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EPISODE 92 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultants: ML Cooks, Nick Monarco & C. Nathaniel Richardson The sunlight fights its way through every available crack between Nick's blinds. One beam brightly hits Nick right in the eyes, jolting him from his slumber. The bright sunlight shocks him, causing him to squint. Nick goes to sit up, but is hit almost immediately with a searing headache. It nearly cripples him, but he manages to stumble over to the window of his small studio apartment. Looking out the window, he sees the bright day, sighing as he winces, the sunlight hurting his eyes. He turns back to find his laptop bag. Rifling through it, he finds his pills. But his fingers slide across what's resting next to the pill bottle: Marlena Evans' perscription pad. Just as he's about to lift the pad up, he lurches back in pain. The pad gave him a papercut. Nick puts the cut finger in his mouth, wincing at the pain and discomfort. NICK: Mm! Dammit! Nick holds in his pain a moment to awkwardly open the bottle of pills. He struggles, as his hands shake violently. He looks at them, concerned greatly by his symptoms. He quickly opens the bottle, taking two pills from the bottle. He looks down at the bottle, shrugs, and pulls another one out. Taking all three, he steps into the bathroom, and turns on the tap, pouring half a glass of lukewarm water, which he uses to wash down the pills. After downing his medication, he looks into the bathroom mirror. He looks at his messy appearance, the emerging circles under his eyes, and shakes his head. NICK: You gotta get it together, Fallon. You got too much to do today to let this stop you. Wayyy, way too much. --- Sheryl lies half-asleep in bed, sighing after a good night's rest, before she reaches out slowly to caress Lucas' face. She reaches out and finds no one there. Opening her eyes in surprise, she gets up with a start. She looks confused around her room. SHERYL: Lucas? Getting up from her bed, covers, of course, covering her body, she inspects the bathroom before looking for her phone. SHERYL: Where the Hell did you go? Pulling her phone out, she looks down, seeing no texts or calls from Lucas. She looks up, confused by his absence. --- Hope walks into her living room, dressed and ready for work, coffee cup in hand, as the doorbell rings. She jumps momentarily, before putting her coffee cup down, and calls out toward the door. HOPE: One second! She runs over to the door, looking in the small window in the door, she spots Marlena. She opens the door, smiling. HOPE: Hey! Marlena! Her face drops, however, upon seeing the heavy concern on Marlena's face. MARLENA: Hope, I... HOPE: ..W...What's wrong? Come in, come in! Hope moves back away from the door, welcoming Marlena in. Marlena walks in solemnly. She hesitates to speak, sighing as she begins. MARLENA: Thank you. Uh...I had to see you, and I'm...I'm sorry to bother you so early in the morning. Hope shakes her head, looking very concerned at Marlena. HOPE: No, no! Nonsense, you're always welcome here, you know that. Uh...sit down. You, uh...you want some coffee? I just made a fresh pot. MARLENA: Ah...no. No, thank you. I couldn't possibly keep anything down right now. Marlena obliges Hope's request, sitting down, breathing heavily, struggling to hold herself together. Hope quickly walks to Marlena's side and sits down next to her. HOPE: Marlena...you're scaring me. What's wrong? Marlena looks up at Hope, starting to tear up. MARLENA: Roman's missing. And I need your help to find him. --- Lucas wanders through the park, deep in thought over the events of the previous night. Up ahead, he spies Club TBD. He craves a drink, but resists. Looking at the nearby bench, he spots something unusual. It's Roman, asleep by the bush. Lucas looks on, baffled by the sighting, and calls out to him. LUCAS: Roman? Roman doesn't answer, but is startled by Lucas. He stirs, as Lucas approaches. Lucas kneels down next to him, shaking him gently to make sure he's okay. LUCAS: Roman! Hey, man. You alright? Roman grunts as he starts to wake up. Lucas bursts into action as he takes his jacket off to try to warm a freezing-to-the-touch Roman up. LUCAS: Man, you're freezing! Here, take my jacket. ROMAN: Uh...where am I? LUCAS: You're in the park, just outside Club TBD. Are...are you okay? What are you doing sleeping out here? It's got to be like...fourty degrees outside! Roman's eyes widen, as he struggles to catch his breath. He looks around, confused. ROMAN: I...I have no idea. I went for a walk and...who...how did I end up here? LUCAS: I dunno, man, but we gotta get you inside. Come on. Lucas hoists Roman up on his feet and guides him slowly towards the club. --- A tray of food is set down in front of a sleeping Sonny. The sound of the tray hitting the table jolts Sonny from his sleep. He looks, wide-eyed at the tray, before looking up, and seeing Will standing over him, a smile on his fiance's face. WILL: Good morning! Sonny looks stunned a moment, before lifting himself off the couch he'd spent the night on in the hospital lounge. He stutters a bit before he answers. SONNY: I...ah...Will...hey! Will laughs a bit, watching Sonny stumble over his words. WILL: You surprised to see me? I've been with you all night. SONNY: You...you have? WILL: Yeah. I was worried about you. I...I saw Adrienne walk out of here last night, she...she seemed really upset. Did you-- SONNY: ...Yeah. We talked. Will folds his arms, nodding slowly, knowing exactly how it turned out from Sonny's reaction. WILL: Aaand obviously that didn't go very well. Sonny raises his eyebrows, before shrugging, a hint of sadness in his voice. SONNY: You could say that. Will sits down next to Sonny, putting his arm around Sonny's waist, drawing him close to him. Sonny leans into Will, feeling comforted by Will for the first time in a long time. WILL: I'm sorry, Sonny. I...feel like I'm...I dunno, like it's my fault this all happened. SONNY: (sigh) Don't say that. It's not your fault my mom has this...vendetta against you. WILL: Well...what happened? Sonny lifts himself off Will's shoulder, turning to face Will. He sighs with sadness in his eyes before answering him. SONNY: Well...she came to me to tell me what her and my dad were fighting about in the garden. Will looks at Sonny, a very concerned look on his face as he asks Sonny a question, almost not wanting an answer. WILL: And...what was it? SONNY: She says that you are a carbon copy of your mother, and that you are, and I quote: lusting after my brother. Will tenses up, knowing that Adrienne has his number, but he hides the uneasiness. --- --- Sami stands in the DiMera living room, sipping her coffee, as she flips through some paperwork. She hears her phone ring. Picking it up, she quickly answers. SAMI: (into phone) Hey! Uh...Suzanne, it's Samantha Brady...yeah. I, uh, I'm heading into the station today and I just need you to pass along a message to Nicole Walker. EJ walks into the DiMera living room, Johnny on his shoulders, laughing heartily. Sami turns and sees EJ and Johnny step into the room. She smiles as she sees them come into the room, but is immediately striken with tension, as they approach. She fights the tension, as she continues her phone conversation. SAMI: (into phone) ...YES! I, I just want to pass along to her that I would like to meet with her for 11am. Tell her it's imperitive that I speak with her, and she should cancel all other arrangements for that time...Thank you. Hanging up the phone, she looks at Johnny and EJ and smiles. JOHNNY: Mommy! SAMI: Hey, sweetie! You ready for your trip today? JOHNNY: Yup! EJ and Sami laugh as Sami gently pats Johnny's head. She smiles, though her hand trembles. EJ catches Sami's hesitation and speaks up. EJ: I uh...I packed the children's things, Harold...helped me out, but... SAMI: That's great. Thank you. Uh... EJ leans down to lift Johnny off. EJ crouches down by Johnny and speaks kindly to him. EJ: Now, I need you and your sisters to be downstairs in twenty minutes. No later. Alright? JOHNNY: Okay! Johnny runs off out of the living room, heading upstairs, as EJ approaches Sami. He nearly places a hand on her shoulder, but thinks better of it, as Sami, sensing the nearness of his hand, flinches slightly. Setting his hand down by his side, EJ sighs. EJ: Are you sure about this? Sami responds, not turning around the face EJ. SAMI: I think it's better that they are with family far away from all this tension right now, yes. EJ sighs, as Sami turns to face him, explaining her rationale. SAMI: Look, EJ, I don't want them to go to Colorado any more than you do, but the truth is that while you and I are going through therapy and I'm struggling with...our...past...it just isn't healthy for them. They need to feel loved and cared for. I can't give that to them right now, especially Johnny. EJ nods, trying to understand. EJ: I understand...but it seems as though you're punishing the children for something that I did. And by extension, you're punishing me, and yourself. SAMI: I have to do what's best for them. And what's best for them isn't to be around us right now. Not until I'm able to deal with what happened between us that night, and not until I'm comfortable...I'm comfortable being with you again. EJ looks down, fighting his emotions, as he nods. He tries to understand Sami's situation, though he struggles. He finally responds. EJ: I...uh...I need to go check on the children. I'll see you at the office later? SAMI: Yeah! I'll be in after I take care of business at the station. EJ: Alright. Samantha... Sami turns back at look at EJ, who stares at her, hurt, but lovingly. EJ: I do love you, very very much. Sami smiles, unsuccessfully holding in her desire to cry. SAMI: Me too. EJ swallows heavily as he turns back around, heading out after Johnny. Sami stays behind, wiping her tears away, as she hears another notification ping. She looks at her phone, stunned. SAMI: Oh my God! Sami reads the headline: Victor Kiriakis suffers heart attack, hospitalized --- Will sighs heavily, biting his lip as he looks up at Sonny, almost afraid to ask what Sonny did next. WILL: And...what did you say about that? SONNY: Well, of course, I told her it was nonsense...and then I told her that I wanted her to stay away from you, and from me. Will looks stunned, unsure what to say in response to his fiance's act of loyalty. WILL: Sonny...you didn't have to do that-- SONNY: Yes...I did, Will. Look, you know...this is why I was afraid of you taking this job at EnerNext. I...I don't mean to interfere in your career, but...my family, they have this way of...meddling, of worming their way into our lives. And it looks like they found their way in already. Will takes Sonny's hand, and holds it tightly. He smiles warmly at his fiance. WILL: Sonny, I love you. And I really appreciate what you did for me. But I don't want you to ruin your relationship with your mom over me. It's not fair to you, or your mom. SONNY: No, what's not fair is my mom deciding to meddle in our business. She's trying to create problems and make me doubt you. And I'm not going to let her do that. Will looks down, still tightly gripping Sonny's hand, he smiles warmly at him. WILL: I know. But don't you think you're just...both under a lot of stress right now, what with Victor's heart attack, and Chad being AWOL from TBD, and...our...problems at home...don't you think you overreacted just a bit? Sonny looks at Will, then looks down. He thinks over what Will says intensely. --- Hope gets off the phone to the station, and turns back around to Marlena, who is furiously texting, a very worried look on her face. HOPE: Okay, uh...so I just spoke to Rafe...they can't formally put out a missing persons' report yet, but...they are looking into it. Hope looks down at Marlena finishing up her text. HOPE: Who are you texting? MARLENA: Kim. She was with me when...Roman took off. Hope looks on, increasingly concerned for Roman. She takes a moment, unsure whether to ask or not, but decides to go ahead. HOPE: Marlena...is something wrong with Roman? Marlena looks up at Hope, incredibly hesitant to tell her the truth. She looks down and sighs before responding. MARLENA: In all honesty, I don't know. But if we don't find him, I'm very concerned for his well-being. Hope, shocked, rushes over to the sofa again and sits at Marlena's side. HOPE: Good God...it's not Stefano is it? Has Stefano kidnapped-- MARLENA: ...No! No, no, no, it's not Stefano...at least not that I'm aware of. No, it's...Roman himself...I am so worried that he may be a danger to himself. Hope looks on, before pulling a tearful Marlena into a hug. Still unclear as to Marlena's concern, she furrows her brow, concerned for her brother-in-law. --- Lucas sits Roman down on the bench, as T comes over to see what's wrong. T: Hey, uh...Lucas...what's wrong with Mr. Brady? Is he okay? LUCAS: I uh...I think he's okay, but...he's been outside for quite awhile, can you grab us some coffee for him? T: Yeah, absolutely. T runs off to grab Roman a cup of coffee, as Lucas pulls out his phone. ROMAN: Who are you calling? Lucas doesn't look up as he scrolls through his contacts. LUCAS: I'm calling Marlena, first off. She needs to know you're okay. Roman panics at Lucas' suggestion, holding his hand up to reach out for Lucas' phone to stop him. ROMAN: I don't want Marlena to hear about this, you understand me? Lucas looks at Roman, stunned and concerned. --- Nick steps into the lab, where Percy sits at a desk, headphones in, listening intently to various conversations throughout the Titan complex. Nick waves silently to Percy, who, over the sound of his headphones, welcomes Nick loudly. PERCY: GREETINGS! Percy fumbles, realizing not everyone hears the things he is, and quickly takes his headphones off. He walks quickly over to Nick. PERCY: Oh, Nicholas, I have very important news for you. NICK: Oh do you. PERCY: Well...strictly speaking, I have two items for you to look over, but...this first one is of utmost importance. Nick looks to Percy, intrigued, as he sets down his bag on the table. NICK: I'm listening. PERCY: Well...you may not be especially thrilled about this first one. NICK: Try me. PERCY: Well...it seems as though Miss Ridgeway and Miss Connors have taken on a new addition to their ensemble-- Nick pulls out an apple, which he bites into as he replies. NICK: Oh yeah...I met him last night. Jeremy or... PERCY: Yes, uh, a Jerome Grant. Well...it seems as though the three of them have some sort of...computer software they're looking to install on the Titan servers, and it appears to me, as though today is the day they will go ahead with this. It sounds actually like something that could really cause a lot of damage. NICK: Really! Nick smiles wryly as he crunches into his apple. PERCY: Yes...I say this because I have a concern that...well...they may try to use you as a...what did they call it, a...uh...."fall guy" for their plan. And knowing that your intentions are only to assist these young ladies...I wouldn't want to see you harmed. Nick laughs, slapping Percy heartily on the back before pulling him in close to him. NICK: (laughs) Ohhh Percy. Not to worry, I won't be taking the fall for anyone. You can bet on that. Nick looks down at his apple, and bites into it, almost maniacally. ---
EPISODE 81 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultants: ML Cooks, Nick Monarco & C. Nathaniel Richardson Hope walks through the Salem Police station towards her office as Rafe approaches. Hope looks over and smiles in greeting as Rafe does the same. RAFE: Hey! Just who I was looking for. HOPE: Well, don’t I feel flattered. Come in. Hope opens the door to her office and props it open for Rafe come in behind her. He shuts the door after entering as Hope sits down behind her desk. HOPE: So I got a few things I’ll need to take care of today so I’m not here long. What’s up? Rafe walks over to Hope’s desk and drops a file on it before her. RAFE: Well, this can’t really wait. There was another burglary in the west end again last night. Hope looks up, stunned and disappointed. HOPE: You’re kidding. RAFE: Nope! This time, they at least got a description of the suspect. It’s not perfect, but… Hope picks up the file and looks it over quickly, studying it as best she can. HOPE: Young male, black, 20-25, muscular build. Grey college hoodie, not Salem U. Wow, okay. Anything turn up so far? RAFE: Nah. This guy seems to have vanished into thin air after the robbery. All they know is he was in a rented moving van, but no one can trace it, they didn’t get the licence plate or anything. Hope drops the file on her desk as she looks back over at Rafe. HOPE: Damn. (sigh) Alright, well, we’ll keep looking. You doing okay? Rafe shrugs, smiling half-heartedly. RAFE: Yeah, I’m fine. Can’t complain too much. Hope looks at Rafe’s face and raises her eyebrow skeptically. HOPE: Why don’t I believe you? Rafe looks up, confused. HOPE: It’s Jordan, isn’t it? Rafe, is something going wrong between you? Rafe sighs, hesitant to get into this discussion now. --- Daniel stands, stunned in Laura Horton’s office at University Hospital. Laura looks up at him, worried about Daniel’s sudden silence. She gets up from her chair and tries to get Daniel’s attention. LAURA: Daniel? Daniel! Daniel blinks, suddenly back to reality. DANIEL: Hi. Sorry. Umm…look. I think I just…put two and two together and…yeah, I’m worried about Abigail. Very worried. Laura looks at Daniel, now more worried than before about her granddaughter. --- Nick sits casually on Percy’s sofa in the cabin, as Percy works away, carefully studying the Titan security videos. Nick scrolls through his tablet, earpiece in one ear, smiling widely at what he’s seeing and hearing as he suddenly gets up and turns to Percy. NICK: Got it! Percy looks up, peeling the headphones off his ears as though they’d been on for hours. Percy winces in pain as his ears appear, red as tomatoes. PERCY: My apologies, Nicholas. I didn’t hear you. NICK: I think I know exactly what we’re going to need to stick it to Victor. Check this out. Nick offers his tablet to Percy, who studies the image of Jordan, Sheryl, and Jerome’s meeting. After squinting at it a moment, Percy dons his bifocals, staring once again at the screen looking down his nose. PERCY: But…Nicholas, who is that young man there? I’ve never seen him before. Nick pulls his tablet away, casually flipping the case around it to close it as he heads back to the sofa to put the tablet away. NICK: That…is apparently a man named Jerome Grant. From what I caught, which, incidentally isn’t much because those girls need to stop mumbling so damn much, he knows Jordan and Sheryl from before they came to Salem. PERCY: Could he be a danger to us? Nick pulls out his cell phone from his bag, smiling his classic smug smirk. NICK: Ohhh, I don’t think that’ll be a problem, Percy. Look, I’m gonna head into town, I’ll see you later, okay? Nick grabs his laptop bag and slings it over his shoulder as he heads for the door. Percy smiles, nods, and waves as he begins to put his headphones back on. PERCY: Absolutely, I’ll keep you informed if I hear or see any so-called “juicy tidbits”, Nicholas! NICK: Great stuff, Percy. See you later on. Nick closes the door to the cabin, as he makes his phone call. … Gabi, sitting at a table at Town Square, rocking Arianna back and forth in her stroller, hears the phone. She suddenly stops and looks frantically for her phone. Pulling it out, she looks down with a sickened look on her face as she sees Nick’s name on her screen. GABI: Oh God. Quickly answering, she swallows hard, expecting the worst. GABI: Hey Nick, w…what’s up? … NICK: Hey, Gabi! Uh…look I really have something important to talk to you about. Can you meet me in 20 minutes at the Brady Pub? … GABI: Uh…sure. Yeah, I can! … NICK: Great. See you then. Nick hangs up the phone, beaming. NICK: Ohhh Gabi. You’re gonna love the surprise I have for you. Nick walks off toward his car, feeling on top of the world. …. Gabi hangs up the phone, a look of dread on her face, as she tries to distract Ari, but silently curses Nick. Her sudden tension isn’t lost on Ari, who begins to cry, upsetting Gabi even more. --- Marlena and Eric walk into Club TBD, Eric finally having a laugh with Marlena after spending two days in solemn silence. They find a seat and are handed menus by the server. Marlena and Eric both look up pleasantly, Marlena holding up her hand to stop her before she puts the menus down. MARLENA: Oh, it’s okay. I’ll just have a coffee. ERIC: Same for me. Marlena turns back to Eric with a serious, but loving face that Eric recognizes immediately. He reacts to it with a change of expression, back inward. ERIC: Mom… MARLENA: (interrupting) I know you don’t want me to pry… ERIC: No. Actually, I do. Mom, you’re the only person I can turn to about this. I’m…honestly, I’m really struggling. Marlena looks on, now really concerned for Eric. She squints a bit, staring intently at him. Eric catches this and looks down as his coffee is put down on the table in front of him by the waitress, Marlena’s in front of her. MARLENA: Eric…what’s the problem? Eric breathes in deeply, then sighs as he prepares to tell his mother about his dilemma. ERIC: Mom, I’ve been…really troubled ever since this whole…situation with Kristen went down and…I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. MARLENA: Okay. I mean, it’s understandable that you’d have a lot of conflicting emotions, Eric. You lost your vocation. It meant a lot to you, you don’t just…lose that overnight. ERIC: Right, but…(sigh), some things have happened since then…I mean…Sonny and Will’s wedding, among other things…and it’s made me sort of…realize… Marlena leans in, trying to catch Eric’s eyes. Eric, stirring his coffee mindlessly, stops, finally looking at his mom. MARLENA: Sweetheart. Realize what? ERIC: I’m thinking of leaving the church altogether. Marlena’s eyes widen at Eric’s revelation. --- --- Valerie stands in her office at University Hospital, leaning against her desk with her other hand on her hip, as she stares down her grandson, Jerome. VALERIE: Come on now, out with it! Something is on your mind, and you’re a bad liar. JEROME: Grandma… VALERIE: Well, maybe you can fool other people but you sure as Hell can’t fool me. Now spit it out. Jerome rolls his eyes, pausing a moment before he gives in. He turns and faces his grandmother, earnestly responding to her. JEROME: I just…I ran into old university friends from Toronto here and…we didn’t leave things on a good note. That’s all. VALERIE: Well, you know, it’s not like you’re still kids, Jerome. I think taking the year off before you started your PhD was probably a good idea. Maybe things have mellowed and you’ll work things out. JEROME: Hopefully….I just can’t shake the feeling that something’s happening that I don’t quite understand. I got a bad feeling, Grandma. Valerie smiles as she walks over to Jerome, putting her hand under his chin in a form of encouragement. VALERIE: You will be alright. In all your years on this Earth, you’ve managed to be smarter, and more resourceful than anyone I’ve ever met. You just remember that. Jerome smiles slightly, a warmth in his eyes as he looks at Valerie. He suddenly looks down at his phone and sees the time. Fumbling around a moment, he sets his phone on Valerie’s desk as he asks her a question. JEROME: Thanks, Grandma. Look, I gotta get going, uh…you got the keys to the new house? Valerie digs into her pocket and pulls out a keyring with three keys on it, tossing them Jerome’s way casually. VALERIE: Yep! Got ‘em right here. Jerome catches them with ease as he starts for the door. JEROME: Thanks. I gotta get this stuff into my room before I head into Salem U. Get into the registrar’s office before it closes. Thanks, Gran! VALERIE: See you later, Sweetie. As Jerome closes the door, Valerie watches him, a warm smile on her face, before she grabs her file folder on Roman. She stops as she picks it up, putting it back down again as she sees Jerome’s cell phone. VALERIE: Oh Damn it, JEROME! She jumps up from her seat and runs for the doorway, but Jerome is already gone. She stops in her doorway, turns back around and sighs. As she heads back to her desk, she stops before it, and stares at Roman’s file. VALERIE: Well...maybe it’s time we found some answers for you, Roman. --- Rafe looks at Hope, sitting opposite her at her office desk. Rafe tries to hold back his emotions a bit. Hope leans in, trying to catch Rafe’s eye. HOPE: Rafe, come on. I think we’ve known each other long enough to know when something’s up with each other. Rafe looks up at Hope and sighs. He decides to speak his mind. He begins, fidgeting uncomfortably. RAFE: Well…yeah, you’re right. I dunno. Jordan’s been…really distant the last few weeks and I can’t put my finger on why. Hope looks at Rafe, concerned. HOPE: Has anything changed in the last few weeks? Like…I know she’s been busy with work and all but… RAFE: Nah. It’s mostly been Sheryl. I think she’s going through something and…apparently can’t go to Lucas about it so she goes to Jordan. HOPE: And you get left out in the cold. RAFE: (sigh) Right. Hope reaches out and puts her hand over Rafe’s, giving him a comforting look. HOPE: Just be patient. Whatever’s going on is not going to break the two of you. I see the both of you and you’re always…incredibly happy when you’re together. Whatever’s going on with Jordan or Sheryl…it’ll pass. Rafe smiles slightly, as Hope gets up from her desk and slips on her jacket, and grabs her keys. RAFE: Hope you’re right. HOPE: I know I’m right. Look, I’m going to pick up Ciara from school, I’ll keep my eyes open for anything about the burglaries. Okay? Rafe gets up from his seat to head into the hallway himself. He holds the door for Hope as she exits the room, with Rafe right behind her. RAFE: Sounds good. I’ll text you in a bit if I come up with anything. HOPE: Great. See ya! RAFE: Bye! Rafe shuts the door behind Hope. He sighs as he grabs his phone to check for any notification from Jordan. RAFE: Nothing. (sigh) --- Laura looks at Daniel, she takes a moment before asking her next question to Daniel, almost afraid of the answer she’ll get. LAURA: I’m afraid to ask. Daniel immediately starts to pace the room, trying to calm himself a bit in hopes of also placating a now-frantic Laura. DANIEL: Look, just…I was Abigail’s doctor when she had that…accident at work. And…I’m not saying to panic but…I will look into this for you, okay? But…don’t worry. I will make sure Abigail is okay. Laura exhales and smiles at Daniel, nodding in satisfaction. She relaxes a bit, feeling reassured. LAURA: Thank you. Laura stops a moment, seeing that Daniel still appears troubled by their conversation. She puts a hand on his arm in reassurance. LAURA: And, Daniel. Just…I’m sorry to insert you back in Jennifer’s business like this…I know you two have, well, gone your own way. But…I feel like you…you know my family better than anyone at this hospital and…well…Jenn and Abigail could really use your help. I just…I didn’t know who else to turn to. Daniel nods in understanding. As he responds, Billie approaches Laura’s office door. She hears Daniel’s voice and stops, creaking the door open as he speaks. DANIEL: No, it’s okay. I…totally understand why you came to me, and I mean…I’m always going to love your daughter, no matter what’s happened between us. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep Jenn and Abigail safe. BILLIE: What are we keeping Jenn and Abby safe from? Daniel and Laura both turn around, surprised by Billie’s entrance. Billie looks back, a curious look on her face. --- Marlena looks at Eric incredulously. She leans in closer to him, almost scolding him with her reaction. MARLENA: Are you serious? Eric, you were so passionate about being a priest, it…it was your life— ERIC: …WAS my life, Mom. MARLENA: Eric, don’t let Kristen win. She’s taken so much from us already, you can’t… Eric holds up his hand to try to stop his mom from continuing. ERIC: Mom…please. It’s not about Kristen. In fact, I’m starting to think that it’s because everything that happened was because of Kristen, that…maybe that’s why it’s taken me until now to make this decision. Marlena chokes a bit on her words, unsure how to respond, but still not pleased. MARLENA: I…I, I mean how…look, you just need the proof that Dr. Chyka’s drug is what poisoned you that night, and you’ll be exonerated. We know that. Eric looks down, already exhausted by Marlena’s unrelenting pressure. ERIC: Mom— MARLENA: Eric! You can’t give up when you’re so close to clearing your name. ERIC: Mom! I’m not about to give up. I will never stop until people know the truth about what happened to me that night. But, Mom, how am I supposed to support a system of beliefs that tells me that my nephew…not only doesn’t have the right happiness with the man he loves, but that they both should be killed for it. Just for loving each other? How do I support a church that is so ready to throw me under the bus, and to judge me as this…monster, when I was a victim? There is so much…evil that is swept under the rug in this church, and they want to dismiss a priest who comes out as gay? I mean…Mom, they won’t even acknowledge your marriage to John, even with all the extenuating circumstances that caused your affair and your divorce from Dad. Marlena looks down, nodding sadly as she thinks back on her affair with John. MARLENA: I know that was hard, but… ERIC: Mom, it’s…I chose to overlook it for a very, very long time. Because I saw the good that being faithful, and being a priest could do. The benefit it could have to humanity, and the…the joy and comfort that my faith could bring, and I wanted to share that with the world. And maybe I was doing it, in a way to…make my family proud, I don’t know. But the fact remains that I could not reconcile my faith and my love for my family. And my desire to see them happy with the people they love. Marlena reaches out across the table and grabs Eric’s hands in hers. Squeezing them tightly, she begins to cry, a look of pride across her face. MARLENA: Ohh, Eric. My darling boy. I don’t care what your vocation is. I will ALWAYS be proud of you. And so will your father, and your grandmother, and your aunts and uncles and everybody. Eric and Marlena share a laugh, as Marlena holds Eric’s hands firmly. MARLENA: I want you to remember, no matter what…I couldn’t be more proud of you than I am right now. Don’t you ever forget that. ERIC: Thanks, Mom. Marlena and Eric get up from their seats and share a tight, warm hug that seems to last ages. As Marlena lets go of Eric, she looks him dead in the eyes, still a bit teary. MARLENA: And whatever you do decide…I will support you. No matter what. Eric nods, feeling the first bit of comfort he’s felt in a long time. ERIC: You know, you don’t realize how comforting it is to hear that. Seriously, thank you. I love you. MARLENA: Oh, Eric. Marlena pulls Eric in again for a hug, once again holding him tightly, like she was comforting him as a boy. --- Nick looks up from his tablet, as he sits in the booth at the Brady Pub. He spots Gabi in the doorway and gets up from his seat. He goes to grab Arianna, but Gabi tenses up, reactively pulling her closer to her chest. She tries to pass it off as nothing and points to the high chair in the corner. GABI: No, no! I got her, can you just…grab the high chair for me. Nick turns around and spots the high chair, springing into action dutifully. NICK: Oh! Yeah, absolutely. Nick steps over to grab the high chair, and sets it up for Ari to sit in. Gabi smiles and slots Ari in carefully, with Nick’s help. GABI: There we go! Easy does it. Once Ari’s in place, the pair sit down. GABI: Ohh, thank you, Nick. Nick shifts midsentence towards Ari, paying the beautiful young child some attention, but Ari is not having it and flinches at Nick’s touch. NICK: Anything for you and this beautiful little girl of yours! Hey sweetie!! Ari kicks Nick’s hand away, causing Nick to jump back a bit, and having a short laugh about it. NICK: Wow, she’s feisty today! Gabi laughs nervously in response before becoming fairly serious, nervously asking Nick the question of the hour. GABI: Heh, yeah. She’s…like that some days. You never know. So…uh…why did you ask me to come, Nick? It sounded...pretty important on the phone. NICK: Oh, trust me, Gabi. This is…life-changing news. Without a doubt. Gabi looks to one side, grimacing, trying to fake a smile and failing. GABI: Can’t wait. Nick looks down at his trusty tablet, swiping through different screens until he pulls up the screen to show Gabi. NICK: Kate and I have been working on a new line for MadWorld. It’s a young, fresh line of skin care that is 40% less heavy than your main line products with just as long-lasting coverage. Can’t really get into details more than that, but…it’s tested REALLY well. GABI: That sounds fantastic. W…what does it have to do with me? Nick turns the tablet toward Gabi and hands it to her. On the screen is a beauty shot from Gabi’s old modelling shoots with a tester from the new line photoshopped in. Gabi looks on in shock as Nick reveals his intentions. NICK: We want you to be the face of the new line. Gabi looks up at Nick, breathing in deeply, an almost panic-stricken look on her face. ---