At the Abbott mansion, John and Jack discussed Tim Sullivan, who was in California with Traci. John sympathized with Brad, but Jack thought it looked like Traci had made her choice, and he believed the family should support her. John commended Brad for being patient and unselfish by giving Traci time and space to work things out, and Jack guessed that his father was hoping Traci would go back to Brad. John wondered if that was all Jack wanted to talk about.
Jack inquired whether John had seen Ellen. John was taken aback when he realized that Jack had gone to see her since John had last spoken to her. Jack pointed out that John had been miserable ever since he'd found out she'd gotten a job offer right before he'd been about to propose. John lectured that it wasn't an excuse to interfere in his personal affairs, and he ordered Jack to stay out of it. Jack swore that he'd just been trying to help.
John lamented that Ellen hadn't called, and Jack encouraged him to go see her. John hesitated to influence her decision, but Jack argued that she wouldn't be able to make an informed choice if John didn't tell her how he felt. Jack sensed that Ellen wanted more out of life than just a job, and he expressed confidence that Ellen would accept John's proposal. John doubted that it was the right time to propose, but Jack insisted that John do it while Ellen was still weighing her options. Jack argued that if John let her go, they would be history because long-distance relationships usually didn't work out.
Jack contended that John and Ellen had a great thing going, but neither of them wanted to make the first move. John was sure that Ellen knew how he felt. Jack countered that Ellen knew John liked her, but she didn't know that he was ready to make a commitment. Jack warned that if John didn't make the first move, Ellen would be gone, and John would regret it. John realized that maybe he should talk to her, and he headed upstairs to change clothes before taking his kid's advice. John thanked Jack, who grinned.
In an office at a local shelter, Ellen told someone over the phone that she recognized that they couldn't hold the position open indefinitely, and she promised to give them an answer by that night. As she hung up, her coworker Ron entered and gathered that she'd been speaking with the governor. She was surprised by how persistent the governor had been, and Ron figured that it was because she'd made the shelter a success. She admitted that she was torn, since the place had been her home for years. Ron assured her that it would always be there, but he understood that the decision was more involved than that.
Ron had a feeling that Jack had said some heavy things to Ellen that she couldn't ignore. She shared that Jack had forced her to think about what she wanted for her future by making a pitch for her and his father to get together. Ron urged her to seriously consider what Jack had had to say, but Ellen questioned why John hadn't called her since he'd last been there. Ron reasoned that John had been intimidated by the news of her job offer, and he implored her to weigh the alternatives and be true to herself. Ron left to check on things at the facility. Ellen returned to her desk and tried to work, but she flashed back to Jack telling her to have a long talk with John before she made any decisions.
Later, Ellen asked Ron to cover for her while she went out. He asked if she was going where he thought she was going, and she informed him that she had to talk to John. Ron was sure John would be happy to see her. As she headed out, she said to wish her luck.
Jack was surprised to find Ellen at the door of the Abbott home. He surmised that she'd thought about their conversation, and she groaned that it was the toughest decision she'd ever been faced with. Jack imagined that she was worried about what she'd miss out on, no matter which road she chose. She contemplated what to do, and just then, John appeared on the stairs, clad in a suit. John considered it an amazing coincidence, since he'd been on his way to see her.
Jack ducked out, and John noted that Jack and Ellen had seemed rather serious. Ellen disclosed that she'd been asking Jack for advice, but it was irrelevant, since no one could give her the advice she needed. Ellen insisted that she and John had to talk, and he agreed.
In the Newman stables, Victor wished it hadn't been necessary for him to tell Matt the truth about Nikki. Matt found it ironic, since if things had been different, they'd be jumping for joy that Nikki had gotten her life back again. Victor muttered that she'd made it impossible, and Matt said he'd never realized she was capable of doing something that cruel.
Matt imagined that Nikki had no idea that Victor knew the truth, and Victor intended not to let her know until he found out what she was up to. Matt couldn't imagine ever facing her again, and Victor considered it more reason for Matt to go on a trip. Matt asked what Victor had planned. Victor refused to continue living under false pretenses, but he accepted that he had to be patient until the "whole damn thing" was over.
At the Newman ranch, Nikki snoozed on the couch as she dreamed. Nikki lay in a coffin, surrounded by burning candles, with Victor standing over her. Victor went to answer the door, where Ashley seductively greeted him. She entered the ranch and was appalled to see that Victor hadn't buried Nikki yet. Victor revealed that Nikki had wanted to be buried at the ranch, and Ashley called it a sickening idea. Victor was determined to honor Nikki's last request, but Ashley huffed that Nikki had just been being vindictive. Victor ordered Ashley not to talk like that, since Nikki had been his wife and the mother of his child, and she was where she belonged -- close to him.
Ashley sauntered over to the coffin and conceded that Nikki made a beautiful corpse, but she insisted that it was time to close the lid. Victor murmured that he wasn't ready yet, since he wanted to look at Nikki's lovely face as long as he could. Ashley pushed him to move on with his own life and their dreams for the future, since she'd waited long enough, and it was time to make marriage plans. "Marriage?" Victor questioned, and Ashley flippantly stated that he didn't have to worry about a divorce because Nikki was gone. Victor was mortified that Ashley was talking about marriage when his wife wasn't even in the ground.
Ashley claimed that she hadn't meant to appear insensitive, but nothing was keeping her and Victor apart any longer. Nikki opened her eyes as Ashley pressured Victor to make plans to become husband and wife. Victor refused because he still loved his wife. Ashley flatly stated that Nikki was dead, but Victor replied that Nikki would always be alive to him. Nikki smiled as Victor said he couldn't imagine his life with another woman. Ashley protested that he didn't mean it.
Victor admitted that he cared deeply for Ashley, but not as much as he'd cared for Nikki, and he'd never be able to have those feelings again for Ashley or anyone else. Ashley ranted that she couldn't believe she was hearing that after all those months, but Victor firmly told her that he didn't want another marriage. Ashley wailed that she'd given up everything for him. Victor swore that he didn't mean to be cruel, but no one could take Nikki's place in his heart. Ashley barked that he was making a terrible mistake. He said he was sorry, but it was goodbye. Ashley stormed out.
Victor turned toward Nikki and put his head in his hands. Nikki called his name and told him not to be frightened. She assured him that she was alive and that it had all been a mistake. "Am I dreaming?" a stunned Victor asked, and she insisted it was true. An overjoyed Victor realized that Nikki wasn't dead, and she reached out and took his hand. He cried that he'd thought he'd lost her, and he picked her up in his arms. They professed their love to one another, and he marveled that she was really alive as tears welled in his eyes. He caressed her face and said all his prayers had been answered, and they embraced.
Nikki awakened from her dream, and she wondered if things could really be like that. The door opened, and Victor entered. Nikki realized that she'd fallen asleep, and she wondered where Victor had been. He revealed that he'd been with Matt, who he'd sent out of town for a few days to deal with some problems in Brazil. Nikki was surprised, citing everything going on at home. Victor knowingly recognized that it would be of concern to her.
Nikki hoped that Matt wouldn't be gone too long, and Victor said he hadn't realized having Matt there had meant that much to her. She claimed that she'd been thinking more about how it would affect Victor, and he assured her that he would be all right. Victor mentioned that Matt would be leaving later that night, and Nikki whined that she hadn't had the chance to say goodbye. Victor was sure Matt would say goodbye -- especially since it might be for the last time. Nikki preferred not to think about it, and Victor was sure that Matt wouldn't be gone that long.
Nikki revealed that she'd spoken to Miguel about that night's dinner plans. Victor asked if she was sure she would enjoy something like that, since she'd been sick at the sight of food. Nikki chirped that it felt like she might be able to eat for the first time in days, and she looked forward to an evening of getting dressed up and reminiscing with Victor. She recalled that she'd originally planned to include the baby in their plans, but she thought it would be wonderful for it to be just the two of them. Victor agreed to whatever she wanted.
Victor recognized that he'd seemed preoccupied over the past few days. Nikki hoped he could just relax and unwind that night, since it had been a while since they'd both done so, and she moved in close to him. He cautioned her against overdoing it, and she promised that she wouldn't. She acknowledged that she'd also been distant with everything going on, but she found herself feeling very close to him.
Victor observed that Nikki seemed to be in an odd mood, and she chalked it up to feeling peaceful and looking forward to dinner. He pointed out that they didn't know how many more of them she'd be able to enjoy, and she swore that she just wanted him to be happy. She planted a tender kiss on his lips and went upstairs to get ready. He looked suspiciously after her and pondered what she was up to.
At the Chancellor mansion, Katherine invited Cricket in. Cricket admired a beautiful bouquet of flowers and inquired whether they were from the man Katherine had gone out with the other night. Katherine confirmed that Mr. Sterling had sent them, and Cricket was surprised by Katherine's lack of enthusiasm. Katherine remarked that sometimes things were too good to be true, adding that it was too soon for serious feelings. Cricket chirped that if he was half as nice as Katherine was, he was terrific.
Cricket asked whether Phillip was around, and Katherine reported that he'd already been gone when she'd gotten home. Cricket recalled that he hadn't said anything about going out after they'd played tennis, and Katherine worried about where he was. Cricket was certain that he wouldn't drink, but Katherine knew from personal experience how difficult the first weeks of sobriety were. Cricket assured her that Phillip was doing well and trying hard, but Katherine clucked that the temptation never went away, no matter how hard one fought it.
Phillip arrived at Danny's apartment. Danny mentioned that he'd been on his way out, but Phillip insisted on talking right away. Phillip complimented the surroundings and imagined that it was a good feeling to live in one's own place. Danny wondered if Phillip was thinking about getting his own apartment, and Phillip contemplated doing so after college. Danny said he'd heard Phillip had been going to Alcoholics Anonymous, and Phillip thought he owed it to Danny for forcing him to realize the extent of his problem by shocking him with the truth.
Danny applauded Phillip for dealing with his issues, and he shared that Cricket had told him that Phillip had opened up at an A.A. meeting. Phillip gave all the credit to Cricket, since he wouldn't have done it without her support. Danny commented that Cricket was very proud of Phillip, and he called her a very special person. Phillip announced that it was why he was there, and he cited the arrangement Danny and Cricket had made back in June to see where things stood between them once the summer was over. Phillip demanded to know what exactly Danny and Cricket were going to talk about.
Phillip disclosed that he'd learned in the program to be honest with himself, and he was trying to do that in all his relationships. Danny praised Phillip for the progress he'd made that summer, and he noted that he'd also learned a lot about himself over the past few months. Phillip wondered if Danny had any regrets about the arrangement he'd made with Cricket to date other people over the summer, and Danny maintained that it had been a good idea. Phillip questioned whether Danny thought Cricket felt the same way, since she might otherwise still be dating Danny.
Phillip pointed out that the arrangement had given him and Cricket the chance to get to know one another a lot better. Danny understood that -- especially since Cricket had moved into Phillip's home. Phillip conceded that she'd been staying there to keep an eye on him with his drinking, but there was a lot more to it, since they'd become very close. Danny acknowledged that the two were good friends, but Phillip bragged that they were a lot more than friends. Phillip added that he cared about her more than anyone else in the world and that there was nothing he wouldn't do for her.
Danny advised Phillip not to get too excited, since Cricket tended to have that effect on people. Danny continued that he'd learned how much he missed her, and he'd thought about his life, his feelings, and what kind of relationship he needed. Phillip asked if Danny intended to talk to Cricket about it, and Danny planned to explore what had happened over the summer. Phillip asserted that things had changed, but Danny shot back that some things had, while other things hadn't.
Phillip questioned whether Danny thought Cricket's feelings about Danny were the same as they had been before. Danny didn't know, and he maintained that he and Cricket had agreed to talk at the end of the summer. Phillip said Danny had answered his question, and he thanked Danny and shook his hand. Phillip pointedly stated that he had better get going, since Cricket was surely wondering where he was. Danny told Phillip to tell her that he'd see her soon, and Phillip headed out. Outside the door, Phillip glowered and vowed not to lose Cricket.
Over the phone, Katherine learned from her garage staff that Phillip had taken his car out. Cricket argued that he couldn't have because he didn't have the keys, but she checked her purse and found that Phillip had taken them. Katherine bemoaned that it was what she'd been afraid of. Cricket assured her that Phillip wouldn't have driven unless he'd been ready. Katherine pointed out that it had been rather sudden, but Cricket figured that it was fine if he wasn't drinking. Katherine wished she could be more confident, but she knew how easy it was to slip off the wagon.
Cricket recalled that Phillip had been fine, but Katherine warned that alcoholics were adept at hiding their feelings. Cricket gushed that it had been a wonderful day and that Phillip had been more at ease than he'd been in a long time. Katherine called Cricket a hopeful, trusting human being, and Cricket maintained that she honestly believed in Phillip. Katherine wondered if all the time Cricket had been spending with Phillip meant that Cricket and Danny were in the past. Cricket looked unsure. Meanwhile, Phillip entered a jewelry store and asked to see engagement rings.