Written by A. Washington-Beeby
Story Consultants: ML Cooks, Nick Monarco & C. Nathaniel Richardson
Maggie, Julie, Alex, and Will step into the main hall of what will soon be the re-opened Penthouse Grille. The building is still very much a work-in-progress, with scaffoldings all around the room, and half-completed painting on the walls. Still, the group is impressed by what will soon come.
MAGGIE: So I just want to thank everyone for coming down here. I know it was last minute and I apologize for changing the venue so suddenly, but I'm glad you could all make it down here.
WILL: It's no trouble at all.
MAGGIE: I'm pleased. Because I couldn't wait to show you all.
Maggie holds out her arms, beaming with excitement as she turns around like a game show model to show off the new restaurant.
MAGGIE: This is the new space.
Julie looks around the room, smiling excitedly alongside Maggie.
JULIE: Maggie, this is going to be incredible! Oh, you must be so excited.
ALEX: She's not the only one. We have an elaborate marketing campaign planned for this space to go along with a modern, upscale decor, and plush furnishings. This place is going to be THE hotspot of Salem.
Will looks to Alex, giving a playful grin to him.
WILL: You'd better be careful, your brother might get jealous and fight back.
The group share a laugh, before Alex responds in kind.
ALEX: Well, it's all in the family. I think there's enough of a market in Salem for both spaces to operate successfully.
MAGGIE: Well, I agree. And I think Sonny's plan, from what he told me earlier, was that he planned to use the TBD space going forward more as a lounge and less as a dinner space, so I'm absolutely sure we can find the right balance.
JULIE: Absolutely. Besides, with how unbelievably grand this place is, this could be a premier spot for events.
Maggie smiles and turns to face Julie, almost bursting with excitement.
MAGGIE: Well, I'm glad you're so enthusiastic about it, Julie, because I had something I wanted to ask you.
Julie stands dumbstruck. Unsure what to expect, she turns to face Maggie.
JULIE: Me? What is it, Maggie?
MAGGIE: Well...I know you have a whole lot of enthusiasm and decades of experience in running clubs like this...would you do me the honour of running the Penthouse Grille?
Julie looks at Maggie, suprised and beginning to smile.
Tyler stands in the Titan Lab with Nick. Tyler is incensed by Nick's demands of him, and responds angrily.
TYLER: You have absolutely no grounds to make demands of me, young man.
Nick turns to face him, nonchalantly. He looks directly into Tyler's eyes as he smriks, cooly responding to Tyler's rage.
NICK: I would watch that tone you take with me. You remember the fact I had access to the security system and was able to not only track down but also prevent this virus from going through? What makes you think I don't have access to anything else around here?
Tyler draws himself up, uncomfortable with the direction Nick's going with this.
NICK: You see, I know an awful lot about a lot of people in this building. Including you...your brother...and where your connections in "business" really are. Don't test me, Tyler.
Tyler's face goes ghost white as Nick slowly hints at his familial connections, sighing heavily as he realizes what's at stake.
Noelle and Nicole sit at the bar at Club TBD. The soft, intimate lighting creates a relaxed mood for the two, as the tensions between them lower with each drink. As Nicole sets her martini down, Noelle lifting hers to her lips to take a sip.
NICOLE: So for the record: Victor Kiriakis is a safe topic with me. There is no love lost between him and I.
Noelle turns, intrigued.
NOELLE: Oh really? Why, what did Old Man Vic do to you?
NICOLE: Ohhh...I could tell you but...we'd need a few weeks before I finish. Let's just say it took me a few years, a murder attempt, some blackmail, and a court case...yeah...he's...taken me to the cleaners a few times.
Nicole quickly finishes her martini, trying to wash down the memories of Victor, before holding up her finger to catch T's attention.
NICOLE: T! Another martini?
T: Sure thing, Miss Walker.
NICOLE: Thanks, darlin'.
Nicole turns again to face Noelle, with a raised eyebrow and a cheeky grin.
NICOLE: What did that sour old malaka do to you?
Noelle chortles at Nicole's crack, before turning back in Nicole's direction, putting her martini down on the bar.
NOELLE: Well..for one, he killed my father.
Nicole looks on, stunned by the grave news.
Julie stands, amazed as Maggie smiles back at her.
JULIE: Me? You...You want me to run this...this beautiful place?
MAGGIE: I couldn't think of anyone better suited to it. You and Doug have been masters in this field for a very, very long time. Heck, you even teach ME a thing or two now and then.
Everyone laughs as Maggie reaches into her bag and pulls out the keys to the restaurant. She holds them out for Julie to take.
JULIE: Maggie, I don't know what to say!
MAGGIE: Say yes! (laughs) It would be my honour to have you be my right hand.
Julie takes a moment, before taking the keys from Maggie. They immediately reach for each other and give each other a warm hug, laughing and beaming as Alex and Will applaud their new family venture.
JJ holds the cheque Liam's given him in his hands as he sits on the sofa in the Horton living room. He looks over at a smiling Liam, who sits nearby in an easy chair, with Jenn sitting along the back of the chair, beaming at her son.
JJ: I...I honestly don't know what to say, Liam.
LIAM: Don't say anything right now. Think about it. I know we...we really haven't seen eye-to-eye so far but...I just figured this could be a step in the right direction.
JJ looks up at Liam, seriously. He then looks up at his smiling mom, and nods.
JJ: Alright. Give me some time. But...I just want you to know...I really appreciate this.
JJ gets up from the sofa, as Liam does as well, and Jennifer walks toward the two of them, resting her arms on Liam's broad shoulder.
LIAM: It's my pleasure, JJ.
The two men shake hands as Liam turns toward Jennifer.
LIAM: I think....it's time we took ourselves out for the evening. JJ, let me know what you decide.
JJ: Will do. Have a good time, you guys.
Jennifer pulls JJ into a tight hug.
JENNIFER: Thank you, Sweetie. I'll see you later.
JJ: Bye, Mom.
As Jenn follows Liam out of the room, JJ turns back away from the two of them, his face dropping with worry as he holds the cheque in his hands. He shakes his head, increasingly unsure of Liam and his motives.
Nicole looks at Noelle, shocked by what she's just heard, as she uncomfortably stirs her martini, trying to find a response.
NICOLE: So...uh...wait, your...your dad...
NOELLE: Neil Curtis.
NICOLE: Neil Curtis...how did he get involved with Victor?
Noelle casually takes a sip of her martini before responding to Nicole.
NOELLE: Oh, I don't think we have time for all that--
NICOLE: Oh come on, you can't drop a bomb like that and just tell me you don't wanna talk about it--
Noelle interrupts Nicole's complaining, leaning back and sighing, rolling her eyes in defeat.
NOELLE: OKAY, okay, fine. If you really wanna know, my dad had a gambling problem, and...ugh...it's complicated, my mother-in-law...Anjelica...she was with my dad at the time, and...
Nicole's eyes dart back and forth as Noelle explains, trying to keep track of the complicated connections in her head.
NOELLE: I dunno, Victor wanted Anjelica for himself, so he manipulated dad into going back into gambling and then...started loan sharking him and...well...that's when things started going downhill. Dad had to close Blondie's, I dunno if you remember driving past that place when you were young.
NICOLE: Must've been before my time.
Noelle shrugs, and stirs her martini, still a bit wistful as she recalls her early childhood.
NOELLE: Well...by then I was living with my mom in LA anyway, so...I wasn't around for any of that, really. I just know that when my dad finally moved to LA to be near us...he was...he wasn't well. He was...weary. Worn down. He never told us anything about what happened with Victor after he lost Blondie's but...you could tell it hurt him a lot. Mom and I really helped him feel....normal again, I guess, but...he put himself head first into his work. Mom and I never knew why he was obsessed with working and money and...he just...never seemed to have enough on the go, never let a penny slip.
Noelle looked up at Nicole, deadly serious. Nicole looks back, engrossed in Noelle's confessional story.
NICOLE: Victor still had Neil by the balls?
NOELLE: Oh yeah. You could definitely say that. Victor may have mellowed with the mafia stuff...
NICOLE: ...But he can still hold a grudge better than anyone.
Noelle nods before looking down, holding her martini glass between her hands.
NOELLE: Exactly. And my dad had a heart attack...about two years ago. And only when he died did we find out...he barely had any estate left. He had bled every account, every...trust...down to nothing...just so Mom and I didn't feel deprived or like...he was a burden on us. It was all a show, Nicole. Victor had never stopped feeding his addiction...but it was always there, and to the day he died, he was on the hook to that man. It was sick.
Nicole reaches a hand out to Noelle, squeezing it gently.
NICOLE: I'm so sorry.
Noelle, fighting back tears, smiles half-heartedly, never looking up from the table.
NICOLE: You know....I know this is rich coming from me but...do you think, maybe it's healthier to just....let go of that anger? I mean...you've got a good life, a wonderful husband who loves you--
Noelle guffaws at Nicole's mention of Alex, interrupting her.
NOELLE: Yeah. He loves me so much he just chastised me like a three year-old for saying mean things to his almighty Uncle Vic's lifeless body.
Noelle rolls her eyes as she takes a sip from her drink. She then stops...shakes her head slowly in response, still looking down at her hand, clasped in Nicole's.
NOELLE: Nah...Victor Kiriakis...he's got some reparations to repay me...heh...and my mom. I'll never forgive him for what he did to my dad. And I'm gonna make sure he pays.
Noelle looks intensely into Nicole's eyes, while Nicole looks back, taken a bit aback by Noelle's simmering rage.
Tyler, incensed by Nick's posturing, steps towards him, pointing angrily at him.
TYLER: You don't know what you're getting yourself involved in, little boy. This goes way deeper than you want to get into.
Nick scoffs, laughing at Tyler's attempts to scare him.
NICK: Oh, hah, I know. Trust me, I looked into it. I mean, I know Houston is a relatively common name and all, but...like...seriously, Tyler, it doesn't take all that much digging to make the connection.
TYLER: I don't know what you're talking about.
NICK: The fact that you've been involved with Victor Kiriakis up to your neck for decades. This whole...EnerNext thing is just the first time we're hearing about it. Victor hired you to run his mob businesses under a separate corporation from Titan to distance himself, and he knew you'd be able to do the job thanks to you and your brother's biker gang ties.
Tyler looks exasperated, not knowing exactly how to shut Nick down, he lets him carry on.
NICK: So you ran it all, keeping Victor at arm's length until it became expedient for Victor to reign you in because he started to run out of money from his legitimate business. Only by then, you'd gone big time. Got all involved in shady middle eastern oil cartels. Shall I bring up Jack Deveraux's kidnapping in Afghanistan while he was doing a story on your shady dealings? I think that'd go over real well at the Titan meeting--
Tyler finally snaps, cutting a smug Nick off.
TYLER: Alright, ENOUGH!
Nick looks at Tyler dead in the eye, a deep intensity between the two men as Tyler moves in extremely close to Nick, a threatening look in his eye. He threatens him in a quiet but firm voice.
TYLER: You get what you want this time from me, Fallon...but you better watch your back from here on in. Those connections you spoke of aren't child's play. You're in with the big boys now.
Tyler steps away from Nick, heading for the door of the lab, Nick stays still, but donning his trademark smirk as he watches Tyler leave.
NICK: See you at the board meeting tomorrow, Tyler.
Tyler looks back momentarily, before stepping out of the room. As Tyler leaves, Nick exhales, as though he'd held in the world's pressure on his shoulders and is suddenly releasing it. The pain in his head becomes immediately visible on his face, as he struggles to maintain his balance.
Nick hears a shrill, high-pitched sound get louder and louder, as he struggles to maintain his balance and clarity.
Nick rests against the counter of the lab, fighting to keep his balance as dizziness overwhelms him. He screams out in pain as he falls over, taking a collection of test tubes down with him. They shatter on the ground as he collapses.