Written by A. Washington-Beeby
Story Consultants: ML Cooks & C. Nathaniel Richardson
Nick steps off the elevator at the MadWorld offices at Titan. Making his way over to one of the offices, he knocks gently on the door.
A voice from inside calls out.
SHERYL: Come in.
Nick sees himself in, and Sheryl, sitting at her desk, working on her laptop, looks up. Realizing who it is, is displeased at seeing him.
SHERYL: Not the time.
NICK: Oh, come on! Don't you have time for old friends?
SHERYL: I do. For friends.
NICK: Needlessly harsh, Sheryl.
Sheryl looks up from her computer, staring at Nick, as if staring long enough will make him disappear.
SHERYL: What do you want?
NICK: We need to go over a few things before the vote today. What is going to be our next move?
Sheryl's interest is piqued. She closes her laptop and looks at Nick with a sudden interest.
Gabi walks up to the door of Hope's office at the Salem PD. She pauses a second before knocking, and breathes in deeply, as though the deep breath will give her the confidence to carry out her next step.
GABI: (softly, to herself) Okay, Gabi. You can do this. You've got to. We have to get Nick out of our lives for good. Especially for Ari.
Gabi knocks on Hope's door. Inside, Hope shuffles papers around her desk, before stepping over to the door to open it.
HOPE: Gabi! What a nice surprise!
Gabi stands nervously on the other side, flashing an awkward smile as she tries to look Hope in the eyes but is fairly unsuccessful. Hope can sense her tension.
GABI: Hey...Hope. Uh...Can I come in?
Hope steps back from the door, motioning Gabi inside.
Hope steps back, giving Gabi the chance to come in, and sit down in front of her desk, as Hope slides in behind it. They both have a seat, as Hope attempts to suss out Gabi's very nervous mood.
HOPE: So...what's happening? How's Ari?
GABI: She's good. She's growing every day I see her. I just...I'm so proud to be her mom.
HOPE: You know, I really need to come visit you guys one of these days. I've just been so swamped with work lately I haven't had much of a chance.
GABI: Oh we'd love it. And bring Ciara with you!
Hope smiles warmly.
HOPE: I'm sure she'd love that. So...what can I do for you?
Gabi sighs before she speaks, still working out exactly what to tell Hope.
GABI: Well...it's Nick. I'm really worried about him, and I was hoping...you could help.
Hope looks concerned, raising her one eyebrow in curiosity.
Marlena sets the manila envelope down on her desk, shaking her head at John's news.
MARLENA: What happened to the John who sent me that letter all those months ago? Asking me to forgive him, and that we should give it another chance?
JOHN: That was a long time ago, Doc. Things have changed a lot since then.
MARLENA: I'll say. Not a word from you since then, while your son went off the rails and drove into the lake. And where have you been?
John looks down, silent. Marlena refuses to accept his silence as an answer.
MARLENA: WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, JOHN?!
John looks up, shaking his head.
JOHN: I can't tell you.
Marlena slams her fist on her desk. Fed up with John's secrecy.
MARLENA: NO! I do NOT accept that!
Sheryl sits at her desk, thoughtfully contemplating Nick's question about their post-board meeting plans. Finally she speaks.
SHERYL: Well...I think we better start getting our troops on the ground, shouldn't we?
NICK: And what exactly do you mean by that?
Sheryl smirks, looking up at Nick with a look that's equal parts evil genius and seductress.
SHERYL: I know someone who can help us out. Get everyone mobilized in the right way. Trust me, he's come through before.
Nick's interest is piqued. He steps slowly towards Sheryl, almost as though the two are flirting.
NICK: And....does this someone have a name, perchance?
Sheryl's smirk grows, she breaks gaze with Nick and turns back to her computer.
SHERYL: Don't you know not to put all your cards on the table straight away?
NICK: Oh come on, Siobhan, now you're not playing fair.
Sheryl looks back at Nick momentarily, holding a finger up ready to wag.
SHERYL: Now now, Salem names!
Nick rolls his eyes playfully.
SHERYL: You know, Nick, if you want me to trust you, you're going to have to start trusting me a little more. I'll tell you more when I have things confirmed. Okay?
Nick shakes his head, a sly grin across his face. He gets up and heads for the door. Sheryl smiles and picks up her phone, starting to dial.
JJ walks into the Horton house, as Jennifer is preparing to leave for work. She looks surprised to see JJ coming in.
JENNIFER: JJ. What are you doing out so early?
JJ stops awkwardly in the doorway, trying to come up with an excuse on the fly to deflect from what he was actually up to.
JJ: Mom! I...uh...didn't expect you to still be home. I...left something I needed for school.
JENNIFER: Right...why exactly don't I believe you?
JJ: I don't know, Mom. Do you ever?
Jennifer looks at JJ, shooting him a disapproving glare.
JENNIFER: JJ, I thought we were past this. Look, I know that right now, I'm not getting the whole story. And I know something strange is going on because your sister didn't even come down for breakfast this morning, and you were out of the house before the crack of dawn when usually I have to pry you out of your bed if you have to be up any earlier than noon, so you'd better fess up, RIGHT now, Mister!
JJ looks away, knowing he's been caught. He struggles to come up with an answer for his mother.
Hope sits at her desk in her office, and looks over to Gabi, concerned about what she has to say.
HOPE: Okay, what's wrong with him?
Gabi breathes in deep, looking very concerned, as she concocts her story to Nick's cousin.
GABI: Well...see...I...I've been spending some time with Nick since he's come back from...New York...and...
HOPE: Have you? Good, I think Nick really needed that.
Gabi gives a weak smile in Hope's direction before returning to her contemplative look. Gabi looks away from Hope as she speaks, nervously telling her story. Occasionally catching herself and looking at Hope, whose intense gaze makes Gabi even more nervous.
GABI: Well, I hope so. I just...I don't think it's really doing much good...see...I've been noticing Nick's been acting really...strange since he's been back. He's just...he's not been his usual self.
HOPE: What are you saying?
GABI: I...Hope, I think Nick's using again. And if he is, I'm worried about what he'll do.
HOPE: Gabi, I don't think you have--
GABI: Hope, please. I wouldn't ask you unless I was really desperate. And I know he's your family but...you're the only one who can stop him. You know what he's capable of when he's hooked.
Hope looks at Gabi, brow furrowed and unsure what to make of Gabi's concerns.
HOPE: What do you expect me to do though? You want me to throw him in jail? Gabi, he's just completed his parole. He's just getting his life back. I can't do that to him!
GABI: But that's the thing, Hope. He's not. He's throwing it away again. Don't you see? You have to stop him. I'm afraid. For him. For me. For Will, Sonny...especially for my daughter. Please, Hope.
Hope looks away, lost suddenly in thought. Gabi's passionate pleas have given her the confidence to look straight towards Hope, as Gabi tears up, the genuine fear in her eyes becomes clear to anyone looking at her.
John sighs, standing up from his seat in front of Marlena's desk. Marlena looks up, not believing that John's prepared to walk out now.
MARLENA: What, that's it? You're just going to walk out now? Drop a bomb and leave?
John stops and turns around, pained to even talk to Marlena right now, especially knowing how badly he's hurting her.
JOHN: Doc, look. There's nothing we can say to each other right now that's gonna help either one of us.
MARLENA: Oh no. You don't get away that easily, John. We have plenty to talk about.
JOHN: Like what, Doc? What good it is gonna do to rehash everything.
Marlena sighs, trying to keep cool. She walks around the other side of her desk and takes John's hand tightly.
MARLENA: It'll do me a lot of good, and that should mean at least something to you.
JOHN: Doc, don't do this. Don't make this any--
MARLENA: ...Any what? Any harder than it has to be? I will make this as difficult as I want if it's the only way to get any answers out of you. Now you listen to me. Why are you doing this? You're just going to let Kristen win after everything she's done to you, and me, and Brady? This is exactly what she wants.
JOHN: Doc, this isn't about Kristen anymore...
MARLENA: Then what is it?
Marlena grabs both of John's arms, trying to keep him in place instead of running away. John looks as though he doesn't want to engage.
MARLENA: John, I have been there for you through way too much. From trying to figure out who you really are, after everything Stefano has done to both of us, all that time that I stood by you, even when Stefano had you...acting like you didn't even feel love...I was there. And it ends because of THIS?? This is absolutely nothing compare--
JOHN: Doc, you don't understand. At all. There is something that...none of us can fix.
MARLENA: Then what about this?
Marlena walks back behind her desk and pulls out the letter John sent her from Europe many months ago from her desk drawer. She holds it up sternly. John knows exactly what letter it is and has to look away, knowing he's getting emotional.
JOHN: I told you, Doc. Things have changed since then.
MARLENA: WHAT HAS?
JOHN: Oh would you just stop it?!
MARLENA: I absolutely will not. I want to know what changed, John. You owe me that. I fought for YEARS to get back to you. I fought so hard for you, through everything. I never stopped believing in us, through Alex, through Kristen, Stefano, when Roman was ill...and now this. And now, after giving me this tiny little shred of hope...that's it?
John looks down, trying so hard to keep himself together, he can't conceive of looking up. Marlena walks up to John, around to make sure she's facing him.
MARLENA: This letter meant enough for you to send to me, so I want to know why you're here now trying to tear us apart. It is obvious that you're hurting as much as I am, so what is it?
John finally snaps, looking Marlena dead in the eye, an anger and sadness in his voice.
JOHN: Alright, you want the truth so badly, I'll spill. It's Roman.
Marlena looks at John, a look of confusion and disappointment on her face.
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