In the dining room at the Genoa City Athletic Club, Neil and Nikki discussed life pressures and methods each were employing to cope with alcoholism. Neil recalled his conversation with Hilary in the elevator. Nikki told Neil that the mistrust and suspicion he was internalizing seemed disconcerting to her. Neil said, "There was nothing sinister about it. All we did was clear the air. I assure you that I'm not going to lose it over that wedding."
Neil picked up on Nikki's distress and inquired about her level of emotional stability. Nikki sighed and said, "It's Victor. What he expects of me. It's about to make me want to take a drink." Nikki explained that though she and Victor had grown closer, she feared he might pressure her to return home. Nikki sighed heavily, and Neil grew defensive on her behalf.
Nikki asked Neil how he could face living in his apartment without Hilary. Neil explained that he'd lived in his apartment before Hilary had entered his life, and he vowed not to allow Devon or Hilary to become a distraction. Neil confidently added, "I am the one in control." Neil warned Nikki not to return to the ranch until she was ready. He encouraged Nikki to remain steadfast and insisted she not allow Victor to exert control over her emotions.
At the Genoa City Athletic Club's rooftop pool, Hilary was finalizing her wedding plans during a meeting with Lily. Hilary was distracted and couldn't concentrate on what Lily was saying. Hilary remembered her conversation with Neil when the pair had been stuck in hotel's elevator. Neil had told Hilary that she and Devon could make their relationship work. Neil had insisted that the key to making her marriage work with Devon was that they'd have to always be honest with each other.
On the other side of the pool, Devon asked Cane if he knew where Colin was. Cane replied, "I assume he's out having fun with that cash he won from you the other night, so he's probably causing some unsuspecting soul some trouble." Devon mumbled, "Sounds like him. That's what he's best at." When Hilary and Lily approached, Cane quickly made an excuse to leave. Lily took notice of Cane's quick departure.
Lily and Hilary asked Devon to narrow down the menu selections, choose a photographer, and settle on music for the bride and groom's first dance. Hilary added, "This will be a song we'll remember for the rest of our lives." Devon, overwhelmed, replied, "Stop! I can't handle this right now." After Lily stepped away, Hilary asked Devon to explain why he hadn't been himself since the bachelor party. Devon rattled off excuses and mentioned the elevator incident. Hilary hugged Devon and said that nothing else mattered except their upcoming wedding, so he shouldn't worry.
Later, Lily ran into Devon in the hotel's dining room and asked him if he was having second thoughts about marrying Hilary. Devon, not prefacing his confession with a backstory, said, "There was this girl at my bachelor party. I'm torn up about what happened that night." Devon said he'd drunk Champagne. Devon explained that Colin and "two girls" had remained at the party after Cane and Michael had left.
Devon remorsefully admitted to Lily that one girl had sat on his lap and unbuttoned his shirt. Devon said he could remember the woman leading him into a bedroom, but he couldn't remember what had happened afterward. Devon said when he'd awakened the next morning, the woman had been in his bed. Lily noted that people made mistakes. Devon was perplexed and said he couldn't believe anything had happened with the prostitute because he loved Hilary more than anything.
Lily, wishing to defend Devon, said, "What if the hooker drugged you and made it seem like you guys slept together, so she could get paid." Devon said he'd thought the same thing but acknowledged that he couldn't prove they hadn't had sex. Devon said he was considering confessing to Hilary. Lily recalled what had happened when she'd confessed to Cane about having slept with Joe. Lily advised Devon not mention anything to Hilary. Lily downplayed the matter and said that Devon wasn't even sure he'd had sex with the prostitute and would never see her again.
Cane met with Hilary near the pool after she'd summoned him via text message. Hilary asked Cane what had happened at Devon's bachelor party. She noted that Devon hadn't been himself since that night. Cane said he'd left right after "the girls" had arrived. Cane explained that Colin had invited the prostitutes. Cane assured Hilary that Devon hadn't been interested and that Hilary was the only woman Devon wanted.
Neil saw Cane and Hilary talking, but he stood a short distance away and remained unseen. Cane assured Hilary that everything would return to normal after she and Devon left for their honeymoon. After Cane walked away, Neil approached Hilary and admitted that he'd overheard her conversation with Cane. Neil said that marriage to Hilary would be Devon's first, so he'd naturally feel unsettled. Neil told Hilary that she shouldn't worry. Uneasy, Hilary replied, "That's almost exactly what Devon said earlier." Hilary claimed she was a nervous bride.
Hilary later overheard Lily and Devon having a discussion in the dining area. Hilary heard Devon mention her name, so she approached and asked Devon what he'd wanted to say to her. Devon claimed that he didn't like one of the menu items Hilary had selected. Hilary laughed and said they could easily make a change. She asked if that was Devon's only concern. Devon replied, "That's all it is. It's the food."
Neil sat at a table alone near the pool. He imagined Hilary inadvertently catching a glimpse on his phone of the photo of Devon and the prostitute taken the night of the bachelor party. In the daydream, Hilary angrily approached Devon, removed her engagement ring, and yelled. "Did you think that I wouldn't find out? This wedding is off!" Neil was distracted from his daydream when Cane said, "Neil? Is everything okay?" Neil replied, "It will be."
At the hospital, Ben attempted to save the life of a Marine veteran named James. When the patient's heart stopped beating, Ben called for assistance. A nurse explained that a bus crash had swamped the staff in the emergency department. Ben directly injected epinephrine into the man's heart and used electroshock, but the patient died. After other medical staff left the room, Ben sat beside the deceased man's bed. He promised James that he'd track down James's next of kin and give them his Purple Heart Medal. Ben broke down in tears and cried that he'd failed.
At their hotel room, Abby and Victoria argued about how best to deliver a speech at a conference in order to impress their audience and draw favorable attention to Newman-Abbott. Victoria referred to her notes and stressed the importance of presenting facts and figures. Abby said, "There's no emotion, no humor, and no energy. It's lacking what Dad sent us here to bring -- personality." Victoria noted that she'd given numerous speeches, and she questioned Abby's expertise.
Abby asked Victoria to heed her criticism if she aimed to promote Newman-Abbott. Abby's ideas failed to convince her older sister. Victoria insisted that the chemical engineers and investors they would address expected concrete data and key information. Abby said, "We're not just Victor Newman's daughters. We are the future of this company!" Victoria agreed to share the podium with her exuberant sister.
Later, Victoria and Abby returned to their hotel suite. Victoria said she'd been touched when Abby had related Victor Newman's rags-to-riches story at the conference. Abby said that of all the high moments she'd experience since her promotion, her speech had been her favorite. Abby pointed to Victoria and said, "We were fantastic together!" Victoria agreed and told Abby that she'd proven herself.
In Victor's office, Ashley became combative when Victor questioned her at length about a plot to oust him from his company. Victor referred to the plot as the Paragon Project. Ashley replied, "I am not the mastermind behind some plot to destroy you and take over your company." Ashley also absolved Jack of having taken part in a conspiracy. Victor reminded Ashley that she had conspired against him when she'd accused him of embezzlement. Ashley explained that she'd rectified that mistake. Victor claimed she'd done so only for Abby's sake.
Victor told Ashley that she still considered him to be her enemy. Ashley admitted to wishing that the Abbotts still owned Jabot. She condemned both Victor and Jack for having escalated matters to the point of Jack ending up critically injured by a bullet wound. Ashley insisted that she had no plans to launch a vindictive assault. Nikki entered and asked what was going on. Frustrated, Ashley cried that the merger would never work because her family and the Newmans couldn't trust each other. Ashley left.
Victor refused to elaborate to Nikki about his argument with Ashley. Victor said he and Nikki should focus on themselves. Nikki said she knew Victor wanted her to move back to the ranch, but she told him she couldn't. Nikki said she loved Victor, but she needed more time apart from him. Victor seemed at a loss for words and replied, "Nikki." She rudely interrupted and asked Victor not to pressure or manipulate her into changing her mind.
Victor claimed he'd actually called on her to discuss their donation to the rehab facility that had helped with her recovery. Nikki was elated and said she felt sheepish for having been so curt with him. Victor replied, "You shouldn't feel sheepish at all. I understand why you jumped to those conclusions." Victor walked over to Nikki and said, "I want you to come home. It's damn lonely without you. I don't like it."
Nikki told Victor she wanted more time to rebuild her confidence. Victor begged her not to take too long. Nikki embraced Victor and said, "I miss you, more than you know." The couple kissed. After Nikki left, Victor phoned his maid, Bonnie, and told her not to prepare the dinner or the floral arrangements because Nikki wouldn't be returning home. After the call ended, Victor seemed deeply saddened.
Ben tried to phone Abby, but she was unavailable, so he left a message. He sat at the poolside bar and tried to unwind. Ashley arrived, sat beside Ben, and noticed that something was wrong. Ben said that his patient had died. He added, "I'm questioning whether I should be a doctor at all. When I was patching people up in the field, usually shorthanded, I basically felt useless. Today reminded me of that." Ashley reminded Ben that his patient had neglected his health far too long.
Supportively, Ashley insisted that Ben had done his best and given his patient the compassion he'd sought. Ashley assured Ben that Abby would agree. Ben said he wouldn't be discussing what had happened with Abby. Ben added, "I can't talk to her the way I talk to you. I don't want to burden her with my issues." Ashley locked eyes with Ben and said, "You could never be a burden -- not to anyone."
After Abby listened to Ben's message, her mood dampened. Victoria offered to leave, so Abby could return Ben's call, but Abby noted that he hadn't said why he'd phoned. Abby asked Victoria if she and Ben had discussed serious matters during their relationship. Victoria said they had. She recalled that Ben had faced difficult circumstances at the time because his ex-wife, Jenna, had refused to let him see their son. Abby asked about Ben's military service. Victoria said she knew that Ben had experienced survivor's guilt.
Abby noted that Ben wouldn't open up to her. Abby said, "I don't know if he thinks I'm too young or supercilious. I don't tend to ask because I'm not up to hearing it. Maybe I'm out of my depth with him." Victoria said that Abby sounded afraid. Abby admitted she was afraid because she loved Ben and didn't want to lose him. Victoria encouraged Abby to return home to Ben immediately.
Break out the bug spray
In Paris, Adam arrived at Chelsea's hotel room and rambled that he hadn't been able to wait any longer for an answer. She asked if he had any idea what time it was, and he recognized that it was late, but he'd given her the entire day to think about settling down and starting over in Paris. Chelsea said it had been all she'd been able to think about, and her answer was no. Adam pointed out that she'd admitted that she wanted to be with him, and he assured her that they'd have an amazing life with no regrets about anything they'd left behind if she just gave them a chance.
Chelsea declared that it was what she intended to do, but she wasn't ready to make a permanent move. She suggested that they live the dream for a few days or a week, and Adam was confident that it would be enough time to convince her that they could be happy there. He proposed that they start by going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but she said she didn't want to act like tourists, and their dream had been to be a normal family. Chelsea insisted that Adam didn't have to impress her, and he agreed not to do anything extravagant. She held up the gift bag he'd carried in with him, and he clarified that it wasn't for her.
Adam explained that it was Connor's birthday present, and he noted that celebrating the boy's birthday together would be a normal family thing to do. Chelsea went to see if Connor was awake, and Adam excitedly smiled when he spotted the baby blanket he'd bought for Connor years before. Chelsea carried Connor in and helped the tot open Adam's gift, and she found a soccer jersey inside. Chelsea said Connor could wear it when he played with the soccer ball he'd anonymously received the prior year, and she suddenly realized Adam had sent the ball. Adam admitted he'd been watching her.
Chelsea asked if Adam meant he'd been stalking her, and Adam explained that he'd still been recovering, so he'd sent someone dressed as a clown to deliver Connor's gift and to take a video of the boy. Adam said he'd wanted to share the important milestones in his son's life, and Chelsea wondered if he was talking about more than just the birthday party. Adam revealed that he'd seen Connor learn to walk and talk, and she guessed he'd hidden the camera in Connor's nursery. Adam reasoned that it had been the only way to stay connected to his son, but Chelsea realized Adam had seen Billy getting closer to her and Connor, and Adam wanted her to understand why he'd done it.
Adam explained that he hadn't been able to stop thinking about the precious time he'd been losing, but he hadn't been able to return home. He implored Chelsea to think about what it would be like to be separated from her child, and he begged her to understand why he'd needed to see Connor when he hadn't been able to be with his son. Chelsea said she understood, but she couldn't forgive Adam. Adam recounted that it hadn't been easy to see Billy taking his place, and Chelsea argued that she'd thought Adam had been dead.
Adam assured Chelsea that he didn't blame her, and he'd seen that she'd tried to keep him alive in Connor's heart and her own. He continued that it had given him hope when he'd seen her holding Connor's blanket, and he'd seen the same love in her eyes on the video feed that he saw at that moment. Connor happily squawked, and Chelsea said they shouldn't ignore the birthday boy. Adam suggested that they get the party started, and Chelsea agreed that it was time to wipe the slate clean and start a new year full of possibilities.
Adam and Chelsea wished Connor a happy birthday over a large cake, and Adam called Connor "son." Adam quickly apologized, but Chelsea replied that Connor was his son. They took a silly photo of the three of them together.
On the Athletic Club rooftop, Stitch ordered another drink, and Ashley warned him not to do something stupid by drinking too much. He pushed the drink aside and wondered what to do next, and she urged him to stop blaming himself for things that hadn't been his fault. Stitch conceded that it hadn't been the first time he'd lost a patient, but Ashley understood that the loss was harder because the man had been a veteran. She pointed out that his friend had been headed for a fall, but Stitch had given him a soft place to land, and she encouraged Stitch to go home and get some sleep.
Ashley recognized Stitch's need to mourn the life of the man he'd lost, but she hoped Stitch could find a way to celebrate the lives of the people he'd saved, including hers. Ashley reached for Stitch's hand, and Abby suddenly appeared and asked what she'd missed. Ashley said she and Stitch had just been talking, and she asked Abby about the conference. Abby bragged about how she'd convinced Victoria to incorporate her ideas into their presentation, and Ashley offered to hear all about it in the office the next day.
Ashley prepared to leave, and Stitch thanked her for the advice. After Ashley departed, Abby mentioned that it had sounded like something was wrong on his message, and Stitch vaguely stated that it had been a rough day. Abby pressed him to tell her what he was thinking and feeling, but he snapped that it wasn't that easy. Abby noted that he'd had no problem confiding in Ashley or Victoria, and she wondered why he couldn't open up to her.
Stitch said Abby had been hyped about her job, and he hadn't wanted to ruin her positivity. She stressed that hearing about his bad day would make her feel like part of his life, and she wanted them to share both the good and the bad. He said he hadn't meant to shut her out, and she reminded him that he'd been there for her, so she wanted to be there for him, too. He explained that there was sadness and heartache in his line of work, and sometimes he wanted an escape from it. Abby griped that he made her sound like a distraction from what was really important in his life, and she'd thought she meant more to him than that.
Abby dared Stitch to say that he considered her to be an empty-headed plaything to help him forget about his issues, and she urged him to tell her about what was going on so she could help. Stitch asked her to tell him why his patient had survived the war only to succumb to a stupid infection, and he testily inquired whether she could give the veteran the happy ending he'd deserved. Abby said she was sorry, and Stitch apologized for being unfair. He confided that he was really angry and frustrated about what had happened, and she reached for his hand and asked him to go downstairs with her.
In their hotel suite, Abby asked if Stitch was still thinking about his patient, and Stitch explained that James had also served in Afghanistan, so they'd had a connection. Stitch added that James hadn't trusted doctors or hospitals, and he'd gotten James to accept treatment, but it had been too late. Abby softly said that it hadn't been Stitch's fault, and she held him close. She began unbuttoning his shirt, and they fell onto the bed.
At the Abbott mansion, Phyllis stared at the photo of Marco in the green golf vest, and Jack vowed not to let Marco get near her again. She pointed out that Marco was just as dangerous to Jack, but Jack assured her that they had nothing to worry about, since the authorities and Victor's team were combing the city for Marco. Jack added that Marco knew there was nothing waiting for him in Genoa City but a jail cell, but Phyllis countered that Marisa was there. Jack insisted that Marisa wasn't the enemy, but Phyllis wasn't as sure.
Jack insisted that they could trust Marisa, and he recalled that she'd honestly been terrified when she'd thought he was Marco. Phyllis reminded Jack that she'd seen Marisa at his hospital bedside, and it had been clear that the two shared a deep connection, but she questioned how deep it was. Phyllis pointed out that a man pretending to be him had deceived her for months, and she'd never fully connected with Marco, but she believed Jack and Marisa had formed an emotional bond. Phyllis dared Jack to look into her eyes and tell her that nothing had happened between him and Marisa.
Jack explained that he and Marisa had helped one another to survive, and he credited her with getting him home. Phyllis lectured that women like Marisa didn't do anything unless there was something in it for them, but Jack stressed that Marisa had known he'd fought way back to be with Phyllis. Phyllis wondered why Marisa was still in town, and Jack swore that he wasn't the reason. Phyllis was skeptical that nothing had happened during the weeks that Jack and Marisa had depended on one another, and Jack couldn't believe that Phyllis thought he'd been unfaithful to her. Phyllis assumed that he was implying that she'd been unfaithful to him, and she stormed out.
Later, Jack left a voicemail for Phyllis, asking her to call him or meet him at home. Ashley entered and apologized for overhearing, and she asked if Jack wanted to talk about it. Jack said Phyllis just needed some space, and Ashley informed him that Victor had accused her of being the mastermind behind a secret plot. Jack grumbled that Victor was using the Paragon Project as a diversionary tactic to attempt to justify the rotten things he'd done to Jack and Phyllis, and Ashley questioned what Victor had done to Phyllis. Jack covered by saying that Victor had almost made Phyllis a widow, but Ashley thought both Jack and Victor knew more than they were saying.
Jack said he knew as much about the plot against Victor as Ashley did, but a scheme designed to hurt Victor's family or company had been enough justification for Victor to do the terrible things he'd done. Ashley contemplated whether someone had gone after Victor to ensure that Victor retaliated against Jack, and Jack thought Victor had felt very threatened to go to such lengths to eliminate Jack. Jack realized that the person behind Paragon had wanted Jack and Victor to destroy one another, so the culprit could gain control of both companies and start something new. Ashley compared it to a phoenix rising from the ashes, and Jack stared at the newspaper headline about Marco and mumbled that it was the only thing that made any sense.
In the Athletic Club dining room, Marisa looked at the newspaper headline about Marco still being at large. Across the room, Mariah covertly reported to Kevin over the phone that Marisa was waiting for dinner. Mariah asked if Detective Harding had been doing anything weird, and Kevin mentioned that Harding had run a lot of personal errands. Harding stepped out, and Kevin quickly ended the call and entered the chief's office. Harding returned and headed toward the office door.
Kevin swiped a piece of paper off the desk as Harding walked in, and Harding asked what Kevin was doing in there. Kevin covered by referring to a file he'd dropped off with a list of bank accounts maintained by the officers who had been on duty while Victor had been in custody. Harding gruffly showed Kevin out, and he grabbed his keys and left the station. Kevin pulled the paper from his pocket and was baffled to find a list of survival gear.
Marisa stopped by Mariah's table to say hello, but she remarked that it didn't seem to be Mariah's kind of place, and Mariah claimed that she'd treated herself to a nice dinner on her night off. Marisa acknowledged that they'd gotten off on the wrong foot, but she thought Mariah and Kevin had been right to go to the police. Marisa wished Mariah a good night and went upstairs to her room. Mariah followed and grabbed a glass from a room service tray to try to listen through Marisa's door.
Mariah scampered away when Phyllis entered the corridor, and Phyllis knocked on Marisa's door. Phyllis brusquely greeted Marisa and introduced herself as Jack's wife, and Marisa said she knew who Phyllis was. Phyllis recalled that Marisa had lied about that at the hospital, and Marisa defended that she'd been protecting Jack. Marisa swore she didn't know where Marco was, and Phyllis conceded that Jack believed Marisa, even though Marisa had lied to Phyllis, Noah, and the police. Marisa pointed out that she'd never lied to Jack, but she'd helped him to escape and nursed him back to health. Phyllis demanded to know everything about Marisa's relationship with Jack.
Marisa acknowledged that she and Jack had been in a desperate situation together, but that had been all, and Phyllis wondered what kind of help Marisa had given him. Marisa replied that it had been enough to expect some gratitude for risking her life to save Phyllis' husband, and Phyllis groused that she'd been playing house with a stranger when it had happened. Marisa expressed sympathy, and Phyllis explained that she just wanted her life back, since she'd revealed intimate parts of herself to a man who had wanted Jack dead. Marisa assured her that there had been no way Phyllis could have known Marco had been an impostor, but Phyllis thought a wife should have been able to tell the difference.
Marisa recalled that Jack had told her about Phyllis' fiery temper, and Phyllis admitted that Marisa and Jack hadn't deserved to be on the losing end of it, since she was angry at herself for being blind and stupid. Marisa reiterated that there had been no way for Phyllis to have known the truth, but Phyllis thought there had been many signs that she'd chosen not to see. Marisa called herself a fool because she'd known who Marco was, but she'd convinced herself that he'd been her savior, and she'd trusted him repeatedly even after he'd double-crossed her. Marisa explained that Marco hadn't hurt her the way he'd hurt Phyllis, but he was a cruel man who was nothing like Jack. Marisa added that her relationship with Jack had centered around one thing -- his desire to get home to his beloved wife.
Marisa encouraged Phyllis not to be too hard on herself, and Phyllis asked how long it had taken Marisa to figure out that Jack hadn't really been Marco. Marisa said Jack had told her the truth before she'd discovered the ruse, so it hadn't been the same thing. Phyllis imagined that Marisa would have guessed it eventually, but Marisa contended that Marco was devious, while Jack didn't have it in him, and only one of the men had a soul. Phyllis agreed, and she thanked Marisa for helping Jack to get back home.
Kevin watched Harding in the park, and Harding checked his phone and walked off. Kevin cautiously followed, but Harding appeared behind him and clucked that Kevin was terrible at surveillance. Harding didn't believe it was a coincidence that Kevin was there, and Kevin confessed that he'd been following Harding, since Harding had been acting suspiciously ever since Kevin and Mariah had told him that Marco was connected to the murders.
Kevin complained that Harding had assigned him nothing but busy work to shut him out of the investigation, but Harding reasoned that Kevin wasn't a cop. Harding advised Kevin to get to the office and leave the real work to the professionals, but Kevin accused Harding of dragging his heels in the search for Marco. Harding insisted that a thorough investigation took time, but Kevin pulled out Harding's list of survival supplies and questioned why Harding needed them.
Kevin thought Harding had become awfully quiet, and he thought the detective might be chattier with the police chief. Harding reminded Kevin that Paul was away on sick leave, and Mariah interrupted them. Harding ridiculed their attempt at covert operations, and he threatened to lock them in a cell and throw away the key if they didn't stop. Kevin warned that it was his duty to report police misconduct, since the supplies Harding had purchased looked like a misappropriation of funds, but Harding claimed that he was going camping, and he'd had the vacation time approved weeks before.
Harding stalked off, and Kevin and Mariah agreed that they didn't buy a word of Harding's story. Mariah told Kevin that all she'd learned from her efforts was that Marisa wasn't a vegetarian, but she thought Kevin hadn't done any better by setting off Harding's suspicions. She wondered how they'd get any information out of Harding, and Kevin instructed her to break out the bug spray, since they were going camping.
Harding entered the Abbott cabin with a flashlight, and he identified himself as a police officer. He told someone to freeze, and he beamed the light in Marco's face. "Are you going to shoot me, detective?" Marco asked.
Austin and Courtney's murderer is revealed
At Newman-Abbott, Victoria informed Victor that she and Abby had knocked their presentation at the conference out of the park, and she thought he would have been proud. He replied that he'd known his daughters would work well together, but he scolded her for not staying out of town to avoid the possible danger. Victoria declared that the Newmans faced things head-on, and Victor said he would agree under normal circumstances, but there had been threats from many angles.
Victor informed Victoria about the coup someone had staged against him and his company, but he hadn't found out who had been behind it. She thought he had a theory, and he was certain that it had been one of the Abbotts, since he couldn't imagine who else would want to destroy his family and his company. Victor revealed that he'd checked Jack's every move over the past couple of years, but both Jack and Ashley had denied any involvement. Victor didn't think Traci or Abby would resort to such tactics, and Victoria realized her father thought Billy was behind the plan.
Victoria insisted that there was no way Billy would plot against them, but Victor reminded her that Billy had done it before. She asked if Victor's real intention was to drive a wedge between her and Billy, and he conceded that he wasn't happy about Billy becoming part of her life again. Victoria assured Victor that she and Billy were taking things slowly, but Victor barked that it wouldn't fix what was wrong with Billy. Victoria got up to leave, but Victor stressed that there was a threat against their company and their family, and he needed everyone's help to deal with it. Victor demanded to know whether Victoria was with him or "that loser."
Victoria refused to allow Victor to force her to choose between her family and Billy, but Victor said she couldn't choose them both. Victoria maintained that Billy would never hurt someone she loved, but Victor pointed out that Billy had accused him of embezzlement. Victor suggested she find proof that Billy was innocent, and Victoria incredulously questioned whether Victor wanted her to spy on Billy. She contended that she wouldn't risk rebuilding her life with Billy by going behind his back, but Victor warned that she was sinking into the hole made by "Billy Boy" Abbott. Victoria huffed that Victor was bouncing off the walls to protect his family, and she was doing the same thing by protecting her own family.
At the Abbott mansion, Billy asked what Jack had wanted to talk about, but Jack was surprised when Phyllis suddenly returned. She admitted that she'd acted first and thought later, but she'd decided that she was married to the most wonderful man in the world. Jack and Phyllis kissed, and Billy offered to leave, but Jack said he needed some answers about the Paragon Project first. Billy asked whether it was a new science-fiction movie, but Jack disclosed that it was a plot to take down "the Moustache" that had Victor's paranoia in overdrive. Billy said he had no idea what it was, but he was happy to sign up to take the guy down.
Jack agreed that he wanted to see Victor get his comeuppance, but he'd had nothing to do with the Paragon Project. Jack explained that although someone had planned a strike against Newman, the Abbotts also stood to be hurt because the companies had merged. Billy asked why they were still in business with Victor, and Jack claimed that they couldn't back out of a signed deal, so they had to live with it. Billy wondered what Jack wasn't telling him, and he appealed to Phyllis to tell him the whole story. She stated that they were doing what they needed to do to survive, but Billy demanded to know if Victor had something on Jack.
Jack swore that cooperating with Victor was the smart thing to do to stop a hostile faction from decimating both families, but Billy wondered how they were supposed to stop it from happening when they didn't know who the mastermind behind it was. Billy groaned that the timing couldn't be worse, since he and Victoria had been making strides toward a reconciliation. Phyllis questioned when Victoria had become more open to a reunion, but Billy was adamant that Victoria wasn't playing him just to get information. Jack noted that Victoria sometimes played off the book, but Billy insisted that she was her own person.
Jack pointed out that Victoria had spied on Jabot before, and Phyllis added that Victoria was loyal to Victor, so they couldn't trust her. Billy refused to listen and stalked out, and Jack grumbled that Victor had managed to divide them even more. Phyllis thought it wasn't helping to withhold the whole truth from Billy, but Jack anticipated that Billy would sic the cops on Victor, who would retaliate by turning Jack in. Phyllis wanted to fight back, and Jack prepared to confront Victor, but Phyllis said he couldn't do it without her.
Jack called Victor and asked to meet in the park, and he told Phyllis it was all set. She asked if Jack had told her everything about Marco, and Jack realized that she might know more than she thought. Jack wondered if Marco had ever slipped by saying something about Paragon or the plan of attack, but she couldn't think of anything, since she and Marco had only talked about everyday things, like sports cars and golf. Jack continued to push her to think of anything that Marco had mentioned, but she snapped that they'd barely had words, since all Marco had cared about had been getting her into bed. Jack admitted that he shouldn't have gone down that path, and she suggested they find Victor.
In the park, Phyllis complained that Victor was late, and Jack urged her not to let Victor control the situation. She pledged to never give up control again, and Victor approached and called it a nice evening for a stroll. Jack hoped Victor was unarmed, and the men showed off the inside of their suit jackets, which were empty. Phyllis ranted that there was a psychopath out there who seemed to consider murder a sport, and she suggested they focus and catch him, or they could be his next targets.
Jack proposed that they put their differences aside and concentrate on the man who was a danger to all of them, and he asked if Victor's men had seen any signs of Marco. Victor reported that there had been nothing so far, and Phyllis testily noted that Victor had been able to find Marco in a Peruvian prison based only on a false suspicion. Victor said he'd since learned he'd been wrong, and Phyllis questioned whether she at least deserved an apology from him for putting a criminal in her bed.
Victor said he regretted what Marco had done to Phyllis, but Phyllis asked if that was Victor's only apology for allowing Marco into their lives. Victor replied that he'd had his reasons, but Jack pointed out that Victor had accepted that Jack hadn't had any part in the coup. Jack added that the plot had been launched against Victor, but it had since encompassed the Abbott family, too, so they were all in the line of fire.
Billy stopped by to see Victoria at the office, and she agreed to make an exception and take a break for him. They kissed, and he asked why he got special treatment. She replied that he was special, and she bemoaned that it was hard to take things slowly, but she wanted to do it the right way. Billy said she had no idea how much he wanted that, too, and he asked if he could leave a file with her to give to Jack. Billy said he would see her the next day, and they kissed goodbye. He looked back from the doorway as she set the file aside.
Later, Billy returned and caught Victoria holding the file he'd left behind. He accused her of not being able to resist looking in the folder to see if there was anything she could pass along to Victor, and she asked if Billy thought she was spying on him. Billy ranted that he'd thought they'd been putting their relationship back together, but she'd only slept with him to find out if he was out to trash Newman. She demanded to know why he'd think that, and he asked why she had the file. She explained that she'd spilled coffee on it, and she was furious that he thought she would use him like that.
Billy defended that he'd known Victor would ask Victoria to dig for information, and it was hard for her to say no, but Victoria asserted that she had refused to play along because she hadn't wanted to jeopardize what she'd thought she and Billy had been building. Billy looked at the coffee-stained file and realized he'd misjudged the situation, but she angrily clarified that he'd misjudged her. Billy pointed out that they'd both snooped for their families before, but Victoria countered that she'd known he wouldn't do anything to hurt her, and she'd thought he'd known the same thing about her.
Billy divulged that Jack and Phyllis had put ideas in his head, and he'd wanted to prove them wrong. Victoria relayed that she'd shot Victor down when he'd suspected the same thing about Billy, but she wondered why Billy had needed to put her to the test. He called himself a moron, and he suggested they start over, but she didn't know if she could make the mistake of giving him a second chance again.
In the park, Mariah griped to Kevin that she didn't do camping, and she pointed out that Detective Harding had just called Kevin out on shadowing him. Kevin was sure he and Mariah could be stealthier, but she told him to leave her out of it, and she stalked off.
Later, at Crimson Lights, Kevin thanked Paul for meeting him and Mariah, and Paul was grateful for an excuse to get out of the house. Paul asked Mariah to give them some privacy, but Kevin said there was no need, since Mariah knew everything. Kevin mentioned the camping trip that Harding was going on, and Paul seemed surprised that the detective was taking time off, but he conceded that vacation requests blurred together. Kevin thought the timing was suspicious, but Paul chalked up Kevin's concerns to the bad blood between Kevin and Harding. Mariah found it odd that a killer was on the loose, but the lead detective wanted to go fishing.
Paul acknowledged that Harding had exercised poor judgment by taking a vacation when the police should be putting in extra hours to get Marco, but he scolded Kevin for enlisting his girlfriend's help. Kevin and Mariah protested that they were roommates and friends, but Paul sternly told them to stop sticking their noses into things. Mariah defended that it was why they'd called him, but Paul said he needed proof before he could take any action against Harding. Mariah recognized that Paul needed to go through the appropriate channels, but she argued that lives could be at stake if Harding was a dirty cop. Kevin volunteered to pack up his desk the next morning, but Paul said he needed Kevin to make sure the department ran smoothly while Paul investigated Harding.
At the Abbott cabin, Marco questioned whether Harding was going to shoot him. "Don't tempt me," Harding grumbled, and Marco asked if that was any way to greet his partner. Marco groused that he wouldn't feed a dog the food Harding had delivered, and Harding noticed Marco's bruised face and asked if he'd run into a door. Marco revealed that it had been Phyllis' doing, since he'd needed some things from the Abbott house, but he'd been thrilled to see her. Harding warned that taking such risks could end up biting Marco "in the ass," but Marco crowed that money had always managed to get him out of trouble.
In a flashback, Harding had pulled "Jack" over for speeding, but he had been puzzled because he'd just seen Jack at the police station. Marco had said he'd been speeding a bit, but Harding had sensed that something hadn't been right. Marco had guessed that Harding had been living from paycheck to paycheck on a cop's salary, and he had insinuated that Harding had skills that could make him a very wealthy man. Marco proclaimed that it had been a match made in heaven.
Harding reminded Marco that they were at the scene of two crimes, and Marco dared Harding to arrest him. Harding cautioned that Marco's chances of getting nailed would go up exponentially if he stuck around, but Marco replied that Austin had already captured two Jack Abbotts on film. Marco remarked that Austin's death had been unintentional, but the next victim hadn't been. Marco crowed that the world should be thanking them for getting rid of a hack director, and he cracked a sick joke about a bride who hadn't been able to make it to her own wedding because she'd gotten cold feet in the morgue.
Harding snapped that it wasn't funny, since Courtney had only wanted justice for Austin, and Marco was glad that Harding had been there to steer her in the right direction. In a flashback, Courtney had shown Harding footage from the park that had shown Jack knocking out Abby, and she had wondered if Jack had killed Austin. Harding had told her to keep her voice down, since Jack had friends at the precinct, and he had insisted that they needed to arrest Jack right away. Courtney had protested that her own wedding was about to start, but Harding had chided her for letting a perpetrator get away to walk down the aisle on time. He had reminded her of her oath to protect and serve, and he had hurried her out the door before she'd even had a chance to change out of her wedding gown.
Later, Marco had checked at the cabin to ensure that Courtney was dead. Marco called Courtney "one pretty loose end," and he taunted that the police only knew half the story. Harding argued that Courtney had been a person and a cop, and Marco teased him for being sentimental. Marco recalled that they'd almost gotten away with pinning the murders on Tobias, and Harding flashed back to changing the DNA test results to implicate Tobias in the killings.
Harding said he'd done many things he regretted, but he vowed that nobody else would die if he could help it. Marco said there was no backing out after he'd paid Harding a boatload of money, and Harding asked what Marco had planned next. Harding answered a call, and Paul asked where Harding was. Harding claimed he'd requested vacation time, and Paul lectured that Harding should have rescheduled.
Harding complained that he'd really needed a break, but Paul reminded him that he was supposed to be running the department while Paul was on sick leave. Harding fibbed that he'd gotten halfway to the campground before he'd decided to ditch his brother and turn around, so he should be back in about two hours. Paul hoped Harding's brother hadn't been disappointed, and Harding replied that he understood he had responsibilities.
Mariah and Kevin assured Paul that they'd leave the matter in Paul's hands, and Paul warned them not to lift a finger to follow up. After Paul departed, Kevin pulled out his laptop, and Mariah worried that he was using his fingers. Kevin replied that he'd had his other fingers crossed when he'd promised Paul to stay out of it, and he looked up the details of Harding's recent credit card charges. Mariah pointed out that Kevin had already seen the receipt for survival gear, but Kevin said it didn't explain why Harding had purchased 22 frozen dinners for a camping trip.
At the cabin, Marco announced that he wasn't going anywhere, since he intended to stick around to take back Jack's life and Jack's wife. Marco declared that there was one flaw in the police's search -- they were looking for the wrong man. In a series of flashbacks, Harding had deleted the footage on Austin's computer during the Valentine's Day party, but Austin had awakened and confronted Harding, who had bashed Austin over the head with the bookend. Later, Courtney had held a gun on Marco at the cabin, but Harding had clubbed her from behind.
Marco quipped that Harding might want to wash his hands, since he had a lot of blood on them. Harding wished he'd never taken the money, but Marco said he'd only requested that Harding get rid of the documentary, and murder had never been part of the bargain. Harding lamented that it had spun out of control, and he'd only committed the second murder to cover the first. Marco bragged that he owned Harding. "And now you're going help me make my dream for Phyllis and Jack come true," Marco proclaimed with a smirk.
A musical memory
At the Athletic Club, Nikki noticed that Victor was preoccupied, and he told her that he was waiting for information about an urgent matter. She said she'd just been observing and not complaining, and he said he wanted to escort her to Devon's wedding. Nikki stated that she wasn't going, since she figured Neil would need a friend when his ex-wife and son pledged their eternal love.
On the club rooftop, Hilary marveled that the setup for the wedding was perfect, but Devon lovingly gazed at her and said he didn't notice. She told him not flirt with her because her heart was spoken for, and he remarked that the man was lucky, but she replied that she was the lucky one after all she'd done. Devon assured her that no one deserved happiness more than she did, and he hoped he didn't disappoint her. Hilary asserted that they'd be fine as long as they believed in what they had, and Devon said he believed in it more than anything. The couple embraced, and Hilary murmured, "Who says wishes can't come true?" Neil glared at them from afar.
Hilary said she had her final dress fitting soon, but Devon couldn't watch her try it on, since it would ruin their good luck. He sternly stated that he wouldn't let that happen, and she wondered why he was acting so serious. She implored him to talk to her, but he presented her with a beautiful diamond necklace instead. She blurted out that she'd forgotten how rich he was, but he said what was his was hers. She wished she had something for him, but he said all he wanted was for her to kiss him in front of the minister and say, "I do." Colin appeared and asked if it was too soon to kiss the bride.
Colin proclaimed that it was a beautiful day to pledge one's fidelity and eternal love, and he complimented Hilary's necklace and remarked that he'd love to buy something like it for Jill. Hilary mentioned that she hadn't written her vows yet, and Devon said he'd be waiting with the minister the next time he saw her. She removed her necklace to avoid snagging it on her dress, and she agreed to put it back on at the last second. After she departed, Colin ominously stated that the love and trust in the bride's eyes had been shimmering like the necklace, and Devon blasted Colin for not even waiting until after the ceremony to put the squeeze on him. Colin gave Devon the option of telling Hilary that he'd slept with another woman.
In the dining room, Nikki told Neil that she planned to skip the wedding, and Neil sarcastically stated that she'd be missing the deep, heartfelt emotion of the bride and groom's eternal wedded bliss. Nikki lectured that Neil was poisoning himself with his thoughts, and she compared it to chugging a bottle of vodka. She wondered if Neil wanted to be miserable while Devon and Hilary reveled in happiness, and Neil replied that it wasn't how he wanted things at all.
Nikki recalled that Neil had shown her empathy and tough love when she'd been at her lowest, and she asked for the chance to return the favor by getting him through the next few hours. He insisted that he was fine, but she compared it to her being fine in a room with a loaded mini-bar, and she remained concerned about his visions of revenge. Neil admitted that he enjoyed the thoughts of making Devon and Hilary experience the pain and humiliation he still felt when they rubbed their joy in his face, but it didn't mean he would do anything about it.
Later, a frustrated Hilary crumpled up a page she'd written, and Nikki greeted her. Hilary wondered how she could say that she wanted to love someone forever in an honest way without sounding like everyone else who had done it over the centuries, and Nikki recalled that she'd written her own vows several times. Hilary asked for Nikki's help, and Nikki advised her to speak from the heart. Nikki warned Hilary to be careful, and Hilary assumed that she was talking about Neil, but Hilary thought Neil had been dealing with the situation better. Nikki cautioned that Neil was far from fine.
At the club bar, Colin ordered a drink on Devon's tab, and he remarked to Neil that the perks kept rolling in as long as Colin kept his mouth shut. Neil pointed out that he'd already paid Colin for the video, and he couldn't believe Colin had hit Devon up for more cash. Neil warned that pushing too hard might mess things up, and Colin replied that he'd thought that was the point. Neil said it was his own job to do it, and Colin asked if Neil planned to miss Hilary and Devon's happy ending. Neil coldly said no one would miss it.
Hilary followed Nikki's gaze to Colin and Neil talking at the bar, and after Neil stepped away, Nikki excused herself. Nikki greeted Colin and asked what he and Neil had been talking about. Colin vaguely replied that it had been guy stuff. Nikki lectured that Neil had enough going on without Colin needling him, but Colin claimed that he and Nikki were both looking out for a mutual friend, since he and Neil were family through Lily and Cane. Nikki said Neil needed a lot of support that day, and Colin assured her that they were on the same page.
Neil lurked in the dining room, and Hilary approached him. He said she looked beautiful, but he recognized that there wasn't much he could say that wouldn't sound wrong, so he wanted to offer his best wishes and keep moving. She ordered him to stand right there and tell her exactly what he was planning.
Ashley groused to Jack that the park was a horrible place to meet, since she imagined it stirred up memories of his shooting. Jack mentioned that he'd met Victor there the day before without any exchange of bullets, and he'd been emphatic that the Abbotts hadn't had anything to do with the Paragon Project. Jack guessed that Victor had trumped up the scenario to justify what he'd done, but Ashley thought Victor was concerned about his family for a reason. She speculated that the person behind the plot was someone clever and ruthless who knew Victor's weaknesses and how to exploit them -- someone like Gabriel.
Ashley asked if Gabriel had ever mentioned anything about a coup, but Jack thought Gabriel would have recruited him to take part in it. Ashley considered whether Gabriel's hatred for Victor didn't run deep enough, but Jack pointed out that Gabriel blamed Victor for destroying Gabriel's family. Ashley believed that it had taken a lifetime of intense animosity for someone to craft such a devious plot, and she didn't think Gabriel had the finesse. She wanted to get to the office, but Jack said he had something he had to take care of first.
In Paris, Adam opened some Champagne, and Chelsea inquired about the occasion for the bubbly. He declared it was their anniversary, since it had been 21 hours and 17 minutes since they'd taken Connor's birthday photo. They gazed at the silly picture of the three of them sticking their tongues out, and Adam asked if she'd ever seen a happier family. She gushed that she loved it, and she wanted to enjoy every second of forgetting the real world, but she was afraid it hadn't forgotten about them. Adam reminded her that she'd agreed to spend an entire week there, and he had six days left to prove they should stay. They kissed.
Adam presented Chelsea with a photo of a house, and she remarked that it looked like the house they'd bought when they'd first planned to move there. He explained that it had been the closest thing he'd been able to find to their dream home, and the house in the picture was for sale. Chelsea protested that it was an unfair move, but he argued that France had always been their plan, and he begged her to let him fix his mistakes and give her the family and husband she deserved. She pointed out that she'd only agreed to spend one week in Paris, but he countered that even a lifetime wouldn't be enough. He vowed not to give her up without a fight, since they loved one another and could have everything, but she just had to forgive him.
Chelsea thought it felt like an ambush, but Adam countered that the thought of going back to Genoa City and leading separate lives sounded "like hell." He contended that the only way they could be together was to stay there, and he needed her to get over the past. He encouraged her to think about getting their family back, but Connor began to cry, and she left to tend to the boy. Adam answered a call and told Jack it wasn't a good time, but Jack demanded to know how long Adam had been planning the Paragon Project.
Adam said he was with Chelsea, and he wasn't on the payroll anymore, so he had no idea about any project. Jack accused Adam of setting an agenda in motion that had led to Victor hiring Marco, but Adam told Jack to slow down and tell him what was going on. Jack explained that someone had launched an intricate plan to undermine Victor and his company, and Adam argued that if he had been behind it, he wouldn't have run off to France or let it spin out of control. Jack ordered Adam to get home and help find the person behind it, or they'd both get caught in the crossfire. Adam refused to sacrifice the chance to start over with Chelsea, and he didn't plan on ever returning.
As Adam hung up, Chelsea asked who had been on the phone. Adam fibbed that it had been the Realtor, who had offered to show them the house the next day. Chelsea balked, but Adam said it had felt like it had taken a lifetime to get what they'd wanted, and making the impossible happen was wonderful. He added that it could be their last chance, and if they didn't take it, they faced a lesser life filled with "what ifs." Chelsea declared that she had to take the chance, and between kisses, she whispered that she forgave Adam.
At Newman-Abbott, Victor demanded over the phone that his investigators find Marco, and Jack entered and commented that Marco seemed to be one step ahead of Victor. Victor haughtily asked if Jack had been able to do better, and Ashley entered as the men bickered. Victor huffed that it had been a private conversation, and Jack pulled Ashley aside and informed her that Gabriel had sworn that he'd had nothing to do with Paragon, since Gabriel was in Paris and didn't care if he saw Genoa City again. Jack was convinced that the conspiracy only existed in Victor's imagination.
Adam offered Chelsea some more Champagne, and she marveled that they'd be a real family in France. After Adam stepped out to get some food, Chelsea answered a call from Ashley, who said Jack had just told her that Chelsea and Gabriel planned to set up house in Paris. Chelsea wondered how Jack had known, and Ashley reported that Jack had asked Gabriel to return, but Gabriel had refused. Chelsea inquired about the timing of the call, and she realized that Adam had lied to her.
Adam returned and said he'd ordered half the menu, but they had plenty of time to get to it. Chelsea questioned whether he had any regrets about not going back, and she mentioned work. He pointed out that she could work in the fashion capital of the world, but she wondered about friends, since Jack had always been there for him. Adam thought it was better for Jack to pretend Adam didn't exist, and he urged Chelsea to put any second thoughts she was having to rest. Chelsea sadly realized that Adam would give her the world, but he'd never give her the truth.
Chelsea dared Adam to tell her again that the Realtor had been on the phone, since Ashley had called, and Chelsea knew that Adam had refused Jack's request to go back. Adam asserted that his home was there with her and Connor, but she pointed out that she hadn't yet agreed to stay when he'd turned Jack down. Chelsea imagined that Adam had assumed she'd fall into line, and his first instinct was always to lie to make sure he got what he wanted. Adam insisted that they wanted the same thing, but she cried that she'd expected things to be different that time, with no secrets. He said the phone call hadn't meant a thing, and he was looking into the future. Chelsea ranted that the past was still there as long as he was falling into the same bad habits, and she stalked off.
Ashley asked how the rest of Victor and Jack's private conversation had gone, and Victor relayed that they'd discussed that Gabriel hadn't been behind the Paragon Project. Jack insisted that Gabriel would have wanted a front-row seat if he'd been involved, but Gabriel had no interest in returning. Ashley remarked that Gabriel was busy throwing himself at Chelsea's feet, but Chelsea might throw Gabriel right back.
After Ashley left, Victor wondered if Jack had told her about Marco, but Jack swore he hadn't. Victor wished Jack had shown the same restraint with Phyllis, but Jack reiterated that Phyllis had been able to save herself from Marco because she'd known the truth. Victor answered a call, and he covered when Marco pretended to order a pizza. Marco guessed that Jack was there, and he suggested that Victor help him kill Jack, so they could both get what they wanted. Victor said he'd get back to Marco, and he told Jack that the call had been about a business proposition that he had to deal with later.
At the Abbott cabin, Detective Harding plopped a bag full of cash in front of Marco, who had been expecting a gun instead. Harding announced that it was every dollar Marco had paid him, since he was done, and he ordered Marco to get out of town. Marco said his wife needed him, but Harding clarified that Phyllis was Jack's wife, and Marco couldn't con her again. Marco insisted that he had a special connection with her, and he intended to take care of "Red" while Harding got rid of the guy wearing Marco's face.
Harding snapped that he wasn't a hit man, and he refused to get rid of Jack. Marco pointed out that Harding's hands were already dirty from Austin and Courtney's murders, and he needed the same thing to happen with Jack. Harding insisted that Marco take the money and go far away, but Marco hissed that he wasn't going anywhere, and Harding would be the one erased if he didn't handle their problem.
Summer stirred in her sleep next to Kyle in bed, and she dreamed about being at the cabin on the night of Austin's death. She envisioned screaming when she'd found the bloody bookend in her hand, and she woke up with a start. Kyle said she'd been having a dream, but she insisted it had been real.
At Crimson Lights, Kevin found Mariah checking out a gossip site, and she mentioned that Devon and Hilary were getting married. She wondered what Devon had gotten Hilary for a wedding present, and Kevin thought a lifetime supply of trust and affection should be enough. Mariah questioned when he'd started believing in true love, and Kevin asked if she believed in it. Summer and Kyle walked in, and Mariah protested when Summer chugged from Mariah's coffee cup. Summer groaned that she hadn't slept at all, and Kyle reported that she'd been freaked out when she'd woken up after a dream about Austin's death. Summer said it had seemed more like a memory.
Kevin thought Summer was bound to have traumatic dreams, but Summer reiterated that it had been a memory that had been returning one piece at a time, and she had remembered hearing something. Harding eavesdropped as Mariah questioned whether Summer had heard the voice of Austin's killer, and Summer replied that she'd heard something like music, but it had been more like musical notes than a song. Mariah snidely wondered if had been an ice cream truck, and Summer stalked off. Kevin urged Kyle to give Summer some time to figure out what she might know, and Harding slipped out.
Kyle was irritated with Kevin for convincing him not to go after an upset Summer, but Kevin thought hovering over her wouldn't help her to remember anything. Kyle said Summer couldn't possibly know who the killer had been, but Kevin thought it had sounded like she did. Kyle griped that killers didn't have theme songs in real life, but Mariah thought the music might be the key to figuring out what had really happened.
In the park, Summer sat on a park bench with her eyes closed, and she snapped at Kyle when she heard someone approaching. Harding observed that she seemed upset, and he sat next to her and sympathized that she'd seen things that usually only cops had to see. He gave her his word that they'd nab the killer, and he offered to be her sounding board if she had any suspicions or memories. Summer agreed to seek him out if she thought of anything, and she thanked him for checking on her. She started to walk off, but Harding's cell phone rang, and a look of horror crossed her face as she flashed back to hearing the same tune in her dream. Harding asked if something was wrong.
Devon and Hilary's wedding day arrives
At the cottage, Dylan and Sharon prepared to go to Hilary and Devon's wedding, and he asked how she knew the bride. Sharon explained that she and Hilary had met when they'd both been high on the list of Genoa City's social pariahs, but they'd never judged one another. She wondered if Dylan didn't want to go, and he replied that he was excited to be taking her out on a date, with one condition. She amorously suggested getting home early, and they kissed, but a knock at the door interrupted them. Dylan greeted Paul, who said he had a problem, and Dylan might be the only person who could help him.
Paul asked to speak with Dylan alone, and Sharon retreated to the kitchen. Paul said he had reason to believe Marco had been the killer, and he suspected that someone on the force had been an accomplice. Paul revealed that Kevin and Mariah had voiced their concerns about Harding, and he'd told them to stay out of it, but he wanted Dylan's assistance to look into what Harding might be up to. Paul added that he needed someone he could totally trust, but Sharon returned and protested that she didn't want Dylan getting involved in a dangerous situation.
Sharon asked Paul to guarantee that Dylan would be safe, and Paul contended that he wouldn't have asked if he hadn't thought Dylan could handle it, but he couldn't make any guarantees. Sharon sternly reminded Paul that she and Dylan were having a baby, and Paul apologetically told them to forget about it. Dylan insisted to Sharon that he had to do it because Austin and Courtney deserved justice, and he needed answers about who had set Sharon up. Dylan said he'd let Paul know what he found out, and Paul thanked him and left. Dylan asked if Sharon understood, and she made Dylan promise to stay safe. He swore that nothing was more important than their family.
At the Abbott mansion, Phyllis said she and Jack had to get to the wedding, but she sensed that something was bothering him. Jack relayed that Victor had received a call that hadn't sat right with Jack, and he had a bad feeling about who had been on the other end. Jack explained that Victor had made a show of hunting Marco down, but he contemplated whether the men were really working together. Phyllis said the thought of losing Jack scared her, and she warned him to watch his back. He pointed out that he might be wrong, but she thought they'd be wise to keep their eyes on Victor and to stay alert for signs of Marco, who could strike again at any time.
In the park, Summer stopped in her tracks when she heard Detective Harding's ringtone, and he asked if something was wrong. She covered by saying that the ringtone was really popular, and he replied that he wasn't very original. Noah and Marisa strolled by, and he became concerned that something had happened, but Harding simply said to let him know if any of them had something to add to the investigation. Harding walked off, and Noah watched as a shaken Summer stared after the detective. She revealed that Harding had been at the cabin on the night Austin had been killed.
At Crimson Lights, Summer informed Kyle, Kevin, Mariah, Noah, and Marisa that she'd had another weird memory, and she played Harding's ringtone on her phone. Summer asked if any of them had it on their phones, but none of them did. Kevin asked if it had been the sound she'd dreamed about, and Summer divulged that Harding had that ringtone on his phone. Noah asked if that had been why she'd seemed rattled in the park, and Summer asserted that Harding had been at the cabin when Austin had been killed. She added that she hadn't seen Harding there, but she was sure he was connected to Austin's death.
Dylan arrived at the coffeehouse, and Kevin informed him about the ringtone, but Dylan pointed out that many people used the same one. Summer argued that no one else at the party had used it, and the group rattled off ideas about how Harding's connection made sense. Dylan pointed out that it was all speculation, and he warned that they could get into serious trouble if they went after Harding. Dylan urged them to let him and Paul take care of it, and he swore that Harding wouldn't get away with it if he had been involved. Noah angrily recounted that Harding had pretended to be on their side for months, but the young adults agreed to steer clear and let Dylan figure it out.
Mariah hoped Harding steered clear of them, and Dylan headed out. Kevin wondered how Harding and Marco had hooked up, and Noah asked what Marisa thought, but she'd disappeared. Later, after Noah and Kevin had left, Kyle offered to get Summer some tea, but she said a new drink wouldn't keep her from being freaked out about Harding. Mariah worried about what would happen if Harding figured out that they were onto him, and Kyle suggested that they stay out of Harding's way. Summer asked if Mariah thought Kevin could do that, and Mariah replied, "Not a chance in hell."
In the park, Marisa gently scolded Noah for going after her, but he wanted to know what had upset her. She said she'd been right about things moving too fast between them, and she thought they should end it. Noah objected, but Marisa mentioned Courtney. He said he'd always remember what he'd had with Courtney, but he knew what he had with Marisa was good, and Marisa had made him feel and care again. He added that Marisa frustrated him, but she gave him hope, and he didn't want to lose her. She admitted that she didn't want to lose him, either, and they kissed.
At the police station, Harding flashed back to his phone ringing at the cabin right after he'd killed Austin, and he remembered that a drugged Summer had stirred. Dylan arrived at the station and claimed that he was doing a favor for his dad. Dylan explained that Paul had thought Dylan could help with the investigation because of his personal connection with Sharon, and he speculated that the killer had been able to frame Sharon because he'd known her habits and her mental history. Dylan thought that meant they could eliminate Marco as a suspect, since there had been no way Marco had known such personal things about Sharon, and it had likely been someone on the inside.
Harding complained that there were enough theories bouncing around, and he didn't need another amateur offering an opinion. Harding turned away to answer a call, and Dylan ran into Kevin on his way out. Dylan reminded Kevin to stay out of it, and Kevin insisted that he was just reporting to work. Kevin and Harding briefly greeted one another, and Harding stepped out. Kevin followed him.
Harding arrived at the Abbott cabin, and he received an anonymous text message indicating that the sender had put the plan in motion. Meanwhile, Kevin looked through the window.
At the Athletic Club, Hilary told Neil that she knew he was up to something, and she wondered if he was still angry. Neil replied that he wasn't, but he was getting there, since he'd already reassured her that he wouldn't cause any trouble at her wedding. She recognized that it had been what he'd said, but she didn't believe him. Neil asked why Hilary was suspicious, and she recalled that he'd rehashed everything shortly after he'd claimed he'd accepted what had happened. Neil argued that he'd never said it would be easy to recover after she'd betrayed him, but he'd been forced to face an unalterable fact -- he had to move on in order to heal.
Hilary wished she could believe Neil, but she mentioned that she wasn't the only one concerned that he might not handle the day well, since Nikki was worried, too. Neil acknowledged that he was aware of his friend's concern, and he planned to take Nikki's advice by going on a vacation. Neil continued that he wanted Hilary and Devon to breathe easy without him around, and he told her to consider it a wedding present. Hilary hesitantly thanked him and apologized for jumping on him, and she said she had to get ready. He said he did, too, and he glared after her as she walked away.
On the rooftop, Devon looked around at the setup for the wedding, and the twins ran in, ready to fulfill their duties as the ring bearer and flower girl. Devon said he'd picked the perfect team, and he thanked them for being part of his wedding. Lily instructed the kids to go ask the waiter for some juice, and she asked Devon what was wrong. He confided that he was having second thoughts about keeping quiet, since Colin had started blackmailing him.
Lily wasn't surprised by Colin's behavior, but she vowed it would end after she talked to Colin. Devon warned that it wouldn't do any good, and Cane approached. Lily asked Cane to keep an eye on the kids while she took care of some things, and she departed. Matty asked if Cane liked her dress, and Charlie proudly stated that his mommy had told him he looked handsome. Cane asked if the twins remembered what they had to do during the ceremony, and he wondered if they had any questions. "Why is Uncle Devon marrying Grandpa's wife?" Matty inquired.
Cane started to explain, but Devon intervened and told the twins that people fell in love in different ways for different reasons, and Hilary and Neil's love hadn't been the forever kind. Matty asked if he meant the "happily ever after" kind, and Devon proclaimed that he wanted to live happily ever after with the woman of his dreams. Hilary entered and said he wouldn't have to wait much longer, and Devon wondered why she wasn't getting dressed. He asked if something was wrong, but she gushed that she couldn't wait to spend the rest of her life with him.
Lauren and Michael awkwardly greeted one another in the dining room, and he invited her to join him until the wedding started. She informed him that she had offered to help Hilary get ready, since Hilary didn't have any family or many friends, and she understood how tough it was to deal with public humiliation after a torrid affair. Michael remarked that two people who loved one another could get through that and anything else life threw them, but Colin interrupted and asked if it was time for a wonderful wedding.
Lauren was surprised to see Colin in attendance with Jill out of town, but Colin slyly stated that it promised to be quite an evening, and he wouldn't miss it for the world. Colin conceded that he was there for the free food and drinks, but it had been important to Jill for him to represent her while she was in Hong Kong. Michael was sure Devon appreciated the support, and Colin muttered that he couldn't say how much Devon really meant to him.
At the bar, Lily confronted Colin about blackmailing Devon, but Colin defended that Devon had done it to himself by perpetuating the situation. Lily huffed that Colin's scheme was over, but Colin warned that by exposing him, she'd expose Devon in the process. Lily looked away, and Colin taunted that he was more than happy to keep the secret to himself. She asked if he expected her to let him get away with it, and Colin dared her to do what she had to do, but he questioned why she'd want to do something to screw up a wonderful wedding.
At the wedding, Esther approached a tuxedo-clad Devon and wished his grandmother could see him, and they hugged. She thanked him for inviting her, and she commended him for what he'd done with the money Katherine had left him. Devon said he'd give back every penny to have Katherine there with them that day, and Esther called him a good man. He wasn't so sure, but Esther bet his grandmother was looking down on him, and she imagined what Katherine would have said to him that day. Devon struggled with his guilt.
As Lauren helped Hilary with her makeup, she marveled that the bride couldn't be more stunning. Hilary expressed her gratitude to Lauren for being there for her, and she wished her mom were alive, although she didn't think her mother would have been proud of the road Hilary had taken to get to that day. Lauren remarked that she was a mom, and she thought Rose would have found a way to understand Hilary's choices and to forgive her daughter's mistakes. Lauren knowingly added that mothers usually made more than a few blunders of their own, and she believed Rose would have wanted Hilary to have the happiness she'd found with Devon.
Devon called out to speak with Hilary, but Lauren vehemently protested. Hilary said she loved him, but she asked him to save whatever he had to say for their vows. Lauren ordered Devon to go, and he answered a call and was surprised to hear from Jill and Tucker. After Devon hung up, Cane requested the wedding rings to give to Charlie. Devon pulled them out, and he locked eyes with Colin.
Lauren admired the necklace Devon had given Hilary, and Lily arrived and offered to help. Lauren told Hilary to enjoy every minute, and she stepped out. Lily helped Hilary put on the necklace, and she said they had to hurry with the dress and veil, since the minister was already there. Hilary couldn't get over that Lily was helping her on her wedding day, and Lily assured her that things had really changed between them, since she'd seen how much joy Hilary had given Devon. The women hugged, and Lily wished Hilary and Devon nothing but the best.
As the guests mingled, Paul greeted Jack, who had hoped to speak to Christine, but Paul reported that she'd been called into an emergency hearing. The men made polite conversation about their respective recoveries, and Jack asked if there had been any new leads on Marco. Paul wondered why Jack was asking, and Jack vaguely stated that a criminal on the loose was a cause for concern. Paul confirmed that there had been no news, but Marco was notorious for disappearing, so they might never see him again. Jack looked uncertain.
Michael mentioned to Phyllis that he and Lauren had shared a moment together, and Phyllis hoped it was a start to things working out for the Baldwins. Phyllis went to find Jack, but she ran into Sharon, and she asked if Sharon was going stag at the wedding. Sharon replied that Dylan would be there soon to make sure she and the baby didn't overdo it. Phyllis was stunned that Sharon was pregnant, but she figured it made sense that Sharon had turned to Nick's brother as the next best option after she hadn't been able to get Nick to father another child. Sharon recognized that the last thing Phyllis wanted was to see Sharon incredibly happy with a wonderful man, but Phyllis would have to choke the reality down.
The wedding ceremony began, and Matty proceeded down the aisle, smiling and tossing flowers. Charlie carried in the rings, and the curtains parted as the bridal march music began to play. Hilary appeared in a flowing white gown, and Devon couldn't take his eyes off of her. After she walked toward him, Devon said he loved Hilary, and she replied that she loved him, too.
The minister began the ceremony, but Devon interrupted and announced that there was something he needed to say to Hilary. Hilary looked worried, but Devon said before they went any further, he had to tell her how incredibly beautiful she looked and how proud he was that she was marrying him. She said that made two of them.
Hilary pledged her love to Devon, and she said their love had gotten them through everything and had led them to that day. She continued that their love was why they could have a new beginning and put all the mistakes of the past behind them, and she recalled the night that they'd stared up at the constellations in the sky. Hilary compared the way she'd felt when she'd looked up into the starry night to the way she felt when she was with Devon -- joyful, awestruck, and reminded of endless possibilities. Hilary declared that her heart would always be Devon's.
"Always," Devon repeated, and he said he'd never known what people had meant about finding their soul mates until he'd found her, since she was meant for him in every way. He said his heart raced whenever he looked at her, and she was the only person he saw when she stepped into a room. He proclaimed that he'd always adore her and need her, and there was nothing more important in the world to him than being a good husband and a man worthy of her faith. Devon promised to comfort and support Hilary, and he vowed to make sure she knew how much he cherished her every day they were together. He pledged his love to her, "always in all ways."
The minister asked if anyone objected to the union, and all heads turned as someone walked in.