In her office, Victor told Victoria their troubles with Ashland would be over soon. Victoria asked why Ashland had met with him. Victor said Ashland was desperate, and he had wanted to talk about things. Victoria stated Ashland wouldn't have sought Victor out unless he'd been provoked. Nikki suggested that Victoria put Ashland out of her mind. Victor agreed and said he wanted to hear about their trip to Switzerland. Victoria received a text message from Ashland: "I'll never stop loving you."
Victoria told Nikki and Victor that she was tired and would head home. Victor suggested she spend the night at the ranch, but Victoria said she was going to go home. After Victoria left, Nikki asked if Victor had believed anything Victoria had said. He said he hadn't believed "a damned word."
Phyllis arrived at Jack's and said they needed to talk. Jack agreed. Phyllis apologized for what she'd said and done, but also for the aftermath with Diane. She said she took full responsibility for it. She admitted it was difficult because Diane had a permanent space in her head, and she felt threatened by Diane. Phyllis stated that her hatred for Diane went back a long way, and detesting Diane was in her DNA. Jack claimed Phyllis had allowed her issues with Diane to affect their relationship.
Phyllis told Jack she'd realized she'd pushed Jack into something he hadn't been ready for. She admitted she'd needed to get Jack before Diane had gotten her hooks into him. Phyllis claimed she had matured and was more enlightened, but with what had happened with Diane, her progress had fallen apart. Jack agreed, but he couldn't get past how quickly and easily it had happened.
Phyllis told Jack they could get past it, but Jack stated they'd gotten past it "so many times" in the past. He said the issue wasn't that she'd reverted to her old ways but the ease and fluidity in her transformation from "new Phyllis" into "old Phyllis" in the blink of an eye. Phyllis apologized again and said she could change, and she would be a better person for Jack. She said all her lousy habits and behavior were in the past. Jack stated he didn't want Phyllis to change. He asked Phyllis how many times in the past they'd done a "redo," and he said he couldn't do it again.
Jack told Phyllis that he'd previously made it clear when there had been a hint that they might become romantically involved that he would almost rather die than be hurt. Phyllis claimed it had been one mistake, but Jack said it had been "so much more" than that. He said they'd been working carefully, thoughtfully, and lovingly to rebuild trust, but Phyllis had thrown it all out to get an edge on Diane. Jack said he was done. Phyllis asked if that was the end for them. Jack said it was the end and told her goodbye.
Kyle, Summer, and Diane arrived. Jack excused himself, stating he had to make a phone call. Kyle asked if Jack had really left to make a call because his phone was on the coffee table. Diane commented that Jack had looked upset, but Phyllis said he was fine. Phyllis said she had to get back to the hotel, and she left. Kyle said he wanted to check on Jack; he picked up Jack's phone and left to find him. Diane commented that it was nice how Kyle took care of Jack. Summer said it appeared there had been more going on than a business call. When Kyle returned, Summer said she was going to leave to check on Phyllis, since no one knew what had happened.
Later, Traci arrived and cheerfully greeted Jack, but when she saw Jack's face, she asked what was wrong. Jack said it was Phyllis. He said they'd been on the verge of something wonderful. He said they'd been doing a long, slow, and romantic dance for months, and it had all been there -- the attraction, the connection, the history guiding them -- and there had been anticipation and the thrill whenever they got together. He said that just when it had been almost perfect, Phyllis had ruined it.
Jack told Traci he shouldn't have hoped that Phyllis would focus solely on them. He said there was always a pull for her to wreak havoc, embrace vengeance, and welcome chaos. He said that was more important to Phyllis than them as a couple. He said it was part of who Phyllis was, and he'd lost count of how many times he'd learned that. He told Traci it was over with Phyllis before it had even begun. He said that the part of him that had feared the worst had turned out to be right. Jack said it was over for good.
Jack told Traci he should be relieved. He said he'd known the odds had been against them because of everything they'd been through over the years. He said he felt lucky things hadn't gone any further, and he vowed never to be in that position again. Traci said Jack was a romantic who loved with his whole heart, and she understood how much it hurt when that love went wrong.
Summer arrived at the Grand Phoenix, and she told Phyllis she knew Phyllis was only pretending to work. Phyllis claimed she was going over invoices. Summer said something was going on between Phyllis and Jack, and she wanted Phyllis to know she was there if Phyllis wanted to talk. Phyllis told Summer that Diane was pure, unadulterated evil. She said Diane was poison and killed everything she touched; she told Summer to warn Kyle that Diane would shatter his heart into a million pieces. Phyllis said Diane needed to leave town. Summer said she couldn't tell Kyle that without knowing the facts.
Phyllis said Summer didn't need to know the facts because Diane needed to pack her bags and return to Los Angeles. She said Diane would ruin their lives forever. Phyllis left for her suite. Summer called after her, but Phyllis ignored her.
Agitated, Phyllis entered her suite and grabbed a small bottle of liquor. She received a call from Daniel, and she told him how much she'd missed him.
At Society, Victor asked Nikki if Victoria had said anything about Locke during their trip. Nikki said Victoria had kept to herself and hadn't spoken about Locke. When she'd asked Victoria about Locke earlier, Victoria had shut down the conversation. Nikki said that before they'd left for their trip, Victoria had admitted she still had feelings for Ashland. Nikki said things hadn't changed, and she thought Victoria was more conflicted.
Victor asked Nikki how "that bastard" could have such a hold on Victoria. Nikki asked if Victor's plan was still in motion. He said he'd convinced Kyle and Summer to file a restraining order barring Locke from seeing Harrison. Victor said there was no reason for Ashland to stay in town. Nikki said she hated that Harrison had been used as a pawn, but Victor said he'd only made sure that Locke stayed away from Harrison. Victor maintained that Harrison hadn't been used as a pawn. Victor was concerned about Victoria's feelings for Locke, and he said they had to stop Victoria and Locke from crossing paths.
Nikki nearly choked when she saw Kyle and Diane arrive together. Nikki told Victor she hated seeing them together. She asked that they ignore Diane, or she would have to slap Diane again. Victor was surprised when he heard that Nikki had slapped Diane, and he said he wished he'd been there. Nikki said she would tell him the whole sordid story in the car. As they passed Kyle's table. Victor and Nikki greeted Kyle, and they kept walking.
Kyle told Diane he knew Nikki and Victor wouldn't be happy to see her, but they could have acknowledged her. Diane said Nikki had acknowledged her by slapping her across the face the last time they'd seen each other. Diane said Nikki held a grudge, with good reason. She said she'd given up trying to change certain people's minds about her, and Phyllis was at the top of her list. She said Phyllis would always find a way to blame her for anything. Kyle acknowledged it would be difficult for Diane to stay in town, and there would probably be more battles on the horizon. Diane asked if Kyle wanted her to leave.
Kyle told Diane he recognized that it came at a cost to her if she stayed. Diane said she was willing to do whatever it took to be part of Kyle's life. Kyle said that emotionally, they had a long way to go, but he felt they were on the right track as long as Diane didn't do anything that would make him doubt her sincerity. Diane stated that wouldn't happen. Summer arrived and asked to speak to Kyle privately. Diane said it was late, and she left.
Summer told Kyle she thought Phyllis was headed for a breakdown or a blowup because of Diane. She said she didn't have any details, but Phyllis was the powder keg, and Diane was the match. Summer said they needed to find a way to avoid an explosion. Kyle said he knew how deep Phyllis' hatred for Diane ran and that their mistrust of one another had begun a long way back. Summer said she might have a way of defusing Phyllis for a while.
In Ashland's suite, after he had sent a text message to Victoria, he called the front desk and said the service at the hotel had been spotty at best, and he wanted to make sure someone would be there when he checked out. As he pocketed the restraining order, there was a knock at the door. He was surprised to see Victoria.
Victoria told Ashland that the best massage couldn't bring peace to her mind. Ashland told her that he was "getting the hell out" of that "god-forsaken town" and never looking back. Victoria said it didn't sound like him to leave town without a face-to-face goodbye. She asked why he was rushing to leave. Ashland said no one wanted him there, and he couldn't fight anymore. Victoria asked what that meant.
Ashland said that Victoria's family despised him, and they wanted him to disappear from her life. Victoria said that hatred had been an ongoing thing, and she wanted to know what had happened that was driving him away, because the last she'd heard, he'd wanted to stay in town to be close to Harrison. Ashland said he'd been standing up to Victor's threats and Michael's legal bullying, but thanks to them, he could no longer see Harrison. He showed Victoria the restraining order.
Ashland told Victoria he hadn't done anything illegal regarding his son that warranted a restraining order, but a judge had signed off on it, thanks to attorney Michael Baldwin. Ashland said he'd discovered that Victor had orchestrated everything to get Ashland to leave town, and it had worked; Victor had done the impossible -- he'd gotten Ashland to walk away from Victoria.
Ashland asked if Victoria was there to check if his text message had been legitimate. He said he was grateful she was there because he hadn't thought he would get a chance to say goodbye to her in person. Ashland said he didn't expect Victoria to believe anything he said, but he stated that she'd changed him and made him an infinitely better man. He said even though he'd lost her, he would forever be grateful for their happier times together. He claimed Victoria had been the only bright spot in his entire life. He said his company had brought him money, power, and success; however, it hadn't brought the happiness he'd experienced with her.
Ashland told Victoria they both knew their love had been real. Victoria asked why she would believe him. He said she shouldn't because he'd lied to her and betrayed her trust; however, he would continue trying to make amends by helping people and making contributions to charities like Nick's. He stated he would give up everything for Victoria, and he would walk through fire for her. Victoria said he'd already done that. He laughed and said he'd pulled her out of a burning car to save her life so she could be set free, happy, and fulfilled without him.
Ashland told Victoria that her family had been right to push him away from her because she was better off without him. Victoria wiped her tears. Ashland said he would be gone soon, and she wouldn't have to cry for him ever again. Victoria said she wasn't crying because she wanted him to leave but because she wanted him to stay.
Ashland said he'd wanted to believe Victoria still had feelings for him, but he'd given up hope because he didn't think she would get past his lies. Victoria said she didn't want to have feelings for him, and it had been the reason she'd gone to Europe -- to push aside those feelings and the pull she felt for him -- feelings that she couldn't make sense of. She said she'd stopped by because she'd wanted to say goodbye to him once and for all. However, she couldn't bear Ashland saying goodbye to her.
Victoria told Ashland she'd had a lot of time to think about what he'd done, good and bad, and she'd taken stock of their entire relationship. She said she couldn't have misjudged him that much; it couldn't all have been a lie. Ashland said it hadn't been. Victoria said the love they'd had -- their wedding vows, every intimate moment they'd shared, every intimate touch -- had to have been real. She said that against her better judgment, she believed him.
Victoria said Ashland might have started their relationship with some ugly ulterior motive, but she believed their love had changed him. She said that as hard as she'd tried, she couldn't erase the love she had for him because it was too powerful, and she refused to run from it again. Ashland said he really wanted them to have the reunion he'd dreamed of. Victoria said it wouldn't be easy. He said the whole town was against him, and he wasn't sure how things would work out. Victoria said by doing things differently. She promised they would find a way.
Ashland tried to kiss Victoria, but she backed away. Victoria said by doing things differently, they needed to take things slowly because she wanted to be sure they were doing things for the right reasons "this time." Ashland said they loved each other, and he couldn't think of a better reason. Victoria said she didn't want to make the same mistakes, and they needed time to build trust between them. She said she wanted a healthy relationship with him, assuming he was willing to wait. Ashland told her to take all the time she wanted because she was worth waiting for. Victoria said she never wanted to lose him again.
At the Grand Phoenix, Victoria started to awaken in Ashland's bed, but he told her not to open her eyes because it might break the spell. She asked if he was afraid she might see things differently in the cold light of day and regret taking him back, and he admitted the thought had crossed his mind. Ashland handed her a cup of coffee, and Victoria assured him that she was happy to be there with him. She appreciated him agreeing to take things slowly, and he urged her to take all the time needed, as long as she hadn't changed her mind. Victoria reiterated that she still loved Ashland.
Victoria grumbled that her family thought she was incapable of making up her own mind about anything, and they'd continue to judge and control her unless she took a stand. Ashland wondered what she was saying. "I choose you," Victoria firmly replied. Victoria griped that the situation with her family was untenable, and they would never stop trying to interfere in her personal life or allow her to make her own choices. She asserted that it was her decision whether to forgive him, but her family wouldn't accept it. She expected her clan to manipulate the situation to drive the two of them apart, and she felt like she couldn't breathe anymore.
Victoria ignored a call from Nikki. She considered it inexcusable that her father had used his power and influence to keep Ashland away from his son to pressure him into leaving town. Her phone pinged with a message from Victor, and she assumed that he wanted to make sure she dutifully accepted that he'd done it for the good of their family. Victoria ranted that she didn't want to hear it anymore, and the only thing she wanted was to start over -- away from Newman, Genoa City, and the people in it. Ashland smiled broadly and remarked that they had a lot to discuss.
Victoria recognized that it hadn't been part of Ashland's plan to fall in love with her, just like she'd never expected to forgive him for lying to her. She contended that the love she had for him was undeniable, and she knew his quirks and flaws and loved all of him. Ashland argued that her acceptance was one thing, but running away was another. Victoria countered that she was running from the constraints and burden of her family. She recognized that he probably questioned her sincerity after she'd lied to him to get him to take the Newmans' payoff.
Victoria swore that she meant it that time, but Ashland urged her to consider the consequences. She conceded that it wouldn't be easy to walk away from the company she loved, but it would be worth it. He clarified that he'd been talking about her children, since Billy wouldn't be happy about it. Victoria was confident that she and Billy could reach a compromise, but she couldn't keep trying to convince her family that her love for Ashland had led her to a place of forgiveness. Ashland suggested that when she declared her independence from her family, she leave him out of it altogether, since it might trigger a reaction she might not be prepared for.
At the Abbott mansion, Summer told Jack and Kyle that Phyllis had flown off at the crack of dawn after Summer had arranged for Daniel to call to give their mother a diversion. "Far away from Diane," Jack muttered. Summer noted that things had escalated between the women, but Phyllis hadn't admitted to anything other than her deep hatred for Diane. Jack answered a knock at the door and found Diane there. Diane declared that it was a glorious morning, and she had a fabulous idea about how to kick it off.
Jack let Diane inside, and she invited everyone to breakfast, including Harrison. Kyle indicated that the boy was already down for his morning nap, and it had taken forever to get him to sleep after someone had gotten him wound up. Jack admitted his guilt, and Diane related to wanting to spend as much time as possible with their grandson. Jack took a rain check on breakfast, citing important calls he needed to make. Summer offered to let the nanny know she and Kyle were leaving for breakfast, and she suggested that she meet Diane and Kyle at the car.
Once alone, Jack surmised that Summer wanted to talk to him about something. She observed how tense things between him and Phyllis had been, and she assumed they'd fought about Diane. Jack assured Summer that everything would work out the way it supposed to, and he implored her to go have fun. After Summer left, Jack sadly sighed.
Later, Jack asked Allie about her run that morning. She explained that it was her perfect way to reset, and he mentioned that he'd been a runner for many years until he'd needed to find exercise that was kinder to his knees. Allie recalled that she and her dad had gone running together until he'd eventually needed to stop because of his knees. Jack apologized for genetics messing up her running routine with her dad, and he recommended a Pilates place that would be easier on the joints. She agreed to go if someone from the family joined her, since her priority was getting to know all of them better.
Allie revealed that Ashley was taking her to the Jabot lab that afternoon, and Jack remembered the first time he'd taken Keemo there. Jack recalled that Keemo had had a curious mind and had wanted to know the details of how products were made, and Ashley had ultimately hired Keemo because of his natural ability with chemistry. Jack reflected back on Keemo's infectious joy and enthusiasm about work, and Allie guessed that her father would have told them it hadn't been work at all. Jack commented that they'd known the same guy.
Allie mentioned that she'd been listening to a new podcast called the "Grinning Soul" during her runs. Jack liked the name, but he'd never heard of it. Allie explained that it was about various topics from insomnia to feeling out of place, and there had been a great episode about following one's bliss rather than having a game plan for career and life. Jack remarked that he was all for people finding happiness and fun -- after they developed a plan.
Allie agreed, but Jack sensed that someone else had been on the other side of the argument. A blushing Allie eventually admitted it had been Noah. Jack called Noah an interesting guy, and he imagined it had been a vibrant conversation. Allie smiled and confirmed it had been something. She realized she had to meet Ashley at the coffeehouse, and Jack teased that she was also likely to run into the best coffee in town there. A flustered Allie said she'd see him later.
At Society, Diane was surprised to hear that Phyllis was in Savannah. Diane figured that both she and Phyllis were doting grandmothers, and she intended to take advantage of every minute she spent with Harrison. Kyle informed Diane that she might have more time than she'd originally thought to get to know her grandson. Summer announced that Jabot was making an offer to purchase Marchetti and move the fashion house from Milan to Genoa City. Kyle hoped Jabot's board approved the acquisition, and Diane gushed about how proud she was of him.
Diane was sure the board would love the idea, and she volunteered to help with the transition in any way she could. She wished she could go back in time and be there for Kyle's big milestones and everyday moments, and she reiterated that she wanted to be there for him then. Kyle expected that there would be plenty to do if everything went well, and he welcomed the help. Ashland approached and greeted them, and Summer coldly asked if there was something they could help him with. Ashland announced that he was aware Kyle hadn't been the one behind the restraining order.
Ashland ranted that it was a "hell of a thing" to be told he could no longer have contact with the boy he'd loved for years, and he was appalled that Kyle had gone along with Victor's manipulations so easily. Ashland chided Kyle for putting Harrison in a potentially painful situation to help Victor exact his revenge. Kyle stood up and snarled that what was appalling was Ashland telling his son that he had a terminal illness and pushing him to move overseas. Ashland condemned Kyle for prioritizing his desire to punish Ashland over what was best for Harrison.
Kyle insisted that he'd gone along with the restraining order for Harrison's well-being because Ashland was poisonous. Summer suggested she and Kyle get back to work, and Diane offered to find her own way back to the Athletic Club. After Kyle and Summer left, Diane sympathized that the encounter couldn't have been easy for Ashland, and he thanked her. She thought plenty of people in town would pay for the pleasure of slapping her with a restraining order to keep her out of Kyle's life, but she was grateful her son was an independent thinker who didn't allow people to tell him how to feel or act.
Ashland bemoaned that there was no way to fight the restraining order, and Diane imagined he wasn't the type of man who was used to hearing the word no. He confirmed that he didn't have much experience feeling helpless, and he found it ironic that he'd gotten himself into that position by pretending to be helpless. She pointed out that Victor had also told unforgivable lies countless times, and she considered what Victor had done to Ashland unfair. Ashland revealed that he'd once had contempt for people who claimed something was unfair, but he understood after being shut out of Harrison's life.
Diane wished she could do something to help, but she'd just started to rebuild her relationship with her own son. Ashland refused to ask her to jeopardize her situation, and she hoped they could continue to be friends. He lamented that it wasn't possible, since he'd be leaving town soon, but he thought they were kindred spirits after confiding in one another about their sins. She wished him luck on his next adventure and offered to buy him a drink if he returned to town. Ashland believed leaving Genoa City might be the best decision he'd ever made.
Later, Kyle and Summer joined Jack at the Abbott mansion to celebrate the board's approval of Kyle's presentation with a unanimous yes. Kyle pointed out that they still had to make the pitch to Angelina Marchetti, but Summer was sure her boss would welcome the chance to save the company under terms that were more than fair. Summer marveled that they'd be able to work together as a team again with their friends and family in Genoa City. She mused that everything would be perfect if there was a way to get Phyllis and Diane to coexist. Jack scowled.
Jack wasn't optimistic that Phyllis and Diane would ever declare peace. Summer wished someone would tell her what had happened between the women -- unless it was something bigger between Jack and Phyllis. Jack suggested that they take a moment to appreciate everything they had and count their many blessings, including Summer, Kyle, and Harrison moving back to town for good. Jack proclaimed that his heart was full, and it was incumbent on all of them to think about life moving forward.
At Crimson Lights, Nikki hugged Nick hello. He hoped Victoria was feeling as rejuvenated as his mother looked, but Nikki glumly reported that Victoria was more conflicted than ever. Nikki worried that Victoria was tired of listening to her family's advice, and Nick complained that his sister was shutting them out when she needed them the most. Nikki reflected back on the rough times Victoria had been through, and she sensed that her daughter was projecting a tough image, even though Victoria was led by her emotions like the rest of them.
Nick wished hatred was the emotion Victoria expressed where Ashland was concerned, but Nikki pointed out the many times that Nick had forgiven Phyllis and Sharon. Nick balked at just crossing their fingers and hoping Ashland didn't hurt Victoria anymore. Nikki preferred to give Victoria space, but she was concerned that she hadn't heard from Victoria since the night before. Nikki and Nick both received messages from Victoria, asking them to meet her at the office. Nikki had a bad feeling about it.
At Newman Media, Adam asked Victor if Ashland had finally left town. Victor had expected the restraining order to do the trick, but he griped that "the S.O.B." was still hanging around. Victor mentioned that Victoria and Nikki had had a wonderful time in Switzerland, and Adam questioned whether Victor had any idea which way Victoria's heart was leaning. Victor insisted that they focus on getting rid of Ashland. Adam stated that Ashland loved Victoria, and it would be hard to get rid of him when she was back in town.
Adam thought Victor had to face that nothing would stop Ashland's drive to be with Victoria, and she was the only person who could persuade Ashland to leave or stay. Adam suspected she wanted Ashland to stick around. Victor chuckled and recognized that it fit Adam's narrative about why he thought Victoria shouldn't be running the company anymore, but he told Adam to think again. Adam defended that his ambitions weren't the issue, and he accused Victor of refusing to see the obvious -- Victoria was still in love with Ashland, and the trip Victor had hoped would help her get over Ashland might have only made her want him more.
Adam warned that Ashland still had a hold on Victoria, but Victor scoffed at the idea that she would be pulled back into Ashland's clutches again. Adam dared Victor to name one time Victoria had been confronted with the truth and hadn't gone running back into Ashland's arms. Victor huffed that she was too smart and strong to fall for Ashland's bull again. Victor received a text message from Victoria, who summoned him and Adam to meet with her in her office.
Victor and Adam arrived at Newman Enterprises. Victor said he'd gotten concerned when Victoria hadn't answered her phone, and she replied that she'd been doing a lot of thinking. Adam remarked that he was honored to be included, just as Nikki and Nick entered. Victoria stated that the entire family needed to hear what she had to say, regardless of how she and Adam felt about one another. She thanked everyone for being there when she knew they had busy lives -- busy running around behind her back, pulling strings, and orchestrating events to make sure things spun the way they wanted them to.
Victoria accused Victor of wanting Ashland gone so badly that he'd eliminated any reason for Ashland to stick around. She was sure Michael had been salivating when Victor had told him the plan to file the restraining order, and she bellowed that the wheels of justice never spun faster than when Victor Newman was footing the bill. Victoria growled that the man who had always preached to them about the importance of family had cut Ashland off from his son, and Victor had gone too far.
Victoria recounted that she'd begged Victor to leave Ashland alone. Nick argued that they'd paid Ashland a fortune to leave them alone, but Ashland had stuck around. Victoria was shocked that Nick was fine with someone having his son ripped away from him. Nick pointed out that Ashland had pleaded with Kyle to take Harrison to Milan to keep the boy from seeing Ashland in the late stages of a nonexistent illness. Victoria contended that Ashland loved Harrison, and she accused Victor of issuing the restraining order to hurt Ashland in the harshest, most painful way possible.
Victor barked that Ashland had finally reaped what he'd sown, and Harrison was better off without "that bastard" in his life. Adam asked why Victoria cared, and Nikki complained that Ashland seemed determined to stay in town to cause problems. Victoria surmised that they meant she needed protecting, and she scoffed at the idea they knew what was best for her. She raged that she was sick of them trying to control and manipulate her. She announced that it was done, since she was leaving the company and the town and going someplace where she could start over.
Victor roared that Victoria wasn't going anywhere. She imagined it was difficult for him to not have her fall in line and do exactly what he wanted, but she intended to live her life as she saw fit from then on. Nikki urged Victoria to take a step back and talk about it, but Victoria groused that her mother meant she should listen and follow directions. Victoria ranted that she was sick and tired of playing by their rules, and she told them to find another puppet. Nick argued that it didn't make sense, but Victoria thought he should understand her choosing her freedom.
Nick countered that Victoria was choosing a man who'd lied to her, used her, and tried to bleed their company dry. Nikki realized that Victoria was talking about leaving with Ashland, and Victor begged Victoria to be honest about whether Ashland was coercing her in any way. Victoria groaned that they weren't hearing her, but even if they could, they wouldn't understand because they never had. She asserted that for the first time ever, she didn't care if they understood. Victoria added that she was proclaiming her independence and reclaiming her life, and it was why she was leaving.
At Newman, Victoria told Nikki, Victor, Nick, and Adam that she was changing her direction in order to be happy. Victor claimed Ashland would ruin her life. Nikki asked why Victoria had suddenly changed her mind after she'd stated she didn't have a future with Ashland. Nick accused Ashland of giving Victoria some sob story about losing access to Harrison and of playing on her sympathies. Nick asked how she could fall for that again. Victoria said she didn't have to defend her actions for forgiving Ashland or for leaving Genoa City, and she didn't have to change their opinion about her believing it was the right move for her.
Victor told Victoria that she was aligning herself with a user, a liar, and a fraud. He said Ashland was toying with her. Victoria said they would have plenty of time to cool off while she and Ashland settled into their new life. Victor wanted to know where that would be. Victoria said she wouldn't tell them even if she and Ashland had decided where they were going.
Nick told Victoria not to blow off everyone who'd stood by her when Ashland had been putting her through hell, like the time she'd decided to take off to Italy with Ashland or the night she'd been involved in the car accident. Victoria asked if Nick was referring to the night Ashland had saved her life. She accused Nick of believing she owed him because he'd exposed Ashland's lies, comforted her, paid Ashland off, and then banished him. Victoria said Nick thought he had the right to tell her how to live her life. She said that didn't work for her.
Victor told Victoria she'd been blinded by love. Victoria said she knew they all thought she was crazy because she believed Ashland when he said he loved her. Nikki asked Victoria not to give up a career she'd spent a lifetime building. Victoria stated she wasn't going to expose Ashland to her family's never-ending judgment.
Nick asked Victoria if Ashland would ask her to give up running Newman if he really loved her. Nick said that had always been Victoria's dream. Victoria said Ashland wasn't solely the reason she was quitting Newman. Victor stated that Ashland had convinced her it had been her idea to quit, just like he'd convinced her about "that damned merger." Victoria asked if Victor believed she wasn't capable of thinking of anything on her own. She said Ashland knew it would be difficult for her to leave her family.
Adam sat on the sofa, gloating inwardly.
Nick told Victoria it was part of Ashland's con. Victoria stated that everyone believed they were "so much smarter" than she was. She reminded them that they'd all believed that Ashland had cancer, just as she had. Victor stated that he'd had his doubts about Ashland when Ashland had arrived in town. He said his doubts had been the reason he'd had Ashland investigated. Victoria stated that Victor had approved of Ashland more than any other person she'd ever loved. Victor slammed his hands on the desk and yelled that Ashland was a total fraud.
Shouting, Victor told Victoria he'd seen how happy Ashland had made her, and he'd tolerated that nonsense for a while; however, when Ashland had miraculously been cured from a disease, Victor had known something was off. Victoria stated Victor was right and that Ashland regretted that had done something so terrible; however, he was the perfect man for her. Victor stated she couldn't be more wrong.
Victoria told Victor she was leaving town and never returning. She claimed she was tired of Victor telling her what to do and tired of trying to win Victor's approval. She stated she was done. Victor shouted a warning that she wasn't to blame anyone in the room, since it was solely her decision. Victor shouted that he'd done nothing but protect her, and he'd promoted her to CEO of Newman, one of the biggest companies in the world. He shouted that if she went with that fraud, it would be the biggest mistake in her life. Victoria said, "Goodbye, Dad," and she walked out.
Victor said if Nikki and Victoria had returned one day later, Ashland would have been gone for good. Nick said they'd all tried to get through to Victoria, but Victoria hadn't wanted to hear it. Adam claimed he wasn't surprised, and he understood how worried everyone was, but to let him know if there was anything he could do. Adam left.
Nikki said Victor had been right; it was a game to Ashland because he still wanted the company. Nick said if Ashland did cut Victoria loose, he would do it in the cruelest way possible and after she'd alienated herself from the family. Nick said the only person who could convince Victoria he was bad news was Ashland himself, but only after he destroyed her life again.
Victor promised Nikki he wouldn't give up on Victoria. Nikki told Victor that her calls to Victoria had gone straight to voicemail. Nikki lamented that Victoria hadn't told them where she was going, and perhaps she'd already left. Victor claimed there wasn't a place on earth that Locke could hide from him. Nikki stated that if and when they spoke to Victoria, they had to be careful because, with Ashland's influence, Victoria took everything they said the wrong way.
Nikki told Victor that Ashland was playing on Victoria's insecurities. She said Victoria needed for Victor to be proud of her, and Ashland was taking advantage of that. Victor said he adored Victoria, and he'd always been proud of her. He said he'd paid "that bastard" half a billion dollars to get him away from Victoria. Nikki said Locke would convince Victoria to cut her family out of her life completely. Victor said, "The hell he will." Victor left.
In Adam's office at Newman Media, Adam told Sally he'd met with Victor earlier, and he'd tried to make Victor see that Ashland still had a hold over Victoria. He said Victor had told him to stop aiming for the Newman CEO seat. Sally said she'd warned Adam not to make it look like he was trying to knock Victoria off her throne. Adam claimed Victor would see him as a genius because Victoria had called an emergency meeting, and she'd declared her undying love for "that creep" Ashland.
Adam told Sally they were going to get exactly what they'd wanted. Adam said Victoria appeared to be angry with the family for trying to control her life. Sally stated that perhaps Victoria was rebelling against her parents. Sally asked if Victor had lost it. Adam claimed that had been a beautiful sight to see. He said Victoria had walked into the office, blown up her whole career, and saved them the trouble of coming up with a new scheme to reunite Victoria and Ashland.
Sally asked Adam if Victor would terminate Victoria's contract. Adam said Victor wouldn't have to because Victoria had quit, and she and Ashland were running off to a love nest somewhere. Sally asked if Nikki would be in charge or if Victor would step in. Adam didn't know, but he was going to sit back and see how things played out.
At Crimson Lights, Sharon excitedly greeted Mariah and Tessa, who'd returned from their Paris honeymoon. Sharon loved the beautiful bandana that Mariah and Tessa gave her. Mariah asked how Sharon was doing. Sharon claimed she was doing okay; she missed Rey, but Nick and Noah checked in on her daily. She said Faith had been trying to distract Sharon by asking for ideas on how to decorate her dorm.
Mariah and Tessa thanked Sharon for the trip, but Sharon said Nick had made all the arrangements. When Mariah asked how Nick was, Sharon said he was worried about Victoria because Victoria and Ashland had separated. Mariah hoped Victoria and Ashland would find a way to work things out. Sharon told Mariah she didn't see that happening because Victoria had discovered that Ashland couldn't be trusted.
At the park, Noah bumped into Allie. She excitedly told Noah she'd had a tour of the Jabot lab, and it had been amazing. She explained that most labs were depressing with their concrete floors and florescent lighting, but it was a gorgeous space and a state-of-the-art lab. Allie said Ashley had spent over an hour with her, and Ashley's team had explained the research they were working on. Noah said it was nice to see her hyped up about something.
Noah pointed out that Allie had to have had a blast at Jabot because she wasn't groaning as much over his corny jokes. Allie admitted it was her defense mechanism around new people, especially since she was surrounded by them at Jack's, but she was getting used to being in a busy house. Noah asked if Keemo had ever hinted about the Abbotts.
Allie told Noah that Keemo hadn't, and she would never get to ask him why. She wasn't sure whether it had been because Keemo hadn't been able to find the right words or that he had never wanted her to know about them. She said the Abbotts had been incredibly kind to her, and she really liked them. She admitted that she wished they'd been in her life a bit earlier.
Allie told Noah she was worried about betraying her father by deciding to get to know his father. Noah said that Nick and Victor had butted heads a lot over the years and that Nick had turned Victor over to the Feds for some shady business practices; however, despite all the battles, Nick had never tried to cut his kids off from Victor because he knew they loved Victor, and he allowed them to have separate relationships with Victor. Noah said perhaps Keemo would have done the same.
Allie asked if Noah thought Keemo would be okay with her meeting the Abbotts. Noah said he hadn't known Keemo personally, but he felt Keemo would have been happy knowing the Abbotts had been so welcoming to her. Noah invited Allie to go to the coffeehouse with him and welcome the newlyweds home. Allie accepted.
At the coffeehouse, Noah told Allie that Mariah worked at Jabot on the executive floor, which wasn't the super cool part of the building. Allie laughed and explained that Noah was making fun of her. Allie explained that Ashley had given her a tour of the lab, and she might have gushed about it a little. Mariah asked Allie to pull up a chair because they needed to know her better.
A short time later, as Allie was leaving, Nick arrived and warmly greeted the newlyweds. Mariah thanked Nick and said it had been the trip of a lifetime. Mariah and Tessa presented Nick with a beret, which he was thrilled with. Noah, Mariah, and Tessa left.
Sharon asked Nick why Victoria had called the family meeting. Nick said Victoria had wanted to tell the family that she and Ashland were reconciling. Nick said that the more Victoria had tried to explain herself, the worse things had gotten. Nick said it had been like a bizarre reverse intervention. He said the more they'd tried to talk her out of it, the more determined Victoria had become.
Nick told Sharon that Ashland was a master manipulator, and Victoria had turned her back on the people who'd loved her more than anything in the world -- and Victoria had always known they'd loved her. Nick said Ashland had claimed that once he'd met Victoria, he'd become a changed man. He said Victoria was one of the savviest people he'd ever met, and he wondered how she could have been taken in by Ashland. He said Victoria had given up the CEO seat at Newman, and she was leaving town. He said she'd been brainwashed.
Nick told Sharon that he'd suggested that Victoria find a way to get some independence from Victor; however, reconciling with Ashland wasn't the way to do it. Nick said he wanted to talk to Victoria alone, but he didn't want to make her angrier than she already was. He asked for Sharon's opinion.
Sharon told Nick that Victoria had already made her decision, and he wouldn't be able to talk her out of it. She told Nick not to badmouth Ashland in front of Victoria because she would take it as a personal attack on her judgment. Sharon said Nick should tell Victoria he would be there for her, no matter what, even if things went wrong, so that she wouldn't feel ashamed or embarrassed going to Nick.
In Ashland's suite, Victoria told Ashland that things had gone the way she'd expected. She said she'd tried to get her family to see that she determined how she lived her life and whether or not it was with Ashland. However, nothing had registered. She'd been accused of not thinking clearly, being blinded by love, and being ungrateful. Victoria said it was clear her family had very little respect for her.
Ashland pointed out that Victor wouldn't let Victoria go without a fight, and they had to be prepared for whatever happened next. Victoria said Victor had always resented and never understood when any of his children had wanted to strike out on their own. She predicted that Victor would direct most of his anger at Ashland, and she suggested they leave immediately and not give Victor that chance.
Ashland told Victoria he didn't want her rushing into anything and later regretting her decision. He said he could handle whatever Victor would throw at him. He asked if Victoria was sure. Victoria claimed she was sure and very excited -- they would be starting over from scratch, with no one looking over their shoulders or second-guessing them. Ashland agreed and asked where she wanted to go.
Victoria told Ashland she wanted to move to New York because he had friends there. She said they could start a new business and create their own empire. Ashland asked if he should have the jet readied, but Victoria said there was something she had to do before they left.
At Chancellor-Winters, Victoria told Billy she was moving out of Genoa City. She said that all the advice he'd given her to get out from under Victor's thumb had sunk in. Billy said he didn't believe her epiphany had anything to do with him. Billy said there had to be a good reason for her to uproot her life. Victoria said she was tired of people weighing in on the nature and quality of her decisions.
Billy told Victoria he suspected Victor had something to do with her decision. Victoria said she was cutting ties and leaving Genoa City and everything connected with it. She stated she was tired of Victor trying to run her life. Billy said he could get behind Victoria breaking free; however, if it had anything to do with Ashland, they would have a serious problem.
At home, Mariah made Tessa some tea and asked how her throat felt. Tessa stated she shouldn't have talked so much downstairs. Tessa wondered how she would manage being on tour because she'd gotten used to being with Mariah all day. Mariah claimed they would find ways to stay connected.
Victor arrived at Ashland's suite. Ashland said he'd been expecting Victor. Victor asked if Ashland thought it was going to be easy for him to walk away with everything he wanted. He told Ashland to think again.
In Ashland's suite, Victor told Ashland that Ashland wouldn't get away with taking Victoria from her home. Ashland claimed Victoria was leaving of her own accord. Victor claimed Victoria would soon discover that Ashland was a human parasite, as Victor had always suspected. Victor said he'd investigated Ashland, and he'd learned how Ashland had taken his dead friend's identity and stolen his mentor's fortune to build his empire. Victor said he regretted allowing Nikki to call an ambulance when Ashland had suffered a heart attack in Victor's living room instead of letting Ashland croak.
Ashland told Victor that love triumphed over everything. Laughing, Victor said Ashland didn't know the first thing about love. He said it was a manipulative sham to convince Victoria it was the real thing.
Ashland told Victor that he'd given up after the restraining order, but Victoria had sought him out and told him she still loved him. Ashland said Victoria's loyalty to her family ran deep, but Victor had driven her away with his iron fist, his draconian methods, his conviction that only father knew best, and his complete lack of respect for her intelligence and independence. Ashland said Victor had tried to control every aspect of Victoria's life and that was what had driven her back into Ashland's arms. He said Victor had no one to blame but himself. Victor said that Ashland was "a hell of a talker" and that he was good at it, but it wasn't over. Victor left.
At Chancellor-Winters, Billy asked Victoria why she would leave Newman Enterprises at the peak of her success. Victoria claimed there was more to life than succeeding at a job. Billy wanted the truth, and he asked what Ashland had to do with Victoria leaving town. Victoria admitted Ashland was integral to her decision.
Victoria told Billy that Ashland had shown remorse and how strong his love was. Victoria said she'd forgiven Ashland, and they were leaving together. Billy asked how she could forgive Locke for everything he'd done. Victoria sarcastically claimed she'd had a lot of practice because she'd forgiven Billy many times.
Billy asked how Victoria could compare the man who'd lied to her about having cancer to him. Victoria said she'd believed Billy would understand, since his podcast had been about redemption and giving people second chances. Billy claimed that Locke had run out of second chances after stealing his best friend's identity and then falsifying a dying woman's will.
Victoria told Billy she believed there was room for forgiveness when someone showed true contrition, and Ashland had done that. Billy said it bothered him that Locke had such a hold on Victoria that she was willing to leave her family, her company, and Johnny and Katie behind. Victoria claimed that as far as the kids were concerned, she and Ashland had been together the whole time.
Victoria told Billy the kids would always have a home with her. She would never leave them behind. Billy asked where she was going. Victoria said that she and Ashland wanted to settle down without anyone monitoring their every move. Billy asked if she expected him to sign off on Johnny and Katie and allow them to leave everything that they'd known in Genoa City and run off with her and Ashland to God knew where. Billy said he didn't want his kids near that monster.
Victoria told Billy that Johnny and Katie were at boarding school, and their lives wouldn't be immediately disrupted. Victoria reminded him that they had joint custody. Billy said the agreement was based on them living in the same city. Victoria said she would have a motion filed in court, indicating she was moving out of state. Billy stated he would fight it. He insisted he wouldn't allow her to take the kids away from Genoa City. Victoria asked if Billy thought she would put Johnny and Katie in any danger. Billy said he knew she'd always put them first.
Billy said Victoria wasn't thinking rationally, because Locke was a threat to their kids. Victoria claimed that Ashland would never harm them. Billy said that Summer and Kyle had taken out a restraining order against Locke. He said he wasn't the only one who thought Locke posed a threat. Victoria stated that Victor had pulled some strings and gotten a judge to sign off on the restraining order.
Billy told Victoria the document was public record, and the court wouldn't ignore it. Victoria claimed she'd expected Billy to be rational. Billy followed Victoria to the elevator and said Ashland had crossed a line he shouldn't be allowed to return from. He said Locke was going to hurt her again. Billy said she was free to make her choice; however, he wouldn't allow her bad choices to affect his children, and he would fight her on it. Victoria left.
Billy was deep in thought when Lily arrived. Billy told Lily that Victoria had informed him that she'd forgiven Ashland, and she was leaving town with the man who'd lied to her about dying from cancer in order to get control of her company. Billy said Ashland had somehow convinced Victoria he was sorry for his mistakes. Billy didn't understand how Victoria could abandon her entire life in Genoa City.
Lily said Billy had agreed to take a step back and let Victoria live her life the way she wanted to. Billy said it was different because it affected his kids. He said Victoria was going to take them to God knew where and have them live under the same roof as Locke. Billy said he didn't want his kids anywhere near that monster. Lily said enough was enough. Billy said he was done, and he would protect his kids from Victoria's bad decisions.
Lily told Billy it was Victoria's decision to make, and he couldn't penalize his kids for it. Billy asserted that he was protecting them because Ashland was dangerous. Lily stated that Ashland wasn't a physical threat to Johnny and Katie, and Victoria wouldn't put them at risk. Billy said that Victoria wasn't thinking clearly. He said they knew what Ashland was capable of and how far he would go. Lily said it wasn't about the kids but was about Billy's inability to let Victoria go, and she noted that Billy seized any opportunity to be Victoria's protector. Lily said she was fed up, and she wasn't going to put up with it any longer.
At the park, Adam sent Victor a text message that read, "Can we meet today? Important Newman business to discuss." Chelsea arrived and told Adam she was sure Connor would love to show Adam his classic Atletico. Adam said the last time that he'd seen Chelsea, she'd been on edge. Adam asked if Chelsea was okay. Chelsea assured him she wasn't falling apart. Adam said he understood it was a stressful time for Chelsea, since she was working on a new line. Chelsea assured him she wasn't troubled.
Chelsea told Adam that working with Chloe and Lauren was a dream because there wasn't any ego, in-fighting, or fear of being stabbed in the back. Adam said doing something enjoyable could put as much pressure on Chelsea as dealing with something difficult, and she was dealing with both. He said Rey's death had been a shock, and he acknowledged that it was a tough time for her and Connor. Adam said he wanted to make sure Chelsea was taking care of herself.
Chelsea told Adam she'd taken care of herself all her life, and she didn't need his help. Kyle arrived and asked if there was a problem. Chelsea said she appreciated Kyle's concern, but she was fine. Adam acknowledged that Kyle was being extra vigilant in protecting Harrison from Ashland. Kyle admitted things had become a bit unpleasant. Adam informed Kyle that Locke was leaving town, and the restraining order had done the trick. Adam left to see Connor. Kyle asked if Chelsea was okay. Chelsea admitted she was, and she appreciated Kyle's interruption. Chelsea offered to buy Kyle coffee in appreciation for his kindness. He accepted.
At Crimson Lights, Sally told Summer she'd heard Summer was in town for a visit. Summer said she knew Sally had been kicked to the curb by Lauren; however, she'd been impressed with the wedding dress Sally had designed for Victoria. Summer commented that it had been a stroke of luck that the gown had taken Sally straight into the COO's office at Newman Media.
Sally claimed it hadn't been luck but ambition. Summer stated that Sally had conspired with Tara Locke to drive Summer out of town and away from Kyle. Summer asked if Sally's ascension to COO had anything to do with her sleeping with the boss. Sally suggested that Summer look at how amazing things had worked out because they'd wound up at their dream jobs with their dream guys -- Summer in Milan and Sally in Genoa City.
Summer stated that Sally had wanted her on a different continent. Sally claimed Summer had wanted to be the creative director at Marchetti. Summer agreed she'd been destined to end up at Marchetti; however, her home was Genoa City, and she was back for good. Sally asked if Summer had quit her dream job.
Summer told Sally that Marchetti was relocating to Genoa City, and she would have complete creative control of the fashion house, a loving husband, their adorable son, and a full life in her hometown, surrounded by friends and family. Sally stiffened when Chelsea and Kyle arrived. Sally said she needed to run, but if Summer's little fashion house needed a push from the giant media conglomerate that she and Adam ran, she would be happy to help.
Summer thanked Kyle and Chelsea for rescuing her. Chelsea told Summer that Kyle had rescued her from a conversation that she'd been having with Adam, which could have escalated into an ugly argument. Summer said when Kyle and Chelsea had arrived, Sally had obviously been intimidated. Chelsea claimed Sally had everything she wanted. Summer asked what Sally had done to blow up Newman Fashion. Summer said she'd wanted to see what Chelsea and Chloe were going to do. Chelsea explained that it had been a corporate decision when Newman Locke had bought Newman Media.
Chelsea told Summer that Sally had been the worst person to work with, and when Sally had gotten her claws into Adam, things had become very uncomfortable. Summer commented that Sally was a world-class opportunist. Chelsea said she was very happy working with Chloe for Fenmore's. Summer asked if Chelsea and Chloe were happy with their partnership at Fenmore's. Chelsea admitted they were.
Summer asked Chelsea when the new line would drop, if they'd settled on a price point, and if Chelsea was doing the designing herself or collaborating with the in-house team. Chelsea commented that it felt like an interview. Summer said Jabot was in the process of acquiring Marchetti and relocating their headquarters to Genoa City. Chelsea was stunned. Summer said she and Kyle had been thinking about a collaboration between Fenmore's and Marchetti. Kyle said Jabot would own all of Marchetti, and Jabot already owned 50% of Fenmore's; it made for greater profit margins.
Summer told Chelsea that Lauren knew about the purchase, but Lauren hadn't been told about Fenmore's being an exclusive distributor. Chelsea agreed to keep that information to herself. Summer said Chelsea was in the heart of fashion in Genoa City. Chelsea said she loved the possibility of working with Summer and Kyle.
Jack arrived at Society, and when he saw Diane, he wanted to leave; however, Diane had seen him. Diane invited Jack to join her. Jack reluctantly sat down and said that Society was the best restaurant in town. Diane said they didn't need small talk because they had a son and grandson together, and they had history. Jack said most of their history was unpleasant.
Diane offered to tell Jack about all the resemblances she saw between Harrison and Kyle. Jack stated that Diane hadn't spent that much time with Harrison. Diane said she hoped to fix that. Jack said Harrison was a great kid, and Jack told Diane some stories about Harrison. Diane said she couldn't wait for Harrison to get to know his DeeDee. She claimed she played the memories she had of Kyle as a child over and over in her head.
Diane told Jack he'd been built for fatherhood, and she'd seen the joy in Jack's face when he'd shared his favorite stories about making memories with his son. Jack said he felt the same when he watched Kyle with Harrison. Diane mentioned the good times they'd had by the pool and how Phyllis had always been lurking in the background, making sure Diane wasn't horning in on Phyllis' territory. She looked up and saw the pained look on Jack's face.
Jack stated that Diane bringing up Phyllis proved it had been a mistake to join her. He said their history was too fraught with bad memories for them to have a pleasant conversation. She apologized and said she'd had no idea bringing up Phyllis would upset him. Jack claimed reminiscing about that period in their lives would set off emotional fireworks. Diane apologized for who she'd been and what she'd done, for taking Kyle away and Jack missing quality time with Kyle during his formative years, for abandoning Jack and leaving him to raise Kyle alone, and for being petty, unkind, and selfish.
Diane apologized to Jack for not being stronger and braver in the way she'd handled everything. Diane became emotional and claimed she had many regrets and needed to make amends to the people she'd wronged. She said Jack was at the top of that list. She dried her tears, and Jack sat down again.
Diane told Jack she'd spent a lot of time alone in Los Angeles because she'd hidden her past and been living a lie. Diane said she couldn't get close to anyone, and in Genoa City, she'd been dodging grenades. Diane stated she had to face the damage she'd done, and it would take a while. Diane said being open with Jack about her past almost made her feel normal, and it gave her hope for the future.
At Newman Media, Adam told Victor they needed to talk about Victoria running off with Locke. Victor said he'd had a run-in with "that son of a bitch," and Victoria was leaving with him. Victor couldn't believe Victoria would leave the family and the company. Victor swore he would get that bastard if it was the last thing he did.
Adam understood that Victor had invested a lot of time, energy, and love into grooming Victoria to take over the company, only to see her self-destruct. Victor said he'd raised his children to be strong and self-possessed adults. Adam said he was out of ideas on how to reach Victoria. Victor said Victoria was getting involved in something that might be irreparable and an irreversible mistake.
Victor stated that Victoria would fail because there was no future success involving Locke. Adam claimed Victoria might surprise all of them because she was resourceful and smart, and she might find a way to flourish out of Victor's shadow. Adam said it might be her destiny to start over and an opportunity for a reset for the entire family to become something greater.
Victoria returned to Ashland's suite with a packed suitcase. Victoria told Ashland she was ready to leave. Ashland asked if she was sure about leaving. Victoria said she was. Ashland said that Victor had paid him a visit because Victor was afraid he was going to lose his beloved daughter. Victoria claimed Victor was the one who'd thrown her away. Ashland said Victor would take advantage of her deep connection to her family. Victoria stated that was the reason they had to leave immediately and start somewhere fresh, outside of Victor's reach.
Victoria told Ashland that her only problem was Billy because he was going to fight her for custody of the kids. Ashland said he couldn't risk Victoria losing her kids. Victoria said Billy didn't have a leg to stand on, and she would fight him back twice as hard. She hoped it wouldn't get too ugly.
At Devon's, Lily, Nate, and Devon discussed the launch party. Billy arrived, and he asked to speak to Lily. Standing to one side, Lily told Billy she had to focus on the launch, and it wasn't the time to discuss Billy's ex. Lily walked away. Nate said they were being inundated with calls from the Financial Press, who wanted a sneak peek at what Hamilton-Winters were planning to unveil at the launch party.
Devon told Nate they would tease about what they had in store, but the focus was going to be on their overall vision of the future: two companies and two families uniting to carry on an amazing legacy. Nate said he didn't think they wanted to leave everyone with the impression it was a symbolic change, and they needed to go bold to capitalize on the attention they would receive. Lily said she agreed with Devon that the focus should be on the big picture. Nate asked if Billy agreed with him. Billy said the CEOs had made their wishes clear.
At Crimson Lights, Amanda asked Imani about her date for the launch party. Imani claimed that Amanda wanted her to focus on anyone but Nate. Imani asked if Amanda was afraid she would spin her magic spell and woo Nate away from Elena. Elena arrived, and Imani told Amanda that Elena had no reason to feel threatened.
Elena greeted Amanda and Imani, and she asked Amanda how her mother was doing. Amanda said her mother had been following doctor's orders, and the Afib was under control. Amanda commented that it looked like Elena had had a long night. Elena admitted it had been a crazy week. Imani said she admired Elena, and with all the time Elena put in at the hospital, Elena probably didn't have time for fun. Elena said she and Nate managed to find time. Elena said she loved what she did, and long hours were part of it.
Imani said that it had to have been easier when Elena and Nate had worked together. Elena said Nate was very happy where he was, and she was very happy for him; that was what was important. Imani said that Nate had been working very hard on the launch party, and it would be a big night for him. Imani said she was sure Nate would understand if Elena was too tired to attend. Elena said she needed a quick nap, and she would be fine.
At Society, Nikki asked Victor if they could have done anything to get through to Victoria because Victoria deserved a better man than Ashland. Nikki said she didn't understand why Victoria would choose a relationship based completely on lies over her family.
Nikki told Victor that Victoria hadn't always made the best choices in partners, like Billy and his gambling, but Victoria had walked away from Billy. Nikki asked why Victoria didn't see that things with Ashland were far worse. Nikki said she felt like they were losing their daughter, and there was nothing they could do about it.
Victor told Nikki that nothing would have stopped Victoria from cutting ties with her family. Victor said that when he'd spoken to Ashland, Ashland had said there was nothing anyone could do to stop them. Victor shared that Ashland had said that it had been Victoria's idea to leave town, and it was Victor's fault for pushing Victoria away.
Victor told Nikki he didn't understand any of it, especially after all the encouragement they'd given Victoria, yet Victoria had stated that her family hadn't respected her enough. Victor said it was painful watching Victoria with Ashland, knowing Ashland would cause her nothing but heartache, but Victoria had to let it play out and deal with her situation on her own. Victor told Nikki they had to let Victoria go.
Nikki told Victor she couldn't believe they were going to watch Victoria walk away with Ashland. Nikki said Ashland might not wind up just breaking Victoria's heart, but her spirit as well. Victor claimed that Victoria would get through it because she was tough, and in the end, Victoria would realize they'd only wanted what was best for her. Victor said she knew they would welcome her return.
Victor told Nikki he had an idea what might speed up Victoria's decision to return home. Victor said Victoria knew they would welcome her back with open arms, but that didn't include the company Victoria had put her heart and soul into and her dream of becoming CEO of Newman Enterprises. Victor said he would make a special announcement that Adam would be the new CEO of the company, and Nikki would remain co-CEO and rein Adam in whenever she deemed it necessary.
Nikki told Victor it would be better if she stepped down as co-CEO and resumed her position as COO; that way she could keep her eye on Adam without diluting the impact of Victor's decision. Victor said it would be too much for Victoria to bear, knowing Adam was running the company.
At Newman, Victoria was packing up her things, and she looked up at her portrait.
In a flashback, Victoria recalled asking if Nikki knew anything about the new portrait. Nikki had informed her that Victor had commissioned it, and he'd put a rush on it. Nikki said they'd understood why Victoria had destroyed the one Ashland had given her, and she and Victor had felt it had needed to be replaced. Nikki had said Ashland might have broken Victoria's heart, but he hadn't destroyed her strength or her leadership, which was exactly what that portrait represented.
Nick arrived. Victoria asked if he was there to try to talk her out of leaving, because that wouldn't happen. Nick said he wasn't there to interfere; he wouldn't make that mistake again. Nick assured Victoria that he didn't have any hidden agendas or secret motives. Nick said he wasn't there to talk her out of anything because she'd made it very clear that no one could do that.
Nick told Victoria he hated her putting so much distance and anger between them. Nick said he was afraid he would never see her again. Nick stated that Victoria had always been an important part of his life, and she understood him like no one else could. Nick said they'd grown up with Victor Newman, and no one else knew what that had been like. Victoria said Victor had given them everything he'd never had as a child, and he had put a lot of pressure on them.
Nick said that he and Victoria had vied for Victor's approval, and they had competed to be the chosen one for the ultimate prize: Newman Enterprises. Nick said they'd learned from the best, and they'd been the best team. Nick admitted that at times, they'd had issues with each other and fought like hell, but they'd always known they could turn to each other, which hadn't changed for him; he would always be there for Victoria.
Victoria told Nick she was tired of the constant attacks and judgment about everything she did. She wished Nick could understand why she was making the move. Nick said he was worried because if she left town, she would be turning her back on the family that loved her. Nick said Ashland would wind up hurting her again. Victoria stated that Nick didn't know that, and he was jumping to the worst conclusion.
Nick told Victoria he really hoped things worked out the way she wanted them to, but he was going to worry about her because of who Ashland was, everything he'd done, and the games he'd played. Nick said when it came to their personal lives, they had always shown up for each other and had helped each other through some of the most terrible things imaginable, but they'd always supported each other's relationships, whether they had been good or bad. Nick claimed he couldn't say the same about the rest of the family.
Nick asked Victoria if she recalled how badly Nikki had objected to him marrying Sharon, but Victoria had known how happy Sharon had made him, even though Victoria had had a lot of issues with Sharon. He said that was all that had mattered. It had been the same with Victoria and Billy. Nick said Victor had hated them being together, but it had been Victoria's life and her choice to make. Victoria said it was her life, and she chose Ashland. Victoria asked if Nick was going to support her. Nick said he would, but he would never understand her choice. Nick said he would always support and protect her because he loved her, and that would never change.
Victoria told Nick it meant a lot to her that he loved and cared about her. She was happy Nick didn't want the anger and the distance to continue between them. Victoria said she wished Nick could share in her excitement of starting a new chapter away from the family. She wished everyone understood that she needed to chart her own path. Victoria said she wanted to share all her news with Nick. Nick said she could call or text message him anytime. They hugged.
Lily, Billy, Devon, and Nate arrived at the Grand Phoenix. Lily told everyone that Phyllis was out of town, and Abby would be helping them. Devon was surprised that Abby was filling in for Phyllis. Lily said Abby cared about them, not Abby's feud with Phyllis. Devon said it felt good that Abby was involved. Nate said there was a lot of positive buzz about the launch, and it was all starting to sink in how big a deal it was.
After Devon and Nate went to check on things, Billy said that Lily had said some harsh things to him the previous evening. Lily said she had a lot going on, and she didn't have time to talk about Victoria. Billy said she'd made that very clear, but he wanted to explain himself. Lily said there was a simple solution: let Victoria and Ashland leave, and respect Victoria's autonomy as a woman and a mother.
Lily told Billy there was no need to change the custody agreement because Victoria wouldn't put the kids' lives in danger. Lily claimed the kids were Billy's excuse to interfere. Billy denied it. Lily told Billy to stop trying to fix Victoria's life. Lily said everyone was trying to micromanage Victoria's choices.
Billy told Lily it wasn't about him being self-important or a hero, and he wasn't trying to stay involved in Victoria's life. Billy said he had legitimate concerns because he'd hurt Victoria in the past, and he'd continued to do so after she'd taken him back until she'd finally had enough and gotten rid of him. Billy said he couldn't stop worrying about Victoria, especially after everything he'd put her through, and it could have a massive effect on his kids.
Lily said it wasn't about the kids but all about Billy. Lily said that just because he had kids with Victoria, it wasn't okay for him to run her life. Billy said he didn't believe he was the same person that he'd been with Victoria, and because of that experience, he could see how the whole thing was going to unravel. Billy said he was trying to stop Victoria from getting her heart crushed and her life derailed because Victoria put too much trust in someone. Lily said if Victoria was making a mistake, it was her mistake to make and not Billy's responsibility to fix.
Lily told Billy that he was too involved in Victoria's life, and it went beyond co-parenting. Billy claimed he had a big history with Victoria, and he couldn't just cut ties. Lily said she had exes, but they didn't cause issues in her relationship. Billy pointed out that her exes didn't live in Genoa City. Billy claimed in was about Victoria not being able to let go of that monster; that was what everything was about. Lily said she was done talking about it, and Billy had to let it go.
Billy told Lily he didn't want to focus on anyone but Lily. Billy said perhaps the situation had as much to do with him as with Victoria, and if that was the case, he had to find peace with it and let Victoria live her life. Billy told Lily he loved and trusted her. Billy knew she loved him, and he understood that her concerns stemmed from that love. Billy said he would be the world's biggest fool if he didn't listen to Lily.
At the hotel, Amanda asked Imani if her exchange with Elena had been necessary, especially since Elena had just ended her shift. Imani told Amanda to stop worrying and that it was going to be a great night. Imani said her date had confirmed his attendance, and Elena had nothing to worry about.
Nate told Imani he couldn't help feeling they weren't capitalizing on the opportunity they had before them. They had some really exciting initiatives in the works, but Devon wanted to focus on the big picture and the family legacy rather than getting into specifics. Nate said it was the time to show the world exactly what the merged companies were going to do -- they needed to let the business world see how they were going to innovate and disrupt; however, Devon wanted to continue the keep-them-guessing approach, and Lily wouldn't even consider the alternative.
Elsewhere, Lily sang Abby's praises, and Devon claimed the night belonged to all of them. Nate said the night also belonged to their tenacious legal team, who got them to the finish line. Devon said they should go home to get ready for the event.
At home, Elena recalled Imani saying that Nate would understand if she was too wiped out to attend the launch party. Imani had said Elena had looked exhausted. Elena received an unwelcomed call.
When Nate arrived, Elena told him she had to return to the hospital because two doctors had called in sick. Elena said she was disappointed. Elena commented that Imani would be thrilled that Nate would be attending alone. Nate claimed that Imani would be focused on work. Elena told him not to count on that. Nate claimed that without Elena, he would be thinking about business.
At home, Amanda told Devon she was very proud of him and everything he'd accomplished; first it had been Hamilton-Winters and then he'd expanded his vision into the family business. Amanda said Devon talked a lot about Neil, and she knew Neil was watching Devon and Lily build an amazing company together. Devon said that he and Amanda had built quite a life together, and that evening was going to change everything. They kissed.
At Chancellor-Winters, Billy told Lily she looked gorgeous, and he was the luckiest man in the world. He told her how proud he was of her. Billy gave Lily an amethyst ring to show her how much he loved her and how committed he was to her. Billy said he didn't want anything to jeopardize what they had. Billy stated that he was letting go of the past and focusing on his future with Lily.
Lily said she knew that was a big step for Billy. Billy stated that that evening was about the realization of a vision, the future of a family enterprise, and him and Lily. Billy said that evening was going to change everything. They kissed.