In his home office, Billy began his podcast: "I had a strange nagging feeling that I called restlessness at the time; however, I'm not so sure anymore. Whatever it had been, it had wakened me every night at 2:48 a.m." Billy suddenly realized he wasn't recording.
Billy began again: "I had questions running through my brain." That didn't go well, and he began again: "I asked why I had all those thoughts running through my brain when I couldn't be happier. All those big existential questions." As he spoke, his hand hit the pen holder, and it crashed. He began pacing.
Billy gathered his thoughts and said, "I have made one of the best decisions I'd ever made in my life -- letting go of the constant need for revenge." Billy stopped and asked where he was going with that. He began again.
"I have been caught in a vortex, holding on to rage like a security blanket. One day, I realized it was a complete waste of time and energy." He stopped and said it was much like that podcast was a waste of time and energy, cliché after cliché. He chastised himself, saying he wasn't digging deep enough, and asked where all that genius insight into the human condition had gone. He asked if the podcast was worth the effort because he had nothing.
At home, Amanda told Devon she was meeting with Lily to discuss her legal needs prior to taking over the team. Devon said Lily had called him and asked him to meet with her, as well. He didn't know why, but he could tell she was excited about something.
Devon received a text message from Abby, and he read it to Amanda: "Dom was feeling so much better this morning he ate every bite of his breakfast. There hasn't been any adverse reactions which means his body has accepted the new marrow cells. Dr. Alston will keep monitoring his condition. Our little guy is a champ. I'll keep you posted." Amanda was happy that Abby was keeping Devon in the loop.
Devon told Amanda he was happy that Dr. Alston had approved Dominic spending a couple of days with Devon. Devon asked Amanda what she thought about Dominic staying over more often. Amanda told Devon she'd supported him in getting shared custody. She understood what family meant to him. She'd always known how committed Devon would be to Dominic and that Devon would want to spend every minute he could with him. She was happy she was part of it.
Imani arrived. Devon asked if Imani was there for the meeting. Imani asked, "What meeting?" Imani said she was there to strategize with Amanda about how they were going to step in as Chancellor's legal counsel. Devon explained that Lily had invited him to meet with her, and he'd assumed it was about the podcast venture their companies were doing together. Imani assumed Amanda was staying. Amanda said she'd been invited as Chancellor's chief counsel. Amanda said when she returned, she would update Imani.
Imani told Amanda that she should join them, even though she was only an associate. It would save Amanda the trouble of filling her in later. She also claimed she could bring another set of eyes and ears to the discussion, and it would give her a better sense of how Lily functioned in a work environment. Amanda agreed, but she wasn't pleased.
At home, via video chat, Lily told Jill she'd invited Devon and Amanda to discuss her idea. Jill called Lily's proposal brilliant and exactly the kind of thinking Jill had wanted when she'd hired Lily. She said Lily was exceeding Jill's expectations. Jill said if Lily could make it happen, it would be a game changer for Chancellor Industries. Lily said Jill's confidence in her meant everything, and Lily had her support. Lily promised she would try not to let Jill down.
Lily asked if Billy had finished his podcast. Billy said it had been a bust, and nothing had flowed. He wondered if he'd fooled himself into thinking he had something to say. Lily said she'd heard his recordings, and they had been the reason she'd been excited about his podcast. Billy claimed he was a one-hit wonder. Lily suggested he wait until after midnight to find his voice. Billy hoped that was true, because at that moment, his tank was empty.
Lily told Billy it was new territory for him, and it could take time to find his rhythm. Billy said it had been God-awful because the pipeline to his subconscious was blocked. Lily told Billy it was one thing to talk out loud, but another knowing people would be listening. She suggested Billy relax.
Lily told Billy about her idea. Billy claimed no one would ever accuse Lily of thinking small. Lily hoped Devon would see the exciting possibilities. Billy claimed it would be an epic move. He claimed it said a lot about Lily when Jill had given her the go-ahead, especially since Lily had been CEO for only a short time. Lily said Billy didn't seem wowed by the idea, and she asked what the problem was. Before Billy could respond, Devon, Amanda, and Imani arrived.
Devon assumed Lily and Billy wanted to talk about the podcast. Lily said it was something a lot bigger than that. Lily said Devon's acquisition of Mergeron had given him a much broader footprint without needing to deal with the headache of a start-up. She said it had been a big risk for Devon, but it had paid off in the long run. Lily stated that Hamilton-Winters was a much smaller company than Chancellor; however, Chancellor had resources that Devon could tap into to bring their businesses to a much larger scale. Devon also had avenues he could open up for Chancellor with access to a younger demographic.
Billy told Devon he would scratch Chancellor resources, and Chancellor would scratch Devon's resources. Amanda stated the podcast was the best way to explore the reciprocal benefits. Lily said Devon knew Neil had wanted them to work together and to build on the legacy he'd created. She said her short stint at Hamilton-Winters hadn't gone exactly as they'd hoped, but they had an opportunity to do that again -- on a much larger scale.
Lily told Devon she was looking at a merger, joining their companies into one -- Chancellor-Winters. Devon was speechless, but he wasn't sure if he could get behind it. Devon asked if Lily wanted to do something that big at such an early stage in her new position. Lily said Jill didn't think it was too early, and she would never have approached Devon if Jill hadn't signed off on the idea. She reported that Jill regretted she hadn't thought of it herself. Imani asked if the companies would remain autonomous but complement each other or if it would become a wholly combined entity, in which case, she wondered how they would define their roles.
Lily told Imani those were details that would be worked out later, but Imani claimed they were critical issues that needed to be considered up-front. Amanda was annoyed, but she gently reminded Imani it was a preliminary discussion between Devon and Lily about the big picture, and if Imani had any questions, they would discuss them later.
Devon told Lily he had total autonomy at Hamilton-Winters, and he loved that. Lily got it and asked him to think about what they could build together. Devon said he loved working with Lily. He suggested they focus on the podcast first and see how that went. Lily said she was talking about an entirely different level with endless possibilities. She reminded Devon that he was a Chancellor.
Devon told Lily he didn't know if it was the right move for him. He said Hamilton-Winters was in a great place, and it had taken a lot of time and energy to get it there. He felt it was bad timing to make such a big change, especially with Dominic's health issues. Lily told him to think about it, and they would revisit the idea down the road. After everyone left, Lily's smile faded.
Alone, Lily was very disappointed that Devon hadn't jumped at the opportunity to merge their companies. She picked up a photo of Neil and said she remembered when she would get impatient and Neil would tell her it was a process, not an event. She knew how Neil would have felt about the merger. She promised Neil she wouldn't give up.
Upstairs, Billy began his podcast again: "Lily is a rock star and loaded with smarts, charm, and creative talent. She comes up with big, disruptive ideas that change the world, one of the many reasons I love Lily. She startles me in the best possible way daily. She outdid herself earlier. Her idea to merge Chancellor and Hamilton-Winters was genius. Lily and Devon would run a powerhouse family enterprise. That is Lily's dream, a dream I don't factor into because I'm not family in any meaningful sense. I'm on the outside, looking in, again. The story of my life."
At home, Traci asked how Jack was doing. Jack said he was trying to wrap his head around the idea that Keemo was gone and that they would never be able to make peace. It had seemed like a miracle when he'd discovered he'd had a son. Jack told Traci that in Keemo's last email, Keemo had said he'd wanted nothing to do with Jack, and he'd announced his plan to change his name to Nguyen. He hadn't wanted to be an Abbott anymore. Keemo had wanted to erase any communication with Jack.
Phyllis arrived and asked Jack if there was anything she could do. Jack asked if she could bring his son back. Phyllis said whatever he needed, she was there for him. Jack said that when Keemo had slammed the door, Jack had told himself to give it time because Keemo would return and reach out to him, but it hadn't happened. Jack said he'd never been able to be a father to Keemo, and he wouldn't have the chance again, since Keemo was gone. He lamented that Keemo hadn't wanted Jack in his life at all. Jack didn't know how he was supposed to grieve.
Phyllis told Jack there wasn't a rule book on how to grieve. Traci said there wasn't a timetable, either. They had learned that with Dina. Jack claimed they'd had time to prepare for Dina's death; Keemo's death was a shock. Phyllis stated that no one would judge Jack for the way he'd dealt with Keemo. Phyllis said that shame and regret were useless and wouldn't help Jack heal. Jack wasn't sure anything would help.
Jack read his last email from Keemo to Traci and Phyllis. Keemo had written, "How many times do I have to tell you to leave me alone? I don't want anything more to do with you. I will never forgive you for hiding my mother's illness from me. There is nothing I want from you. You are nothing to me." Jack said that was overwhelming. Traci said she knew what it was to lose a child. Jack stated that what Traci had had with Colleen had been beautiful. They had loved and lived with each other for many years, and Traci had shaped and raised Colleen. He said they couldn't equate the two.
Jack told Traci he hadn't known Keemo had existed until Keemo had been an adult. Traci stated that everything was relative, and he was grieving over a tremendous loss. Phyllis claimed they had to find out who had been sending Jack the text messages. She asked who would want Jack to learn about Keemo in that manner and who would send such creepy and cryptic text messages about such a sensitive and personal subject.
Phyllis told Jack the tone of the text message didn't sound like it was from someone who wanted to break the news to Jack that his son was dead: "Come to L.A. There is something you're missing." Phyllis claimed it was worth looking into. Phyllis said the person who'd sent the text message had known Hau Nguyen and Keemo Volien Abbott. She said they'd known it was Jack's son and where Keemo had lived, they had Jack's phone number, and it hadn't been random.
Phyllis told Jack there had to be more to it than someone wanting Jack to know about Keemo. She said perhaps there was a mystery surrounding Keemo's death. Traci asked why the writer hadn't stated their intention, and she said it didn't sound like someone who wanted to help. Traci said it was a cruel way to inform Jack about such terrible news. Jack said he needed answers about Keemo's life, and he decided to respond to the text message: "Who are you and why are you sending me this information?"
Jack received a response: "Get to Los Angeles. The answers are there." Phyllis said they had to go, but Traci had a bad feeling about it. She felt someone was trying to take advantage of Jack's grief. She said anyone with good intentions would have identified themselves and told him what it was about. Traci said to let it go. Phyllis told Traci that Jack couldn't let it go. She admitted that if she'd received a message like that, she would have been on the first flight to Los Angeles.
Jack said he'd heard every word Traci had said. He admitted the text messages were odd, and he had no idea of the intent of the person who'd sent them; however, he had to follow up, even if it led him nowhere. Traci was worried Jack would get hurt. Jack said his heart was already broken over Keemo, and the questions wouldn't go away. Jack stated he had to go to Los Angeles, and he was going to find the answers. Phyllis smiled.
Amanda and Devon returned home. Devon asked Amanda what she'd thought about Lily's offer. Amanda stated that what Devon thought was what counted. She felt Devon had already made up his mind. Devon said he valued Amanda's opinion, and he wanted to know what she thought.
Amanda told Devon she appreciated what he'd said about the timing; however, it would be a big and complicated deal, and it would change a lot of things. Devon said he wouldn't be the boss of his own company. Amanda claimed she could come up with a scenario where they shared responsibilities while still maintaining control of what Devon already did. Amanda said when she thought about it being big and complicated -- even a little messy -- the bottom line was that it was what families were. Devon had told her about Neil and what he'd left for Devon and Lily, Neil's legacy, the strength of their connection. Amanda said when she thought of transforming Hamilton-Winters and Chancellor Industries into a big cohesive family business, she thought it sounded wonderful.
At Crimson Lights, Nikki looked deep in thought as she flashed back to her conversation with Victor about how Michael had obtained evidence that Ashland had paid a doctor to falsify his medical records. Victoria greeted her mother, and Nikki inquired how Victoria and Ashland were doing. Victoria indicated that they were both doing well, and Nikki invited Victoria to join her for some tea. Victoria opted to get to the office, but she reiterated that everything was great. Nikki looked worried.
At Newman Locke, Ashland closed the door to Victoria's office while on a phone call. He learned that the American digging up dirt on him in Peru was Michael, and he ordered the caller to report back about everything Michael was doing. Ashland also demanded "that doctor" be found immediately. He hung up and sighed deeply.
Victoria returned to her office and remarked that Ashland had been up and out early, so she'd picked up some coffee for him. He suggested they indulge in something stronger to celebrate, since business affairs had just finished drafting the new contract to change his title to co-CEO. Victoria was surprised the lawyers had turned it around that quickly, and Ashland said he'd asked them to put a rush on it. He explained that he'd grown to realize that every second of life mattered, and he didn't want to waste any time starting the new phase of their partnership.
Victoria cooed that the contract didn't change anything, since she and Ashland were already equal partners in every way. She figured they could take their time going over the details, but he indicated that he'd already looked over the contract and was ready to sign. Victoria balked, and Ashland asked if she'd changed her mind. Ashland recounted that Victoria had been hesitant about the idea at first, and the last thing he wanted was her to feel pressured into doing something she didn't want to do. He urged her to be honest if she was having second thoughts.
Ashland insisted that his relationship with Victoria was the most important thing in the world to him, and he didn't want to do anything to jeopardize it. He swore he was fine with leaving things the way they were if that was what she wanted. Victoria pointed out that their original agreement had only been drawn up because they'd been worried about his health, but his being in remission had changed everything. She agreed that he should be her equal in business, just as he was in their marriage, and she proclaimed that it was time to take the next step by making him co-CEO. Nikki overheard from the doorway.
Nikki made her presence known and inquired whether she'd heard correctly. Victoria confirmed that she and Ashland were becoming co-CEOs. Nikki thought Ashland had been happy serving as an advisor, but Victoria countered that it had been before his recovery. Ashland voiced interest in taking on more responsibility and having a stronger hand in running things, and he needed their employees to respect him the same way they respected Victoria. Victoria assured her mother that it wouldn't change Nikki's role, and Nikki pointedly replied that she didn't need a contract or title to make her feel secure about her position.
Nikki was surprised that Victor hadn't mentioned the change, and Victoria huffed that she didn't feel it was necessary to tell him. Nikki appealed to Victoria to get her father's input, but Victoria maintained that it was her decision and hers alone. Nikki warned that Victoria would no longer have unilateral control once she signed the agreement, and she advised Victoria to at least let Victor know what she was planning, given that he'd built the company from nothing. Victoria supposed she owed her dad that much.
Nikki breathed a sigh of relief and hoped Ashland wasn't offended. Nikki gushed that she was thrilled Ashland was doing well, and she wanted him to be around a long time because he made Victoria happy. Ashland swore he wasn't offended, and he claimed that he didn't want to make such an important change without the blessing of all the Newmans. Nikki considered it wise for Ashland to want Victor's approval, given that Victor had been Ashland's biggest defender through all the crises they'd faced.
Ashland pointed out that they weren't dealing with a crisis, and the change was more of a celebration of his recovery. Ashland stepped out to tend to some things, and Victoria observed that Nikki seemed troubled. Nikki reiterated that Victoria really needed to speak with Victor about the title change, and she vowed to tell Victor if Victoria didn't. Outside the office, Ashland sent a text message to request an update about Michael's whereabouts. Ashland answered a call and greeted a doctor. Ashland stated that he hadn't given permission for anyone to look at his medical records -- nor would he.
Outside Adam's office at Newman Media, Victor received a text message from Michael, who reported that he had spoken with a second doctor and would be sending more evidence. Victor entered Adam's office, and Adam groaned that he hadn't gotten a lot of sleep after what Victor had hinted at during their last conversation. Adam pressed to know more about the issue brewing with Victoria and Ashland, since he couldn't help if he didn't know what was going on. Nick waltzed in, and Victor shared that he'd asked Nick there. Nick grumbled that it had been more like a command. Victor revealed that he had news that would change everything.
Victor declared that a serious matter had arisen related to the Newman empire and their family. Nick thought Victoria should be there if it involved family or business, but Adam suspected the issue had to do with Victoria and Ashland. Victor confirmed that he'd asked Adam to keep an eye on Ashland, and he was determined to find a way to protect their family, especially Victoria. Nick testily asked why it was the first time he was hearing about it, and Victor explained that he'd been waiting for word from Michael, who was in Peru to dig for more information. Nick recalled that Ashland had gone to Peru for his miracle cure.
Victor divulged that what he'd learned put into question everything he'd ever thought about Ashland and Ashland's motives. Nick didn't want to hear more if it involved digging up dirt on Ashland, since his relationship with Victoria had been hurt the last time he'd done it, and he didn't want to make things worse by going down that path again. Nick recalled that Victor had been Ashland's biggest champion and defender, and he wondered what had changed. Victor confessed that he'd never really trusted Ashland, and he implored Nick and Adam to hear him out.
Nick stressed that he'd made his opinion about Ashland clear, but he'd been left out of any conversations that had involved dealing with Ashland's lies. Nick groused that Victor hadn't wanted to hear what Nick had had to say, and he questioned why he was being included then. Victor indicated that there had been new developments, since he'd learned shocking things about Ashland that would affect both their business and their family, including Nick. Victor added that the new things were more repulsive than anything they'd already known about Ashland.
Victor revealed that Ashland had funneled money to the Peruvian clinic through shell companies, and Ashland had claimed he'd done it because of international lax law. Victor continued that he'd found the story bogus, so he'd sent Michael to investigate, and a physician who'd worked at the clinic had testified on camera that Ashland had gone to Peru to have them falsify his medical records. Nick contemplated why Ashland would lie about his recovery, and Adam pondered why Ashland would want to give Victoria a false sense of hope. Victor said they were missing the point, since Ashland had never been sick at all.
Nick contended that a statement from a disgruntled employee wasn't enough to destroy Victoria's life. Victor reported that another physician had corroborated that Ashland had never had treatment in Peru because he'd never been ill. Nick pointed out that Victoria had gone with Ashland to New York to see a doctor who'd confirmed Ashland had been terminally ill, and Adam added that Ashland had been undergoing chemotherapy in Genoa City. Victor growled that it showed how nefarious and deep Ashland's deception was.
Adam guessed that the doctor in New York had been in on the scheme, and Victor noted that Ashland had never wanted anyone to accompany him to his chemo appointments. Adam inquired about Nate, who'd consulted on Ashland's case and served as Ashland's best man. Victor doubted Nate had known about the scam, and Adam asked what Victor was going to do. "My boys, I have enough evidence to deal with that man -- and I will deal with him," Victor snarled.
Victor considered it a long con with a very bad endgame, and he wondered how long Ashland had been planning it. Nick barked that it had gone beyond any of Ashland's past crimes. Victor suspected that Ashland was after the power and control over two huge business empires. Adam questioned why Ashland would resort to faking cancer, and Victor imagined it had been to make people empathetic. Victor added that everyone had fallen for it except Nick, and Victoria had fallen deeply. Nick threatened to kill Ashland for taking advantage of Victoria's love for his own financial gain.
Victor related to Nick's anger after Ashland had infiltrated their family and was threatening to destroy the empire Victor had spent decades building. Nick bellowed to forget the empire, since the bigger concern was what do about the damage to Victoria. Victor refused to forget the empire, but he conceded that they had to tread carefully because the news would be devastating to Victoria. Adam didn't see how they could avoid upsetting her. "Son, I'll handle it my way," Victor ominously replied.
Billy arrived at the Abbott mansion and wondered why Jack had summoned him there. Jack announced that he wanted to get the family up to speed about what had happened and was about to happen, and Billy questioned why Phyllis was there. Phyllis defended that she was supporting Jack as a friend. Jack mentioned that Ashley hadn't been able to be there, so he intended to fill her and Kyle in once he had more answers about his son Keemo.
Jack explained that he'd received a series of mysterious text messages that had encouraged him to go to an address in L.A., and Phyllis had discovered that the owner of the property had the same name as Keemo's grandfather. Jack continued that he'd realized that Keemo had taken his grandfather's name, and he and Phyllis had eventually learned that his son had passed away three weeks earlier. A stunned Billy extended his condolences. Billy inquired about the last time Jack and Keemo had talked, and Jack confessed that he hadn't seen or heard from Keemo in years.
Jack admitted that he hadn't been honest about his contact with his oldest son, since Keemo had cut Jack out of his life soon after Luan had died. Billy said he'd thought the men had made peace before Keemo had left town. Jack lamented that Keemo's resentment had grown, and Keemo had ultimately turned his back on Jack. Jack confided that he'd had trouble accepting it, so he'd convinced people that things were fine between him and his son.
Jack indicated that he was leaving for L.A. later that day, and Billy assumed it was to attend the funeral. Billy offered to go with Jack, but Jack clarified that he didn't know what he was walking into, since all he knew was the address from the text messages. Jack felt he had to follow wherever the path led, for Keemo's sake.
Billy sympathized that Jack had felt the need to cover up what had been going on by painting a rosy picture for everyone. Jack bemoaned that he'd also painted it for himself as a wall he'd built to keep the pain away. Billy repeated his offer to accompany Jack to L.A., noting that he understood that kind of pain and grief. Billy insisted on being there to support Jack, and he asked if Jack would let him. Jack was adamant about making the trip alone.
Traci sided with Billy, since she felt Jack should rely on his family after keeping them at arm's length for too long. She urged Jack to take the next step by letting them all the way in, and she wanted to go to L.A., too. Phyllis suggested that they all go because Jack had been there for them, and it was time for them to be there for him. Traci reasoned that she knew how hard it was to face losing a child, but Jack believed that was the best reason for Traci and Billy not to be any part of it. Jack didn't want his losses to compound theirs.
Billy insisted he could handle it, and he didn't want Jack going anywhere alone. Jack recognized that Phyllis had been instrumental in getting him through the first part of the puzzle, and he wanted her to go with him. Billy protested that Phyllis wasn't family, but Jack firmly stated that he needed to do what was best for him. Jack excused himself to pack, and he headed upstairs.
Phyllis acknowledged that Jack's siblings were upset that he'd chosen her over them, but she swore she had his best interests at heart. Traci recognized how much Phyllis cared, but she argued that Jack and Phyllis' relationship had been on tenuous ground for months. Phyllis asserted that getting to the bottom of the mystery would help Jack with his loss, and she promised she would take care of him. Phyllis headed out.
Traci reeled from the fact that Jack had kept his pain private for that long. Billy reflected back on the times he'd asked Jack about Keemo, and he realized that Jack's responses had been too quick. Traci blamed herself for not noticing Jack had been purposefully vague, but Billy reasoned that all they could do was be there for Jack then. Billy asked for details about the anonymous text messages. Traci said all she knew was that the messages had instructed Jack to go to L.A. to find a world he'd never known existed, and he would be sorry if he didn't.
Billy didn't like the sound of it, especially with Jack being vulnerable. Traci noted that they'd all raised concerns, but Phyllis had been pushing him to focus on finding out what had happened with Keemo. Billy considered it a bad idea, given that trouble always followed Phyllis. Traci doubted they could change Jack's mind, and she resolved to do what she could by getting him some food for the trip. Billy volunteered to stick around to ensure Jack wasn't alone. Traci stepped out, and Jack returned downstairs. Billy asked Jack if he was sure about going to L.A.
Jack insisted that there was too much he didn't know about his son, and he needed some closure. Billy cautioned that closure didn't happen when it involved the death of one's child, but he understood Jack's need to find answers because sometimes the imagination was worse than the truth. Billy hoped Jack found those answers, and he offered to be on the next flight if Jack needed anything. Jack said he knew he could always count on Billy. Billy warned his brother to be careful and to make sure Phyllis had Jack's best interests at heart, not her own. Jack marveled that Phyllis had proven time and again that she had his back, and it was why he was taking her with him.
Phyllis stepped off the Grand Phoenix elevator with suitcases as Traci entered the hotel. Phyllis pleaded with Traci not to try to talk her out of the trip. Traci explained that she was grateful Phyllis had decided to go with Jack, and she saw why Jack preferred to take Phyllis over Traci and Billy. Traci continued that while she and Billy could relate to losing a child, Jack would never let down his walls around them because he'd be too afraid of reigniting his siblings' grief over the losses of their own children.
Traci wanted Jack to focus on himself, and Phyllis praised Traci for being a considerate sister. Traci added that she was counting on Phyllis to give Jack what he needed, and she knew Jack couldn't have picked a better partner to get to the bottom of the mystery. Traci begged Phyllis to take care of Jack and protect his big heart.
Later, Traci returned to the mansion and presented Jack and Phyllis with sandwiches and snacks for their trip. Jack thanked Traci for looking out for him, and she told him to keep in touch and let them know what he found. Phyllis promised to keep the Abbotts updated. Billy repeated his advice for Jack to stay on guard. Jack declared that he was as ready as he'd ever be to find out what was on the other end of the text messages, and he hoped to at least find out more about the man his son had become. Jack and Phyllis departed as Traci and Billy exchanged a worried look.
Adam and Nick met with Victor at Newman Media to talk about Ashland. Nick, fuming after learning that Ashland had faked his cancer diagnosis, was eager to confront his brother-in-law. Nick cried, "I don't want Victoria to get hurt any more than you do, but what Ashland has done is unforgiveable, and he must be dealt with now." While Adam agreed with Nick, he said he also agreed with their father's decision to act wisely. Adam said, "We cannot afford to make any wrong moves or do anything reckless. We have to handle this smart." Victor calmly replied, "Boys, I've got this. Leave it to me."
Nick expressed doubt that the matter could be dealt with discreetly, fearing that exposing the truth would blow up in Victoria's face. Victor insisted he could shield Victoria "by dealing with that bastard one on one." Nick asked why he and Adam had been summoned if Victor had intended to deal with Ashland on his own. Victor leaned forward and said by remaining in control of Ashland's fate. He said, "Who knows what else he has up his sleeve?" Nick agreed that they'd have to be smart about retaliation and pressed his father to share details of his plan.
In Victoria's office at Newman Enterprises, Nikki was anxious for Victoria to consult with her father regarding Ashland's request to be installed as co-CEO. Victoria, engrossed by contracts spread on her desk and an open laptop before her, seemed unfazed by her mother's urgent request. Ashland entered and, sensing the tension, asked if everything was okay. Nikki immediately replied that she'd just been having a conversation with her daughter. Ashland apologized for interrupting, but Victoria insisted that she didn't keep things from her husband because they were partners in every way.
Nikki turned her back when Victoria informed Ashland that her mother had expressed concern about how Victor would react to Ashland's new title. Ashland replied, "Ah. I'm hoping he'll be supportive." Nikki reminded Ashland that Victor regarded the company as his legacy, so it meant a lot that his eldest child was in charge. Victoria noted that she didn't need her father's permission and regarded informing him of her intentions as a courtesy and a formality. Ashland, delaying interaction with Victor, suddenly remembered a scheduled marketing meeting. Nikki insisted she'd cover the marketing meeting. Victoria thanked her mother and admitted she'd feel better after sharing the news with Victor. Ashland confidently told Victoria they could meet with Victor together and present a truly united front.
Victoria phoned Victor and told him she and Ashland wished to meet with him as soon as possible. Victor said he was in Adam's office at Newman Media, and he invited Victoria and Ashland to meet with him there. After Victor hung up, Adam asked his dad about his next move. Victor didn't respond. Nick, exasperated, said, "You know what, Dad? Just call me when you need me." Nick left without closing the door behind him. After Adam closed the door, Victor said that because Nick had left him, he'd have to rely on Adam's support.
After Victoria made plans to meet with Victor at Newman Media, Ashland said, "Fantastic. Let's go meet with Victor." Nikki seemed wary and glared at Ashland while he read a text message on his phone. The text message, from Victor, read, "We need to speak in private. Victoria cannot know." Ashland's demeanor immediately changed. Nikki said, "Something wrong?" Ashland insisted there wasn't. Nikki said she had evidently misread the expression on Ashland's face when he'd read his text message.
Ashland claimed the message concerned a former Locke Communications Group executive that had been let go after the merger and wished to talk about it. Ashland adeptly used his lie to excuse himself from accompanying Victoria. Ashland appeared apprehensive after Victoria and Nikki left.
Victor entered Victoria's office and met Ashland's nervous smile with a warning that he was done playing games. Victor announced that Ashland's charade was over. After Victor locked the door, Ashland noted that a locked door seemed a little dramatic. Victor said, "Ashland, you don't have cancer. You never did." Ashland insisted his doctors would confirm that he'd had cancer. Victor revealed that Ashland had paid some of his doctors to lie and had shown falsified medical records to others.
Ashland asked Victor why he would do such a thing. Victor replied, "Power. Control. You have dreamt of combining or merging Newman Enterprises with Locke Communications to create a behemoth of a company that you would preside over -- rule." Ashland explained that Victoria had been driving the merger. Victor recalled that Ashland had successfully manipulated Victoria by putting the idea of the merger in her head. Victor said Victoria had carried through with the merger because she'd been led to believe Ashland only had a few months to live. Victor said, "You played that game masterfully, but now it's over."
Ashland insisted that Victor's accusations were an outrageous conjecture, recalling his humiliation after news of his illness had been leaked by the press. Victor accused Ashland of leaking the story himself. Ashland brought up Harrison and asked Victor why he would choose to walk away from his own son after telling him his father was dying. Victor replied, "Turns out he isn't even your son." Ashland laughed nervously and said he'd been made aware that Victor could be cold and cruel.
Victor agreed that he could be very cold and very cruel. Victor, locking eyes with Ashland, said, "Stop the bull. I know what you've done. I have evidence that you paid off the doctors at that clinic in Peru, where they have this miraculous cure for cancer." Victor warned that he was collecting even more evidence about Ashland's shenanigans. Ashland claimed that an enemy was trying to settle a score with a setup. Victor ordered Ashland to stop his nonsense.
Victor, growing increasingly angry at Ashland, said, "What you've done to my company. What you've done to my family. What you've done to my daughter, my wife, and my grandchildren. No one uses my family as a pawn in their dreadful game. You got that?" Victor warned Ashland not to ever let Victoria discover that he'd victimized her by having played a cruel hoax. Victor said he'd rather Victoria suffer a broken heart than to have her spirit broken by the likes of someone like Ashland.
Victoria entered Adam's office to meet with her father. Adam was alone, seated at his desk. Adam greeted his sister and told her that their dad should return soon. Victoria was miffed that Victor had left after she'd told him she had something to discuss. Noting that they were on the same team, Adam invited Victoria to talk with him, so he could share his insights. Victoria told Adam she couldn't discuss the high-level issue with him. As Victoria turned to leave, Adam detained her by requesting they discuss his ideas for Newman Media.
Victoria took a seat and tried to listen to Adam. While Adam rambled on, Victoria's nerves got the better of her. Victoria constantly clicked her pen and told Adam she didn't have time to consider the specifics of his proposals. Victoria suggested Adam run his ideas past his brilliant COO. Adam defended Sally, noting that not even Victoria had been able to shoot down Sally's impressive ideas. Victoria rolled her eyes and suggested that Sally's confidence in herself was due to her intimate relationship with her boss. Adam replied, "That's low blow, even for you."
Adam reminded Victoria that she shared her sheets with her chief advisor. Victoria haughtily replied, "Ashland and I are married, and Ashland is much more than an advisor, as you will soon find out." Adam asked Victoria to clarify. Victoria suggested Adam give Ashland the respect he'd earned. Victoria warned that she'd no longer put up with Adam running to Daddy every time his feelings were hurt. Victoria informed her brother that he should dismiss his dream of someday heading the company again because she and Ashland would be running the show. Adam replied, "You sound awfully confident of yourself."
Victoria asked Adam why he was looking at her like a smug jerk. After Adam asked Victoria to enlighten him about her partnership with Ashland, she changed the subject. Victoria, weary of her brother's conversation, suggested he run with his ideas. Victoria dismissively told Adam that his business plans would either succeed or fail. Adam assured Victoria that he'd prove himself. No longer able to detain his sister, Adam had no choice but to let Victoria leave.
Victor dictated the terms of his orders to a cornered Ashland. Victor said, "Your cancer will suddenly reappear. You'll have a relapse, necessitating you to go down to South America, to Peru. And you go alone, without Victoria. And when I deem the time is right, you will call my daughter, and you will tell her that you want a divorce. No long legal wrangling, no court scenes. Nothing. Clean divorce, no explanation, no argument." Victor ordered Ashland to revert control of Newman Locke back to Victoria as part of the settlement before disappearing from his daughter's life forever. Ashland paused, sighed, and replied, "Why would I ever walk away from the woman I love?"
At Crimson Lights, Rey noticed that Sharon seemed anxious for Mariah and Tessa to make an appearance. Rey teased Sharon about yearning to "pounce" on Mariah and Tessa and bombard them with a pile of bridal magazines. Sharon admitted there were lot of urgent decisions to be made. Rey took Sharon's hand and assured her that the wedding ceremony was meant to be, no matter how quirky or offbeat the brides might choose for it to be. Sharon agreed, recalling how everything had worked out magically for their wedding, including the reception and toasts.
Nick entered the coffeehouse, and Rey told him they were reminiscing about wedding toasts. Sharon said that Nick seemed distracted. Nick said he didn't want to talk about it, but Rey took the hint and headed to the station. Sharon asked Nick what was going on. Nick, seething, explained that Ashland had done something despicable that might destroy Victoria. Nick cried that he didn't know how to help his sister.
Nick told Sharon that Victor had sent Michael to check out a clinic in Peru, where Ashland had claimed he'd received a miracle cure. Michael, Nick reported, had gotten a couple of doctors at the clinic to confirm that Ashland had bribed them to falsify his medical records to indicate that he'd had cancer. Sharon, shocked, replied, "Ashland faked his cancer?" Nick told Sharon that Ashland had used Victoria to get his hands on the company. Nick asked Sharon to keep quiet, noting that he'd confided in her because he'd needed someone to talk to. Sharon asked Nick why he hadn't told Victoria. Nick replied that Victor had insisted he would deal with it in a way that would spare Victoria as much as possible. Sharon was taken aback by the startling revelations.
Nick recalled that when he'd last approached his sister to tell her about the horrible things Ashland had done, Victoria had been okay with it. Nick said he assumed Victoria would react the same way to the latest revelations. Sharon told Nick that Ashland's destruction of Victoria's trust was disgusting and unforgivable. Sharon cried that as a cancer survivor, she was appalled that Ashland had made up a fake cancer diagnosis to use as a selfish ploy. Sharon said, "There's no way in hell that Victoria would be all right with that."
Upstairs over the coffeehouse in Mariah and Tessa's apartment, Mariah learned concerning news over the phone. After Mariah hung up, she told Tessa that Dominic had undergone a bone marrow transfusion to treat a blood disease. Mariah was relieved to share that Dominic was doing well and expected to fully recover. Tessa was also relieved and thankful that Devon had been a perfect donor match. Mariah admitted that she, as Dominic's godmother, felt she should have been contacted beforehand about the baby's illness. Tessa said that Abby had likely had a specific reason. Mariah agreed, explaining that Abby had told her she'd withheld news of Dominic's illness from family because she hadn't wanted them to worry unnecessarily.
Tessa assured Mariah that they'd visit Dominic as soon as they could. Tessa cheered up and distracted Mariah by telling her she'd taken Noah's advice to incorporate their three top ideas about wedding themes into one. Tessa elaborated, explaining that they could incorporate art, music, and perhaps costumes and choose a local venue. Mariah insisted they include some aspect that would set their celebration apart from all others.
After Tessa bounced around the idea of dressing in the fashion of a particular time period, such as Londoners in the 1960s, Mariah suggested they hold off until the right idea came to them. Tessa said that above all, their wedding should be about their love for each other, adding that they were more than lucky to have found each other. Mariah told Tessa that she should write a song about them tilted, "More than Lucky."
Noah entered the coffeehouse. Sharon, still sitting with Nick, recalled that Noah had returned home quite late the night before, adding that she'd heard him when he'd accidentally knocked over a lamp. Noah assured his mom that he hadn't been drinking, explaining to both his parents that he'd stayed up all night, talking to a friend. Nick acknowledged that Noah, a grown man, could stay out as late as he wanted. Nick added that he preferred well-rested employees. Noah teased that he faced additional scrutiny from working for his dad and living with his mom.
Noah turned the tables, explaining that he was concerned after having noticed his parents engaged in an intense conversation. Nick assured Noah he shouldn't be concerned because he and Sharon had been talking about the complications of being a Newman. After Noah stepped away to get coffee, Sharon told Nick she was worried about him and concerned about Victoria. Nick replied, "Yeah, I got to do something, and I'm going to do it right now." Sharon appeared apprehensive.
Rey later returned to Crimson Lights just as Mariah and Tessa arrived to share an announcement. Rey, Sharon, and Noah were eager to hear the big news. Their anticipation was dampened somewhat after Tessa and Mariah explained that their decision regarding their ceremony was impending. Rey asked Tessa and Mariah if they were issuing a save-the-date-like thing that was a notice about their future wedding theme. Mariah nodded. Sharon expressed her desire to act like the mother of the bride, and Rey promised to pitch in, too. Noah offered to provide artwork. Mariah thanked her family for their love and support.
Nick returned to Adam's office after he left Crimson Lights. Nick told Adam he'd changed his mind about wanting to be involved with whatever went down with Ashland and Victoria. Adam said he didn't have much to share, though Victor had asked him to keep Victoria busy while Victor was confronting Locke. Adam told Nick that Victoria had gotten fed up with him quickly after repeatedly insulting him, and she had left.
Adam admitted it had been hard for him to bite his tongue and not throw Ashland's lies in his sister's face. Nick praised Adam for having respected their dad's wishes. Adam told Nick he didn't know where Victor and Victoria were, though a collision course was inevitable. Adam said, "In fact, the fireworks you mentioned might be detonating right now."
After Ashland professed his love for Victoria, Victor warned Ashland not to insult Victor's intelligence. Victor said there had never been genuine love in Ashland's relationship with Victoria. Victor berated Ashland for having used Victoria as a pawn in his means to an end. Ashland replied, "I love Victoria more than I have ever loved anyone in my entire life, and she loves me."
Ashland asked Victor what he thought the powerful, strong-willed Victoria would do if Ashland were to fly to Peru and file for divorce out of nowhere. Ashland insisted that Victoria would never sit back and accept it. Victoria returned, attempted to enter her office, and was surprised to find the door had been locked. Victoria knocked and called out to Ashland. Victor glared at Ashland as Victoria continued knocking.
When Devon showed up at the Chancellor mansion, Abby told him that his timing could not have been better because Dominic had just gotten out of the bath and smelled "delicious." When asked why the infant needed a bath in the middle of the day, Abby explained that Dominic had tried sweet potatoes and peas for the first time, and things had gotten messy. She expressed relief that Dominic's appetite had returned.
Devon was pleased to hear that Dominic's recovery was going well and asked if Dominic could spend a few days with him. Chance returned home from a walk just as Abby was expressing concern about Dominic being shuffled about too soon in his recovery. Chance, however, thought it might be a good idea for Devon and Dominic to spend time together.
Chance shared that he would be having his first therapy session later in the day. He thanked Devon for having offered encouraging words about seeking out help. Devon praised Chance's decision and assured him that it would help not only him, but also Chance's entire family.
After Devon left with Dominic, Abby asked Chance if it would ever get any easier watching their son leave. Chance joked that by the time Dominic's first day of school arrived, Abby would be a pro, and she'd be the only parent not crying.
At Devon's penthouse, Devon told Dominic that Dominic would always have a home with him. He later played a tune on the piano for the little one and suggested that Dominic could grow up to play the piano or any other instrument. Or, Devon added, Dominic could also become a producer and "fill the whole world with new sounds." As Devon continued to think about what path Dominic might take, he paused and told Dominic that he could take his time deciding because he had his whole life ahead of him.
At the therapist's office, Dr. Huffman introduced himself as a former captain in the US Army who had done three tours overseas. With the formalities out of the way, Huffman asked why Chance had decided to seek him out. "I just want to be me again," Chance replied.
Chance told the therapist about Abby, Dominic, and the circumstances that had led to Dominic being born. Chance talked about not being around during the surrogacy and feeling that he'd missed out on things. Chance also touched on the new dynamic of sharing custody with Devon. Chance was quiet for a moment before revealing that he felt like he was "still waiting to feel connected" to Dominic.
The therapist asked Chance to talk about what he had experienced in Spain. Chance talked about how the safe house had exploded without warning. He also shared that after the explosion, the "targets" that he had been sent to find had shown up at the safe house to look for survivors so that they could "finish the job." Chance said that he had buried himself in the rubble and played dead, something he said he was not proud of doing.
After explaining that his family had been told that he had died, Chance took issue with his survival being called a "miracle." Chance admitted that he thought about the near-death experience nearly every day. A certain scent or the sky being a particular shade of blue could cause everything to resurface. Huffman asked Chance if he believed that he was being punished. "Yes. I failed my team," Chance replied.
Later, Chance returned from therapy and told Abby that the therapist seemed to know what he was doing. He admitted that therapy would be hard, but he was committed to doing the work. Abby told Chance that he did not have to be perfect and that she would love him no matter what.
In his office at Newman Locke, Adam told Nick that he had no news for Nick, but Nick didn't seem to believe him. When Nick took his coat off, Adam asked if Nick had decided to join him and Victor in calling out Ashland on his "hoax." Nick said he could not walk away from Victoria if she were in trouble. Nick questioned if Adam would truly be upset if things between Victor and Victoria soured.
Adam refuted the claim, but Nick commented that Adam and Victoria were not close and did not support each other. Adam insisted that while he celebrated the idea of getting Ashland out of their lives, he did not welcome the heartbreak that it would bring Victoria. Nick wondered how Victoria would handle learning that Ashland had been playing her.
Nick asked what Victor's next move might be. Adam said that he didn't know, but he could speculate on what might be going down -- Victor was either forcing Ashland to confess or turn himself in to the police. With Ashland owning half of Newman Locke, Nick was certain that Ashland would not go quietly.
Adam commented that it was somewhat ironic that Victoria had gotten praise for a megamerger, a merger that was threatening to take down the entire Newman family. Nick again wondered if Adam was using Victoria's predicament for his own advancement.
Later, Sally dropped by Adam's office to say that she had seen both Victor and Nick leaving the office at different times. Adam told Sally that the "whirlwind" romance between Victoria and Ashland was more than likely "about to implode." Sally refused to believe that the marriage could be over so quickly. She said she would never forgive Ashland if she learned that he had cheated on Victoria.
Adam said he was surprised that Sally was "so invested" in Victoria and Ashland's marriage. Sally explained that it wasn't so much that she was invested, but she did feel a certain level of attachment because she had designed Victoria's dress. Sally also shared her concerns about how Victoria would feel if a wedding that had been talked about internationally ended so soon. Sally said she hoped that Adam felt some level of sympathy for Victoria, even though he and his sister were not close.
Adam insisted that he felt bad for Victoria and reminded Sally that it was not that long before that he had had his own heart broken. Adam called Victoria a "survivor" and said that the entire Newman family would rally around her. Sally worried that Newman Locke could suffer in the aftermath of a Victoria/Ashland split, and she wondered who would run the company. Adam called that the "ten-billion-dollar question."
Elsewhere at Newman Locke, Nikki ran into Victoria in the hallway outside the executive office, and Nikki shared some of the details of the marketing meeting that she had attended. Victoria repeatedly knocked on the door to her office because the door was locked, and she did not have her key. Nikki offered to get a spare key.
Inside the executive office, Ashland looked on with a scowl as Victor asked, "Do we have a deal?" As Ashland stood silent, Victor stated that he had proof that Ashland had been lying about his illness "from the beginning." Ashland claimed that all that Victor had were theories. Victor replied that he would be more than willing to share the evidence he had with Victoria, but he admitted that he did not want to upset Victoria unnecessarily.
Victor suggested that Ashland agree to his terms: Ashland would suffer a sudden relapse and be forced to return to Peru for treatment, after which Ashland would cut all ties to Victoria "as painlessly as possible." Before Ashland could answer, the office door opened, and Victoria asked what was going on.
Victor and Ashland stood silent for several moments before Ashland claimed that he had to have accidentally locked the door when he'd entered the office. When Victoria asked Victor why he was in her office, Ashland also offered up a cover story. He claimed that he had asked Victor to meet him in the office to discuss plans to name a co-CEO of Newman Locke.
Victoria wasn't thrilled with the idea that Ashland and Victor were talking without her. Ashland insisted that Victor wasn't trying to "divide and conquer" and thought it might be best for Victor to share what was on his mind, since Victoria had arrived. Victor urged Victoria to reconsider naming Ashland co-CEO because it could cause Victoria a great deal of stress should Ashland suffer a relapse. Victoria argued that Ashland was getting stronger and had gotten the approval from his doctors to resume a normal schedule. Nikki asked Victoria to consider what Victor was saying, but Victoria repeated that she saw no reason to be overly cautious.
Victoria announced that she was ready to sign the agreement immediately. Victor and Ashland exchanged glares as Victoria looked over the paperwork. As Victoria picked up a pen, Ashland began breathing heavily. Victoria and Nikki began to panic, but Ashland said that he would be better if he could "get some air." Victoria walked Ashland out of the office.
Nikki seemed surprised that Victor was not concerned about Ashland's suffering. He countered that Ashland wasn't suffering, but he was a liar. Victor told Nikki about the terms he'd given to Ashland. Nikki worried that Ashland really was sick -- or that he had wanted to get Victoria alone to tell her about Victor's threat.
Moments later, Victoria returned to the office with news that Ashland had insisted upon being alone. She then turned to Victor and growled, "What you did to Ashland is utterly unacceptable." Victor asked Victoria to explain what he'd done wrong. Victoria took umbrage with the way that Victor had seemed to imply that Ashland did not deserve to be co-CEO. She reminded Victor that Ashland was a successful businessman, an "asset" who should not be keep on the sidelines.
Victor expressed his concerns that Ashland might not be as healthy as he claimed. Victoria chalked up Ashland's flareup as having been brought on by the stress Victor had caused. Victoria demanded that her father stop interfering with the way she chose to operate her company.
Victoria stormed out of her office and ran into Nick. She didn't believe Nick's claim that he had wanted to see how she was doing. "You were here because you knew exactly what Dad was up to," she snapped. She then asked how long Nick had "known about this" and if the entire family had been discussing it behind her back. Victoria asked what she needed to do to stop the constant interference in her life.
Nick urged Victoria to get away from the business because "the closer you are to the fire, the worse you get burned." Nick assured Victoria that he did not want to meddle in her life and had only learned a short time earlier that Victor had planned to tell her about "it." Victoria froze in place as she processed what her brother had said. "Wait a minute. Tell me what?" she asked.
At Society, Ashland took a seat at the bar and phoned someone with orders to find everyone who was speaking to Michael Baldwin and "put an end to it immediately and forever."
At Society, after ending his call to an unknown person, Ashland slowly made his way toward the exit. If he wanted to leave unobserved, he wasn't able to because Nate happened to be entering just as Ashland got up from his seat at the bar. Nate said that he had been thinking about Ashland's offer to join Newman Locke. While he was "leaning toward yes," Nate needed a few more details.
Ashland patted Nate on the shoulder, said, "We'll talk," and abruptly headed for the door. Surprised by Ashland's response, Nate asked if everything was okay. Ashland apologized and asked that Nate not read too much into his mood. He said that he was glad that Nate was seriously considering the job offer and told Nate that they needed to sit down for a meaningful discussion about what would come next. Ashland explained that he was running late for an appointment and needed to dash off.
Nate agreed to meet in the following days for dinner, but he could not help but worry about how "frazzled" and "unwell" Ashland seemed. Ashland tried to dismiss Nate's concerns, but Nate persisted. Ashland eventually confessed that he had been experiencing some shortness of breath and that it left him a more than a little concerned.
Nate and Ashland took seats at the bar, and Nate asked some questions about Ashland's overall health. Ashland called his episodes "manageable" and suggested that he was suffering from "a bug." Nate warned that Ashland was not in a position to take chances with his health. Ashland claimed that he had been on his way to see his oncologist when he had bumped into Nate. When Nate asked why Ashland wasn't on his way to the doctor, Ashland chuckled and noted that it was Nate who had stopped him.
Nate offered to go to the appointment with Ashland, but Ashland said that would not be necessary. He promised to call Nate with the details of his meeting with the oncologist and a date when they could get together to discuss the Newman Locke offer over dinner.
Victoria pressed Nick for details about whatever Victor was supposed to have told her. Nick, perhaps realizing that he'd said too much, tried his best to dodge Victoria's questions with questions of his own. Nick insisted that he did not want to cause trouble for Victoria. Victoria said that she could always count on Nick to tell her the truth. She discerned that Nick had really dropped by because he was concerned about her for some reason.
Nick remained silent, prompting Victoria to make an about-face and head back into her office to ask her father some questions. Victor insisted that he had made his concerns known: he wanted Victoria to hold off from signing a "binding contract" that made Ashland co-CEO. Victoria told Victor that she already knew that, adding that she wanted to know whatever it was that no one was telling her.
Nick told Victoria that she was overreacting to what he had said. Citing Ashland's bout of malaise earlier in the day, Victor again stated that he wanted Victoria to hold off on making Ashland co-CEO. Victor asserted that Victoria had done a great job running the company on her own. Victoria countered that Ashland's presence as co-CEO would make the company even stronger.
Victoria said that she still believed there was more going on than what she was being told. When no one offered up any more details, Victoria announced that she was headed home to check on her husband.
Once Victoria left, Nick blasted the idea of Ashland worming his way toward total control of Newman Locke. Victor assured Nick that he would "take care of things." Nick said that he hoped his father was right. With a scowl on his face, Nick walked out of the office.
Nikki agreed that Nick was right to be concerned about Ashland's next move. She noted that people could be at their most dangerous when backed into a corner. "I just worry that you have less of a handle on this situation than you think you do," a worried Nikki commented. Victor pledged that he would show Ashland "no mercy" if Ashland tried anything.
Later, Nikki and Victor dropped by Society and were pleased to see Nate there. Nate mentioned that he was considering a job at Newman Locke. Nikki was shocked that Nate would consider giving up medicine. Nate replied that one sometimes had to make a change to keep things interesting. "Oh, well, it can get very interesting at Newman Locke," Nikki quipped.
Nate told Nikki and Victor that his addition to the Newman Locke family wasn't a done deal because he had still not worked out all the details with Ashland. Victor was surprised to learn that Nate had run into Ashland at Society earlier in the day. Nikki asked how Ashland had seemed. Victor explained that the last time he and Nikki had seen Ashland, he had had some trouble breathing.
After expressing his reluctance to give an opinion about Ashland's health, Nate admitted that Ashland had seemed "a bit under the weather." Nate quickly noted that it could simply be that Ashland had a cold. Nate bid Victor and Nikki goodbye and walked away.
Once Nate was gone, Victor and Nikki squabbled over the reason that Ashland would have stopped at Society instead of heading home to rest. Nikki asked Victor if it was possible that the information Michael had obtained in Peru might not be accurate. Victor insisted that he trusted Michael's intel. Still, Nikki urged Victor to proceed with caution.
After going home and not finding Ashland there, Victoria dropped by Crimson Lights. She called Ashland and left a message on his voicemail, asking where he had gone. Sharon overheard Victoria saying that she was worried about Ashland. After delivering Victoria's coffee, Sharon asked Victoria if she was okay. Victoria admitted that she was a little concerned about Ashland because he had not been feeling well. As she spoke the words aloud, Victoria realized that Ashland was not one to sit at home even if he did feel unwell.
Sharon told Victoria that she would be on the lookout for Ashland, and if she saw him, she would give him orders to head home to rest. As Victoria turned to leave, Nick approached and asked if they could talk. Nick apologized for what happened at Newman Locke and assured Victoria that he did not want to be caught in any drama that involved her, Ashland, and Victor. Nick noted that things between him and Victoria hadn't been right since Victoria's wedding. He pleaded with her to meet him halfway.
Victoria questioned if Nick was really on her side and worried that his dislike of Ashland would be a perpetual thorn in their relationship. Nick assured his sister that he was trying to keep an open mind about Ashland. Shortly after his name was mentioned, Ashland entered the Crimson Lights with a smile on his face. He shared that he had overheard part of the conversation and wanted Nick to know that he loved Victoria and would do anything for her.
Ashland stated that it would mean a lot to Victoria to know that Nick was on her side. As Ashland was about to propose a suggestion, Sharon sidled in with a cup of coffee and a request to speak to Nick privately about a matter involving Tessa and Mariah.
After they moved to another part of the coffeehouse, Nick asked Sharon about Tessa and Mariah. Sharon said that she didn't really need to talk to him about that; she'd just wanted to get him away from Ashland before he did something that he regretted.
Nick admitted that he had been close to making a scene. He informed Sharon that Victor had concocted a plan to get Ashland out of their lives without Victoria ever finding out the truth about Ashland. Sharon worried about the fallout that might stem from Ashland's departure.
Back at their table, Victoria admitted that she was worried about Ashland. He assured her that he was fine and had suffered from only a "momentary thing." Victoria told Ashland that she was "a hundred percent committed" to Ashland becoming co-CEO. She asked if Ashland had signed the contract. He said that he had not but would not explain why he had not signed the paperwork.
As he spoke to Victoria, Ashland received a text message from the person he had spoken to earlier on the phone. The message read, "Found another doctor who gave info to Baldwin. Took care of all three of them." Ashland nodded several times and returned his attention to Victoria. He told Victoria that there was something he needed to tell her about Victor.
In Los Angeles, Phyllis and Jack arrived at a location that was said to be his son Keemo's house. Jack paused for a moment before approaching the door. He expressed his reluctance about "who or what's going to be on the other side of that door." Jack used the doorknocker to knock on the door about a half-dozen times, but there was no response.
Phyllis walked up to the door, twisted the doorknob, and found that the door was unlocked. Jack objected to Phyllis barging into the home, but she countered that they had not traveled all the way to Los Angeles to simply stand on the front porch. "We didn't come all this way to trespass, either," Jack retorted. Phyllis argued that Jack could very well be the next of kin and that he deserved to get some answers.
Phyllis slowly opened the door, and Jack let out a deep breath. Inside, the house appeared to be under renovation. A ladder, drop cloths, and paint cans dotted the floors of nearly every room. A small box of belongings was also nearby. Jack questioned why he had been lured to an empty house in Los Angeles. "I feel like Keemo wouldn't want me here," Jack said softly. Phyllis suggested that Jack should try to use the moment to somehow reconnect with Keemo. Jack explained that Keemo had died not wanting any part of Jack in his life.
Phyllis admitted that she could not fully understand how Jack was feeling, and she told him that she was there to support him in any way he needed her. She urged Jack to try to find out everything he could about Keemo's life to understand more about the man that he had become. "I want to know that the world he built for himself had some happiness in it -- even if it didn't include me," Jack said sadly.
Jack and Phyllis toured the rest of the house and found it just as empty as the living room. Jack fought with his emotions as he explained that he was trying to "piece together the life" of someone who was very important to him but also someone that he did not really know.
Jack sat down on the tarp-covered sofa and decided to open the box that presumably contained Keemo's belongings. He gasped audibly when he found dozens of letters addressed to him with Keemo's return address. None of the envelopes had any stamps on them. Phyllis suggested that the box had been left intentionally so that Jack would find it. Phyllis offered to go to a nearby coffee shop while Jack read the letters. Jack asked her to stay.
After reading some of the letters, Jack determined that they were a way for Keemo to try to work through things and that Keemo had never planned to mail them. Phyllis offered to listen if Jack wanted to read any of the letters to her.
"I said I'd forgiven you and I tried to let everything that happened go, but after I left Genoa City, something inside of me could not let me be at peace," Jack read. In another, Keemo wrote that he was "sorry about those angry emails" that he had written regarding his mother's illness and death. Jack told Phyllis that Luan had kept her illness a secret and that he had found out only by accident.
In the next letter, Keemo spoke of changing his name to honor his maternal grandfather, something that had finally brought him some peace. "I am freed from the conflict of being Jack Abbott's son," Jack read as he fought back tears. Phyllis said she believed that Jack would have been an amazing father to Keemo if Keemo had let him.
Jack continued to another letter. In the letter, Keemo wrote that while he had forgiven Jack, he was not sure that the rage would not return at some point. "So, while I've forgiven you, I can't ever have a relationship with you. It is better for everyone. I hope that you can understand that and forgive me," Jack read aloud. His voice cracked as he read the final words. "Your son, Keemo."
Jack was upset that Keemo had never felt comfortable enough to reach out to him. He insinuated that Keemo had to have known he was dying because all the letters had been written in the months leading up to his death. Phyllis noted that the online obituary had reported that Keemo had died of a heart attack, so there could have been no way that Keemo had known he would die. Jack wondered if Keemo had really died of a heart attack.
Jack told Phyllis that they should leave. Phyllis told Jack that he had not yet read all of Keemo's letters. Phyllis picked through some of the remaining letters and found a photo of Keemo with two women and a young girl. Jack took the photo and looked at it with a smile on his face. He noted that Keemo looked very happy. Phyllis noted that something was written on the back of the photo. Jack turned it over and found "Viet Nam June 2012" scrawled on the back.