Written by A. Washington-Beeby
Story Consultants: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco
Jennifer and Liam walk downstairs at the Horton house to find JJ walking in, suitcases and a couple boxes by the door. Jenn looks on shocked, as JJ smiles.
JENNIFER: JJ, what are you...?
JJ: Hey, Mom. I ah...sorry, I didn't wanna wake you guys but...I decided to leave today instead of tomorrow for Berkley.
Jenn's face drops, as Liam pulls Jenn in close.
LIAM: Well that's...that's a surprise, JJ. I think your mom and I were hoping to spend some more time with you before you go.
JJ looks at Liam, not entirely confident that Liam's being genuine.
JJ: Well, I'm not leaving right away. I did wanna spend some time with you guys before heading off. Besides, I had a few things I wanted to discuss...mostly with you, Liam.
Both Liam and Jennifer look at JJ with confusion, as JJ shuffles uncomfortably.
Will emerges from Gabi's bedroom, having settled Ari down and back to sleep. He speaks out as he closes the door to Gabi's room behind him, assuming Nicole is still in the living room waiting for him.
WILL: Hey, sorry about that, I just had to...
Will looks around to find no sign of Nicole, and her jacket and purse gone. He looks confused as he calls out to her.
Will sighs, confused and a bit worried by Nicole's sudden disappearance.
In the park near Town Square, Noelle and Eric remain on the bench, finishing their coffees.
ERIC: I'm sorry I put all my problems on you like this.
NOELLE: Don't worry about it. Sometimes you just need an outside voice to...inject some reason back into your life. You know?
Eric looks at Noelle, and smiles warmly.
ERIC: Yeah, I do.
NOELLE: Look, I'm sure once this special airs, things will go back to normal between you and Nicole, and you'll probably laugh at how stressed out you were about this.
ERIC: (sigh) I hope you're right.
Noelle puts a hand on Eric's shoulder, as Nicole walks quickly into the bushy area where Eric and Noelle are sitting. Caught off guard, they both look up suddenly, as Nicole stands startled to see them together.
Jordan gets up from behind her desk at University Hospital, taking the patient files Maxine has brought her to her filing cabinet. As she opens the drawer, Maxine, sitting in front of Jordan's desk, turns to face her, visibly concerned.
MAXINE: Honey, I'm serious. Rafe Hernandez just proposed marriage to you and you look like you're about to hold a funeral for that man. Now what is wrong?
Jordan puts the file folder away and closes the drawer with a light slam. She turns around, holding her head in her hands. She resists the urge to scream.
JORDAN: It's...it's nothing, okay? I just...there's a lot going on and I just...I don't know if I can marry him.
MAXINE: Honey, what are you talking about? That man loves you more than anything in this world.
Jordan begins to calm down, her arms dropping to her side as she nervously walks back toward her desk.
JORDAN: I know but...Maxine, I...I've done a lot of things in my past that Rafe doesn't know about.
Jordan sits down in her office chair, looking toward the ceiling, clearly frustrated.
MAXINE: We all have! Come on, now. I'm sure it's nothing he wouldn't completely understand.
JORDAN: Ohhh I don't know about that.
Maxine looks at Jordan, unimpressed. Her tone deepens as she answers Jordan.
MAXINE: Try me.
Jordan sighs, knowing Maxine will keep digging if she doesn't give her something.
JORDAN: He doesn't know about my ex-boyfriend. He doesn't know that I got dumped when I told him I was pregnant.
JORDAN: He doesn't know I ended the pregnancy after he dumped me because I couldn't raise a baby on my own.
Maxine sits back in her chair, sighing heavily. She takes a moment to mull her thoughts over before answering Jordan.
MAXINE: Honey, I'm sorry.
Jordan turns away from Maxine, opening her drawer to pull out a pen.
JORDAN: Well, there's not much you can do about it now.
MAXINE: Look, I don't know if I would've made the same decision you did under the same circumstances, but that man loves you with everything in him. Even if he had a hard time accepting what you did, he would try to understand it.
JORDAN: Maxine, I don't know. What I do know is that I've tried very hard to move on with my life, and every time I turn around it gets harder and harder to do that.
Jordan becomes more and more agitated, as Maxine faces Jordan with a look of curiosity.
MAXINE: What do you mean? Has something happened?
JORDAN: It's nothing, Maxine.
MAXINE: No. Girl, you need to tell me what's happened?
Jordan looks down at her desk, as Maxine persists.
MAXINE: I can't help you, Jordan, unless you tell me what's going on.
After a tense moment, Jordan sighs and fesses up.
JORDAN: My ex- is back in town, and I know he's up to no good, and if I'm not careful, he may just tell Rafe all about my past.
Jordan begins to tear up, as she continues to tell Maxine about her situation with Jerome.
JORDAN: And I don't know if I can handle that, Maxine. I really don't know.
Maxine looks on as Jordan breaks down in tears. Slowly getting up from her seat, she takes Jordan's hand and pulls her up into a tight hug, Jordan crying on Maxine's shoulder.
Will walks into Club TBD, searching for Sonny. Not seeing him, Will walks over to T, who is bartending.
WILL: Ah, hey, T. Have you seen Sonny at all?
T: Hey! Yeah, he's just in the office. Go ahead.
WILL: Great. Thanks, man.
Will looks over before walking quickly over to the office, and knocking on the door.
Inside, Sonny sits at his desk, looking over a spreadsheet on his laptop.
SONNY: Come in!
Will opens the door, and quickly closes the door behind him. He makes a beeline to Sonny, who gets up from his desk with a smile and kisses Will on the lips as a loving greeting.
SONNY: Will! Hey! What's up? Everything okay at the apartment?
WILL: Yeah. Yeah, I um...I dropped Ari off with Marlena for a bit. I had to...I had to tell you about something that happened that's....got me a bit worried.
SONNY: Why? What happened?
Will turns away from Sonny momentarily, trying not to let him see the worry in his face, but Sonny can tell, regardless.
WILL: Well, Nicole had been trying to get ahold of me, and so I had her come over.
SONNY: Nicole? What did she want?
WILL: That's what I wanted to know. She was...digging for information on Nick and Titan, and...
SONNY: Uh oh.
Will turns around, almost laughing as he nods emphatically at Sonny.
WILL: Yeah, exactly. Uh oh. Sonny, I don't know who else to turn to, so just...
SONNY: Yeah, don't worry. You can always tell me anything, you know that.
Sonny puts his hand on Will's shoulder. Will smiles half-heartedly.
SONNY: So what did she say then?
WILL: Well, that my mom gave her permission to bulldoze Nick, but that...I may get caught in the crossfire. Professionally speaking.
Sonny looks at Will, seeing the worry in Will's eyes does the same to him.
Nicole stands startled, as Noelle rises from her seat on the park bench next to Eric.
NOELLE: Hey, Nicole.
Nicole looks at Noelle, a faint smile on her face, as she senses she's interrupted a moment.
NOELLE: I ah...was just catching up with Eric, but...I do need to go. Can we ah...can we get together this weekend sometime? Maybe a double date at Club TBD or something?
NICOLE: I'd like that.
NOELLE: Great. Eric, it was good to see you.
Noelle puts her hand on Eric's shoulder, as Eric looks up and smiles back at Noelle, before she takes off.
Nicole smiles half-heartedly as Noelle leaves the park, leaving Nicole alone with Eric.
ERIC: I'm sorry I ran off like that.
Nicole slowly steps over to Eric, and sits down beside him on the park bench.
NICOLE: It's okay. I figured you needed some time to...decompress. Be alone, although, I guess you weren't completely alone, but...
ERIC: Noelle just...happened to be walking by. Offered me a coffee for my thoughts.
NICOLE: I'm glad she was there.
Nicole looks at Eric, who looks out at the park before him, never once turning to face Nicole.
After a moment's silence, Nicole pipes up.
NICOLE: Eric, if...if I made you feel like you were coming second to my work, I'm sorry. I didn't mean--
ERIC: No! No, Nicole.
Eric turns suddenly, now looking Nicole's way, his gaze focused on her.
ERIC: You have something so important to say right now. Your job is to inform the people of this city about something incredibly...pressing to their lives and their health. It was selfish of me to react the way I did to it.
NICOLE: But Eric, you're allowed to feel that way. I wasn't there with you on our wedding night. The first night of our lives together and I spent it sitting at my desk trying to build a case against Nick Fallon. I...Nick isn't important enough to make me waste away a night that should've been so special.
ERIC: There will be so many more of those. Besides. We haven't had our big wedding yet.
Eric and Nicole both smile at each other, as Eric leans back in his seat, his gaze never leaving his new bride.
ERIC: You know, the one we talked about with all our family and friends there.
NICOLE: Oh, I remember.
ERIC: I'm so happy to be your husband, even if we did kinda...rush to the altar.
Nicole furrows her brow slightly.
NICOLE: What do you mean?
ERIC: Well, I mean...you didn't force my hand or anything, I think it was my idea to get married right away, but...
Eric sighs, knowing he may have hit a nerve. He looks away again before continuing.
ERIC: I worry that we got married in a hurry because I was running from something.
NICOLE: Like what?
ERIC: I dunno. The rejection of losing my vocation. Of all the...judgmental people that look at me with contempt like I've done something horribly wrong.
NICOLE: But you didn't. And if I thought for a minute that that was why you were marrying me, Eric? I would have stopped you from marrying me the moment I realized.
Eric smiles, as he puts his arm around Nicole.
NICOLE: Truth is, yeah, I was insecure about our relationship for awhile. I...thought that maybe...if you were cleared and the church wanted you back that...that you'd want to leave me. That I was some sort of...consolation prize.
ERIC: Nicole, I would never--
NICOLE: I know. I know that now. I know you love me...more than anything in this world. Hearing the way you stood up for me at our wedding? How you made it clear to your mom and your sister that...that I was the most important thing in your life, and that nothing they could say, or do was gonna change that. I know there's nothing that could keep us apart now. I believe it with everything in me.
Eric leans in and kisses Nicole, as Nicole wraps her arms around her husband. They hold each other as they kiss each other gently, but passionately.
JJ, Jennifer and Liam step into the Horton living room, as Jennifer and Liam sit side-by-side on the sofa. JJ takes the armchair, as he leans in, looking seriously.
JENNIFER: Okay, I don't like the look on your face, JJ. What's wrong?
JJ: Mom, it's...just that I have some concerns about things here at the house right now.
LIAM: What do you mean, JJ?
JJ sighs, unsure how to phrase his thoughts.
JJ: I just...Mom, I know you and Liam have been seeing each other for awhile, and...you know, you seem very happy. And I want that for you guys, but...I have...concerns.
JENNIFER: What do you mean? JJ, if this is about Daniel--
JJ: It's not...It's not about Daniel, Mom. I understand, things are over between you and him. And that's my fault.
Jennifer reaches over and takes JJ's hand in hers. She speaks emphatically to him.
JENNIFER: JJ, it is NOT your fault things didn't work out between Daniel and I. You have got to let that go, honey.
JJ: I won't. Mom, I let you down too many times when I came back to Salem. I was in a lot of pain and I hurt you a lot. And I will never be able to say I'm sorry enough times.
Jennifer smiles wistfully, as she squeezes JJ's hand.
LIAM: You know your mother's so proud of the changes you've made recently, JJ. Don't think I haven't noticed either. That's why I offered you that money to go to college at Berkley. I think you're ready.
JJ breathes in, as he musters his courage.
JJ: That's...that's actually one of the things I wanted to ask you about...I probably should have asked sooner, but...
LIAM: Sure, go ahead.
JJ looks up, hiding his fear as he asks Liam his question.
JJ: Where did you get all that money from, anyway?
LAURA: That's something I'm dying to hear, myself, actually.
Liam, Jenn, and JJ all turn with a start toward the archway leading into the living room, as Laura walks slowly into the room, a stern look on her face.
LAURA: Just where DID you get $50,000 from to give away to my grandson, Liam?
Laura stands, staring straight at Liam, her arms folded accusingly.