Written by A. Washington-Beeby
Story Consultants: ML Cooks & C. Nathaniel Richardson
Valerie and Marlena sit in the cafeteria in University Hospital, sipping on coffee as they pick away at their lunch. The old friends smile as they catch up. Marlena pulls a picture from her wallet.
MARLENA: So this is my daughters Belle and Sami.
VALERIE: What beautiful young women they are...Wow. Roman must be so proud of them.
Marlena looks down awkwardly, which Valerie catches.
VALERIE: Okay, Marlena...you gotta get me up to speed on this whole...Roman situation. What happened between you two?
Marlena nearly spits out her coffee at Valerie's unintentionally loaded question.
MARLENA: Valerie, if you wanted me to fill you in on that, you'd need all afternoon, not just a lunch date.
Valerie smiles, laughing quietly, but realizing how out of the loop she's been. She furrows her brow subtly as she responds.
VALERIE: Cliff notes?
Marlena puts down her coffee, trying hard to hide her frustration at Valerie's persistance, but Valerie catches on, and holds up her hands.
VALERIE: Okay...if you don't want to talk about it...
MARLENA: No no. It's just...it's very complicated. (sigh) Basically...we thought we had lost Roman...many many years ago....not to...get into too much detail but...a man came to town. John Black. We...we all thought he was Roman and...I married him.
VALERIE: But Roman was alive the whole time?
MARLENA: He had been held prisoner...for seven years. And then they kidnapped me as well.
Valerie looks on, shocked by Marlena's story.
VALERIE: My God! Marlena, I'm...so sorry.
Marlena smiles re-assuringly. She puts her hand over Valerie's.
MARLENA: It's alright. We managed to escape. Either way, once we were all back in Salem...things got complicated. John and I had an affair...and that's how we had Belle.
VALERIE: I see. Is....that why you and Roman aren't together anymore.
Marlena nods with a hint of sadness. Valerie looks at Marlena with a sympathetic face.
VALERIE: I'm sorry to hear.
MARLENA: Oh it's okay. That was a long time ago. I just wish things were going well with John now.
Marlena stares off in a distance as she thinks over her recent problems with John, and their divorce.
Daniel stands by the nurses' station at the hospital, trying to step between Billie and and angry Kim, who has caught Billie and Daniel in a warm embrace.
DANIEL: Okay...Kimberly, I want you to understand something here. This hospital is extremely well-protected without a police guard. There will always be someone within eyeshot of Theresa's room, so all this talk about a police guard is unneccessary. Okay?
KIM: Says the man that I just caught hugging the woman I have a restraining order against. Come on, Daniel. I'm not stupid.
Daniel sighs, as Billie rolls her eyes. Giving up, Billie presses the down button on the elevator.
BILLIE: Look. I have to get back to Titan, but, Kim. Just...let it go. I'm not going to see Theresa, okay? I'm respecting your wishes.
KIM: If that's the case, then why are you here?
BILLIE: Believe it or not, I have friends at this hospital that aren't named Theresa. I had to go see Jennifer for a moment, if you must know. Alright? So just relax and call your dogs off.
The door to the elevator opens, with Billie staring Kim down as she steps on, making a snarky remark before leaving.
BILLIE: But I will not stop caring about Theresa. And when she wakes up, you better hope she doesn't put a restraining order out against you. Especially conseridering how well you two get on. Have a nice day, Kim. Daniel? I'll see you at Club TBD?
Billie steps onto the elevator, while Kim stares her down as the doors close. Kim points to Billie as she looks up at Daniel, who's had quite enough of Kim, himself.
KIM: Do you see that? And you try to explain to me why I shouldn't have a police guard up.
Daniel finally snaps, looking over Kim's head as he shouts out at her.
DANIEL: Okay, Kim, ENOUGH! There will be no guards for Theresa's room and that's final, got it??
Kim looks at Daniel, stunned and disgusted by his strong reaction, and his domineering.
Eric walks through Town Square, deep in thought as he quickly grabs his phone from his pocket to check a newly received text message. As he does, he continues walking. Turning the corner by Tom & Alice's tree, he slams into a woman passing by, who jumps back before she falls down, herself not having paid close enough attention.
NOELLE: Oh God, watch...!
ERIC: I'm so sorr--
Eric stands back, shocked to see Noelle again. Eric looks on, at a loss for words momentarily, as is Noelle.
ERIC: Noelle Curtis...what are you doing here?
Eric offers a hand to Noelle as he lifts her up off the ground of Horton Town Square. The both smile, surprised to see each other again after so long.
NOELLE: My God! Eric Brady, it's been...ages!
Noelle leans over and gives Eric a warm hug. Eric smiles and hugs back.
ERIC: It's been a...long while. You're looking...fantastic.
Eric pulls out of the hug and, still holding her hands, backs away from her to see how beautiful she looks. Noelle smiles, flattered by Eric's compliment.
NOELLE: You're not looking so bad yourself. I heard you...have had...quite a year.
Eric's face drops, as he nods, a sad look across his face.
ERIC: ...Or two. Yeah, you could definitely make a case. But I'm pulling through.
NOELLE: Good. I'm glad. Yeah, it's...definitely not be an easy year for me either.
ERIC: I heard about your dad. I'm sorry to hear. Neil and my mom were good friends for a very long time.
Noelle smiles half-heartedly, a certain sadness in her eyes. She nods as she looks down, deep in thought in a way, as she continues to talk to Eric.
NOELLE: Yeah. It wasn't easy on any of us. Especially since now I'm...helping to support her.
Eric looks shocked by Noelle's revelation. He looks into Noelle's eyes with a deep concern.
Noelle holds up her one hand to motion to Eric not to panic.
NOELLE: It's...not a big deal, don't worry. I'm taking it all in stride. I'm just...gonna have to make it work is all.
ERIC: Well, I hope it does work itself out. Hey, how long are you in town for? 'Cause I really would love you to meet everyone, catch up with me and Sami and...
Noelle laughs at Eric's enthusiasm as she interrupts him to give him her news. As she does, Nicole appears from the opposite end of Horton Town Square and spies Eric and Noelle speaking. She hangs back, observing their body language from afar.
NICOLE: Who the Hell is that?
Noelle smiles and responds to Eric.
NOELLE: Well...we'll have plenty of time for all that. I'm staying in Salem...hopefully for good.
Eric's eyes light up at the news. He smiles widely, still standing hand-in-hand with her.
ERIC: That's fantastic!
Eric pulls Noelle back in for a big hug as Nicole looks on. Now blind with jealous rage, she storms over to Eric and Noelle and, upon approaching them, makes herself known.
NICOLE: And just what in the HELL is going on here?
Eric pulls away from Noelle and turns to face Nicole, his face immediately twisted into one of confused displeasure.
Jordan sits down at Sheryl's desk, sitting in a chair next to Jerome. Sheryl leans over her desk, placing down before the both of them a single page each. Jordan squints at the page as she picks it up, looking up at a smirking Sheryl as she scans the page.
JORDAN: You're serious about this?
Jordan sets the paper down on Sheryl's desk. She looks over incredulously at Jerome.
JORDAN: You're going to steal all the data Titan has on EnerNext from their mainframe and cover your tracks with a virus?
SHERYL: Not just any virus, Jordan. That's why I brought Jerome back to help us. He can explain it a lot better than I can.
Sheryl motions to Jerome to continue. He smiles wryly and begins, hands clasped together as he sits casually at his seat.
JEROME: We will be accessing that specific server only. Once the files are accessed and copied, which should only take about twenty minutes, we would have to cover our tracks to avoid any chance of Titan's security system catching the transfer. As a result, we will systematically corrupt and effectively paralyze the Titan servers, top to bottom.
JORDAN: And what if the firewall stops us before then? I mean, wouldn't someone not get a warning that there was a breach in the firewall?
SHERYL: Not if Jerome's plan goes correctly.
Jerome looks over to Jordan, who is still a bit lost on the logistics of the plan.
JEROME: There is a hole in every firewall. We just have to figure out where it is, and take advantage of it.
SHERYL: Once we're in, we take what we need, and then effectively set fire to the house.
Jordan looks at Sheryl, unimpressed, and responds sarcastically.
JORDAN: Sounds extreme.
JEROME: It's the best way. It's effectively untraceable, destroys Titan's inner workings, which will cost them millions if not billions, and whatever we collect on the project will go straight to the media, which will put the final nail in Titan's coffin.
Jerome turns to Sheryl at this point, pointing and smiling, looking impressed.
JEROME: Oh, and by the way. Great work with the Titan TV sale. I didn't think you could pull that one off, but it helps us out big time.
SHERYL: Thank you.
JORDAN: Won't that still be a bit of a battle? I mean, I'm sure there's a boatload of Titan loyalists still left at the station. I can't imagine they'd be thrilled with this.
Jerome looks back to Jordan, a wry smile on his face, and a glimmer in his eye.
JEROME: Trust me. When the man isn't signing their cheques, they'll take him down in a heartbeat for a good story. You can believe that.
SHERYL: And truth be told, I'm certain that by the end of the week, there won't be a Titan for them to worry about anyway, and we'll be miles away by then.
As she finishes her sentence, Sheyl looks up shocked as the door to her office swings open. Lucas looks on, confused by the scene he sees in front of him.
LUCAS: Miles away from where?
Sheryl looks on, stunned and at a loss for words as Jordan and Jerome turn to see Lucas in the doorway.
LUCAS: Sheryl, what the Hell is going on here?
Daniel pulls Kim into his office, with Kim attempting to free herself from his clutches, as he shuts the door. Kim pulls off him, finally, and curses him as she feels her not-as-sore-as-she's-making-out upper arm. Daniel leans against his desk and points a finger at Kim as he starts in on her.
KIM: Let go of me! What kind of neanderthal are you?
DANIEL: One that's concerned about your daughter's well-being.
Daniel stops a moment, relaxing somewhat as his tone changes to a more reserved, concerned one.
DANIEL: ...And yours.
Kim looks up from studying her arm for bruising. She squints at Daniel in wonder.
KIM: My well-being? (laughs) Daniel, I've been through...so much worse than this.
DANIEL: Yeah, and how did you handle that?
Kim looks away a moment, annoyed by Daniel's interference.
KIM: I don't want to get into this with you, okay?
Daniel raises his voice, hoping to stifle Kim's objections.
DANIEL: You need to, Kimberly!
Daniel stops a moment before softening his tone again, his eyes unmoving from Kim's.
DANIEL: Your daughter has been in a terrible accident. The longer she's in that coma, the greater the chance she'll never wake up from it. Now, I want to do everything I can to make sure she does wake up, but that includes her being surrounded by friends and family that will help her heal. And whether you want to admit it or not...that includes Billie.
Kim looks away at the window, shaking her head in denial. As she responds to Daniel, she becomes increasingly emotional, tears beginning to form in her eyes.
KIM: That woman has caused us nothing but pain. She's torn every bit of stability and normacly away from that girl. And just when I finally get my daughter back...
Kim stops a moment to collect herself as she begins to break down. Daniel looks on, sympathetically, but folds his arms and stays put, not wanting to step towards Kim.
KIM: I can't take any chances with this, Daniel. Billie Reed poisoned my daughter against me, and I'm not going to let her near my daughter again, ever!
Daniel looks down, retaining his composure as best he can as he takes in Kim's emotion.
DANIEL: It's not right. And you know it.
Kim nearly hollers over Daniel, refusing to accept what he has to say.
KIM: Oh to HELL with what's right for Billie! She has no right to insert herself into this.
DANIEL: Okay, Kim...I want you to realize something. Okay? I saw Billie with Theresa, and I saw how much Billie cares about that girl getting better. That kind of energy is sometimes exactly what can make the difference between someone coming back out of a coma, and someone never waking up.
Kim stays silent, wiping away her tears as she listens to Daniel.
DANIEL: But I have to respect that restraining order. If I don't, I run the risk of losing my job, and my licence. Why would I risk that? Just...don't let this anger consume you, Kim. Billie may be in my life, but that's not gonna give her special privilege where Theresa's concerned. You need to trust that.
Kim stops a moment, mulling over what Daniel's said before continuing.
KIM: Okay...fine, I won't ask for a guard for Theresa's room, and I will respect...whatever thing you have going with her...but if I ever catch Billie Reed in my daughter's hospital room again, so help me, you will live to regret it. Do you understand me? And trust me, if she's in there, I WILL find out. I can guarantee you.
Daniel looks up again, afraid to even make a response against Kim's strong reaction.
In the hospital cafeteria, Valerie studies Marlena's troubled expression with concern of her own.
VALERIE: What do you mean by that? Is everything okay with you and John?
Marlena sighs as she answers, not able to quite look Valerie in the eyes, hoping to retain her composure.
MARLENA: No, I can't say that they are. We're getting a divorce.
Marlena feigns a smile, as Valerie reaches out across the table to touch Marlena's hand in comfort.
VALERIE: I'm really sorry to hear that. But I'll tell you something, you look a hell of a lot more conflicted than sad about this. Marlena...are...are you sure this is what you want?
Marlena looks down, contemplating Valerie's question. She slowly nods, before looking back up at her friend to answer her question.
MARLENA: Yes. Yes, it's probably for the best. Too much water's passed under the bridge, and as much as I don't want to admit it, I have much more important priorities to consider right now.
Valerie raises an eyebrow at Marlena's vague statement.
VALERIE: Such as...?
MARLENA: What to do about Roman.
VALERIE: What do you mean? Is he okay?
Marlena takes a sip of her coffee before answering. Putting the cup down, she shakes her head subtly, hoping to maintain discretion concerning his situation.
MARLENA: No. And actually, that's something I really should ask you about, especially with your expertise in neurology.
VALERIE: Absolutely, anything.
Marlena leans in, looking around to make sure no one could be listening in on them as she softly asks Valerie her question.
MARLENA: Roman's been having very...bizarre memory lapses and these...strange moments that almost seem like the beginnings of dementia...
VALERIE: It very well could be, but he's so young, that's a surprise to me.
MARLENA: To me too. And it comes so soon after his mother's diagnosis with Alzheimer's as well. But, that's the thing. The symptoms don't quite line up.
Valerie looks on, head tilted slightly in confusion.
VALERIE: How do you mean?
MARLENA: I mean that something in my gut is telling me something else is happening to him. And I need you to figure out what it is.
VALERIE: I'll do whatever I can.
Marlena smiles at Valerie warmly.
MARLENA: Thank you. I'll be meeting with Roman after lunch so maybe we can have a chat with him then.
VALERIE: Sounds good to me, I'm free for a little while longer, so I don't mind at a...
Before Valerie can finish her sentence, she spots another familiar face walk through the door of the cafeteria, looking for someone. She spots Roman immediately and calls out to him as she stands up, smiling widely.
VALERIE: Chris Kositchek! Aren't you a sight for sore eyes!
Roman looks at Valerie, bewildered, and as though looking at a stranger, as Marlena looks on, a flash of deep concern hits her as she looks quickly back and forth between Roman and Valerie.