Written by A. Washington-Beeby
Story Consultants: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco
Nick and Percy walk onto the elevator together at the Titan building. Both men appear to be in a chipper demeanour, standing silently as the doors to the elevator close.
Nick presses the button to the floor they intend to travel to, and the lift begins to move. Percy turns to Nick with a nervous smile.
PERCY: Nicholas, I...I hate to ask--
Nick immediately interrupts, looking straight ahead, unflinchingly.
NICK: --Then don't.
Nick turns to look at Percy. He smiles, as Percy's smile fades, suddenly far more nervous.
NICK: We've got this.
PERCY: Are you absolutely certain?
NICK: Totally. I even have insurance now.
Percy looks back at Nick, wondering what he means. Nick recognizes Percy's look of curiosity immediately.
NICK: When I was meeting with Tyler last night, I found the press release Will was working on for the EnerNext project.
PERCY: Alright. What exactly is the significance of this press release?
NICK: Well, I took a moment to read through it...and then I did some fact-checking...and they made every bit of their research up. Anything they didn't pull out of thin air, they paid off scientists to back them up on. So I did a bit more digging. Found out who paid what, how much, as to whom. If that press release goes out, there's a lot of people whose careers will be in shambles.
Percy looks on, contemplative, before the elevator announces its arrival at their floor. The ding of the opening door snaps Percy's head back forward.
PERCY: I see. Then I do believe we're in good stead. Onward!
Nick and Percy step off the elevator in lock step.
In the Titan board room, Billie walks in to find Justin alone in the room, unpacking his tablet at the table. Billie smiles warmly at him.
BILLIE: Well, long time, no see.
Justin looks up with the same smile as he logs into his tablet.
JUSTIN: Likewise. How did it go with the family?
Billie rests her bag on the table across from Justin, giving him a grimace.
BILLIE: It...it was an interesting talk.
JUSTIN: You're making me nervous now.
BILLIE: That's because I'm nervous enough for the both of us. My mother's preparing to cave to Nick's proposal, and she expects me to follow suit.
Justin looks at Billie, stunned.
Abby and Jerome sit together on their lunch date at the Brady Pub, sitting across from each other at a booth. They look relaxed together, enjoying each other's company thoroughly.
ABBY: Sorry about...Nick interrupting.
JEROME: No no! Don't worry about it. The guy gives me a bad vibe but...you two are cousins. I can tell you care a lot about him.
Abby smiles, as she looks down at her coffee cup, stirring it casually as she stares into the cup. Jerome's expression changes to one of concern.
JEROME: I...I...Earth to Abby.
Abby snaps out of her thoughts, blinking momentarily as she looks up again at Jerome.
ABBY: Sorry. Yeah, I...I guess I've just been worried about him.
JEROME: Why's that?
Abby sighs, unsure whether she wants to delve into the whole story, but, after a moment, she looks up at Jerome.
ABBY: He hasn't been himself in a very long time. He was this...sweet tech nerd kid growing up. You know...always willing to help someone out and he'd....he'd make stupid mistakes sometimes but you always knew he was trying to do the right thing.
Jerome looks on, interested in Abby's story.
JEROME: So what changed?
Abby sighs, looking down sadly.
ABBY: He was shot...and the pain meds they gave him while he was in recovery...they...they totally messed him up. He became addicted.
JEROME: I'm sorry.
ABBY: It's...not your fault. I thought he'd kicked it while he was in jail, but...when I saw him the other day at Salem U, the way he was acting...it was like...
JEROME: Like he was still on the pills?
ABBY: Honestly, I wonder if he ever stopped. And it's almost like he was going through withdrawals or something.
Jerome looks at Abby, thoughtfully and contemplating her view on Nick's behaviour.
Abby looks down, still slowly stirring her coffee, as Jerome looks on, taking a sip. Suddenly, she appears to snap out of it, looking back up at Jerome.
ABBY: Sorry, I know you didn't come here to hear me talk about my weird cousin.
JEROME: Nah, it's cool. Like...I know you love the guy. I just worry after what I saw at Salem U. Abby, I just get this feeling this guy's up to something, and it's not good. I feel like I need to protect you from him.
Abby smiles at Jerome, reaching a hand out to touch his across the table.
ABBY: You don't have to. But I love that you want to. It's sweet.
Jerome looks down at Abby's hand, resting on his, and cups his other hand over hers. He looks into her eyes seriously.
JEROME: I think you're a very special lady, Miss Deveraux.
Abby giggles, as Jerome squeezes her hand gently, a smile on his face knowing he made Abby laugh.
JEROME: You got this...this look in your eye. There's a lot more to you than what I see on the outside, I can tell.
Abby blushes, smiling a goofy, embarrassed smile as Jerome charms her.
JEROME: I'd like to get to see what's under that calm surface...if you'd let me.
Abby smiles, and nods softly.
ABBY: We'll see.
JEROME: That's all I can ask for.
Abby pulls her hand away, and grabs her bag from beside her on the seat.
ABBY: I hate to cut this short but, I gotta see what's on this flash drive and report back to my boss.
JEROME: You sure you wanna bug your boss when she told you specifically not to?
Abby gets up from the booth and pulls the flash drive out, holding it in her hand and casually waving it as she makes her point to Jerome, who's also gotten up from the booth.
ABBY: If what's on here is important enough that Nick would take the time to track me down in the middle of a work day? It may warrant it, yeah.
Jerome looks on, casually nodding in agreement, before heading for the door.
JEROME: Well, come on. Let me drive you to the office.
Jerome and Abby head for the exit, as Jerome drops enough money to cover the cheque on the table before heading out.
EJ looks up from his desk at DiMera Enterprises, surprised by the news Sami's just given him.
EJ: Nicole married Eric? As in your brother, Eric.
Sami leans against the edge of EJ's desk, fuming.
SAMI: YEP! Mom and I tried to stop them but we were too late, and now Eric isn't speaking to either of us.
EJ: No surprise there.
Sami glares at EJ, shouting him down for his quip.
SAMI: I'm sorry, WHAT?! My brother just married a lying BITCH and you're making jokes--
EJ: No, no, I'm not saying I don't blame him, Samantha, but I know how people are when they're...that in love with someone.
Sami sighs, rolling her eyes, balking at the idea that Eric's feelings for Nicole are that strong.
SAMI: Love. Yeah, right. He was manipulated into marrying her. He was vulnerable because your sister raped him, and he was kicked out of the priesthood because YOUR FAMILY made sure the proof disappeared.
EJ gets up from his desk, suddenly feeling defensive of his family.
EJ: Okay, Samantha, that's not fair.
SAMI: The hell it isn't!
EJ sighs, holding his tongue before he says anything he regrets. Sami, meanwhile, continues her tirade.
SAMI: Your father is always bailing that harpee of a sister of yours out like she's an eight year old child instead of making her take responsibility for her actions, and you're so afraid of getting on his bad side that you just let him.
EJ stands behind his desk, folding his arms as he quietly, but sternly responds to Sami.
EJ: Need I remind you of everything I am doing to protect you and your loved ones, including your son from being implicated in an attempted murder. Without my help, Nick Fallon would have had you all in jail months ago, and taken off with your grandchild and that insipid idiot Gabriella Hernandez.
Sami looks down, sheepishly. The reminder snaps her back to reality, and she answers EJ, a guilty calm suddenly in her voice.
SAMI: Yeah, I remember.
EJ: So don't you ever think for a second that I am not thinking of what is best for you. You are everything to me. I know we have our problems, Samantha, but I am dedicated, 100% to making sure you know every day that you are the most important thing to me. You got that?
Sami looks up at EJ, a faint smile on her face as she nods, acknowledging EJ's vow.
Brady steps back into Anita's cabin, calling out to her to let her know he's returned.
BRADY: Anita! I'm back!
Anita steps out from the kitchen, a casserole dish in her hands, as she walks over to the dining table in the main room. She smiles as she greets Brady.
ANITA: So, is she sold?
Brady pulls a wad of bills from his pocket and holds it out to her.
BRADY: $800 cash. All for you.
Anita sets the casserole down on the table, and turns back to take the wad of bills from Brady, before taking two bills from the wad to give back to Brady, a huge smile on her face. She presses the bills into Brady's hand.
ANITA: Your commission, kind sir.
Brady looks down and laughs as Anita laughs playfully with him. He hesitates a moment before handing the money back to her.
BRADY: You know, I don't know, Anita. You really don't need to give me this.
ANITA: Absolutely, I do. You need money. And you did a great thing for me.
BRADY: Well, yeah. But you've done so much for me already. I feel like I owe you. I...I can't accept this.
Anita holds up her hand, shaking her head.
ANITA: You can, and you will. Besides, I hear southerners drive a hard bargain!
BRADY: Well, that's the thing. See...she talked like she was from the south, and all...but...there was something about her, Anita. I swear, I recognize her. Like...I've seen her somewhere before.
Brady looks over at Anita, racking his brain to place "Crystal's" face.
Sheryl backs the big blue SUV she'd just purchased from Brady into a secluded spot off the side of the road. Turning off the engine, she steps out of the car, to look over at the road, and see how well-hidden the truck is to traffic.
SHERYL: At least I'm not too far from that general store. Gotta get this thing hidden away well enough that no one will find it when I make a getaway.
She grabs her phone from her pocket and makes a voice note:
SHERYL: (into voice memo on her phone) 2.4 miles up State Road 45, past Six Mile Road. Look for the old beige fence ending with a group of large pine trees.
Putting her voice memo away, Sheryl looks over the position of the truck, making sure it's hidden from all angles. Once she's satisfied, She locks up the truck, and calls a cab.
SHERYL: (into phone) Yes, I'd like a cab to the corner of County Road 8 and Smith Island Road, please? ...yes, and please hurry, my car broke down, and I'm running late...thank you.
Sheryl hangs up the phone, satisfied with herself, as she walks off toward the country intersection.
Justin stands across the board room table from Billie, stunned by the bomb she's just dropped.
JUSTIN: I'm sorry, what? Your mother's voting IN FAVOUR of Nick's proposal?
BILLIE: Look, there's more to it than that, it's just--
As Billie tries to tell Justin Kate's reason for her vote, the doors to the board room open, and Nick and Percy walk in with a confident stride.
NICK: Ahh, I see we're nice and early for the festivities.
Justin and Billie turn to look at them, a somewhat disdainful look on their faces. Justin comes back with a quick retort.
JUSTIN: Not that you should be privvy to them in the first place. But yes, we aren't due to start for another twenty minutes.
NICK: Well, I think I've got enough going for me that I won't be missing any more of these going forward.
Nick sits his bag down on the conference table and unzips it, pulling his laptop from his bag as he talks.
NICK: I think, personally, this is going to be a very productive meeting. Don't you?
Billie and Justin look uncomfortably at each other, then looking back Nick's way with the same uneasiness. Nick, meanwhile, pulls out his stack of envelopes, one for each of the Titan board members. He lays them neatly on the conference table in front of him, as he sits down, looking very self-satisfied.