Ashland, eager to fly with Victoria to their palazzo in Tuscany, became impatient after she claimed she still had loose ends to tie up before departing. Victoria reminded Ashland that getting away from her family would free up time for them to figure out who was behind the attacks, so they could clear his name. Ashland seemed somewhat relieved until Victoria informed him that Victor had put Adam in charge of the day-to-day business while they were away. Ashland complained about Victor having a say and said it felt like the first move in a power play. Victoria reminded Ashland that even if Victor and Adam believed they'd assumed control, she and Ashland would still be making all the meaningful decisions.
At Newman Media, Sally cheered Adam's ascension to the position of CEO of Newman Locke. Adam clarified that he would be interim CEO while Ashland and Victoria were in Europe. Sally celebrated Victor's decision as a huge vote of confidence, and she asked Adam about her role. Adam told Sally that because they were a team, he'd need her to step up big time. Sally asked Adam about Victoria's reaction to her father's decision. Adam explained that Victoria hadn't been thrilled, though Victor had given her no choice but to accept it. Adam admitted he couldn't figure out Victoria's game, though he was certain she had one.
Sally was raring to learn all she could about Newman Locke, so she could help Adam strategize. Sally offered to grab something to eat before she and Adam hunkered down. Before Sally left, Chelsea phoned and told Adam she'd secured tickets for herself and Connor to attend a Blackhawks game in Chicago and needed Adam to go along in her place. Adam explained that he had too much on his plate and couldn't leave town. Chelsea, acknowledging she should have planned better, understood. After Adam hung up, he told Sally he would have enjoyed an outing with Connor, but he couldn't afford any distractions. Sally agreed that assuming the interim position would be a crucial moment for Adam's career.
At Crimson Lights, Nate struggled to secure a lid on his coffee cup as he recalled having confronted Ashland. Nate remembered having told Ashland to stop lying and tell Victoria the truth to put an end to her suspicions. Billy approached Nate and said, "That's it. You wrestle with that lid there. Show it who's boss." Billy asked Nate if he was okay. Nate smiled and said he had everything a man could ever want. Nate admitted he'd ended his friendship with Ashland after discovering he wasn't a stand-up guy. Billy asked Nate what he knew about Ashland's medical condition. Nate replied, "What do you know?"
Billy told Nate that Victoria had confided to him that Ashland, a liar, had betrayed her, though she hadn't mentioned any proof she'd obtained. Nate said he'd given the proof he'd uncovered to Victor and Adam, and he assumed that Victoria knew, too. Billy expressed concern that what Victoria knew and what she believed might be two different things. Billy read aloud a text message from Nick enlisting his help to talk to Victoria because she and Ashland were heading to Tuscany. Nate, shocked, replied, "How can she?" Billy said he was about to find out, and he thanked Nate for what Nate had done.
Billy entered Victoria and Ashland's office at Newman Locke and asked to talk to Victoria immediately. Ashland replied, "Billy, as usual, your timing is impeccably bad. Victoria and I are in the middle of a private conversation." Billy told Victoria he needed to talk to her before she left town. Victoria winced when Ashland asked Billy how he knew they were leaving town. Billy said he'd heard it from Nick and needed to talk to Victoria about an emergency involving their children. Ashland insisted that if Johnny and Katie were involved, then he should be included. Victoria calmly asked Ashland to give her and Billy a few minutes alone. Ashland glared at Billy as he walked toward the door to leave.
After Ashland left, Billy told Victoria he wanted to ensure that she would do the right thing. Victoria chastised Billy for using their children as an excuse to talk to her alone. Billy said he had a right to express concern about their children, based on the fact that Victoria didn't seem to care that her "monster" husband had lied about being sick in order to get control of the company. Billy said he was concerned about Victoria leaving the country with Ashland. Victoria told Billy he was passing judgment without knowing what her plans were for handling the situation. Billy reminded Victoria that she'd confided in him after learning what Ashland had done, and he was worried about her safety.
Billy recalled that Victoria had even expressed concern about Ashland harming her. Billy warned Victoria that she'd be standing in Ashland's way should he decide to seize control of the company. Victoria, annoyed, reminded Billy that her father's security detail would covertly shadow her while she and Ashland were in Italy. Billy asked Victoria why she was accompanying Ashland to Italy. Victoria replied, "I have my reasons. Now please go."
Billy demanded to know more. Victoria acknowledged that she'd turned to Billy because he cared about her. Victoria told Billy she had a plan and was certain no harm would come to her. Victoria assured Billy that their children would no longer be exposed to Ashland. Billy replied, "I hope you're right about that. Just promise me that you are going to be careful." Victoria nodded. After Billy left, Victoria sighed heavily.
Ashland went to Adam's office and gruffly said they needed to get a few things straight. Adam repeated his offer, agreeing not to publish stories about Ashland's fraudulent claims if he left Genoa City and promised never to return. Ashland announced that he was leaving town with his beautiful wife, though Adam already knew about the trip. Ashland, acknowledging that Victor had appointed Adam as "pretend CEO," advised Adam not to post any stories about him. Adam replied, "Why is that?" Ashland claimed that by putting Adam in charge, Victor had neutralized the threat. Ashland said, "Publishing anything about how I somehow hoodwinked the entire Newman family into appointing me as co-CEO would reflect very badly on the 'interim' boss."
Ashland warned Adam that the public would hound him for details, which would cause irreparable damage to the company. Ashland said the situation would worsen after he revealed that the entire story was based on lies. Adam informed Ashland that he'd make his own judgment calls, just as his father had empowered him to do. Ashland told Adam that he was essentially akin to a babysitter where the company was concerned, not running the empire. Adam said he found it interesting that Ashland felt the need to stop by to state his assertions, because Victoria had no problem with it. Adam told Ashland he'd dodged a bullet because Victoria still trusted him, despite all the evidence her family had presented against him.
Ashland defended himself to Adam and said that Victoria had refused to be duped by believing ridiculous accusations. Adam replied, "Still playing the innocent card. God, you really are a piece of work. I admire you almost as much as I despise you." Ashland said that Victoria's opinion, not Adam's or Victor's, was the only one that mattered. As Ashland was leaving, Adam said, "What about Harrison's? I'd like to think his opinion matters. At least when he gets old enough to understand exactly what his father has done." Ashland, grimacing, turned to face Adam and said, "You son of a bitch. Don't get too comfortable in whatever this position is. We'll be back soon." As Ashland walked away, Adam loudly said, "Have a safe flight."
Ashland returned to Newman Locke and asked Victoria about her meeting with Billy, inquiring whether they might have to postpone the trip to attend to Johnny and Katie. Victoria admitted Billy had used their children as an excuse to talk to her alone. Ashland asked Victoria why Nick had confided to Billy about the trip to Italy. Victoria explained that Nick had told Billy everything, so Billy had taken it upon himself to warn her that Ashland likely planned to take over Newman Locke and do her harm. Ashland replied, "Do you harm? How dare he? What the hell is he doing putting ideas like that into your head?" Victoria assured Ashland that she knew he would never harm her.
Ashland, frustrated, told Victoria that the smear campaign had to stop before they lost control of it. Victoria explained that her family had become desperate enough to involve Billy. Ashland said, "Please tell me he didn't get to you. I can handle Billy and your father and your brothers and your entire family thinking badly of me. I can even handle public humiliation, but the idea that you would think, even for a moment, that I would harm you... All I care about is what you think." Victoria took Ashland's hands and asked him to assure her he'd never do anything so deceitful and ugly to her. Ashland told Victoria he loved her too much to hurt her in any way whatsoever, and he was pained to think she'd doubted him. Victoria replied, "Then that's all that I needed to hear." Victoria embraced Ashland.
Sally entered Society and spotted Chelsea sitting at the bar. Chelsea cordially greeted Sally. Sally said Chelsea's politeness surprised her. Chelsea told Sally she didn't intend to wage war with Sally because they'd both moved on. Sally admitted she'd been with Adam when Chelsea had phoned asking him to take Connor to the Blackhawks game. Sally said she assumed Chelsea had pressing work if she'd chosen a business trip over a mother-son bonding experience. Chelsea replied that apparently Adam was in a similar situation, having made the same difficult decision. Chelsea said she was glad not to be involved with the Newman business and their family drama. Sally boasted that she loved working with Adam.
Smiling, Chelsea wished Sally and Adam the best and hoped that Adam had found what he was looking for. Sally said that had she and Chelsea made peace sooner, they, along with Chloe, might have saved Newman Fashion. Chelsea expressed doubts that the three of them could have successfully worked with Adam. Rey walked in and noticed Chelsea and Sally talking. Chelsea told Sally she'd deal with whatever relationship Sally had with Adam. Rey approached and greeted Sally and Chelsea. Chelsea cheerily said, "Seeing you twice in one day. How lucky is that?" Sally rolled her eyes, grabbed her to-go bag, and replied, "Lucky, indeed."
After Sally left, Rey said he'd overheard Chelsea tell Sally she'd deal with whatever was going on with her and Adam. Chelsea assured Rey that she'd meant what she'd said. Rey commended Chelsea for cutting the cord that connected Adam and noted that she seemed happy. Chelsea said she'd broken free of a toxic cycle, and she credited Rey for having helped her with his pep talks and his friendship. Rey told Chelsea she'd worked hard on her own to transform her life. Chelsea replied, "Thanks for noticing." Chelsea told Rey about the Blackhawks game tickets she'd bought for Connor, explaining that neither she nor Adam was free to take their son. Rey offered to accompany Connor. Chelsea, relieved, cried, "You are a lifesaver."
Sally returned to the office and told Adam she'd brought back a feast. Adam told Sally about Ashland's visit. Sally said she assumed Ashland was having a cow after learning that Adam was stepping in for Victoria. Adam replied, "He decided to school me on how I should handle myself at Newman Locke, like I've never run a company before." Sally asked Adam what advice Ashland had shared. Adam said Ashland had told him he shouldn't make good on his threat to publish an article about Ashland having faked his cancer diagnosis. Sally said it was ironic Ashland would play that card, since they'd already decided against the plan for fear that it might damage Newman Media if the story was released prematurely. Adam replied that he'd made the same case, though he hadn't let on to Ashland that they'd made the decision on their own.
Adam told Sally that Ashland seemed off and was unnerved. Adam concluded that it was a weak move on Ashland's part, and it was telling because "Ashland Locke doesn't do weak." Sally asked Adam if he thought Ashland was scared. Adam suggested it might have been Victor's strategy to do something jarring by giving Adam the reins to throw Ashland Locke off his game. Adam added, "Like I said, Victoria is up to something, too. I'd like to think that her eyes are finally open, and she's siding with the family behind the scenes."
Adam told Sally he hoped Victoria was playing Ashland Locke like he'd played her and would remove him from her life and from the company with surgical precision. Adam welcomed the opportunity to show his dad how much more capable and better equipped he was to run Newman Locke than his gullible sister could ever be. Sally asked Adam what might happen to her if Adam proved successful. Adam said that if he replaced Victoria as CEO, he'd choose someone with energy and creativity like Sally embodied to become CEO of Newman Media. Sally, aroused, kissed Adam.
Elena chilled Champagne and lit candles as she waited for Nate to pick up dinner to enjoy at their new penthouse. Elena checked her phone and wondered aloud what could have detained Nate. Devon and Amanda walked across the hallway and rang the doorbell. When Elena opened the door, she said she'd been expecting Nate. Devon and Amanda gave Elena housewarming gifts. Devon recalled how much Neil had loved living in the penthouse, and he was certain Nate and Elena would, too.
Devon, noticing Elena's dressy attire and the chilling Champagne, said he felt like he and Amanda were intruding. Elena assured Devon and Amanda that she and Nate would love to christen their home with their new neighbors. When Nate returned without food, he admitted that he'd run into Ashland, who hadn't been pleased about Nate declining the job offer. Nate changed the subject and welcomed Devon and Amanda to help him and Elena celebrate. Devon suggested they celebrate Amanda's return to the corporate world and her new job at Chancellor. Amanda said a toast should include Devon and Lily's merger and the redesign of their companies. Nate cheered Elena becoming a rising star at Genoa City Memorial Hospital and their move to the penthouse.
Elena insisted that the biggest leap forward was Nate's huge career change in a new profession. Devon asked Elena how she felt about Nate leaving medicine to join Devon and Lily. Elena recalled that she'd learned a lot from Nate while they'd both been in the medical field. Nate said he'd have more free time to lavish on Elena. Elena said she mostly supported the decision because Nate would be joining his family, which would be rewarding for him. Devon proposed a toast to new adventures for them all. The friends all celebrated each other.
At Newman Locke, Ashland overheard Victoria on the phone, questioning how long something would take. She informed him that their flight to Tuscany had been delayed, but he argued that it was on a private jet. Victoria reported that storms were in their flight path. Ashland grabbed the phone and testily asked how long it would take to reroute. The pilot claimed that storms were rolling in from multiple directions, and Ashland asked Victoria if they should push to take off, anyway. Victoria deferred to the pilot as the expert, and Ashland demanded that they get to Italy as soon as possible. Ashland grumbled that they had to wait until the pilot let them know it was safe to depart.
Ashland found it hard to believe that Victor was okay with Adam being in charge, and he encouraged Victoria to convince her father to change his mind. Victoria asserted that she liked to choose her own battles, and it wasn't a fight she wanted to focus her energy on. Ashland voiced concern that Victor was no longer their ally, so Adam would be free to run amuck. Ashland shared that Adam had made it clear that they shouldn't stay in Tuscany too long. Victoria expected that the problem would be fixed once they cleared Ashland's name and her family apologized for thinking the worst of him. He thanked her for reminding him about what was important, and they embraced.
Ashland mentioned that he'd gone to Newman Media to remind Adam that Adam was only babysitting the company, not taking it over, and Adam's response had been to congratulate Ashland for pulling the wool over Victoria's eyes. Ashland groused that it had been insulting and offensive, and Victoria groaned that it had shown that Adam hadn't really turned over a new leaf like he'd claimed. She pondered whether the answer they'd been looking for had been staring them in the face the entire time.
Victoria noted that she and Ashland had been going around and around, trying to figure out who might have framed him. She recalled that they'd discarded the idea that her dad had been behind it, since he would have made a bold power move, and the scheme had been sneaky. She claimed that it had clicked when Ashland had said Adam had expressed his admiration that Ashland had pulled off such a huge scam, since it was exactly what Adam would do -- and had done before, when he'd once pretended to be blind. Victoria thought someone as deceitful and power-hungry as Adam wouldn't think twice if he saw an opportunity to take Ashland down to advance himself.
Victoria remembered the way Adam's face had lit up when Victor had put him in charge, and she questioned whether it had been Adam's goal from the beginning to make Victor lose faith in her and Ashland to clear the way. Ashland wondered if Adam was vicious enough to make up such awful accusations, and Victoria huffed that it was child's play for Adam. Ashland seemed appalled that someone would try to destroy a man's reputation and marriage to satisfy their own ambitions. Victoria referred to how Adam had hacked into ChancComm's servers to get the story printed about Ashland's past, and she theorized that Adam had done the same thing by removing or replacing Ashland's medical records at the hospital. Ashland mused that it made sense in a twisted way, but he doubted Victor would ever believe it. Victoria brightly stated that her father might believe it if they found proof.
At Newman Media, Nikki was confused by Victor's calm demeanor, given that Victoria was about to leave at any minute. Victor pointed out that Nikki had been the one assuring him that Victoria could handle herself, but Nikki was unnerved by the thought of their daughter traveling alone with Ashland after everything he'd done. Victor was confident it would all work out, but Nikki worried that there was a lot that could go wrong with Victoria's plan. Victor revealed that the flight wouldn't leave anytime soon, since he'd had the pilot tell Victoria and Ashland that there was a storm in the area.
Nikki clucked that Victoria and Ashland would eventually realize there was no storm. Victor divulged that it was a stalling tactic to give Michael enough time to examine Ashland's contract and find a clause that would allow them to throw Ashland out on his ear. Nikki declared that she no longer had any illusions about who Ashland really was after Michael had been held captive in a foreign country, and Victor hissed that Ashland wouldn't get away with it. Nikki lamented that Ashland had never suffered any consequences for his crimes. "Do you think I'm going to let that bastard get away with it?" Victor growled.
Victor recalled that he'd had suspicions about Ashland from the very beginning, and he'd asked Ashland point-blank if he'd faked his illness to garner Victoria's sympathy. Victor had believed Ashland would do anything to hide what he'd done, but Victor hadn't interfered because Victoria had been as happy as he'd ever seen her. Nikki hoped he wasn't blaming Victoria for what had happened. Victor couldn't deny that his opinion of Victoria's judgment had changed. Nikki lectured that they'd all supported Victoria and Ashland's marriage and believed Ashland loved Victoria, and she scolded Victor for acting like Victoria was the only one who should have seen it.
Nikki conceded that Victoria had made a mistake by trusting Ashland, but she felt it didn't diminish Victoria's accomplishments at Newman. Victor pointed out that he'd told Victoria many times that she was running the company well, but Nikki thought he'd made Victoria think he'd lost faith in her abilities by appointing Adam to run things while Victoria sorted out a crisis. Victor insisted that it was a temporary solution, but Nikki argued that she was the COO and would have been the logical choice to fill in. Victor countered that it wouldn't have had the same impact.
Nikki protested that Victoria might be putting her life at risk to win back Victor's respect because she sensed his judgment and disappointment. Nikki believed Victoria should know that her family would stand by her, no matter what, and she begged Victor to do that. Victor insisted that he adored Victoria and would never do anything to hurt her. Nikki countered that he could also sometimes be very inflexible with business matters, but Victor replied that he hadn't made up his mind about how to handle the business yet. Nikki advised him not to decide anything until the crisis was resolved. Victor vowed to do everything in his power to get Victoria's "bastard husband" out of their lives.
Meanwhile, Ashland marveled that Victoria's theory had put his conversation with Adam in a whole new light. Ashland considered the way Adam had been goading him about how clever and lucky Ashland had been to get away with it. Victoria figured it had been Adam's way of bragging about what Adam himself had gotten away with, and she reasoned that no one had benefited more from Ashland falling out of favor with the Newman family. Ashland decided to call the trip to Italy off so they could stay and do a deep dive into everything Adam had been up to.
Victoria remarked that her and Ashland's next move might have already been chosen for them. She figured that the trip had been intended to give them some space, but she felt they shouldn't give Adam too much room to maneuver. Ashland marveled at how her mind worked, since he might never have realized Adam was the one behind all the lies. Victoria imagined that Adam had tried to cover his tracks, so it wouldn't be easy to prove. Ashland was determined to find a way. He gushed that he hadn't thought it was possible to get their lives back, but he could finally see an end to the nightmare, thanks to her. Victoria pointedly declared that it was the beginning of the end.
At Society, Sally complimented Adam for being a gentleman by opening the door for her and pulling out her chair. She wondered if he planned to make her breakfast in bed in the morning, but he told her that they were just having a drink. She called it a special drink on a special night because he'd just been put in charge of Newman Locke. Sally implored him to tell her all about his plans for the company, and Adam boasted that he could talk about them all night because he'd run Newman successfully before.
Sally imagined that Adam had kept an eye on every move Victoria had made and that he'd compared it to what he would have done in his sister's place. Adam found it both unnerving and impressive how well Sally read him, and she chalked it up to their similar mindsets. She recalled keeping an eye on the competition when she'd run her own company, and he reminded her that she was about to run an even bigger entity. Sally admitted that it hadn't sunk in yet, but she appreciated him having that kind of faith in her.
Adam toasted to being in charge, but Sally worried that they were jinxing it because Victoria and Ashland could still throw a wrench in things. Sally wondered what would happen if Victoria complained to Victor about Adam taking over. Adam knew Victoria hated the idea of him acting as CEO, but he believed she was willing to let him run the company to get Ashland out of her life. Sally was in awe that Victoria had been able to hold in her emotions after her husband's horrific betrayal, but Adam anticipated that a smart guy like Ashland would eventually catch on. Sally noted that Ashland was also a very vindictive guy, and she contemplated what would happen when he found out his wife had been playing him.
Adam asserted that Victoria knew how to take care of herself, and he thought Sally should be more concerned about Ashland's safety. Sally envisioned Victoria pushing Ashland out of the plane on the way to Italy, and Adam joked that his sister might have had an ejection seat installed. He bet that Victoria would wind up on top, and Sally voiced surprise, given how he felt about Victoria. Adam conceded that he and Victoria didn't see eye to eye; he admitted he respected that she was a formidable opponent, and he knew better than to underestimate her. Sally figured it might be best if Victoria won the battle, since Ashland might otherwise try to take Newman Locke away from both siblings.
Adam recognized that they all stood to lose if Victoria's plan failed, but he doubted that Victor would be shy about stepping in to do what was necessary. Sally realized that might be the best scenario, since it would leave the company intact while knocking Victoria off her pedestal. Adam reiterated that even if Victoria's plan went perfectly, she was still at fault for falling for the scheme in the first place. Sally cautioned that Victor didn't seem to feel the same way.
Adam reasoned that Victor would always defend Victoria, especially in front of someone who wasn't family. Adam was certain that Victor was still disappointed that she'd let him down because that was the greatest sin one of his children could commit. Sally sensed that Adam's promotion was a test to see what he would do with the company. Adam resolved to do a better job of proving he could be more daring and innovative than Victoria, and he felt the need to do it before she got back from Tuscany.
Adam acknowledged that Victoria had grabbed a lot of headlines by merging their father's company with one Ashland had created, followed by a spending spree. He contended that she'd stockpiled an impressive collection of assets, but it had never been clear what she intended to do with her shiny toys. Sally stated that he needed to have a unique and spectacular vision out of the gate. Adam added that everything depended on one go-big-or-go-home idea that grabbed everyone's attention. Sally compared it to how she'd designed Victoria's wedding gown to launch Newman Fashion. Adam said he valued her input because she had a knack for that sort of thing. She suggested they grab another round and brainstorm.
Jack sat in a rooftop café in Los Angeles, where he flashed back to chiding Diane for the pain she'd caused Kyle by faking her death. Diane had pleaded that Kyle deserved to have his mother in his life, but Jack had retorted that she didn't deserve Kyle. Jack was startled when he heard Phyllis call his name. Phyllis explained that she hadn't wanted to pressure him over the phone, so she'd flown there instead. He was glad she had.
Phyllis pushed to know why Jack had sounded strange on the phone, and he assumed that she wouldn't buy that it had been jetlag. She found it unlikely that Allie had gotten cold feet, and he confirmed that things had been great with his granddaughter. Phyllis said she'd been worried, so she'd talked to Lauren, who had backed her. Jack warned that his news was shocking, and his instinct had been to keep it to himself, but he knew he couldn't handle it on his own after seeing Phyllis there. He decided to share the insanity with someone he trusted, and he trusted no one more than her.
Jack informed Phyllis that the mystery texter had found him, and it was where the insanity had kicked in. He divulged that the texter had been Diane Jenkins. Phyllis' eyes widened, and she asked if he was kidding her, since Diane was dead and "burning in hell." Jack swore he wasn't kidding, and Phyllis surmised it had been someone impersonating Diane. Jack recalled that he'd seen and talked to Diane, and he insisted she was alive.
Phyllis stammered that Diane was dead, since her body had been recovered, and there had been a service. Jack shared that it had all been a lie. Phyllis reached for his hand and acknowledged that he was stressed out, but she reminded him that she'd been one of the many suspects in Diane's death. Jack conceded that Diane had had confrontations with many people, but he explained that the body had been a stolen corpse, courtesy of Deacon Sharpe. He added that Diane had slipped out of her life in Genoa City and into a new one in L.A.
Phyllis realized Diane had sent the text messages, and she wondered why. Jack relayed that Diane had rationalized that she'd led him to Allie, so it was only fair that he lead her back into Kyle's life in return. Jack recounted that once the shock had faded, his anger had kicked in, and Allie had been stuck in the middle like a chess piece. Phyllis was appalled that Diane had known that he had a granddaughter the entire time. Jack wasn't sure of the logistics, but he'd stood in Keemo's former home while Diane had told him how she'd changed and that she wanted Kyle back in her life again.
Jack continued that he'd told Diane he intended to forget she existed, since he wouldn't let her break their son's heart again. Phyllis pointed out that Kyle was no longer a little boy but a man with a family, and she sympathized that Jack wanted to protect his son. Jack cried that Kyle had been crushed when he had lost his mother, and Kyle hadn't known who to trust when everyone in town had been accused of her murder. Jack contended that Kyle had suffered enough, and he refused to let Kyle find out that his mom had consciously meant for it to happen.
Phyllis cited what Diane had already done, and she doubted Diane would just slither away. Phyllis warned that they couldn't stop Kyle from finding out the truth, but Jack argued that Diane had turned to him for help because she was too cowardly to face Kyle on her own. Jack hoped that if it didn't work out, Diane would go off to lick her wounds and ruin someone else's life. Phyllis thought it was wishful thinking on Jack's part.
Jack pledged to do everything he could to keep Diane away from his son. Jack begged Phyllis to take his side and not play devil's advocate, but Phyllis referred to what had happened when Jack had kept information from his other son. Jack swore that the situation with Kyle was different than it had been with Keemo, since Kyle knew how much Jack loved him. Phyllis urged Jack to trust the bond he had with Kyle, since they both knew Diane would blindside Kyle the same way she'd blindsided Jack.
Jack accepted that it was wishful thinking that Diane would walk away, but he wasn't sure how to tell Kyle without turning his son's life upside down. Phyllis predicted that it wouldn't be much longer before Diane tried to blow up Kyle's life. Jack hoped it wasn't too late to find a way to keep Diane away from Kyle until Jack had a chance to warn him.
At Keemo's former house, Diane made a call, identified herself as Ashley, and requested help getting Kyle's direct line in Milan. She jotted down the number. Diane answered a knock at the door and found Jack there. She chirped that she was glad he was back. Phyllis suddenly appeared next to him and reeled when she saw that Diane truly was still alive.
At Diane's, Phyllis was stunned to see Diane was alive. Jack said they were there to talk about Kyle. Diane asked if Jack would help her connect with Kyle. Phyllis shouted that Diane hadn't deserved Kyle before or after all the insanity.
Diane asked if Phyllis had flown to Los Angeles to ruin everything for her and her son. Jack claimed his plan had been to forget Diane existed. Phyllis was the reason he'd returned. Jack stated that Kyle needed to know everything, and it should be up to Kyle to determine how to handle that Diane was still alive. Jack stipulated that he would talk to Kyle first because it would be a major shock to Kyle.
Jack asked Diane if she'd contacted Kyle yet. Diane claimed she hadn't but that perhaps she needed to stop being a coward and tell Kyle herself. Phyllis claimed Diane was making threats. Diane said she wanted to protect Kyle, and Jack was the answer to that. She admitted she'd been able to get Kyle's number in Milan. Jack said he would make first contact with Kyle.
Phyllis told Diane she cared about Kyle, as well. Diane asked who would have guessed that Summer and Kyle would fall in love and raise a child together. Diane told Jack they were grandparents. Jack said they were nothing because Diane had given up that right when she'd walked away from her son. Diane said she'd missed "so many" special moments, but she was very happy in the joy their kids shared. Diane mentioned she'd heard how successful Phyllis had become.
Phyllis told Diane she'd learned how her actions affected others, and she'd gained a certain level of maturity, which was something Diane couldn't relate to. Diane understood why Jack and Phyllis doubted her sincerity, which was why she hadn't reached out earlier. Diane said it had been the fear of how people would react; however, Kyle was worth the risk. Jack claimed anonymous text messages weren't the height of bravery. Diane asked how else Jack would have discovered Allie. She claimed the text messages had been a gesture of good will.
Diane said that bringing Jack and Allie together hadn't brought a spark of forgiveness in him. She said she'd expected more from him. Jack said there was no forgiveness. He said Diane hadn't been there when Kyle had cried about the loss of his mother. Jack said he'd held Kyle while Kyle had sobbed the kind of tears that tore a parent's heart out. Jack claimed she didn't understand Kyle or the grief. He asked if she thought a wound like that could suddenly heal completely.
Jack told Diane that the minute Kyle discovered she was alive, he would know he'd grieved for nothing. Diane said perhaps she could fix what she'd broken. Jack told Diane to stay away from Allie, as well. He reminded Diane that Allie had recently lost her father, and Diane had made Allie's life complicated. He said he wouldn't blame Allie if she wanted nothing to do with him or the Abbotts. Diane stated that because of her, Jack knew Allie existed. Diane claimed Jack had a chance with Allie, the same as she would love to have with Kyle. Phyllis asked if Diane was using Keemo's death as emotional blackmail.
Jack told Diane he was grateful to know about Keemo and Allie, and for that, he would tell Kyle that Diane was alive. Jack warned Diane that if Kyle didn't want her in his life, Diane would leave Kyle alone. Diane asked if that was what Jack had done with Keemo. She said Keemo had turned his back on Jack, and Jack had allowed it. Jack's face turned angry. Phyllis grabbed him and said it was time to go. She and Jack left.
Alone, Diane put an old framed photograph of herself, Kyle, and Jack on the mantel.
In a flashback, Jack told Diane they were getting into a custody battle and that she was getting nervous. He said he wasn't buying into a kinder and gentler Diane Jenkins. Diane claimed he was determined to see the worst in her. Jack said he'd learned from experience. Diane said she'd realized how important it was for a child to have a father and how important a mother was to a child.
Diane told Jack that by going after full custody, Jack was forcing a judge to choose between her and Jack, and no matter what the judge decided, their son would be deprived of a substantial relationship with one of them, which could leave a deep and permanent scar on a child.
Diane then recalled when she and Jack sat by the pool with Kyle and how happy she was that Jack had had time with Kyle and for making memories.
A knock on the door snapped Diane out of her reverie. Diane invited Allie in. Allie stared at the photograph on the mantel. Diane said that things between her, Jack, and Kyle hadn't always been so painful. Allie said Jack didn't want her anywhere near Diane. Allie understood, especially when they'd talked about death and murder; however, one thing had stood out to her: Diane had done all that to be with her son again. Diane claimed she'd failed Kyle, but she would move forward, speak to Kyle, and hopefully have the chance to hold Kyle again.
Allie commented that Diane loved Kyle that much. Allie stated that had been the same with her and Keemo. Diane said she was sorry Allie had lost her father. She asked if Allie and her mother spoke. Allie shook her head no. Diane asked if there was any way to mend fences with her mother. Rather than respond, Allie asked Diane to tell her about Jack and the family.
Diane told Allie that Jack had never expected to be the father of her child. She explained that Kyle had been conceived by artificial insemination. Allie claimed that had needed Jack's involvement. Diane said the original intention had been for another man to be the father, but there had been a mishap, and the wrong sample had been used. After Kyle had been born, she and Jack had learned he was Kyle's father. Allie said that sounded crazy. Diane claimed that Kyle had always meant everything to her.
Diane told Allie that Kyle was easy to love, just like his father; however, starting a family that way hadn't been the easiest path.
In a flashback, Diane recalled Phyllis telling Diane to leave town and to take her kid with her, or Diane would regret it. Phyllis stated she never wanted to see Diane or her son again. Phyllis stated that Diane had always been after Jack, and she was using Kyle as bait. Phyllis said if Diane wanted Jack, she would have to go through Phyllis.
Diane also recalled telling Phyllis the Abbott family had come to terms with her being there. She stated that Phyllis was Mrs. Jack Abbot, at least for the moment. Diane claimed that Jack wanted to be with his son. Phyllis accused Diane of wanting to worm her way back into Jack's life. Diane claimed she was already a part of his life, thanks to Kyle. Phyllis said she knew Diane's agenda went far beyond helping Jack bond with his son.
Phyllis said Diane needed to find a job immediately. Phyllis claimed Diane was on her turf. Diane stated it was Phyllis' turf only for the moment. Smiling, Diane reminded Phyllis that she had lived there when she and Jack had been engaged, and they'd shared the same bedroom and the same sheets.
Diane then recalled inviting Jack to take a swim with her, but Phyllis arrived and cheerfully said she had first dibs. Phyllis removed her coverup and stood naked on the diving board. She asked if Jack would join her for a swim. Smiling, Jack asked Diane to excuse them, and he began removing his shirt.
Diane snapped out of her reverie and told Allie that Kyle had grown up with a family that adored him. She said the Abbotts didn't let just anyone in, but once they did, they would love and protect them forever. Diane said all she'd hoped for was a little understanding and forgiveness. She said she had to try, no matter what happened in the end.
Diane thanked Allie for understanding how much Kyle meant to her. Diane said Kyle was the biggest part of her heart, and she'd ached for him every day since she'd left. Allie asked what Diane hoped would happen if she saw Kyle face to face. Diane said she didn't want to tempt fate, but she'd hoped she would be his mother again and a part of his life. She said she would dote on his child and have Sunday breakfast in the Abbott dining room. Diane said that the family Allie was part of was big and loving, and there was no better place in the world.
At the Abbotts', Billy told Ashley he was surprised that Jack had returned to Los Angeles so quickly. Ashley wanted to discuss Allie with Billy and Traci. Ashley was upset that Jack wasn't picking up when she called him. Billy stated that Jack was in a life-altering situation and probably not up for a chat. Ashley said she felt that Jack was headed for heartbreak.
Ashley asked Traci and Billy if they also thought Allie's existence coming to light had been bizarre. She said Jack had been lured to Los Angeles by mysterious text messages. She wondered if Allie had been the texter. Billy asked why Allie would do that. Ashley suggested there might be two people involved, and she wondered why they had remained anonymous while being generous, trying to connect two people who hadn't known they were family. She claimed it felt manipulative.
Traci told Ashley they couldn't jump to conclusions where Allie was concerned because Jack didn't believe Allie had had anything to do with it. Ashley suggested that Jack had been so happy to find a granddaughter that he hadn't seen any red flags. Traci said Jack had found his granddaughter, someone he'd never expected. She said Jack was eager to welcome Allie into the family, and Traci was worried that Allie didn't share Jack's enthusiasm. Traci claimed they had to give Allie the benefit of the doubt and welcome her.
Billy agreed with Traci. He believed it had been a good idea for Jack to reach out to Allie. He said they needed to remain neutral until they learned more. Ashley said she'd looked into Allie's background, and it was interesting what she'd found. Ashley said Allie was a graduate student and getting her advance degree in chemical engineering, and she knew what it meant to Jack to have his granddaughter follow in his son's footsteps. Traci said Jack would offer Allie a position at Jabot. Ashley said perhaps Allie was intelligent and would make a great addition to the company, or perhaps she was taking advantage of Jack.
Ashley told Traci and Billy that Jack was already referring to Allie as family. Traci said Allie was family. Ashley pointed out that Allie was a stranger, and they didn't know what her motivations were. Billy agreed with Ashley. He said they needed to keep an eye on Jack because they didn't know Allie.
Billy told Traci and Ashley that he felt for Allie because she was on her own, grieving her father and dealing with the bombshell that she was an Abbott. Traci claimed it might be healing for both of them if Jack made an authentic bond with Allie. Billy said he really hoped Jack would build a connection with Allie because he deserved it.
Ashley told Traci and Billy she had mixed feelings about it. She said Allie might reject Jack the way Keemo had, and Jack would have to suffer again. Ashley hoped things would work out for Jack and that Jack would have a long-lasting relationship with his granddaughter. Ashley said she'd spoken to Phyllis, who'd assured Ashley she hadn't seen Allie as a threat. Traci said that Phyllis was savvy and cared deeply for Jack. She said Phyllis wouldn't hold back if she thought Jack's emotional well-being was at risk.
Traci told Ashley and Billy that Phyllis had put Jack's feelings first. She'd been supportive, encouraging, and the perfect friend, and Traci knew Jack felt the same way. Traci said she felt Jack was on the verge of being happy, and perhaps Jack could have a relationship with Phyllis as well as a connection with Allie.
Billy said he loved Traci because she had a way of making things sound the way they should be. Traci said she was going to let Jack take the lead where Allie was concerned, and she hoped Ashley and Billy would do the same. Ashley and Billy said they would respect whatever decision Jack made.
At the café, Phyllis told Jack that nothing about Diane had changed; she was just better at hiding things. Phyllis said Jack needed to talk to Kyle before Diane got to him. Jack said it went against his grain to set Kyle up for that kind of pain. Phyllis assured Jack he would only be preparing Kyle for the shock of his life. Jack admitted that from the moment he'd discovered that the mystery texter had been Diane, he'd worried what it would mean for Kyle. He asked how he could have stopped the chaos that had led to Diane's death.
Phyllis told Jack that he couldn't have done anything to stop it because Diane had been all about control. Jack said Diane had approached him for money. Phyllis said Diane would have taken Jack's money and Kyle, and she would have left. Phyllis claimed Diane had been a woman on the edge. Phyllis was certain Diane would have gone to prison if she hadn't faked her own death, and Kyle would have had to deal with that. Jack said at least Kyle would have known Diane was alive.
Phyllis told Jack that Diane had used Kyle as a pawn to get what and who she'd wanted. She said Kyle was an adult, and he could decide whether he wanted his mother back in his life. Jack said it would change everything Kyle had ever felt about his mother. Jack said he had no doubt that Kyle still loved Diane; however, he loved the mother they had allowed him to remember. He said this woman was different; she'd willingly walked away from her son.
Phyllis reminded Jack that when Dina had walked back into his life, he'd let her in. Jack said there had been anger, resentment, and an attempt to keep Dina at a distance while trying to get her approval. Phyllis stated that Jack had been grateful for their time together. Jack claimed it had been different because Dina had been well and healthy when she'd walked away from them. Jack said Kyle had grown up believing his mother had been murdered. He said that could break a child for life, and that was a risk Diane had been willing to take. Phyllis claimed that with love and support, Kyle would get past it.
Jack asked Phyllis how he should tell Kyle without setting off alarms. He said he had to tell Kyle in person. Jack suggested that Kyle and Summer return to Genoa City because he didn't want to leave the country with Diane wandering around. Phyllis agreed. Jack said Diane had Kyle's number in Milan, but Kyle deserved time before his life was turned inside out. Jack decided to call Kyle and lure him to Genoa City for family time.
When Jack finished his call, he told Phyllis that Kyle would return to Genoa City with Harrison, but Summer couldn't get away. Jack said he could tell Diane there was something in the works, and it would keep Diane from doing anything drastic.
At Crimson Lights, Billy told Nick that Victoria hadn't shared her plans on how she planned to handle Ashland, and she'd dismissed the fact that Ashland could be potentially threatening toward her, knowing what he was capable of. Nick said he wondered if he should follow Victoria to Italy. Billy said it would really alienate Victoria. Billy wanted to lock Ashland in the basement in an undisclosed location and leave him there until he surrendered. Nick said just thinking about that showed how desperate they were. Billy said it was Victoria's worst nightmare because she'd been played for a fool and made to look weak and incompetent.
Nick told Billy that Victoria would go after Ashland herself and prove that he was the fool for underestimating her. Billy said Victoria had made it very clear she didn't want their help and that she wanted to handle Ashland herself. Nick understood why Victoria didn't want Victor's help; it came with a price.
Billy told Nick that Victoria would love to be out of Victor's control, but she also wanted his approval. Billy said part of Victoria's initial attraction to Ashland had been that he was a powerful man. Victor had appreciated the merger, the heights of power, but Billy was sure Victor was worried that Victoria had put his company at risk.
Billy told Nick that Victoria would do everything she could to win back Victor's respect. Nick agreed with Billy that there wouldn't be any chance there would be a reconciliation between Victoria and Ashland. Nick hoped Victoria had a plan to get Ashland away from Newman Locke and that it was a brilliant plan that would work. Nick was about to leave when he received a text message from Victoria: "Meet me at my office?" He responded, "On my way."
On the patio, Rey told Chance he was happy the paperwork ending Chance's leave of absence was done. Chance said he was excited and ready for everything to start feeling normal again. Rey said that after Sharon's cancer, Faith's surgery, and Mariah's kidnapping, he'd been relieved when everything had finally settled down. He said it had been great to return to a routine. Chance said he couldn't wait to return to the life he'd had before the mission that had thrown him off track. Rey understood it hadn't been easy for Chance to readjust to life after everything he'd been through, but he respected that Chance was tackling it head-on.
Chance told Rey he wanted to make good on the promises he'd made Abby. Rey said guys who hid their pain wound up distancing themselves from their families. Chance admitted he'd been heading in that direction until Abby and Devon had convinced him to go to therapy. Chance said Devon had been a good friend, and he'd been worried about Chance. He explained that Devon's concern had been the reason for changing the visitation agreement. Chance said Devon was a good father and had an incredible bond with Dominic.
Rey asked Chance how he felt about being Dominic's other father. Chance claimed he was working very hard to develop the same kind of bond with Dominic as Devon had, but he didn't have Devon's natural instincts. Chance said he felt he would never be on Devon's level. Rey said he knew how that felt.
Rey said that Chance's situation with Devon reminded him of how he felt around Nick. He said Chance was Dominic's dad, and Rey was Sharon's kids' stepfather. Rey said he didn't expect to have the same relationship with Faith, Noah, or Mariah; however, when they were all together, it was like they were a family unit, and he was an outsider. Chance understood; they were on the outside, looking in. Chance said he was Dominic's father; however, it felt like Devon's claim was more legitimate, and he didn't know how to get past that.
Rey told Chance they were in a tough situation; no one had done anything wrong, and there were no bad guys to point out. Chance asked if Rey had talked to Sharon. Rey said he'd been dealing with it on his own, and he needed more time and patience.
At Newman, after Ashland canceled the flight to Italy, he told Victoria the pilot had seemed relieved. He said he'd checked his weather app, and he hadn't seen any storms over the Atlantic. Victoria realized that Victor had asked the pilot to stall them for as long as possible.
Ashland told Victoria he understood why Victor would do everything to protect her if Victor believed Ashland would harm her. Victoria said Victor had gotten his wish. Ashland said they were staying because they knew who had set him up, and they needed to prove it. Victoria said remaining in town would give them the chance to prove Adam had framed Ashland.
Ashland told Victoria he liked the idea that Adam wouldn't have to fill in for them after what he'd done to them. Victoria stated they couldn't be 100% certain that Adam was guilty, and it had only been a hunch. Ashland said it made a lot of sense, and no one benefitted more from Ashland's downfall than Adam.
Victoria told Ashland her family believed he'd lied about his cancer to trick her into marrying him and to go along with the merger. Ashland claimed they were going to change everyone's minds about that. Victoria asked if he had a plan. Ashland said with Adam planting so much evidence against him, there were more places to investigate and find where Adam had made a mistake.
Victoria agreed with Ashland and said that cons always got tripped up by their arrogance. She said for a con to pull off something like that, they would have to believe they were both far more intelligent than everyone else and invincible. She was counting on that kind of arrogance to bring Adam down. Ashland looked concerned. Victoria asked if something was wrong.
Ashland told Victoria he'd been distracted by thinking about the worst-case scenario. He wondered what would happen if Adam hadn't made any mistakes and had covered his tracks so well that there wouldn't be any incriminating evidence to be found. Victoria claimed they would keep looking until they found it. Ashland asked if she would still believe in him if the investigation proved fruitless. He said it felt like she still had doubts about his innocence.
Victoria asked Ashland why he was worried. She reminded him that she'd encouraged him to find out if Adam had set him up. He asked whose side she would take if it came to Adam's word against his. Victoria said she'd never believed a word that had come out of Adam's mouth. If she'd believed Ashland had lied to her about being seriously ill, she wouldn't be strategizing with him. She claimed if she didn't believe him, she would be looking for a way to cut him out of her life for good. She asked how she could prove she was on his side.
Ashland said he knew Victoria was on his side, and he shouldn't have raised the issue. Victoria said Adam had tried to frame her in the past; Adam had accused her of tampering with Victor's medication to hurt him. She said she'd been arrested for it, but the people who'd loved and believed her had known she would never do something like that.
Ashland told Victoria that Adam's sick game was forcing them to mistrust each other. He said he believed more than ever that Adam was behind the accusations. He said if Victoria stood by him and helped him find the proof he needed, it would mean the world to him. Victoria said she wasn't going anywhere. She told Ashland to go home and rest while she called the family together to let them know their plans had changed.
At Society, Chelsea told Abby she'd received great news from a fabulous fabric supplier who would be able to make the perfect textile for Chelsea's new line. Chelsea said it was exciting starting a new business, and she reminded Abby about the high they'd felt running the Grand Phoenix and how much fun they'd had.
Abby told Chelsea she was happy Society was her sole focus because it gave her more time with Dominic. Chelsea said things had fallen into place for her, as well; she'd sold the penthouse, she'd started a new line, Connor was thriving, and she felt she'd gotten a fresh start in every aspect of her life. Chelsea admitted she'd hit a few bumps in the road when she'd returned, but she hadn't let them drown her. Abby asked if Chelsea was referring to Adam.
Chelsea told Abby she'd had some lingering hope to reconnect with Adam to see if there was anything left between them; however, when she'd reminded Adam of every beautiful memory, Adam had told her how they'd devastated each other and had said he wasn't willing to take that risk again. She said too much had happened between them. Abby said she'd had relationships like that; the love was there, the trust was gone, and it was hard to cut the losses. Abby said there was a better match for Chelsea than Adam, someone who was emotionally stable.
Chelsea told Abby that Adam had grown up a lot. Abby said she hoped it continued, but when it came to Adam, one could never be sure.
Chelsea told Abby that Adam could have driven a wedge between her and Connor, but he hadn't because he'd known it wouldn't be good for Connor. Abby said Adam was a complicated person with a troubled past, and it meant there had been times Adam hadn't been there for Connor when Connor had needed him. Chelsea said the same applied to her, and it didn't make her a bad parent. Chelsea said she'd felt guilty for letting Connor down because of her breakdown. Abby said it hadn't been Chelsea fault because she'd been ill.
Chelsea asked Abby about Chance. Chelsea said she knew Chance had been struggling since returning from Spain. Abby admitted Chance still struggled, and she would never think less of him for that. Abby admitted she was surprised that given Chelsea's history with Adam, she was still protective toward him. Chelsea stated that they would always have that bond because of their history.
When Chance and Rey arrived, Chelsea gave Rey the hockey tickets. He was impressed that the seats were up against the glass. Rey went to order take-out, and Chelsea went with him. Abby told Chance that Rey was an amazing guy. She said Chelsea had almost ended his life, and it was incredible that Rey had been able to forgive Chelsea for what she'd done. Abby said Chelsea had turned a corner; she was starting a business with Chloe and navigating co-parenting with Adam.
Abby told Chance that Rey was a great father figure for Sharon's kids. She said Rey and Sharon often took care of Christian, as well; everyone was part of the family. Chance said Rey had told him that sometimes he felt like an outsider in the family. Abby knew they would never want Rey to feel that way, and she hoped Rey knew how valued and appreciated he was. Chance said Rey knew, but he had moments when he wondered whether he measured up to Nick. Abby said it was only because Nick had a tight relationship with his kids, and it wasn't a competition. There was enough love to go around in that family.
Abby told Chance she loved her life; she was appreciative for her incredible husband, a wonderful little boy, a great job, and them all being happy and healthy. Chance said he was a work in progress, but the next day would be a big step forward for him. He said he could see the light at the end of the tunnel. They left.
Victor arrived at Newman Media and asked why Adam and Sally were still there. Adam said they had been working out some new ideas for Newman Locke. He said the company had doubled in size, and they needed to coalesce and complement each other, starting with the consolidation and rebranding of their video streaming platform. Adam said they needed to take their current streamers with Locke Communications and Newman Media and turn them into one formidable network.
Victor told Adam he'd made it very clear that he'd appointed Adam as temporary CEO of the company to prevent any changes, not to initiate them. Sally stated that consolidating and rebranding was a great idea. They would use the Newman real estate division to build their own studio, and it would rival the ones in Los Angeles. She said Newman Locke had a lot of forward momentum, and Adam's ideas were smart to keep that going. She said if they waited for Victoria to straighten things out with Ashland, they risked becoming an old brand.
Victor told Sally the situation was temporary until Victoria threw Ashland to the curb. Adam said he hoped Victoria's plan worked because Victoria didn't have her eye on the ball, and they needed to make sure they did. Adam said it would be a huge mistake to allow the competition to take advantage while Victoria was otherwise occupied. Victor stated the only ones taking advantage were Adam and Sally.
Victor told Adam he liked Adam's vision, but the timing was an issue. Sally asked why Victor would discourage strengthening their brand or increasing their profits. Victor asked for a few moments alone with Adam. Sally left. Victor said Sally seemed to be a very supportive COO. Adam stated that Sally had always given him her honest reaction. Victor stated it seemed Sally was very eager for Adam to make a mark on the company.
Victor warned Adam not to confuse the personal with the professional. Adam stated Sally wasn't the problem; Ashland was, and they needed to focus on how to get rid of him. Victor said he was completely focused on getting Ashland out of the company and out of the family, and he didn't want any distractions. He said that if something went wrong with Victoria's plan and Ashland's story became public knowledge, they might have to pivot on the spot.
Adam told Victor that if everything went to hell, they needed something to pivot to in order to distract from the fallout. Adam said he wished Victor had a little faith in his judgment. He felt he'd earned that, and Victor agreed. Victor said he liked the idea of the streaming platform. Adam said they needed to buy land, build their own studio, and stream their own shows, and when they weren't using them, they would rent them out at a cheaper price than their competitors. Victor told Adam to go ahead with the plan.
Victor received a call from Victoria, who said she was in her office and wanted to discuss something with him and Adam immediately.
Victor and Adam arrived at Newman. Adam asked why Victoria wasn't on her way to Italy. When Nick arrived, Victoria told Nick and Adam that Victor had deliberately had her flight delayed; however, it had worked in her favor. She thanked Adam for offering to step in as CEO, but it wouldn't be necessary because she and Ashland were staying in town. Adam wasn't pleased. Victor asked where Ashland was. Victoria wasn't sure, but she had a pretty good idea.
At Newman Media, Ashland entered Adam's office. He put on some surgical gloves and eyed Adam's laptop on the desk.
At Newman, Victoria told her family how she would deal with Ashland. Victoria claimed she had a new plan; however, one of them had to take the fall. She looked at Adam. Victoria said it had taken a little finesse, but she'd convinced Ashland that she supported him and believed he'd been set up and that it had occurred to her that Adam could have framed Ashland, since Adam had the motive to push Ashland out and make Victoria look incompetent and naïve. She explained that Adam had a long history of deception as well as animosity toward Ashland, and it would make Adam the most likely suspect.
Adam stated that Victoria's plan to remove Ashland was to throw Adam under the bus, and it was clear what was in it for Victoria. Victoria told Adam they needed to put their differences aside and look at the whole picture. She said that what she was planning was for the sake of appearances only, and it would stay within the family. She assured Adam that he wouldn't take the fall for anything the way she had when Adam had tampered with Victor's medication and she'd been arrested for it. Victoria stated that Adam being a part of the plan was crucial, and he had to be on board.
Michael arrived and told the Newmans he'd found an obscure clause in the CEO contract relating to activities and behavior of parties after signing. Nikki chirped, "A moral clause." Michael said it provided them with grounds to nullify Ashland's contract. Victor asked what it would take.
Michael told Victor the language was such that a skilled attorney like him could interpret it to include illegal activities and provide the board with reason to void the CEO's contract. The offending party would be out without recourse. Adam said that Ashland would have to fabricate evidence against him, plant it, and then be caught in the act. Nikki assured Adam it would only be for show. Adam stated that for everything to play out correctly, he would have to stay on as temporary CEO.
Victor told Adam that since Victoria and Ashland were staying in town, it made no sense for him to act as CEO. Adam said that in order for him to fall from grace, he needed somewhere to fall from. He said Victoria could tell Ashland that Victor insisted on it because he was upset with Victoria for supporting Ashland. Adam said that when the proof surfaced that Adam had set him up, Victoria could have Victor fire Adam for the sake of appearances.
Adam received an alert on his phone that someone was trying to break into his computer. Victoria said that Ashland had already taken the bait. Victor asked if Adam could remotely change the setting to allow Ashland access. Adam said he could, and he asked if they would stick to the original plan that he would carry on as temporary CEO. Nick stated that the plan was already in motion if Ashland was messing with Adam's computer. Adam claimed he had the ability to allow Ashland to access his laptop; however, it was Victoria's call.
Victoria told Adam she thought his input had solidified the plan. She confirmed she would tell Ashland that Victor insisted that Adam remain temporary CEO and that she'd chosen not to fight it because it would be a way to keep their eye on Adam. Victoria told Adam that Ashland would become obsessed about setting Adam up as the one who'd set him up about faking his illness.
Adam told Victoria he agreed to be the sacrificial lamb; Victoria said she would be Ashland's constant cheerleader. Nick said everyone was behind the plan, and Victoria and Adam would do all the heavy lifting. Victoria said the key was to keep each other informed.
Nikki expressed her concern about Victoria continuing the charade with the man Victoria despised. Victoria assured Nikki that everything would work out in the end. Victor stated that Victoria's plan fed into Ashland's paranoia, and when Ashland was ready to take down Adam, they would all be ready to take down Ashland. Nick was relieved that Victoria saw Ashland for who he really was.
Before Adam left, he told the family that since they were going up against a shrewd, clever, and extremely resourceful man who'd escaped accountability for his whole life, they all had to be careful and vigilant, and they could never underestimate their opponent. Michael told Victor that after he'd been stuck in a South American jail, he was ready to stick it to Ashland and see "that bastard" get his. He said what Ashland had tried to do to the Newmans was outrageous. Michael left.
Nikki asked what was next. Victor said it depended on what Ashland stored in Adam's computer. Victoria said she was curious how much Ashland would share with her. Victor confirmed that they would take their lead from Victoria and all work together. Victoria said she wasn't sure about Adam being on the same page because he'd appeared desperate to hold on to his shiny new title, and she said that Adam only cared what was in it for him. She said Adam didn't care about the family.
Victoria told Victor that he'd given Adam a taste of power again. She said that she and Adam had been adversaries from the beginning, and Adam had a vested interest in seeing her fail. Victor told her not to worry about Adam; he would keep Adam in line, and he would make sure Adam didn't interfere with her plan.
Victor told Victoria he adored her, and she would always have his support. Victoria said that what Ashland had done to them was horrible. She said she'd been devastated the night she'd checked into the hotel. She said she hadn't had a clue how to handle the situation; however, she'd known she had to be the one to fix it, and she'd formulated a plan. Victoria broke down in tears and admitted she'd been ashamed, hurt, and angry.
After Victoria left, Nikki told Victor she was worried that Ashland would catch on. She was also concerned about Victoria's emotional well-being because of Ashland's lies and knowing how unconscionable he was. Victor stated he wouldn't allow Victoria to be harmed. He said he respected and admired Victoria for taking the lead in the situation, but they would all work together to get "that bastard."
At Newman Media, Ashland entered Adam's office, and he locked the door. He opened Adam's laptop. Ashland tried to access Adam's computer, and after a few attempts, he was able to gain access. Ashland took photos of information he'd planted into the computer. Suddenly, he froze when someone tried to enter the office. He heard Sally ask if Adam was there. At that moment, Adam arrived, and Sally asked why his office door was locked. Adam signaled that they had to go. He told Sally it had been a long day, and they should go somewhere where they could talk over a drink. Sally agreed, and they left.
Ashland unlocked the door, checked to make sure he was alone, and left.
At Billy's, Billy dictated information about megalomaniacs for his next podcast. Lily joined Billy and said she'd listened to some of his comments. She said it was obvious they were about Victoria. Lily asked if Billy felt he hadn't done enough to help Victoria. Billy said if Lily could tell it was about Victoria, then Victoria would, too, so it wasn't the best time for that podcast.
Lily told Billy to forget about the podcast. She said it was clear the situation was bothering him. Billy said it was a dilemma he was dealing with after learning the truth about Ashland. He questioned whether he should stick his nose in it or "stay the hell out." He said Victoria had been upset and had needed to talk to someone. He said he'd tried not to get involved until Victoria had told him that Ashland had been lying about having cancer. Lily said it made her sick every time she thought of it.
Billy told Lily that Ashland's cancer plan had been to get control of Newman, and that was beyond sickening. He said after everything Victoria had told him, he'd been certain she would have kicked Ashland to the curb, but she hadn't. Billy said Nick had asked him to talk to Victoria, but he knew Victoria would handle the situation without anyone's involvement. Lily agreed it was Victoria's problem and that Victoria needed to figure out how to deal with it.
Lily told Billy that despite everything he and Victoria had been through in the past, Victoria trusted that Billy had her best interests at heart. Billy stated that Ashland was far worse than the cold-blooded monster they'd originally believed. Billy said he didn't want Ashland near his kids. Lily said Victoria would never put them in harm's way; she was a great mother.
Lily told Billy it had been years since he and Victoria had broken up, yet Billy still felt responsible for her safety and well-being. She said he wasn't, and it was something he needed to work out. Lily understood that Victoria was in a terrible position and that it stirred up Billy's protective feelings. She suggested he try to contain those feelings through his podcasts or in his own head. Lily said she was incredibly proud of him, and she was there for him to lean on with whatever he had to deal with. Billy told Lily he loved her and was very grateful they'd found each other. They kissed.
At Society, Adam told Sally that Victoria was using him as bait. He said Ashland would frame him with phony evidence in an effort to get himself out of his lies; the company would then invoke a clause in Ashland's contract and vote to kick him out. Sally liked the plan. Adam said the plan was already in motion, and when Sally had discovered his office door locked, Ashland had been hacking into Adam's computer. Sally asked why Adam hadn't stopped Ashland.
Adam told Sally he'd given Ashland access to his computer. Sally claimed the whole plan hinged on Adam going along with everything, and it gave him leverage. Adam told Sally that in order for the plan to work, they had to keep him on as temporary CEO. He'd made Victoria's plan even more foolproof. Sally said Adam had positioned himself to control the outcome.
Sally said Adam had taken on a pivotal role in trying to help Victoria rid herself of Ashland and prevent the company from being stolen from her. Sally said that in the end, Victoria should vacate the CEO position and show Adam the respect he deserved.
Nick arrived and asked to speak to Adam. Adam said Sally was up to speed, and he told Nick not to hold back. Nick said he was there to make sure the family could trust Adam.
Adam asked Nick how he could convince Nick to trust him. Nick said he needed to know that Adam was sincere about playing his part. He reminded Adam there was more at stake than Adam's future. Adam told Nick he was sorry for Victoria's pain, but she'd made her own bed by choosing to trust Ashland, the consequences of which could have a lasting effect on Newman Locke, Victor's legacy -- and it affected all of them.
Nick told Adam he was concerned that Adam was only thinking how he could come out ahead. He said Adam was willing, for Adam's personal gain, to jeopardize everything Victor had worked his entire life for. Adam asked if Nick believed Adam could screw over the whole family to take what wasn't his. Nick claimed there wasn't a doubt in his mind; however, Nick acknowledged that Adam had changed.
Nick acknowledged that he'd seen the effort Adam had made to live his life differently and admitted that, at times, Adam had been very selfless, but he also knew what Adam was capable of. Nick claimed the situation with Newman Locke brought out the worst in Adam because it involved Victor, the family business, and all the baggage that went with it, and it dealt with whether Adam would ever be able to prove himself to Victor.
Nick told Adam that Ashland had provided a very different threat to their family, and no matter how messed up the family was at times, they always showed up for each other -- the same way Adam had shown up for Faith by saving her life. Adam had risked his own life to make sure she'd made it to the hospital, and he'd given her one of his kidneys. That had told Nick the changes Adam had made in his life had been real.
Nick told Adam they were in one of those situations where they all had to come together, and he hoped Adam would show up as the man who was willing to put himself out there for something other than himself, the one who was willing to take a look at the bigger picture for the sake of the family -- Adam's family.
Ashland arrived at Crimson Lights and asked about Michael's trip to Peru. Before Michael could respond, Ashland said that after Victor had bought into the lies that someone had planted about him in Peru for Michael to find, he imagined Michael's trip had been productive. Michael said it had been very productive until he'd been thrown in jail. Ashland claimed that sounded extreme. He said Michael had to have really "pissed off" the locals. Michael stated he sure "pissed someone off."
Ashland said Michael didn't look any worse for wear, and it appeared the charges hadn't stuck. Michael said bogus charges rarely did. Ashland claimed the charges against him weren't going to stick, either. He said he intended to prove he'd been set up, and then everyone would see how wrong they'd been about him. Michael said he was dying to see how things turned out, and he left.
Victoria arrived at the coffeehouse and joined Ashland on the patio. She told Ashland she'd laid the groundwork and informed her family that she and Ashland were close to discovering who was behind the smear campaign. She told Ashland that Victor had decided to keep Adam on as temporary CEO. Ashland wasn't happy. He asked if Adam had been working behind the scenes to make that happen. Victoria said she'd pushed back very hard, but then she'd realized there was a way to make it work to their advantage. They would have Adam in one place where they could keep an eye on him while they proved that Adam had been the one targeting Ashland.
Victoria told Ashland that what mattered most to her was to expose Adam and make sure he was punished. She promised she would do everything she could to get Ashland out of that mess and redeem him in her family's eyes. She said the family knew how much she believed Ashland was innocent, and she wouldn't allow them to drive Ashland away. She asked Ashland what their next step should be. Ashland said he had a few ideas, and he would share them with her after he zeroed in on which one would work.
Victoria encouraged Ashland not to hold back because she could build on whatever he had. She reassured him they were in it together. Ashland said sometimes he had to work things out on his own and allow an idea to percolate. He left to get coffee.