his life as Bobby DeFranco go up in flames.
The new Ashland had broken into an abandoned beach house, where he'd stayed for a while. He'd stolen newspapers to see if there had been any developments about the crash. Nick stated that Bobby's friend's body had been badly burned, and Bobby's wallet had been found at the accident scene. Ashland said the police had assumed the person driving the car had been Bobby DeFranco.
Ashland said Bobby's father had been asked to identify the corpse. He'd made a positive identification based on the tattoo on the calf. In those days, DNA testing had been very limited, and there hadn't been any reason to investigate further. Ashland said it had been his chance for a new start and to permanently escape from the hell of his father.
Ashland told Nick and Victoria that he'd gone to the interview with Camilla Rhodes. She'd only spoken to the real Ashland on the phone, so she'd had no reason to believe Bobby wasn't who he'd said he was. Camilla had hired him, and the rest was history.
Nick told Ashland he wanted to know how Bobby had wound up with Ashland's wallet and Bobby's had been found at the scene. Ashland explained that Bobby's best friend had died, and Bobby had been afraid that if his father had found him, he would have beaten Bobby for days. His survival instincts had kicked in. Nick wondered why, when a car had pulled up, Bobby hadn't asked them to help him pull his friend out. Ashland said the real Ashland had already died, and there hadn't been any chance for a miracle rescue.
Visibly upset, Ashland stated he'd reflected about the incident his whole life. He didn't care if Nick believed him. He hoped Nick would never find himself in a similar situation. He said Ashland Locke had saved Bobby's life when Bobby's father had been hunting him down, but Bobby hadn't been able to save Ashland's life.
Ashland asked Nick how much of the story Nick had known. Nick claimed he hadn't had all the pieces, but he'd been able to put the pieces together. Nick said he had tracked down the reporter in Toms River who had covered the crash, and that reporter had always felt there had been more to the story. Nick said there had been a witness, the driver of the car that had stopped. The driver had seen a kid run into the woods, but the police hadn't believed he'd been a reliable witness because he'd been drinking. Ashland said it had been a lucky break for him.
Nick claimed Ashland had had a lot of lucky breaks. Ashland told Victoria that he should have told Victoria everything from the very beginning. He claimed he'd been ashamed of how he'd acted at that time, but he was more ashamed that he hadn't told Victoria the whole truth. Victoria asked how he could have done that, and she looked directly at Nick.
Nick told Victoria he knew it had been tough hearing about the crash from Ashland, and he asked why she was angry with him. Victoria glared at Nick, stood up, and left. Ashland claimed Nick had gotten what he'd wanted. Nick said he'd wanted the truth. Ashland said the "almighty truth" solved everything. It hadn't given Victoria peace of mind. Nick accused Ashland of building his life and career on the back of a tragedy. Ashland said that might be true, but unlike Nick, Ashland hadn't had everything handed to him.
Nick said Ashland had watched his friend die, and Ashland's first instinct had been to grab his friend's wallet and run into the woods. Nick sneered that it was all he'd needed to know about Ashland. Ashland said he'd needed to get his hands dirty, and he'd made some hard choices in a very tragic situation. It was probably something Nick would never understand. Ashland left.
Sharon arrived at Mariah and Tessa's suite. Sharon said she'd thought Mariah and Tessa could use a home-cooked meal. Tessa claimed she had some errands to run, and it would give Mariah and Sharon a chance to talk. After Tessa left, Sharon admitted she'd asked Tessa for some alone time with Mariah. Sharon was relieved that Mariah felt better, but she wanted some genuine answers.
Mariah told Sharon she felt much better and stronger since she'd left Abby's. Sharon knew there was more going on, and she asked what had prompted Mariah to leave the Chancellor estate. Mariah said it had been much harder than she'd thought it would be to be around Dominic after carrying him for so long and protecting him all through the ordeal of being kidnapped. Mariah knew he wasn't hers; however, she'd formed a very strong bond with him. It had been rough seeing Bowie and knowing he wasn't her child. She had to distance herself from him.
Sharon asked Mariah what she could do to help. Mariah claimed she would be okay -- eventually. Sharon wanted to know what she could do to speed up the process. Sharon asked if it would be better if Mariah and Tessa stayed in a homier place. She suggested that Mariah and Tessa move in with her and Rey for a while, but Mariah declined Sharon's offer. She claimed she needed space. Sharon wanted to know what was next.
Mariah told Sharon that she and Tessa wanted to find a new home as soon as possible. Sharon wanted to know about Mariah's more immediate issues, getting through her postpartum separation anxiety. Sharon said she could recommend a therapist if Mariah felt comfortable talking to a professional. Sharon didn't want Mariah to isolate herself or rush into anything big. Mariah asked what Sharon and Tessa had been talking about.
Sharon told Mariah that she'd grilled Tessa very hard, and Tessa had revealed that Mariah wanted to have a baby of her own. Sharon asked if Mariah thought she was ready for that. Mariah gave Sharon a resounding "yes" but stated it was clear Tessa wasn't ready. Sharon said she saw the benefit in waiting. She suggested that Mariah hold off for six to twelve months to give herself a chance to really think things through.
Sharon told Mariah that having a baby would be wonderful, and Mariah and Tessa would be wonderful mothers; however, it shouldn't be a knee-jerk reaction. Mariah claimed it wasn't a knee-jerk reaction. Having a baby with the woman she loved was the next step in moving on with her life.
At the penthouse, Amanda and Devon were getting ready to go out for dinner when Moses arrived and ran upstairs. Faith arrived behind him. Faith said Moses had picked her up on time, but he'd forgotten something. She admitted she had no idea where they were going. Moses returned with his wallet. Amanda asked if Moses hadn't told Faith where they were going. Moses claimed the mystery was part of the fun. Devon agreed. Moses and Faith left.
Abby arrived at Society. When she saw Tessa, she asked how Mariah was doing. Tessa said she wasn't sure, but she knew Mariah wouldn't be hungry. Tessa said Sharon had brought over a lot of food -- right after they had ordered room service. Tessa hoped Sharon was providing Mariah with comfort and guidance. Abby said she missed having Tessa and Mariah at the house. Abby wanted to get together so they could all spend time with Dominic. Tessa said Mariah had begun feeling better, and hopefully she would be up for a visit soon.
Abby asked Tessa to inform Mariah they could stop by the house anytime. Tessa received a text message from Mariah: "We need to talk." Tessa told Abby she had to leave.
Devon and Amanda arrived as Tessa was leaving. Devon asked Tessa about Mariah. Tessa said Mariah was working through things. Tessa said she really had to leave.
After Tessa left, Abby greeted Devon and Amanda. Abby congratulated them for moving in together. Amanda told Devon they could cross Society off their list, since Faith and Moses weren't there. Devon explained to Abby that Moses had taken Faith on a special date, and he hadn't told anyone where it was. Amanda received a text message from Imani informing her that she was taking Naya to the hospital because Naya's heart rate had spiked. Devon offered to go with her, but Amanda said she should go alone and left.
Devon told Abby that Amanda was anxious about Naya. Amanda was worried about her mom because the relationship with Naya was new. Devon said he'd noticed that Tessa had seemed a little frazzled when she'd left. Abby said Tessa was worried about Mariah and that Tessa had received a worrisome text message from Mariah. Devon felt that Mariah needed time.
In her office, Victoria was deep in thought when Ashland arrived. He apologized for not being completely honest with her about how he'd become Ashland Locke. Victoria said he'd sworn there wouldn't be any more secrets. She asked how she was supposed to believe anything he said. Ashland couldn't blame her if she couldn't trust him again. Victoria wanted to know why he hadn't told her.
Ashland told Victoria he'd been ashamed. He'd held on to the memory of Ashland, and had not told the story of what happened that "horrible night" to anyone for 40 years. He wanted to believe he'd built his life "with ethos and no regrets." He said not a day went by when he hadn't wondered what might have happened if he had stayed and if, by some miracle, he'd been able to get help to pull Ashland out of the wreckage. He wondered how that might have made his life different.
Ashland told Victoria that he'd convinced himself that it had been what Ashland would have wanted -- to give up his identity to rescue Bobby. He'd kept telling himself that he would have done the same thing if the situation had been reversed. If his life had taken a different direction, it wouldn't have led him to Victoria. He stated that he'd never loved anyone the way he loved Victoria, but if his past broke them up, he understood. He hoped with every fiber of his being that it wouldn't happen.
Victoria told Ashland she had a lot to process, and she needed time to think. Ashland understood. He told her to take all the time she needed, and he left.
Later, Nick arrived. Victoria said she didn't want to talk to him because he'd betrayed her. She'd told Nick how much she loved Ashland and how committed she was to their marriage. She had begged Nick not to be like Billy, who'd been digging around in Ashland's past, but she said Nick couldn't help himself. Nick reminded her that in that same conversation, she'd claimed that she'd had serious concerns about Ashland. Victoria said it hadn't been an invitation for Nick to investigate Ashland. Nick was sorry Victoria had been hurt, but he didn't regret what he'd done. It had forced Ashland into a confession about his past. No one had known what Ashland had done during that time.
Victoria told Nick that Ashland had been in the public eye for a long time. He was a powerful force in the media business, and he'd done some ruthless things -- but nothing illegal. Nick claimed Ashland had left his best friend to die. Victoria asked if Nick had listened. His friend had probably already died, and the car had been about to blow up. He'd had to make one of the hardest decisions of his life, and he hadn't even been an adult.
Victoria asked Nick how a young Nick Newman would have dealt with that situation. She asked how Nick would have liked the mistakes of his youth to be thrown in his face. Nick claimed he would never have been in that situation. Victoria said Victor had been tough, but he'd never been physically abusive. Ashland's father had been a monster. Nick had been born with privileges and advantages. She told Nick not to tell her Ashland was a terrible person until Nick understood the position Ashland had been in.
Victoria asked Nick how something Ashland had done in his youth made him unworthy of love, forgiveness, and happiness. Nick said he'd heard Victoria say that Ashland had been in a tough position that night. Nick claimed they had different opinions about right and wrong. She told Nick not to get self-righteous with her. Nick had betrayed her the minute he'd stepped into the plane headed for New Jersey. She told Nick to leave for Summer's wedding and not to bother flying to Tuscany after that.
Faith and Moses arrived at Crimson Lights. Faith said it had been "so much fun." She had no idea how Moses had pulled it off. Moses said he'd called in a favor from Victor. He explained that he'd beaten Victor at chess, and Victor had owed him. Faith claimed it had been magical and the most perfect date ever. She would never forget it.
Tessa returned to her suite, and Mariah accused Tessa of telling Sharon that she wanted to have a baby. She asked how Tessa could do that. Mariah accused Tessa of going behind her back with Abby and Sharon, and she wanted to know why.
At Society, Ashland sipped a drink at the bar. He pulled out his phone and contemplated calling Victoria, but he tucked it back in his jacket and started to head out. He ran into Nate, who explained that he was picking up dessert as a surprise for Elena after her shift, but he was otherwise on his own. Ashland muttered that it made two of them, and Nate observed that Ashland seemed a little off. Ashland admitted that the vexing issues he'd mentioned earlier remained unresolved. Nate offered to lend an ear as a friend. Ashland mused that it had been a while since he'd had one, and he could definitely use one.
Ashland shared that some details about his past that he'd been hoping to keep private had been exposed. He continued that when he'd been young and desperate, he'd made choices that some people might not understand, and in one defining moment, he'd grabbed an opportunity to make his life better. Ashland contended that he'd since worked tirelessly to become the man he was then, and he'd tried to forget the person he'd been before. He lamented that Victoria knew about the chapter of his life that he'd hoped to leave behind him.
Nate recalled that Victoria had seemed unusually tense earlier, and he wondered if the wedding was still happening. Nate considered himself to be a good judge of character, and he thought Ashland seemed like a decent guy. Nate figured that most people had ghosts in their pasts. Ashland appreciated Nate giving him the benefit of the doubt, and he hoped Victoria would do the same.
Ashland confided that he hadn't been expecting to fall in love, especially after his ex had run over his heart, but Victoria had changed all that when she'd walked into his life. Ashland gushed that she'd given him happiness like he'd never known, and she'd given him a reason to live, despite his diagnosis. He insisted that planning a future with her meant everything to him, but his resurrected past threatened that. Ashland explained that his mind was telling him to wait it out and give her time, but his heart was telling him something different. Nate advised Ashland to follow his heart.
Nikki found Victoria staring out the window at Newman Enterprises and pressed to know what was wrong. Victoria claimed that she'd been thinking about the work that required her attention before they went to Tuscany. Nikki noted that Victoria had referred to Tuscany instead of her wedding, and Victoria told her not to read into it. Nikki recalled that Victoria had been wondering if there was more Ashland was keeping from her, and she inquired whether he'd had answers to Victoria's questions. Victoria revealed that she'd learned more about his past, and she finally knew who Ashland really was.
Victoria divulged that Ashland hadn't just changed his name and created a new identity, but he'd taken the name of a friend who'd died when they'd been in a terrible car accident together. Victoria relayed that Ashland had seen it as a chance to save himself and prevent his father from ever finding him again. Nikki said she understood why he'd wanted to keep that part of his life hidden, but she asked if he'd explained why he'd kept it from Victoria. Victoria indicated that it had been a painful part of his life that he hadn't wanted to speak of ever again, and she called it heartbreaking to see the look in his eyes and hear the sound of his voice as he'd relived the story.
Nikki sensed that Victoria still thought Ashland should have told her earlier, and Victoria voiced her disappointment that he'd only told the truth because he'd once again been backed into a corner. Nikki admonished Billy for outing Ashland's secret, but Victoria clarified that it was worse -- Nick had done it. Victoria told Nikki about Nick's suspicious trip to New Jersey and how Phyllis had lied about his intentions by accusing Victoria of projecting her own insecurities. Victoria groaned that she was tired of people running around behind her back under the guise of looking out for her.
Nikki believed Nick had been looking out for Victoria, unlike Billy, who only wanted to undermine her relationship. Victoria wished Nick had done as she'd asked, since she'd told him explicitly not to interfere, and it hadn't been his place to sneak around without her authorization. Victoria blasted him for not only blatantly disregarding her wishes but also going to Ashland with the information instead of turning to her. Victoria refused to give Nick a pass for the sake of peace, and she revealed that she'd told him not to bother going to the wedding. Nikki hoped Victoria would reconsider once she had time to think it over, but Victoria was adamant that she wouldn't.
Nikki anticipated that Victoria would feel different about it months or years down the road and that Victoria would look back and wish Nick had been at her wedding -- if there was still going to be a wedding. Nikki noted that Victoria had carried on a lot about Nick but hadn't said one word about how she felt about Ashland. Victoria recognized that she couldn't turn her emotions on and off, and she still loved Ashland. She added that it was all she cared to say about her relationship for the moment, and Ashland would be the first to know when she decided how to handle the situation.
Later, Ashland arrived at Newman and called out for Victoria, but Nikki informed him that he'd just missed her. Ashland nonchalantly asked if Victoria was at a meeting or making last-minute arrangements for the wedding, but Nikki flatly stated that there was no need to dance around the issues, since Victoria had told her everything. Ashland wondered if it had changed the way Nikki saw him.
Nikki informed Ashland that she hadn't yet decided what she thought about him, but she hated what it was doing to her daughter. Ashland bemoaned that he couldn't stand it, either, since he loved Victoria and would do whatever he could to make things right. Nikki reported that she didn't know what Victoria was considering, but she advised him to wait for Victoria to reach out once she was ready to talk. Ashland decided to get a room at the Grand Phoenix until when and if Victoria let him return home.
Ashland picked up a room key from the Grand Phoenix front desk and headed to the elevator. Victoria suddenly appeared and called his name.
Nick arrived at the Abbott mansion, and Phyllis inquired about his trip. Jack stepped out to schedule the revised flight plan with the pilot. Phyllis asked Nick what had happened, and he worried that Victoria was making a terrible mistake. Phyllis was stunned when Nick told her that Ashland's real name was Bobby DeFranco and that Ashland had stolen his best friend's identity. Nick recounted that he'd put together bits and pieces of information in Toms River, and he'd planned to confront Ashland about it privately, but Ashland and Victoria had shown up together and demanded that she be part of the conversation.
Phyllis imagined that Victoria had gone out of her mind. Nick reported that his sister hadn't said much at the time but had later gone off on him for betraying her confidence. Nick added that Victoria had made it clear she was done with him, and he grumbled that it was what he'd gotten for doing the right thing. Phyllis pointed out that all siblings had squabbles, and she doubted that Victoria would cut Nick out of her life. Nick mentioned that he'd been cut from the guest list, since Victoria had officially disinvited him from the wedding.
Phyllis chalked it up to Victoria shooting the well-intentioned messenger because she'd been shocked. Phyllis questioned whether Ashland had really taken the identity of a dying man, and Nick repeated Ashland's story of being unable to save his friend's life and needing to make a split-second decision that had allowed him to get away from his abusive father. Nick contemplated what other secrets Ashland had, since Ashland had only told the truth because it had been forced out of him. Phyllis proposed that they table the talk about Ashland and focus on how to make things right with Victoria. Phyllis insisted that Nick go to the wedding because he'd regret it forever if he didn't. She implored him to make things right before it was too late.
Nick wanted to repair things with Victoria, but he thought reaching out to her would just add fuel to her anger, and he thought it was better to stay away and let things calm down. Phyllis cautioned that the clock was ticking, and Nick pledged to figure it out after Summer's wedding. He planned to shake off his mood and focus on their trip, since he didn't want to cast a shadow on their daughter's big day. Jack returned to the room, and Phyllis exclaimed that they'd just been talking about how excited they were to get going. Jack regretted that it wasn't going to happen.
Jack announced that the flight had been delayed due to a storm, and the pilot had recommended that they sit tight until the next morning. Nick hoped it didn't mess things up for Kyle and Summer, and Jack reported that the couple was willing to adapt accordingly. Jack suggested that Nick and Phyllis go home and get some sleep, and Phyllis decided to leave their luggage there and return in the morning. She thanked Jack for keeping her company while they'd waited for Nick, and Jack replied that she was always welcome there. Nick and Phyllis headed out, and Jack forlornly watched them leave. Traci entered the room and eyed her brother with concern.
Traci implored Jack to tell her what was going on, and he informed her that the flight to Milan had been delayed until the morning. She announced that she no longer had to meet with her agent, so she could join him on the Jabot jet. Traci added that she hadn't only been talking about the flight, and she mentioned her conversation with Phyllis earlier. Traci had noticed the warmth in Jack's voice when he'd gone on about Phyllis' accomplishments, and she saw a glow about him that she hadn't seen in a long time.
Traci cited Jack's wistfulness when he'd been watching Phyllis leave with Nick, and Jack remained silent. Traci asked if she was supposed to pretend it was just her imagination, and Jack admitted that he'd been thinking a lot about his romantic history with Phyllis. Traci cautioned him against thinking about creating new memories. Jack swore that he wasn't planning on acting on his feelings, since he respected Phyllis' relationship with Nick. Jack figured that the whole debacle with Sally had gotten him thinking about what he'd loved and lost. He ordered Traci to stop worrying about him, but she laughed at the idea that she'd be able to stop.
Jack gazed at the family photos on the mantel, and Traci guessed he was thinking about Dina. He mentioned that he'd had a dream about their mother in which he'd clearly heard her voice giving him advice. He recalled that after their dad had passed, John had sometimes visited him to give him advice when he'd needed it. Traci shared that she talked to Colleen all the time, and she considered it perfectly normal. Jack pondered why he was so interested in parental advice when he hadn't listened to their dad when John had actually offered it. Traci clucked that children rarely did.
Jack recalled that he'd always felt distant from Dina, but Traci didn't find it at all odd that he wanted to hear their mother's voice and listen to the things Dina would tell him then. Traci added that love never really left them, even if it changed form, and it was their responsibility to recognize it when it reentered their lives. Jack contended that it was why she had to stop worrying about him, since love never died, and everyone who'd touched their hearts somehow stayed there. He thought they were all the better for it.
In Phyllis' hotel suite, Nick and Phyllis finished a call with Summer. Nick marveled that their daughter sounded "so happy," and he was glad their flight delay hadn't put a monkey wrench in the wedding plans. Phyllis declared that nothing would set Kyle and Summer back from getting the life they deserved. Nick thought every couple should feel like that on their wedding day, and Phyllis guessed his conversation with Victoria was still weighing on him. Phyllis asked if he regretted going to New Jersey and finding out the truth about Ashland.
Phyllis blamed herself for encouraging Nick to follow his instincts about Ashland, but he argued that he'd intended to go to New Jersey with her approval or not. He insisted that he had no regrets about doing what he thought was right, but he was still trying to get a grip on what was going on in Victoria's head after she'd lashed out at him and continued to defend Ashland. Phyllis theorized that Victoria had realized that love was profound, and it had strengthened Victoria's bond with Ashland. Phyllis chirped that maybe Nick had helped Victoria go into her marriage with her eyes wide open. Nick appreciated what Phyllis was trying to do, but he was sure Victoria wouldn't see it like that -- at least not anytime soon.
In a hotel suite, Mariah testily questioned why Tessa had talked to Sharon about something as private and personal as Mariah's desire to have a baby. Tessa reasoned that she and Sharon both loved Mariah more than anything, but Mariah scolded that it should have stayed between her and Tessa. Tessa explained that she'd been confused and concerned, and she'd needed someone to talk to. Tessa added that she hadn't felt like she could talk to Mariah, since she'd tried, but Mariah hadn't wanted to hear what she'd had to say.
Mariah insisted that there was nothing Tessa couldn't talk to her about. Tessa explained that she'd backed down because she hadn't wanted to disappoint or upset Mariah, but she also felt that Mariah hadn't been listening. Tessa recognized that Mariah wanted her to have a baby so they could have a child of their own, and she confirmed that she wanted to start a family with Mariah -- one day. Tessa stressed that she'd told Mariah that she didn't think it was the right time. Mariah asked why not.
Tessa cited the stage of her and Mariah's careers and their living situation, but Mariah argued that many people had both families and careers and that she and Tessa had many places they could live. Mariah paused when she saw Tessa becoming upset, and she swore she was listening. Tessa maintained that she wasn't sure she was ready to be pregnant or become a mom, and it would be a lie to say she was. Tessa also worried that Mariah had made the decision out of a place of desperation, and the idea of having a baby might be an escape for Mariah to distract herself from the emotions going on inside of her. Tessa suggested that Mariah work through her feelings first. Mariah asserted that she'd heard Tessa, but she completely disagreed.
Mariah denied that starting a family would be a way of avoiding what had happened, and she considered it a way to get through it all. She proclaimed that she'd been on her own her entire life, and she'd not only survived but thrived. Tessa didn't see the connection to having a family. Mariah reiterated that having Bowie had changed her because she'd realized how much love she had to give to a child. Tessa repeated that she wasn't ready for it, but Mariah questioned what first-time parents were ever really ready.
Tessa insisted on being in the right mindset, and she needed Mariah to find her balance again. Tessa asserted that it wouldn't be fair to saddle a child with the chore of healing a wound, and it also wasn't fair of Mariah to push Tessa into something she wasn't ready for. "So, that's it? End of discussion?" Mariah asked. Tessa clarified that she didn't want to shut down all conversation about having a baby, but she wanted Mariah to hear how she was feeling.
Tessa thought that being honest was a step in the right direction, and she wanted to keep the lines of communication open. Tessa gushed that she knew that she and Mariah could handle anything life threw their way, and she asked if Mariah had any idea how much Tessa loved her. Mariah replied that it was almost as much as she loved Tessa, and Tessa promised that they would both get to where they wanted to be eventually. Tessa suggested that they table talking about having a baby until they got back from Tuscany. Mariah swore that she didn't want to push Tessa away, since she needed Tessa more than she ever had. Tessa vowed to be there for Mariah, no matter what happened, and they hugged.
Later, Tessa was surprised when she found Mariah was already in bed. Mariah claimed that she was wiped. Tessa began to undress and rambled about ending the day falling asleep in Mariah's arms. Tessa proposed that they do something fun the next day, like getting tattoos that they chose for one another. She expected a laugh or a protest, but she saw that Mariah had fallen asleep. "I love you," Tessa whispered before turning off the light and stepping into the bathroom. Mariah opened her eyes and looked crushed.