At the Genoa City Athletic Club, Lauren approached J.T. and asked about the investigative work he was conducting on Fenmore's behalf. Before J.T could respond, Cane arrived and replied, "That's kind of interesting because I'd like to hear about that, too." Lauren explained to Cane that J.T. had offered to help her. J.T. told Lauren that he might soon have a lead and would contact her as soon as he was certain. Lauren thanked Cane, and J.T. and acknowledged that she owed Cane a favor.
After Lauren left, Cane reminded J.T. that he'd signed a contract to work exclusively for Chancellor Industries. J.T insisted that helping Lauren wouldn't affect his job at Chancellor. J.T. added, "My skill set in cybersecurity and fraud is exactly what Lauren and Phyllis needed." Cane warned that J.T. would lose his job if he accepted work on the side again.
At Chelsea and Nick's penthouse, Chelsea praised Nick's improvements to their master bathroom. Nick mentioned having found a substantial sum of cash hidden away in a ventilation duct while he'd been working. Chelsea had led Nick to believe that Adam had stashed the money away. Chelsea pledged a generous portion of the funds to Nick and Nikki's apartment complex for low-income residents. Nick told Chelsea he planned to utilize her donation to build a playground. Nick recalled that though Adam had had his faults, he'd been a devoted father. Via text message, Nick learned that Nikki had agreed to pay ten percent above the contractor's accepted bid amount. Nick expressed disapproval of his mother's decision, and Chelsea noted that she'd never known Nick and Nikki to disagree.
Phyllis was standing at the foot of the stairs at the Genoa City Athletic Club after Nikki returned alone, having earlier escorted her contractor, Arturo, upstairs to a room. Phyllis said, "Nikki, look at you all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, with that saucy little smile on your lips." Phyllis recalled having seen Nikki with a young man. Nikki said, "Are you accusing me of doing the walk of shame from your oh-so-lofty moral high ground?" Phyllis explained that she'd thought just the opposite and replied, "You go, girl!" Nikki, repulsed, glared at Phyllis before abruptly walking away.
At Crimson Lights, Sharon overheard Phyllis talking on the phone to Chelsea. Phyllis had phoned to tell Chelsea of Lauren's plan to publicize details about the fraudulent website selling Chelsea's fashions. Chelsea nervously disagreed with Lauren's plans. Phyllis said she agreed with Lauren. Lauren, Phyllis explained, felt the need to communicate with loyal customers and let them know that Fenmore's wasn't connected to the fraudster illegally selling Chelsea 2.0 fashions. Phyllis added that Lauren planned to offer refunds for all orders placed but never delivered. Chelsea pleaded with Phyllis to convince Lauren not to do anything until they could all meet in person. After the called ended, Nick asked Chelsea if there had been a break in the investigation. Chelsea said she didn't know and rushed out the door.
Mariah approached Sharon at the coffeehouse. Mariah told Sharon she believed that Tessa might be homeless. Mariah explained that she'd found a sleeping bag and other items tucked away in Neil's office. Sharon said the items might not belong to Tessa. Mariah noted that she'd also run into Tessa near the gym exit at the Genoa City Athletic Club and was almost certain that Tessa had showered in the locker room. Sharon said Tessa might have finished a workout when Mariah had run into her. Mariah said she couldn't shake her feelings about Tessa's predicament. Sharon warned Mariah to guard herself while dealing closely with Tessa.
While Victoria and Ashley grabbed coffee in the breakroom at Newman Enterprises, Ashley noted that Victoria shouldn't attempt to micromanage Brash & Sassy. Ashley added that she'd noticed that Victoria's workload was becoming backlogged. Victoria noted that Ashley need not concern herself and said, "I am still young, after all." Victoria said Abby had mentioned that Ashley had been courting business allies. Victoria noted that Ashley had also asked Abby not to share information concerning the European operation. Ashley insisted that Abby had said no such things.
Ashley suggested that Victoria was becoming paranoid. Victoria, unfazed by Ashley's pushback, recalled that Ashley had met socially with Lily Ashby even before accepting Victor's job offer. Ashley accused Victoria of inventing conspiracy theories. Victoria replied, "You're up to something, and I'd like to know what it is." Ashley admitted to having spoken to Abby and advised Victoria to get a grip on her insecurities, lest they both waste valuable time, squabbling about nothing.
J.T. joined Victoria in her office for lunch. Victoria said she could take a short break. J.T. noted that his time was also limited because he'd had a run-in with Cane. J.T. explained that Cane had been disappointed to learn about J.T.'s side gig with Lauren and Phyllis' investigation. J.T. expressed frustration over his mundane assignments at Chancellor Industries.
Victoria insisted that Cane had no business running Chancellor. Victoria offered J.T. a job as head of security at Newman Enterprises. Victoria expressed concerns to J.T. about Ashley covertly building a power base. Victoria sought J.T.'s help to keep an eye out. Victoria noted that she, too, would coddle allies and build her own power base. J.T. said he'd need time to think about Victoria's proposal.
After J.T. left, Victoria met with Ashley. Victoria informed Ashley that J.T. would become head of security. Victoria added that she and J.T. had recently reconciled, though she didn't expect her ex to personally protect her interests. Ashley scoffed and recalled how she'd already learned that there were no guarantees of job security even if it was a family-owned company. Victoria asked Ashley if she'd been implying that Victoria's position at Newman wasn't secure. Ashley replied, "Things change. It's inevitable." Victoria dismissed Ashley's warning. Ashley noted that she was a member of the board and hoped that Victor's successor would be determined by choosing the strongest candidate, casting aside nepotism entirely.
At Jabot, Phyllis and Chelsea met with Lauren. Phyllis and Chelsea learned from Lauren that J.T. believed he had a lead on the mysterious Alexandra West. Phyllis replied, "What did he find out? Is it an alias? A man, a woman?" Lauren said J.T. would have the answers very soon. Chelsea nodded as if she was eager to find out more. However, Chelsea seemed uneasy.
Nick met with Nikki at the Genoa City Athletic Club. Frustrated, Nick reminded Nikki that it was crucial to keep costs down on the contract work to rehabilitate Rainbow Gardens. Nikki explained that after Arturo had detailed why the increase was necessary, she'd agreed to pay him more. Nick warned that every subcontractor might demand more money, thus creating a need to seek outside funds to complete the project. Nikki defended Arturo and pointed out that he'd approached her early with his concerns instead of remitting a greatly inflated invoice without warning near the project's completion. Nick backed down and said he'd trust Nikki to make the right decisions based on her past experiences. After Nick left, Nikki's phone rang. Nikki declined the call when she noticed it was Arturo.
After Chelsea and Nick returned home, Nick apologized for having earlier made Chelsea uncomfortable by mentioning Adam's name. Chelsea admitted that Nick's idea about the playground had stirred memories, but she agreed that Adam would've approved. Chelsea changed the subject, but Nick brought up J.T.'s investigation. Chelsea was also reluctant to talk about the fraudulent website. Phyllis phoned Chelsea and told her J.T. had set up a meeting to discuss his findings. As Chelsea donned her coat, Nick said he hoped J.T. had identified the thief and would seek justice for Chelsea's sake.
Nick stopped by Crimson Lights to pick up lunch for the workers. Mariah asked Nick if all the units at Rainbow Gardens had been leased. Sharon interrupted and said, "I see where this is going, Mariah. I don't think this is a good idea." Undeterred, Mariah blurted out that Tessa needed a cheap place to live. Nick sided with Sharon and said he didn't think it was a good idea at all. Nick feared he would hurt Noah by helping Noah's ex-girlfriend. Mariah insisted that Noah wouldn't want Tessa to be homeless.
Mariah recalled that when Tessa had first moved to Genoa City, she'd been living in her car. Nick asked why Mariah was concerned. Mariah explained that Tessa had lost everything, including a record deal and her friends, after plagiarizing excerpts from Mariah's journal to write a song. Mariah cried, "Why don't we say that enough is enough and cut her some slack?" Sharon disagreed, but Nick relented and said he'd rent an apartment to Tessa on a trial basis. After Mariah left, Sharon asked about the scam targeting Chelsea. Nick said J.T. was investigating the matter.
After Tessa entered Devon's office, she found a note requesting that she check her email. Tessa found an email with an attached tenant application from Rainbow Gardens. Mariah arrived and explained that she'd become aware of Tessa's need for an apartment. Mariah said she'd asked Nick for help. Mariah explained to Tessa how Nick and Nikki had become involved with Rainbow Gardens. Tessa thanked Mariah repeatedly and said she'd never forget what her friend had done to help.
Chelsea met with Lauren and Phyllis at Jabot. Lauren showed Chelsea the press release. Chelsea insisted they drop the matter because the scammer had evidently backed off. Lauren was shocked by Chelsea's lack of concern. Phyllis said, "We're talking about grand larceny here." Lauren said, "They need to be punished!" Chelsea said she was more concerned about copycats.
J.T. arrived and said, "I found Alexandra West. She died 15 years ago." J.T. explained that he'd found a closed bank account bearing the dead woman's name. After consulting a friend privy to private information, J.T. added that the owner of the bank account and the deceased Alexandra West had used the same social security number. J.T. suggested that Paul review the security footage at the bank. Chelsea balked at the idea because the press would pick up on the story and inspire copycats.
After Chelsea later returned home, Nick asked about J.T.'s findings and suggested involving the police. Chelsea said that Lauren was against dragging the police into the matter because the publicity would magnify the problem. Nick replied, "So Lauren just decided to eat the losses?" Chelsea said she'd insisted on "nailing the creep," but Lauren believed keeping the matter private was the best option. Chelsea added that J.T. had ended his investigation, as well, so the matter wouldn't be pursued. Nick said he was sorry for Chelsea's sake. Chelsea claimed that she was disappointed, too.
Phyllis stopped by the coffeehouse and spoke to Sharon. Sharon said she was aware of the fake website that had targeted Chelsea's fashion line. Phyllis noted that although no additional fake sites had popped up, Fenmore's and Chelsea had lost many thousands of dollars. Sharon replied, "Well, then, I guess it's a good thing Nick decided to renovate Chelsea's bathroom." Phyllis was puzzled by Sharon's comment. Sharon explained that Nick had discovered almost $250,000 stashed inside ductwork in the bathroom. Sharon said she assumed Adam had hidden the money, which belonged to Chelsea, as his widow.
Phyllis confronts Chelsea about the fake site
At Hamilton-Winters, Devon instructed Tessa to focus on how they could absorb GC Buzz into the Hamilton-Winters family. Devon mentioned that Hilary and Mariah were on their way over, and he asked if it would be a problem. Mariah entered and declared that he'd given them no choice but to make nice, and he was glad to hear that they were all on the same page. Hilary sauntered in and griped that she was late because she didn't have a parking spot yet.
Hilary complained about there being no progress with setting up an office for her, and Devon pointed out that she had an office at GC Buzz. She asserted that she needed to be at Hamilton-Winters for it to be a true partnership, and Devon agreed to let her use a desk there and said they'd revisit the idea of an office in the future. Mariah groaned that she thought her ears would start bleeding, and Devon proposed that they discuss how to use GC Buzz most effectively. Hilary announced that she had ideas, but Devon also wanted to hear what Mariah and Tessa had to say. Hilary glowered as Devon revealed that he'd arranged an off-site meeting that night as a team building exercise.
Mariah grimaced when Devon led the group to Top of the Tower, but he assured her that he'd made sure Noah wasn't working that night. Devon promised Hilary, Mariah, and Tessa that it was a safe space to talk about how to utilize the synergy between their companies, and he suggested that Hamilton-Winters supply acts to perform on GC Buzz. Mariah considered making The Hilary Hour a franchise, but Hilary scoffed at the idea of trusting hick towns with her show when she was the draw. Hilary wanted to continue with uplifting, empowering stories and add a spinoff about her pregnancy and her baby's milestones, but Devon reasoned that they couldn't build around something that hadn't happened yet. Hilary crowed that she could already be pregnant, and she made a point of ordering only water.
Devon praised everyone's ideas, and Hilary insisted on presenting her thoughts for the music label. She pitched taking various acts on one tour and marketing it as an LP Streaming event, like soul revue shows from the '60s. Hilary declared that she was the best person to guide the project and maybe even host it, and Devon said he had a good idea of where she saw herself in the company. He asked where Mariah and Tessa saw themselves in a few years, and Tessa recognized that it was no secret that she wanted to keep playing music. Mariah added that she was good where she was, and Hilary translated it as Mariah having no goals.
Mariah explained that she had an entertaining job that she enjoyed, and she was content meeting new people and getting to make jokes on television. Hilary continued to criticize Mariah's lack of drive, but Tessa defended that Mariah was good at her job because she had fun, and the audience loved Mariah because it wasn't about ego or ambition with her. Tessa continued that Mariah made everyone like her without even trying, and it was easy to see why. Noah overheard as he passed by, and he spat, "I bet it is."
Mariah approached Noah as he chugged a drink at the bar, but he sourly observed that she had a party to get back to. She clarified that it was a team building event, but Noah thought things looked pretty cozy with Mariah, her ex, Devon's ex, and Noah's ex. Mariah mentioned that Devon had called to make sure Noah had the night off, and Noah surmised that the group had planned to meet in secret. Mariah insisted that no one had wanted to make him uncomfortable, and he barked that it was good to know that he was someone to avoid.
Noah continued drinking at the bar, and Tessa joined him. He told her to go back to her double date, but she swore that Mariah had never been more than a friend. Noah accused Tessa of never being serious about their relationship, since she'd had a backup plan the whole time. Tessa stressed that she and Mariah had only shared one moment, but she had always wanted Noah and still did. He incredulously asked if she was still trying to play him after she'd used him, his grandmother, and his sister, and he wondered if she was obsessed with his family. Noah dared Tessa to own the fact that she was a user, since everyone there knew it. He repeated that they were done, and he turned back to his drink.
Tessa begged Noah to get a cab and go home to protect his reputation, but he refused to listen to her. Devon cautioned that the whole restaurant could hear Noah and Tessa's conversation, but Noah growled for Devon to save his orders because Noah didn't work for him. Devon calmly stated that he was being a friend, and Noah had had too much to drink. Noah argued that he hadn't had enough, and he questioned why Devon was defending Tessa after she'd made out with Devon's girlfriend and handed him a stolen song. Noah speculated that Devon had gone from Hilary to Mariah and that Tessa was next. Noah moved to slug Devon, but he drunkenly fell over instead. Mariah tried to help Noah to his feet, but he bellowed to leave him alone.
At the Abbott mansion, Jack was irritated when he found Ashley working in the living room. They exchanged glares as they both engaged in business calls at the same time. The doorbell rang, and Traci called out for them to let her in because she'd left her key upstairs. Jack and Ashley both ended their calls, and Traci rambled about a childhood acquaintance who she'd run into. Jack and Ashley remained silent as Traci recalled that they'd loved going to the deli that their old friend's father had owned, and Traci considered them ridiculous for pretending that it had never happened.
Jack and Ashley continued to bicker, and he suggested that a remedy was for Ashley to move out. Ashley sarcastically huffed that she obviously couldn't live there because she wasn't a blood Abbott, and he argued that she'd lived outside the house for years. She countered that she'd trusted him for years, but things had changed. Traci begged them to stop it as she grabbed her phone.
At home, Phyllis stared at an evidence board that she'd assembled with Alexandra West's name in the middle. Billy walked in and asked who'd gotten whacked, and she replied that Fenmore's credibility and bank account had. Phyllis explained that someone had committed fraud by selling Chelsea's designs, and it was up to her to track down Alexandra. She added that she'd found a clue that might be the missing part of the puzzle, and she pointed to the most likely suspect -- Chelsea.
Phyllis relayed that Sharon had told her that Chelsea had been shocked to find stacks of cash inside the penthouse walls, but Phyllis bet it was the same amount that the fake Chelsea 2.0 site had raked in. Phyllis figured that it wouldn't have been the first time Chelsea had done something criminal, but Billy argued that Chelsea had reformed. Phyllis recalled that she'd gotten a vibe when Chelsea had been resistant to go to the police, and hearing about the money in the wall had set off alarm bells for Phyllis. Billy got a text message and said he had to leave. Phyllis vowed to follow the breadcrumbs, but she thought she knew exactly where they'd lead her.
Billy stopped by the Abbott mansion, and Jack and Ashley were surprised to see him. Traci got a video call on her computer, and it appeared to be from Abby. Jack worried that it was the middle of the night in Paris, and Dina appeared on the screen. Dina testily asked who Traci was, and she ordered Traci to do her job by putting "Jackie" and Ashley on. Ashley commented that it was late where Dina was, but Dina insisted that it was dinnertime. Ashley agreed that it was -- in Genoa City.
Dina had hoped to get together for dinner, but she assumed that Jack and Ashley were busy with work. Jack promised that they'd all be there the next time, including Traci. Dina inquired whether Traci was a friend of his, but Traci piped up that she was Dina's daughter. Dina retorted that she only had one daughter -- Ashley. Traci's eyes welled with tears, and she ran out. Dina complained that it was hard to see Jack and Ashley because they were standing too far apart, and they begrudgingly moved closer together. Dina gushed that John would be proud of them for working side by side to honor his legacy.
Billy asked Traci if there was anything he could do for her, and she wiped away tears. Jack announced that the call was over, and Ashley reported that she'd notified Abby about Dina being awake. Ashley insisted that Dina adored Traci, but Traci wailed that their mother hadn't ever forgotten Ashley or Jack and that she was the only one who'd been completely erased from Dina's memory. Ashley blamed it on the disease, and Jack assured Traci that she was the heart and soul of the family.
Traci admonished Jack and Ashley for talking to her about family when they'd treated theirs like it was disposable, especially when they'd just gotten their mother back, only to watch Dina's memory slowly being stolen from her. Traci thought that should have been enough to stop Ashley and Jack from fighting, and she blasted them for not giving "a damn" that they were all Traci had left, since John and Colleen were gone. Traci ranted at them to skip their reassuring words and go back to bickering like children, and she stormed off.
Later, Ashley sat with a despondent Traci, and she recognized that their mother's Alzheimer's was agony for all of them. Ashley apologized that her conflict with Jack was an additional burden, and Traci ordered her to fix it by going into a room with Jack, locking the door, and not leaving until they worked it through. Ashley swore that she would fix things if she could, but the wounds were too deep. Ashley asked Traci to keep an eye on Jack, since Ashley had always been his sounding board, and she didn't want him to feel like he was all alone. Ashley thought that perhaps Jack and Traci could turn to one another.
Meanwhile, Billy wondered if Jack was writing an apology to Traci in his head, but Jack grumbled that it was too late, since Ashley had gotten to her first. Jack suspected that Ashley was spinning a story to blame him for everything, since Jack would have done the same thing in her position. Billy called Jack "an ass" for always having to get his hits in. Billy recounted that he was used to being on the receiving end, but he chided Jack for pulling that garbage on Traci and Ashley. Billy ordered Jack to grow up and stop pretending that the world was against him when both of his sisters were hurting just as much as he was. "Damn it, Billy, I hate it when you're right," Jack replied.
Jack admitted that he'd heard himself talking, and he couldn't believe his own knee-jerk self-righteousness. He conceded that even though he hadn't started the fight, he'd made it a lot worse. Jack regretted that he'd enforced the blood amendment and that he'd even written it without telling his family about it. Jack realized that he'd deeply wounded his family, and there was no getting past it. Billy contended that there was a way past it -- changing the rule.
At the penthouse, Chelsea closed an online account on her computer, but she slammed the laptop shut as Nick walked in. He asked if the laptop was new, because he'd never seen it before, and she claimed that she usually kept it at the office. He told her to fire it up so he could show her some details about Rainbow Gardens, but she suggested that they use his tablet because her machine was almost out of battery power.
Nick and Chelsea discussed what to do for dinner, and he asked if there was any new information on the fraud case. She assumed that whoever had been behind it had bolted to their next target, but he wished they could keep Alexandra West from doing the same thing to someone else. Nick went upstairs to check on the kids, and Chelsea answered the door to Phyllis. Phyllis explained that she hadn't been able to get the fake website out of her brain, but Chelsea figured that J.T. had done everything he could. Phyllis took it personally and wasn't about to give up, and she expected that Chelsea wouldn't, either.
Chelsea reasoned that what was done was done, and Ravi would make sure it never happened again. Phyllis argued that the culprit was still out there with stolen money, and she sensed that she was really close to figuring out who had done it. Phyllis suggested that they put their heads together to get some answers, but Chelsea protested that the boys hadn't eaten yet, and she didn't want to discuss it in front of them. Chelsea suggested that she and Phyllis go out, and Nick returned as the women prepared to leave. Chelsea referred to taking care of some business stuff as she kissed him goodbye.
At the Athletic Club, Chelsea thanked Phyllis for moving the conversation there, since she hadn't wanted the kids overhearing about a thief who'd stolen from her. Phyllis swore that she couldn't let it go like J.T. had, and she was certain that the stock had gone missing from the supply chain, so it had been someone on the inside who was close to Chelsea. Chelsea countered that it could have been someone from Fenmore's, but Phyllis contended that the goods had been stolen in transit, and the shipping schedule was on Chelsea's end. Chelsea groaned that she had a lot of employees, but Phyllis had a way to narrow it down.
Phyllis suggested hiring private security consultants to perform lie detector tests, but Chelsea refused to force her staff to do such a thing because they were like family to her. Chelsea continued that it would be insulting to those who were innocent, and Phyllis proposed that Chelsea go first to show that she was on her employees' side. Chelsea protested that they'd see right through it, since she wouldn't have robbed her own company, and she'd be sending the message that she didn't trust her staff. Chelsea wouldn't alienate her crew based on Phyllis' hunch, and she reiterated that they needed to take the hit and move on.
Chelsea returned home, and Nick reported that he'd fed the kids. Chelsea claimed that Phyllis had had a couple of ideas, but nothing had clicked. The doorbell rang, and Chelsea asked if he'd ordered takeout. Nick found Phyllis at the door, and she explained that her brain had kept buzzing on the way home because she felt like she hadn't dug deep enough. Chelsea thought they had, but Phyllis sensed that they'd missed something, and she had some ideas. Nick asked what Phyllis was talking about, and Chelsea pretended to hear Christian. Nick went upstairs to check.
Chelsea sternly stated that she appreciated Phyllis being protective of her brand, but it was late. Chelsea added that she was sorry if she wasn't getting as worked up as Phyllis was, but she had two young boys who needed attention. Phyllis pushed Chelsea to let her run with the lie detector plan, and Chelsea complained that it felt like they were going in circles. Phyllis didn't understand why Chelsea wasn't invested in catching the "thieving bitch," and Chelsea testily invited Phyllis just to say what she wanted to say.
Phyllis inquired whether Chelsea was protecting someone, but Chelsea was adamant that the thief didn't work for her. Phyllis was certain that whoever had stolen the merchandise and set up the fake site worked at Chelsea 2.0, and if it wasn't one of Chelsea's employees, that left only one other person. Chelsea was appalled that Phyllis had stopped by her home to accuse her of stealing from her own company. Phyllis pointed out that Chelsea could prove her innocence by taking the lie detector test, and Nick returned and wondered what the deal was. Chelsea angrily informed him about Phyllis' accusation, and Nick asked if it was a joke.
Phyllis pointed out that she'd merely suggested that everyone take a lie detector test, and she offered to go first. Phyllis observed that Chelsea didn't seem to "give a damn" about who'd set up the fake site and that Chelsea had met Phyllis' attempts to investigate with attitude. Chelsea said J.T. had let it go, and she scoffed at the idea that Phyllis knew more than a professional. Phyllis revealed that she knew about the money in the bathroom wall, and she found it uncanny that the cash had turned up at the same time Fenmore's had been ripped off. Chelsea insisted that Adam had saved the money as an emergency fund, but Phyllis questioned why Adam hadn't used it when he'd tried to escape town.
Chelsea dared Phyllis to make a citizen's arrest while there were two little boys upstairs, and Nick firmly stated that it was time for Phyllis to go. Phyllis said she was sorry that she'd asked questions that had made both Chelsea and Nick uncomfortable, and she showed herself out. Chelsea couldn't believe that she'd called Phyllis a friend when she clearly hadn't known Phyllis at all. Nick stared darkly at Chelsea as a smirking Phyllis boarded the elevator.
Chelsea desperately tries to cover her tracks
Jack and Billy walked into the Abbotts' living room with a box. Jack told Billy he'd do whatever it took to get Ashley back to Jabot and make the family whole again. Jack thanked Billy for his perspective about Ashley. Billy hoped things would go according to plan. Billy received a call from J.T. inviting him and Phyllis to Victoria's for dinner. Billy accepted. After he ended the call, he told Jack that they would both have an interesting evening.
Ashley met Lily in the Newman lunchroom. She instructed Lily to do an in-depth analysis of the sales trends for the Brash & Sassy lines. Ashley wanted to know why some products weren't selling in certain demographics. She wanted to focus on the weak spots and use Lily's input to create new products that would lure consumers in.
Victoria arrived and announced that Lily wouldn't be assisting Ashley. As the grand ambassador of Dare, Lily had a campaign to look after. Ashley pointed out that since she oversaw Brash & Sassy, it should be her call to make. Victoria stated that as COO, her needs took precedence. Ashley felt it wasn't helpful for Victoria to dictate the duties of one of Ashley's essential team members.
Lily stated she could handle both projects, but Victoria said that she was trying to help Ashley understand how things worked at Newman. Ashley had gotten ahead of herself in her desire to sit in the CEO chair. After Lily left, Ashley informed Victoria that Victor was a very pragmatic man, and he'd hired her to join the company because he knew what she could bring to the table. Ashley further stated that Victor wasn't going anywhere for a very long time.
Ashley had the sense that Victoria was concerned about her own position at Newman. She asked Victoria if perhaps Victor had been thinking the company would be better off with a more experienced and less insecure COO. Victoria asked if Ashley was threatening her and attempting to take her job. If that was the case, then Ashley needed to bring it on. Victoria walked out.
At Victoria's, J.T. told Reed to go to the band jam at school and added that he had something unexpected planned for Victoria.
At the penthouse, Chelsea tore a page out of her sketchbook and tossed it in frustration when she heard Nick descend the stairs. Nick advised her to let it go. Chelsea couldn't get over the fact that Phyllis had accused her of defrauding Fenmore's and her own company. Nick stated that Phyllis wouldn't quit when she got something into her head. Chelsea said that Phyllis knew how hard it had been to live down one's past, and it really irked Chelsea because the accusation had been from Phyllis.
Chelsea complained that she'd tried hard to be more than the con artist her mother had raised. She hadn't done anything wrong, yet Phyllis had accused her of something really terrible. Nick said that Phyllis wanted answers. Chelsea asked if Nick was defending Phyllis. Nick said he was pointing out how Phyllis operated and assured her that he'd always be on her side.
Nick received a call from J.T. inviting him and Chelsea for dinner at Victoria's. Chelsea didn't want to go, but Nick reminded her that Victoria had always been there for him and that J.T. had ended his investigation. Chelsea agreed to go. Chelsea received a text message from Jordan stating he was back in town and needed her to meet him at Crimson Lights as soon as possible. Chelsea told Nick she was going to get desert to take to Victoria's, and she left to meet Jordan.
At Hamilton-Winters, Hilary demanded that Charlie pick something up for her before the business closed, and she handed him a card with the address. Charlie advised her that he was an intern for Devon, not an errand boy. Hilary told him that she was part of the executive team, and he interned for her as well. As Charlie left in anger, Phyllis walked in and told Hilary she was on a secret mission and was certain that Hilary would want to help after she told Hilary what it was.
At the Athletic Club, Hilary and Phyllis sat at separate tables. Phyllis sent Hilary a text that stated their target had arrived. Phyllis greeted Jordan. Jordan said that he'd been expecting to meet with Lauren about a photography gig at Fenmore's. Phyllis advised him that Lauren had had a last-minute conflict and had asked Phyllis to meet with him. Jordan said that he'd thought Genoa City had been over for him, but Phyllis remarked that his work spoke for itself.
Jordan asked about the type of campaign Fenmore's wanted him to shoot. Phyllis explained that it would be for the Fenmore's website and asked if he was familiar with it. Jordan said he was. She asked him about Chelsea 2.0. Jordan asked if Phyllis wanted him to shoot something with Chelsea's tie-in to Fenmore's. Phyllis noted that he appeared uncomfortable, but Jordan felt it would make Fenmore's uncomfortable. Chelsea wouldn't be comfortable, either, since their past had been exposed on Hilary's show.
Phyllis asked if Jordan and Chelsea had been up to their old tricks and explained that someone had created a fraudulent version of Fenmore's Chelsea 2.0 online store and had been syphoning off the profits. Jordan had sensed that the meeting had been bogus and claimed that Phyllis owed him for his plane fare. Phyllis wanted answers, but he said they were done and got up to leave.
Hilary stopped Jordan and told him to answer Phyllis' questions, or she'd call the cops. Jordan wanted to know what she'd accuse him of and sarcastically asked if it would be for being played. Hilary advised him that the nude photos he'd taken of her and posted online were covered by a revenge porn law in Wisconsin. He would either answer their questions, or he'd face the consequences. Jordan told Phyllis he couldn't tell her what he didn't know. He had no knowledge about the fake website and couldn't create one if he wanted to. He stated he was a photographer, not a programmer.
Hilary knew that Jordan was familiar with Chelsea's skill set and asked if Chelsea could have created the fake site. Jordan said that it didn't matter because they both believed Chelsea was guilty. Hilary threatened to call the cops. Jordan admitted that back in the day, Chelsea had run scams, using other people's Social Security numbers.
Jordan explained that Chelsea had been desperate for cash back then, but since then, she'd built a successful business. She had a hefty bank account, a respectable reputation, and a son to raise, and she was living with a Newman. She had no reason to pull off a scam and risk losing it all. Jordan said the interrogation was over and left.
At the coat check, Jordan sent a text to Chelsea, advising her that he needed to see her as soon as possible.
Back at the table, Hilary told Phyllis that Jordan was right. He might have been a liar, but she didn't believe he'd been involved in the scam. Hilary agreed that Chelsea had had no motive. Phyllis said that when Jordan had divulged that Chelsea had stolen people's Social Security numbers, he'd tilted the scale on Chelsea. Phyllis was certain that Chelsea had stolen the money, and she wouldn't stop until she'd proven she was right.
Victor arrived in the Newman lunchroom. Victoria told him that she had a problem with Ashley. Victor commented that Ashley had barely broken into her office. Victoria stated that that hadn't stopped Ashley from making big plans and that Ashley had admitted she wanted to be the CEO.
Victor said that Ashley would have a long wait because he had no intention of giving up control of the company. Victoria said he needed to listen to her, but Victor told her to stop fretting and concentrate on her work. He warned Victoria to be vigilant because Ashley might try to set a trap and manipulate her. He kissed her on both cheeks and walked out.
At the Top of the Tower, Lily told Nikki that Victoria and Ashley had been butting heads. Nikki admitted she'd known it would be difficult, and she wasn't surprised. Lily said that both Victoria and Ashley had been vying for the CEO spot. Lily didn't think it was appropriate for her to go to Victor.
Lily said that she didn't want to choose sides. She'd had enough corporate intrigue to last a lifetime, but after she'd seen what had happened, she was worried what would be next for everyone. Nikki claimed that she'd approved of Ashley being at Newman and had hoped that Ashley and Victoria would realize that they were stronger working together. Nikki advised Lily that she'd handle things with Victor.
A short time later, Victor joined Nikki, and she informed him that she'd met with Lily. Lily had been concerned about the tension between Ashley and Victoria. Victor admitted he was aware of the situation, and Victoria had mentioned that Ashley had designs on his job. Nikki noted that Victor didn't appear concerned. He said he had no reason to be. Nikki felt that with all the problems that Newman had recently experienced, it was time for stability, and perhaps Victor needed to revisit his decision about hiring Ashley. Victor said he had two very qualified candidates. Nikki said that he'd never give the CEO position to Ashley over Victoria. Victor said, "Oh, wouldn't I?"
Chelsea met Jordan at Crimson Lights. He told her how he'd been grilled by Phyllis and Hilary and that Hilary had threatened to call the cops on him. He claimed he could have made things a lot worse for Chelsea and mentioned Alexandra West. He recalled that that had been one of the names Chelsea had used during their con days.
Chelsea saw Nick arrive -- she stood up and shouted at Jordan that she hadn't done anything wrong, but thanks to Jordan and Hilary, her entire con past had resurfaced, and Phyllis was happy to think the worst of her. Chelsea told Nick that she'd run into Jordan and that Phyllis had lured Jordan back to Genoa City so she could find out if she and Jordan had put up the fake website. Jordan said he needed to leave. Nick asked Jordan to stay away from Chelsea because he'd caused her enough trouble. Chelsea and Jordan exchanged a look, and he left.
Ashley arrived at the Abbott home and saw a display of all her accomplishments including her Innovator of the Year Award. Jack entered and said it was a show of appreciation and a long overdue apology. Jack said that the display was a symbol of her work. She'd always strived to create something greater. He knew how important she'd been to Jabot and regretted how things had turned out. He admitted he'd crossed a line he shouldn't have, and he was deeply sorry.
Ashley asked how she'd know that it wouldn't happen again. Jack said that he hated what he'd done and wanted her back at Jabot because she was the heart of Jabot. Ashley told him she was happy at Newman. Jack wanted to right a wrong and said he'd start by repealing the amendment that only John Abbott's relatives could assume the CEO position at Jabot. Ashley sobbed.
Jack said they'd lost their father and were losing their mother. He wanted Ashley back at Jabot where she belonged. Ashley appreciated that Jack was getting rid of the amendment and his apology, but it was too late. After the things that Jack had done to her, she admitted she could forgive him, but she couldn't trust him.
At home, Victoria told J.T. that she was frustrated because her father refused to see that Ashley posed a threat. J.T. advised her to relax because they were having their first dinner party to show people how great they were together and to shut down any lingering doubts about them. He also reminded her that the next day would be the anniversary of the date they'd married.
Chelsea and Nick arrived at Victoria's house. Chelsea told J.T. that Phyllis had the crazy idea that she was behind the scam and asked J.T. to tell Phyllis to back off. J.T. said he couldn't because he wasn't on Fenmore's payroll and wished he'd had that information earlier.
Billy and Phyllis arrived. Chelsea and Phyllis glared at each other. Nick warned Chelsea not to start anything; Billy also warned Phyllis. After they'd finished dinner, Chelsea told Phyllis about her meeting with Jordan at Crimson Lights and how Phyllis had accused Jordan of being in league with Chelsea. She accused Phyllis of not letting go of the situation when there was nothing to find. Billy stopped the argument, stating that his kids were upstairs.
Chelsea apologized to Billy. She threatened to pull her line from Fenmore's if Phyllis didn't stop. Phyllis claimed that Lauren would be fine with that. Phyllis told Nick that Chelsea had been stealing from Fenmore's and her own company. Billy whispered to J.T. that the next time J.T. wanted to throw a dinner party, he should advise people about his guest list. Billy and Phyllis left. Alone with Victoria, J.T. told her that he'd decided to take the position at Newman. Victoria was delighted.
At the Athletic Club, Jordan bumped into Lily and told her that he'd returned for the day and that he was heading back to New York. She told him to have a nice flight. Jordan stopped her from leaving and said he was glad he'd had the chance to see her. Lily asked why. Jordan reminded her that they'd been friends, and he apologized for disappointing her. Lily was disgusted that he'd posted the nude photos of Hilary. Jordan claimed that Hilary brought out the worst in him, and he thought that Lily would understand.
Lily advised him not to blame Hilary. She added that she and Jordan would never be friends again -- or anything else he might have been hoping for. She told him she was back with Cane. Jordan had always known how much Lily loved Cane, but he was surprised that she'd help Cane raise Juliet's baby. Lily said he was in no position to comment on her life choices. Hilary stepped in and added that a woman had the right to choose the type of family she wanted without judgment. Lily thanked Hilary and left.
Jordan asked when Hilary and Lily had become best friends. Hilary advised that they weren't. However, she'd always known where she stood with Lily, but she couldn't say the same about him. He thanked her for not calling the cops. Hilary claimed she'd gotten over the damage the pictures had cost her. Jordan offered to buy her a drink, but Hilary refused, stating she might be pregnant. Jordan asked who the father was. Hilary said that he wasn't in the picture. She'd wanted a baby and had gone to her donor app. She claimed the father of her baby was highly educated and handsome, and he had an impressive career.
Jordan laughed and asked if Hilary really believed that. Hilary claimed she'd chosen a place that had an outstanding reputation. Jordan advised her that he'd been a donor and had claimed to be a brain surgeon with an Ivy League education. Hilary said he was trying to mess with her head, but there were regulations in place for such things. Jordan claimed that some played by the rules, and some didn't. Hilary told him that she'd researched the facility she'd used -- the personal references as well as professional staff credentials, and they'd all checked out. Jordan whispered that Hilary would never know whose swimmers she got, and with a smile, he left.
At home, Chelsea told Nick she appreciated his support. When Nick went to turn on some music, Chelsea received a text that read, "You won't get away with it."
At the Top of the Tower, Billy told Phyllis he didn't want to believe that Chelsea had committed the scam. However, he assured Phyllis he was on her side and that he trusted her instincts.
Chelsea gets a surprise at Adam's crypt
J.T. steeled himself to approach Cane and Billy's table at the Athletic Club. Billy referred to J.T. as the company screwup, and Cane lectured J.T. about being 20 minutes late when he was already on probation for moonlighting for Fenmore's. Cane wondered how many warnings he had to give J.T., and J.T. replied, "Zero -- because I quit."
Cane protested that J.T. had signed a contract with Chancellor, and J.T. said he'd always appreciate that Cane had given him a job, but he'd been offered a much bigger one -- head of security for Newman. Cane assumed that J.T. had only gotten the job because of Victoria, but J.T. contended that he was highly qualified, and he pointed out that Cane would still be pounding the pavement if Jill hadn't handed him a pity position. Cane agreed to shred J.T.'s contract, but he told J.T. not to expect any more favors from him.
Devon greeted Lily at Newman Enterprises and informed her that he was there to handle some PR business. She mentioned that she had a meeting with Victoria and Ashley, and Devon asked how things had been since Ashley had joined the team. Lily reported that Ashley had been lining up allies before she'd even taken the job and had made it clear that she planned to take a swipe at Victoria. Devon hoped that Lily didn't get caught in the middle, but she worried that it was too late.
Meanwhile, in Victoria's office, Victoria declared that it was time for Ashley to give her a progress report on Brash & Sassy. Ashley asserted that it was in her agreement to report only to Victor, but Victoria insisted on having a weekly update meeting to ensure that they were on the same page. They bickered over whether such a meeting was necessary, and Ashley pointed out that Nikki and Victor had made it clear that they wanted Ashley to shake things up and do things differently. Victoria huffed that the only reason Ashley was there was because Victor wanted to stick it to Jack, since Ashley had nothing to offer Newman or Victor. Ashley mused that Victoria would catch on soon enough.
Ashley prepared to discuss what was going on with Brash & Sassy's European division, but Victoria brusquely stated that she already knew from Abby's weekly report. Ashley wondered if Victoria was implying that Ashley was keeping something from her, and Victoria snapped that Ashley was wasting her time if she was undermining Victoria's confidence. Victoria ordered Ashley to stop trying to convince her that Victor would promote Ashley over Victoria, but Ashley maintained that Newman was in need of a more progressive management style to move past its recent major failures. Ashley expected that Victor would advise Victoria not to make an enemy of Ashley, and she warned that it would be a serious miscalculation for Victoria to ask her father to choose between them.
Lily entered and announced that she had run into Victor, who wanted to meet at the end of the day. Victoria asked what time, and Ashley wondered if Victor wanted Victoria to sit in on the meeting. Lily revealed that Victor hadn't mentioned Victoria. Victoria turned the topic to Brash & Sassy's marketing budget, and Ashley suggested that they spend the funds on some promotional pieces with real customers showing how the products enhanced their lives. Victoria wanted to make their customers feel like the sheer idea of buying their products was making a positive impact on the world. Ashley pointed out that Jabot had been doing it for years through its sustainable sources and cruelty-free movement, and Victoria dryly noted that they were all in agreement.
Victoria instructed Lily to choose a few products to focus on, and Ashley excluded the facial mask to avoid reminding the public of what had happened to Victoria. Victoria sweetly conceded that they shouldn't dredge up the negative publicity that Ashley's brother had been personally responsible for, and Lily offered to put together a proposal. Lily prepared to leave, but Victoria asked her to stay. After Ashley left the room, Victoria informed Lily that she was implementing a new feature for the in-house website for employees to post confidential constructive feedback about coworkers. Victoria encouraged Lily to use the platform to give an honest evaluation about her supervisor.
In the hallway, Devon congratulated Ashley on her new job. He explained that he was there because Victor wanted Power Communications to put out a press release, and he had a photographer there to get shots of her. Devon proclaimed that it was headline news in the business world for Victor to create an executive position for Ashley, and he inquired about the ripple effect at Newman. Ashley remarked that change was good, and Devon agreed that it could be great, but it wasn't always easy. He cautioned that employees could be caught between power executives and their rivals, and she assumed that he was worried about Lily. Devon received notification that the photographer was there, and he asked if Ashley was ready to cement her place at Newman.
Ashley posed for photos in Victoria's office, and Devon praised that she exuded strength and confidence. He requested that she give them a preview of how she intended to shake things up around there, and she picked up Victoria's nameplate and tossed it aside. Ashley continued to mug for the camera from behind Victoria's desk, and Victoria appeared in the doorway. Devon explained that Victor had told them to use Victoria's office for the shoot, and Victoria called it fabulous timing. Victoria interrupted the session to announce J.T.'s return as head of security, and she gushed that it was a banner day for Newman. Ashley forced a smile and joined in with everyone else to applaud.
Victoria told everyone to drink up, since she'd swiped the finest bubbly from her father's stash. She instructed the photographer to get a shot of her and J.T. toasting. Devon suggested that he and Ashley slip out to review her shots as Victoria proposed a toast to welcome J.T. to Newman. Ashley exclaimed that she was thrilled as the company's chief innovation officer to work with someone who had tons of fresh ideas and understood modern thinking. Ashley insisted on taking a photo with J.T. as the two new faces at Newman, but J.T. invited Victoria to join them. From the sidelines, Lily asked Devon if anyone made designer body armor, since she expected to get caught in the crossfire.
Privately, Devon admired the photos of Ashley, and she asked him to ensure that the shots with Victoria not be published. Lily overheard as she passed by, and Devon agreed to do it as a favor to Ashley. He inquired about Ashley's strategy of openly challenging Victoria, and Ashley replied that she was expected to play her "A game" after Victor had created a position for her. Devon cautioned that Victor liked pitting people against one another, but Ashley reasoned that Victor thought it made people stronger. Devon suspected that Victor got off on pulling people's strings and watching them dance, and he didn't want to see Victor do that to her.
Ashley wondered what Victoria would say when she didn't see herself in any of the photos, and Devon expected that Victoria would think that Ashley had hijacked the place. Ashley was determined to prove that she was the best choice to move the company forward, but Devon couldn't imagine Victor retiring. Ashley anticipated that Victor wouldn't retire until he was sure of his replacement, and Devon pointed out that Ashley had the chops for it. Ashley thought her qualifications were unique because she'd once been married to Victor, so she'd been both a rival and an insider who had seen it all. She added that she understood the business and the family behind it, including all its weaknesses.
Later, J.T. asked if Victoria was busy, and she swore that she always had time for him. She asked how he was settling in, and he replied that everyone was briefing him, but he needed to talk about something that couldn't wait. He told her to close her eyes and put her hands out, and she reluctantly did. He placed a red velvet box in them, and she squealed that it was like torture. J.T. told Victoria to open her eyes, and she discovered an infinity necklace inside the box. She called it exquisite, and he explained that it was to celebrate their former anniversary.
J.T. helped Victoria put the necklace on, and she wished that she'd gotten him something. He insisted that all she'd done had been to give him one gift after another, and he appreciated the job and the second chance more than she would ever know. J.T. promised that she wouldn't regret hiring him, and Victoria declared that she'd known that she'd made the right decision when he'd handled Ashley's power play. Victoria asserted that Ashley didn't know that challenges inspired the best of her, and she intended to show Ashley what she was made of.
At Crimson Lights, Sharon told Nick that his order for his crew was on the house as her way of donating to a great cause. She swore that it wasn't a bribe, but she hoped that she could keep Faith for another night and swap a day the following week to free up time for some upcoming class projects. Nick readily agreed, since Chelsea had seemed stressed out. Sharon figured that he would have more time to pamper Chelsea, but Nick thought he could use the time to figure out whether Chelsea had been lying to him.
Sharon was aghast to hear about Phyllis' theory that Chelsea had been stealing from herself. Sharon recalled that Phyllis had told her about the website problem, but Phyllis hadn't seemed suspicious of Chelsea. Nick revealed that Phyllis had accused Chelsea during a dinner party the night before, but Chelsea had looked him in the eye and denied it. Sharon realized that he wasn't sure who to believe, and Nick pointed out that $250,000 had fallen out of the bathroom wall and that he'd found Chelsea there with Jordan when Jordan was supposed to be in New York. Sharon acknowledged that Chelsea had worked hard to reinvent herself, but she advised Nick to trust his instincts.
Chelsea stormed into Jabot and accused Phyllis of sending threatening text messages. Chelsea bellowed that Phyllis needed to "back the hell off" and stop meddling in her life. Chelsea showed Phyllis the message on her phone, but Phyllis pointed out that she'd articulated her suspicions much more clearly than the message did. Chelsea spat that Phyllis' entire theory was unhinged, since the only clue was a name that Phyllis had found.
Chelsea speculated that Phyllis was trying to ruin what Chelsea had with Nick, but Phyllis countered that the real question was why Chelsea was doing what she was doing. Phyllis denied that she was trying to break Nick and Chelsea up. However, Nick was a good friend, and Phyllis couldn't stand to see the "shady crap" Chelsea was pulling eating away at him. Chelsea maintained that she wasn't pulling anything, but Phyllis didn't believe it, since someone else out there obviously had it out for Chelsea. Phyllis advised Chelsea to watch her back.
Later, Billy tracked down Phyllis at work and joyfully recounted the look on Cane's face when J.T. had slapped him down. Billy didn't see how his day could get any better, and Phyllis indicated that she'd also had some drama with Chelsea's visit. She informed Billy about the anonymous text messages Chelsea had been getting, and she reported that Chelsea had assumed that Phyllis had sent them. Phyllis believed that Chelsea was acting too rattled to be innocent.
Over the phone, Billy assured Cane that he didn't mind covering so that Cane could have a good night with Lily. After they hung up, Phyllis realized that Billy had fibbed about being at Chancellor, and Billy informed her that he should put in a couple of hours. He invited her to get a drink when they were both done with work, and she requested his take on Chelsea's visit. Billy was surprised that Chelsea hadn't been smarter than to blame Phyllis for the text messages, and Phyllis figured that Chelsea had been too emotional to factor in logic.
Billy noted that a person had to be pragmatic to scheme and manipulate, or they'd start getting sloppy -- like by hoarding thousands of dollars in a bathroom wall. Billy suspected that Chelsea was risking something equally massive, and Phyllis contemplated what would make Chelsea worry enough to have a thick bankroll as a contingency plan. Billy didn't want Phyllis to get wrapped up in it.
Lily arrived home and asked what smelled amazing. Cane informed her that dinner was warming in the oven, and he led her to a candlelit dinner table. She murmured that she could get accustomed to her workdays if she returned home to evenings like that, and he offered to do it every day if she let him. Cane proclaimed that he could never grow tired of celebrating what they had, and his next idea was to renew their vows on Valentine's Day. Lily reflected back on the magical times they'd had on their special day, and she agreed to add another one. They kissed.
On the coffeehouse patio, Sharon startled Chelsea just by saying hello. Chelsea admitted that it had been a tense day, and Sharon relayed that she'd talked to Nick earlier and that he was worried about Chelsea. Chelsea thought he should be more concerned about Phyllis, and she assumed that Sharon had heard that someone had uploaded a fake version of Chelsea's online boutique. Chelsea claimed that she'd been frantic to figure out who'd done it, but Phyllis suspected that Chelsea had been behind it.
Sharon feigned surprise, and Chelsea called the accusations insulting and hurtful. Chelsea worried that Phyllis would repeat it to whoever listened, including Nick, and it was only a matter of time until Phyllis poisoned him against Chelsea. Sharon understood what it felt like to be completely innocent but accused of doing terrible things, and she encouraged Chelsea to concentrate on proving that she hadn't done it. Chelsea realized that she wasn't desperate to prove her innocence to anyone, and she was lucky to have someone like Nick in her life because she didn't need to prove anything to him.
Later, Chelsea nervously glanced around, and Sharon dropped off a cup of coffee. Chelsea invited her to sit. Sharon recognized that Phyllis' off-the-wall opinions and abrasive behavior were part of her DNA, but she questioned why Phyllis would have a vendetta against Chelsea. Chelsea thought there was only one possible motive -- Phyllis was jealous. Chelsea noted that Phyllis seemed happy with Billy, but she thought maybe Phyllis had only reunited with Billy because she'd never expected Chelsea and Nick's relationship to last.
Sharon recalled that Chelsea had admitted that she and Nick were different people at their core level, whereas Chelsea and Adam had been the same. Chelsea swore that she'd never meant to imply that she was unhappy or that she'd traded down when she'd started dating Nick, and she wished that Sharon had forgotten the whole conversation. Sharon assured her that it wouldn't get back to Nick and that phony accusations wouldn't change the fact that he was in love with Chelsea. Sharon added that if Chelsea had done nothing and wasn't hiding anything, she would have Nick's full support.
Chelsea returned home and found Nick playing with Christian. She ran into Nick's arms, and he asked if she was okay. She insisted that she was terrific, and she claimed that she'd stopped by during some free time to get a dose of unconditional love. Nick inquired whether Phyllis was still picking on her, but Chelsea didn't want to ruin the moment by talking about Phyllis. She fawned over Christian and jumped when a phone pinged, but Nick said it was his.
Nick groaned when he had to meet Arturo at the site, and he mentioned that Monique was on her way over. He suggested that he ask Monique to babysit that night so that he could take Chelsea out to dinner at the Athletic Club, and she thought it sounded perfect. After Nick departed, Chelsea told Christian that everything she was doing was for him and Connor, since she needed to be prepared in case the truth about Christian's real dad was exposed. Her phone pinged with another text message that said, "It will all be over soon." She looked panicked.
Later, Phyllis joined Billy at the Athletic Club bar, and he asked if she'd behaved herself after he'd left. She informed him that she'd steered clear of Chelsea, and Billy was glad. Phyllis recognized that Billy was worried about her, but she thought Chelsea was the one who needed to be cautious. Billy found the idea of Phyllis "whooping asses" pleasurable, since he wouldn't say no to a spanking. They kissed.
Across the room, Nick waited alone at a table and anxiously checked his phone. Meanwhile, Chelsea visited Adam's crypt and was surprised to see that someone had left a flower there. She pulled out a screwdriver, but she heard a noise and turned around. "Oh, my God!" she cried.
Nick's suspicions about Chelsea grow
Victoria arrived home, and J.T. reported that the kids were watching an educational video. He pulled out a gift as a surprise, and she admired the beautiful dress inside, but she insisted that he hadn't needed to give her another gift after he'd already presented her with the gorgeous necklace. He reasoned that the necklace went with the dress, and he suggested that she wear it on Valentine's Day. Victoria realized that she hadn't given a thought to the occasion because she'd been preoccupied with Ashley and her power plays.
Victoria started to recount a conversation she'd had with Ashley, but J.T. preferred to talk about hearts and flowers. Victoria expected that her life would be more pleasant once Ashley was contained, and she asked J.T. for ideas about how to keep tabs on her rival. J.T. rattled off intrusive ways that he could track Ashley, and Victoria asked if he'd think less of her if she wanted him to do everything he'd mentioned. He joked that he'd see even less of her because she'd be in prison. Victoria agreed to settle for him keeping an eye on Ashley and reporting back anything suspicious, but J.T. thought he needed to establish credibility at his new job rather than undermining himself by targeting employees his girlfriend didn't like.
Victoria descended the stairs after changing into the dress, and she gushed that J.T. had exquisite taste. She stressed that it was a really thoughtful gift, and she apologized for getting distracted with work issues. She pledged to set boundaries by leaving work at the office and reserving her home time for them. Victoria realized that with Valentine's Day being in the middle of a workweek, she'd made plans for a business dinner with an Australian CEO who was only going to be in town for one day. J.T. revealed that he'd wanted to be sure she was free that night, so he'd had her assistant call the CEO's office and reschedule the dinner as a lunch meeting. J.T. kissed her cheek, but Victoria looked irritated.
Victoria changed out of her dress, and J.T. presented her with a spoonful of pasta sauce to taste. Victoria referred to the rescheduled meeting, and she asked if the CEO had been upset about it. J.T. relayed that the CEO's assistant had said the executive would be happy to get home a day earlier, and he swore that he'd never cancel a meeting on her completely. He recognized that Victoria loved her job and worked hard, but he insisted that she had to make time for herself and for them.
Victoria agreed that it would be nice to have a romantic evening together on Valentine's Day, and J.T. mentioned that Cane and Lily were going to renew their vows then. Victoria recognized that the Ashbys had gone "through hell," so it made sense that they'd make the gesture. J.T. questioned whether it was something he and Victoria would do, and he suggested that they make their arrangement more formal, especially with kids in the house. Victoria incredulously asked if he was proposing, and he wondered what she would say if he was. She replied that she'd have to turn him down.
Later, J.T. reported that Reed was doing his homework without prompting. Victoria insisted on explaining her response when J.T. had hypothetically proposed, and she swore that she hadn't meant to hurt him. He stated that the damage had been done, but she worried that marriage hadn't suited them before. Victoria asserted that what they had was incredible, and she felt the same way he did, but people had already accused them of rushing in. She continued that she didn't need a ring on her finger to tell him how she felt, and she wanted them to be on the same page.
J.T. joked that he couldn't bust out a ring on Valentine's Day because he was still married, but he'd been thinking about setting the right example for the kids. He swore that he wasn't eager to walk down the aisle, either, but it didn't mean they couldn't have and hold for better or worse. "'Til death do we part," Victoria added, and they hugged.
At Newman Enterprises, Devon thanked Victor for seeing him. Victor assumed that he was there with an update on Newman's PR, but Devon revealed that he was there to head off a possible future issue. Victor recalled that he'd told Neil that Power Communications had full authority to protect the reputation of the company and the family as they saw fit, but Devon thought Victor might want to handle the matter personally, since the potential threat was someone inside the Newman family.
Victor surmised that Nick had done something to embarrass the company, but Devon disclosed that Nick wasn't the problem. Devon explained that he'd been torn about whether to even tell Victor, but he thought it was in a friend's best interests, as well as Newman's, for Victor to know something. Victor realized that Devon was talking about Noah, and Devon recounted the incident at Top of the Tower, where Noah had drunkenly taken a swing at him. Devon added that the press hadn't been there, but they might not be so lucky the next time. Victor firmly stated that there wouldn't be a next time, and he thanked Devon.
At Adam's crypt, Chelsea breathlessly cried that Sharon had scared the life out of her. Sharon quipped that Chelsea probably shouldn't say that in a cemetery, and Chelsea asked if Sharon had followed her. Sharon explained that she'd had an impulse to visit Adam's marker after she'd finished talking to Cassie. Sharon said reminiscing with Chelsea earlier had made her remember Adam's better moments, and Chelsea admitted that he had been on her mind a lot lately, too. Chelsea assumed that Sharon had left the flower, and Sharon recalled that calla lilies had been Hope's favorite.
Chelsea wished that she'd gotten to know Adam's mother, and Sharon mused that she'd never met anyone with more compassion and dignity. Sharon wondered how a woman like that had raised a competitive, driven son like Adam, and she guessed that Adam had gotten those genes from Victor. Chelsea remarked that she always felt close to Adam when she was there, even if it was just an empty symbolic memorial. Sharon urged Chelsea to trust that Adam was there if Chelsea was there. Chelsea requested some time alone before she had to meet Nick, and Sharon apologized for intruding. After Sharon left, Chelsea pulled out her screwdriver. She panicked when something she had expected to be inside the crypt wasn't there.
At the Athletic Club, Hilary and Phyllis approached Nick's table, and Phyllis knowingly asked if he was waiting for someone. Hilary pointed out that he'd been checking the time and glancing at the door, and Phyllis concluded that Chelsea was missing in action. Nick refused to get into a debate about Chelsea again, and he curtly wished the ladies a good evening. Phyllis told him not to say she hadn't warned him, and Hilary agreed that there was more to Chelsea than met the eye. The women stepped away.
Nick spotted Noah at the bar and called him over. Nick invited Noah to sit and talk, but Noah flatly declined. Nick asked what was going on, and Noah sourly replied that he didn't want to get into it, since what was done was done. Nick realized that Noah was upset about Tessa, and Noah spat that he'd heard Nick had given her an apartment in his building. Nick reasoned that it was low-income housing, and Tessa didn't have money. Nick swore that he hadn't given her preferential treatment, but Noah ranted that she'd once again gotten a Newman to bail her out. Noah grumbled that she was playing every single one of them.
Across the room, Hilary contemplated ordering a pasta dish, and Phyllis commented that she didn't think carbs passed Hilary's lips. Hilary revealed that she was craving them, and she wondered if she might be pregnant, but she noticed that Phyllis was distracted. Phyllis observed that Nick had been waiting alone, and she questioned where Chelsea could be. Hilary preferred to talk about herself, since waiting to find out if she was pregnant was driving her batty, and she was looking for signs everywhere. Phyllis pointed out that it was too early to have symptoms, even if the insemination had worked on the first try. Phyllis added that stress wouldn't help matters, and Hilary griped that it was like telling the rain not to fall.
Hilary confided that something else was bugging her -- she was worried that the baby she might be carrying might have been fathered by a psychopath. Phyllis was appalled when Hilary recounted her conversation with Jordan, and Phyllis contended that it would have been front-page news if sperm banks had misrepresented their donors. Phyllis admonished Jordan for playing vicious mind games with Hilary to make her doubt herself. Hilary recalled that she'd studied the donor profiles for hours to find the perfect one, but there would always be things about the guy that she wouldn't know and couldn't tell her child. Phyllis assured her that with Hilary as a mom, any child would grow up to be a force to be reckoned with.
Chelsea arrived at the club and composed herself before heading over to Nick's table. They kissed hello, and he said he'd been worried. She claimed that the boys had clung to her because they hadn't wanted her to leave, but she was starving and wanted to hear all about his meeting with Arturo. Nick voiced his concern about Noah's behavior, and he wasn't sure why his calm, levelheaded son had such bad judgment with women. Chelsea remarked that they'd all made choices that they regretted, and she figured that Noah was probably in too much pain to see that things would turn around.
Chelsea's phone pinged, and Chelsea struggled to hide her panic as she stared at it. She claimed that she had a work emergency with a shipment of silk, so she had to get to the office. Nick hoped that she wasn't leaving just because Phyllis was there, but Chelsea hadn't even noticed Phyllis across the room. Chelsea promised to make it up to him, and she headed out. In the foyer, she stopped to reread the message: "Did you have a nice visit with Christian's real father?" Phyllis watched Chelsea leave.
Nick stopped by Crimson Lights to discuss Noah with Sharon, and Sharon imagined that Noah was bitter after having his heart broken too many times. She planned to let their son vent the next time she saw him, and she was surprised when Nick ordered a sandwich. Nick explained that he'd been stood up for dinner, but Sharon mentioned that Chelsea had been on her way to see him. Nick asked where Sharon had seen her, and Sharon replied that they'd both been at the cemetery. Nick indicated that Chelsea hadn't told him about it, but Sharon advised him not to read too much into it, since it would probably be awkward for Chelsea to talk to him about the husband she'd lost. Sharon scoffed at the idea that Chelsea would be pulling a con in a graveyard.
Meanwhile, Phyllis told the story of Summer's dramatic birth in an elevator, and Hilary hoped that her own baby was born somewhere safe and sanitary. Nick returned and asked to speak with Phyllis about something important. Hilary left for the office, and Phyllis wondered what was urgent enough to run off her dinner companion. Nick declared that he was ready to hear Phyllis out about Chelsea, but Phyllis pointed out that he'd just bitten her head off about it minutes earlier. Nick insisted that he needed all the facts, and Phyllis asked what had changed his mind.
Nick divulged that Chelsea had lied about why she'd been late, since he knew that she'd been at the cemetery, visiting Adam's memorial. Nick wanted to give Chelsea the benefit of the doubt, but he thought things weren't adding up. Phyllis inquired about his take on the threat, but he had no idea what she meant. Phyllis informed him about the anonymous text messages, and Nick stated that Chelsea hadn't mentioned one thing about it to him.
Nick acknowledged that Phyllis had made a convincing case, but one thing didn't make sense -- Chelsea hadn't had any reason to spoof her own site, since she didn't need cash or harbor a grudge against Lauren. Phyllis speculated that Chelsea had been meeting someone at Adam's grave and hadn't expected Sharon to show up. Phyllis asked where Chelsea was right then. Nick replied that Chelsea had needed to go to the office, but Phyllis sensed that he didn't believe it any more than she did. Phyllis wondered if her cemetery theory was correct and if Chelsea's partner in crime had set up a meeting.
Nick and Phyllis arrived at the crypt, but there was no sign of Chelsea. Nick hated sleuthing around in the dark, trying to prove whether his girlfriend was lying to him. Phyllis insisted that he deserved to know the truth, and Nick wondered what Adam would think about everything. Phyllis imagined that Adam wouldn't be thrilled that Nick was shacking up with Chelsea, but she suddenly noticed something odd -- Adam's stone marker was crooked.
Hilary was surprised to find Devon at Hamilton-Winters, and he remarked that she wasn't the only one who worked late. She announced that she was there to do research to back up her brilliant ideas so that he couldn't shoot them down as easily the next time. He encouraged her to remember who ran Hamilton-Winters, but she thought Hamilton-Curtis-Winters had a nice ring to it.
Later, Hilary presented Devon with a list of label tours and what they'd netted, and every one had been a moneymaker, proving her idea was both viable and attractive. He promised that he would consider it, but he wouldn't offer any guarantees. She wondered how long it would be before he made a decision, since she wanted the planning to be underway before she made any pregnancy announcements. He thought what she was doing was incredibly brave and even inspiring, and she asked if he was thinking about having babies of his own. He confirmed that there were no babies in his future, but watching her had encouraged him to follow his own dreams, like having a hand in the future direction of the industry.
Hilary loved seeing Devon in his element, and she considered his envisioning great things for the future to be a turn-on. She anticipated being at the top of her field and changing the world, and she noted that ambition was one of the many things they had in common. She added that work wasn't everything, and he admitted that he wanted more. An attractive woman wandered into the office and inquired whether she was in the right place, and Devon told her that the night would be amazing.
Devon introduced Hilary to Simone, a singer who he wanted to sign. Simone pointed out that she had other interested labels, but Devon intended to make her forget that other companies existed by taking her for a ride on his private jet to give her a glimpse on what Hamilton-Winters could do for her career. Hilary advised that Simone would be a fool to sign with anyone else, and she jealously looked on as Devon and Simone left.
Victor summoned Noah to his office and lectured that Noah was supposed to be managing the restaurant, not getting liquored up and starting fights. Noah promised that it wouldn't happen again, and he explained that he'd been fine until he'd run into Tessa. Noah groused that Tessa had screwed up her life as well as his, but she had the whole town feeling sorry for her. Victor questioned whether Noah wanted the town to feel sorry for him instead, and he huffed that no one owed any sympathy to anyone in the world, since people had to fight for something if they wanted it. Noah figured that it was easy for Victor to say with his money and power, but Victor asserted that he'd fought every inch of the way to gain it. Victor advised Noah not to emulate Nick, who wanted everyone to like him, but to look at Victoria, who didn't take no for an answer and got what she wanted.
Victor walked Noah out, and Noah thanked Victor for not firing him. Victor supposed that they were all entitled to at least one mistake, but he warned that it had better be Noah's last one on the job. Noah swore to do his best, and he left. Moments later, Chelsea burst into Victor's office and closed the door. She rambled that someone knew the truth about Christian's paternity, but she didn't know who or what the person was after. Victor was glad that she'd turned to him, since they were in it together. He vowed to make sure the secret never got out, since that was what Adam had wanted.
Chelsea fretted about who had sent the text message, and she wondered if Adam had told someone else that he was Christian's father. She couldn't imagine why someone had waited to dredge it up, but Victor stated that she'd missed something important. He pulled out a bag and dumped her hidden cash onto his desk, noting that she'd misplaced it.