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  1. EPISODE 173 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultant: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco Laura, Jennifer & Abby stand outside the Brady Pub, having seen JJ off. Laura turns to them with a tearful smile. LAURA: Well, I'm gonna have to get myself together again. (laughs) JENNIFER: Just remember, Mom. JJ's gonna be back for Thanksgiving. I'll make sure of it. LAURA: And if you don't, I will. The three women laugh, as Laura digs her keys out of her purse. LAURA: Look, I've...I've got an appointment in a bit. Did either of you need a ride? JENNIFER: No, no. I'm waiting for Liam to come back. I'll be fine here. Laura looks at Jenn, concerned. LAURA: Are you sure? JENNIFER: Positive. Jenn and Laura hug quickly, before Laura asks the same of Abby. LAURA: Alright. Abigail? ABBY: I'll wait here with mom. Laura smiles, before hugging Abby as well. She turns to take off. LAURA: I'll be back late tonight, okay? JENNIFER: Alright. Love you! LAURA: Love you too! ABBY: Bye Grandma! Abby turns to Jenn, who's looking out as Laura walks away towards her car. ABBY: I'm gonna miss him. JENNIFER: We all are, sweetie. ABBY: Yeah...but I feel bad. I've been a pretty neglectful sister lately. Jennifer looks at Abby and puts a hand on her shoulder. JENNIFER: Honey, no! JJ knows you've had a lot on your plate with work, and finding a new job and...don't worry about it. A voice calls out to Abby from behind, surprising both her and Jennifer. (Alicia Keys' "Unthinkable" begins to play over the end of the scene) JEROME: I think she's right. Abby turns around to see Jerome, and smiles. Jennifer looks on, a bit startled and confused. JEROME: You do beat yourself up way too much. Jerome smiles affectionately at Abby, who blushes at Jerome's remark. --- Will and Alex sit at the nearly-finished Penthouse Grill. Julie sashays over to a special dining table in the middle of the room where they sit, eagerly waiting a surprise dessert. JULIE: Alllright,boys! The final course on our gala opening menu. ALEX: And the best one, of course. All three laugh, as Julie looks endearingly at Alex. JULIE: A man after my own heart. Yes, it's our dessert offering, which will be... Julie lifts the lids off the two respective plates before Will and Alex, revealing a luscious strawberry cheesecake tart. Alex and Will gasp in awe at the chef's creation. JULIE: Organic Strawberry cheesecake tart, freshly-picked strawberries with an ever-so-slightly tart drizzle over it. It's absolutely divine. WILL: It looks it. Will picks up his fork, and looks over at Julie, in awe. WILL: Julie, you're gonna have to ban me from this restaurant, you realize. JULIE: And why's that, Darling? WILL: Because I will be in here morning, noon, and night, and you'll have to roll me into the elevator. I swear, I will eat you out of business. Alex, and Julie laugh, as Will takes a bite of the tart, absolutely in heaven. JULIE: Well, listen. I'm going to go speak with the chef, and grab you something to drink? Champagne, perhaps? ALEX: (laughs) Julie, that'd be fantastic, but we're still on the clock. JULIE: Nonsense! You're doing research. How are you going to know how it all tastes together for your press release if you don't try a bit of everything? I'll be right back. Julie dramatically walks off, leaving Will and Alex cracking up. Alex starts to chat with Will while they dig into their desserts. ALEX: Your cousin's a riot. WILL: That she is. Will looks back down at his plate. The awkward silence hangs in the air for a moment before Alex cuts into it again, noticing Will's silence. ALEX: You've been really quiet today. WILL: Just a lot on my mind. ALEX: Care to share? Will sighs, putting his fork down for a moment. WILL: You have to ask? It's this whole Nick thing, obviously. ALEX: Why? What's Nick gonna do to you? WILL: He's been slowly trying to worm his way back into Gabi's life. He's already tried to get my daughter away from me once, and I feel like he's doing it again. Now he's taken over the company, and...(sigh) Alex, if this whole EnerNext thing blows up any bigger, and my name is attached to the falsified press release tonight on Nicole's special? I'm afraid Nick to could take everything from me. He could use it to take my career, my family, my daughter... Alex puts his fork down, and reaches his hand out across the table. He takes Will's hand in his and squeezes it, comfortingly, as he looks intensely into Will's eyes. ALEX: Hey. Hey. Come on. Look at me. Will, uncomfortable with Alex's intensity, struggles to maintain eye contact, feeling a strange nervousness at his touch. ALEX: You are not going to lose everything. I won't let that happen. WILL: Oh come on, Alex, you don't have that much clout with Nick there-- ALEX: ...Hey. I'm a Kiriakis. I know how to play the game, Will. And I'm gonna stand by you, and I'm gonna make sure you keep your job, and your daughter. I won't let Nick hurt you. I promise. Will smiles half-heartedly, as Alex squeezes Will's hand tighter. As he does this, Julie walks out of the kitchen, bottle of champagne and two flutes in hand, and stops just short of their table, dead in her tracks. Julie's taken aback by the rather intimate moment between Alex and Will, so much so that they don't even notice her being there. --- --- Sheryl shuts the tailgate on the SUV she bought from Brady, still hidden in the bushes off the country side road. She looks around, as she stands in the brush outside Salem, brushing the dirt off her hands as she steps out toward the side of the country road. Stepping out from behind the bushes, Sheryl carefully checks to ensure no one sees her as the daylight begins to turn to dusk. She looks around with a self-satisfied look on her face. SHERYL: Just call me a problem-solver. And now off to my new home. Sheryl chuckles to herself as she steps toward Crystal's SUV. She gets in and takes off, back toward Salem. --- Julie steps toward Alex and Will at their table at the Penthouse Grille. As soon as Julie's voice is heard, Alex immediately lets go of Will's hand, hiding it back off the table. JULIE: Ahhh....boys? ALEX: Julie! Thank you! Julie sets the flutes and unwraps the cap of the champagne bottle. She smiles at Alex and Will. JULIE: Oh it's nothing. Just a precursor to the main event! Julie pops the champagne bottle, and quickly pours the glasses to avoid the fizz spilling out onto the floor. Alex and Will look at each other while Julie's focus is elsewhere. They hold in a laugh, as they look warmly into each others' eyes. As Julie finishes pouring, Alex and Will grab their flutes and hold them up to toast. WILL: To Julie. And to a fantastic grand re-opening of one of the best venues in Salem. ALEX: Cheers to that! As Will and Alex clink glasses, Maggie's voice suddenly is heard, distracting them, and Julie. MAGGIE: Let's hope that happens. In fact, with Nick lurking about, let's hope we get a grand re-opening at ALL! Looking over at Maggie, who's just stepped into the room, the others look concerned, as Maggie stands, a heavy look on her face. --- Liam walks along the pier, shivering from the chilled riverside air. He heads for the Brady Pub through the fog, and is only stopped by the sound of his ringing cell phone. Checking quickly to see who's calling, he promptly answers, sighing in frustration. LIAM: (into phone) What? ... Anjelica stands in her bedroom at the Kiriakis mansion, leaning against the vanity while she speaks on her own cell phone. ANJELICA: (into phone) We need to talk. ... Liam rolls his eyes, exasperated. LIAM: (into phone) About what, Anj? ... ANJELICA: (into phone) Nick Fallon. He may have compromised the entire plan, and he needs to be dealt with. ... Liam looks frustrated, and concerned by Anjelica's strong words. He looks around him to ensure no one's listening in. LIAM: (into phone) What do you mean, "dealt with", Anjelica? I'm not your hit man. ... Anjelica answers in an almost sing-song voice, keeping a cool air to her, while remaining firm in tone. She sits herself down on the edge of her bed, filing her nails while giving Liam his orders. ANJELICA: (into phone) Yoooou said it. Not me! ... Liam sighs, as Anjelica continues. ANJELICA: (via phone) I just had a run-in with him, and there's something up with him, which means we have to take action. LIAM: (into phone) Yeah, well, I think I know what the problem is. ... ANJELICA: (into phone) Good. Tell me in person after the show. ... LIAM: (into phone) I'll meet you at the Kiriakis house. ANJELICA: (via phone) No. Not here. There's too many people here, they're bound to catch us. Meet at the DiMera house. Stefano's out of the country, and EJ's at work, so we'll be alone. LIAM: (into phone) Fine. When's the taping end? ... Anjelica stops her nail filing momentarily, checking her watch. ANJELICA: (into phone) 9? I should be back by 9:30, anyway. ... Liam checks his own watch. Sighing in exasperation. LIAM: (into phone) Yeah, that's fine. See you then, Anj. Liam hangs up, before looking around the pier to be sure he was alone the entire conversation. He quickly scuttles up the stairs, headed for the Brady Pub. --- Jerome stands opposite Abigail and Jennifer outside the Brady Pub. ABBY: Hey! Jerome! Abby, who is surprised to see him, stares at him, blushing for a moment. Suddenly remembering who she's with, Abby turns to introduce Jerome to Jennifer, who looks at him curiously. ABBY: Ah...Mom. This is Jerome Grant. Jerome, this is my mom, Jennifer Horton. Jennifer smiles as she extends a hand to Jerome, who shakes it, smiling warmly at Jenn. JEROME: Pleasure to meet you, Ms. Horton. JENNIFER: The pleasure's all mine. I...I know your grandmother from...well, when I was really little. JEROME: Yeah, the Grants and Hortons...we go a long way back. Jerome's attention drifts back to Abigail, as he continues his thought. JEROME: And I hope we have a long future as well. Abby smiles awkwardly, knowing what Jerome is implying. Jerome smiles as Abby looks at him, momentarily averting her eyes. Jerome ends the moment, looking into the pub before looking back at Abby. JEROME: Ah, listen. I have to get some lunch before I head back to Salem U, but...Abby, if you're free tonight, I'd....I'd really like to see you again. ABBY: Oh, ah...Jerome, I'd love to, but I've got to head to the TV station. It's Nicole's TV special on the EnerNext scandal, and...I've gotta be there for it. JEROME: Well, that's alright. I'd love to be there for it, if that's alright. I've always wanted to see a big TV news show being made. I promise I'll be quiet though. Abby shifts awkwardly, trying to let Jerome down easily, as Jennifer looks on, silently surveying the situation. ABBY: No. No. I...(sigh) I wish you could but...it's gonna be super busy and I don't think the producers would be happy if I invited visitors or anything. I'm sorry. JEROME: It's alright. I understand. Break a leg though, okay? Abby smiles at Jerome, who keeps his eyes locked on Abby's. ABBY: Thanks. I'll text you after, okay? Jerome walks toward the door of the pub, winking at Abby in response before shutting the door. Once Jerome steps away, Jennifer steps over toward Abby, a curious look on her face. JENNIFER: Well he seems like a nice young man. Abby turns to face Jenn, nodding in agreement. ABBY: He is. We've been out a couple times and he's...he's really cool. Jenn folds her arms, looking at Jerome through the front door of the pub. JENNIFER: You like him, don't you. ABBY: I do. Jenn turns her head back to look at her daughter. JENNIFER: Then why did you just push him away like that? Abby looks back at Jenn in disbelief. ... Inside the pub, Jerome sits down at the bar, as the bartender walks over. JEROME: I'll grab a pint of Blonde. Thanks, Man. Jerome pulls out his cell phone from his black pea coat pocket, checking to see if there's any updates from Sheryl. When he sees there isn't, he calls her. The phone rings once. Twice. Three times, before the voice mail message chimes in. SHERYL: (via phone message) Hey, it's Sheryl. Leave a message after the beep. After the beep, Jerome, visibly frustrated by Sheryl's sudden silence, leaves an urgent sounding message, as he looks around to make sure no one's listening in. JEROME: (into phone) It's me. You gone tell me what happened at the hospital or not? Call me the second you get this. Jerome hangs up, hearing the front door close. His attention is immediately drawn to the person who's just walked in. It's Jordan. She spots Jerome and freezes in her tracks. Both Jerome and Jordan stare at each other from across the room. Jerome with surprise, Jordan with disdain and a touch of fear. ---
  2. EPISODE 172 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultant: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco Abby and JJ step out of the Brady Pub, while Jennifer and Laura settle up. JJ looks out at nothing in particular, while Abby puts her hand on JJ's shoulder. ABBY: You know we'll miss you, right? JJ looks down, nodding slowly. JJ: Believe me, the feeling's mutual. Abby's hand slides off JJ's shoulder, as she turns to stand beside him, both looking out at the sky. JJ: It's funny, it was always so grey out in London. That winter after Dad died, it rained all through December and January. And one day, the sun finally came out after like...weeks of clouds, and...I promised myself I'd always take the time to enjoy it. No matter where I was. ABBY: There's gonna be a lot of sun in California, JJ. You'll start taking it for granted. JJ turns to Abby and smiles, shaking his head. JJ: Nah. You never take it for granted. Just like family. You can't take it for granted. Abby smiles back at JJ, as JJ becomes emotional, and pulls Abby into a tight hug. JJ: Take care of Mom and Grandma for me, okay? ABBY: I will. --- Gabi creeks open the door to Nick's bedroom, checking behind her to make sure no one spots her walking into the barely-unpacked room. Gently closing the door behind her, she steps further into the room, and gives a cursory look around the room. GABI: Alright, Nick. Where would you hide those pictures of us dumping your sorry ass in the river? Gabi spies Nick's laptop bag, and smiles, knowingly. She steps slowly over to it, and is about to unzip it, when the door opens with a flourish, startling Gabi and making her shriek! PERCY: Greetings! GABI: AH!! Gabi turns around with a start, to find Percy standing in the doorway, confused by Gabi's presence in Nick's room. --- Nick looks at Noelle across the Kiriakis living room, confused by Noelle's sudden panic. Noelle walks toward Nick, a horrified expression on her face. NOELLE: Nick, what did you say to Victor in his hospital room? NICK: Who cares, Noelle? He's in a coma! NOELLE: NO, HE'S NOT! That's what I'm trying to tell you. Anjelica tried to reach you last night but you never answered. Victor's awake. The colour drains from Nick's face, as Anjelica casually strolls into the room. ANJELICA: Ah! There you are, Nick! I didn't want to cause alarm earlier so I didn't ask, but I assume you got my message about Victor's "miraculous recovery"? Nick looks away, as though he's going to be sick. NICK: I have now. Nick begins to hear the familiar high-pitched sound that accompanies his headache. Holding his forehead to try to put pressure on to help it subside, he disengages while Noelle explains the situation to Anjelica. NOELLE: Apparently Nick never got the message, so he decided it would be a great idea to go to Victor's hospital room this morning and gloat about our plans. Anjelica turns her head sharply, looking daggers at Nick. ANJELICA: You have got to be kidding! Nick shakes his head, trying to keep the pressure down, as Anjelica approaches him, annoyed. ANJELICA: I messaged you last night, you never responded, and I've told you to keep that phone on you at all times. What were you thinking? Nick, in the thoes of pain, tries to mask his symptoms, closing his eyes to try to keep the pressure down. ANJELICA: I knew I should've followed you out of the room this morning, but I didn't want to have anyone figure out what we've been up to. But I guess I didn't have to worry, because you'd fill everyone in all on your own-- Nick explodes in rage, the pressure from the two women in the room plus his headache proving too much for him. He lurches forward and grabs Anjelica's arm, startling her. NICK: SHUT UP, ANJELICA! A flash of unbridled rage stirs in Nick's eyes, as Anjelica looks back in terror, unable to move as Nick grasps Anjelica's arm painfully tight. Noelle stands back, concerned but not sure how to handle the situation. --- --- Noelle shouts out in terror at Nick, as Nick squeezes Anjelica's arms, a look of unbridled rage in his eyes. NOELLE: Dammit, Nick, let her go! What's wrong with you?! Nick realizes what he's doing and after a moment, the intensity in his eyes wears off, his grip loosening on Anjelica, who immediately breaks free and steps back, her expression immediately changing from fear to anger. NICK: I'm sorry, I-- ANJELICA: You will be. I swear to God, Nick, if you weren't essential to my plans, you'd be back face-first in that river right now. NICK: I know, I... Nick's head begins to throb, as the high-pitched squeal returns, and his headaches intensifies again, drowning out Anjelica's words. ANJELICA: I mean it, Nick. Don't you EVER lay a hand on me ever again, or I swear to God, it'll be the last thing you ever do. Anjelica steps in closer to Nick, who is trying to hide his intense pain from her and Noelle. ANJELICA: And believe me, I have the means and resources to make sure you are taken care of, so don't think for a SECOND you can outsmart me. Because I promise you, I will win. Anjelica looks with the same intensity that Nick previously had, a finger raised in scolding to him, while Nick looks on, intimidated. --- Gabi looks over at a baffled Percy, who stands in the doorway of Nick's room. GABI: Mr. Gr...Percy. You startled me. PERCY: Gabriella. What are you doing here? GABI: I could ask you the same thing. I don't think Nick was expecting you. Percy steps into the room slightly, looking around for Nick to no avail. PERCY: Well...the ah...the butler let me in, lovely chap. Hanson, was it? GABI: Henderson. PERCY: Right. Well, I actually came about because Nicholas and I had some business to discuss. Gabi looks at Percy, hoping he'll take off again so she can continue her search. GABI: I see. Well, I think he's downstairs, if you want to catch up with him. PERCY: Oh that won't be neccessary, I'm sure he'll be up shortly. The two stare at each other, an awkward silence fills the air, before Gabi sighs audibly, trying to hold in her laughter at the absurdity of the situation. GABI: Well, I was going to unpack my things, since I'm going to be moving in here, so...if you'll excuse me. PERCY: Oh, not to worry, I'll try not to be in your way. Percy sits down at Nick's desk, while Gabi looks on, annoyed by Percy sitting exactly where she intended to look. Unable to say anything to that effect, Gabi rolls her eyes and walks out of the room. GABI: I'm sure Nick will be up in a moment. PERCY: Oh, good to see you, Gabi! Percy's goodbye to Gabi is cut off by the sound of her closing the door behind her. He looks over at the door, looking suspiciously as Gabi leaves the room. On the other side of the door, Gabi grimaces, annoyed by Percy's foiling her attempt to find the pictures of Gabi, Kate, and Sami dumping Nick in the river. She takes off down the hall toward her own bedroom. --- Julie floats over to a table in the middle of the nearly-ready Penthouse Grille, while Will and Alex sit across from each other, blindfolded. Julie lays down two delicious desserts on the table for them to try, taking a spoonful each for them, and guiding their hands over to it. JULIE: Alright, boys! This is the last one. La Pièce De Résistence! Will and Alex both take a mouthful of the dessert, and savour the flavours. Even blindfolded, you can tell they're delighted. WILL: Oh my God! Julie! This is....this is amazing. ALEX: Seriously, this...if I come to this place every day once you're open, I'm gonna gain fifty pounds just from dessert alone. Will, Alex, and Julie laugh, as Julie walks behind both of them and gently removes their blindfolds. JULIE: I still got the touch, I guess. Alex and Will look on in wonder as Julie reveals the elaborate dessert before them. JULIE: Our chef is Michelin Star rated, and we'll be offering a unique feature dessert every evening that will combine delicious flavours with breathtaking design, such as what you see before you. The decadent strawberry tarts sit before them, as Julie hands Alex and Will pictures of other desserts the chef has prepared before. ALEX: Julie, I'm impressed. This place is ready. JULIE: Oh, I hope so, Darlin'. (sigh) It's been a long time since I ran one of these places, and...I'll tell you, it's been great getting back into the habit. WILL: Well, you're handling it like an old pro. Julie smiles, but messes Will's hair slightly as she scolds him gently for his remark though her million-dollar smile. JULIE: I may be a pro, dear cousin, but, a word of advice...don't ever call me old. Alex snickers at Will and Julie, as Julie walks off toward the kitchen. Will blushes, embarrassed by his slip. WILL: Oops. ALEX: (laughs) Julie's a real wonder, you know that? I'm glad Maggie chose her to help run The Penthouse Grille, seriously. WILL: So am I. I just hope now that...Nick's taken over the company that...you know...things don't go south. ALEX: Don't worry about that. I'll protect you from anything that comes our way. Will laughs, not sure whether he believes Alex or not. WILL: Yeah, okay. Sure. ALEX: Seriously! Will, what have you done that might cause things to go out of hand? You've done every job I've tasked you with, you've done an amazing job writing our press releases. You've even come up with ideas for campaigns I've never even considered. Titan would be so much worse off without you being here. Will looks down, touched by, and slightly uncomfortable with Alex's compliments. WILL: I guess I should thank you for that. Even if I don't believe it. ALEX: Well, believe it. You're one of the best writers I've worked with. WILL: Well, I just hope you still think so after Nick's on TV tonight. Alex looks at Will with confusion, as he stabs at his dessert to take another bite. ALEX: What do you mean by that? WILL: (sigh) I mean, Nick has it out for me. He wants Gabi, he wants my daughter, and he resents that so far he can't have either. So he's gonna be looking for anything he can use against me to ruin my career and make me look like a deadbeat. ALEX: Well, you're not. I know that, you know that, anyone who knows you knows that. WILL: Yeah, but...if he goes out there and tells people on Nicole's special that I falsified those press releases for EnerNext...you may not have a choice but to fire me, Alex. And your job might be on the line, too. Will looks concerned at Alex, who looks back, contemplating what Will's told him. --- JJ and Abby are still in mid-embrace outside the Brady Pub when Jennifer and Laura emerge from the pub, ready to leave. Mother and daughter smile, as their kin end their warm hug, turning to face them. JENN: You know, I remember when I couldn't stop them from trying to kill each other when they were kids, and now look at them. Laura and JJ crack up, though Abby's a bit more emotional, trying to fight back her tears. JJ: Yeah, well, that's probably because I stopped trying to pull her hair out when she walked ahead of me. ABBY: Yeah, I'm amazed I'm not bald from that. Abby looks at JJ, giving him sideeye, as the others laugh. Abby finally cracks a smile as she envisions the memories. As the laughter dies down, Jennifer also becomes emotional, taking a second to drink in her grown son, as he begins his new life in college. JENN: Your father would be so proud of you, JJ. LAURA: Your mother's right. You've come so far in so little time. We're all...so proud of you. JJ, also trying to keep from crying, walks over and gives his mother and grandmother big hugs. As he ends his hug with Laura, JJ and Laura share an extended look, before JJ speaks at barely more than a whisper. JJ: Look out for them, okay? Laura nods in agreement, before JJ and Laura hug again, before JJ turns to head off. JJ: I love you guys! JENN: You me you'll call me when you get there. As JJ takes off toward his car, Laura looks on, more worried than the others, as she thinks of the worries she has with Liam. LAURA: (voiceover) My God, JJ. I hope you stay safe, and nail that bastard, Liam. ... Liam walks along the pier, shivering from the chilled riverside air. He heads for the Brady Pub through the fog, and is only stopped by the sound of his ringing cell phone. Checking quickly to see who's calling, he promptly answers, sighing in frustration. LIAM: (into phone) What? ... Anjelica stands in her bedroom at the Kiriakis mansion, leaning against the vanity while she speaks on her own cell phone. ANJELICA: (into phone) We need to talk. ... Liam rolls his eyes, exasperated. LIAM: (into phone) About what? ... ANJELICA: (into phone) Nick Fallon. He may have compromised the entire plan, and he needs to be dealt with. ... Liam looks frustrated, and concerned by Anjelica's strong words. ---
  3. EPISODE 171 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultant: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco Nick and Gabi step through the door to Gabi's room in the Kiriakis Mansion, lugging their suitcases behind them. Nick steps in to help a struggling Gabi. At first, she resists him, but remembers she needs to keep up the charade. NICK: Let me help you. After a moment of the two of them almost suspended in time, Gabi stares into Nick's eyes, and slowly, nervously smiles, loosening her grip on the bag. Nick smiles back and puts the luggage down by the bed. Gabi stands back, smiling awkwardly at Nick. GABI: Thank you for...agreeing to let me have a separate room. NICK: Gabi, I just want you to be comfortable. Whatever that takes. GABI: I know...and I promise it won't be forever, but...you know...on the bright side, you'll actually have closet space this way? Nick chuckles at Gabi, taking her hands in his. NICK: In fairness, every closet space is my closet space now. The house DOES belong to me. Isn't that fantastic? Nick pulls Gabi into a tight hug, from which Gabi tries to hide her discomfort. After Nick lets go, Gabi smiles at a beaming Nick. GABI: Yeah! Yeah, it is. Nick notices Gabi's less-than-enthusiastic response, and crooks his neck to look closer at Gabi. NICK: Gabi, I'm not totally convinced you're excited about this. GABI: Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm...thrilled about this. But what I'm not thrilled about is having to explain this to Will and Sonny. Nick takes Gabi in his arms, and holds her, as Gabi looks over his shoulder, uncomfortably. NICK: You'll find a way. I'll be there for you when you do. --- Eric sits outside the café at Horton Town Square, as Marlena walks over to him. Eric looks up, spotting Marlena. ERIC: Mom. MARLENA: Eric. Mind if I sit down? ERIC: Go ahead. Marlena sits down, as Eric sets down his coffee. MARLENA: Eric, I...I know we're good, but...I wanted to apologize for my reaction to your marrying Nicole. ERIC: I appreciate that. And I know you have your misgivings, but...I know you're just looking out for me. MARLENA: I am. I just want you to be careful. But I also recognize I shouldn't have tried to ruin your day...and I also understand why you didn't want to tell anyone about your getting married. It's not as though we would've been particularly...receptive. ERIC: No, but...I should've been an adult about it, and come to you and dad, regardless. Marlena smiles at Eric warmly. MARLENA: Speaking of your father...I ah...I spoke to Valerie again today. ERIC: Oh? MARLENA: She ummm...she suspects that your father has some form of early onset dementia. ERIC: Well, the signs pointed to it, I'm not completely shocked. Disappointed, of course. Marlena nods, her smile fading. She sighs before she musters the courage to continue. MARLENA: Naturally. She did...suggest that my asking for a DNA test of you and Sami wasn't so out of line after all. ERIC: What do you mean? MARLENA: Well...Valerie thinks that we should find out if you carry the same gene that caused Roman's dementia, so that we can prevent it from affecting you and Sami. We'd also need to test Carrie, Rex and Cassie, of course. ERIC: Right. So...you're asking me if I'll be willing to do the DNA test, at the risk that it may reveal that the man we've been calling 'Dad' all these years....isn't even our father? Marlena looks awkwardly at Eric, knowing her real reason for wanting the test is clear. --- In the bowels of the DiMera compound in Italy, a light creeps into an otherwise blackened room from an opening door, revealing the rows of dimly lit prison cells. Bo steps inside, in awe, Steve following closely behind him. STEVE: Check it out, partner! Bo looks around in awe, as the dimly lit room lights up as Steve lights a gas lantern sitting on a nearby table. BO: What the...what is this place? STEVE: DiMera's dungeon, from the looks of it. Mostly empty, too. Except for one thing. Steve points to the largest cell. BO: Stefano's new Pawn Bo strains to see, as he takes the lantern and walks slowly over to the cell, seeing a man crouched in the corner. Bo looks over at Steve, unsure who the man is. BO: We got a key in here? STEVE: Nah, man, I couldn't find one. BO: Dammit. Bo walks over, as close as he can to the man in the corner, trying not to startle him. Reaching through the bars of the cell, he touches the man. The man flinches wildly at first, before both he and Bo realize who the other is. Bo looks on, completely stunned, as Steve looks on, thrilled. BO: Oh my God... As Bo's about to say the prisoner's name, Bo and Steve are hit by bottles being smashed over their heads from behind. Bo and Steve drop to the ground, unconscious. --- --- At the curbside of the rural road just outside Salem, Sheryl finishes lugging Crystal's dead body into the back of her SUV. Having hastily wrapped Crystal's head with her scrubs to avoid bleeding out all over the backseat of the SUV, Sheryl slams the back of the SUV shut, making sure to check around to ensure no one is around. She slowly makes her way to the drivers' side door, and gets in. Before taking off, she plugs her phone into the SUV's audio system, and calls Jerome. The phone rings and rings, frustrating Sheryl. SHERYL: Come on....come on, dammit, Jerome. Pick up! Finally, Jerome's voice is head over the loudspeaker. But it's his voice mail. JEROME: (via stereo) Hi, you've reached Jerome Grant, I'm not available to-- SHERYL: Dammit! Hanging up the phone, she hears the sound of Crystal's phone from her purse. Noticing it's Kim again, Sheryl switches out the phones quickly, before answering in a thick (fake) southern drawl. SHERYL: (into phone) Ms. Brady! Haiii! KIM: (via phone) Hi, Crystal! I ah...I just was curious to know when you'd be coming to pick the key up and sign the sublease. SHERYL: (into phone) Oh, Ms. Brady, I'm so sorry I haven't been able to come by sooner. I'm in my truck now, I'ma be right over. Sheryl adjusts her rear-view mirror, checking to be absolutely sure Crystal isn't waking up again. SHERYL: (into phone) I just gotta drop somethin' off real quick, okay? KIM: (via phone) Sounds great. Alright, I'll meet you at the building in about an hour? SHERYL: (into phone) Sounds perfect! I'll be right there! The beep notifies Sheryl of the end of the call, and Sheryl relaxes somewhat, leaning back in her seat. Looking around her, Sheryl takes a minute to breathe before she turns the car on. SHERYL: Just gotta take some trash out first, Ms. Brady. Sheryl checks the rear-view mirror, before pulling away from the curbside. --- Nick walks into the Kiriakis living room, finding Noelle sitting on the couch, reading. Nick walks in, casually. NICK: Workin' hard, I see. Noelle looks up from her book momentarily, before looking back down at it, disinterested in Nick's presence. NOELLE: Not like I have much else to do during the day. NICK: Ahhh, to live the life of a bourgeois housewife. NOELLE: I'm sure Gabi will find that out soon enough. I assume that's where you've been this whole time? Nick saunters over to the bar area, pouring himself a drink as he speaks to Noelle. NICK: Yeah, there. Made a detour to the hospital to check in on our old pal, Victor. Noelle looks up from her book, suddenly interested. NOELLE: You did? Nick turns back toward Noelle, a glowing smile on his face as he takes a sip from his drink. NICK: Yeah! I had to do a bit of gloating. It's not like he was awake to hear any of it. Noelle drops her book to one side, a look of horror washing over her face as she gets up from the couch. NOELLE: Nick...Nick, have you checked your phone recently? Nick looks back, bemused. NICK: What do you mean? NOELLE: Anjelica texted you last night to warn you that Victor's out of his coma. NICK: I didn't get any text-- NOELLE: WHAT DID YOU TELL HIM?! Noelle appears panicked, as Nick looks on, also horrified by what he's just done. --- Gabi creeks open the door to Nick's bedroom, checking behind her to make sure no one spots her walking into the barely-unpacked room. Gently closing the door behind her, she steps further into the room, and gives a cursory look around the room. GABI: Alright, Nick. Where would you hide those pictures of us dumping your sorry ass in the river? --- Marlena sits across from Eric at the table outside the café. She looks seriously at her son. MARLENA: Well...it's something we would have to deal with. Are you...emotionally ready for that possibility? ERIC: Honestly? I don't know. I think, given the circumstances, though...Sami is the one you really need to worry about. Marlena looks down at the table, gently nodding in agreement. MARLENA: I think you're right. The problems she's dealing with between her and EJ are a lot right now. She seems strong, but I can tell she's under a tremendous strain. ERIC: So can I. The trouble is, I agree with you, I think it's important that we find out whether or not we carry that gene, so we can be prepared for the worst if we also carry it. Especially since it's now Dad AND Grandma that have had that diagnosis. MARLENA: That's what concerns me most. (sigh) Honestly, I do wish Kim would reconsider having the test done herself. ERIC: Let's not get ahead of ourselves. I ah....(sigh) Look, I'll take the DNA test first. If something comes up on the test that we should worry about, then we can tell the others. And, heaven forbid, this man turns out not to be Dad...well...we can revisit that. Marlena looks at Eric, a faint smile on her face. MARLENA: So...you'll do it? ERIC: I will. Marlena lets out a huge sigh of relief, almost tearing up as she smiles widely at her son's decision. Eric smiles back, more faintly, unsure if he's making the right choice or not. --- Bo and Steve lie on the ground of the Pawn 2.0's cell, unconscious from a bottle each to the head, as someone steps toward them, gently kicking them to ensure they're knocked out. It's Stefano. Stefano laughs maniacally at his two uninvited guests, as his henchmen pick Steve and Bo up, and cart them out of the cell. ---
  4. EPISODE 170 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultant: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco EJ stands in the DiMera living room, sipping on cognac, as he looks out through the terrace doors. The sound of the front door opening and closing doesn't deter him, as he keeps his focus out on the lovely day. From the foyer, a familiar voice calls out to him, as they step inside. It's Liam. LIAM: You called? EJ continues to stare out the window, his only acknowledgement of Liam's arrival is a sly smile that appears on his face as Liam stands in the doorway of the living room, awaiting a response. --- Bo stands around the corner from the living room at the DiMera compound in Italy, listening in as Stefano and Rolf sit before a roaring fire in the fireplace, cackling away at their latest scheme. DR. ROLF: So what is our progress on the Salem front? STEFANO: Ohhh, Rolf. The greatest news. Our friend Nicholas has succeeded in taking the Kiriakis holdings. DR. ROLF: Excellent news! So when do we make the exchange public? Stefano leans in, taking a puff of his cigar before responding. STEFANO: First of all, Anjelica must be elected first as state governor. Once this goal is accomplished, we can unleash our new recruit, and retrieve John Black. Once we have him, we can get the final piece to the puzzle for the alternative fuels project, and we will revolutionize the energy sector. DR. ROLF: But Stefano, that is Nicholas Fallon's project. Wouldn't he have the information we need? Stefano gets up from his seat, walking slowly over to the bar, where he pours himself a drink as he speaks. Bo stands off to the side, in disbelief as to what he's hearing. STEFANO: There is an additive that was considered after our dear friend, Mr. Fallon sold the project to Titan. The government tested it, but shelved it when funding ran out. They never released the information, but the ISA knows what it is. John Black has this information, Rolf. It is the key to maximizing the efficacy of the fuel source. Stefano turns as a hand reaches across to cover Bo's mouth and pulls his back, disappearing from Stefano's view almost in time. STEFANO: And it will be ours! Stefano looks at Rolf, but notices a movement around the corner, and looks over. Seeing nothing, he studies further. Rolf turns around to see what Stefano's looking at, but no one is there. --- The elevator doors open to the parking garage under University Hospital. Sheryl steps out, dressed as Nurse Crystal Clarke, who lies in the back of Crystal's SUV, after Sheryl knocked her out. Sheryl hastily walks over to the truck, unlocking the doors remotely, before stepping inside. Once inside, Sheryl turns the car on, and hurriedly drives out of the parking garage, exiting University Hospital. Driving down the road on her way out of the city, Sheryl is blissfully unaware of Crystal's presence behind her, assuming Crystal is still tied up and unconscious. However, we notice the shine of the tire iron slowly become visible behind Sheryl's head. At a red light, Sheryl adjusts her mirror, to see Crystal, now untied, wielding a tire iron aimed at Sheryl's head, and ready to swing. Sheryl's eyes lock with Crystal's, as Sheryl's widen in terror at her potential demise at the hands of the woman she captured. --- --- EJ stares out the window at the DiMera mansion, holding an empty rocks glass in his hand, smiling as Liam steps into the living room. EJ: You finally decided to show up. LIAM: It's not like you gave me much choice, you know. EJ: It was extremely important. LIAM: So I gathered. So what's this all about? EJ finally turns around, spotting an annoyed Liam standing near the piano. EJ: Well, I requested something from you not long ago, and I've yet to recieve it. LIAM: Yes, and you're not going to. EJ places his empty rocks glass on the desk near the french doors. He turns back to face Liam, now visibly irritated. EJ: And why's that? LIAM: Well, I was at Club TBD last night with Jennifer, and...I spotted your little friend Gabi there with Nick Fallon. She was not looking too well, and neither was he. And I realized what was happening. Liam saunters slowly over to the couch, sitting himself down as he continues to explain himself to EJ. LIAM: You're giving Gabi those drugs to give to Nick. EJ: And just what's wrong with that? LIAM: What are you up to, EJ? EJ: Well, I don't see how that's any of your busine-- Liam's temper escalates as he cuts EJ off. LIAM: Oh, the Hell it isn't. EJ is stunned into silence by Liam's reaction. He watches as Liam gets up from his seat and walks toward EJ in a somewhat menacing way. LIAM: You have been working against your family interests for weeks now and I wanna know why. EJ: The family's interests aren't neccessarily my interests. Liam chuckles as he steps in closer to EJ, keeping a tension between them that belies Liam's cool expression. LIAM: Your interests are making sure that Sami never finds out about Abigail, or her baby. I know that. Anjelica knows that. You know that. Liam leans intimately close to EJ, and almost hisses out his next words in a whisper to EJ. LIAM: Stefano knows that. Liam pokes EJ in the chest as he utters EJ's father's name. EJ barely budges, and his expression remains stoic, as Liam smiles almost maniacally. LIAM: So, I...am not going to let you ruin this. So you either keep in line with the plan, or those pictures our friend Percy took of you and Abby get made public. And you know how much I love that little girl. I'd never want to hurt her. Liam steps back over to EJ, walking in close to him to taunt him one more time. LIAM: So...choose wisely, EJ. Liam walks out of the room, leaving EJ behind, a simmering rage inside him. --- Dr. Rolf gets off the phone, as Stefano pours himself a drink. Rolf looks up at Stefano, concern in his eyes. DR. ROLF: I've got security checking the house to double check if anyone got in. STEFANO: Excellent. We cannot be too careful. DR. ROLF: Speaking of which, Stefano...I don't mean to...shall we say, stick my nose where it doesn't belong but...you're drinking an awful lot. It's not good for your diabetes... Stefano takes a big gulp of his drink, sounding refreshed as he sets his drink down on the coffee table before sitting down in an armchair. STEFANO: I normally would not, but we have plenty to celebrate. So today, I will make an exception. Rolf bites his tongue, pressing on with the matters at hand. DR. ROLF: Alright...if you say so. STEFANO: Believe me, Rolf. We have all of Salem right where we want them. And there isn't a single thing that could happen now to stop us. --- Down at the bottom of the staircase to the cellar of the DiMera compound, Steve leans in and speaks softly into Bo's ear. STEVE: It's just me. Bo fights Steve off, turning around angrily. BO: The Hell, Steve. Steve is quick to get Bo to simmer down. Putting his finger to his lips before Bo can continue. STEVE: You were thiiiis close to getting found out, my man. BO: Maybe, but I found out a whole lot about what Old Man DiMera's up to. STEVE: Oh yeah? I found something too, but you first. Bo steps in closer to Steve to fill him in, checking around carefully to ensure no one overhears. BO: This whole thing back home with Titan? Nick Fallon taking it over in some big coup? STEVE: Yeah, I heard about that, Kayla told me. BO: Well, I'd been wondering how he got his hands on all that money to buy them out. Turns out, DiMera, and Anjelica Deveraux are behind it. Steve's face twists, stunned to hear Anjelica's name pop up. STEVE: Anjelica? How the Hell does she fit into it? BO: I dunno, man. This is just getting more and more complicated the more we dig up. Steve comes up behind Bo and smiles. STEVE: Speaking of digging things up. Bo turns to face Steve, looking confused, as Steve motions toward the door at the end of the hall they've just walked down. Bo and Steve step toward it, opening the door, to reveal the rows of dimly lit prison cells. Bo steps inside, in awe, Steve following closely behind him. STEVE: Check it out, partner! Bo looks around in awe, as the dimly lit room lights up as Steve lights a gas lantern sitting on a nearby table. BO: What the...what is this place? STEVE: DiMera's dungeon, from the looks of it. Mostly empty, too. Except for one thing. Steve points to the largest cell. BO: Stefano's new Pawn Bo strains to see, as he takes the lantern and walks slowly over to the cell, seeing a man crouched in the corner. Bo looks over at Steve, unsure who the man is. BO: We got a key in here? STEVE: Nah, man, I couldn't find one. BO: Dammit. Bo walks over, as close as he can to the man in the corner, trying not to startle him. Reaching through the bars of the cell, he touches the man. The man flinches wildly at first, before both he and Bo realize who the other is. Bo looks on, completely stunned, as Steve looks on, thrilled. BO: Oh my God... --- Sheryl is frozen, staring through her rear-view mirror at Crystal, who threatens her with a tire iron from the back seat of her SUV, a maniacal look in her eyes. CRYSTAL: Don't....move. Or I'ma kill ya. Sheryl doesn't flinch, not even moving her hand from the rear view mirror, as she studies Crystal's slow movement from behind her. CRYSTAL: Now, I'm gonna count to three, and you're gonna drive this truck to the next parking lot, and put your hands up, and you're gonna keep em up. And you're gonna explain to me just what the Hell's goin' on here. SHERYL: Crystal, I do-- As Sheryl tries to object, the light turns green, and Crystal's shrill command cuts Sheryl off. CRYSTAL: DRIVE! Crystal's Southern drawl tightens into an imperative, terse command. Sheryl immediately complies, slowly stepping on the gas to head through the intersection. CRYSTAL: Right here...turn now, or you're gonna get it. Sheryl ignores Crystal's order, suddenly accelerating, and knocking Crystal back in her seat. Crystal struggles to get back upright, as Sheryl drives to try to thwart Crystal's attempts on her life. CRYSTAL: Stop this truck, right now, dammit! Sheryl pulls over on a quiet side road. Braking hard, Crystal stumbles forward, dropping the tire iron beneath the back seat. CRYSTAL: Dammit! Now outside the city, there are no witnesses around to spot them. Sheryl puts the SUV in park, and takes the keys out quickly, while Crystal lurches forward to hunt for the tire iron, her only hope to save herself. Sheryl leaps from her seat, out the front door of her SUV, before running to the backseat herself, opening the door and prying Crystal from the floor of the SUV before Crystal can find the tire iron, or escape. CRYSTAL: No, don't... SHERYL: Get back here, you-- The two women struggle in the backseat, as Sheryl finds the tire iron before Crystal can. In terror, Crystal throws open the back passenger side door of the SUV, in hopes of escaping, but Sheryl runs around the opposite side and, as Crystal exits the vehicle and tries to make a run for it, Sheryl swings the tire iron at Crystal. SHERYL: Oh no you don't. Sheryl's swing strikes Crystal hard in the head, as Crystal falls to the ground outside the truck, mortally wounded. Sheryl slowly steps toward Crystal's lifeless body, and looks down upon it, coldly. SHERYL: Well....looks like it's time for Plan B. ---
  5. EPISODE 167 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultant: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco Hope stands outside the café at Horton Town Square, looking in disbelief at a downright humble Aiden. HOPE: You want to take me out for dinner? I'm sorry, are you feeling okay? AIDEN: Hope, come on, I'm trying here. HOPE: No no, I mean...cut me some slack here. We haven't had a single conversation since we've met where we haven't argued. I mean...I would think you wouldn't want to share the same zip code with me, never mind a meal. Aiden shrugs, slightly amused by Hope's reticence. AIDEN: I mean...I know it's hard for guys to admit when they're wrong, but... HOPE: Don't I know it. AIDEN: But I do want to make it up to you. Seriously. Hope cocks her eyebrow as she takes a sip of her coffee. She looks to one side before shrugging casually. HOPE: Okay. Dinner it is. TBD tonight. Aiden smiles at Hope's decision. AIDEN: You're on. I'll pick you up at 7? HOPE: (laughs) Not the way you drive. I'll meet you there for 7:30. AIDEN: Deal. I'll see you then. Aiden walks away, leaving Hope standing by the café, bemused by Aiden's change of attitude. --- Sheryl closes the door to Jordan's office, standing before a stunned Jordan in her getup to emulate Nurse Crystal Clarke. Jordan is speechless, as Sheryl smiles, almost laughing as she speaks. SHERYL: Surprised to see me? JORDAN: Wh...what are you doing here? SHERYL: I came to get you. I'm going to save you from ruining your life, and ours. Jordan looks at Sheryl, worried of what's to come, but baffled by what Sheryl intends to do. --- Tyler sits on a stool next to Victor's hospital bed, reeling from the news that Nick's working for Stefano. TYLER: Victor, are you absolutely sure Nick told you he was funded by Stefano. You didn't mishear him. VICTOR: 100%. Tyler shakes his head, resigned but not totally surprised by the news. TYLER: You know, it makes almost too much sense. VICTOR: I agree. That's why we have to take action, immediately. TYLER: What kind of action? VICTOR: Simple. We'll send Stefano a message, and clean up the filth that's rotting this town from the inside. Tyler sighs, knowing what Victor's implying. TYLER: Victor, we can't be working underhandedly. VICTOR: Too late. The gloves are already off. Get rid of Nick Fallon. By any means neccessary. Victor looks steely-eyed at a concerned Tyler, who is far less convinced of Victor's plan than Victor is. --- --- Gabi and Nick sit at a table at the Brady Pub, next to Gabi's packed bags. They sip their coffee as they finish their brunch. Gabi looks pleasant, but nervously at Nick, as Nick discusses his decorating plans for the Kiriakis mansion. As he does this, Abigail steps into the pub and Gabi and Abby's eyes immediately meet. NICK: So I wanna give Ari the biggest stuffed toy collection for her room, and we'll give the stuffed toys their own crib just like Ari's... Gabi interjects, trying to tell him that Ari won't be staying with them. GABI: Nick...don't get carried away. NICK: Why not? GABI: Well, Ari's... Nick notices Gabi's eyes turn away from his, causing him to turn his head around toward the door. He calls out excitedly to Abigail. NICK: Abby! Hey! Abigail looks surprised to see Nick and Gabi together, but smiles upon seeing them, and heads toward their table. ABBY: Hey, guys! How are you? GABI: I'm good. You wanna join us? ABBY: Oh, I'm just...I'm waiting for my family to get here. JJ's leaving for college today, and... NICK: Oh! Wow! Wish him the best from me. Abby smiles awkwardly at Nick. She nods as she responds, folding her arms in slight discomfort after Nick's prior volatile interaction with Abby at Salem U. ABBY: Oh definitely, I will. Thanks, Nick. Ah...you... you guys going somewhere? Abby points at Gabi's bags, and Gabi laughs at Abby's question. GABI: Ah, not...not really... Nick interrupts Gabi, telling Abigail the news excitedly. NICK: Gabi's agreed to move in with me. Abigail looks a bit shocked, but tries to stifle her reaction, smiling in a subdued way. ABBY: Ah...ah wow. That's...a surprise. I guess I should be congratulating you too? GABI: Thanks, Abby. Nick notices Abby's less-than-enthused reaction, and comments on it. NICK: You seem a bit...concerned, Abby. What's wrong? ABBY: Well, no, I just...I guess I'm just surprised. You seemed really happy at Will and Sonny's, and Ari had her whole family there, and...it's just so sudden. GABI: Yeah, I know. ABBY: Plus, I mean...there's not much room up in Nick's little room upstairs-- Nick cuts Abby off, smiling widely as he shares his other news with her. NICK: Oh! That's not gonna be a problem. We're moving into the Kiriakis mansion. See, I own it now. Abby's face drops in response to Nick's news. --- Jordan stands facing Sheryl in her office. Sheryl, dressed up to emulate Nurse Crystal Clarke, stands blocking Jordan's office door, and smirks at Jordan with arms folded. Jordan stands nervously, stuttering out her words. JORDAN: Wh...Sheryl, what are you doing here? SHERYL: I came to get you out of this hospital, and out of Salem before it's too late. Jordan glowers at Sheryl, now folding her arms herself in defiance. JORDAN: I'm not going anywhere, Sheryl. Besides, what you doing dressed like that, you look ridiculous. SHERYL: Thank you. I'm the new nurse here, Crystal Clarke. Jordan rolls her eyes at Sheryl's get-up. Responding snarkily. JORDAN: Original. How'd you manage to pull this one off, hm? You dropped out of nursing school in your first year. SHERYL: It all comes back to you. Like riding a bike. Besides, I won't have to do this very long, it's just for the day to get you to come along with us. JORDAN: Not happening. I'm staying right here. Jordan turns to put a file away in her filing cabinet behind her desk, as Sheryl continues, walking toward Jordan while menacing her gleefully. SHERYL: Oh you're not, hm? Gonna stay here with you cop boyfriend? Jordan slams the door to her cabinet shut before turning around and raising her voice to Sheryl. JORDAN: Actually, I am, Sheryl. Or...Crystal or whoever you are. Sheryl looks on with a raised eyebrow, unconvinced. SHERYL: Yeah. I'm sure. I'm sure he'll also be just thrilled when I tell him who you really are and that you've been lying to him about your identity this entire time! Jordan smiles smugly, knowing Sheryl can't touch her with this information. JORDAN: Nice try. But he already knows. SHERYL: Oh, does he? JORDAN: Yes. SHERYL: Hm. JORDAN: I told him not 20 minutes ago. He was here. He promised that no matter what, he was gonna stand by me. Sheryl steps in closer to Jordan, calling her bluff. SHERYL: Well, see now, THAT tells me that you've been pickin' cherries, my dear Kaylie. Except you didn't tell him your name was Kaylie Matthews, because THAT would mean he could find your name on an FBI casefile. Sheryl begins to chuckle, as Jordan becomes more and more tense. JORDAN: I told him everything I could, Sheryl. And I'm not afraid of you anymore. SHERYL: Oh, really. What, are you gonna play informant now? Thow me and Jerome under the bus so you can have your little happily-ever-after? I don't think so. JORDAN: I think it's time you left. Jordan makes a beeline for the door of her office, as Sheryl turns around, watching Jordan huff and puff her way to the door. SHERYL: You're right. I have a lot I need to do. Let me know when you're ready to come with me, Jordan. JORDAN: I won't be, because I'm not leaving. You are. SHERYL: Don't be so sure about that. Sheryl walks slowly over to the door, slowing her walk to whisper her threatening words to Jordan on her way out. SHERYL: I'll be back later. As Sheryl saunters out of Jordan's office, Jordan slams the door behind her. She leans back against the door, relieved that Sheryl's gone, but livid that she's still not rid of her. --- Hope stands outside the café at Horton Town Square, texting Rafe to let her know she's on her way to the police station, when Marlena walks up behind her and startles her. MARLENA: Boo! Hope jumps slightly, turning to see Marlena behind her, and breaks out laughing. HOPE: Oh my God, Marlena, you startled me. MARLENA: (laughs) I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. Did you have a moment? HOPE: I do, just...not long, I have to head back to the station. MARLENA: Oh, that's fine. I'm meeting Valerie here anyway, in a few minutes. I just thought I'd see how you were doing. Hope looks to one side and shrugs as she responds. HOPE: Wellll...confused. MARLENA: About what? Hope sighs, looking a bit flustered. HOPE: Aiden Jennings. MARLENA: What about him? HOPE: Well...he just asked me out on a date. Marlena looks at Hope, somewhat intrigued. Hope looks back, still baffled and a bit unnerved. --- Tyler sighs as he stands beside Victor's bed. TYLER: Victor, I am not playing your hitman. VICTOR: On the contrary. That's exactly what you'll do, and it's the only way you're gonna get out of this mess. TYLER: Oh, really now? And how do you figure that? VICTOR: When I say Nick Fallon told me everything, I mean he told me everything. That includes him blackmailing the Titan board into making him CEO. Which means he knows about our previous connections and the fact you've been running my, shall we say, undocumented business dealings. Tyler looks aside, sighing once more as he realizes Victor's correct. TYLER: Okay, you got me. VICTOR: And I also expect that that's how he got you to play mentor to his scrawny behind while he figures out what the Hell he's doing in a three-piece suit as opposed to a lab coat. TYLER: That's exactly it. But I figured if I coached him, all the while working with you, possibly with Kate, and Justin, that we'd be able to steady the ship and lull Nick into a sense of security so we could oust him. VICTOR: Not a chance. I'm not in any position to gamble with what little this company has left. We need Nick out of the picture, Stefano to relinquish control of our assets, and all without the public finding out all our dirty laundry. The only way that can happen is if Nick disappears, and you along with him. Tyler looks at Victor, a certain disappointment and sadness in his eyes. TYLER: I know this sounds somewhat...melodramatic of me, but...where will I go? VICTOR: I'll see to it that you'll be financially stable, and no one will find you. TYLER: So I'll be living out in the woods with Anita? VICTOR: Nonsense. That'll put a target on both your backs. Anita's finally out of danger, and you wanna put her back in? You'd have to be mad to do that. TYLER: I was out there today. She needs help, Victor. She won't admit it, but she does. Victor looks at Tyler, confused. VICTOR: What do you mean? Tyler sighs again, looking down as he takes a moment before speaking. TYLER: Anita sold off her stock in Titan. That's how Nick and Stefano were able to get the 4% they needed to have majority ownership. VICTOR: Damn it! TYLER: I know. I was furious with her at first, but...the house is in a real state. The dividends weren't paying out like they used to and she's burning through her savings fast. I...honestly don't think she had another option. Victor shakes his head in disappointment. VICTOR: I'll make sure Anita's covered. Just make sure you get the job done, and get out of Salem. When you do, you tell me immediately. And do not come back under any circumstances. Tyler looks back at a steely-eyed Victor, who stares him down unflinchingly. ---
  6. EPISODE 166 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultant: C. Nathaniel Richardson Tyler steps off the elevator at University Hospital, making a beeline for Victor's room. As Tyler opens the door, he's followed in by Daniel, who tries to stop Tyler from advancing. DANIEL: Ahh...Mr. Houston... TYLER: Yes? DANIEL: I'm sorry, I'm...just about to do a quick check-up on Victor, and... Victor, hearing Tyler and Daniel's voices, opens his eyes, and interjects. VICTOR: It's alright, Daniel. Can you give us five minutes? Daniel sighs, knowing Victor won't budge. DANIEL: Victor, I gotta finish my rounds before noon. I have a lunch date with Billie. VICTOR: Tell her to postpone. This is important. Daniel takes a moment, before giving in. DANIEL: Yeah. Okay. But just five. I'll be at the nurses' station. Tyler turns, nodding in appreciation to Daniel, as Daniel reaches for the door on his way out. TYLER: Thank you. As Daniel shuts the door, Tyler turns his attentions back to Victor, speaking dryly to his longtime business associate. TYLER: You called? VICTOR: Yes. I was just paid a visit from our good friend Nick Fallon. How long were you all gonna keep me in the dark about what he's up to, anyway? Tyler sighs, frustrated and disappointed that Nick's broken the news to Victor of his takeover of Titan. --- Sheryl emerges from the service elevator at University Hospital, checking around to ensure no one has spied her with the wheelchair, before placing it back by the locker room door, as before. Sneaking back into the locker room, she walks over to her locker, realizing that Crystal's phone is inside, ringing. She checks to see who's calling. It's Kim. Ignoring the call, Sheryl puts the phone back in the locker, and locks it up. SHERYL: Okay, Crystal. Time to deal with your next problem. Jordan Ridgeway. Sheryl walks off in search of Jordan. --- Kim puts her phone down from her ear, as she stands behind the bar at the Brady Pub, somewhat confused by "Crystal" hanging up on her, as Nick walks into the pub, a bright smile on his face. Kim turns to greet him. KIM: Nick! NICK: Hey Kim! Ah...have you seen Gabi anywhere? Kim shakes her head, as she scans the restaurant to be sure she hasn't missed Gabi somehow. KIM: Ahh no. Can't say that I have. You're supposed to meet her here to get the rest of your things? Nick leans casually against the bar, smirking with his usual self-satisfaction. NICK: Mmmm...you could say that. Just then, Gabi steps in, causing Nick to turn his head around excitedly. NICK: There's the woman I've been waiting to see! Gabi walks in, suitcase in tow. Nick looks down, and realizes what this means. He looks back up at Gabi, with a growing smile on his face. NICK: You....is this what I think it is? Gabi smiles ,nervously, breathing in deep before answering. She flashes back to what EJ told her when they met earlier: *** FLASHBACK TO EPISODE 156 Gabi stands with EJ on the pier, her face lined with worry, as she speaks to EJ softly, trying not to be heard lest someone overhear. GABI: Alright. So how am I going to go about finding these pictures? EJ looks at Gabi, deadly serious. EJ: He'll have them. You're going to have to put yourself in very close proximity to him to get them. Make certain you bring your weapon to keep yourself protected, but don't let him think for a second that you're nervous around him. GABI: Even if that means I have to go to bed with him? EJ: Absolutely, if you have to. GABI: EJ, I...I can't do that. The thought of sleeping with that man again makes my skin crawl. EJ: I realize. But your family's lives are at stake here. You need to be prepared to do whatever it takes to take Nick down. *** Gabi smiles at Nick, feigning a warm look as she tells him her decision. GABI: Yeah. I'll do it, Nick. I'll move in with you. --- --- Hope walks out of the café in Horton Town Square, a coffee cup in hand to go, as she see Aiden approach the café at the same time. Catching each other's eyes, Hope moves to go around Aiden without greeting, but Aiden calls out to her, stopping her in her tracks. AIDEN: Hope. Hope responds coldly, not even turning to face Aiden. HOPE: What do you want, Aiden? AIDEN: I wanted to...apologize for how I behaved the last time we...heh, ran into each other. Hope turns around, speaking politely, but not warmly. HOPE: Aiden, there's nothing to say. Just....forget about it. You live your life, and try to stay out of mine. AIDEN: Well, wait. Look, I...I kinda wanted to make it up to you. If you don't mind, that is. Hope furrows her brow, unsure what Aiden means. HOPE: Don't mind what? AIDEN: Well...I was hoping to maybe...heh, maybe I could buy you dinner or something? Maybe meet up at Club TBD tonight? Hope looks on, stunned by Aiden's turn in attitude. --- Nick beams with delight as he hugs a tense Gabi, who looks on as Nick embraces her, positively stunned by what she's doing. Nick laughs obliviously with excitement as he pulls Gabi out of their hug. NICK: Oh wow! This is...this is the best news I've had today. Seriously. GABI: Well, you...you've had a lot of good news lately, I...I'm just the icing on the cake, I'm sure. NICK: That you are. Nick puts a hand on Gabi's arm, as Gabi looks on, trying not to let his discomfort with Nick's touch show. She looks over at Kim, who takes the cue and speaks up. KIM: Ah, Gabi! Did you...did you want a coffee or something? Gabi looks over at Kim, as she steps over toward a table for two. GABI: Ah...double vodka, straight. Nick looks curiously at Gabi as they sit down. NICK: You ah...you drinking so early? GABI: Nick, I need all the courage I can to live under Victor Kiriakis' roof. Especially if I'm going to be living there as your guest. NICK: That's just it, Gabi. It's not Victor's....it's my house. I own it. GABI: Doesn't make it any less awkward. I mean, I'm moving out of Sonny and Will's and...I mean, I haven't even told them I'm leaving, and... Nick grabs Gabi's hands and holds them across the table. He looks seriously into her eyes. NICK: No. No, it doesn't need to be. Gabi, I'm serious. The Kiriakises are guests in our home. If anyone gives you trouble, you leave them to me. Okay? Gabi nods slowly, feeling very uncomfortable with the situation. Nick lowers his voice as he leans in closer. NICK: And as for Will & Sonny? We'll figure it out, we'll...we'll make a schedule for Ari, whatever you need. But you need to remember, you're entitled to live your own life. Now, I know Will won't mind as much, he usually doesn't...but If Sonny has that much of a problem with you living with me, I will make sure he stays out of our way, okay? Gabi interjects, cutting the end off of Nick's last statement. GABI: No, Nick, you don't have to-- NICK: No, I...I think this is important. Let me handle Will and Sonny. You just need to make yourself comfortable, and we'll choose some great furniture for Ari's new bedroom, and... GABI: Nick, no, I can't-- NICK: I...insist. I'll ask Maggie to help you out. It'll be no problem. I just want this place to feel like home for you, okay? Gabi looks down, nodding as she feigns a smile. GABI: Anywhere I go with you feels like home. Gabi looks up at Nick, hoping to see for sure if her lie was convincing to Nick. --- Tyler steps towards Victor's hospital bed, trying to explain himself to an impatient Victor. TYLER: Victor, we wanted to make sure you were alright before we bombarded you with business. VICTOR: Oh, save it. It's not like I'm at death's door. Tyler looks at Victor, vaguely amused by his resolve. TYLER: Maggie just wanted to be sure you made a speedy recovery. Any undue stress would've risked a relapse. VICTOR: I'd rather know now and get ahead of it than be blindsided by that arrogant weasel. He came in here giggling and bragging like he'd lost his virginity on prom night. TYLER: Well, there's an unpleasant thought. Victor relaxes slightly as he responds to Tyler's wry comment. VICTOR: It was equally unpleasant to hear. But it wasn't the worst of it. Tyler looks at Victor with a hint of confusion. TYLER: What do you mean? VICTOR: I mean that little worm's not working alone. TYLER: Well, we suspected that for awhile. I mean, no one gets their hands on enough money to singlehandedly buy out a major corporation like that without major financial backing. VICTOR: Mmm, that's no lie. You'll be as surprised as I was to hear the source of that financial backing. Tyler rests against the edge of Victor's bed, now extremely curious to know who Victor's talking about. TYLER: And just who is that? VICTOR: Stefano DiMera. Tyler shakes his head, confirming his suspicions about Nick's sudden victory. --- Jordan sits at her office chair at University Hospital, as she hears a knock at the door. Looking up, she calls out to the person. JORDAN: Come in. Checking her watch, Jordan assumes it's another patient. But it's Maxine, with some paperwork for her. JORDAN: Maxine! Hi! MAXINE: So...how'd it go with Rafe? Jordan gets up from behind her desk, taking the paperwork from Maxine's outstretched hand. JORDAN: Very well...I think we're gonna be okay. Maxine beams at the news. MAXINE: I'm so glad to hear it. Jordan quickly steps over to the other side of her desk and gives Maxine a warm hug. JORDAN: Ooo thank you so much, Maxine. You don't know how much your advice helped. Pulling away from their hug, Maxine gives Jordan a stern look, wagging her finger as she speaks. MAXINE: Listen, Jordan. If you ever need anything at all, any advice, I will be here. Even if it's just to listen. Sometimes that's all you need. JORDAN: I'll remember that. Thank you. MAXINE: Anytime, honey. Maxine steps out the door, closing it behind her, and Jordan turns her back to the door to check out the documents Maxine left behind. A moment later, there's another knock on the door. Jordan calls out again without turning to look. JORDAN: Maxine (laughs) what did you forget? The door opens, revealing Sheryl disguised as Crystal Clarke. Putting on her best fake southern accent, Sheryl steps just inside Jordan's office. SHERYL: Oh, nothin' big. Just came to get you. Jordan looks up from her papers, confused by the voice she hears. She turns suddenly, as Sheryl looks back at her, grinning widely. Jordan's face drops, terrified by Sheryl's arrival. ---
  7. EPISODE 165 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultants: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco Kate stands in her penthouse condo, finishing pouring a smoothie in her kitchenette, as she hears the front door unlock. She turns to see who it is, and smiles upon seeing Billie's face. KATE: Ah! You finally made it. Billie walks in, clutching her jacket, trying to hide the fatigue in her eyes. Kate turns around and smiles wider, trying to hide her laughter at her daughter's disheveled appearance. KATE: Long night, I see. BILLIE: Shut up, Mom. Kate sours her expression momentarily, scolding her daughter for her response. KATE: Hey, now! Watch it! I could just as soon use that room I've given you as a home office. BILLIE: Sorry. What's that you're drinking? Billie plants her purse down on the kitchen island, as Kate takes a sip of her green smoothie. She winces as she tastes it. Setting it down, she passes it over to Billie. KATE: Green smoothie. My nurtitionist said it'll help my immune system and help keep my weight in check, but I think the only reason I won't gain weight is from being too nauseated to eat anything the rest of the day. Try it. Billie looks down. She gives an unimpressed look back to Kate and turns away. BILLIE: I'll pass. KATE: Ungrateful child. Billie laughs, as Kate picks the smoothie back up, and tries another sip of it. Billie sets herself down on the sofa in the living room area. KATE: So how was last night? Billie looks back over at Kate, a wide smile on her face. BILLIE: Absolutely beautiful. We were gonna have a moonlight picnic, but it was raining so, Daniel set his place up to be just like the park, and the place was lit up with all these lights...oh, I'm telling you, Mom. It was amazing. KATE: That's good to hear. I just hope he isn't using you like he used me and Chelsea. Billie sighs, immediately exasperated by Kate's overbearing nature. BILLIE: Mom... KATE: I'm sorry, but he's screwed over me, your brother, and your daughter, and I'll be damned if he makes a fool out of three entire generations of this family. BILLIE: And just how is he gonna do that, Mom? He loves me. Kate scoffs at Billie. She steps over toward her, sitting next to her on the sofa. KATE: Honey, I know this man. He's with you on the rebound from Jennifer. As much as he's going to deny it, he's still in love with her. And I know you know that. Billie grimaces, furrowing her brow as she looks back disapprovingly at her mother. --- Anita stands facing Tyler in her cabin. She sets her cup of tea down on the dining table, as she nods to Tyler, feigning a solemn expression. ANITA: Well, it's disappointing to hear, but...I don't see why you should put Victor through any more pain. If Brady's gone, then....he's gone. TYLER: I'm sorry, Anita. Anita shrugs. She paces past Tyler, leaning out the window by the doorway. ANITA: (sigh) Not much you can do. I understand. TYLER: You seem...somewhat resigned about all this. Anita turns back to face Tyler, snapping at him for his line of questioning. ANITA: Well, what am I supposed to say, Tyler? What do you want me to feel? Happy? I know there's nothing we can do. Just like there's nothing I can do about my situation. Tyler walks towards Anita, appearing sympathetic. TYLER: I know. I'm sorry. I...I wish there was another way, but...it's been too long. To change things now would just...it would cause more problems than it would solve. You know this. I know this. Tyler puts a hand on Anita's shoulder, as she sighs, shaking her head. ANITA: I guess so. (sigh) But I do wish I could be closer to Salem...my loved ones. TYLER: We both know that's not possible. ANITA: The threat is gone, Tyler. It has been for years. I know it's going to be complicated, but... Tyler grabs Anita by the shoulders, trying to shake a bit of sense into her. TYLER: But nothing, Anita. You are going to stay living as Anita Hernandez, and you are going to stay away from Salem. And that's final. Anita looks at Tyler, wide-eyed, infuriated by his forceful manner. --- Nick stands inside Victor's hospital room at Univeristy Hospital. As Nick watches Victor's comatose body, he continues to speak to Victor. NICK: You know, I didn't set out to do any of this, yeah? All I was trying to do was get enough evidence against you to stop EnerNext from taking over Percy's land. Nick sits back down on the stool facing Victor's bed. He rests his arms on the edge of the bed. NICK: You know Percy, right? My right hand at the lab. Says "Greetings" when he walks into a room? Yeah, him. Well...he saved my life a little while ago when your friends Kate and Sami tried to drown me in the river. (laughs) I know, right? Unbelievable. Two known killers trying to kill again. Nick giggles as he rests his arm on the side of Victor's bed. He sighs, pausing a moment before continuing. NICK: How did I get so lucky? I should be honoured. They were willing to throw their lives away for little ol' me. Nick's expressions changes, as he remains laser-focused on Victor's eyes, he becomes more stern. NICK: Well, this time...they weren't so lucky. Percy found me, and this....this is my thank you to him. Watching you suffer. And believe me, it feels good. Nick sneers the last part of his sentence, never once moving or looking away from Victor's face. --- --- Billie closes the door to the fridge in Kate's kitchenette, frustrated with her mother's intrusiveness. Kate, meanwhile, sits on the sofa in the adjacent living room, looking Billie's way. KATE: You know, I'm only telling you this for your own good, right? BILLIE: (sigh) Mom. Remember why I left Salem the last time? KATE: Because I was interfering in your life, and being deceptive. Billie holds her arms out, as though denoting Kate's 'a-ha' moment. BILLIE: She gets it! She finally gets it! KATE: Yes, well, a leopard can't change its spots, and I guess, maybe I'm protective of you and Austin because I lost so many years with you. BILLIE: Yes, but you don't get it. The more you try to control everyone's lives, the more years you go without us in your life. You have to let us live ours, make our own mistakes. Kate gets up from the couch as Billie speaks and reaches over to take Billie's hand across the kitchen island. KATE: I just don't want you repeating the same ones I made. Daniel can be a very charismatic man, and I'm sure he really is enjoying his time with you, but you're going to have to realize that he does this whenever he loses somebody he loves. Billie bites her tongue, looking away as Kate squeezes Billie's hand gently. KATE: And he loves Jennifer. Very much. Billie pulls away from Kate, and looks at Kate defiantly. BILLIE: Well, maybe he loves me just as much. Did you ever think of that? Or is it just impossible for you to believe that I could be the woman to help him get over Jennifer Horton? KATE: Maybe you're right. But I'd rather spare you from finding out you're wrong. Billie looks at a concerned Kate, trying to maintain her stern expression, but a hint of uncertainty is in Billie's eyes. --- Anita shakes Tyler off her suddenly, her enraged look never leaving Tyler's eyes as she raises a finger in stern scolding. ANITA: Don't you EVER lay a hand on me like that again, Tyler Houston. Tyler backs away slightly, looking sheepishly. TYLER: I'm sorry, I-- ANITA: You have absolutely no grounds to keep me here. Not anymore. I am not beholden to Victor Kiriakis, and certainly not to you. TYLER: Anita, now, hold-- ANITA: I will not hold on. Anita looks increasingly emotional, as she stands a good two feet away from Tyler, scolding him like a child. ANITA: You and Victor have spent the last 30 years controlling where I go, what I do. You threatened to pull my stake in Titan when my grandchildren moved to Salem, and I had to beg you to leave them alone. What good has that done me? What good has any of this done me? TYLER: We were keeping you safe. That's all we wanted to do. ANITA: That's great. Well, I'm safe. I'm alone, I'm facing destitution. But I'm safe. I bet you don't even know what you're protecting me from anymore. Tyler looks sternly at Anita. TYLER: If you come back to Salem, there will be too many questions that need to be answered. Anita steps toward Tyler, she looks him dead in the eyes, with the same sternness he showed her. She speaks softly, but firmly. ANITA: You go back to Victor, and you tell him to bring 'em on. I'm ready for every single question they can throw at me. Tyler shakes his head, frustrated by Anita's determination. Anita, meanwhile, walks over to the door. She opens it wide, showing Tyler the way out. ANITA: Now get out. Tyler walks toward the door, stopping momentarily before he leaves. TYLER: I will come back. And you'd better still be here when I do. Tyler walks off, as Anita slams the door behind him. Brady walks back into the living room moments later, confused. BRADY: Anita? Was someone at the door? Anita brushes off her frustration, and puts on her best smile for Brady. ANITA: Nah, just someone lost on the road, needed directions. BRADY: Oh, okay. Brady accepts the answer as they make their way back to the dining table. Outside, Tyler lingers outside in the bushes near the front door of Anita's cabin, struggling to see who is inside with Anita through the dirty window. --- Nick steps away from Victor, holding his head, wincing slightly in pain as he reaches for his meds in his bag. He pulls them out as he continues. NICK: You know, It's really funny, Vic. Nick opens his bag up, and pulls out a metal water bottle. He pops two pills in his mouth and washes them down with the water from his bottle before continuing. NICK: You almost had me there. Nick turns back to face Victor, smirking again. NICK: But I got the drop on ya. And the best part of all this is...well, I got everything I wanted. Nick slowly walks over to Victor's bedside again, and plants himself back on the stool next to the bed. NICK: ...And then some. See, the part you don't know, and that you're neeeeever gonna figure out, is who's helping me out. I mean, obviously I got the oil sands project stopped, but...with a little persuasion from two of your favourite people, I was able to pull off the coup of the century! Nick laughs, holding his water bottle up, as if to give a toast. NICK: Wanna guess who I'm talking about? Nick waits a moment, mockingly waiting to hear an answer from an unresponsive Victor. NICK: That's right. Anjelica Deveraux....and Stefano DiMera. Nick laughs heartily at the "genius" of his own plan. NICK: Crazy, huh? Yeah, see, our future governor's in cahoots with Stefano DiMera. Betcha didn't know that lil' tidbit. Oh, I had some other help along the way. See, Jordan and Sheryl, they're really these internationally known eco-warriors, and they were gonna plant this virus in the Titan mainframe. You remember that, right, Vic? Nick waits a beat before continuing. NICK: But, see...I stopped them, and the board were SO grateful to me for saving their asses, that...with a little bit of extra incentive, they gave me to top slot. Go figure, eh? (laughs) I swear, you would be so proud of what I've managed to pull off. I'm just playing by your rulebook, you know? Nick's smile fades, he looks a little more intensely at Victor, shaking his head before he carries on. NICK: But, you know what? The best part of all of this...is knowing that I can finally be the man that Gabi needs. I fought my way up to the top of the food chain. I got mine, I am a success thanks to MY hard work. Nick becomes more intense, more cutting with his words, as he leans in close to Victor. NICK: All the people, all the people in this town who get away with everything because of their power, and their money... Nick suddenly pounds his fist against his chest, hissing his words out at Victor. NICK: I own them now. I will ruin them. And tonight, on Nicole's special, I'm going to make sure that everyone knows....they're on notice. Nick smirks, as he gets up from his stool. NICK: Godspeed, Victor. Hope you live to see what Titan can be now that it's part of DiMera Enterprises. Nick grabs his bag, and steps out of Victor's hospital room. Moments after the door shuts, Victor's eyes open, intense with fury. He musters the strength to reach for the telephone on the table by the bed. He immediately calls Tyler. ... Tyler is surprised by the sudden vibration of his cell phone in his pocket. He turns back, away from Anita's door, and answers quietly. TYLER: (into phone) Hello? ... VICTOR: (into phone) Tyler, it's me. Get your ass into my hospital room, RIGHT NOW! Victor slams down the receiver, before laying back in his bed, shaking with fury at what he's just experienced. ... Tyler looks down at his phone, checking to see that the call's ended. He looks baffled by Victor's harsh tone, but looks back one last time to see inside Anita's cabin, before giving up. TYLER: I know someone's in there, Anita. But who the hell could it be? Tyler shakes his head before turning back away and walking to his car. ---
  8. EPISODE 164 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultants: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco Sami storms down the hallway at University Hospital, making a beeline for Marlena's office. Visibly enraged by the news Kim has just passed onto her, she knocks loudly on her mother's office door. Inside, Marlena looks up from her desk, concerned by the urgency of the knocking sound. MARLENA: Come in! Sami throws the door open, taking everything within her not to shout at Marlena. SAMI: How could you, Mom? Marlena takes her reading glasses off, and sighs, already knowing the answer to the question she's about to ask. MARLENA: How could I what? Sami slams the door behind her, looking intensely at her mother. SAMI: How could you ask us to get DNA tests to prove dad isn't really who he says he is? Marlena sighs, looking frustrated. --- Brady sits down at the dining room table at Anita's cabin, as Anita lays down an omelette on a plate before him. Brady looks up at Anita and beams with delight. ANITA: Western omelette, and your coffee coming right up. BRADY: Oh yeah! Anita, I gotta ask... Anita stands at the kitchenette counter, pouring Brady's coffee as she answers him. ANITA: Yes, Brady, dear? BRADY: How is it that you can make this just as good as my dad used to when I was kid? Anita turns with his cup of coffee and sets it down before him. She shrugs casually. ANITA: Maybe we're both gifted chefs? Who knows? Anita and Brady share a laugh as Anita sits down with her own plate of eggs and toast. BRADY: Well, I thank you. ANITA: You're welcome, Brady. Anita smiles, as she picks up her fork. She suddenly remembers something she needs to tell Brady. ANITA: By the way, I've been meaning to ask you if you were able to get that part for the backup generator or not. Brady finishes a bite of his food before responding. BRADY: Mm! I did. But I haven't put it in yet, it's in the shed. Brady gets up from his seat, and sets down his napkin by his plate, while Anita tries to stop him from going. BRADY: I'll bring it in now while I'm thinking about it-- ANITA: Oh Brady, no. You don't have to now, finish your breakfast. BRADY: No! No, it's okay. It'll only a take a minute. I'll be right back, I promise. Brady begins to take off, out the front door, as Anita calls out to him. ANITA: Okay, but don't let your food get cold. BRADY: I won't! As the back door closes to the cabin, Anita shakes her head in amusement. As she's about to sit back down at the table, she hears a loud knock at the front door. Surprised, Anita turns around, and walks over. The knocking continues, an almost frantic tone to it. This prompts Anita to call out to whomever is there. ANITA: One second! Upon opening the door, Anita is stunned to see a very familiar face before her. ANITA: Tyler?! Tyler looks at Anita, a frustrated look in his eyes. TYLER: How could you do it, Anita? ANITA: Do what? TYLER: Sell your shares. Do you know what you've just done? Anita looks on, puzzled by both Tyler's visit, and his tone, as he invites himself inside. --- Victor lays silently in his bed, resting in his hospital room at University Hospital. The darkened room lay silent save for the gentle hum of his respirator and the gentle rhythmic beep of the heart monitor. A moment later, the door to Victor's room opens, and Nick steps inside. Closing the door softly, he steps over to Victor's bedside. Slowly, a smile grows on his face, as he tries to hold in the laugh that's building inside him, as he sees the powerful man he appears to have defeated lying motionless before him. NICK: Hello, Victor. Good seeing you like this. --- --- Anita slams the door to her cabin behind her as Tyler walks in, with an indignant expression on his face. ANITA: I beg your pardon? Tyler turns to face Anita, his voice raised as he responds to her. TYLER: You sold your shares in Titan. 4% of the company stock, and now we've been bought out. ANITA: What do you mean? TYLER: I mean that that was the amount we needed to hold onto Titan, and you just sold it. Now we have a novice running the show, bankrolled by God-knows-who, because if there's one thing I do NOT believe, it's that a lab technician can afford to buy 51% of a company's stock. Even a company in dire financial straits like ours. Anita stands, arms folded. Her expression one of defiance, as she paces the living room area. ANITA: And there it is. The reason I sold the shares in the first place. You know, Victor told me that if I took those shares, I would never want for anything in my life ever again. I would have my home, I would have enough to live on, comfortably. I would have enough to retire on. That was our deal, Tyler. I stay out here in this cabin in the middle of nowhere, build a new life, and he would take care of the rest. TYLER: He's done his best, and so have I. ANITA: And you failed. You, and Victor failed me. And you failed Brady. You failed Isabella. You're damn lucky I was able to get Gabi, Rafe, and Dario out the door and into good careers before you failed them too with your incompetence, though I guess the jury's still out on Dario, since you have him on your payroll. Tyler sighs, realizing the precarious position Anita's in, as he looks around the room. It's run down, in bad need of repairs. Water damage apparent on the upper walls. As he does, the kettle begins to whistle on the stovetop. Anita walks over to take it off the element. TYLER: Speaking of which, you'll be pleased to know Dario's job is secure, for now. Anita responds with an acidic sarcasm, as she pours herself some tea. ANITA: OH! Well, that's a relief. You haven't failed another member of my family. YET. Would you like a medal? TYLER: Anita... Tyler turns to rebutt but is struck by two placesettings at Anita's dining table. Realizing she's probably not in the house alone, Tyler's expression changes. He looks quickly around the room and spots nobody. Anita barely notices, as she's putting a lump of sugar in her tea before turning around. ANITA: No, I'm not done, Tyler. You have an awful lot of nerve coming into this house and chastizing me for protecting myself from being out on the street, penniless. TYLER: We wouldn't have let that happen, and you know it. Anita turns around, placing her tea on the table, and looking up at Tyler, speaking gently, but firmly. ANITA: I don't know anything. But I certainly was not going to trust you with controlling interest in Titanic Industries. Tyler shakes his head, sighing again, as he holds his hands up, hoping to stop the argument. TYLER: Look, I get it. I wish you had consulted with me or Victor before you had sold the shares, but...I get it. ANITA: I wasn't about to do that. The payout was more than enough to ensure I could reinvest the money in a company that wasn't about to bottom out. Simple as that. Now, if that's the only reason you came out here-- TYLER: It's not. Anita looks at Tyler, confused by his answer. ANITA: Alright. Tell me, then. What did you want to tell me? Tyler sighs heavily before answering Anita, almost ashamed to say what he's about to say. TYLER: Victor's in the hospital from a heart attack. ANITA: I heard. TYLER: Well...what you probably haven't heard is that he ah...he was sinking a lot of company resources into finding Brady, even though we all know Brady's dead. Anita remains tight-lipped, knowing better, but not saying anything. After a moment, she nods slowly. TYLER: Justin...and I, we made the call to...call off the search. Anita feigns showing sadness at the news. Her muted reaction to the news is curious to Tyler. --- Liam stands midway down the Horton house stairs, as JJ and Laura look up at him from the foyer, surprised by his appearing there. LIAM: JJ! You ah...you all packed up? JJ: Yeah, just...couple more boxes. Ahh...Grandma, did you wanna help me out? LAURA: Sure. Liam walks down the rest of the way, sensing something is off. Meanwhile, Laura bends down to pick up a box of JJ's things, and turns to head out the door. LIAM: Oh, don't trouble yourself, Laura. I'll take it. LAURA: Oh, you don't have to. Liam stops Laura, putting his hands on the box Laura is attempting to carry out. LIAM: Look, I must've interrupted something very important, so...I'll just help in any way I can and let you both finish. JJ looks uncomfortably at Laura, who smiles awkwardly at Liam, before letting go of the box. LAURA: Alright. Thank you, Liam. LIAM: Anytime. As Liam walks out the door with the box, Laura looks on, turning back to face JJ the second the door shuts behind Liam, her voice speaking with a newfound urgency. LAURA: I don't trust that man. JJ: Neither do I. But there isn't a lot we can do right now. Laura sighs, frustrated by the situation. LAURA: Look, I know it's going to be hard trying to research this from afar, but...honestly, JJ, maybe it's safer for you this way. JJ: I hope so. At this point, Jennifer descends from upstairs, all smiles. JENNIFER: Hey, guys! Have you seen Liam at all? JJ turns to face his mother, feigning a smile, himself to put his mother's mind at ease. JJ: He just stepped out to help me finish packing. Jennifer beams, thrilled by Liam's supposed cooperation. JENNIFER: Great. Ahh...so Abigail left early, she had to finish some kind of assignment for Nicole, but she says she'll meet us at the pub and we'll all grab lunch there before you head off, okay? JJ: Sounds good, Mom. Jennifer looks at her son, beaming with pride. She gently carresses his cheek. JENNIFER: You know how proud I am of you right now, JJ? LAURA: We all are. JJ blushes a bit, laughing awkwardly at his family's fawning over him. JJ: You guys are too much. (laughs) JJ pulls himself together, looking a bit misty-eyed as he smiles at his mom and grandma. JJ: Thank you. Thanks for supporting me. I really appreciate it. JENNIFER: Anytime, JJ. JJ: I'm gonna miss you guys. Laura, and Jennifer get emotional as JJ pulls them both in for a group hug. As they do, Liam returns from the car, and witnesses the tender moment. He flashes back to his mysterious phone conversation earlier, while he was in Jenn's bedroom. *** FLASHBACK TO EPISODE 163 Liam paces the room, looking intensely at the chest of drawers, where a photo of Jenn, JJ, Abby, and Jack rests. Liam glares at it, menacingly. LIAM: (into phone) Trust me. They'll never know what's really going on. Promise. *** Liam sighs as he observes the family bonding moment, holding in his unsteady emotions. --- In the Salem University Hospital parking garage, Sheryl suddenly gets up from being crouched over Crystal Clarke's lifeless body in the wheelchair. Having heard the voice of Dr. Daniel Jonas behind her, she turns around suddenly, putting on her best southern accent for him. SHERYL: Ah...no. Nah, I'm good. But thank you! DANIEL: Well, I know it's not easy helping someone into their car. She....she not waking up? Sheryl shuffles nervously, trying to hide Crystal's face from Daniel, though she's covered by a blanket. SHERYL: Oh she's pretty sleepy. We ah....she's a very quiet old lady. Just gettin' over the flu, ya know? She's being discharged, but her daughter just had to go validate the parking ticket, so I agreed to help get her mama up and at 'em so they could get home. Daniel looks on, a curious look on his face, as Sheryl smiles at him. DANIEL: Yeah. Yeah, I'm sure. You, ah, you're now around here? Sheryl smiles warmly, extending a hand to Daniel. SHERYL: Why, yes, I am! I'm Nurse Crystal Clarke. Daniel smiles in turn, slowly extending his own hand to "Crystal's". DANIEL: Ah, Crystal. Yeah. Valerie mentioned she was looking to hire a few new nurses. Welcome aboard. SHERYL: Well, thank you, Dr. Jonas! It's a pleasure to meet you. Daniel once again tries to get a look at the patient in the wheelchair, but Sheryl once again distracts his attention. DANIEL: You sure you don't want a hand there? I don't have to be upstairs for another few minutes-- SHERYL: Oh, oh no, I appreciate the offer, but...I gotta take care of this one myself, ya know? DANIEL: You sure? SHERYL: Oh I am. Thank you, though! Daniel starts to walk away, though unsure if he's making the right decision. As he walks toward the elevator, Sheryl crouches down by Crystal, pretending to gently wake her up. All the while, her eyes are on Daniel. After the doors to the elevator finally close, with Daniel inside, Sheryl sighs in relief. SHERYL: Thank God he's gone. Now to deal with you. Grumbling to herself as she moves the front seat back, then hoists Crystal into the backseat of the small SUV. As Sheryl struggles, she dumps Crystal onto the backseat. SHERYL: Alright. Do I take care of this orientation meeting now, or do I make sure you don't escape? Sheryl thinks a moment before opening the glove box, and pulling out some yellow rope, and duct tape. SHERYL: Always gotta be prepared. Glad girl scouts was useful for something. Sheryl pushes the front passenger seat gets herself back into the truck, where she ties Crystal's arms behind her back, as well as her feet together. She covers her mouth with the duct tape, then covers Crystal once again with the blanket. Once Sheryl's finally done, she pushes the front passenger's seat back into place, and shuts the door to her SUV. Locking the vehicle manually before she does. SHERYL: Well, that's one problem down. Time to take care of the rest of this agenda. Sheryl walks away back toward the elevator, leaving a comatose, bound and gagged Crystal Clarke in her SUV. --- Sami stands in the doorway of Marlena's office, visibly upset with her mother. SAMI: How could you do this to Daddy? Marlena stands up from her desk, trying to keep Sami calm, to no avail. MARLENA: Sami, I have my reasons for this. SAMI: There is no good reason to be doing this right now, Mom. Dad is dying, his memory is slipping away day by day. MARLENA: And that is exactly why we need to do it now. Sami looks at Marlena, incredulous, as Marlena steps away from her desk. SAMI: What are you talking about, Mom? We don't even know what's causing his symptoms. MARLENA: No, but I have a pretty good idea. But without Roman's medical records, we have nothing. SAMI: I know, Kim told me. Marlena folds her arms, frustrated by the news, though unsurprised. MARLENA: Well, that figures. Look, I don't know what your Aunt Kim told you, but she misconstrued my intentions-- SAMI: Oh, of course she did. Because nothing you do is ever wrong. Right? MARLENA: Sami... SAMI: No. Mom, enough. Look, we all know you don't care what happens to Daddy, otherwise you wouldn't have left him for John all those years ago in the first place. Marlena snaps at her daughter's petulance. MARLENA: Samantha Gene Brady, that's enough! Sami stops interjecting immediately, holding her sniveling rage in while Marlena continues. MARLENA: your father means the world to me. He is staying in my home. I have to watch him...deteriorate little by little every single day, right before my very eyes. Marlena begins to tear up, as she becomes more emotional telling Sami her reasons. MARLENA: So maybe this feels for you like I'm giving up on your father. But for me, this feels like the only way I can keep your father with us. And I'm not going to let go of that hope, that...that dream that maybe we can keep him with us. Not until I know for sure that there is no hope. Sami takes a moment, holding her own emotions in, as she responds, softly, but wavering with emotion. SAMI: Well, I'm sorry, Mom. But forgive me if I don't go along with your dream this time. Excuse me. Sami turns and heads out the door, leaving a sorrowful Marlena behind in her office. Marlena bites her lip, trying to suppress the tears building inside her. --- Nick stands over Victor, lying motionless in his hospital bed, smirking gleefully at his rival's frail appearance. NICK: You know, never in a million years would I think I would be looking down at you like this. But...here we are. Nick laughs to himself, holding his arms out, almost in triumph. NICK: I get to run the company you started with all your mob money. I get all your toys. Your cars, your office...your desk. Nick saunters over to Victor's bedside, and pulls a stool over to sit on. As he sits down, he finishes, gloating ever-so-close to Victor's face. NICK: Your house. Nick begins to crack up, starting softly and building into an echoing horror that fills the room. NICK: I am going to have everything I ever wanted Victor. And you and your pathetic family aren't gonna be able to stop me. ---
  9. EPISODE 163 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultants: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco Jennifer and Liam step into Jennifer's bedroom, Jennifer smiling as she walks toward her chest of drawers, looking for a towel. LIAM: Well, I think that went pretty well. JENNIFER: I do too. Jenn turns around after grabbing a fresh towel, and looks lovingly at Liam. JENNIFER: I want to say, I am so proud of you. Jenn wraps her arms around Liam, pulling her body in close to his. JENNIFER: For being so honest with me, with my mom and JJ. I know you have a lot of anger at how things went with your ex-, but...this is a huge step. I really am proud of you. LIAM: Thank you. JENNIFER: No problem. Jenn leans in and gives Liam a quick kiss on the lips, before turning away and heading for the ensuite bathroom. JENNIFER: Now, if we're gonna see JJ off, I need to shower. LIAM: Alright, I'll be here. Jenn smiles as she shuts the bathroom door, leaving Liam alone. His expression changes almost instantly as he pulls his cell phone out, quickly making a phone call. LIAM: (into phone) Yeah, it's me.... Liam walks over toward the door to the bedroom and shuts it, ensuring no one overhears him. LIAM: (into phone) Oh, just wanted to give you a heads up. I had to put out a fire with Jenn and the family...no! I didn't name names, I just...twisted some truths around. Liam paces the room, looking intensely at the chest of drawers, where a photo of Jenn, JJ, Abby, and Jack rests. Liam glares at it, menacingly. LIAM: (into phone) Trust me. They'll never know what's really going on. Promise. --- Sami walks down the pathway to the Brady Pub, on her cell phone to Lucas. SAMI: (into phone) Hey Lucas. We need to get together soon...yeah, I need to go over some plans for Will and Sonny's wedding...oh yeah, it's no rush...okay, talk soon. Bye. Stopping outside the pub's front door, as she ends her call. Stepping inside, she's immediately greeted warmly by Kim. SAMI: Hey, Aunt Kim! How are you? Kim beams from behind the bar, thrilled to see her neice. She nods slowly, as she motions to Sami to come over to the bar. KIM: I'm alright. Come sit down. SAMI: Sure! Sami obliges, sitting down across from Kim at the bar. Sami senses something slightly off with Kim, but chooses not to address it right away. KIM: So how's things? How's the wedding planning coming along? Kim deflects, smiling broadly as she asks Sami about WIll & Sonny's upcoming nuptials. SAMI: Oh my God, Kim, it's going so well. I know Will has a lot on his plate right now with work, so I've been taking some initiative myself. KIM: Ooh! Show me, show me, show me! Sami pulls out her tablet from her bag to show Kim pictures of the matching tuxedoes Sami's proposing to Will & Sonny. SAMI: So...I wanted to do something slightly different with the tuxes, but still keeping it traditional. Sami turns the tablet toward Kim, whose eyes light up at the pictures. KIM: Oh wow, that's amazing. You know, I can't wait for the big day. SAMI: Neither can I. I dunno if Will and Sonny can, though. They seem pretty...stressed out. KIM: It'll pass. I'm sure of it. Sami nods with a hopeful smile. SAMI: I know it will. So, how's things with you? Kim rests her elbow on the bar, looking less than enthused. KIM: (sigh) Alright, I guess. Sami furrows her brow, knowing for sure Kim's not telling the whole truth. SAMI: Why don't I believe that? KIM: Ahh, it's just a few things have come up, that's all. SAMI: Like? KIM: Like...(sigh) I've had to find a sublet for Theresa's apartment. Sami sighs, realizing the situation she finds herself in with Theresa in a coma. SAMI: Oh wow. I'm sorry, Kim. KIM: It's okay. I know this woman's going to be dependable while Theresa's in the hospital, so that sets my mind at ease. Sami looks intrigued. SAMI: Oh? How do you know? KIM: Well, she's a new hire at University Hospital. Valerie Grant hand picked her herself, and...from the conversations I've had with her, and her background check and all, I think she'll work out fine. SAMI: Oh that's fantastic. She's a doctor or something? Kim smiles confidently, feeling an increasingly unusual sense of relief. KIM: Nurse, actually. Her name is Crystal Clarke. --- Sheryl emerges from inside the locker room, checking both ways to make sure the coast is clear. She looks down the hall, noticing at a nearby patient room sits an empty wheelchair, with a neatly folded blanket on the seat. Thinking quickly, Sheryl darts over and swipes the wheelchair, and wheels it hastily inside the locker room. Inside, Nurse Crystal Clarke's lifeless body lays on the ground, a towel draped over her wet body just near the showers. Sheryl reaches down and covers Crystal's head with the towel, then struggles to lift her upper body upright, wrapping the blanket around her to hide her naked body. After struggling with this, Sheryl manages to steady the wheelchair enough to drag Crystal into the wheelchair. Strapping her in the best she can. Sheryl quickly runs over and moves the contents of Crystal's locker to her own, before shutting Crystal's locker, and locking her own. Outside the room, Maxine emerges from the patient's room where Sheryl stole the wheelchair, and looks confused by the disappearing wheelchair. MAXINE: What the...? Looking around, baffled, Maxine turns herself around, before tutting in frustration. MAXINE: These new hires, I tell you. As Maxine walks off back to the nurses' station, Sheryl pokes her head back out the door, ensuring the coast is clear. She momentarily backs into the room when she notices Maxine passing, but once Maxine is around the corner, Sheryl opens the door wide, and pushes Crystal's comatose body out the door on the wheelchair, rushing as fast as she can while still walking for the service elevator. --- --- Laura and JJ stand in the foyer of the Horton house, resting for a moment after loading some more boxes into JJ's SUV. They pant in exhaustion from their labour. LAURA: Something tells me you're taking the entire house with you. JJ laughs through his breaths. JJ: Hah, well, I don't think I'm....gonna have enough room in dorm for that. LAURA: You know I'm so proud of you, JJ. JJ: Thanks, Grandma. Laura sighs, as JJ questions her. JJ: So...once I'm gone, what's gonna be your next move? LAURA: Well, I'm gonna get out of the line of fire as soon as I can. JJ: What do you mean? Laura looks upstairs to be sure Liam nor Jennifer hears her. LAURA: Well...I've been looking at getting a place of my own. I mean...the house is lovely and all, but...I have a feeling that if I'm not around, that might lull Liam into a false sense of security. Maybe...just maybe we can investigate him better from a slight distance. JJ takes a drink from a water bottle he left on the side table. His brow furrowed, uncertain about Laura's plan. JJ: You sure that's a good idea? I mean...Abs is still living here and all. LAURA: Well, hopefully not for long. Now that she's working at WXIR, she's been saving some money. She may be moving into her own place soon, too. At least, that's what I'll be encouraging her to do. JJ: Alright. But what about Mom? Are you sure Liam isn't gonna hurt her? LAURA: Trust me, JJ. The last thing he will want to do is hurt your mother. If he feels threatened, then I worry, but I don't think that's the case. She'll be safe here. JJ nods slowly, as Liam emerges from the top of the stairs. Both JJ and Laura immediately look up at him with surprised expressions, which catch Liam off-guard. --- Justin slams his coffee cup down on the bar table in the Kiriakis living room, fed up with Alex once again siding with his mother. JUSTIN: Anjelica, do you pay our son to do this? Or is he just hardwired to see things your way. Alex snaps back at his father from behind the sofa, walking around to confront his father. ALEX: You know, I resent that. Dad, you know full well if my mother is doing something I don't approve of, I'm gonna call her out on it. But the same goes for you. And right now, I think Nick Fallon is too dangerous for us to be riling him up. MAGGIE: Alex has a point, Justin. Justin looks away, shaking his head, but listening to his son's point of view. ALEX: He holds all the cards. He has our company, he has our property, he has everything. If we want it back, we have to play smart, not with brute force. Not by lashing out. Not by throwing tantrums around the living room. Now, I don't like him being here any more than you do, but I can't stop him. Justin looks up at his son, as Noelle walks in through the front door, the lattes she went out to get in hand. She listens in on the conversation her husband is having with his father very closely, never stepping into the room so as not to be seen. JUSTIN: Who says I can't? ALEX: The law, Dad. You know, that thing you practice? Justin rolls his eyes at his son's barb, as Alex continues. ALEX: Besides, Anjelica is right. As much as you don't want to admit it. If you want to get the drop on Nick Fallon, you have to let him live here, get comfortable here, let him get sloppy, let him make mistakes. THAT is how we're gonna win our company back. And you know I'm right. Justin sighs, nodding in agreement with Alex, as Noelle stands just outside the cracked-open double doors to the living room, beaming with delight at her husband's convincing argument that unwittingly helps her plans. --- Sami sips on a cup of coffee while sitting on the barstool at the Brady Pub. Kim finishes settling up with a nearby customer, before turning back to Sami. KIM: So, how are the kids doing at school? SAMI: Oh, they're good. They miss home, of course, but...I needed to give them space with everything going on here. With all this drama with Kristen, and Nick, EJ and I and our problems...and Dad doing so badly. KIM: Trust me, I get it. Sami sighs, a bit saddened by the family's situation. SAMI: You know, I'm really worried about him. KIM: So am I. (sigh) I just wish your mom felt the same kind of urgency. Sami looks at Kim, baffled. SAMI: What's that supposed to mean? Kim leans in closer, trying to speak in hushed tones to Sami. KIM: Your mom met up with Eric here last night. SAMI: Last night? It's Eric's wedding night, what's he doing alone at the pub? Kim shrugs, before continuing. KIM: I have no idea. Presumably, Nicole was busy? I...honestly, I couldn't tell you. SAMI: Okay...? KIM: Anyway, when I came in, she was asking Eric to do a DNA test with Roman. SAMI: What? Why? KIM: That's what I wanted to know. Apparently, Marlena thinks there's a chance that the man that Kristen brought back to Salem in 1997 wasn't actually your father. They have no medical records before then. So of course, Marlena thinks there's some kind of DiMera conspiracy at play, and now instead of getting Roman the help he needs and figuring out what's causing his decline, she's spending all her time trying to figure out whether this really is your father or not. Sami looks on, increasingly frustrated. She chokes out a response. SAMI: And every day that goes by, he loses more and more of his memories. KIM: That's what I said. But she and Valerie are convinced. This is the only way. Eric didn't want give a sample either, and I told Marlena... Before Kim can even finish, Sami interrupts, getting up from her stool, and reaches into her bag for her cash. SAMI: Sorry, Aunt Kim. I gotta take care of something. Sami lays down a $20 bill on the bar and runs out of the bar, Kim calling out after her. KIM: Sami? Wait, Sami! Not once looking back, Sami leaves the pub as if she hadn't even heard Kim. Kim stands behind the bar, more worried than ever. --- Sheryl waits impatiently inside the service elevator, as it descends to the parking garage below University Hospital. SHERYL: Come oooon, come on come on come on come on... As the elevator dings, indicating it's arrival on the underground level, and the doors open. Sheryl, wheelchair in tow, jettisons out of the elevator, and into the parking garage, checking carefully to ensure she's alone. Arriving at her vehicle, Sheryl struggles to open the door to the SUV, and keep the wheelchair containing Crystal's lifeless body. As Sheryl locks the wheels, she attempts to lift Crystal out of the wheelchair when a familiar voice calls out to her. DANIEL: You need a hand there? Sheryl drops Crystal back into the wheelchair, as she stands back up. Her mouth agape, as she hears Daniel's footsteps, as he stops, standing behind her.
  10. EPISODE 162 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultants: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco Nick sits in the Horton Town Square, sipping on a coffee while he flips through his phone. Moments later, Nicole makes her way into the square. NICOLE: Nick! I've been looking for you. Nick looks up, nonplussed. He responds cooly. NICK: Oh, so now you're looking for me? But when I try to reach you, you're too busy. So... Nicole rolls her eyes, sighing as she sits down at the table opposite Nick. NICOLE: Look, I'm sorry about yesterday, but...it was a very important day for me, and I couldn't meet up with you. I'm sorry if that's a problem. NICK: Nicole, cut the crap. I know you were getting married to Eric yesterday. Nicole looks back at Nick, sternly, but with begrudging respect. NICOLE: (sigh) Right. And I know it was wrong to ignore your calls. NICK: I had a lot of very important things we had to discuss. NICOLE: I know, I KNOW. Nicole calms down, knowing Nick has power over her. Keeping her temper in check, she continues. NICOLE: Look, I...I just wanted to thank you. Nick looks up at Nicole, slightly confused. NICK: Thank me? For what? Nicole sighs, trying to hold her emotions in. NICOLE: I know you could've sold me out with Eric yesterday. I get that. But you didn't. You gave him the Chyka files, and you never said a word about how I kept them from him. And I really...I really appreciate it. Nick's face changes, starting to smile as he realizes what has happened. --- Sheryl steps into the supply closet by the locker room at University Hosptial. She hastily pilfers through the cleaning supplies, desperately searching for something. After a moment, she turns from the shelf, hands on hips. Her frustration clear on her face, as she shakes her head. SHERYL: The hell am I gonna do? Sheryl looks back over at the shelf, and slowly realizes what to do. Stepping slowly over to the shelf, she pulls out a bottle of rubbing alcohol. She looks at it momentarily, before reaching down for the jug of bleach. Sheryl opens the bleach and notices it's half-empty. She smiles knowingly. SHERYL: Perfect. Sheryl, without hesitation, covers her mouth with her hand, and pours the bottle of rubbing alcohol into the bleach container, making chloroform. She quickly seals the bottle up to avoid contact with the fumes. Standing up, Sheryl looks for a cloth. Digging around through the shelves, the finds a package full of clean cloths. She steals one, and places it in the nearby mop sink. Sheryl then quickly turns back to the shelf and looks for some kind of safety mask, and rubber gloves. The gloves are easy to find, but the mask, not so much. Desperately rummaging through the shelf, she's unable to find one. She stands back, cursing her misfortune. SHERYL: Dammit! What kind of hospital doesn't even have face masks in every room?! After a moment, Sheryl rummages through the cloths and pulls another one out. Sheryl pulls on the rubber gloves, then grabs the cloth. Hastily covering her mouth and nose to avoid being knocked out herself, she picks up the container of chloroform mix, and brings it over to the mop sink. She drops to her knees, and opens the bleach bottle again. Holding the cloth back up to her mouth and nose, she then tips the bottle gently over, and soaks the cloth in the chloroform mixture. --- Jordan paces her office at the hospital, as Rafe stands up from his seat at her desk, stunned by the news she's just told him. RAFE: What do you mean, you're not Jordan Ridgeway? So Kate was right? Jordan lashes out, stopping Rafe from continuing as she shouts her response. JORDAN: YES! Yes, Kate was right! Kate...(sigh) Kate wins again. I'm not Jordan Ridgeway. Rafe stands, stunned. He stammers out an answer. RAFE: Well, then...I...what the...well, who are you then? JORDAN: Rafe, I-- Rafe explodes, demanding an answer from his fiancée. RAFE: Dammit, J...just tell me who you are. I think I have a right to know who I'm engaged to. Rafe's tone drops after nearly calling her Jordan, as she begins to tell Rafe her story. JORDAN: (sigh) Fine. You want my whole life story? Here it is. My name is Tammy Sue Weston. I'm from the Ozarks, my father is an abusive sociopath who made my life and my brother's life such a living hell that we had to run away from home the first chance we got, and I have been lying about pretty much everything I have told every person I have met since then about myself. Rafe stands back, staring back at Jordan in stunned heartbreak, before Jordan steps toward Rafe. She puts her hand up to his chest. She looks deeply into his eyes. JORDAN: But I haven't lied about how I feel about you. And if you want to know anything more about me...about what I've done in the past? The good? The bad? All of it. I will tell you, Rafe. I'll tell you all of it. Rafe takes Jordan's hand in his, he holds it, and looks down at her hand, wearing his engagement ring. He studies it intensely, as he thinks over the bombshell Jordan just dropped. --- --- Justin stands in the Kiriakis living room, pouring another cup of coffee from the caraffe on the bar, while Anjelica sits behind him in an armchair, calmly sipping her coffee. Alex stands behind the sofa, fixing his tie, while Maggie sits on the sofa. Alex and Maggie share Justin's uneasy expression. JUSTIN: I would love to know how this family manages to get itself into such fine messes. Anjelica smiles and responds with her usual dry sarcasm. ANJELICA: You're all just especially fortunate that way. JUSTIN: No one asked for your input, Anjelica. Anjelica looks around the room as she replies, looking ever-so-smug as she reaches for her own coffee cup. ANJELICA: Oh come on, Justin! This could be extremely advantageous for you. I mean, Nick isn't throwing us all out on the street. Quite frankly, I see this as an opportunity. Justin turns around, a confused, and frankly irritated look on his face. JUSTIN: An opportunity for what? My blood pressure to go up? We've already got one family member in the hospital from a heart attack, you wanna try for two? Maybe that way, we WILL have room if Gabi Hernandez decides to stay at the Kiriakis Inn! ALEX: You know, Justin...Anjelica may be right. Maybe there's something to be said for keeping your enemies closer. Anjelica turns to look at an unimpressed Justin, who glowers at his son for once again siding with his mother. --- Nick leans forward to engage with Nicole, as Nicole pats her eyes dry, hoping to keep her mascara from running. NICK: I'm glad the wedding went alright. NICOLE: Well, kinda. Sami and Marlena found out, and...I know that was likely your doing too, so...don't think I don't know that was a warning. NICK: I was angry. NICOLE: I know. Nicole nods sheepishly, but then looks up, a steely look in her eyes, indicating she means business. NICOLE: But if you intend to keep this working relationship going, you need to cool that temper. I am not working against you, Nick. NICK: I wanted to be sure. NICOLE: Well, be sure about this. I've been given my own TV special at WXIR. Nick raises an eyebrow, though is still slightly distracted by his phone. NICK: Oh? What about? Nicole looks on, a sly expression on her face, knowing the subject matter will intrigue Nick. NICOLE: The EnerNext project. Nick looks up immediately, as Nicole anticipated. NICOLE: Sami gave me the green light. It airs tonight, and...I know it's last minute, but...I want you to be a guest. Our featured guest, in fact. Nick smiles broadly at the invitation. He leans in with interest. NICK: I am IN. Nick and Nicole reach across the table to firmly shake hands. Nick keeping his smug grin, and Nicole with a cheeky smile. --- Rafe holds Jordan's hand tightly. He nods before looking up at his fiancée. RAFE: Tammy Sue Weston, hm? JORDAN: Yeah. Even if I wasn't hiding, I think I would've probably changed my name by now. Rafe looks down at Jordan's hand again, amused. He responds softly, before looking lovingly in Jordan's eyes. RAFE: You know...I'm still upset about you lying to me. Jordan cuts Rafe off, intent on getting through to him. JORDAN: Rafe, if I could have told you, I would have. But I just...I need to be safe from my family. They're dangerous people. Rafe holds up his finger to Jordan's lips, silencing her gently. He looks into her eyes as he leans in closer to her. RAFE: Look, it's gonna take some time, but...I promise, no matter what your name is, I love you. All I want is for you to feel safe confiding in me. Okay? JORDAN: I know. I will. But I need you to realize that I'm not perfect. There's a lot you don't know about me still, and...yeah, it is gonna take time. But I know that you're worth telling it to. Rafe pulls Jordan into a kiss, then a tight embrace. Jordan closes her eyes tightly as she holds onto Rafe, as if afraid to let go. JORDAN: I love you, Rafe. RAFE: Me too. Me too. --- Sheryl steps quietly back into the locker room, holding the chloroform-soaked cloth in one hand. She can hear Crystal humming to herself inside, but doesn't see her. Sheryl steps softly into the room, and notices Crystal's locker is open, but Crystal isn't there. Looking behind her to make sure Crystal isn't lurking, Sheryl grabs Crystal's keys and cell phone from her locker, and quickly unlocks her own locker, hiding them inside, as well as Crystal's purse. As Sheryl does this, the sound of the shower turning on comes from the next room. Sheryl turns her head suddenly, the sound making her jump. Realizing what is is, Sheryl relaxes, and finishes closing her locker. At this point, Sheryl steps almost silently into the next room. There, Crystal showers, humming a song to herself as she shampoos her hair, blissfully unaware of the sinister woman approaching her from behind. Sheryl takes a step closer. Crystal moves her head under the shower head. Sheryl steps closer again. Crystal closes her eyes as she lathers her hair in shampoo. Crystal's humming drowns out any noise from Sheryl's movements toward Crystal. As Crystal rinses the shampoo from her hair, Sheryl pounces, grabbing Crystal and covering her mouth and nose with one hand with the chloroformed cloth. After a few moments of struggle, Crystal succumbs to the fumes, and loses consciousness. Sheryl beams, almost busting out laughing at her latest victory. ---
  11. EPISODE 161 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultants: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco In the Horton living room, Laura paces the room, while Liam, Jenn and JJ look on. Laura has an intense look on her face, trying to sort out the details of Liam's story. After a moment, she stops and turns to face Liam. LAURA: You know, Liam, I realize you've had a lot of struggles the last few years. And I do appreciate you being so honest with us about your past. LIAM: Thank you, Laura. Laura takes a moment before continuing, looking over at a concerned JJ. LAURA: Liam, I don't mean to be ungrateful. I just....I'm very protective of my daughter, and my grandchildren. I wasn't there for them for a lot of years, through no fault of my own, and...I want to protect them at all costs. LIAM: Believe me, I understand. Laura looks down, trying to word her thoughts carefully. LAURA: I'm glad. Because I hope that this means you won't hold any feelings of animosity toward me for this. Laura looks up at Liam, then at Jennifer. She smiles. LAURA: I know that things can become very volatile in families, and you need to separate yourself from them for a time. But just know that, no matter what, we are always here when you need our help. Laura reaches out and takes Liam's hand in hers. She smiles broadly. Liam looks back with the same broad smile. LIAM: I really appreciate that, Laura. You don't understand just how much. LAURA: I'm sure I do. Welcome to the family, Liam. Laura and Liam hug, as a thrilled Jennifer looks on. JJ hangs back, confused and somewhat horrified at his grandmother's sudden change of heart. --- Nick steps into the Kiriakis living room. He carries a pair of crossbody bags on his shoulders, and a pair of large suitcases are wheeled in behind him. To the shock of the Kiriakis family, Nick sets his luggage down and smiles broadly. NICK: Morning, everyone. Feels great to be home. Justin, sitting on the sofa in his dressing gown, sets down his coffee on the coffee table, giving Nick a confused glare. JUSTIN: Nick...this isn't funny. Especially this early in the morning. What's going on? NICK: Just coming to meet and greet with my housemates. At this moment, Maggie steps into the room, a tray of croissants in her hand. MAGGIE: Morning, everyone! Chef made some croissants, so I figured I'd help out and bring them in. Maggie goes to offer everyone some, but notices Nick before her, and looks at him, puzzled. MAGGIE: Nick! What are you doing here? Nick looks up at Maggie and smiles broadly, almost enjoying seeing the pained look of the Kiriakis clan as he tells Maggie his news. NICK: Isn't it obvious, Aunt Maggie? I'm moving in! Maggie, and the others, look back at Nick, with a sickened confusion. --- Sheryl stands in the stairwell at University Hospital, on her phone with Jerome. She speaks in whispers, but is clearly panicking. SHERYL: (into phone) We have a major problem on our hands. ... Jerome walks into the living room at the Grant house, cell phone in ear. He checks behind and around him to make sure Valerie is not in earshot. JEROME: (into phone) You couldn't have picked a worse time, you know? ... SHERYL: (into phone) I don't think that's what matters right now. You need to listen. Crystal got the memo. She's here. NOW. ... Jerome's jaw drops, floored by the news. He stammers as he tries to answer. --- --- Justin tosses his tablet to his side on the couch, as he gets up from the sofa, exapserated. JUSTIN: Are you serious right now? It's not bad enough you've taken over our company, now you want our house? NICK: Ahh Justin, don't worry. It's not like I'm kicking any of you out. In fact, I think this place is big enough for all of us. Nick turns to a waiting Henderson, who reluctantly takes Nick's suitcases from him, as Nick turns to give him instruction. NICK: Oh, ah, there may be one more person staying in my room with me, Henderson. But if she isn't, can you make the adjacent room up for her for me? HENDERSON: Ah... Henderson looks over at Maggie, who nods in agreement, before responding gracefully. HENDERSON: Absolutely, Mr. Fallon. NICK: Thanks, Henderson. As Henderson leaves with Nick's bags, Maggie asks the pertinent question. MAGGIE: Ahh...one other person? Nick smiles proudly as he responds. NICK: Yeah, Gabi may move in with me. She's gonna let me for sure today. Justin snaps at the news of yet another person in the house. JUSTIN: Oh, come on! What are we running, a boarding house here? Alex interjects, trying to keep his father's temper in check. ALEX: Dad! Nick...much as I hate to say it...he has a right to be here. ANJELICA: Alex is right. JUSTIN: Oh, how do you know, Anjelica? Anjelica stands by her son, giving Justin an emotionless, dry response. ANJELICA: I do my research. Apparently, this is a concept that escapes you. Justin sighs, as Nick corroborates Anjelica and Alex. NICK: They're right. Since I own a majority stake in Titan now, and this property is not Victor's personal property but Titan corporate property...well... Nick shrugs, feigning helplessness, as Justin shakes his head. JUSTIN: How the Hell did we manage this. Nick smirks, as he turns to leave the room, heading for his bedroom. On his way out, he makes a snarky retort. NICK: Guess you shouldn't have tried to shirk your taxes by making the house corporate property, Justin! See ya! As Nick disappears around the corner, Justin, Maggie, Alex and Anjelica stand around, with only Anjelica looking remotely pleased. Even Maggie looks uncomfortable with the situation they find themselves in. --- As Laura and Liam separate from their embrace, Jenn smiles broadly, excited by the apparent thawing of Liam and Laura's relationship. JENNIFER:Ohh this is great. Isn't it, JJ? JJ responds cooly, shaken by Laura's sudden change of heart toward the man he fears. JJ: Yeah. Awesome. Laura turns back toward JJ and smiles, winking just out of the line of sight of either Jenn or Liam. LAURA: Look, you should all be going. I need to take care of some things before JJ leaves. Laura turns to face Jenn and Liam. LAURA: You don't mind if JJ and I have a word alone before he leaves, do you? LIAM: Not at all. LAURA: Great. Jennifer and Liam step out of the room, leaving JJ behind, almost exploding to find out what Laura just did. JJ: Grandma, what the Hell was that? Laura turns to JJ, speaking softly so as not to be heard, but emphatically. She takes JJ's hands in hers and smiles wryly. LAURA: That was a factfinding mission, JJ. And I struck gold. JJ looks on, puzzled. Laura looks over as Liam and Jennifer close the front door to the house. LAURA: At least, I think so. And in any event, it's enough information for us to work with while you're at Berkley. JJ: Grandma, I don't get this. LAURA: It's simple, JJ. Things are going to be a lot easier around here if I make my fears about Liam appear to be addressed, and resolved. Now, Liam thinks I'm out of his hair. I get all kinds of information that you, myself, and Daniel can research, and we get to figure out exactly what's going on and who Liam is involved with before it's too late. JJ sighs, looking over at the doorway, his fear of Liam palpable. JJ: Grandma, I hope to God you're right about this. --- Jordan sits at her desk at University Hospital. She looks at her fiancé, Rafe, in horror, as he sits across from her at her desk. JORDAN: I don't...I don't understand...wh... RAFE: You heard me, didn't you? JORDAN: Yyyes, but I don't know how to respond to that kind of question, Rafe. What do you mean, who are you really marrying? I...you're marrying Jordan Ridgeway. Rafe looks steely-eyed at Jordan, entering into interrogation mode. RAFE: Kate seems to think otherwise. JORDAN: Kate thinks a lot of things, Rafe. And a whole lot of them are lies. Jordan gets up from her desk, leaning against it as she stares into Rafe's eyes. JORDAN: I have only known this woman for a matter of months, and I know this. Why can't you figure this out? RAFE: Because I know Kate. And I know that she would lie in a heartbeat if it would suit her, but I also know when she's telling the truth. Jordan sighs, looking away from Rafe. She shakes her head as she responds to Rafe. JORDAN: And you think this is one of those times. RAFE: Well? Is it? JORDAN: I'm not even going to dignify that with-- Rafe interrupts Jordan, exploding with anger as he shouts her down. RAFE: Is it?! After a moment of silence, Rafe gets up from his seat, and leans in toward Jordan, almost hissing his words. RAFE: J...Jordan, if you don't tell me the truth right now, I swear to God, I will walk out that door, and I will NEVER look back. Jordan sighs again. She slowly sits herself back down behind her desk. She throws her arms out, as though admitting defeat. JORDAN: Fine! Yes. I am not Jordan Ridgeway. Are you happy now? Rafe looks on, disappointment clearly in his eyes, as Jordan looks away, sensing his feeling. --- Jerome paces the living room of his family home, on his cell phone with Sheryl, as they both panic about the news of Crystal's arrival in Salem. JEROME: (into phone) W...ah...we...I intercepted that e-mail within minutes, how the hell... ... Sheryl stands in the stairwell at the hospital, shaking her head as she answers Jerome's question before he finishes. SHERYL: (into phone) I couldn't tell you. All I know is, she's here now, in the locker room, and is just SO happy to meet me. And now I gotta figure out what to do about it. ... JEROME: (into phone) Okay (sigh) look, just...sit tight, don't raise alarms. Just get to Jordan's office as fast as you can, and try to get her out of town. ... Sheryl shakes her head, annoyed by this turn of events. She responds to Jerome sarcastically. SHERYL: (into phone) Sure. Simple as that. (sigh) I'll figure something out. You keep your nose clean. I'll report back in a bit. Sheryl hangs up the phone, before turning back toward the door to the 7th floor. She opens the door back to the hallway outside the locker room, when she spies the cleaner leaving the supply room, pushing her cart out the door. As she does, she's on her walkie talkie, responding to a call from another floor. VOICE: (via walkie talkie) Sandra, there's a spill in the lounge on the 4th floor. SANDRA: (into walkie talkie) Yeah, I'm on it, thanks. Just on the 7th floor... As Sandra walks away with the cart, she's distracted by the conversation into the walkie talkie and doesn't notice Sheryl behind her. She pushes the cart away, forcing the door open, as the quiet hallway remains nearly empty. Mere milliseconds before the door shuts behind her, Sheryl sticks her foot out, stopping the door from fully closing. The cleaner doesn't notice, and Sheryl looks around at the empty hallway, and gives a knowing smirk, before stepping inside. ---
  12. What new levels of boredom and mediocrity will Days⌛reach this month?
  13. EPISODE 160 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultants: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco Justin sits in the Kiriakis living room, wearing his robe. He sits on the sofa, sipping a coffee while he flips through the morning edition of the Salem Spectator on his tablet. Alex walks into the room, fully dressed for the day, surprising Justin. ALEX: Morning. JUSTIN: Well, you're off to an early start. Alex pours himself a cup of coffee from the caraffe on the bar by the entrance to the living room. ALEX: Yeah, have to go into the office for a bit to sort out some things. Gotta figure out my action plan with WXIR breathing down our necks about the EnerNext project. JUSTIN: Yeah. I don't regret selling the station, but...we could have used the PR right about now. ALEX: Believe me, I know. The only thing we can hope for now is for Nick to self-sabotage, and hopefully, we get the company back. Anjelica steps into the room at this moment, perky as the morning sun. ANJELICA: Good morning, all! Anjelica kisses Alex on the cheek, to which Alex winces in slight embarrassment. ALEX: Morning. JUSTIN: Ahhh Anjelica! Bright like the sun, and just as irritating to look directly at. Anjelica turns to Justin, smiling broadly. ANJELICA: I'll chalk that remark up to that being your first cup of coffee for the day. JUSTIN: It's definitely my second. Your resemblance is just uncanny. Justin sips his second coffee, as Anjelica chooses to ignore his barbs and carries on. ANJELICA: Well, I am just thrilled to wake up to such handsome men first thing. However, I do have a lot of campaigning to do. I hope you all have time to see me on TV tonight. I'll be making an appearance on WXIR. Justin nearly spits out his coffee at Anjelica's response. JUSTIN: I'm sorry? ANJELICA: Yes! Nicole Walker wants to have me on for an interview regarding my plans for the energy sector, and I'm planning to lend my full support to the EnerNext project. I mean, unless that's a problem for you? Anjelica looks back and forth at her son, then at Justin, gauging their reaction. --- Jordan sits at her desk at University Hospital, struggling to concentrate after her intense conversation with Maxine about Jordan's relationship with Rafe. She leans back in her chair, sighing as she takes a break from her attempts to work, as a knock on the door is heard. JORDAN: Come in! Rafe opens the door to Jordan's office, a serious look on his face that Jordan spots immediately. JORDAN: Rafe! Rafe closes the door behind him, remaining standing close to the door. RAFE: We need to talk. Jordan's face holds a look of dread, as she waits to hear what Rafe wants to discuss. --- Maxine guides Sheryl, disguised as Nurse Crystal Clarke, over to the hospital locker room, motioning to the door of the room, as patients and staff hurry by. MAXINE: And here you go, here's the locker room. Your locker is 39D, and I hope you brought a lock. SHERYL: I did indeeed! MAXINE: Gooood. Now, get yourself changed, Dr. Grant will be meeting with you in... Maxine checks her watch. MAXINE: About half an hour. Her office is on the 8th floor. SHERYL: Thank you, Maxine! MAXINE: You're welcome, Honey! And I hope to be seeing more of you around here! Maxine walks off, as Sheryl keeps her keen (fake) smile on. As Maxine disappears from view, Sheryl darts into the locker room. She drops the fake southern accent almost immediately. SHERYL: That was a challenge. Sheryl sighs as she studies the lockers. She stumbles upon her locker, which is right next to another staff member. Sheryl draws herself up and gets back into character, as she plays friendly newbie, cutting through to her locker. SHERYL: Hiya! The woman turns around, her freshly-dyed blonde hair cut in a bob. She smiles warmly at Sheryl. WOMAN: Well hi there! The woman's thick southern accent sounds strikingly similar to Sheryl's, though the woman doesn't look up, as she tries to quickly change. SHERYL: Sorry, I know you're probably pretty busy. WOMAN: I am, it's mah first day here. As Sheryl opens her locker and puts her bag in, she smiles as she connects with her fellow new hire. SHERYL: Well, what a coincidence! Me too! What's your name, sweetheart?? The woman turns suddenly, her bright smile meets Sheryl's as she extends a hand in a greeting shake. WOMAN: I'm Crystal Clarke! What's your name?? Sheryl's face drops in horror as she realizes who is standing before her. --- --- Justin gets up from the sofa, unsure he heard Anjelica correctly. JUSTIN: Anjelica...did you miss the part where we no longer control Titan? ANJELICA: Well, that's neither here nor there, you still have an interest in maintaining the company's bottom line, no? Last time I checked, you were still the company's attorney. I would think you'd be thrilled by my support. JUSTIN: I'm not gonna lie, I am. Begrudgingly, but...as I told Alex...we need all the support we can get. Anjelica gives a wry smile, as she turns to pour herself a cup of coffee from the caraffe. ANJELICA: I just figured one good turn deserves another, and since you've all been so gracious about letting me stay here, I figured, well, at the very least I can...lend some support to your ends. ALEX: Trust me, Anjelica. That does a lot more than you know. Nicole Walker's planning to do a real butcher job on us with this report. ANJELICA: Well, not to worry, my son. Anjelica steps over to Alex, putting her hand lovingly (and patronizingly) on his cheek. ANJELICA: I eat women like Nicole Walker for breakfast. Turning back toward Justin, she sits herself down in the armchair next to the sofa. ANJELICA: Speaking of Titan...have you heard from your new CEO yet? ALEX: Thankfully, no. As Alex finishes his thought, Henderson steps into the room, looking somewhat weary. Justin spots this immediately as Henderson enters. HENDERSON: Ah...pardon me, Mr. Kiriakis, but...have things become so dire that we've begun letting rooms in the house? Justin looks on, baffled by Henderson's remark. JUSTIN: Well, last I checked, only the Martin House had rooms on BedAndBreakfast.com, why? HENDERSON: Ah...well... Before Henderson can finish his thought, Nick steps into the room, his luggage in tow. A broad smile on his face as he whips his sunglasses off, jubilantly. NICK: Ahhh! Home, sweet home. Nick surveys the room, as the others look at him, totally confused. --- Laura, JJ and Jennifer stand around the Horton living room, as Liam begins to explain himself to them. He uncomfortably stutters and paces the room, as the others listen. LIAM: So, like I told Jenn, I...basically had been in Chicago for awhile after my divorce from my wife. We um...we had some major issues. Things ended pretty badly between us. I still struggle with my anger at times. JJ: What did she do that was so awful? Liam sighs, as he sits down in an armchair in the room. He sighs for a moment before answering, solemnly. LIAM: It's....it's very complicated but...she wasn't interested in love. She wanted...power. And lots of it. Things I couldn't give her. In the end, she left me for my...father. JJ's eyes widen at the revelation. Laura looks on, still skeptical. Jenn reads the room, uneasy with the story coming out to her family. JJ: Wow! That's...that's heavy. LAURA: Jennifer, did you know about this? JENNIFER: Not really. And I'm not exactly comfortable with this having to come out to my entire family. Liam looks up at Jenn, a saddened look in his eye. LIAM: And I'm sorry about that. I just...I didn't want to waste the time we had together...dwelling on the past. Jenn nods, disappointed but understanding. JENNIFER: I understand. I do wish you'd tell me first, but...I understand. Laura, nonplussed by the revelation, interjects. LAURA: So how does the $50,000 come into it. And why are you so willing to give it away? LIAM: That...that was a combination of some good investments, and my divorce settlement, in a way. My father's a successful businessman, he offered me a lot of money if I went away quietly. Told me I'd never make her as happy as he could. (sigh) I knew he was right. Liam sits in the chair, solemn. He looks straight ahead, barely blinking as he stares with laser focus. LIAM: So I decided I was going to put the money to good use. Help someone I cared about that truly needed it. I want to build a life with Jennifer, Laura. I want to be a part of this family. And part of that is helping to make her children's dreams come true. I want that for them. Laura looks on, unsure whether she believes Liam or not. JJ's eyes dart back and forth between Liam, and Laura. LIAM: Will you let me do that for them? Laura stares unflinchingly at Liam, silently deciding what to make of what he's just told her. --- Jordan adjusts herself in her office chair, a look of dread on her face as Rafe walks toward her. JORDAN: Ah...sure. Sit down. Rafe takes a seat on the opposite side of Jordan's desk. He wears a grave look as well. Jordan hesitates before asking Rafe a question, almost as though she doesn't really want to know the answer. JORDAN: So...what did you want to talk about? RAFE: Well...I need you to explain some things to me. JORDAN: Like what? RAFE: See...I ran into Kate at the Town Square just now. Jordan sighs, frustrated by Kate's constant meddling. JORDAN: Kate. I knew it. What did she want this time? RAFE: Well, she told me something, and she said you'd have an answer for me. Jordan blurts out a sarcastic laugh. JORDAN: Oh, I'm sure. What did I do this time? Rafe looks cooly at Jordan, himself almost afraid of the answer he'll receive. RAFE: It's not what you did, Jordan. It's about who you are. Jordan looks back at Rafe, suddenly stone silent. RAFE: She told me Jordan Ridgeway isn't your real name. So who exactly did I just get engaged to? The colour drains for Jordan's face, as she thinks fast, reaching for an answer. --- Sheryl stand across from Crystal in the locker room at University Hospital. She smiles at Crystal, as she shakes her hand. SHERYL: Pleasure to meet you. Crystal beams, having met her first co-worker at the hospital. CRYSTAL: And your name is...? Sheryl jumps momentarily, sharing her name in a moment of desperation. SHERYL: Ah Sheryl. Sheryl...Matthews. CRYSTAL: Well, it's great to meet you, darlin'! SHERYL: Same here. Sheryl turns, looking into her locker with a sudden look of dread on her face. She glares into the void of her locker, hoping to maybe disappear into it as she stands next to the woman she intends to impersonate. Crystal, meanwhile, carries on jovially, without a care in the world, as she dons her scrubs. CRYSTAL: Gosh, you know, it's funny. Mah hair was exactly that colour not a week ago. SHERYL: Oh is that right? CRYSTAL: Yep! I dyed it blonde since I was movin'. Got a new job, moved to a new town. New life. Just what the doctor ordered. SHERYL: I understand that. CRYSTAL: You sound like a fella Southerner, where you from, Honey? Sheryl suddenly closes the door to her locker, her expression unchanging, as she turns to Crystal suddenly. SHERYL: Birmingham! I'm sorry, Crystal. I gotta meet with Dr. Grant in a moment. I'm sure I'll be seein' ya! CRYSTAL: Oh, it's fine, I'm sure you will! I gotta shower before my shift anyway. I haven't had a chance to yet, I just got into town this morning. So I best be goin' myself. Nice to meet ya! SHERYL: Likewise. Sheryl walks off, coldly, trying to avoid giving away her discomfort, as she quickly darts off around the corner. Quickly taking her cell phone in hand, Sheryl calls Jerome, her face shifting immediately into one of rage and panic, as she shouts into the phone, but in a hushed tone. SHERYL: (into phone) We have a MAJOR problem on our hands. ---
  14. EPISODE 159 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultants: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco Sheryl sits in the mirror at the seedy Lakeview Motel, where she's been hiding out for the past few days. Her long, light brown hair now a short bob of vibrant strawberry blonde, Sheryl sits before the hotel room vanity, finishing up her makeup. She closely studies the makeup of the picture of Crystal Clarke RN, who, with the help of similar facial features, she is attempting to emulate as closely as possible. Sheryl hears a knock at the door, and immediately puts down her eyeliner, running to the window to see who's there. After confirming who's there, she opens the door to find Jerome. Jerome steps quickly inside, as Sheryl closes the door behind him. SHERYL: Oh good, you're here. JEROME: Yeah, well, I don't know if I should be. People see me keep coming in here, they're gon' start getting suspicious. SHERYL: Oh please, this hotel leases out so few rooms, I doubt anyone's seen you. JEROME: You better hope you're right. Sheryl sighs, as she walks back over to finish her eye makeup. Jerome sits down at the edge of the bed, preparing to get down to business. JEROME: So...you ready? Taking on Crystal's southern twang, Sheryl responds slightly louder than neccessary. SHERYL: You bet ah am! Jerome replies dryly. JEROME: You're hilarious. Sheryl gives a knowing smirk as she answers him, still looking into her mirror as she outs on the last of her eyeliner. SHERYL: I try. JEROME: So you're gonna go down to the hospital, do her orientation, then you're gonna find Jordan and get her out of here, yes? Sheryl turns suddenly, having finished her makeup. She looks at Jerome with a bit of nervous anticipation. SHERYL: That's the plan. At least ideally. JEROME: And what if she's not going? You know she's so taken with this Rafe dude that she could tell him everything to throw us under the bus. SHERYL: She could, but she won't. Little Miss Virtuous is so afraid of everything, she would never take a risk like that, especially if it potentially opens her up to so many problems. Like losing Rafe, her freedom. Her life? Jerome looks on, unsure if he agrees with Sheryl. SHERYL: Trust me. Look, maybe she won't budge the first time I talk to her, but we'll just...keep at her until she gets back on side, we'll get our revenge against Nick, and we'll be out of here. Simple. JEROME: Yeah. Simple. Jerome looks away, not remotely convinced by Sheryl's "fool proof" plan. --- Sonny stands with Will in Sonny's office at Club TBD. Will having just told Sonny about Nicole's TV special. SONNY: Nicole wants to use her special to bulldoze Nick? Okay, but how does that impact you? WILL: It does because I'm the one credited with writing the PR and the info sheets on the EnerNext project. Will turns and begins to pace the room, deep in his own thoughts, as Sonny looks on, trying to sort through the information his fiancé is giving him. SONNY: Right, and that info is a lot of PR spin for an oil company. Hardly anything unusual. WILL: It will be now that it's a political football. Anjelica Deveraux is campaigning on it, and the governor wants the entire project shut down. And after that show airs, if I don't keep this job, my name is going to be attached to that for the rest of my career. I don't know if I can live with that. Sonny takes a moment, before solemnly responding to Will. SONNY: Even if that's the only way we can win against Nick? Will turns aburptly to look at Sonny, both Sonny and Will looking concerned. --- Laura steps into the Horton living room, where Jennifer, Liam, and JJ are assembled. Having been in an intense conversation, Laura has caught the family off guard with her arrival. She appears with arms crossed, a stern look on her face. LAURA: You know, I was expecting my daughter to ask these questions, but I figure now is as good a time as any to ask. What with JJ leaving for Berkley and whatnot. Laura stops standing next to her grandson, somewhat accusational tone in her voice. LAURA: Where did you get that $50,000 from to give to JJ, Liam? Liam looks stunned at Laura's steely eyes. Her sudden resolve making even JJ a bit nervous. --- --- Laura stands, putting on a brave face, as JJ looks at her, intense eyes with a hint of discomfort in them, as Jenn and Liam look on, surprised by Laura's question. JENNIFER: Mom, I...do you really think... LAURA: I think, Jennifer Rose, that I need to feel comfortable with where all this money is coming from before I allow my grandson to live off it for the next four years. Laura's eyes quickly dart toward Liam, who looks uncomfortable with Laura's line of questioning, but remains silent. Laura steps slowly toward Liam, arms still folded in front of her. LAURA: I'm going to be totally honest with you, Liam. I don't know you all that well, and I am not overly comfortable with how quickly your relationship with my daughter has developed, considering how little I know about you. JENNIFER: Mom... LAURA: Maybe Jennifer knows you a bit better, but you still remain a little too much of a mystery to me. So let me just be clear with you. If I don't feel comfortable that you got that $50,000 through legitimate means, I will not allow JJ to live off it while he goes to Berkley, and I will reimburse you for the tuition payment he made using the money. Do we understand each other? JJ jumps in, stunned by his grandmother's decision. JJ: Grandma! Laura quickly turns to JJ to stop him continuing. LAURA: JJ. Don't...argue with me. Her voice drops to barely a whisper, as she finishes her thought in tones only JJ can comprehend. LAURA: (whispers) I know what I'm doing. Liam begins to respond, causing Laura to turn back around, and JJ and Jennifer to turn their attention back his way. LIAM: Alright. Okay, if it'll make you feel better about me, I'll do it. I'll tell you everything you want to know about me. Including where the $50,000 came from. Laura looks back at JJ, giving him a knowing look. Jenn looks at Liam, surprised that he'd capitulate to Laura's demand. --- Will looks away from Sonny, as he contemplates the question Sonny's put to him regarding Nick. WILL: I don't know, Sonny. Can I handle having my career taken away from me in exchange for having Nick out of our lives? Will sighs, taking a moment to come up with answer. He turns his head to face a sympathetic Sonny. WILL: Maybe. SONNY: Regardless, you have a lot of people on your side in this. We'll be there for you if you take the hit. Sonny puts his hand on Will's shoulder, squeezing his tense shoulder as Will turns to face his fiancé. SONNY: You know that, right? As Will turns around, Sonny wraps his other arm around Will's other shoulder. They look lovingly at each other, as Will cracks a smile. WILL: I do. SONNY: Good. Sonny stops a moment, while Will stands silently, his smile fading almost as quickly as it had appeared. This alarms Sonny. SONNY: So...why do I feel like something else happened that you're not telling me about? WILL: Because...there is something else. But...I don't really know what to make of it. SONNY: Oh? WILL: I went to check on Ari for a sec, and...Nicole just...vanished. I mean...it's probably nothing but...I feel like something was off when I came back in the room. Like... Sonny's arms drop to his side, as Sonny tries to figure out what happened. SONNY: Well...was something out of place or... WILL: No. No, nothing was off, I checked. But...I dunno, Sonny. Something tells me she didn't just come to the house to warn me about the story. She was up to something, and I need to figure out what. --- Nicole walks along the path approaching the Brady Pub, cautiously. She hears her text tone go off on her phone and opens her bag, to see a message from Eric. i love you. thank u for being here today. Dinner 2nite? Smiling, she texts back. I'd love to. Meet @ Chez Rouge, 8pm? Putting her phone away, she breathes in deeply, as she pulls out something new from her bag, a box of handgun ammo. She looks at it momentarily, before putting it back in her bag. She reaches back into her bag, and grabs her phone again, calling Nick. NICOLE: (into phone) Nick. I need to see you ASAP. --- Jordan sits at her office desk as University Hospital, alone, as Sheryl's words spin around in her head, over and over. There’s no way out Jordan. Even if you back out now. The words echo over and over, overlapping until they become a deafening chorus in Jordan's head. Wincing as she holds her head, the voice in Jordan's head grows louder until Jordan picks up her coffee mug and hurls it against the opposite wall, smashing it into pieces. Suddenly the room is quiet, as Jordan breathes a sigh of relief. JORDAN: You're not gonna win, Sheryl. I won't let you. --- Outside, in the 6th floor lobby, the elevator doors open up. Sheryl steps out, dressed as Crystal Clarke. She smiles as she steps over to Maxine at the nurses' station. She speaks in her best southern drawl. SHERYL: Hi, I'm...sorry, I'm new here, it's mah first day. Could you direct me to Dr. Grant's office? Maxine smiles, as she looks up at Crystal over her reading glasses. MAXINE: Sure thing, honey. I'll page Dr. Grant now. What was your name? Sheryl smiles wryly, as she answers Maxine's question. SHERYL: I'm nurse Crystal Clarke. ---
  15. EPISODE 158 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: Nicole? 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. MAXINE: So? 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. WILL: Hey! 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. NICOLE: Hey. 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. NOELLE: Nicole. 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... NICOLE: 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. ---
  16. EPISODE 157 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultants: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco Liam sits upright in Jenn's bed, as Jenn stands over him, arms folded, still dressed in overalls in preparation to paint Liam's house. JENNIFER: Liam... LIAM: I'm sorry. Jenn, I didn't mean-- JENNIFER: You said it wasn't like before when we lived together. Now, I know that you and I never lived together, so the only thing that can mean is that you're fixating on your ex-wife again. Liam tries to interject, hoping to stop Jenn from becoming even more agitated. LIAM: Jenn-- JENNIFER: No, just stop, Liam. Okay, you have got to let go of the anger feel toward her. Liam stops himself from speaking. Instead, looking down as Jenn continues to speak. JENNIFER: You know, I held onto my anger when I thought Jack left us in Africa. I thought he just...disappeared on some walkabout, and I kept that anger for years. It made me bitter, and...and...miserable. Liam looks up at Jenn, as Jenn sits down on the edge of her bed, and looks tenderly at Liam. JENNIFER: But I realized that that anger and that bitterness was just making it impossible for me to...to move on with my life. Jenn takes Liam's hand in hers, she holds it close to her chest. JENNIFER: You have so much generosity in you. I've seen that in how you've handled JJ, and the way you are with Abigail and I. Liam...don't lose that because you're still holding onto this...this rage within you from what happened with your wife before. LIAM: Jenn, I'm not, I'm-- JENNIFER: No. You are. I can tell. Just...let me help you, we can talk to my mom, she can refer you-- Liam cuts Jenn off, something approaching terror in his voice as he almost jumps out of the bed. LIAM: No no no, I am NOT talking to your mother about this. Okay? Jenn looks on, confused and disappointed by Liam's strong reaction. --- Eric sits on a park bench, deep in thought. As he sits, silently, staring off into space, Noelle walks by, a tray with two coffee cups in her hand. Stopping a moment, she looks down at Eric, who barely notices she's there. NOELLE: Rough night? Eric looks up at Noelle, a troubled look on his face, before looking back down. ERIC: Could say that. NOELLE: Well...if you wanna talk about it, I'm here. Noelle sits down beside Eric on the bench, a thoughtful smile on her face as she does. Eric remains looking away. ERIC: Not much to say really. Just got a lot on my mind. NOELLE: This is...not how I expected you'd be acting the day after your wedding. ERIC: Yeah, same here. But then, I didn't expect my bride to spend our wedding night in her office working on a news story. Noelle puts her hand across Eric's shoulders, giving him a comforting hand, before reaching over to pull one of her cups of coffee from the tray. NOELLE: Well...it looks like you haven't slept much. So...here. Triple Shot Espresso Caramel Macchiato. Eric looks over as Noelle extends the coffee cup to him. Reluctantly, he takes it. NOELLE: It's supposed to be for Alex, but...I can always double back to the Java Cafe and get another one. Eric looks down, before taking a sip. He manages a faint smile. ERIC: Thanks. NOELLE: Don't mention it. So...where's Nicole now? Eric looks out again, before shrugging, and turning to face Nicole. ERIC: To be perfectly honest, I have no idea. --- Nicole rings Will's doorbell, and stands outside Will's door, waiting to be let in. She's anxious as she waits. Will opens the door, and ushers Nicole into the apartment. WILL: Hey Nicole. NICOLE: Hey. Closing the door behind her as Nicole steps in, Will stands by and offers a hand to Nicole. WILL: Can I take your coat? Nicole looks back, smiling as she sets herself down on the sofa. NICOLE: So polite. You sure you're Sami's kid? Will is momentarily amused by Nicole, before quieting down quickly again. He shrugs sheepishly. WILL: I guess I get it from my grandma. NICOLE: Let's go with that. Will nervously steps toward the kitchen area. WILL: Did you ah...did you want anything? Tea? Coffee? NICOLE: No. No, I'm fine. Thanks. I don't really have that much time. Just...I had some things to go over with you regarding Nick. WILL: Right. You said on the phone. I a... Will sits down on the sofa next to Nicole, looking at her in an attempt to be firm. WILL: I ah...as I said, I can't tell you much about the inner workings of my job, since...a lot of what I work on is pretty confidential, but... NICOLE: That's fine. Look, I know this isn't going to be pretty but...Sami found out that Nick took over as CEO at Titan, and...she basically gave me license to bulldoze Nick. At all costs. Will looks at Nicole seriously. A bit worried about what she would say next. WILL: Okay. NICOLE: So...what that means for you, then...(sigh) your press releases for EnerNext. They were...from what a lot of very reliable sources tell me, heavily biased, and the sources you used were, can I say, flat out wrong. Will tenses somewhat, responding slightly more curtly. WILL: I used the data I was given, nothing more. NICOLE: I figured as much. Nicole looks down, sighing as she continues. NICOLE: Will, I'm not trying to...hurt your career or throw you under the bus, but...your press releases may be a big part of my report tomorrow night, and...are you going to be okay if you're implicated in this? Will looks up at Nicole, worried and slightly confused by Nicole's question. --- --- Jordan sits in her office, playing with her engagement ring. As she stares at it, her mind wanders to the night Sheryl and Jordan had their falling out. Sheryl's words haunt Jordan. *** FLASHBACK TO EPISODE 105 Jordan stands in Sheryl's office, and looks down, arms still folded in discomfort as she tries to hold herself back. Sheryl looks on, standing behind her desk. Jordan sighs heavily, as she wordlessly listens to Sheryl’s emphatic words. SHERYL: You can pretend like you have this great future with Rafe, Jordan, but we both know that once we launch that virus tonight, the ISA and the Salem PD are going to be onto us, and you and I will have to leave town and take on a new identity. There’s no way out Jordan. Even if you back out now. *** Jordan snaps back to reality thanks to a knock at the door. Jordan adjusts herself, trying to clear the mist from her eyes as she calls out. JORDAN: Ah, come in! Maxine steps into the office, a patient file in hand. Maxine announces her arrival as she spots Jordan's emotional expression mid-sentence. MAXINE: Morning, Honey. I brought...your patient files. Jordan clears her throuat as she reaches her hand out to take the files from Maxine, who gives Jordan a stern, concerned look. JORDAN: Thanks, Maxine. MAXINE: What's wrong. JORDAN: Nothing. Maxine sits down in the guest chair across Jordan's desk. She folds her arms expectantly. MAXINE: Come on, Girl. Out with it. You are engaged to be married to the man of your dreams. So why you been crying? Jordan sighs, knowing Maxine won't back down. --- Jennifer stands up from the edge of her bed, watching as a frustrated Liam begins to get dressed, incensed by her suggestion that he seek therapy. JENNIFER: Liam, I wasn't implying you go to therapy with my mom, I just... Liam turns around suddenly after having put a t-shirt on, the simmering rage in his voice. LIAM: No, you just think I'm crazy. JENNIFER: I do not. I just...I know what it's like to feel betrayed by someone you love. Okay. Jack....isn't the first person who's let me down, I mean...I was married before to a man who broke my trust in so many ways, I can't begin to go into it. He...he abused my trust for...for years before I finally realized what he was really like. Liam looks at Jenn, almost feeling heartbroken as he listens to her speak. He becomes more and more tense as she continues, trying to hold in his rage. LIAM: Jenn, please, don't-- JENNIFER: ...And I thought I couldn't trust anyone ever again after that. But...I had family that loved me, and a man who was patient with me, and loved me enough to take his time and rebuild my trust. Liam tries desperately to hold it together, as Jenn looks lovingly at him. JENNIFER: Jack was that person for me after Peter hurt me so badly. I want to be that person for you, Liam. LIAM: I... Jenn walks over to the other side of the bed, and puts her arms around a tense Liam. She holds him tenderly, and he reluctantly embraces her, all the while holding in so many emotions, but finally being unable to hold in a tear. JENNIFER: Let me be that person for you. Liam breathes deeply, suppressing his anger as he embraces Jennifer. --- Noelle sits with Eric on the park bench, as they enjoy their coffees. She looks interested as Eric tells her about his wedding. ERIC: So once my mom and Sami knew I wasn't backing down....well...they took the hint. NOELLE: Right, but...I mean, obviously that's gonna cause a huge rift between you and your family. I mean, I don't know Nicole well but it sounds like your family's...I mean, they have their reasons not to like her. Eric sighs, looking down at the ground as he speaks. ERIC: I know. Doesn't mean they have any right to judge her. As though she's completely incapable of personal growth. NOELLE: Well, some people change, a lot don't. Eric looks up at Noelle, who holds Eric's gaze. Noelle smiles, as Eric holds his serious look. ERIC: I've known Nicole a very long time, and...in our time working together at St. Luke's...I saw a change in her. A huge change. It's...it's almost impossible to describe. But...I'm worried she's slipping back. NOELLE: What do you mean? ERIC: I mean since she's been working on this story...it consumes her. I understand it's an important story to tell, but she behaves as though nothing else matters. She tells me she loves me, and I believe her, but it's almost as though she's working to...protect our relationship somehow. As though us being together would somehow destroy what we've built. Noelle looks at Eric, her expression thoughtful. NOELLE: That sounds...complicated. Are you sure it's not just a...temporary thing. I mean, you said yourself, the special airs in a day or two. I've known some people who work in the news and when a big story's about to break, it eats a lot of their time. Eric shakes his head, getting up from his seat, and beginning to pace in front of the bench. ERIC: No. No, there's....there's something different about this. And I can't put my finger on what it is. Even how we got married felt strange. I...admit, I raced into it, but... NOELLE: But you felt a kind of...pressure? ERIC: I don't know. Maybe. I just know something is wrong, and I can't get Nicole to tell me what it is. Noelle stands up from the bench, and puts a hand on Eric's shoulder in comfort. Eric turns his head to look at Noelle, still looking pensive. --- Will paces in front of the sofa, where Nicole is still sitting. WILL: Nick didn't commission the report, Nicole. I mean, if anything, he's trying to stop the EnerNext project. NICOLE: I know that. I'm actually hoping to get him to commit to an interview on air tomorrow night. Hopefully catching him live on TV, he won't be able to escape the questions. Nicole pauses for a moment. Will stops and turns to look at her as she continues. NICOLE: But we all know Nick is...extremely volatile. WILL: Especially lately. NICOLE: Oh I realize! Believe me. We don't know what he'll come out with, and...since you were the one whose name is on those releases...you may be putting your writing career at risk if he names you as being responsible for the report. I want you to be prepared for that. Will looks on, thoughtfully, though uncomfortable with what could potentially happen. WILL: Thanks for the head's up. Gabi, Sonny, and I...we've been preparing. Nick can be...extremely dangerous. As Will finishes the thought, Ari begins to cry from the next room. Nicole is startled for a moment, as both her and Will suddenly turn to look into Gabi's room, where Ari is sleeping in the crib. WILL: I should... NICOLE: Yeah, go! WILL: Just, ah...sit tight, I'll be back in a sec. Nicole nods, a faint smile on her face as she watches Will dart into Gabi's bedroom, closing the door behind him. As he does, Nicole gets up from the sofa, and makes a beeline for the desk by the front door. Ever-so-quietly sliding open the middle drawer, Nicole searches for whatever information she can. As she flips quickly through, one eye on the door, and one on the papers in Will's desk, she sees nothing. Quickly, she closes the top drawer and opens the next drawer to the right. Her mouth opens, as she spies the pistol EJ has left for Gabi. Pulling it out, Nicole looks over toward the door, before holding it up, nodding slowly. NICOLE: Well, that's one way to be prepared, Will. Nicole chuckles to herself as she holds the gun up right in front of her face, giving a wry smile as she studies it like a preserved artifact. ---
  17. EPISODE 156 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultants: C. Nathaniel Richardson & Nick Monarco Eric wakes up in his bed at the Salem Inn, smiling as he turns to touch his new bride. Eric wakes up a start as he realizes Nicole never returned to their room. Looking around the room, he realizes she never returned from the office. Regardless, in vain hope, he calls out to her. ERIC: Nicole? After hearing no response, Eric sighs, shaking his head as he pulls himself out of bed. --- Nicole sits at her desk, sipping on another cup of coffee as she picks up her phone to try calling Will again. After a moment of waiting for someone to answer, she leaves a message. NICOLE: (into phone) Hey, Will. It's Nicole Walker. I need to speak to you about something...it's pretty important, business stuff. Call me when you get this. Thanks. After hanging up, she looks at the time on her phone, panicking as she jumps from her seat. NICOLE: Oh my God. Oh God, poor Eric. I've been in here all night. I gotta...I gotta go. Bolting from her seat, Nicole hastily grabs her essentials, putting them in her purse as she rushes back to her husband. --- Gabi paces the pier on a foggy morning. Struggling to see, she feels uneasy with her surroundings. She holds herself, trying to keep warm against the cool air of the lakeside. Behind her, EJ approaches Gabi from behind. Gabi turns around suddenly and jumps back with a start. GABI: You scared me! Gabi smacks EJ for giving her a fright, which EJ winces at. EJ: Sorry! Sorry, I...guess I step lightly. GABI: Dammit, EJ. Announce yourself or SOMETHING! God! EJ: Again, I'm..(laughs) so sorry. Look, we should...try to be discreet. GABI: That's fine. Just...do you have the pill refill for Nick? EJ: I don't. I haven't spoken to Liam yet today, but I'll make sure I do immediately. Gabi nods, somewhat disappointed by the news. GABI: Well, I hope so. Nick was in...a lot of pain last night. EJ: What do you mean? GABI: Well, he...he and I were out on a "date", and...we were heading back to my place and he just...collapsed. He had this intense headache that crippled him like...completely! And that's when I called you. EJ sighs, concerned what this plan is doing. EJ: And the pills are making the headaches go away. GABI: Seems to be the only thing. And I mean, he's definitely been unpredictable since he's been hooked on them. Maybe not delusions but...he asked me to move in with him last night. EJ's eyes widen, his ears perking up at the news. EJ: What did you tell him? GABI: Nothing so far, but...EJ, when I was reaching for his pills last night, Nick got a phone call from Anjelica Deveraux. Why would he be in contact with her? She's running for governor. EJ nods, suddenly a lot of things becoming clear. EJ: Gabriella...you need to say yes to Nick's proposition. Move in with him. The first chance you get. Gabi looks stunned by EJ's strong insistence. --- Kate stands with Rafe in Horton Town Square, coffee cup in hand. She looks with concern at a confused Rafe. RAFE: Well, come on, Kate. Out with it. What do you need to tell me about Jordan? Kate hesitates a moment before answering. KATE: Alright, but I need you to promise you're going to listen to me, and believe me when I say I am not making this up. RAFE: Kate, what are you talking about? Kate bursts out, almost shouting emotionally over an increasingly desperate Rafe. KATE: Jordan is not her real name, Rafe! Rafe looks on, stunned by Kate's revelation. --- --- Jennifer stands before her full-length bedroom mirror, putting her hair up in a loose bun. Wearing overalls, she's all ready for the day of painting Liam's house. She smiles widely as she excitedly talks to a still-in-bed Liam about her ideas for the day. JENNIFER: So, I figured we'll stop at the hardware store first. Grab the paint we need and any other supplies you don't have and... Liam stops her mid-sentence, sighing at putting a damper on Jenn's enthusiasm. LIAM: Jenn...we can't do this. I'm sorry. JENNIFER: Well, why not? Liam, you said yourself, your house needs a lot of work, and the painting won't get done on its own... LIAM: Jenn... JENNIFER: No! Liam! I want to help you. I haven't seen your home yet. You...you almost act like there's something to hide there or something. Liam furrows his brow, shaking his head almost too quickly as he begins to speak tersely. LIAM: No! Of course not! I just...I told you, I'm embarrassed by the place, and I...I kinda wanna leave a good impression. Jenn turns to face Liam, laughing as she speaks to him. JENNIFER: Liam, we've been together for months, it's not like you're a stranger to me. Liam, becoming agitated, cuts Jenn off without thinking. LIAM: Yeah, but it's not like it was when we lived together, things changed! Jenn looks puzzled by Liam's statement. JENNIFER: What did you say? Liam looks up at Jenn, trying desperately to think quickly of an answer. --- Rafe looks stunned, as Kate sighs, looking at her watch. She moves in to try to touch Rafe, but thinks better of it. RAFE: What? KATE: I'm sorry, but I have to go. Rafe grabs Kate's arm, in an attempt to stop her from leaving their conversation, a hint of rage in his voice. RAFE: No, you can't just leave after dropping a bomb like that. KATE: I can't say anything more, Rafe. Ask Jordan. Rafe stands in complete shock, as Kate frees her wrist from Rafe's grip, and walks away. --- Nicole scrambles to the door of her hotel room, fumbling to try to find her card key to get in, as Eric opens the door, fully clothed and ready for the day. He scowls as he sees his new bride standing before him. Nicole looks up, smiling sheepishly. NICOLE: Eric, I'm...I'm so sorry. Eric tries to hold his anger in, sighing in frustration as he stands in the doorway. ERIC: (sigh) Nicole. Where were you? Nicole begins to explain, as she steps into the suite, putting her purse down on the desk in the corner of the room. Eric turns around, listening as he stands with his hand on the doorknob. NICOLE: We got a scoop late last night and...I got so caught up working on it that I lost track of time, and...I am so sorry. Eric closes the door firmly, stopping short of slamming it, but clearly annoyed. ERIC: Last night was our wedding night, Nicole. Last night was supposed to be exclusively about us sharing our love for each other. Consummating our marriage, and you decided that your job was more important than that? Nicole looks down, visibly ashamed of herself. NICOLE: I know. I know. Look, I...wouldn't have let this story take up so much of my time, but...I mean, you know how hard I've been working on getting the EnerNext story done. I have a special airing tomorrow night, I'm...I'm scrambling to make sure this thing is PERFECT. Eric stands near the door, arms folded. He breathes in deeply, still trying to maintain a cool expression. ERIC: I know how hard you've been working on this. And...I will admit, it's an incredibly important story. But this cannot be how our marriage goes, Nicole. I will not spend my life chasing after you trying to get a moment alone. NICOLE: I know. And you shouldn't have to. Eric's temper flares, shouting out his response almost over Nicole. ERIC: You're damn right, I shouldn't! Nicole tenses in response to Eric's outburst. After a moment, Eric cools back down and continues. ERIC: I am not going to stand in your way, and I'm not going to let this hurt our marriage. Your career is just as important to you as mine was to me. Nicole looks back at Eric, realizing where his anger stems from, and steps toward her husband. She puts her hands on his shoulders as he stares intensely at the ground. NICOLE: Eric. We're gonna fix this, I promise. After a moment, Eric looks away, trying to stifle tears, as he turns away. ERIC: I gotta...I gotta go. NICOLE: Eric, where are you going? ERIC: I'm sorry, I gotta...I gotta clear my head a bit. Just...finish up with your story, I'll see you in a bit. Nicole, still not ready to let Eric leave, calls out to him, as he walks out the door to the suite. closing it behind him. NICOLE: Eric! Eric, wait! Can... As the door slams behind Eric, Nicole sighs, frustrated by the stress she's helped bring out in Eric. Before Nicole can grab her bag to follow Eric, Nicole's phone rings. She pulls it from her purse. It's Will. Frantically, Nicole answers back. NICOLE: Will! Hey! ... Will stands alone in his apartment, standing at the desk near the front door in the living room. He looks uncomfortable as he stands with his cell phone in his ear. WILL: (into phone) Hey, Nicole. You called? ... NICOLE: (into phone) Yeah. It's...it's really nothing bad, I just...I needed a bit of information for a story I'm doing... ... Will interrupts Nicole, speaking firmly back to her. WILL: (into phone) Nicole, I can't talk to you about anything business-related, that's a complete conflict of interest. ... Nicole motions with her hand, trying to get Will to calm down as though he were in the room. NICOLE: (into phone) N..no no, I understand, but...I think you'll want to see me. It's about Nick Fallon. ... Will's expression immediately changes, as he suddenly is at a loss for words. Nicole's voice is heard through the receiver, snapping Will out of his trance. NICOLE: (via phone) Hello? WILL: (into phone) Yeah. Umm, come over. I'm alone. NICOLE: (via phone) I'll be there in 20 minutes. WILL: (into phone) Perfect. Will hangs up the phone, sighing as he lays it down on the desk. He looks sternly off into the distance, curious as to what Nicole knows. --- Gabi looks at EJ with incredulity as she stands, arms folded, trying to keep warm on the cool, foggy pier. GABI: I'm sorry, what? EJ responds firmly, reiterating his earlier point. EJ: You need to accept Nick's offer to move into the Kiriakis house. And the sooner the better. Gabi continues to stare at EJ, squinting in confusion. GABI: I don't...why? This is exactly what we don't want, EJ. Are you TRYING to feed me to the wolves? EJ: Gabriella, I have a feeling that Nick is working with Anjelica Deveraux on something, and whatever it is could have greater consequences than we realize. After Gabi doesn't immediately make the connection, EJ continues, stepping in closer to ensure no one is listening in. EJ: Anjelica Deveraux is running for governor, and if she has Nick Fallon in her pocket, that would mean a conflict of interest. That's enough to bring Nick and Anjelica down, and enough leverage to get you, Kate, and Samantha off the hook. Gabi looks back at EJ, suddenly realizing what could come from her moving into the mansion. EJ: And besides that, I think it's time we got ahold of those pictures of you, Kate, and Samantha by the river. If we can destroy those pictures, you're off the hook. GABI: Yeah, but...EJ, he's got to have other copies made. That's way too important for Nick to not have. EJ: I wouldn't be so sure. Gabi guffaws, not at all convinced by EJ's skeptical comments. GABI: You sound like you're talking from experience. EJ: In matters like this, one needs to have tight control over any and all evidence one may have on someone. If anything, Nick has one physical copy, plus a digital copy saved to his hard disk. Anything more than that would be too much of a liability. Gabi looks on, starting to be persuaded. GABI: Alright. So how am I going to go about finding these originals. EJ looks at Gabi, deadly serious. EJ: He'll have them. You're going to have to put yourself in very close proximity to him to get them. Make certain you bring your weapon to keep yourself protected, but don't let him think for a second that you're nervous around him. GABI: Even if that means I have to go to bed with him? EJ: Absolutely, if you have to. GABI: EJ, I...I can't do that. The thought of sleeping with that man again makes my skin crawl. EJ: I realize. But your family's lives are at stake here. You need to be prepared to do whatever it takes to take Nick down. Gabi sighs, slowly nodding in reluctant agreement with EJ. ---
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