Written by A. Washington-Beeby
Story Consultants: ML Cooks & C. Nathaniel Richardson
Outside Aiden Jennings' office, John Black makes his way down the hallway. Stopping to check the unit number, he sighs deeply as he steps in. The secretary looks up, smiling at John as he steps in.
SECRETARY: Good morning, what can I do for you?
JOHN: I've, uh...got an appointment with Mr. Jennings for 10am. It's John Black.
SECRETARY: Just a moment, Mr. Black, I'll let him know you're here.
Aiden's secretary picks up the phone and dials into Aiden's office.
John zones out, thinking to the previous night, where he spied on Marlena and Roman in a long, tight embrace. The image won't shake from his mind, to the point where he doesn't hear...
SECRETARY: Hello?! Mr. Black!
John snaps out of it, and looks back at Aiden's secretary.
SECRETARY: Mr. Jennings will see you now.
John smiles and nods his thanks to the secretary before stepping inside.
Once in, Aiden is stood behind his desk, arm extended to shake John's hand.
AIDEN: Mr. Black! Good to finally meet you.
JOHN: Just call me John, my good man.
AIDEN: Only if you call me Aiden.
The two men share a smile as they shake hands and sit down on either side of the desk.
AIDEN: So what can I do for you, M...John?
JOHN: I have some papers I'd like you to draw up, and the sooner the better.
AIDEN: Alright. What kind of papers?
John's face tightens at the sudden realization of what he's about to ask. He draws himself up slightly before answering.
JOHN: Uh...(sigh) divorce papers.
EJ walks down the stairs of the DiMera mansion, still in his robe. He strides into the living room, checking to see that the coast is clear before he pulls his cell phone from his pocket and dials.
EJ keeps looking around suspiciously as he answers.
EJ: (into phone) Are they gone?
EJ nods approvingly for a second, before standing in stone silence, the colour draining from his face.
EJ: (into phone) WHAT? You mean to tell me that they buggered up the bookings and they ended up on the same flight?
EJ's fury rises, as he simultaneously tries to temper it, lest he arouse suspicion or wake anyone up.
EJ: (into phone) You'd better pray those two don't notice each other on the flight or we are in serious trouble.
EJ hangs up the phone abruptly, slamming the phone down on the table, as the door to the living room opens, with a cackling Stefano sauntering in.
STEFANO: Female trouble, my son?
EJ shoots daggers from his eyes at his father.
EJ: You're awfully smug so early in the morning, Father.
Stefano pats EJ on the shouler.
STEFANO: Two espresso shots, first thing. Really gives me the pep. You know?
EJ: I'll stick to my regular french press, thanks.
Stefano sits down casually at his desk, not really watching EJ, but still speaking to him.
STEFANO: So what seems to be the problem this time?
EJ: They bumped that meddling Anne Milbauer onto Abigail's flight to Rome.
STEFANO: Why didn't you send Abigail on the DiMera jet? It would arouse far fewer suspicions.
EJ: No, father. It wouldn't. Abigail is a Horton. When a Horton does something, the whole family comes out to wish them well. I wouldn't have been surprised if Adelaide Horton rose from the dead to see her off this morning.
STEFANO: Heh, those American family values, eh?
EJ: Bloody infuriating. Now it's just a waiting game until Abigail arrives in Rome and I can confirm whether or not her and Anne have crossed paths. Then I'll know if we're safe or not.
Abigail lies fast asleep on the flight, as Anne approaches almost silently up the aisle. She stops just in front of Abby's seat and stares, a victorious smile on her face, as Anne shakes her head.
ANNE: (softly) Well, well, well. Abby Horton got knocked up, hm? Ooo this is gonna be good, hee heeee.
Anne skulks away, heading for the toilet at the back of the plane, with a huge smile on her face. Abby lies silent, blissfully unaware of Anne's presence.
Kate sits at her office desk, typing at her computer while studying a document on her desk. Billie comes in, a bit disheveled from the previous night. Kate looks at her over the top of her reading glasses as they sit at the edge of her nose.
KATE: Well, someone had a good night.
Billie looks on, not impressed by her mother's dry wit.
BILLIE: Oh no. No no no, no good. Nothing good came of last night.
KATE: I never said anything did. For one, you look like you came straight from a frat party.
BILLIE: Well, that I definitely am too old for. I think that's more Chelsea's speed.
Kate puts her reading glasses down on the desk and leans on the desk, looking inquisitively (read: nosily) at Billie.
KATE: What's his name?
Billie holds her tongue before spilling the news to her mom.
KATE: So I know him, then. Right.
BILLIE: Na--NO, Mom. You don't know him. And why exactly am I being cross-examined here?
KATE: I never said I was cross-examining you.
Kate goes back to reading over her files, looking back to give her daughter a bit of knowing sideeye.
KATE: I didn't need to, you're so nervous. I obviously don't like him.
Billie rolls her eyes. Kate doesn't even look up from the computer screen.
KATE: Don't roll your eyes at your mother. Now go home, shower, change. And be ready for the meeting this afternoon.
BILLIE: That's today?
Kate casually takes a sip of her morning coffee as she continues to talk to Billie, not looking at her once.
BILLIE: But I thought with Brady's accident they were gonna do that next week when they had a clearer picture of whether he was...
Kate shakes her head, answering Billie's question before she even gets it out.
KATE: It's today. The board pushed for it. Now...you're still going to vote against keeping Titan TV, right?
Billie looks on, hesitating to give a definitive answer, concerning Kate.
Gabi and Nick are both sitting on Nick's bed. Nick has a half-empty glass of water in hand, having just taken a couple of pills for his headache and hangover.
After Nick's question regarding whether they'd done the deed the previous night, Gabi, unsure how to answer, looks awkwardly at Nick, before looking at him, almost shyly.
GABI: You know I....I can't remember either. I think we....we both had quite a bit. And my head's not feeling any less..clear than yours right now, quite frankly. I...
NICK: Oh shoot, I'm sorry. I should've grabbed a couple for you too, I ca--
Gabi grabs Nick's arm before he gets up off the bed.
GABI: No no no no! That's...fine. Don't worry about me, I...I just need a coffee and I'll be fine.
NICK: You sure? It's no big deal.
GABI: No, no. I'll be fine. Thanks though. Look, I...better get going, I've got a lot to take care of today.
NICK: Yeah, so do I. Today's a really important day at work, so I need to...get going too.
Nick grabs Gabi's hand. It takes everything in Gabi's power not to pull back from him, but somehow she manages.
NICK: Look, Gabi. I know we've been through an awful lot but...thank you for going out with me last night and...making sure I got home alright this morning. Means a lot.
Gabi gives a weak but earnest smile. She squeezes Nick's hand gently before pulling away, grabbing her stuff and heading out.
GABI: I'll see you soon, okay?
NICK: Maybe next time I can come visit you and Ari?
Gabi stops at the door, turning to face Nick, the same smile flashes on her face momentarily.
GABI: Sounds good. Bye Nick.
Nick watches Gabi walk out, a smile on his face as though he knows he's won.
EJ walks back into the DiMera living room, another cup of coffee in hand. Stefano continues to work at his desk, always aware of EJ being around him, but never looking up.
STEFANO: So....where is your blushing bride-to-be?
EJ rolls his eyes at his father's prying as he sits himself down on the sofa, and places his coffee cup on the table.
EJ: She left for work early. I, on the other hand, have enough on my plate, so I decided I would keep it casual this morning and try to sort of...block out all the madness I'm dealing with in the outside world. Such a shame that you're so intent on handing those exact problems to me, regardless of my intent.
Stefano finally cracks, slapping his reading glasses on the desk in front of him before he turns to face EJ, exasperated by EJ's constant barbs.
STEFANO: You know, you spend all your time trying to cover your tracks instead of just not screwing up like a normal human being. You should try doing a bit more thinking before you act instead of doing it all afterwards.
EJ: I had to do something, Father. I wasn't about to let Abigail Deveraux go blabbing to the police about Nick Fallon.
Stefano gives EJ a dismissive gesture before turning back to his work.
STEFANO: Ah! Who am I kidding? You don't need to think at all, you have me to do it all for you, then you badmouth me any chance you get.
EJ: Do you honestly think I am coming to you for advice right now? You have done absolutely nothing but try to run me out of this house and make my life and Samantha's life hell ever since Hope Brady found that damned letter in Alice Horton's foyer. And now you think I'm expected to get help from you?
STEFANO: Whether you want to admit it or not, I am trying to help you. Who was able to pull the strings to get those last minute airline tickets for your concubine and that obnoxious woman from the hospital? ME. Who arranged to have Abigail Deveraux's bastard adopted in Rome so your sleazy little indiscretion would not be found out? ME.
EJ: Oh, so now I should throw you a party? Maybe a parade would be more appropriate.
Stefano shakes his head, annoyed by his son's ingratitude.
STEFANO: You had best be careful. You will live to regret this...flippant attitude you are taking.
EJ: Will I? Because what did being loyal to you get me, exactly? It got me a one-way ticket out of this house when you decided I didn't have blood ties to you, which makes absolutely NO sense since neither does Kristen and neither does Peter, but suddenly, when it comes to ME, DNA is suddenly your only prerequisite!
STEFANO: I am sorry. How many times do I have to tell you that? I am sorry for what I put you through.
EJ: It's not enough, Father. You can't make that up to me anymore. The only thing you can do is stay out of my way.Don't meddle in my affairs. Got it?
EJ walks from the living room, heading upstairs. No sooner does EJ disappear from view, than Stefano pulls out his cell phone, making a call.
Nick stares into the bathroom mirror, brushing his teeth. Hearing his phone ring, he spits out into the sink and picks up his phone from the nightstand around the corner.
NICK: (into phone) Yeah!
Stefano speaks firmly, almost menacingly into the phone.
STEFANO: (into phone) Today is the day. Do you have everything in order?
NICK: Oh yeah. Nothing to worry about.
STEFANO: There better not be. Or you'll be joining those conniving bitches that threw you in the river at the bottom of it. Understand?
Nick, almost too flippantly, doesn't take Stefano's posturing at all seriously.
NICK: Woah! Something got you riled up! EJ must be home.
STEFANO: Just DO IT!
Stefano hangs up, tossing his phone on his desk, before leaning his head on his hand, pondering his next move.
Marlena finishes getting ready for the day at the penthouse when she hears her phone's text tone. While putting on her earring, she walks over to it, picking up the phone.
The message is from John:
meet me @ your office at 10. need to talk.
Marlena looks down at the text, a concerned look on her face.
John looks over the divorce papers, visibly upset at the sight of them. Closing the file folder that contains the documents, he looks up and out, seemingly at nothing.
JOHN: Sorry, Doc. But there's no other choice. We have to do this...for Roman.