At Jabot, Ashley interrupted Jack's meeting with Carol to excitedly share some sales numbers on their teen line. Jack halfheartedly remarked that it was great, but Ashley exclaimed that it was fantastic. Ashley anticipated that there was nowhere to go but up once she locked in their new fragrance formula, and she bustled out to attend a budget meeting. Carol noted that the reports were fabulous, but an unenthused Jack grumbled about the way his sister had pranced in like she'd done it all herself, even though advertising had generated most of the sales. Carol reasoned that what mattered was that sales were through the roof, and she thought Ashley hadn't meant to imply anything.
Jack contended that Cricket deserved credit for the campaign. Jack called Joe and asked him to put Cricket on the line. Cricket set down the accessories she'd been trying on to take the call, and Jack requested that she meet him in his office. She wondered if she'd have time before her photoshoot, and he offered to take care of it. After they hung up, Dina phoned Jack and pressed to talk to him right away in her hotel suite. He said he had something to do first, but she blurted out that her stepson, Marc, was still in town. Jack promised that he would get there as soon as he could.
Later, Cricket joined Jack in his office and hoped her work had been okay. He deadpanned that it hadn't been, quickly adding that it had been better than he'd ever dreamed of. He gushed that the public was falling in love with her face, and he announced that he'd made a decision that would change her whole life. He intended to turn her into one of the top young models in the entire country, and he expected it to happen so fast that it would make her head spin.
Jack presented Cricket with a contract and referred to a paragraph that included a bonus she might like. She squealed in delight when she saw it included a new car. Jack noted that her 16th birthday wasn't far away, and he suggested that she get her driver's permit. Cricket couldn't wait to tell Joe, but Jack stressed that it was important that no one know about it for a while, so it had to stay their secret.
Cricket protested that she told Joe everything. Jack reiterated that she could eventually tell her cousin, but it might mess things up for her if word got out too soon. Jack pushed her to sign the contract, and then he planned on taking her to see someone special. Cricket readily signed the document, and Jack pledged to get her back in plenty of time for her photoshoot.
Dina was surprised when Jack showed up at her hotel room door with Cricket in tow. Jack introduced Dina as his mother, and Dina was charmed when Cricket commented that Dina didn't look old enough. Jack explained that he'd wanted his mom to meet Cricket in person, but he also had some business to discuss with Dina. He handed Cricket some money to go buy a soda. Cricket exited, and Dina failed to see what Cricket had to do with Mergeron. Jack revealed that Cricket had signed a personal services contract with him to follow him wherever he went.
Dina realized that Jack wanted to snag Cricket for Mergeron. Jack bragged that the kid had a following, and he envisioned glamorizing Cricket and building her into a top model. He added that he was pulling her away from Jabot, starting with canceling her photoshoot that day. Dina wondered if Cricket would go along with it. Jack argued that Cricket's contract was with him, so she'd do what best for herself and her future -- with Mergeron.
Jack shared that he was keeping a close eye on Ashley to be on top of whatever moves she made, and Dina questioned whether he was only defecting to Mergeron as a vendetta against his sister. Jack assured her that it wasn't the only reason, but he conceded that he would be happy once he was out from under his kid sister's thumb. Jack groused that Ashley had taken his job and stripped him of his self-respect. He ranted that she waltzed around, taking credit for everything, and someone needed to knock her down a peg. He expected that with Mergeron's resources and his experience, they would swallow Jabot.
Dina was concerned about Marc still being in town, and she wanted to know what her stepson was up to before she jumped into the project. Jack contemplated whether Marc's presence there had something to do with the launch of Mergeron America, and Dina said she wouldn't put it past him. Dina reported that she'd seen Marc with Ashley, and she suspected they were plotting something because they both despised her. Dina cautioned Jack against confronting Ashley, but she encouraged him to talk to Marc to find out why he was in Genoa City. Jack agreed to think about it, but he prioritized getting back to Jabot to cancel the photoshoot. Dina begged him not to wait too long.
Jack tracked down Ashley in the lab, and he commented that Jabot's hot young executive was donning a lab coat to secretly churn out the company's next success. She expected Jabot to fly off the ground when she finished the new formula. He claimed that he was there to give her a pat on the back because they'd done well. "We?" she asked, and he pointed out that she'd developed the line, while he'd promoted it. She seemed surprised that he was giving her credit.
Jack inquired about how the rest of the line was going, and Ashley anticipated that the new teen fragrance and sunscreen would promote themselves. She warned Jack not to go overboard with the ad campaign because their lead model was only 15, but Jack figured that Cricket's cousin was shooting the layouts and would take care of her. Ashley estimated it would be a few weeks before she wrapped up the formulas. She realized that she had to get to a meeting, and she headed to the safe with a stack of binders.
The phone rang, and Jack answered it and said it was for Ashley. He flipped through one of the binders while she told someone that she was running late. After hanging up, she grabbed the binder from him and returned to the safe. He covertly peered over her shoulder and noted the combination. She stashed the binders inside, locked the safe, and left. Jack scribbled down the combination and attempted to open the safe, but it wouldn't budge. He cursed and vowed to get into the safe.
In postoperative care at the hospital, a nurse told Katherine that it was almost the big moment to remove the bandages after her facelift. Liz held Katherine's hand and wondered what was keeping the doctor. Liz imagined that Katherine was both anxious and afraid to see the results of the surgery. Liz admitted that she was nervous, too.
Speaking with difficulty because of the bandages and drugs, Katherine weakly stated that change could be good or bad. Liz expected it to be good, but she warned that it might not be perfect right away. Katherine prepared to face reality, and she called Liz a friend. Liz vowed to stay there until it was all over. The doctor entered, and Liz joked that she'd been about to tear the bandages off herself. The doctor assured Katherine that they'd find out what they'd accomplished in a few minutes. He took her hands in his and implored her to try to relax.
Liz said she'd be right outside if Katherine needed her, and she stepped out. The doctor began gently removing Katherine's bandages, explaining that there would be some unavoidable swelling. He coached her to be as still as possible, and he understood that she was curious and apprehensive. Katherine admitted that she was scared, and the doctor cut away bandages and advised her not to be frightened by the small amount of dried blood.
The doctor continued that the discoloration might be more than Katherine had bargained for, but it would fade later. He informed her that he'd take out the stitches in three separate sessions over the next ten days, and he impressed upon her that how she looked that day had nothing to do with how she'd look in three weeks. As he slowly revealed Katherine's face, the doctor remarked that things looked good, and he reminded her to stay very still. Pleased with the results, he told her that her healing should be rapid.
The doctor wrapped Katherine's head in gauze and reported that everything looked good. Katherine requested a mirror, and he handed one to her. "Oh, God," she gasped, and he reminded her that it was only 24 hours after the surgery. He instructed her to study herself for a moment before he gave her instructions and sent her home to get rest. He stepped out and informed Liz that surgically, things had gone very satisfactorily. Liz asked what was wrong, and the doctor explained that the first look was always a shock because the reality never quite matched the fantasy.
The doctor warned that there could be postoperative depression, since the change in appearance often traumatized patients. He urged Liz to be strong for Katherine, who wouldn't be able to shampoo her hair or put on makeup for a while. He continued that Katherine's confidence would be shaken, and she would likely avoid seeing people. The doctor recognized that Katherine had a history of alcoholism, and she might be tempted to find a reason to drink. Liz promised to watch her friend like a hawk, and the doctor told her to call him if it became a situation she couldn't handle.
The doctor suggested that Liz go in and give Katherine support, and Liz grappled with what to say, since she'd never been able to lie to Katherine. The doctor counseled her to look at Katherine with a lot of love, and the right words would roll out. Liz steeled herself before reentering the room, and she found Katherine gazing into the mirror. Liz chirped that Katherine looked a lot better, and it had been worth all the pain because the doctors had taken off ten years or more. Katherine mused that she looked different. Liz called her a new woman, adding that it was just the beginning.
At the Newman ranch, Nikki thanked Julia for being there on the day Victor was due to be released from the hospital. Nikki asked if Julia had seen or talked to Victor, and Julia swore that she would have told Nikki if she had. Nikki bemoaned that Victor had refused to see anyone, even though he was "going through hell." Nikki feared it might have been a mistake for her and Victoria to move into the ranch. Nikki explained that Victor didn't know they were there, and she had the feeling he wouldn't want them around.
Julia insisted that Victor loved Nikki and that he had asked her to stay there, but Nikki pointed out that it had been "before." Julia recognized that Victor might be impotent, and Nikki wasn't sure if he wanted her anymore. Julia suspected that Victor was trying to shut everyone who cared out of his life because he was very proud, and it was hard for him to accept help. Nikki didn't want him to think she was putting pressure on him.
Julia worried that Victor might withdraw into his shell if Nikki didn't pressure him, and Nikki would lose him if that happened. Nikki fretted that she might have lost him already, and Julia questioned whether Nikki was willing to give up without a fight. Nikki swore that she still loved him and that she didn't want him to hurt anymore. Julia urged her to prove it by staying there with Victor, no matter how impossible he made it, and show him that he had a reason to go on living.
A despondent Victor sat in a private hospital room, clad in a robe. There was a knock at the door, and Douglas cheerfully asked if Victor was ready to go. Victor mumbled for Douglas to go away, but Douglas reported that the doctor had signed Victor's release, so a nurse would soon be there with a chair to wheel him down to the car. Victor barked that when he left, he'd go on his own two feet without a nursemaid.
Douglas noted that it looked like Victor was feeling better, since his disposition was back to normal. Douglas figured that it could be worse, since Victor might not have been able to walk. Victor refused to discuss his condition. Douglas suggested that they go back to his hotel for dinner and a game of chess so that Victor wouldn't be alone. Douglas swore that they didn't have to talk much, but Victor countered that he'd never known Douglas not to talk.
Victor insisted on going home, and Douglas planned to stay at the ranch with him. Victor clarified that he wanted to be completely alone to think through things, but Douglas thought the less thinking Victor did, the better. Victor testily questioned how Douglas would know, and he asked if his friend had ever been neutered. Douglas asserted that Victor was just as much a man as ever, but Victor grumbled that he didn't function as a man.
Douglas argued that there were other things in life, but Victor refused to let Nikki "sacrifice herself on altar of [his] ego." Douglas cautioned Victor against confusing pride and false pride. Victor declared that he was ready to go, since he couldn't stand staying in the place where he'd lost part of his future. Douglas started to get the nurse, but Victor reiterated that he wanted to get out of there on his own.
Douglas escorted Victor to the ranch and fussed over him, but Victor snapped to stop treating him like an invalid. Julia entered with a coffee serving tray, and she welcomed Victor home with a hug. She mentioned that a colleague had just called Douglas about their appointment that day, and Victor stated that Douglas had done his good deed and could leave. Douglas promised he'd call when he was finished, and Victor sternly told him goodbye.
After Douglas left, Victor complained about people not understanding that he meant it when he said he wanted to be left alone. Julia explained that his friends didn't think it was best for him to shut out everyone who wanted to help him. Victor huffed that he didn't want pity, and he had his work. Julia imagined he would bury himself in it. Victor shot back that it was his right to have total privacy and time to adjust, and people watching would just make things worse. He thanked her for her concern, but he didn't need or want it. She kissed his cheek and departed.
Nikki appeared on the stairs and hesitated for a moment before greeting Victor. He asked what she was doing there. She replied that she was there because she loved him and wanted to help him. Victor curtly stated that he didn't need Nikki's help, since he could manage just fine on his own. She questioned why he should have to, and he considered the answer to be obvious. He bluntly told her that he wanted her to leave him, but she didn't believe he meant it.
Victor repeated that he wanted to be left alone, but Nikki informed him that the baby was upstairs. Nikki reminded Victor that he'd asked them to stay there to give him time to get to know his daughter, but he responded that things were different then. Nikki asserted that she still loved him and that Victoria was still his daughter. Victor gruffly stated that he wasn't in the frame of mind to respond to his daughter right then, and his answer was final. He turned away.
Nikki asked what Victor would do there by himself. He reiterated that he would manage fine on his own. "You and your damn pride," she clucked. Victor spat that he had to live with it, but she didn't, and he ordered her to take the child and go. She started to head upstairs, but she stopped and bellowed, "No!" She refused to leave and lectured that he'd denied their little girl too long. She asserted that she wouldn't let him do it anymore, and she intended to stay there, whether he liked it or not.
Victor argued that he and Nikki could no longer have a life together, but Nikki pleaded that she didn't have a life without him. He noted that she was young, beautiful, and vital, and she needed to love and be loved. She chided him for making up his mind that he'd never get well and not even giving another kind of life a chance. She blasted him for shutting himself off with his money and living his life as a lonely old man.
Victor demanded to know what Nikki expected of him, and she replied that she wanted him to have some hope. He contended that hope only existed in daydreams and fantasies, and he wouldn't live his life that way. "Well, I'm not leaving," she steadfastly maintained. "You must leave," he commanded. She countered that she had no place to go, and there was no place she wanted to go. She professed her love and tearfully swore that she was never leaving him again. They embraced.