Victoria met up with Nate in a room at the Athletic Club. Nate was surprised to see Victoria so soon after she had closed a business deal in Los Angeles. A kiss hello immediately led to the couple disrobing. After Nate and Victoria made love, she asked him how things how gone with Nikki while Victor had been away in Europe. Nate replied that during lunch with Nikki, he had admitted to her that his ambition was to run Newman Enterprises alongside Victoria. Nate added that he had confessed to Nikki how he felt about Victoria, describing their relationship as a deep friendship that had not yet progressed to a serious romance.
Victoria cried that she was not sure she was capable of having a serious, committed relationship with anyone after so many failures. Nate replied that working with Victoria and planning global domination was all he could ever ask for. Victoria agreed, adding that she and Nate should not push things.
At Society, Sharon clarified the terms of a deal Phyllis had made with Adam. Phyllis said, "Let me see if I have this straight. If I manage to stay out of prison and accept Adam's offer to make me the chief technology officer at your company, you want assurances that I'm contrite about blowing up my life?" Sharon explained that her goal was to have something good evolve after assuming ownership of Cameron Kirsten's company, noting that he had been a hateful man. Sharon assured Phyllis it would be a good opportunity for growth and change. Adam watched from the bar as Phyllis told Sharon she hoped she could stay out of prison.
Adam approached Phyllis and Sharon. Phyllis, describing Sharon's concern, told Adam that because she might experience some karmic payback for her recent actions, it could possibly affect plans to merge their two companies. Sharon claimed she had only urged Phyllis to do a little introspection. Adam, assuring his full support, told Sharon that he would prefer she focus on the positives and not dwell on the worst-case scenario. Adam added that Phyllis was in a much better place than she had been before and would walk the straight and narrow. Sharon asked Adam if he knew something she did not. Adam replied that he was relying on a gut feeling and expected big things from Phyllis.
Sharon told Adam that she was a realist and warned that he might be expecting too much from Phyllis. Phyllis recalled that Adam had informed her about Sharon and Nick being unhappy about Adam offering her the job. Sharon explained that hiring Phyllis should have been a joint decision. Phyllis admitted that working together might be awkward, considering the history involving the four of them, though she believed they could make it work. Phyllis mentioned having previously worked with Sharon and Nick at Restless Style. Adam winced and recalled that he had been the gossip rag's regular target.
After Sharon returned to Crimson Lights, Mariah and Tessa greeted her and announced that they had found the perfect sitter. Mariah, content that concerns about Aria's care had been settled, announced that she would leave Jabot and work at Sharon's new company. Sharon told Mariah she could begin immediately. Sharon noted that every worker at her company had signed on for various reasons, so she would be keeping a close eye on things. Mariah mentioned Sharon's budding relationship with Chance. Sharon smiled and admitted she was enjoying her time with Chance.
At Chancellor Park, Daniel informed Summer that Christine might not prosecute her if Phyllis pleaded guilty to all charges. Stunned, Summer replied, "She's not going to do it, is she?" Daniel replied that he hoped Phyllis would accept Christine's deal. Summer cried that doing so would mean definite prison time for their mom, despite her having been a victim of Stark's manipulation. Daniel said he had a gut feeling that Phyllis was willing to let Summer be punished in order to protect herself. Citing the close bond she shared with her mom as the reason she had sided with Phyllis, Summer left abruptly after telling Daniel to back off.
An angry Tucker entered Audra's room at the Athletic Club and berated her. Tucker yelled, "I tell you, it is hard to believe that someone as smart and capable as you could make such a monumentally stupid mistake." Tucker informed Audra that she had left information linking him to legal issues involving a singer, knowing full well the damage it could do if the truth was ever discovered. Tucker asked Audra if she had perhaps deliberately tried to "screw me over." Audra replied that she had no idea what Tucker was talking about.
Tucker reminded Audra about a particular singer signed to McCall's label. Tucker said that the singer, jailed on charges of committing statutory rape, had preyed on underage girls while he'd been on tour. Audra blamed the public relations company who had covered up the scandal. Tucker reminded Audra that after firing the public relations team, he had instructed her to clean up the mess. Audra recalled that she had deleted all files and communications related to the singer.
Tucker noted that some emails detailing the progress of mitigation that Audra had sent had ended up in his junk folder and remained recoverable even after he had deleted information on his server. Audra asked Tucker if he had wiped his server before he'd sold his company. Frustrated, Tucker replied, "Of course, I did, Audra, but apparently the junk mail remained on one of the servers, and guess who has found it? Adam 'freaking' Newman." Raising his voice, Tucker yelled, "He's in charge of the company now, is he not? He has access to everything, does he not?"
Audra asked Tucker to tell her how Adam was using the information he had uncovered. Tucker replied that Adam needed leverage over him and had gone digging until he'd found it. Tucker, blaming Audra, told her that because her carelessness had put them both in jeopardy, she would have to fix things or risk losing her job at the company that was under the Newman umbrella. Audra reminded Tucker that Victor had not wanted Newman Media to merge with Adustus. Tucker told Audra that Adam rarely followed his father's bidding, and he demanded she make the issue go away. Audra, recalling that Tucker had said he would handle his side of things, replied, "Adam isn't the only problem you've got, is he? Who else knows about this?"
Phyllis entered her room at the Athletic Club and found Tucker waiting. Phyllis taunted that it was difficult for Tucker to find competent people to clear up his messes. Tucker admitted that Phyllis and Adam had gotten the better of him. Phyllis mentioned the issue involving the singer who had been allowed to finish his lucrative tour, despite having been charged with statutory rape. Tucker claimed that he had not been involved in the cover-up and had fired his team who had been responsible. Tucker admitted he had foolishly failed to erase all evidence in order to protect his company. Phyllis asked Tucker what he wanted from her.
Tucker promised Phyllis he would help get whatever she needed to be exonerated if she could prove that Adam had erased all evidence implicating him in the scandal. Phyllis replied that she needed Carson to testify because he had witnessed her act in self-defense against Stark. Tucker agreed to comply with Phyllis' request, though he informed her that she would have to pay. Phyllis suggested she could target Jack by throwing Diane off her game, which could destabilize Jabot. Tucker remarked that Ashley had warned him that Phyllis would let them down.
As Tucker was leaving, he encountered Summer, who asked him what he was doing in her mother's room. Tucker claimed he had been checking on Phyllis regarding her case. After Tucker quickly made an excuse to leave, Summer demanded to know if Phyllis was attempting to mess with Diane again or if Tucker had been pressuring her. Summer mentioned Christine's deal and begged her mother not to consider it. Phyllis assured Summer she would not bargain her life away unless it was necessary for Summer's sake. Summer insisted she did not need her mother to protect her. Summer implored Phyllis not to tell any more lies.
Daniel met with Heather at Society. Daniel mentioned the deal Christine had offered Phyllis that would protect Summer, explaining that Phyllis would have to plead guilty to all charges. Heather noted that Christine's deal was considered coercion. Heather assured Daniel she would not allow Phyllis to be boxed into a corner. Daniel recalled that Summer had remained silent about Phyllis being alive while Diane had remained in jail. Daniel told Heather that Summer did not want Phyllis to take the deal. Heather, noting that it was her job to protect her client, advised Daniel to leave things alone because Summer did not want to be protected.
After Daniel left, Heather met with Christine. Heather accused Christine of circumventing counsel by appealing to Phyllis directly, explaining that the deal involved coercion. Christine claimed that Phyllis had requested leverage in order to protect Summer. Christine advised Heather to consider Phyllis' past and a prospective jury's long memory before rushing in and going to bat for Heather's client.
Christine defended herself and said she would let the evidence against Phyllis speak for itself, adding that Heather seemed almost as desperate as Phyllis. Heather suggested that Christine might be committing prosecutorial misconduct by manipulating her into backing down, perhaps as a way to settle an old score. Heather warned that she would appeal to the judge to have Christine removed from the case. Christine shook her head in disbelief.
Audra met Adam at his apartment regarding the scandal involving the singer. Audra informed Adam that it was as much in his interest as it was in hers and Tucker's to keep the scandal buried. Audra insisted that Tucker had not been involved in the cover-up. Adam replied that Tucker had covered up the attempt to cover up the scandal, having hired his loyal assistant Audra to dutifully carry out his dirty work. Audra told Adam there was no need for the scandal to blow back on any of them. Adam noted that Tucker and Audra had the most to lose because neither could prove they had not been involved from the beginning, adding that it would be a scandal from which they could never recover. Adam agreed to keep quiet if Audra could convince Victor that merging Newman Media with Adustus would be a smart and lucrative idea.
After their lovemaking session upstairs, Nate and Victoria entered the dining room at the Athletic Club and approached the bar. Tucker greeted them and said, "Do you guys live up there together now?" Victoria noted that Tucker was sitting alone and had too much time on his hands. Tucker warned that Adam was preparing to make a move to acquire Newman Media, even though Victor had forbidden doing so.
Victoria assured Tucker that she and Nate would deal with Adam. Tucker replied, "Well that's just it. You've got Audra Charles running Newman Media at the moment, and she will be on the front line when the onslaught begins. Are you sure she is up to the task?" Nate asked Tucker if he was trying to undermine Audra because she had gotten fed up with his games. After Nate and Victoria left, Daniel approached Tucker and advised him to stay away from Phyllis.
At Jabot, Jack was on the phone, telling Zelda that it had been great catching up with her in New York. Abby arrived as he wrapped up the call, and she greeted him with a hug. Abby said she was happy to hear he was supportive of Traci's writing projects, and she wished things could be the same way with him and Ashley. Abby continued that she was heartsick over the tension between them, and she wondered if there was any way to help them fix it. She hoped the siblings could put the conflict behind them before the following week, when Ashley and Tucker would be getting married at the Chancellor house.
Jack couldn't believe that Ashley and Tucker were going through with their "farce of a marriage" -- and that Abby and Devon were hosting the wedding. Abby defended that it made sense to have it in Katherine's house because Tucker was Katherine's son. Jack scoffed at the idea that Abby was ready to sign off on the union after how much she'd despised Tucker in the past. Abby conceded that she'd hated Tucker for how badly he'd hurt her mom, but she believed Ashley was happy. Abby added that both she and Ashley thought Tucker had changed.
Jack recognized that Abby wanted Ashley to be happy, but he warned that Tucker would never change. Jack considered Tucker to be the driving force behind Ashley's determination to tear Jabot apart and to punish Jack for loving Diane. Jack recalled that there had always been love and respect underneath his disagreements with Ashley in the past, but he was scared for her that time, since Tucker had convinced her to shred her career and her family all at once. Abby declared that she thought Jack was wrong.
Jack groused that Ashley and Tucker's so-called marriage was moving at warp speed, and he deduced that it was only political and not about love. He lamented that his brilliant sister had allowed herself to be manipulated by the man. Abby asserted that she believed Ashley was leading the attack because of her hatred for Diane. Jack called Ashley irrational, and he thought it made her more vulnerable to Tucker's control. Abby theorized that Ashley was willing to do anything to take Diane down, and Tucker was along for the ride because he loved Ashley and would do anything for her.
Jack imagined what John would have thought. Abby suspected that her grandfather would have been heartbroken but not hopeless, and he would have found a way to bounce back from it. Abby suspected that Jack's undying defense of Diane rubbed Ashley's face in their relationship. Abby suggested that Jack not take Diane to the wedding if he was going to attend, but he balked at the idea of leaving his wife at home. Abby defended that her mom had found a level of happiness that she hadn't had in a while, and Diane's presence at the wedding would turn an event that was supposed to be about love into a war zone.
Jack protested that Abby was putting him between a rock and a hard place. Abby stated that she was trying to be Switzerland by trying to fix Jack and Ashley's sibling bond, but she couldn't do it alone. Jack respected Abby for attempting to restore peace, but he refused to turn his back on Diane after waiting a long time to find a love like that. He doubted there would be any peace unless Ashley accepted that.
Abby declared that someone needed to extend an olive branch, and she was there to do it. She insisted that John would want the three of them to get in a room and talk it out. Jack groaned that he'd never imagined things would escalate to that point, and he worried that he'd slam into a brick wall if he tried to mollify things with Ashley. Abby insisted that he had to, since there was too much on the line. Jack agreed to make one last attempt at peace for Abby's sake, and she excitedly hugged him. Abby sent a text message to Ashley, asking to see her. Abby swore Jack wouldn't regret it, but he looked unsure.
At Newman Enterprises, Nate greeted Nikki as he and Victoria entered Victoria's office. Victoria curtly asked if Nikki was avoiding her own office, and Nikki replied that she was hoping to speak to her daughter. Audra sent Nate a text message, requesting that he meet her at the Athletic Club as soon as possible. Nate excused himself to tend to some Newman Media business, and he stepped out. Victoria huffed that Nikki hadn't wasted any time putting Nate on the spot and grilling him about all kinds of things while Victoria had been away.
Nikki contended that her conversation with Nate would have eventually happened, whether Victoria had been in town or not. Nikki recounted that she'd known Nate a long time, and she was impressed with his drive and accomplishments, but she'd had some questions, given his role at Newman and in Victoria's personal life. Victoria pushed to know what Nikki's take had been after she'd interrogated Nate. Nikki admired Nate's directness, including his confession that he'd like to have her job someday. She added that he'd been quick to say he hadn't meant her any disrespect.
Victoria pointed out that Nate had always been very open about his ambitions, and Nikki guessed she had to watch her back a bit more, since he wanted to replace her. Nikki swore it was more reason to keep an eye on him, noting that Nate had envisioned copiloting Newman with Victoria. Victoria maintained that Nate wasn't a threat and that he had a lot to offer at Newman. Nikki shared that Nate had admitted that he didn't love Victoria. Nikki begged Victoria to say that she wasn't falling in love with him.
Victoria asserted that she'd already told Nate that she was content with their relationship status, since she was far too busy and had too messy a track record to fall in love. Nikki recalled that Victoria had known real love in the past, and she preached that love was too important to give up on. Victoria reasoned that she'd known love, and she knew she could live without it. She resolved to focus on her kids and work, since she'd made poor choices in love. Victoria reflected on sometimes losing herself along the way, betraying the people she loved and being betrayed in return.
Victoria regretted that she'd trusted men because she'd loved them, and it had kept her from realizing who they really were. Victoria refused to blindly trust anymore, but she also pledged not to have permanent distrust. She proclaimed that love wouldn't be an issue for her because she wouldn't let it be. Nikki acknowledged that sometimes love didn't last forever, but she advised Victoria not to cut herself off from it when she found the right man. Nikki urged her daughter not to be afraid to look elsewhere for something meaningful.
Victoria assured Nikki that she wasn't hiding from love or anything else, but she was just enjoying her life after putting the pain of Ashland behind her. Victoria gushed that she loved working alongside Nikki, and Nikki returned the sentiment. Victoria added that her kids were doing great, and she finally felt like she was living her life as an adult. She insisted that Nate was fun to be around for both work and play, since he had a spark and energy that fed her productivity, and she was content when she looked at their future. Victoria appreciated Nikki's motherly concern and business instincts, but she requested that her mother back off regarding Nate.
Nate arrived at Audra's hotel room and mentioned that he'd needed to give Victoria and Nikki an excuse about tending to Newman Media. Audra hinted that the issue was about the company in a way. She demanded his absolute confidence, since her future hung in the balance. Nate hesitated to promise anything until he knew what was going on. Audra warned that Newman Media's fate was on the line, along with her future, since she had inherited a mess from Tucker and was in the direct line of fire.
Nate worried that he'd be caught in the fallout if he helped Audra, and he suggested that she let him connect the dots himself. He guessed it had something to do with McCall Unlimited, which Adam was running. Nate noted that Audra had said her predicament impacted Newman Media, and he knew Adam was pushing hard to get his hands on the company. Nate inquired whether Adam had dug up something that might compromise her executive role.
Audra filled Nate in about the public relations cover-up of the McCall recording artist who had slept with underage girls, delaying his arrest until after his sold-out tour had ended. Audra swore that Tucker hadn't had any knowledge of the scandal at the time, but once he'd found out, he'd directed her to remove all traces of the cover-up. Audra revealed that some of her emails had slipped into Tucker's spam folder, and they'd been missed during the data purge. Nate realized that Adam was in control of McCall's corporate assets. Audra relayed that Adam was demanding that she convince Victor that merging Newman Media into McCall made business sense, or else Adam would go to the press, and her career would be over.
Nate doubted there was any crime Audra could be charged with, since the guilty person had already been dealt with. Nate inquired what proof Adam had of her and Tucker's involvement, and Audra referred to two emails that acknowledged they had been aware of the cover-up and kept it private. Nate cautioned that professional stink was hard to wash off, and she might be unemployable for a while. Audra protested that it had been Tucker's company, but Nate warned that guys like Tucker never took the fall.
Audra was confident she could sell Victor on the idea of a merger, but she expected Victoria to be a stumbling block. Audra pressed Nate to convince Victoria that it made business sense to have Adam on the same team rather than as a rival. Nate saw the logic in Audra's plan, but he asked why she wasn't putting up a fight, since it would ultimately weaken her leadership position. Audra shared that she was trying to think of alternatives; however, she couldn't stall Tucker, and she had too much on the line to wait. Audra inquired whether she could count on Nate's support.
At Newman, Nikki and Victoria's conversation halted abruptly when Nate reappeared in the doorway, and he asked if he was interrupting. Nikki announced that she was done for the day, and she exited. Nate inquired whether everything was okay with Victoria and her mom. Victoria implored him to tell her about what was going on with Newman Media.
At the jazz club, Tucker assured Daniel that he had no issue with Phyllis. Daniel questioned why he should believe Tucker, and Tucker replied that all he could give was his word. Tucker swore that there were no secret plans or collusion, and he and Phyllis simply shared a dislike for Diane. Tucker thought Phyllis was working hard to forge a new path ahead by trying to let go of her anger, since her bitterness had upturned her children's worlds. Tucker added that he was impressed by Phyllis' strength, and he wondered why Daniel wasn't.
Daniel suspected that Tucker was trying to work an angle or hatch a plan to ruin Phyllis' life even more. Daniel contemplated why Tucker had been in her suite in the middle of the day while she faced murder charges. Tucker accepted that Daniel didn't trust him or Phyllis, and he considered it a shame, given how much love and trust Phyllis had given Daniel. Daniel accused Tucker of talking in circles, and he opted to be direct. "Stay the hell away from my mother," Daniel barked, and he stalked off.
Later, Audra entered the Athletic Club lobby and joined Tucker at the bar. He offered to buy her a drink to toast to a deal well done, but she opted to stick with club soda. He apologized for their earlier conversation, acknowledging that it had been his fault and not hers. He regretted that he'd let his frustrations get the better of him, and he said he was sorry for taking them out on her. Tucker assumed everything had been handled. Audra confirmed that she was handling it, but things were far from over. He warned that it wasn't what he wanted to hear.
In a hotel room, Phyllis insisted to Summer that there would be no more lies. Summer pleaded that she needed Phyllis to mean it that time, since it didn't sit right with her that Carson had suddenly returned to town or that Tucker had been in Phyllis' room. Phyllis explained that her world had been spinning out of control, and she'd been trying to find a path out that would extricate both her and Summer from the mess. Summer assumed it was something risky and dangerous that would blow up in their faces. Phyllis swore that her plan was doable, but her freedom hinged on Tucker.
Phyllis revealed that Tucker had used his money and resources to find Carson. Summer surmised that Tucker was paying for the EMT's testimony. Phyllis clarified that Tucker was making sure Carson stayed around until she needed him, and in return, Tucker had requested that she get Jack to forgive her in the hope it would cause Diane to spin out. Phyllis imagined that Tucker and Ashley would live happily ever after if Diane left town. Summer recalled that she'd initially been willing to pay Carson to lie for her mother. She said she'd realized it hadn't been a good idea, and she'd thought Phyllis had understood that.
Phyllis claimed that she'd since learned that Carson had actually seen Stark's attack on her through the motel window. Summer wondered if they could trust Carson. Phyllis wasn't sure, but she accepted that the EMT's word was all she had. Phyllis divulged that to get rid of Tucker, she'd needed leverage, and Adam had provided her with it. She continued that Tucker had rescinded the agreement, and she was in direct communication with Carson. Summer complained that her head was spinning from all the twists and turns, since Phyllis had traded owing Tucker for owing Adam.
Summer questioned who Phyllis had to make a deal with next to get out from under Adam, and she groaned that it would never end. Phyllis said Adam had done it as a favor, but Summer argued that Carson's testimony was still suspect. Summer ranted that it had all happened because Phyllis hated Diane and resented all of them for being willing to give Diane a chance. Summer snapped that Phyllis had gone to extremes to prove her point, but Phyllis was right back where she'd started. Summer contemplated how she was supposed to trust anything Phyllis had said since she'd returned from the dead, since it seemed like Phyllis hadn't changed, despite everything that had happened.
Phyllis cried that Summer didn't know what it was like to be her, telling the truth while knowing Summer might never believe her again. Phyllis swore that she'd realized that she'd made mistakes, and she was "trying like hell" to make amends to her children. Phyllis declared that it killed her to her core to have Summer doubt everything she said. Summer ordered Phyllis not to talk about pain, since Summer had thought she'd lost her mother, and she'd lost her marriage when Phyllis had resurfaced. Summer refused to pity Phyllis when Phyllis had been the one who'd set it all in motion.
Phyllis griped that Summer had a counterattack for everything Phyllis said. Summer bellowed that if the truth was that brutal, it was on Phyllis. Summer contended that she'd tried to accept Phyllis for who she was and forgive her for all the damage she'd caused, but Phyllis' way out had been to collude with Tucker and Adam. Summer accused Phyllis of enjoying the chaos and destruction, unable to exist without all the drama in her life. Summer announced that she didn't have any shame for finally seeing that Phyllis was never going to change, and she walked out.
Phyllis made a call and told someone that she needed to see them right away, since everything was about to change.
Summer met Daniel at the jazz bar. He grumbled that just when he'd thought there was nowhere but up with their mom, things spiraled again. Summer reported that she'd tried to convince Phyllis not to take the plea deal, but they'd ended up arguing about other things. Summer bemoaned that their mother was stubborn to the point of obsession, and Phyllis wouldn't listen to someone else's perspective. Daniel felt it was better that Phyllis spend time in prison rather than Summer. Summer reluctantly agreed.
Summer cried that it broken her heart, but she didn't see another choice. She thought it was the only way they'd be able to move forward, and Daniel agreed that it was time to let go. Summer hoped it would make their mom see the light and change her ways. Summer added that Phyllis had to pay a price for what she'd done -- and not at their expense.
Phyllis approached Christine and Heather at a table at Crimson Lights. "Madame D.A., I'm ready to make a deal," Phyllis proclaimed. Heather asked to speak with her client in private. Ignoring her lawyer, Phyllis agreed to plead guilty to avoid a trial, adding that she had to protect her daughter at all costs.
Daniel walked into his suite and was surprised that Lucy was there. Lucy said her trip was all about him, to make sure he was okay. He assured her he was fine. Lucy said Phyllis' trial was coming up, and Heather was the best. She asked about Summer. Daniel said he was worried about Summer because she'd lost so much, and he didn't want to see her lose anything else.
At the Athletic Club, Chance greeted Summer as she entered. He explained that he'd been in the gym. He asked what she was up to. She said not much. She was about to walk away when Chance said he hoped she knew she could talk to him and trust him. Summer admitted she wanted to talk to him, but she didn't know how to explain it, because everything had changed.
At Crimson Lights, in front of Christine, Heather told Phyllis to stop talking until they'd had a chance to discuss things in private. Phyllis told Christine she wanted to plead guilty to all the charges to avoid trial, but she needed Christine to confirm, in writing, that she wouldn't prosecute Phyllis' kids. She said Summer and Daniel had only been trying to help her, and they shouldn't be punished for it. Christine guaranteed no prosecution of Summer or Daniel. Phyllis asked if they could get in front of a judge that day.
In the jazz lounge, Chance asked Summer what had changed. Summer replied that she and Phyllis had argued, but it had been different. She said she was letting go of her mom, and she felt like she was on the precipice of a roller coaster. She said she loved her mom, but Phyllis was in charge of her own fate. She said she couldn't control or change Phyllis. She added that there was no going back with Kyle, either.
Summer told Chance she had to move forward, and she said she had some weird pent-up energy she didn't understand; perhaps it was part of her letting go of all the crap she'd put up with over the previous several months, and maybe it was what liberation felt like. Chance said Summer still had a lot to process, and the liberation was probably adrenaline. Summer claimed she felt reckless, and it felt good -- like she'd returned to the old Summer. She said she needed to get that energy out and then refocus. She said she wanted to ride a roller coaster, and she asked Chance to go with her.
Chance agreed that a roller coaster was exactly what Summer needed, but he couldn't go with her because he had reports to submit. He asked for a rain check. Summer said she really needed to ride a roller coaster. Chance left.
Phyllis, Heather, and Christine met with the judge in her chambers. The judge asked if Phyllis was going against her counsel's advice. Phyllis claimed she knew exactly what she was doing and why. The judge understood Phyllis was pleading guilty to all charges against her. Phyllis admitted she was because she didn't want her case going to trial, and she wanted the whole thing to be over.
Phyllis asked the judge to hear how she'd ended up before the judge. The judge agreed and stated the D.A. had submitted her recommendation, but she didn't have to accept it. She asked Phyllis to proceed.
Phyllis told the judge she'd been terrified of Jeremy Stark, who'd done horrible things and had served time in prison. Christine stated that Phyllis had also been in prison. Phyllis explained that she'd been in prison because of Diane Jenkins' testimony. Phyllis stated that Stark had hated Diane, and he'd known Phyllis did, also. Stark had had an idea that she should fake her death and frame Diane for it, a duplication of what Diane had done years earlier. The judge asked if Phyllis had gone along with it. Phyllis admitted she had, for revenge. She said she couldn't understand why everyone had given Diane a free pass, and no one would do the same for her.
Phyllis stated that she'd never been given a free pass for anything in her life. She said her kids had left her, and she'd felt lost. She said Jeremy had seen that, and he'd manipulated her. She said there had always been an undercurrent of a threat against her, but mainly against her kids. Stark had threatened that if she didn't go along with his plan, he might do something to them. She said one of Jeremy's stipulations had been that she had to marry him, but at the time, she'd gone along with it, because she'd known she would be dead soon.
Phyllis told the judge that Stark's idea had seemed like the answer, but after they'd been married, everything had gone into overdrive. She said Stark had had everything planned out, the gala, the poisoning, and the ambulance crash, and he'd made sure the whole thing implicated Diane. Phyllis claimed that throughout, she'd been trying to protect her family. She said her kids had had a memorial for her, which she'd attended. She'd realized how much pain she'd caused them. She said her daughter had gone from numb, to anguish, to fury, and her son had had unbridled rage toward Stark. She said she'd done that to both of them.
Phyllis told the judge she had realized she couldn't bear living the rest of her life without her children and had told Stark she wanted out, but Stark had refused to let her out. He'd begun overtly threatening her kids. She said he'd taken out a life insurance policy in her name and named himself as the beneficiary, but then he'd changed the plan. She said at first, he'd planned to help her disappear, but then he'd wanted them to be together forever on some deserted island as a married couple. She said when she'd refused, he'd threatened to kill her. She said Stark had attacked her, and she'd defended herself.
The judge asked if that was the attack that Carson had witnessed. Phyllis admitted she hadn't been aware that Carson had seen it. She guessed he'd seen it through the window. Phyllis admitted she'd killed Stark before he'd been able to kill her. Phyllis stated that it haunted her. She said she'd wake up at night, see his face, or hear his voice, and she could feel his hands around her neck. She admitted she'd taken a man's life, and she accepted full responsibility for doing that.
Phyllis asked the judge to understand the coercion and that she'd been a victim of it. She said she'd been living in terror at the hands of that criminal. Sobbing, Phyllis begged for mercy.
The judge asked Christine if there was anything she wanted to say. Christine said she appreciated Phyllis sharing the details of what had happened, expressing her remorse for her role in deceiving an entire community, framing an innocent woman, and taking the life of a man. Nevertheless, she said laws had been broken. The judge asked if Christine felt any different about her sentencing recommendations after hearing Phyllis' ordeal. Christine said she didn't.
Christine told the judge that Phyllis' guilty plea saved the state time and the cost of a trial, and that had been Phyllis' choice. She said if a lighter sentence was in order, it had to be in keeping with the crimes that had been committed.
Heather was asked if she had anything to say. Heather said her client had shown great character. She said she wasn't surprised the D.A. would continue to argue for a significant sentence, since the D.A.'s history with Phyllis was well known. Christine argued that she wouldn't allow her personal feelings get in the way of the duties of her office.
Christine told the judge they didn't have corroboration of the facts. She said Phyllis had confessed beyond Mr. Carson's statement about witnessing Stark attacking her. She said Carson wasn't a reliable witness, since he'd lied to authorities previously. She said they had no proof Stark had threatened Phyllis' children, and they couldn't interview a dead man. She claimed her position on the situation was based on facts, and Ms. Stevens was out of line to suggest otherwise.
The judge asked Phyllis what she thought would be a fair and appropriate sentence. Phyllis said if she answered that, it would be self-serving, but Phyllis submitted that she'd already paid a price for what she'd done. She said she'd lost people she loved, along with their respect and trust. She said she'd seen what her actions had done to her kids, and her daughter in particular, and what it had cost her. Phyllis said she wanted the opportunity to make it right.
The judge asked how Phyllis would do that. She asked for a chance to make amends. She said she desperately wanted to be a better mother and a better person. Phyllis tearfully begged the judge to give her the opportunity to change. Christine asked if she could say something more, but the judge cut her off and stated she'd heard enough. The judge said she would make her ruling shortly, and she left the room.
Lucy and Daniel were walking through the park when they encountered Mariah and Aria. Daniel introduced Lucy to Mariah. Lucy explained that she was visiting because she wanted to check on Daniel to make sure he really was fine. Daniel finally admitted he wasn't completely fine, and it was because of everything happening with Phyllis while he was trying to get his career off the ground with Omega Sphere. He added that he was also trying to be a better father and a better man.
Daniel admitted to Lucy and Mariah that when things got tough, he would distance himself from those he loved, but he wanted to be the person who stepped up, rather letting whatever was going to happen happen. He said he'd been watching those he loved do damage to themselves and their relationships because they kept making the same stupid choices over and over again. He said he didn't have the time or energy for that anymore.
Daniel told Lucy that Mariah was friends with Kyle and Kevin. Lucy asked if Mariah knew Summer. Mariah said she and Summer went way back, and Mariah admitted she was team Kyle. Lucy mentioned that Heather had told her that when someone had been in a mess then pulled themselves together, they expected others to do the same, but when the others couldn't, they couldn't understand why. Mariah said because they didn't expect perfection just from themselves but from others, as well. Daniel said if he wanted therapy, he'd go to Sharon.
Mariah said when she looked at Aria, she was reminded how miraculously unique each one of them was. They all had their own paths and paces. She said Aria would do exactly what she wanted, when she needed to do it, and she had her own timeline. She said people changed -- if and when they wanted to, but change could take a long time. She said she knew that firsthand. She said they needed to give the people they loved the space and the trust to make all the changes they needed to.
Mariah told Daniel she hoped everything would work out with Phyllis. She said she knew how special moms were. She said she would do anything to make sure Aria was safe. After Mariah left, Lucy asked Daniel to take her to see Phyllis. Daniel said they needed to hold off for a while. Lucy asked to see Phyllis at some point, and Daniel agreed.
At Society, Phyllis asked Heather if the judge had believed her. Heather chastised Phyllis for changing her plea without consulting Heather first, but she'd been impressed. She claimed Phyllis had done the right thing. Heather also believed Phyllis was sincere about wanting to change.
Phyllis told Heather that Summer believed everything that came out of her mouth was a lie. She said that was the main reason she'd wanted to plead guilty. She'd wanted to show Summer she was ready to face the consequences of her actions. Heather assured her that Summer would come around. Phyllis said Daniel had told her that he was ashamed of her. She said her kids had been, and always would be, the best part of her. She said she wanted to earn back their trust immediately.
Heather acknowledged that Phyllis knew she'd screwed up. She said there could have been another way Phyllis could have dealt with the hurt and loneliness she'd felt, but she'd chosen the absolute worst. She said Phyllis had returned to her senses, but Daniel tended to push people away and run down a terrible dark hole. Heather said that when Daniel surfaced, he'd realize what he'd done and what he'd lost. Phyllis asked if there was hope for her and her kids.
Heather said Phyllis had proven she was capable of doing the right thing. She hoped Phyllis wouldn't forget how that had felt. Phyllis said she'd never forget. Heather received a text message. She informed Phyllis that the judge was ready. Phyllis said she wanted her kids to know she'd faced her consequences; that was all that mattered.
Christine sat alone with a drink at the Athletic Club bar. Chance arrived and asked for an update. Phyllis told him Phyllis had gone before the judge and pleaded guilty on all charges. She said she was waiting to see if the judge chose her recommendations or if she would do her own thing. Chance asked if the judge would let Phyllis walk. Christine said she hoped not. She said Heather had accused her of going after Phyllis because she had a vendetta. Chance admitted that Christine and Phyllis had history, but he was sure she'd been fair.
Christine told Chance she'd received a voicemail from Paul that he wanted them to talk, and he wanted her to meet him in Lisbon to talk about their future. She said his tone hadn't sounded positive. Chance asked how Christine wanted things to end with Phyllis. Christine said she was torn because she wanted Phyllis to pay for her crimes, because it was what she stood for as a D.A., but at the same time, she wanted what was best for Phyllis' kids. Christine received a text message. She told Chance the judge had made a decision.
Phyllis, Heather, and Christine returned to the judge's chambers. The judge said she'd listened carefully to Phyllis' story, how she'd been influenced by Jeremy Stark and coerced by a dangerous criminal to commit a series of crimes. She said Phyllis had gone to great lengths to commit fraud and make it appear as if she'd died. She said Phyllis had framed an innocent party, made her children accomplices to her crimes, and ultimately killed a man when she'd felt the world was closing in.
The judge acknowledged that Stark had been a very dangerous criminal with a serious criminal record, and it was reasonable to believe that Phyllis had feared for her life; however, there were no witnesses to corroborate her story, with the exception of Carson, who had confirmed that Phyllis had acted in self-defense.
The judge said she'd taken into account Carson's written statement. The judge rejected Christine's recommendations and committed Phyllis to six months community service and one year probation. She said if Phyllis was anything but a model citizen during that year, the judge would see Phyllis back in her chambers immediately. She added that she wouldn't be as forgiving as she had been that day. Phyllis said she understood and thanked the judge.
After the judge left, Christine told Phyllis that she'd been given a gift and not to squander it.
At the amusement park, Summer rode the roller coaster, screaming happily.
In the Athletic Club dining room, on the phone, Nate told Audra he was about to pitch the idea to Victoria because it was a good move -- and a bonus if it got Audra out of a jam. Audra argued that Adam could destroy her career for covering up the McCall scandal.
Adam arrived and joined Audra. He asked if she'd told Victor that it was a smart move to merge Newman Media with Adustus. He said he wanted the situation done by the time he, Nick, and Sharon officially launched their new company. Audra assured him she had a two-stage plan in the works.
Audra informed Adam that Victor was out of the country, and Nate was working on Victoria about the merger. Adam stated the launch was set for the following week. He said the announcement would be much stronger with the inclusion of Newman Media, McCall, and Kirsten.
Audra told Adam there was no incentive if she was going to be left in the cold. Adam said her incentive was to make sure the scandal stayed buried. She claimed Adam was underestimating her abilities because she was an excellent asset. She asked where she would land once Adam folded Newman Media into his new company. Adam suggested she make it happen, then they would see where she would land.
Audra said she would rather take her chances unless Adam could guarantee, in writing, that she would maintain a power position in the new company structure. She claimed that if Adam decided to release information about her and Tucker, she had options. She claimed things would be much easier if he just gave her what she wanted.
Adam told Audra he wasn't afraid of Tucker, and she would have to trust that he would take care of her. Audra said she wanted to be second in command. Adam laughed. She asked why she didn't deserve it if she was offering him the means for a merger. Adam said he would have to run it by Sharon and Nick if she could deliver. He said he was confident he could convince them.
Adam said he appreciated what Audra brought to the business. He said she'd protected McCall, meaning she'd put business and loyalty first. Audra said she never bit the hand that fed her. Adam asked her to keep him posted, and if things worked out, it could work out well for both of them. Adam left.
At Newman, Nate told Victoria and Nikki he'd done a deep dive into all the components of the restructured Adustus-Kirsten company. He said Adam had been correct that Newman Media would become redundant in their new corporate scenario. Nikki said Victor didn't see it that way. Nate claimed that had been Victor's initial reaction to Adam's suggestion. Nate claimed if they folded the two companies together, they would have an unrivaled powerhouse media company. He said he didn't want to second-guess Victor, but his instincts told him it would be a smart move.
Victoria told Nate that regardless of their opinion, they wouldn't be able to change Victor's mind. She added that she didn't want to give Adam the satisfaction of winning. Nate suggested that Victoria look at it from a business standpoint; it was good business. Nikki claimed it was best if Adam had his own company to manage and run into the ground by himself. Before Nikki left, she told Nate she agreed with Victor; let Audra run Newman Media, and leave Adam to do whatever he was going to do -- otherwise, they would be asking for trouble.
After Nikki left, Victoria reminded Nate they'd settled things on that front. Nate replied that Adustus' launch was impending, and it was obvious Newman Media would become redundant. Victoria said it was still disrespecting Victor's wishes, but Nate said he wasn't advocating doing anything behind Victor's back. Victoria said they would have to have a strong case to convince Victor, and merging the two companies would jeopardize Audra's power. She asked if Nate had lost faith in Audra.
Nate told Victoria his faith in Audra hadn't wavered, and Adam hadn't been wrong. Victoria claimed Adam wanted to take Newman Media away from her. Nate said putting the personal fixation aside, the strength of the two companies was undeniable. Victoria asked what would happen to Audra if the companies merged. Nate said they would find a fit for her in their new scenario because she was a proven team player. He said the main factor was what was best for Newman overall.
Victoria told Nate she would have to think about it, but his passion and insight were very inspiring and a big turn-on. They canoodled on the sofa until Victoria said she had to get ready for her video call. Before Nate left, he asked Victoria to think about the merger. Victoria claimed that bringing Adam that much closer was more problematic than Nate realized. Nate claimed she didn't have to worry about it because he would handle Adam.
At the Abbott home, Abby told Jack that she'd spoken to Ashley, and she was willing to speak with Jack in the hope of coming to a détente, brokered by Abby. Jack confirmed he was willing to try. Abby claimed the meeting had to be only Jack, Ashley, and herself -- no one else. Jack said that wouldn't happen. He claimed Ashley's disdain for Diane was the core reason for the war, together with Ashley's dangerous and absurd relationship with Tucker. Abby said Ashley felt the same way about Jack's marriage to Diane. Jack insisted that any peace hinged on Ashley's ability to accept Diane
Abby told Jack that Ashley's back would go up if she saw that Diane was part of the conversation, and the whole thing would be over before it began. Diane agreed. Jack claimed Ashley had to realize Diane was part of his life, and that wouldn't change. Diane said if Jack wanted Ashley to accept her, Jack would have to accept Tucker as part of Ashley's life.
At Jabot, Billy greeted Ashley and Tucker. Billy said he'd considered Ashley's offer to work on the inside to help push Diane to failure at Jabot. Ashley stated Billy would speed up the inevitable fall and hopefully open Jack's eyes in the process. Billy reminded her it would weaken Jabot temporarily, and he asked what was in it for him.
Ashley told Billy that "Simply Ashley" would be a huge success, and when Diane weakened Jabot, he and Ashley would take over. Ashley claimed it was the only way to save their father's company -- and hopefully save Jack from himself. She said it would be shortsighted to fold Jabot into their company because of Jabot's branding and history, so Jabot would remain its own separate entity. Tucker added that Jabot would be under the "Simply Ashley" umbrella.
Billy told Ashley that keeping Jabot intact was the priority, but he wanted to know what his payout was. Ashley said John's company would be under Billy's command, and he would report to her and Tucker. Ashley claimed John would be incredibly proud of how Billy had done everything to protect his legacy.
Ashley and Tucker said everything was contingent on Billy giving Diane a gentle push to do what she did best. Ashley said she had a meeting with Jack to broker a truce, and knowing Billy was on her side would change her approach. Billy said he was in it to protect their family's legacy. After Ashley and Tucker left, Billy sent Jack a text message: "Ashley and Tucker on their way. Be prepared for anything."
When Ashley and Tucker arrived home, Abby insisted that significant others had to leave, since it had to be a siblings' conversation. Tucker agreed. Jack claimed Tucker was the storm cloud in that situation. Tucker shouted that he wanted Jack and Ashley to find peace as brother and sister. Diane agreed. Tucker invited Diane for brunch, and they left.
Ashley asked Abby to have five minutes alone with Jack, but Abby objected because, as mediator, she had to stop them from getting into a yelling match. Ashley promised that wouldn't happen, but Jack said he wasn't so sure about that. He claimed Tucker's brutish callousness had rubbed off on Ashley, and she wasn't the sister he'd known. Ashley said she didn't know "who the hell" Jack was because Diane had turned him into an insipid fool.
Ashley told Jack she didn't want anything from him or Jabot. She said she would gladly walk away if she could be done with him and Diane. Jack asked if Ashley was going to willingly walk away. Ashley said she couldn't stand another argument telling Jack how wrong he was. Ashley informed him that their meeting was happening because of Tucker, the man Jack hated so much.
Ashley told Jack that for months, Tucker had tried to convince her to walk away and start fresh, but she'd been "too pissed off" at Jack to listen. She told Jack to buy her out, and they would be done. Jack agreed. He said he was really happy because she was willing to try something new. He'd known things had become untenable between them at Jabot and at home because of Diane and Tucker. Ashley said she wanted to move on.
Abby asked Ashley what that meant regarding her relationship with Jack. Ashley asked Jack what it meant. Jack suggested that if Ashley gave Diane a chance, and he would do the same with Tucker, then they had an agreement. He said they'd both been beaten down. Ashley agreed. She said she wanted to look forward to her wedding and her new business with Tucker without anger.
Abby asked if Jack would attend Ashley's wedding. Jack said it depended on him bringing his wife to the wedding. Ashley said Jack was her brother, and in spite of everything, she loved him; it mattered that he be at her wedding. She said it would signify that he saw her and Tucker as a team. Jack said he wasn't happy about it, but he would always support her. Ashley said if he could make that gesture, then she could do the same where Diane was concerned. Ashley said it was settled. Jack said he would be at the wedding. They hugged.
At Society, Diane and Tucker saw Billy at the bar. Billy asked if Tucker and Diane had been ousted from the détente conversation. Diane said they'd offered to leave. Billy said he was tired of the fighting and Jack sacrificing the well-being of Jabot in defense of Diane. Billy said Diane would push things too far, and she would do something that Jack wouldn't be able to forgive or fix. Billy said Jack would then realize Ashley had been right about Diane.
Diane told Billy she was sick and tired of having to prove herself to everyone except Jack. She claimed she knew who she was and what she'd become. She said she refused to apologize to anyone anymore. She left.
Outside, Diane encountered Nikki, who said it appeared Diane had achieved everything she'd set out to get after she'd returned to town. Nikki said Diane had wanted Kyle's forgiveness, she gotten it, she'd married the billionaire she'd been chasing for decades, and she'd managed to drive a wedge between Jack and Ashley while gaining a foothold into Jabot. Nikki said she would admire Diane if she wasn't so loathsome. Diane wished Nikki a nice day, and she left.
Inside, Tucker asked Billy how he saw Diane's downfall at Jabot. Billy said Diane would feel emboldened after Ashley walked away. He said she would provide a bunch of bad ideas that Jack would support and invest money in because he was blinded by love. Billy said he would feed Diane's ego and take more control.
Tucker said that he and Billy weren't that dissimilar. Billy said they both reverted to their regular form. Suspicious, Tucker said that was true -- unless Billy had his own agenda, and it seemed too good to be true. Nikki asked what did. Billy explained that he and Tucker were marveling at the fact that they'd found common ground: a mutual distrust and dislike for Diane. Billy remarked that since Diane had returned from the dead, she'd covered a lot of ground.
Billy told Nikki he felt there was something bigger at play, and he was worried about Jack and Jabot. Nikki chirped that it was never a good idea to trust Diane. Billy asked if Nikki had any advice for them about Diane. Nikki stated that every plan to drive Diane out of town had blown up the people who'd tried to do it, people like Phyllis, who, filled with rage, became their own collateral damage.
Tucker told Nikki not to underestimate Phyllis because she might have something up her sleeve for Diane. Nikki claimed there was no upside in doing battle with Diane.
When Audra walked into Crimson Lights, Diane asked Audra to join her. Diane said she knew Audra was working with Kyle and that they also had a personal relationship. Diane said she and Jack were very protective of Kyle, and they were curious why Audra and Kyle had been spending so much time together. Audra said Kyle was in good hands professionally. She said Kyle had been a great addition to Newman Media.
Diane told Audra that Kyle belonged at Marchetti with Summer. She said he might not show it, but he was still in love with Summer. Audra said she couldn't comment on whether those were Kyle's true feelings or not because she only knew what he'd told her. Sarcastically, Diane said she was sure Kyle was being completely honest with her. Audra claimed he appeared ready to move on, not just from his marriage, but perhaps he wanted a break from everyone to find himself.
Diane told Audra that Kyle needed his family, and she doubted he needed someone like Audra to find himself. Audra claimed she wanted to help him, but Diane claimed Audra was the type who put herself first, and she wasn't above using people as a means to an end. Diane said Kyle was running away from himself because of what he'd been through, and Audra was there to help him hide from the truth. Diane told Audra that eventually, it would all fall apart.
After Ashley left, Jack commented that things had gone well, but Abby didn't look happy. She told Jack everything had happened too quickly, and she wondered if it was another ploy on Ashley's part. Jack thanked Abby, and he suggested she give Ashley the benefit of the doubt. As Abby left, Diane returned. Jack told Diane that Ashley had relented on everything, and she only wanted him to buy her out. He said he felt Ashley had been emboldened because she thought she had Billy in her back pocket.
Diane told Jack she'd seen Billy at Society, and he'd played his part perfectly, but maybe a little too well. Diane asked if Ashley had turned Billy against them.
Ashley joined Tucker and Billy at Society. She announced that she and Jack were in a good place. Ashley asked Nikki if she would be at their wedding. Nikki replied that she wasn't sure if Victor would return from his trip in time. She remarked that there were bound to be some fireworks at the wedding. Ashley doubted it because she and Jack had worked things out, so everything should be fine.
At the Athletic Club, Nate asked Adam if he was busy with the upcoming launch. Adam said it was all coming together. Adam asked if Audra was living up to Nate and Victoria's standards. Nate said he knew what Adam was doing, and he found it despicable that Adam was manipulating a situation to get what he wanted. Adam noted that that remark was from the guy who'd sold out his own family, and he advised Nate not to act like he hadn't done the same thing.
Nate claimed he was nothing like Adam, but Adam said that Nate went after what he wanted. He said Nate had wanted a plum role at a big company, and he'd gotten it; he'd wanted to date a powerful woman, and he was with Victoria. Nate claimed nothing had been calculated, and he'd worked hard for what he had. Adam said there was a significant difference between them. Adam said he knew who he was, and he embraced it. He insisted the doctor needed to do the same thing. Adam left.
When Nate returned to Victoria's office, she said she'd had time to think about his proposal. She admitted his idea had merit, but she had one caveat.
In her suite at the Athletic Club, Summer received a text message from Phyllis: "Meet me in the park." Daniel arrived and said he'd received the same text message. Summer said she wasn't sure she wanted to know what it was about because she was done with Phyllis' drama. Daniel said Phyllis was probably trying to figure out another way to stay out of prison.
Daniel told Summer they needed to be prepared when they met with Phyllis. Summer informed him that Tucker had brought Carson to town, and Tucker was blackmailing Phyllis. She said Phyllis was using Adam to get her away from Tucker's blackmail. Summer stated that Phyllis always chose the worst path and asked the worst people for help. She said Phyllis was her own worst enemy.
Daniel noted that Summer seemed like she'd shut down, but Summer insisted she'd found new ways to cope and move forward. She said she couldn't keep twisting herself into knots over Phyllis' problems. She suggested they tell Phyllis they were done with her insanity and just be there for each other. Daniel agreed.
In the park, Phyllis finished setting a table for four. Lauren arrived, and she told Phyllis that Michael hadn't returned because things were more complicated with Gloria's issues. Phyllis said Heather had done right by her, and the table was for a celebration of her freedom. Phyllis said she'd asked Summer and Daniel to join them. She said she'd wanted Lauren there because Lauren had supported her and hadn't given up on her. Lauren said she was proud of Phyllis.
Phyllis told Lauren it had meant a lot to her that Michael had been ready to defend her. She said it had given her confidence. She admitted she'd put Heather through the wringer by pleading guilty and throwing herself at the mercy of the judge. She said she wasn't going to prison, and Christine had lost. Phyllis said Lauren was an incredible friend who'd stood by her. Lauren said that Stark had put Phyllis into an impossible position, and she hoped Phyllis had learned something from her ordeal. Phyllis admitted she had, and she wouldn't run on instinct and survival mode anymore.
Summer and Daniel arrived in time to hear Phyllis say she was going to embrace her freedom by living a new kind of life. She told Summer and Daniel that she was free, and the charges had been dropped. She said she'd pleaded guilty to all the charges, and she'd poured her heart out to the judge. She shared that the judge had believed she'd killed Stark in self-defense. She said there wouldn't be any charges brought against Summer.
Daniel asked if Phyllis was going to prison. Phyllis said she'd gotten probation and community service. She said she didn't understand their reaction. Summer said they were happy she wouldn't be serving time, but a lot had happened that had led to that moment. Phyllis understood they were angry with her for how she'd handled things. Summer asked if Phyllis thought it was a good time to throw a party in the most public place possible.
Summer asked Phyllis if they were celebrating the lies she'd told or the torture she'd put them through. Phyllis said the celebration was for them because she'd wanted to acknowledge that they'd stood by her, and they'd supported her. She said it was an apology for all the pain and anger she'd caused. Summer stated that they weren't angry, but they were done. Phyllis asked what that meant.
Summer told Phyllis they were done with the betrayals and the disillusionment. She said she was happy Phyllis wasn't going to prison, and she hoped Phyllis meant it that she'd learned a lesson from the ordeal. Phyllis confirmed that she would change. Summer said when that happened, she would be in a better place to reconnect, but Phyllis would have to prove to Summer that she actually could change. Phyllis asked if Daniel felt the same way. Daniel said he did. Summer said she didn't think Carson's testimony had been legitimate, and she believed that Tucker had paid Carson to say whatever Phyllis had needed him to say.
Shocked, Phyllis told Summer that had been true; Carson had seen what had happened through the motel window. Summer said she wished she could believe that, but it was too convenient. Summer stated that Phyllis had lied and manipulated them constantly. Daniel said Phyllis had pushed them away when they'd wanted to help her, because Phyllis had to do things her way.
Phyllis told Summer and Daniel that the changing process wouldn't be easy, but she was willing to prove to them that she could change. Lauren suggested that Summer and Daniel meet Phyllis halfway. She asked them to keep an open mind and heart. Phyllis said that everything she'd done had been to protect their family. Summer asked if Phyllis had forgotten that she'd destroyed Summer's marriage to Kyle and that Summer had lost Harrison because of her.
Phyllis told Summer and Daniel that she wanted to fix everything. Daniel said she never fixed anything; she just kept making "the same stupid mistakes." He said it would take a lot more for them to believe her. Phyllis asked what she needed to do to fix things. Daniel said she would have to figure that out on her own. Summer said goodbye. She and Daniel left.
Phyllis told Lauren that hadn't been what she'd expected, and Lauren deserved a toast. Lauren toasted to what could happen when Phyllis put her mind to it. Phyllis said she would earn back love and respect from her kids. Lauren claimed the kids were putting her to the test because they loved her so much.
Phyllis admitted that had been harsh, but Lauren claimed the kids knew that deep down, Phyllis had the ability to change. Phyllis thanked Lauren and called her a great friend. Phyllis said she would be eternally grateful to Lauren. Lauren toasted to Phyllis' magnificent new journey.
At Crimson Lights, after discussing office spaces, Sharon asked if Adam had come up with another name for the company, since everyone hated "Adustus." Adam suggested "Newman Media." Sharon reminded him that Victor had already shot down the idea of merging Newman Media. Adam claimed he was tenacious about certain things, and that was one of them. He said Victor hadn't actually shot down the idea. Adam claimed Victor probably wanted to see how they did with McCall-Kirsten.
In her suite at the Athletic Club, Audra asked Nate if he'd been able to persuade Victoria to merge Newman Media with Adustus. He said he was getting there, and he assured her things would work out, but it would take time getting Victor to see the advantages. Audra argued that he needed to get Nikki and Victoria on board first, but Nate said he had to be careful not to overstep, especially with Nikki, because she was still suspicious of his motives.
Audra told Nate that Adam wouldn't wait forever. Nate replied that he knew what was at stake for her, and he had his own concerns. He said he believed the merger would happen, anyway; getting ahead of it and proving its value would help his position with the Newmans. He said he was walking a fine line, and if things threatened to go sideways, he was out.
Nate told Audra there had to be something other than Newman Media that Adam wanted, something that would help in exchange for his silence about the McCall cover-up. She said she couldn't change the emails. Nate suggested she spin it in a way that would appeal to Adam.
At Newman, Nikki told Victoria she'd run into Diane at Society, and Ashley, Tucker, and Billy had also been there. She said Ashley had brought up the wedding invitation. Nikki had told Ashley she wasn't sure they could attend because Victor might not want to go after he returned from his trip.
Nikki asked Victoria what she'd thought about Nate's suggestion. Victoria asked for Nikki's opinion first. Nikki said Nate was testing the waters, and it was the first step in a power play. Victoria agreed, but there was nothing wrong with Nate wanting to test the waters with an idea, and the power play meant he was thinking about the future of the company.
Victoria told Nikki that Nate had made some salient points about the redundancy of having two media companies under the same umbrella, but he wasn't suggesting they make moves behind Victor's back. She said he'd wanted to run the idea by them first, and it was an idea worth debating with Victor.
Nikki asked Victoria if Nate was aware of the tension between Victoria and Adam. Victoria acknowledged that Nate was aware. Nikki asked why Nate would want to bring Adam closer. Victoria reminded Nikki that Victoria had wanted to pull McCall into Newman Enterprises previously, and Nate's points had merit. She said the idea should be entertained. Nikki asked if Victoria had asked how Audra would fit into it, because Nate had to know she would be given a position subservient to Adam. Nikki claimed it was another reason to question Nate's loyalty.
Nate arrived, and he updated Nikki on the results of her earlier meeting. Nikki received a text message from Audra, asking Nikki to meet her. After Nikki left, Nate told Victoria he'd hoped to follow up on their previous conversation about the merger. Victoria said she'd thought about it a little more, and she was no longer sure the idea was worth discussing.
Victoria told Nate she'd taken a look at Newman Media's quarterly projections, and she was happy with the way it was performing. She said Audra was doing an exemplary job. She admitted she couldn't get past the whole Adam factor. Nate claimed Adam wasn't worth worrying about. She said she knew Nate thought he could handle Adam, but he shouldn't have to do that. She said Adam made his own rules, and Adam didn't need to be in their orbit. Nate claimed the redundancies of the two companies would get in the way.
Victoria admitted Nate was probably right, but they didn't need to make any rash moves. She reminded him that the McCall restructuring had just occurred, and it wasn't the right time to risk upsetting Victor. She said she wanted to know what Adam, Nick, and Sharon had planned for Adustus. She said Adustus needed to get on its feet before Newman considered a Newman Media merger. She said if her instincts were right, Adustus would be off to a very sluggish start. Nate accepted her decision.
At the coffeehouse, Sharon warned Adam that he would be putting them in a tight spot if he continued to pursue Newman Media. She said she and Nick didn't appreciate that. Sharon said Victor would probably be more receptive to the idea at some point. Adam saw Audra enter, and so did Sharon. She asked what Adam was up to. Adam excused himself and met Audra on the patio.
Audra told Adam it would be a harder sell than she'd thought. She said Nate had informed her that Victoria was reticent to the idea. Adam claimed Victoria didn't want him getting too close because she hated him, and she was afraid he would push her off her throne, an idea that had crossed his mind. Audra suggested there were other things she could help him acquire. Adam said it sounded like she knew she was going to fail.
Audra told Adam she was only exploring all options. Adam told her to stick to the plan. She said Victoria was being pressured by Nikki, who wasn't Nate's biggest fan. Adam told her to adjust her plan because she needed to get Nikki on board. He said it was time to make Nikki her best friend, because he was losing patience.
When Adam returned, he told Sharon they would have Nick weigh in on the office space upon his returned from his trip. Sharon asked him what was going on between him and Audra. Adam claimed he was scoping out the competition. She warned him to stop immediately if he was planning a sneaky move against Newman Media after everything that had happened. Adam claimed she was blowing things out of proportion. He said it had been one conversation. Sharon warned him not to belittle her concerns.
Sharon told Adam they were on the verge of something great, and she wouldn't let his vendetta against Victoria mess it up. Adam claimed her concerns were unwarranted because he had no intention of doing harm to their company before it got off the ground. Sharon said she had a bad feeling about it. He claimed his focus was to make their new endeavor as solid and as great as it possibly could be. Sharon asked if that involved sabotaging the competition in some underhanded manner. Adam claimed Sharon worried too much. Adam left.
In the Athletic Club lounge, Nikki met with Audra. Audra said they hadn't had much time to get to know each other. Nikki replied that she'd only known Audra as the person who'd broken her grandson's heart. Audra said she was sorry about what had happened with Noah, but she was happy he was with Allie and doing great things in Europe.
Audra told Nikki she was hoping to get feedback on her job performance at Newman Media. Nikki claimed there was more to their meeting than that. Nikki indicated she preferred directness rather than being played or buttered up.
Audra told Nikki she'd heard rumblings that Adam was going to make moves on Newman Media, and since they were all under the same umbrella, Adam couldn't seem to let go of the idea. Nikki said that just because Adam wanted something, it didn't mean he would get it. Audra said she'd learned a lot at Newman, and the idea of a merger wasn't a bad one. She said there would be a lot of overlap between Adam's new company and Newman Media, as well as redundancies. She hoped she wouldn't be one of those redundancies.
Audra admitted she had an agenda. She said she was looking out for Newman Media's bottom line, and she hoped she could remain on board. Nikki asked where Audra was getting her information. Audra claimed she'd done her due diligence. Nikki asked if Audra had gotten the idea of the merger from Nate. Audra claimed she and Nate hadn't discussed Adam's new venture. She said she had her own perceptions about the situation. Nikki said it was an interesting idea, but she, Victor, and Victoria were opposed to the merger. She asked Audra not to bring it up again.
Back at Newman, Nikki exited the elevator, and when she saw Nate, she told him she'd had an interesting conversation with Audra. Nate claimed he was surprised Audra had reached out to Nikki, and he hoped Audra hadn't wasted Nikki's time. Nikki said Audra believed the merger was a good idea, but she'd denied discussing it with him. She said it wasn't a coincidence they both felt the same way. Nate claimed he wasn't aware of how Audra felt because they hadn't spoken about it.
Nikki said that Nate was playing a very interesting game, and she advised him not to continue it. He assured her there was nothing underhanded going on. He said according to Victoria, the merger was a dead issue, and he wouldn't bring it up again. Nate left.
In Victoria's office, Nikki asked if Victoria had spoken to Nate about the merger. Victoria said she had, and she'd told Nate she would no longer consider it. She said Nate had accepted that. Nikki said Audra had pitched the merger idea to her. She said it could have been Nate speaking -- it had been that similar. Nikki said her gut was telling her that Nate and Audra were up to something together.
In the jazz lounge, Summer told Daniel she hated that Phyllis had turned to Adam as soon as there had been a new threat on her life. Daniel claimed it would only lead to more trouble. He asked how long it would be before Phyllis needed their help again. Summer claimed she wasn't bitter; however, she wasn't naïve to what Phyllis was capable of, and she was done with Phyllis' BS. She said she needed to focus on her own life, and she wouldn't allow anyone to stop her from doing that, especially Phyllis.
In Audra's suite, Nate demanded to know what Audra had said to Nikki. Audra said she'd pitch Nikki the merger idea. Nate said Audra had known he would handle Victoria and Nikki in his own way. Audra said she didn't have the luxury of time because Adam had exerted more pressure on her. Nate stated that whatever Audra had said had caused Nikki's alarm to go off, and Nikki didn't trust either one of them. He said the merger wasn't going to happen. Audra said she was screwed, and she would lose everything.