During a celebration at the Genoa City Athletic Club, Tobias, Victor's former corporate spy, made an appearance. Ashley warned that she'd make good on her promise to have Tobias arrested if he didn't leave. Victor repeatedly attempted to shush his former hireling when Tobias threatened to expose him. Tobias, undaunted, hopped up on the bar and loudly announced, "How about we talk about who your fearless leaders really are. Show of hands -- who wants to hear their dirty secrets?"
Billy pulled Ashley away when she attempted to manhandle Tobias. Neil immediately stepped up and pulled Tobias off the bar. Billy told Neil that the best plan of action would be to place Tobias in a cab and forget he'd crashed the party. As Billy led Tobias toward the door, he yelled, "You're all swimming in the filth, and it's going to pull you under!" Nikki, overwhelmed by the fray, picked up someone's abandoned glass of wine and drank it. Billy told Victor and Jack that though he wasn't supportive of the merger, he couldn't stand by and let anyone spoil Jack's act of goodwill to honor Cassie's memory.
Lily checked on her father. Lily said that Neil's recent aggressive altercations with Tobias and Billy were worrisome. Lily noted that Neil was usually calm. Neil replied, "You're too worried about me. I suggest you worry about yourself and go about your business." Lily seemed taken aback by her father's terse response.
Abby overheard Summer and Kyle when they informed Jack and Phyllis about having had an earlier encounter with Tobias at Crimson Lights. Summer said she'd thought perhaps they'd been wrong to assume that Tobias had been spying on them. Kyle said, "Maybe he knew exactly what he was doing. Maybe it wasn't so innocent." Phyllis reacted nervously to Summer and Kyle's distressing revelations and asked why Tobias was interested in them. Abby interrupted and said that Tobias had simply hoped to glean details about the party he planned to crash. Phyllis advised Summer and Kyle to stay away from Tobias.
Abby followed Kyle and Summer to a corner of the room and reminded them that Paul had warned them not to discuss the case. Kyle noted that they'd managed not to disclose too much information. Summer said, "Tobias grilled me with a death glare." Abby said she wondered why Tobias had claimed that they all were "scum." Kyle recalled that at Crimson Lights, Tobias had overheard their discussion about the discovery of the killer's DNA. The impostor pretending to be Jack listened intently when Kyle suggested the possibility of Tobias being associated with the killer.
In Sage's hotel suite, Nick told Sage that she wasn't required to make an appearance at the celebration. Nick explained that Jack had announced plans to donate a new wing to the hospital in Cassie's honor. Sage became emotional at the mention of Cassie's name and blamed her elevated level of hormones. Nick said that he'd already announced the news of Sage's pregnancy. Sage insisted on making an appearance because the baby she was carrying would be part of Cassie's family.
Nick escorted Sage downstairs, and together they approached Nikki and Victor. Noah, standing next to Victoria, overheard his father mention Sage's pregnancy. Nikki chided Nick for not having informed Noah privately. Victor called over a waiter to serve Champagne. After Nikki refused to drink, Nick pointed out that his mother couldn't drink. Nikki, agitated, said, "And that's why they call it Alcoholics Anonymous." Nikki walked away.
Dylan caught up with Nikki and asked if she was okay. Nikki said she wasn't because both of her sons had saddled themselves with women who'd hold them back. Dylan said, "Everyone knows how you feel about Sharon." Nikki replied, "You're turning out to be just like Nicholas, running to the rescue of a poor little bird that's really a vulture." Sharon overheard and glared at Nikki.
Sharon reminded Nikki that it was the anniversary of Cassie's death. A drunken Nikki was unsteady on her feet, which concerned Dylan. Sharon calmly asked Nikki not to antagonize Sage because she was carrying Nick's baby. Nikki glared at Sharon. Dylan said, "Sharon has been a good friend to me, so let's just leave it at that." Nikki left.
Victor asked Sage if she'd claimed to be carrying Nick's child because he was a rich man. Victor said he knew that Sage's marriage to Gabriel had been a lucrative business arrangement. Sage explained that she'd had a change of heart after having initially agreed to the agreement. The partygoers fell silent when they heard the wail of police sirens nearby. Lily announced that a party guest had been involved in an accident. Victor, worried, asked Nick if he knew where Nikki was. Lily told the guests that the accident victim, traveling alone, was the man who'd earlier caused the disturbance.
Nikki resurfaced, and Victor said he'd been worried that she'd had a vehicle accident. Nikki, incoherent, slurred her words, and Victor asked if she'd been drinking. Nikki replied, "This has been an awful evening. If it didn't drive somebody to drink, I don't know what would." Victor mentioned Tobias' outburst. Nikki said she might have a discussion with Tobias about their shared guilt and shame for having colluded with Victor and stooping to his level.
Neil followed Nikki up to the rooftop bar, where she continued to imbibe alcohol and cavort with a drunk man. Neil attempted to corral Nikki. Nikki turned to Neil and said, "Did you have fun waltzing in with your son's ex-girlfriend? That was one hell of an entrance." The man laughed and said, "Your son's woman? Good for you, buddy. Go for it!" Nikki agreed when the drunk stranger invited her to "move their party elsewhere."
Neil had a private discussion with Nikki. Nikki mentioned that she and Neil had followed Victor's orders just like Tobias had. Neil said, "We made a choice. Now we have to live with it." Nikki cried that Victor always won. When the drunk man interrupted and groped at Nikki, Neil punched him. Billy and Victoria, having just arrived, acted quickly. Billy calmed Neil. Victoria looked on in horror as her mother attended to her drunk suitor.
At Sharon's house, Dylan apologized for Nikki's behavior. Sharon said she was used to it because Nikki had long disliked her. Sharon noted that she'd forever be connected to the Newman family because of her children. Dylan said he could only imagine having a family. Sharon told him that life changed every day, so he shouldn't discount the possibility. Dylan left, but he quickly returned and kissed Sharon passionately.
At Cassie's grave, Noah poured out his heart and cried about having lost Courtney. Noah said that Courtney's parents wouldn't disclose their daughter's final resting place. Mariah showed up, but she kept her distance and listened. Noah cried that he deeply missed Courtney. Noah, voicing his hope that Cassie and Courtney were together in the hereafter, instructed Cassie to share a message with Courtney. Noah promised to find the person responsible for Courtney's murder.
Mariah was moved to tears as she listened to Noah. Noah spotted Mariah, and she expressed feelings of profound sadness for never having known her deceased sister. Mariah insisted that Noah contact Courtney's parents to inquire about their daughter's gravesite. Mariah said that Courtney's family might feel different since Sharon had been cleared. Noah was reluctant. Mariah suggested that Noah and Courtney's family could honor Courtney's memory just like Cassie's family did Cassie's.
At the police station, a uniformed officer caught Kevin using the computer in Paul's office. Kevin claimed that the chief had asked him to inspect all department equipment. Mariah had stopped by and overheard Kevin's conversation. After the officer left, Mariah asked Kevin why he was hacking Paul's computer. Kevin said he'd learned that Paul was looking into other suspects, which included disgruntled former Jabot and Newman employees. Kevin suggested that perhaps Austin had interviewed one of them, who'd later killed him. Mariah saw Tobias Gray's name on the list. Kevin noted that Tobias had stalked Summer and Kyle. Mariah first refused to approach Tobias, but she changed her mind when she realized she'd be helping Noah seek justice for Courtney.
When Mariah and Kevin found Tobias' motel room, Mariah insisted that Kevin follow her plan to snoop without the fear of getting arrested. Mariah donned a maid's uniform and entered Tobias' room. Kevin found a 3-D printer and a set of fingerprint molds. Mariah found several computer hard drives that had been stolen from the Genoa City Police Department. Mariah said, "Captain Nerd is the murderer, after all."
At the hospital, Kyle, Summer, and Abby visited with Tobias. Kyle asked Tobias if he had been following them. Tobias nodded, indicating he had. Summer asked, "Why did you lie to us? What do you want from us?" Tobias, his faced severely bruised, weakly replied, "You need to know."
Tobias, growing weaker, struggled to speak and fluttered his eyelids. Kyle and Summer pleaded with Tobias to share everything he knew about the murders. Seconds before Tobias drew his last breath, he replied, "Austin." The man pretending to be Jack watched Kyle, Summer, and Abby react to Tobias' death. The impostor smiled before walking away.
Thrill of the Chase
Avery was startled when Dylan entered her apartment, and he said he'd thought she was still in Chicago. She revealed that she'd returned for the day to help Michael with a case, and she'd assumed Dylan had moved out. Dylan said he was there to pick up a few things, and he'd get the rest when he knew where he'd be living. She offered to let him stay there, since she'd be heading back out that night, but he stammered that he was okay. Avery realized he was staying with Sharon, and she asked if he was still insisting that he and Sharon were just friends.
Avery said she hadn't meant to put Dylan on the spot, but Dylan replied that they couldn't avoid the truth, and he admitted that he and Sharon were more than friends. Avery incredulously asked how much more, and she was stunned when he remained silent. He pointed out that Avery had broken up with him, but she didn't have to worry about Sharon hurting him. Avery retorted that Dylan didn't have to worry about Joe, either, and Dylan questioned whether there was something more going on between Avery and Joe.
Avery snapped that she wasn't planning to jump from Dylan's bed to Joe's the way Dylan had gone from hers to Sharon's, and she and Dylan agreed not to talk about Joe or Sharon. Dylan started to head away to grab some of his things, but he stopped and asked what had happened to him and Avery. Avery wondered if they'd just been two people who'd wanted something they couldn't have, and it hurt less to think that than to consider what they'd lost. Dylan softly said he'd always care for Avery, and she tearfully replied, "Back at you, McAvoy."
At the rehab center in Chicago, Joe worked out with a dumbbell, and a woman walked into the room. He quipped that he'd recognize her legs anywhere, but he was surprised when a staff member asked if he greeted all doctors that way. Joe explained that he'd expected his wife to be there that morning, but he quickly clarified that he'd meant his ex-wife. Dr. Amelia Weston introduced herself as the psychiatrist on staff, and she hoped to help him lead a productive life. She suggested they discuss his expectations when he left the facility.
Dr. Weston reported that a neurologist and a physical therapist thought Joe was ready to transition to outpatient treatment, but she assured Joe that it was normal to be worried about getting back into a routine, since the adjustment wouldn't be easy. The doctor recommended that Joe find someone to talk to, and Joe said he had accepted his circumstances, but he was still dependent on other people. Dr. Weston observed that Joe had only made progress when Avery had been around, and he said he was grateful Avery had helped him through the ordeal, but he didn't expect Avery to put her life on hold.
Avery listened from the doorway as Dr. Weston asked how Joe thought he'd do without Avery there, and he pledged to get through it on his own. Joe noticed Avery, and he introduced the women and left for a therapy session. Avery observed that he seemed to be in good spirits, and Dr. Weston replied that he'd lit up when Avery had walked in. The doctor added that Joe was ready to leave the facility, but he needed to get his confidence up. Avery mentioned that Genoa City Memorial Hospital had top-notch staff, but Dr. Weston hoped Avery's support continued after Joe left the center, since he was well enough to leave that day as long as he had a support system.
Later, Avery announced that the paperwork was done, and Joe had been officially released on an outpatient basis. Joe said he needed to find a new place to live, and he planned to stay at the Athletic Club temporarily. Avery informed him that she wanted him to go home with her.
At Crimson Lights, Nick told Faith that the bad man would never hurt anyone again, and Faith was relieved that no one would blame her mommy anymore. Sage approached and asked if she was early, and Faith sourly wondered what Sage was doing there. Nick said they had to talk to Faith about something, and Faith sullenly surmised that his girlfriend was going to live with them. Sharon entered, and Faith ran over to her mother and declared that Nick had told her the big news. Sharon assumed that the girl was thrilled about becoming a big sister, and Faith excitedly concluded that Sharon was having a baby.
Sharon apologized, and Nick gently explained to a confused Faith that he was having a baby with Sage. Faith complained that he should be having a child with Sharon, not Sage, so he couldn't force Faith to like it. Sharon encouraged Faith to think about the fun she'd have as an older sister, teaching a younger sibling the things Noah and Summer had taught Faith. Sharon imagined Faith and the new baby having sleepovers, but Faith groused that she wanted to stay with Sharon. Nick reminded his daughter that the judge's decision hadn't changed, but Sage brightly stated that it could.
Faith excitedly asked if she could sleep at her mom's house, and Sage reasoned that it could happen if the judge agreed to it. Faith sadly asked Sharon if she couldn't sleep there, and Sharon said maybe one day it would happen as she led Faith to pick out some cookies. Nick thanked Sharon, and Sage apologized for saying anything about the custody situation. Nick sternly agreed that she shouldn't have, and he wondered why Sage had seemed quick to hand over Faith to Sharon when Sage didn't want Sharon anywhere near her own baby.
Dylan arrived at the coffeehouse, and Sharon asked if everything was okay, since he'd left the house early. Faith ran over with a box of cookies, and she relayed that her daddy planned to see if she could spend the night with her mommy. Sharon explained that Nick would have to talk to the judge, and Faith grumbled that it meant it would never happen. Sharon told Dylan that Sage was the one who'd mentioned the possibility.
Sage asked if Nick was accusing her of wanting Faith out of the way, and she swore that she was just trying to make things work for all of them. Sage said she didn't mind if Faith hated her, but she didn't want the girl hating the baby, and it might help if Sharon thought Sage was on her side. Nick pointed out that Sharon didn't want to see Faith hurt any more than he did, and Dylan overheard and hoped Nick would let Faith spend some nights with Sharon. Nick wasn't sure whether to trust Sharon alone with Faith all night, and Dylan asserted that they wouldn't be alone. Nick questioned how close Dylan and Sharon had become.
Nick conceded that it was none of his business, but Dylan said he wasn't hiding anything, and he planned on being there for both Sharon and Faith. Faith thought Sage had only made the suggestion in an effort to get Faith to like Sage, but Nick defended that it had been a good idea, and he planned to call Avery to request that she ask the judge to allow Faith to spend one night a week with Sharon. Faith happily squealed and hugged her mom, and the adults exchanged smiles.
Later, Nick told Faith and Sage that he'd left a message for Avery, and Faith called him the best daddy ever. Sage asked whether Faith preferred a brother or a sister, and Faith flatly stated that she already had both. Sage turned the topic to suggestions for baby names, and Faith liked Olivia for a girl and Jabberwocky for a boy. Faith went to the counter to get more milk, and Nick remarked that his daughter had his sense of humor, but Sage joked about what nicknames they could derive from Jabberwocky Warner-Newman. Nick dared her to tell Victor that was their child's name, and he wondered if she was ready for the Newmans.
Sharon and Dylan returned to the cottage, and she said she wanted to redecorate Faith's room, but Dylan cautioned her to slow down. Sharon agreed not to do anything until she heard from Nick, and she credited Dylan for helping Nick to see that Dylan added balance to her life. Dylan said he and Sharon did it for one another, and Sharon asked if Dylan had only said he'd stand by her to get her more time with Faith. Dylan assured her that he wouldn't have said it to both Nick and Avery if he hadn't meant it, and Sharon was sure she was the last person Avery wanted Dylan to be with. Dylan declared that it didn't matter, since he'd made his choice, and he pulled Sharon into his arms.
At the police station, an officer boxed up the file on Tobias, and he told Kevin that it contained all the proof that Tobias had killed Austin and Courtney, thanks to an anonymous tip to check Tobias' motel room. Nikki rushed in and asked if Kevin had seen Neil, and Neil appeared after he'd spent the night in a holding cell. Neil divulged that Leslie had gotten the charges dropped, and he pointed out that he could have been in a lot of trouble, since he was still on probation. Kevin informed them that Neil's arrest had made the GC Buzz, and Nikki nervously checked the site on her phone. Neil asked if she was concerned about him or worried that the article had exposed she'd been falling-down drunk.
Nikki proclaimed that she didn't "give a damn" what the tabloid had to say about her, but Neil bet Nikki was terrified the article was about her being intoxicated. Nikki denied she'd been drunk, and Neil argued that he and Victoria knew otherwise, but Nikki swore that she'd been unsteady because she'd been tired and upset. Neil called her out on the lie, and he warned that covering up her drinking was a sure sign she was in trouble. He wished he'd listened to her when she'd told him to get help, and he was sure Paul and Christine did, too. Nikki huffed that there was one difference -- Neil had needed help, and she didn't.
On the Athletic Club rooftop, Summer informed Kyle and Mariah that Noah was trying to get in touch with Courtney's parents to let them know the real killer had been identified, and Mariah griped that it would have been easier if people hadn't been quick to pin the crimes on Sharon. Kyle hoped Summer had gotten some closure, but Summer replied that she still didn't know why Austin had been killed. Kyle remarked that the only person who could have told them was dead. Kevin arrived, and Kyle said Kevin was just in time to celebrate, since no one wanted to kill them anymore.
Kevin didn't think the situation called for a party, since he found it odd that after months of having no leads or clues, the case had been neatly wrapped up in 24 hours. Kevin theorized that someone was working hard to get them to believe Tobias had been the killer, but Kyle, Summer, and Mariah were convinced the mystery had been solved. Kevin contended that someone could have planted the evidence, and he'd worked for the police long enough to know that cases didn't get solved that easily. Mariah guessed that Kevin's thrill of the chase made him want to keep digging, but Kyle declared that the case was closed.
Summer recalled that Austin's name had been the last thing Tobias had said, but Kevin argued that it hadn't meant Tobias had murdered anyone. Mariah guessed that Austin had interviewed Tobias, but Kevin asserted that even if Tobias had said something he'd regretted, it had made no sense for Tobias to publicly blast two powerful families if he'd covered up two murders. Summer imagined that Tobias had taken the opportunity to embarrass both families, and Mariah sided with Summer. Kevin thought his friends were trying to make themselves feel safe, even if they really weren't.
Inside the Athletic Club, Victor called the island authorities and asked if there was any news, and an officer replied that they were expanding the search. Victor ordered him to find Jack, and the cop said they were doing the best they could. Phyllis and the Jack impostor wished Victor a good morning, and she mentioned the article on GC Buzz about the police finding evidence to link Tobias to Austin's murder. Jack remarked that he was relieved the killer couldn't hurt anyone again, and Phyllis thought it was unbelievable that the mystery had been solved after a random car accident. Victor pointedly agreed it was hard to believe.
Jack asserted that crimes were often solved after random occurrences, and he was glad they could all sleep better at night. Phyllis noted that Jack hadn't experienced any more nightmares in Spanish, and he said the party to celebrate the merger had worn him out, but it had been worth it. Phyllis excused herself to go to their table, and Jack expected an apology from Victor for accusing him of killing Austin and Courtney. Jack urged Victor to be happy the police had found the killer, but Victor suspected that they hadn't and that the impostor had gotten rid of Tobias. Jack insinuated that he was a very dangerous man if he was guilty of everything Victor was saying.
Victor told Jack's clone that no one was indispensable, and Jack wondered if Victor was threatening him. Victor warned Jack to watch his back, or the impostor might lose everything. Jack joined Phyllis, and Victor greeted Nikki and Neil. Victor mentioned that he was there to make sure Nikki was okay, and she replied that she was fine, thanks to Neil. Victor commended Neil for defending Nikki against a drunken patron, but he had heard from Victoria that Nikki had also been intoxicated. Nikki denied it, but Neil refused to lie for her, and he confirmed she had been drunk.
Nikki called Neil a drunk, but Neil said everyone in the room had seen Nikki wasted. Nikki ranted that no one could blame her for having a couple of drinks when she'd had to put a smile on her face and lie about Jack signing the contract. Victor ordered her to stop making excuses, and Neil begged her to let them help her, but she told them to "go to hell" as she stormed upstairs. Victor informed Neil that he'd had the liquor removed from the bar in her room, but Neil said it wouldn't help. Victor imagined that Nikki would have to go to rehab again, but Neil replied that it wouldn't be effective, given her state. Victor said he'd have to take harsher measures.
Later, Nikki downed a drink at the rooftop bar, and Neil hovered over her and lectured that it was early for a drink. She assumed Victor had sent Neil there, and Neil asserted that Victor loved her and wanted to see her get better. Nikki defiantly slurred that she wasn't hurt, and she would stop drinking when she was ready. Nikki tried to order another drink, but Neil signaled the bartender to cut her off, and Nikki got up to go elsewhere. Neil pointed out that she couldn't even walk, but she said she wasn't driving, and she stumbled out. Neil made a call and reported that he had a friend in serious trouble.
Phyllis remarked to Jack that she'd felt like the world had gone crazy, but she was feeling a shift in the universe. She recalled that the weirdness had started when they'd gotten married, and Jack agreed he hadn't been himself when he'd tried to cling to his lost youth. She purred that she preferred a man with experience, and she assured him that she'd taken her vows seriously, including "going with the ghost." Jack showed no reaction, and Phyllis wondered if he remembered their wedding. He claimed he had just been distracted by her beautiful eyes.
Phyllis ran into Summer and Kyle in the foyer, and she imagined they were relieved the killer had been found. Summer replied that it hadn't sunk in yet, and Kyle went to say hello to his dad. Phyllis sensed something was wrong with Summer, and Summer admitted she felt guilty for wanting to move on. Phyllis assured her daughter that it was okay to look forward to the future, and Summer thought she was ready to give Kyle another chance to show who he really was. Phyllis hoped to see the same thing with Jack, since sometimes he still seemed like a stranger.
Jack told Kyle he was glad the murder had been solved, but Kyle seemed unsure, and he mentioned that Kevin was having a hard time dropping it. Kyle added that he'd tried to get Kevin to let it go, and Jack hoped Kevin had, since it wouldn't do anyone any good to dig into the case again.
Mariah lurked near Kevin at the police station, and she was suspicious about why he had shown up early for work. Kevin claimed he was dedicated, but she thought he wouldn't stop until he proved that the evidence against Tobias wasn't what it appeared to be. Kevin offered to drop it if she truly believed Tobias had been the killer, but Mariah volunteered to help.
Victor received a call with the news that several boats had left the island, and it was possible Jack had stowed away on one of them. Victor learned that the boats had been carrying illegal cargo to different destinations all over the world, and he realized Jack might be on his way home.
Has Nikki Hit Rock Bottom?
At the Athletic Club, Victoria told Billy that Nikki had denied she'd had any alcohol on the night of the party, but Billy recalled that Nikki had been completely plastered. Victoria said Nikki's behavior had made her sick to her stomach, and she'd reached out to Victor for help, but he had refused to discuss it.
Victoria questioned whether she was supposed to let Nikki drown in booze, and Billy warned that Victoria couldn't fix another person. He advised that there was nothing Victoria could do if Nikki didn't want help, and Victoria asked if she had to let her mother hit rock bottom.
Billy explained that some addicts were lucky enough to help themselves, but the rest of them couldn't. Billy reminded Victoria that she'd begged and threatened him when he'd been drinking and gambling, and it had taken her throwing him out to make him overcome his addictions. Victoria wondered why the accident that had killed Christine's baby hadn't been a wake-up call for Nikki, and she worried about Nikki mixing her multiple sclerosis medication with alcohol. Victoria thought she had to take action as soon as possible, and Billy offered to help her figure out a plan.
On the rooftop, Sage prepared to slather on sunscreen, but Nick approached and insisted on helping her with it. As he rubbed it down her leg, he said he didn't want her to get burned, and she giggled and claimed he'd missed a spot. He teased her for lounging instead of swimming, and she complained that the water was cold. He offered to test it out himself, and he began to unbutton his shirt, adding that he didn't need a suit because they practically had the place to themselves. Sage stared at him in disbelief, but she realized he had on swim trunks underneath his clothes, and he led her to the pool.
As Nick and Sage dried off, she confided that she hadn't been able to sleep the night before, since she'd been wondering if she was in over her head. Nick asked why she was worried, and she mentioned that she'd never had anyone as a maternal role model, since her mother had died when Sage had been young. Nick recalled that Nikki had made mistakes just like everyone else, and he knew parenthood had a learning curve. Nick assured Sage that she'd be just fine, and she wouldn't be alone. They kissed, and Nick answered a call from Victoria, who said she needed to talk to him about Nikki.
Someone rapped loudly on Nikki's hotel room door, and she yelled out to stop the pounding. Nikki staggered out of bed, still wearing the dress she'd had on the night before, and she found Neil at her door. She told him to get out, but he refused to let her close the door, and she ranted that she didn't want to see him or talk to him after he'd sold her out to Victor. Neil entered the room, anyway, and said they had a lot to talk about, and he discovered the guy he'd punched on the night of the party in Nikki's bed. Nikki gasped in horror.
Neil asked why the "trash" was in Nikki's bed, and Nikki stuttered that she didn't remember. Neil startled the man awake by shouting in his ear, and the man recognized Neil as the guy who'd popped him in the jaw. Neil threatened to do it again, and he blasted the man for taking advantage of Nikki. The man claimed that Nikki had hit on him, and Nikki looked aghast.
The man swore he'd been walking back to his own room, and Nikki had aggressively thrown herself at him. Nikki flashed back to drunkenly hanging on the man as they'd made their way down the hallway, laughing and kissing. She'd pulled him by his tie toward her door, and she'd seductively told him that she'd once been an exotic dancer. She had offered to give him a free show if he played his cards right, and they'd stumbled into her room. Neil threw the man out, but Nikki admitted that everything the man had said had been the truth.
Nikki begged Neil not to tell anyone, but he lectured that she was out of control, and he urged her to open her eyes and see what she was doing to herself. He asked about the husband she claimed to love, and Nikki groused that it was Victor's fault for driving her to drink. Neil snapped that she sounded like a drunk who blamed everyone else for her own mistakes, and he pointed out that no one but Nikki had gotten into bed with a stranger the night before. Nikki complained that Neil didn't get it, but he demanded that she start taking responsibility by getting sober.
Neil poured Nikki a glass of water, and she whined that her stomach hurt. He prepared to order coffee and run her a shower, but she spat that she could take care of herself. Neil sarcastically stated that she'd done a fantastic job, and he refused to leave until she cleaned herself up. He stepped into the bathroom and started the shower, and Nikki called security and reported that she had an unwelcome guest who wouldn't leave her room.
Neil informed Nikki that the water was hot, but she snarled that it wasn't his place to dictate when she bathed, and she didn't need him to hover over her. He reminded her that she'd said the same thing to him before the car accident, but she'd helped him face his addiction. Nikki responded to a knock at the door, and a security guard escorted Neil out as Neil warned that the night before had been a good indication of how Nikki's party would end. Nikki slammed the door shut and began to straighten the sheets on the bed, but she found a half-empty vodka bottle tangled up in the covers. She walked over to the mirror and stared at her haggard reflection, and her hands shook as she threw the bottle in the trash.
Billy and Victoria told Nick and Sage about Nikki's behavior on the night of the party, and Victoria added that Victor had absolved himself of all responsibility, but she thought Victor was punishing Nikki for moving out. Victoria mentioned that Nikki was also on medication, and Nick agreed it was a dangerous situation. Neil overheard and said he wanted to speak to Victoria and Nick alone, and Billy and Sage stepped aside. Neil revealed that Victor had asked him to help, since Nikki was in total denial, and Victoria felt terrible that she'd assumed the worst about her father. Neil divulged that he'd found a therapist who conducted interventions, and he thought it would be Nikki's best chance if they could catch her while she was sober. He suggested they do it at the ranch that afternoon, since he didn't think Nikki had started drinking yet that day.
Billy offered to buy Sage a glass of milk, and he pointed out that they soon would both be non-Newman parents to Victor's grandchildren. He referred to the frightening stuff Victor had put him through, but Sage countered that Victor hadn't had anything to do with Billy and Victoria's divorce. Billy conceded that Victor hadn't been responsible -- but not for a lack of trying -- and Sage said she wasn't marrying Nick. Billy said it wouldn't matter, since Victor would be a part of her life, and Sage confided that she was worried after seeing how Sharon was still paying for running afoul of Victor. Billy warned that Sage would suffer the same fate if she crossed Victor.
Sage thanked Billy for the warning and the milk, and she promised to be on her best behavior. Billy noted that everyone on Victor's bad side had given Victor reasons to disapprove, but Sage was a clean slate, so Victor had no reason to go after her. She thought carrying Nick's baby was reason enough.
Nikki showered and changed clothes, and she eyed the bottle of alcohol in the trash. Nick and Victoria stopped by, and Nikki surmised they were there because of what had happened after the party. Victoria said they were concerned about her, and Nick claimed that Victor wanted to have a family dinner at the ranch to discuss the merger. Nikki protested, but Victoria encouraged her mother to go to maintain peace for the rest of the family. Nikki offered to meet them there later, and she grappled for excuses, but Victoria confronted her about needing a drink.
Nikki griped that she was tired of the accusations, and she just wanted to look her best. Nick remarked that they all felt like they needed a drink at family events, but he'd follow her lead and go sober. He grabbed Nikki's purse and pledged to get through the evening with the least amount of stress possible, and he and Victoria led Nikki out.
At Crimson Lights, Dylan looked at ads for apartments, and Sharon thought one in particular sounded like it had everything he needed. He declared that it was time for a fresh start, and Phyllis approached and asked to speak with Dylan privately. Dylan told Phyllis that she could say whatever she had to say in front of Sharon, but Sharon excused herself to get a refill. Phyllis sat down at Dylan's table and asked him to guess who had checked out of the rehab center the day before and where that person was shacking up.
Phyllis griped that Avery was playing nursemaid to Joe, but Dylan replied that it had nothing to do with him. Phyllis said Dylan had a right to be jealous, since she'd seen how much he loved Avery, and she implored him to do something, since Dylan was the only one to put a stop to Joe's manipulations. Dylan mentioned that he'd warned Avery about Joe a thousand times, but Avery had made her choice. Phyllis insisted that Avery still wanted Dylan, but Dylan maintained that they'd broken up, so it was time to move on. Phyllis glared at Sharon, and she remarked that her sister wasn't the only one being manipulated.
Phyllis cautioned Dylan to be wary of whatever spells Sharon was casting on him, and she reminded him that Sharon had caused Phyllis' fall and subsequent coma. Phyllis wordlessly sauntered past Sharon on her way out. Sharon informed Dylan that she'd made an early dinner reservation on the club rooftop, and she assumed Phyllis had wanted to talk to him about Avery. Dylan relayed that Joe had moved in with Avery, but it wasn't a surprise.
Sharon imagined that Avery and Phyllis had bonded over having a common enemy in Sharon, but Dylan explained that Phyllis thought Joe was manipulating Avery. Sharon contemplated whether Phyllis' disapproval was really about Sharon's relationship with Dylan, since Phyllis was always looking for an excuse to hurt Sharon. Dylan said he had no idea why Phyllis had stuck her nose in his business, and Sharon guessed Phyllis blamed Sharon for Avery and Dylan's breakup. Sharon wondered if Dylan thought she was capable of manipulating him.
Dylan assured Sharon that he thought she was bright, beautiful, and fun to hang around, no matter what anyone else said. Sharon referred to the long list of people who were lined up against her, but Dylan reminded her that he hadn't cared when she'd been a murder suspect because he'd known she was a good person. He continued that even though she suffered from an illness and had made errors in judgment, she'd bounced back and made amends, and that meant something to him. He thought that no one had the right to judge her, and Sharon said she didn't deserve him. He insisted that she deserved the best of everything, and they kissed.
Avery showed Joe where things were in her apartment, and she volunteered to rearrange things in the kitchen and the bathroom to ensure he could reach everything. She wished she'd thought ahead to have it organized already, but he said it was a huge improvement over the rehab facility. She mentioned that a hospital bed was on the way, but in the meantime, she had dibs on the couch. Joe refused to take Avery's bed, and he insisted the couch would be fine if the cushions were firm. He tried to move from his wheelchair to the sofa, and as Avery rushed in to steady him, they tumbled onto the couch together. He remarked that it was very comfortable.
Joe asked if Avery always wrestled with her houseguests, and she remarked that she was a competitive type who always wanted to win. She suggested that she make a workspace for him, and he marveled at her generosity. He was sure he was putting a crimp on her social life, but she reasoned that it wouldn't be forever, since she intended to make sure he walked again. She added that her social life was nonexistent, so he had her undivided attention.
Phyllis stopped by Avery's apartment, and she declared that she'd had to see for herself that Joe was there. Avery expected Phyllis to unload on her, but Phyllis said she was happy Joe was out of the rehab center, since it meant he'd be back on his feet in no time. Phyllis knowingly asked how big Avery's guestroom was, and Avery pointed out that Phyllis knew she didn't have one, but she and Joe had been arguing over who would take the couch. Joe excused himself, and after he wheeled away, Phyllis wondered if Joe's injuries had affected his physical performance.
An appalled Avery said she had no idea whether or not Joe could have sex, and it was none of Phyllis' business, but Phyllis suspected Joe would make it his business to get Avery into bed. Avery huffed that she knew what she was doing, but Phyllis cautioned that Avery was acting stupid for a smart woman. Phyllis questioned why Avery had let Joe back into her life after Avery had rejected him years before, but Avery refused to let Phyllis bully her, since Phyllis had once made a choice not to be a sister to her at all.
Phyllis conceded that she'd made a mistake, but she cared about Avery, and it was killing her to see Avery turn her back on the love of her life. Avery suspected that Phyllis' objections were really about trying to stick it to Sharon, since if Dylan and Avery got back together, Sharon would be left alone. Joe returned to the room, and Phyllis left. Avery called Phyllis a hypocrite and said she didn't want to talk about it, and Joe suggested they go to brunch. Avery was glad he wasn't self-conscious about people seeing him in a wheelchair, and he asked if she was nervous about being seen with him. Avery declared that she had nothing to hide.
At Newman-Abbott, Phyllis was shocked when Neil informed her about the plans for Nikki's intervention, and Neil said he wanted Jack to be there, but he'd heard Jack was headed out of town. Phyllis confirmed that Jack was leaving the next day, but she was sure he would want to be there for Nikki, and she promised he'd be in attendance. Neil said he could use all the help he could get.
Avery and Joe ran into Sharon and Dylan on the club rooftop, and Avery asked for a word with Dylan. Sharon and Joe retreated to a table, and Avery told Dylan that she wanted to set the record straight after Phyllis' interference. Dylan said it wasn't any of his business, and he expected Avery to do what she needed to do.
Sharon asked about Joe's progress in physical therapy, but he curtly suggested they curb the small talk, and he mentioned that he knew she'd sent the text message from Dylan's phone. Joe noted that Dylan made Sharon happy, and he surmised that she didn't want to see Avery and Dylan together any more than Joe did. Joe bet that Sharon would be willing to do anything to keep Dylan, and he proposed that they make a pact. Sharon nervously said she didn't know what Joe was insinuating, but he was sure she did.
Later, Dylan informed Sharon that someone else had grabbed the rental, and he was disappointed, since the unit had included a yard. Sharon mentioned that her home had a big one, including the woods and riding trails, and she suggested that he move in. He acknowledged that the offer was tempting, but he didn't think they were ready to take that step yet. She agreed that they shouldn't move in together just because it was convenient, and he was glad they were on the same page. She covered her dismay.
Avery and Joe returned to her apartment, where they flipped a coin and determined he'd take the couch. He reasoned that if he couldn't walk on his own, she could at least let him be a gentleman. She proclaimed that he'd walk again if she had anything to say about it, and she went to get ready for a meeting. Joe heard the shower running, and he stood up from his wheelchair.
A Moment of Clarity
Nikki's eyes fluttered open, and she found herself cloaked in white in an all-white room. She struggled to see through a bright light, and a man's voice greeted her. She asked where she was, and a bearded man sympathized that it could be confusing sometimes. She guessed that she was either dreaming or experiencing delirium tremens, and he asked about the last thing she remembered. She recalled her children taking her home to play peacekeeper at a family dinner to discuss the merger, and she had been surprised to see Neil, Summer, and Noah there, too.
Victor had said everyone was concerned, and Nikki had refused to play loyal matriarch while Victor tried to convince Summer and Noah to join the company. Nikki had asked Nick if the prodigal son had decided to return to the fold, and Nick had informed her that they were all together about the matter at hand. Nikki had declared that she wasn't up for a fight, and she had turned to leave, but Dylan had walked in. She had noted that Dylan had nothing to do with the company, and everyone had stared at her. "What exactly is going on here?" she had demanded to know.
The man in the bright room asked if Nikki was remembering something, and she said it was personal, so she didn't want to talk about it. He insisted that the personal nature made it more important to talk about, and Nikki said her memories were like a bad dream she'd been stuck in. She mused that everything had seemed real, but nothing had made any sense -- until it had made too much sense.
Nikki flashed back to realizing what the gathering had really been about, since she had helped plan the same kind of ambush for Katherine. Victoria had explained that they wanted Nikki to see what they saw, and Nikki had blasted her family for treating her like the problem. Victor had said everyone had agreed there was a problem, and Neil had added that they all loved Nikki, but she needed help. Nikki had snapped that she'd wanted nothing to do with the witch-hunt, but she'd run into Jack on her way out. Victor had objected to Jack's presence, but Neil had contended that Jack understood what Nikki was dealing with. Summer and Noah had begged Nikki to stay.
Nikki griped to the bearded man that the intervention had been oppressive, but she pointed out that the man still hadn't told her where she was. He remarked that she was home, and he said she could call him Angel. She laughed uncontrollably, but she caught her breath and apologized, and she explained that all the white and his name being Angel was a bit much. He prompted her to finish telling him how she'd gotten there, and she said she'd had no choice but to stay at the intervention and show everyone that she hadn't needed their so-called help.
During the intervention, Nikki had hoped for the opportunity to rub everyone's noses in their own mistakes one day, but Dylan had said he was there because he loved her. Victor had quietly tried to force the Jack impostor out, but the clone had reasoned that the real Jack would have been there for a friend in need, and it would look suspicious if he left. Meanwhile, Nick had commented that he was glad Neil was leading the intervention, and Neil had explained that he'd discussed it with a trained counselor. Nick had expected Nikki to resent every minute of it, and Neil had advised that they could only tell Nikki how they felt, but what Nikki did with it was out of their control.
Neil had told Nikki that she had people who loved her and were concerned about her, and he had expected everyone to say something to her. Nikki had grumbled that she knew how it worked, and she had admitted that she'd had a drink or two, but she had felt her loved ones were overreacting. Nikki had pointed out that her children were struggling with their relationships and that Summer and Noah had suffered unspeakable losses, and she had glared at Victor as she'd referred to the other tensions in her life. Nikki had huffed that she didn't need to justify having a respite from it all to take the edge off, and she'd asserted that she could stop whenever she wanted, since she didn't have a problem.
The room had fallen silent, and Neil had recalled saying the same things when he'd been lying to himself, but Nikki had seen through the lies and had been determined to help him. Neil had recounted that because he had refused her help and hadn't been able to admit he had a problem, he'd had to look Paul and Christine in the eyes and tell them he'd killed their baby. Neil had said hearing the same denial from Nikki "scared the hell" out of him, and he had mentioned that she'd taken a strange man back to her hotel room the night before. Nikki argued that nothing had happened and that Neil was just trying to justify the intervention.
Neil had countered that Nikki hadn't even remembered what had happened because she'd blacked out, and Nikki had denied it. Neil had warned that if Nikki didn't get treatment, he'd never bail her out again, and he'd walk away the next time she was in trouble. Nikki had resolutely stated that she'd save them all the trouble and walk away herself, but Victor had urged her to stay, since she owed everyone there a chance to be heard. Nikki informed Angel that Victor had always told her that she didn't owe anything to anyone, but Victor had tried to convince her that she'd owed something to the jackals in her living room, so she'd stayed. She shuddered as she pictured them all staring at her.
Summer had recalled that Nikki had protected her from Ian Ward, and she believed Nikki had the courage to get treatment, but it hurt to be around Nikki when Nikki wouldn't get help. Dylan had bemoaned that he and Nikki had already lost more than 30 years together as mother and son, and he'd forgiven her for abandoning him, but he'd never forgive her for leaving him again when she had the choice to stay. Nick had confided that he hadn't thought Nikki had been strong enough to deal with her multiple sclerosis, but she had been. Nick had lectured that a neurological disorder had already compromised Nikki's body, and he had reminded Nikki that alcohol had been a factor in Cassie's death.
Nikki told Angel that her family members had all said they hadn't wanted to lose her, but they'd chosen to judge her and look down on her. Angel asked if she thought that had been her family's intention, and she asked why she should care. He asked why she did.
Victoria had recounted that Nikki had always been there for her, and she had promised to support Nikki if Nikki sought help. Victoria had implored Nikki to do it for her children and her grandchildren if she wouldn't do it for herself, and she had recalled that Nikki had nearly dropped Katie when Nikki had been drunk. Victoria had added that Nikki had lied about her MS symptoms flaring up, but Nikki had sworn that she'd never risk her own grandchild, and she'd testily asked why everyone was judging her. Victoria had firmly stated that no one there was judging her, and they'd faced Nikki's addiction before, but it was more serious that time.
Victoria had cried that she was afraid she wouldn't be able to help if Nikki got into trouble again, since Victoria had to look out for her own children. Nikki had promised not to cause any trouble, but Victoria had stressed that Nikki needed to get help, or Victoria would never allow Nikki to see her grandkids again. A stunned Nikki had sworn that she loved her grandchildren more than anything on earth, and she had believed that Victoria would realize that would be a mistake. Nikki had coolly asked the group to move it along, and Jack had declared that he wanted to be completely honest.
Nikki ranted to Angel that someone had picked that moment to be honest, and everyone who had supposedly loved her had all been reading out of the same playbook about how alcoholism was a disease that was progressive and fatal. Nikki said she'd felt like they'd been putting her in her grave, but she was very much alive.
Jack had said he knew addiction could lead to death, but it was just as hard to watch a loved one who didn't care about anything but their next fix put the nails in their own coffin. He had contended that he personally understood the monster Nikki was battling, but if she cared about other people, she had to choose life. Neil had reminded Jack that the intervention wasn't about blame or judgment, and he had instructed Jack to tell Nikki how he felt. Jack had said he felt a profound sadness, since it was a waste of a beautiful life when a drug of choice won out over a person he loved.
Nikki told Angel that it had been as if her loved ones had described someone she'd never met, and Angel wondered if she thought everyone had misunderstood who she was. She griped that they'd all taken their shots, but she quickly clarified that not everyone had. She flashed back to Neil saying it was important for Victor to say something, and Nikki had stared accusingly at Victor.
Victor had said he'd been as concerned as anyone else, and Nikki's drinking had affected their entire family. Nikki had berated Victor for always using family as an excuse, when it was really just his way of justifying whatever he wanted. Nikki had called Victor the reason she'd started drinking again, since he'd been off trying to find new ways to control his son's life and to hurt Jack when she'd needed Victor the most, and it had been enough to drive anyone to drink. Victor had ordered Nikki to take responsibility, and he'd barked that she was out of control. She had proclaimed that she'd show him out of control, and she had started to get up, but Victor had held her back.
Neil had suggested that Victor tell Nikki how her drinking had affected him, and Victor had curtly stated that Nikki already knew what it had done. Nikki had asked if the confrontation was over, since she'd had her fill, and none of her nearest and dearest knew her at all. She had decided to turn the "Nikki-bashing" into a real bash with drinks all around, and everyone else had protested as she'd made her way over to the liquor cabinet. Nikki had sarcastically thanked Victor for having her favorite brand of vodka on hand, and Victor had begged her to stop, but she had poured a drink and warned her grandchildren never to follow in her footsteps. Nikki had raised the glass to her lips, but it had shattered on the floor when she'd suddenly collapsed.
Nikki recounted to Angel that she'd been trying to speak, but she hadn't been able to breathe, and it had felt like she'd been dying. Angel asked what she remembered next, and she said everything was hazy after that, but she imagined that she'd ended up at the hospital.
At the hospital, Nikki had dazedly watched as her family had somberly exited an exam room. Dylan had remarked that there was nothing more to do, and it hadn't been anyone's fault. Victoria had argued that Nikki had chosen the bottle of vodka over the chance to get help, and she had lamented that her kids would only remember Nikki as the grandmother who'd drank herself to death and not the beautiful person Nikki had been. Nick had cried that Faith had deserved more time with Nikki, and his unborn child would never know its grandmother. Nikki had recognized that she'd given them a scare, but she had said she was right there. No one had responded.
Nikki had called to Nick and Victoria, and Dylan had said he felt cheated and angry. Nikki had regretted stressing everyone out, and Summer had sobbed that Nikki had been talking one minute and gone the next. Nikki had yelled that she was right there, and she had commanded that they stop acting like she wasn't. Oblivious to Nikki's presence, Victor had suggested that they all go home, but Nikki had continued to insist that she was fine, and she had agreed to do anything they wanted if they stopped ignoring her. Her family had filed out, and Nikki had watched as medical personnel wheeled out a gurney with a sheet-covered body.
Nikki told Angel that she couldn't have possibly remembered that, so it couldn't be a memory, and she wondered why her family hadn't talked to her if they'd taken her to the hospital. She realized that it had been more than them ignoring her, since they'd acted as if she hadn't even been there. She wondered what was happening, and Angel said she had the answer, but she had to search to find it. She suddenly gasped.
At Nikki's funeral, Neil had said he knew Nikki was in a better place, and he'd never forget that she'd saved his life, but he was sorry he hadn't been able to save hers. Jack had contemplated whether there had been anything he could have done or said to change things, but he had concluded that Nikki's death had been out of everyone's hands. Neil had quoted that they had to accept the things they couldn't change, and Jack had said he'd always have the memory of how much better Nikki had made his life.
Victoria had said she didn't want to be mad anymore, but she didn't know what to do with her feelings, and she wasn't ready to move on. Dylan had suggested that they focus on the love Nikki had shown for all of them, and Nick had recounted that Nikki had always said he'd been his father's son, but he and Nikki had been more alike than he'd ever admitted. Nick had continued that he was stubborn and impulsive like Nikki had been, but he wished she'd had the strength to admit she'd needed help. Victor had regretted not saying something during the intervention that might have saved Nikki's life, and he had recognized that it was too late to find the words. Everyone had eventually departed except Victor, and Nikki had gazed at him as tears streamed down his face.
Nikki told Angel that she'd been able to clearly see Victor when they'd been alone together, and Angel asked if Victor had been able to hear her. She said no, but she hadn't let that stop her from trying, since she'd been watching a man who had become part of her heart.
At Nikki's grave, Victor had said his arrogance had allowed him to think he could fix Nikki, but he'd never had the power to do it. Nikki had recalled that he'd taken her in when she'd been a hard-edged girl with no future, and she'd raised children with him and loved him passionately. Unable to hear or see Nikki, Victor had admitted he hadn't listened to her or told her what she'd wanted to hear, and he wished he'd had the courage to tell her what she'd always meant to him. He had knelt beside her grave and sobbed that if he had told her, he wouldn't have lost the love of his life, and he had cried that he was "so damn lonely now." He had recounted that he and Nikki had fought and argued, but they'd loved one another, and he had kissed his fingertips and touched them to the gravestone.
Victor had sat on a nearby bench, and he had told himself that it was too late for tears. He had realized that he'd convinced himself that Nikki's drinking and moving out had just been a passing phase during a rocky time, but he'd expected their love to conquer all. Nikki had said Victor hadn't been wrong to think that, since their love had gotten them through many things, but her hideous disease had turned her into someone she hadn't wanted to be. Victor had murmured that he would miss her, and he didn't know what he would do without her. Nikki had finally acknowledged that she needed to take the responsibility for herself.
Nikki told Angel that she hadn't needed Victor to say the words to know how much he loved her, since they had a connection -- two people with one mind and one heart. She recognized that she hadn't been able to quit drinking on her own, despite knowing what she'd had to lose. The white room disappeared, and Nikki was in an office, speaking to Angel Ochoa, a counselor at a rehab facility named Home. She said it had been her choice in the end, since even though Victor had taken her there, it was where she'd wanted to be.
Nikki guessed that seeing her grave and hearing her family hadn't been dream or the DTs, and Angel explained that she'd had a moment of clarity after the intervention that had allowed her to admit she needed help. "Can you help me?" she tearfully asked, and he replied that he thought he could. Angel welcomed Nikki home.
Good Friends and Fantastic Lovers
Jack awakened on a cargo ship, and he stumbled to his feet. He envisioned Kelly telling him that he'd get his sea legs soon enough, and she welcomed him aboard the S.S. Misery. She wondered if he had no greeting or friendly smooch for her, and he stammered that she was dead and gone. She asked if he'd really thought it would be that easy to get rid of her.
Kelly acknowledged that Jack had thought she was dead, but she inquired whether she looked like a corpse. Jack recalled the blood on his hands and her cold body, and she told him to think about what it had been like for her to be gutted and left for dead by her own husband. Jack insisted that he'd never meant to hurt her, and she sarcastically guessed that the knife had slipped. She ranted that Jack was a liar who'd sneaked off to a rat-infested ship to get away from her, but he'd failed, since they were together again, and she'd always find him because he was hers and always would be.
Jack admitted that he'd been wrong to use Kelly to get over Phyllis, and he'd deserved what Kelly had done to him, but they'd both end up dead if she kept it up. Kelly said it was worth it to her, and he argued that she wasn't that kind of person, but she snarled that it was his fault she'd become that way. Kelly vanished, and Jack called out for her. He heard her cackle and say that he'd never be free of her.
Jack told himself that Kelly was dead, and he flashed back to Kelly telling him that they'd fallen madly in love and that they'd exchanged vows in a beautiful ceremony. Jack remembered telling Kelly he loved her and kissing her, and he'd later woken up with blood on his hands and her dead body next to him. Jack pulled off the wedding ring from his finger and threw it across the cargo hold, but he quickly hid when someone entered. A man rifled through one of the crates and pulled out a bag of drugs, and he resealed the crate and took off. Jack emerged from his hiding place and looked inside the crate, but the man returned and punched Jack in the face.
Jack regained consciousness, and a second man greeted him in Spanish. Jack asked if the man spoke English, and he introduced himself and explained that he was a businessman at a cosmetics company in the United States. The man asked if Jack meant lipstick, and he laughed at the thought of the big boss stowing away on a ship. Jack said he'd been on an island to get married, but things hadn't gone as planned, and he offered to make it worth the man's while to help Jack get home. The man inquired whether Jack intended to do it with "lipstick money," and Jack said he had lots of money. The man replied that he knew, and he added, "My money, Marco. I want it back."
The man smacked Jack across the face, and he demanded to know what "Marco" had done with his money. Jack insisted that he didn't know anyone named Marco, and he swore his name was Jack. The man recalled that Marco had done him a favor by moving some cash in 2007, and everyone had assumed Marco was dead, but fate had put Marco back on the man's ship. Jack volunteered to cover the man's losses, but the man growled that Marco had stolen money from other people, and Marco would be worth more dead than alive. The man scoffed at the thought of "lipstick money," and he walked out as Jack yelled that he was Jack Abbott.
On the Athletic Club rooftop, Abby sunbathed on the deck, and she squealed when Stitch covered her eyes from behind her. He apologized for freaking her out, and she admitted she was still jumpy because of the murders. He stated that the killer was dead, but Abby informed him that Kevin thought the case had been solved too conveniently, and the real killer was still out there. Stitch asked why he hadn't heard anything about it until then.
Abby downplayed Kevin's concerns, discounting him as a fantasy writer with a crazy imagination who found conspiracies in everything. Stitch was concerned that Abby could be a target if the killer was still out there, and he promised to watch her back. "Just my back?" she amorously asked. They kissed, and she started to take off his shirt. He suggested they go somewhere less public, but she questioned what the fun would be in that.
Abby rubbed Stitch's shoulders to thank him for being her bodyguard, and he suggested they do something special that night. She was surprised, since he'd seemed remote the last couple of days, starting at the merger party. She recalled that they'd been talking about her mom, and he'd taken off like he'd been trying to avoid telling Abby something, but she assumed it had all been in her head. Stitch revealed that Ashley had admitted she had feelings for him.
Abby inquired whether Ashley had said she'd had feelings for Stitch or if she still had feelings for him, and Stitch said it had been in the past tense, but he added that Ashley wasn't over them. Abby worried that she wouldn't be able to look at her mom without thinking that Ashley was lusting after him, and Stitch countered that Ashley wanted Abby to be happy. Abby imagined that it hurt Ashley to see them together, and Stitch explained that he hadn't said anything because he'd wanted to avoid friction. Abby said it changed everything.
Stitch told Abby that it would only change things if they let it, and his encounter with Ashley had been a one-time mistake that he'd never repeat. Abby regretted that she'd hurt Summer and Victoria, and she refused to hurt her mom. Stitch questioned how it could be wrong if they were happy together, and Abby commented that he wouldn't be that persuasive if he weren't cute. They kissed, and Abby said they had to get to work, but she couldn't imagine pretending she didn't know about Ashley's feelings. Stitch said Abby had to keep quiet, or it would make things worse.
At Newman-Abbott, the Jack impostor offered to explain his latest decision to Ashley, but she was livid that he wanted her to have a meeting with Chelsea about the two new fashion lines. Ashley demanded to know why Jack was rewarding Chelsea and giving in to Gabriel, and she reminded Jack that he'd promised he wouldn't blindside her. Ashley declared that she was done trying to support Jack and the merger, but Jack said he wanted her to take a more active role where Chelsea and Gabriel were concerned, since there was a method to Jack's madness. "Is that so?" Victor inquired from the doorway.
Ashley mentioned that Jack had told her about Nikki's intervention, and she expressed sympathy for Victor. Victor appreciated her support, and he asked for a word alone with Jack, but Jack insisted that Ashley stay. Jack revealed that he had a bad feeling about Gabriel's intentions, and he wanted to get to the bottom of it, so he'd decided to stand behind Chelsea's fashion lines in order to keep an eye on Gabriel. Jack realized that Chelsea was late for their meeting, and Ashley offered to handle it, since she was finally in the loop about what Jack really wanted.
Ashley promised to be a dutiful sister, but she warned Jack that he couldn't keep playing the family card then make lousy decisions. Ashley vowed to fight Jack if he took their father's company in the wrong direction, and she walked off. Victor asked "what the hell" Marco thought he was doing, and he asked why Marco had shown up at the intervention. Marco crowed about his brilliant performance, and Victor conceded that at least the impostor had done his homework. Marco revealed that he'd known what he was talking about, since he'd lived through addiction himself.
Victor thought Marco had kept his addiction hidden well, and Marco explained that he'd never been a drug user, but a woman he'd loved had been. Marco revealed that the local scum had already hooked the woman on drugs when he'd met her in a small village, and Victor scoffed at the idea that a drug kingpin like Marco hadn't ultimately been responsible for her addiction. Marco insisted that the woman had been beautiful and pure, and he recalled that he'd helped her escape from her addiction, but his enemies had tracked him down. Victor guessed that Marco had abandoned the woman, and Marco confirmed that he'd left her and that he had no idea where she was, but he'd done what he'd needed to do to protect her.
Adam greeted Chelsea in the hallway outside their penthouses, and he noted with mock surprise that she still lived there. She pointed out that it hadn't been that long since she'd seen him, and she wondered if he'd been waiting for her to show up. He joked that everyone needed a hobby, and he inquired whether she'd been too busy to return his calls. Chelsea referred to working full-time and being a single parent, and Adam offered to watch Connor once in a while. She said she had a busy day planned, but he asked her to hear him out about why Adam wouldn't be the only great love of her life.
Chelsea let "Gabriel" into her home and gave him two minutes to make his case, and she began counting down. He remembered seeing her across the Athletic Club and thinking she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, and they'd had an immediate connection that had existed ever since. He thought they should embrace what happened when they were together instead of fighting it, and he rattled off his positive qualities. Adam argued that they were good friends and fantastic lovers already, and he would love to walk through life with her and be there for her and Connor if she'd let him. He asked how much time he had left, and a clearly enchanted Chelsea granted him half a minute. He pulled her into a passionate kiss, but he informed her that he needed more than 30 seconds for what he had in mind, and she hoped so.
After Adam and Chelsea made love, he asked if he'd proven his point, and she conceded that they had a connection, but it would take a long time for him to be anything close to what Adam had meant to her. He thought she was at least leaving the door open to the possibility, but she said she hesitated to make any promises. Adam said he could see how Chelsea felt about her ex-husband when she talked about him, and he knew he couldn't take Adam's place, but there was one thing he could do that Adam hadn't been able to -- be a man who would never leave her. He swore there would be no lies or omissions, and he pledged to be there for her and Connor.
Adam continued that he had no family, so Chelsea wouldn't have to deal with a tyrant father or meddling siblings, and he implored her to believe that no one would get between them. She suddenly realized she was late for a meeting, and she ran upstairs to get dressed. There was a knock at the door, and Ashley couldn't help but stare when a shirtless Adam answered. Ashley said she was there to check on things because Chelsea hadn't shown up for their meeting, and Adam confessed that he'd sidetracked Chelsea, who was upstairs getting changed. Ashley warned him against mixing business with pleasure, but he assured her that it wouldn't be a problem to stay objective on the job.
Ashley recognized that Gabriel had started pursuing Chelsea before he'd worked at Jabot, and she questioned whether it had been love at first sight. Ashley said she was a little jealous, since no one had ever thrown away an inheritance for her like he had for Chelsea, even though he had broken Billy's heart in the process. Adam contended that it had worked out for everyone, since Billy would find his way back to Victoria, and Abby was with Stitch. Ashley countered that everyone was happy but her, since she was still treading water at work. Adam asserted that Jack had made the best decisions for the company, and Victor only cared about the bottom line. Ashley noted that he sounded like he'd known his bosses forever, and Chelsea appeared and apologized for missing the meeting.
Adam departed, and Ashley said she and Chelsea needed to sort out some things. Chelsea understood that Ashley resented the fashion lines getting priority, and Ashley said she had accepted Jack's decision, but she intended to keep an eye on how Chelsea spent the huge budget. Chelsea suspected that Ashley wanted to ensure the new lines failed, since the end of Abbott-Newman would mean the resurrection of Jabot, but Ashley contended that it wasn't worth going to war over. Ashley warned Chelsea to keep her professional and personal lives separate, and Chelsea was determined to prove Jack had been right to have faith in her.
At Newman-Abbott, Jack told Gabriel that he'd gone to great lengths to make everyone comfortable with the merger, and he mentioned that he'd told Ashley how important Chelsea was to the company. Jack pushed Gabriel to make peace with Billy, but Adam refused to do it, and he contemplated what would happen if Billy found out who he really was. Jack pointed out that not long before, no one would have believed Jack and Victor would become allies, and Adam commented that he knew how much Jack wanted to take Victor down. Adam added that no one wanted to see his father go down in flames more than he did, and Marco covered his reaction to uncovering Gabriel's true identity.
Jack advised Adam to play it smart, since Adam cared about Chelsea, and Adam grumbled that he had to compete against himself for her heart. Adam said it had been difficult to start over as Gabriel, but it had been worth it, and he'd give anything to be Chelsea's husband again. Jack warned that weakness led to bad decisions, and the last thing Adam should do was tell Chelsea who he really was. Adam confided that he'd been close, but Chelsea still blamed him for Delia's accident and held him responsible for keeping his part in it a secret.
Jack urged Adam to consider how Chelsea would feel if she learned Adam had been keeping another huge secret from her for months, and Adam was certain that pretending to be Gabriel was the only way to get her back. Jack was determined for both men to get what they wanted, and Adam told Jack to give him the word when it was time to rip the company away from Victor.
Stitch and Abby arrived at work, and Ashley said she wanted Hex back on the market more than ever. Ashley pleasantly asked if the couple had done something fun on their morning off, and Abby downplayed it as nothing special, but Stitch mentioned they'd lounged on the club rooftop. Ashley said it sounded wonderful, and Abby blurted out that she couldn't pretend she didn't know Ashley had feelings for Stitch. Ashley chided Stitch for saying something when he'd said he wouldn't, and she thought Abby had gotten upset for nothing.
Abby pushed Ashley to talk about it if she was jealous, but Ashley asked to talk to Stitch alone. Abby agreed to leave, but she stressed that the discussion wasn't finished. After Abby stepped out, Ashley blasted Stitch for creating more drama, but as she walked past him, a bottle of prescription pills clattered to the floor. Stitch picked them up and read the label, and she claimed it was for her headaches. He noted that it was serious medication, and he questioned what was really going on, but she told him to stop looking for trouble.
Adam returned to Chelsea's penthouse, and he remarked that Ashley hadn't seemed out for blood. Chelsea noted that the way Ashley had looked at him had left no respect for his personal space, and he asked if Chelsea was jealous. Chelsea noted that Ashley could get territorial, and Adam promised he wouldn't let Ashley get her hands on him. He swore that Chelsea didn't have to worry about anyone, since he'd met with Jack, who had agreed to protect her from Billy and Ashley. Chelsea was glad Jack valued Gabriel's opinion, and Adam commented that Jack understood him much more than Victor ever had. Chelsea thought he sounded like Adam.
At the Athletic Club, Victor learned during a call from the island authorities that there had been no trace of Jack, and an officer informed him that Jack had likely stowed away on an unregistered ship. Victor envisioned the head of the Abbott family hidden amongst heroin and cocaine, and he ordered his minion to find Jack. The officer explained that the smugglers didn't want to attract attention, but his men knew the paths the boats would take, and they'd chase them to Peru. Victor perked up at the mention of Peru, and he snickered as he hung up.
Marco tracked down Victor at the club, but Victor claimed he had an appointment. Marco announced that he had the news Victor had been waiting for, since he knew who Gabriel Bingham really was.