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EPISODE 89 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultants: ML Cooks, Nick Monarco & C. Nathaniel Richardson Rafe and Hope stand in their office at the Salem PD. Hope looks at Rafe with a concerned look on her face, as Rafe stands stunned at what Hope's just asked her. RAFE: I...I don't even know how to answer that...I mean...I know these cops like they're family to me, Hope. No, I don't think they're racist. HOPE: But what if...what if it's deeper than that. What if we've...(sigh) what if we're so used to seeing certain faces committing crimes that we've started to believe that they're inherently criminal people? Hope walks away from Rafe, increasingly uncomfortable looking him in the eyes. She paces the room, deep in thought, as Rafe's eyes follow her around the room. HOPE: I know it's...I know it's not that they're bad people. I mean, we're trying to keep the community safe. I mean...everyone loves Abe...they loved Lexie when she was on the force, you're respected...but... RAFE: Hope, come on. Don't let this one case hit you so hard, I mean...so the profile was wrong. There's a million ways that could have happened. The eye witness could have seen the wrong person, it could have been dark out...Hell, the perp could have an accomplice, this may not even be over yet-- HOPE: ...But what if it is, Rafe?! What if the Salem PD is the problem here? What if Jerome was right? Rafe sighs as he looks at Hope, shaking his head in disbelief of what she's asking him. --- Sheryl sits at the table at Club TBD, where the lights are dimmed as the evening clientele mills about, having their cocktails and eating their dinner. She keeps one eye on the door as she looks over her menu. Her impatience building as she sees each person step in, and not seeing Lucas. Finally, Lucas steps in the door, nervously looking around for his date. Sheryl immediately spots him, and waves in his direction. After a moment, Lucas feigns a smile and heads over to greet her. Sheryl gets up from her seat, a big smile on her face as she reaches out to her date. SHERYL: Lucas, honey! I'm glad you finally escaped your mother's clutches. LUCAS: Sheryl-- SHERYL: ...Oh come off it, Lucas, it was a JOKE! LUCAS: Yeah...sorry. I'm just...you know, tense. Sheryl leans over to touch Lucas' shoulder, causing Lucas to flinch again at her touch. Sheryl looks on, hurt again by Lucas' resistance to her. SHERYL: Okay...I'm sorry. I guess I'm just...not used to you being quite so...prickly. Sheryl sits down, a sense of defeat in her eyes. Lucas follows, adjusting himself a bit as he gets comfortable in his seat. Sheryl looks at Lucas, a bit annoyed at him. Lucas picks up on it, and leans in to speak softly to Sheryl. LUCAS: Look, I'm sorry. I haven't had a very good couple days. With work, and...the TV station selloff...I've been really overloaded. SHERYL: I understand that. Sheryl reaches out across the table to Lucas, almost touching his hand, but hesitating at the last moment. She pulls her hand back into her lap. She looks down, appearing a bit sombre. SHERYL: I just...I wish I could...maybe find a way to help...I dunno, make it easier on you. Maybe take some of the load off. Lucas sighs, remembering his mom's advice before he left for dinner to be more convincing in his 'relationship' with Sheryl. Lucas looks up at Sheryl, who looks back at him with a lustful look in her eye. Lucas looks back curiously, as Sheryl gently slips her left pump from her foot, and glides it up his leg. Lucas' eyes widen, as Sheryl's not-so-subtle come-on becomes obvious to him. LUCAS: Well! I uh...ahem...Gee I...I feel better already. Uh... Lucas quickly turns to get T's attention as he passes by. LUCAS: Hey! T! Can you uh...can you get me a cup of coffee...and a uh... Lucas turns to face an expectant Sheryl, who looks Lucas' way unwaveringly, as she makes her order. SHERYL: Double vodka on the rocks. T looks on at the situation before him, slightly amused, and intrigued as he responds, fighting back laughter. T: Alright...coming up, guys! T rushes off, leaving an uncomfortable Lucas at the mercy of Sheryl. He squirms uncomfortably, but decides to play along, against his better judgment. LUCAS: I uh...I knew you wanted to help me unwind but...I had no idea you meant like this. Sheryl looks on, raising her eyebrow seductively, as she responds to Lucas. SHERYL: Maybe we should skip dinner. I think I'm feeling hungry for something a little different. Lucas tries to hold back an uncomfortable look, as he tries to formulate a response to Sheryl. --- Jerome steps off the elevator at the Salem Inn, walking over to Jordan's door. He knocks. Inside, Jordan jumps up from her chair, startled by the sudden unexpected visitor. Through the door, she hears Jerome's voice. JEROME: Kay? Baby, it's me. Jordan races over to the door, hoping none of her neighbours heard Jerome call her by her real name. She quickly opens the door and motions him inside, an irritated look on her face. JORDAN: I told you not to call me that! Get in here! NOW! Jerome slides casually inside, with Jordan stuffing him inside as she tries, through her frustration, to close the door while resisting her urge to slam it. She glares as she speaks menacingly to him. JORDAN: How did you find me here? Jerome smirks as he looks at his ex-, appearing to take pleasure in her dismay. JEROME: I texted Sheryl. She said you could use the pep talk. JORDAN: Oh right, I forgot. Sheryl's my mom now and I need her to tell me what I need to do. Jordan opens the door back up, motioning to Jerome to leave, as Jerome walks toward the door. JORDAN: Look, I'm sorry you wasted your time, but I don't need you, and I don't need your 'pep talks'. Jerome puts his hand against the back of the door, shutting it, while blocking in Jordan. They stand mere inches apart, as Jerome looks lustfully in Jordan's eyes. Jordan, still clearly attracted to Jerome, looks at him intensely. JEROME: Maybe you don't know what you need as much as you think you do. Jordan looks back at him, her defenses wearing thin against Jerome, though still trying to put up the front. --- Adrienne stands, still uncomfortably cold in the Kiriakis garden with Justin, as Adrienne tries to explain her calling Alex "Justin's son". ADRIENNE: I didn't mean it like that, Justin. JUSTIN: No, but what else COULD it mean, Adrienne? You've always resented Anjelica's presence in our lives, even being just on the peripheral. ADRIENNE: Well, I don't know, Justin. Maybe her trying to blow me up might have something to do with it? I mean, I know, I'm just talking crazy here, but-- Justin sighs, knowing this argument's going to go around in circles. He tries to stop it from moving further down this road. JUSTIN: Adreinne. I don't blame you for hating Anjelica. But you have helped raise Alex from the time he was a toddler. I thought you have accepted him as your own-- ADRIENNE: ...I have, Justin...I just... JUSTIN: You just...what? You see Anjelica every time you look at him? You...resent his presence in our lives again? You question his motives in marrying Noelle Curtis because you're just, so certain that he's got something to hide? ADRIENNE: A mother knows her son, Justin. Justin explodes with anger at Adrienne's remark. JUSTIN: You just reminded me he isn't your son, Adrienne! So how do you know he's hiding something? And how do you know that Will is so...eager to play the field that he's willing to risk what he has with Sonny to make a play for his brother. His brother who is married to a woman? Justin and Adrienne jump back, looking towards the door as a voice calls out to them. SONNY: Is that really what you feel, Mom? Adrienne stands, shocked and at a loss for words as she's caught by her visibly upset son. --- --- Rafe puts his hand on Hope's shoulder, as Hope stays fixated on the view through her office window. RAFE: Hope, you can't fix everything, you know. Hope stays fixated on the street below, leaving Rafe unsure if she's even listening. He squeezes her shoulder gently, hoping to rouse some kind of reaction in Hope. RAFE: Look, I know this case has thrown you for a loop. That's why I was pushing Grant so hard. But you gotta realize, we're only human. HOPE: Yeah, but we also need to have some humanity. Hope sighs, turning around to face Rafe finally. HOPE: You know, I just...seeing Jerome and...seeing Valerie again just reminded me why I became a cop in the first place. I didn't do it to hurt people, or...punish people. I did it to help protect people. To make my community a better place. RAFE: And you do that. Every day. I see that. Rafe puts his arms around Hope, as she reciprocates, holding Rafe in a tight embrace. HOPE: Well, I need to do more, Rafe. I need to figure out a way. As Rafe and Hope separate from their hug, Hope walks over to her desk, grabbing her purse and jacket. As she puts it on, she sighs. HOPE: I gotta...I gotta pick Ciara up. She's probably upset, I've been...really busy lately. RAFE: You want me to give you guys a ride home? I gotta head that way anyway, pick up Sheryl at the Salem Inn. Hope smiles a bit, nodding appreciatively. HOPE: Yeah. I'm...not exactly in any shape to drive right now, am I? RAFE: Come on, Partner! Rafe puts his arm around Hope, walking with her out of her office, finally coaxing a lasting smile out of his sombre partner. --- Jordan inhales deeply, taking in Jerome's scent as she tries to hide her discomfort, and her attraction to Jerome. JORDAN: Don't patronize me, Jerome. Jerome lifts his right hand up to gently carress Jordan's face, causing Jordan to flinch, and push Jerome away. Jerome doesn't fight back as Jordan walks away from her. JORDAN: Dammit, Jerome! Don't you get it? It's over between you and me. And it has been for a very long time. JEROME: You know...that's funny because...I didn't think we ever officially broke things off between us. You know, as far as I remember...you just up and left town without saying where you were going, what you were doing, or who with. Now, what I wanna know is...is that how you normally break things off with the men you get with, or am I just a special case? Jordan turns around to face Jerome, eyes rolling, cutting him off as he finishes his question. JORDAN: I didn't...I didn't think we had anything more to talk about. You didn't want to tie yourself down to me, and...then this whole...EnerNext thing came up. I mean...Kate's offer to come to Salem came up way sooner than Sheryl and I expected. JEROME: And you couldn't take two minutes to pick up a phone and tell me what was happening. Say goodbye? Dear John letter? A text message-- JORDAN: ...I couldn't! Dammit, Jerome. It wasn't safe! The RCMP were onto us, and if I stopped to make that call, I'd be setting myself up. Jerome looks down, shaking his head, knowing Jordan's making excuses. Jordan looks him dead on, as earnestly as she can. JORDAN: Look, I know I left suddenly. And I'm sorry for that. But we were having too many problems to ignore. And it wasn't going to get any better if I stayed in Toronto. JEROME: But you don't know that. Jordan stops, sighing as she looks up to the ceiling. She throws her hands up in defeat. JORDAN: No. No, I don't. But it's too late to go back now. We have a job to do. That's the only relationship we're going to have here in Salem. You put that virus in the Titan server, and it's done. Jerome cocks his eyebrow, sensing a hint of hope. JEROME: And after that? Jordan rolls her eyes at Jerome's badgering, she looks away, folding her arms in discomfort. JORDAN: After that, I don't know. JEROME: Does that mean you'll be leaving Salem? Jordan hesitates, looking down, away from Jerome's intense gaze. JORDAN: I haven't decided yet. Jerome leans toward where Jordan's looking, hoping to catch her gaze. Jordan looks away, and Jerome follows her eyes. Jordan sighs again, as it hits him just why she's hesitating. JEROME: Oh God. It's that sumbitch cop you been screwing around with. Hah! You're in love with him, aren't you? Jordan bites her lip, trying to avoid giving Jerome the answer he's searching for. --- The elevator dings before the door opens to Sheryl's floor. As it opens, Sheryl is pressed up against a visibly-uncomfortable Lucas, who is trying to get into the mood for the sake of Kate's plan, but Sheryl notices his tension. They kiss, but Sheryl, feeling Lucas' tension, steps back. SHERYL: Lucas! Come on, what's wrong? Sheryl grabs Lucas' hand and guides him from the elevator toward her apartment door. LUCAS: Ahh, it's nothing. I guess I'm just still tense from the office. Sheryl wraps her arms around Lucas, smiling seductively at him. He feigns a smile in return, putting his arms around her. SHERYL: Well, you know what I say to that. LUCAS: Yes, I do. SHERYL: Well, do you want to come in? Maybe I can...work out those knots in your shoulders, and maybe...help you relax? Lucas inhales, trying to gather his strength to go through with what's surely about to happen. LUCAS: I think that's a great idea. Sheryl smiles back, as she turns to open the door to the apartment. SHERYL: Good. As Sheryl steps in, Lucas lingers behind, almost afraid to step inside. Sheryl laughs at Lucas' reticence, coaxing him inside. SHERYL: (laughs) Come on, silly. You're acting like a school boy. Haven't you ever been to a girl's bedroom before. Lucas furrows his brow, as though Sheryl's wounded his pride. LUCAS: Hey! I resent that! I'll have you know I've been to...p...a few ladies' bedrooms in my time. Sheryl giggles as she sits herself down on her bed. Kicking off her shoes, she bites her lip seductively as she looks up at Lucas, who stands nearby, hands in his pockets, looking Sheryl up and down. SHERYL: Hmm...that's good to know then. Aren't you gonna come over here. LUCAS: I uh...ahem, I dunno if I'm up to it. Sheryl looks up at Lucas, getting up off the bed and walking over to him. He backs up slightly, as Sheryl forcefully grabs his belt buckle and undoes it. Lucas resists momentarily. LUCAS: Sheryl... SHERYL: Not. A. Word. Sheryl leans in, nearly kissing Lucas, but instead whispers, half seductively, half threateningly, as she kisses his cheek, and slowly nibbles his earlobe. SHERYL: You know....I never could understand...how a man....could still call himself a man...and not want to make love. Lucas' resists the urge to leave, his masculinity called into question, but simultaneously hearing his mother's voice in his head, nagging him to stay: KATE: If you intend on seeing this plan through, you're going to have to be an awful lot more convincing than what just went down. Before he can respond, Sheryl pushes Lucas onto her bed, straddling him aggressively. LUCAS: Wh...what are you doing, Sheryl? SHERYL: Isn't it obvious? Sheryl rips open Lucas' shirt, as she kisses him full on the mouth. Lucas looks disgusted, but doesn't resist, replaying his mother's words over and over in his head, and Sheryl's emasculating whispers spliced between his mother's voice. you'll have to do better than that what kind of man doesn't want to make love? better than that SHERYL: I want you, Lucas Horton. Make love to me. Sheryl leans over aggressively to kiss Lucas again, her legs straddling his torso as she kisses down his neck, kissing further and further down his chest, as Lucas lays back, closing his eyes momentarily, trying to simply go along with Sheryl's desire as best he can, still hearing the threatening voices circle in his head. what kind of man... you'll have to do better than that ...doesn't want to make love I never understood you'll have to do better... Lucas gasps in a combination of mental anguish and physical stimulation as Sheryl moves her way down his body. Tensing with an anxious uncertainty as Sheryl takes sexual control over him. --- Maggie and Alex carry on talking to each other in the kitchen, as Noelle steps into the kitchen. MAGGIE: Noelle! NOELLE: Hi, Maggie! I just came to check in on my husband. Noelle wraps her arms around Alex, who turns his head to kiss his wife on the cheek. Noelle smiles widely as she hugs him. Maggie looks on, smiling. MAGGIE: I'm so glad you two are so happy. (sigh) We could use a lot more of that in this house lately. Noelle looks on, sighing quietly, understanding Maggie's pain. NOELLE: I'm sorry, Maggie. I...I know the last few months haven't been easy on you and Victor...but...I have a feeling things are going to change very soon. Maggie smiles at Noelle, leaning against the island, feeling Noelle and Alex's concern and warmth. MAGGIE: Thank you, both of you. I hope so, too! --- Sonny and Will step into the garden, Sonny fuming at his parents' argument over his relationship. Adrienne stumbles over her words as she tries to respond to her son's question. ADRIENNE: I...I...Sonny! Look, your father and I-- SONNY: ...Were just nosing their way into my personal business. Again. ADRIENNE: Sonny... SONNY: Can it, Mom! Justin steps in to defend Adrienne, glaring at Sonny angrily. JUSTIN: Sonny. Don't talk to your mother like that. Will steps toward Sonny, touching Sonny's arm gently. WILL: Sonny...look, I didn't mean to cause trouble, I-- SONNY: No. No, that's all my mother's job. My mother, who can't seem to separate mother from son. My mother, who seems to think that Alex Kiriakis and Anjelica Deveraux are the same person, just like Sami Brady and Will Horton. Adrienne tries to calm Sonny down, trying to step toward her son, but Sonny shakes his head, backing away from her. ADRIENNE: Sonny... SONNY: No! No, not this time, Mom. I love Will. And I know that Will is in love with me just as much. Whatever problems we're having right now, we will work them out, because that is what marriage is about. I know that's hard for you two since you seem incapable of going half a decade without some kind of litigation against each other, but-- JUSTIN: Sonny! Enough! Now, you owe your mother, and myself, an apology. Sonny laughs mockingly at Justin, incredulous that Justin would make such an assertion. SONNY: Hah! Like Hell, I do! You know, this is exactly why I wanted Will away from Titan. I didn't want him to be involved in all this family drama, and melodramatics. And I definitely didn't want anyone in this family, especially my own parents, to spend so much energy trying to run our lives, and trying to manipulate, and and and speculate about our sex lives. I mean, what business is it of yours? Adrienne and Justin look solemnly at each other, realizing only now the depth of Sonny's anger at his family's involvement in his life. They stand, stunned, not realizing that inside the house, from the doorway, stands a solemn Victor, holding a drink in his hand. He listens closely to the entire conversation. Victor takes a sip from his drink, before breathing in heavily, an almost pained expression on his face as he contemplates his family's growing tensions. ---
EPISODE 88 Written by A. Washington-Beeby Story Consultants: ML Cooks, Nick Monarco & C. Nathaniel Richardson Hope stands in her office at the Salem PD, staring thoughtfully out the window. Rafe slowly opens the door. Observing Hope, he sighs to himself, as he stands in the doorway, holding a cup of coffee in his hand. Never once looking away, barely even blinking, Hope doesn't notice as Rafe walks over to her, and hands her the cup. She jumps a bit, startled by Rafe. She looks down at the coffee cup and smiles as she takes it from Rafe. RAFE: Figured you could use this. HOPE: Thanks. RAFE: You alright? Mrs...what was it, Grant? She really got to you. Hope looks down, then back out the window, not looking Rafe's way as she takes a sip of her coffee. She takes a second before replying to him. HOPE: Was it that obvious? Hope turns around to face Rafe, a slight smile on both their faces, as they attempt to relieve a bit of the tension from dealing with Valerie and Jerome. Rafe shrugs as he makes a bit of a joke. RAFE: Enh, not really. Heh. But seriously, that Valerie woman really shook you up. You...obviously have met before? Hope looks down, nodding slowly as she answers Rafe, though almost zoning out. HOPE: Ohh yeah. My...nephew David was supposed to marry Valerie a looong long time ago. RAFE: And...obviously that didn't work out so well. HOPE: You could say that. Rafe looks on with concern, as Hope stays brooding in her own head, as though Rafe wasn't even in the room. RAFE: Look, I don't wanna pry here, but...you look really upset by this. HOPE: Yeah, well...(sigh) besides all the personal history...there's something about this whole situation that...it's just not right. Hope looks up, looking intensely at Rafe, who looks back in stunned confusion. --- Nicole and Eric unlock the door to Nicole's unlit apartment, laughing in between kisses. Eric holds a bottle of champagne in his hand, and places it down on the kitchen counter, as Nicole quickly turns on the light. NICOLE: Ahhh! I...I cannot believe this. Nicole runs back over to Eric, wrapping her arms around him from behind, much to his surprise. Eric laughs as he loses his balance while trying to grab champagne glasses from the cabinet above. ERIC: Woah! Hey, Miss soon-to-be-Mrs. Brady. NICOLE: Mmm, I like the sound of that. Eric turns around, champagne glasses now in hand as he puts one arm around Nicole. Guiding her around to his side, he grabs the bottle and squeezes Nicole gently. ERIC: Well, you better get used to hearing it, because I can't wait to make you my wife. Eric twists off the cork with a loud pop. The cork flies out of the bottle and smashes the lightbulb above them, rendering the apartment once again pitch black. Nicole and Eric duck momentarily to protect themselves from the shattering glass, before looking up in stunned silence. NICOLE: Oh God. ERIC: Well...at least the darkness is romantic. NICOLE: Yyyyyeah, I was never a fan of making love on broken glass, though. Nicole turns toward the cupboard, pulling out a big flashlight. NICOLE: Fortunately... Nicole turns on the flashlight, startling Eric, who jumps back to protect his eyes from the bright light. ERIC: ...AH! Hey! NICOLE: I'm prepared for anything! Nicole strides quickly back around, heading for the closet to find another bulb. NICOLE: Don't move, I don't want you to step in the glass or anything. ERIC: Yeah. Sure. Eric looks on, sighing at the romantic, celebratory mood being gradually killed before his eyes. --- Adrienne and Justin stand outside the Kiriakis Mansion, in the garden. Adrienne holds herself tightly, cold from the chilled winter air, as her husband drapes his jacket across her shoulders. JUSTIN: You're shivering. Adreinne waves dismissively at him. ADRIENNE: I'm fine. I can handle it. Thank you. I just...I needed to breathe. You could cut the tension in that room with a knife. JUSTIN: Don't I know it. You never explained yourself, why are you suddenly so against this wedding. Adrienne steps in close to Justin, her voice gets softer as she explains herself. From inside, Will stands by the slightly-ajar door, straining to hear her. ADRIENNE: I saw what was happening with Will and Sonny in there, Justin. JUSTIN: And what was happening, exactly? Remember, I just got here. Adrienne responds incredulously. ADRIENNE: You didn't see it?? Justin, Will might as well have been on another planet, he was so completely...fixated on Alex. JUSTIN: Well...Alex is an extremely attractive guy, I mean, it doesn't mean anything. Alex is with Noelle. Adrienne rolls her eyes at what she views as her husband's naivete. ADRIENNE: Oh please, Justin, I've told you a thousand times, Alex isn't with that girl for love. It's so obvious. JUSTIN: You know, I don't exactly appreciate you making assumptions about my son's sexuality-- ADRIENNE: Why? Are you ashamed of Sonny now? Justin looks down, stopping and sighing before answering as thoughtfully as he can. Careful not to say something he'll regret. JUSTIN: You know that's not what I meant, Adrienne. I just-- ADRIENNE: ...You just still wish he were straight? I don't get it. Justin explodes in anger, raising his voice, pointing back into the house emphatically, as though Sonny stood behind him. JUSTIN: NO! I am so proud of our son, Adrienne. He has more strength and self-respect than most men twice his age. I would go to my death for that kid. ADRIENNE: Then you need to stop him from making a huge mistake. JUSTIN: He can decide that on his own, Adrienne. Adrienne leans in close to Justin again, her one finger raised to make her point to Justin. She speaks softly but firmly. ADRIENNE: If it isn't Alex, it'll be some other guy. He's Sami Brady's son in every. Single. Way. Will leans back, the back of his head hits the wall behind him. He rests himself there, standing in stunned disbelief at what he's overheard. He breathes heavily before looking around for Sonny, then darting off. --- --- Nicole kneels on the kitchen counter of her apartment, as she finishes screwing in the lightbulb that had previously burnt out. Eric looks on from behind the counter, silently spotting Nicole, trying to protect her if she loses her balance. NICOLE: Aaaaalllmost got it. Aaaaaand THERE! The light flickers on, causing Nicole to throw up her arms in victory. NICOLE: HaHA! So? How many Nicoles DOES it take to change a lightbulb? ERIC: I'd say one. Nicole looks down, glaring at Eric for his dry 'wit'. NICOLE: Smart-ass. Nicole leans over to playfully swat Eric, but misses and loses her balance. She shrieks as she falls into Eric's arms. After a moment of panic, Nicole and Eric stop for a second, looking into each other's eyes. After a long moment, they slowly lean in and kiss each other passionately. Their kiss leads to Nicole reaching around to wrap her arms around Eric's neck, as she draws him in closer. Aroused by the intensity, Eric lifts Nicole onto the counter, as Nicole draws Eric close to her. She wraps her legs around his waist as he pulls open her blouse, kissing down her neck as Nicole closes her eyes, enjoying the sensation of every kiss. Nicole takes a breath as Eric lifts his head, looking into Nicole's eyes. She smiles wryly, as she pulls his shirt off quickly, exposing his rippled body. NICOLE: The bedroom? Eric nods, a playful glint in his eye. ERIC: Bedroom. Eric effortlessly scoops Nicole up into his arms, her arms and legs still wrapped around his body. The kiss passionately as he carries her into her bedroom, the lights, newly changed, left on. --- Noelle casually walks toward Victor, both of them standing in the Kiriakis living room alone. She looks at him smugly, as Victor tries to ignore her completely, looking the other way. NOELLE: You know, this really is such a beautiful home. I could get used to it here. Victor squints his eyes, trying to stop from spitting his drink out, as he chokes out an answer. He turns around, glaring at her. VICTOR: You expect to live here? I was hoping you'd at least settle for a neighbouring zip code. Noelle crosses her arms, a wry smile on her face. She begins to pace the room as she talks, contemplating as she speaks. Victor gets tense as she speaks. NOELLE: Victor, you're a card. You know as well I do, though, that as long as Alex is staying here with you and Maggie... Noelle turns around suddenly, staring down Victor. NOELLE: ...I...will be right here with him. I mean, I am his wife, after all. Victor grimaces, never once looking away from Noelle as they each try to intimidate the other. VICTOR: Mm. Don't remind me. Noelle laughs quietly as Victor turns back around, finishing his drink. She saunters around to the other side of Victor, grabbing a glass for her own drink as she picks up the caraffe and begins to pour herself a drink. NOELLE: Oh come now, don't you want your nephew to be happy? VICTOR: Yes. Which is exactly why I want him far away from you, and preferably the rest of your dysfunctional family to boot! Noelle takes a sip from her drink, savouring the flavour, as she responds to Victor's repeated snipes, again with a smile and cool exterior. NOELLE: Well, don't worry about my family. You've already done your part in tearing ours apart. And juding by how tonight's going...it looks like you're doing wonders on your own. Victor looks menacingly at Noelle, who takes the opportunity to turn toward the hallway heading for the kitchen. NOELLE: I best check on Maggie and the boys. Enjoy your wallowing! Victor watches from his peripheral vision as Noelle casually walks out of the room. Once gone, he quickly finishes his drink, before slamming the glass down on the desk before him. VICTOR: Damn that little... --- Maggie turns around in the Kiriakis kitchen, holding some serving bowls she's pulled out from the pantry, and walks slowly toward the centre island, where Sonny leans against the counter, and Alex sits casually on a bench. They're relaxed, catching up, and helping bring a smile back to Maggie's face. MAGGIE: It's so nice to be back in a kitchen again. Alex, who's stealing some mini-profiterols from a bowl on the counter, looks over to Maggie, a wide smile on his face. ALEX: You know how funny that sounds, knowing you own a restaurant? Maggie and Sonny laugh, as Maggie smacks Alex's hand away as he reaches over to grab another profiterol. MAGGIE: Restaurants! And you're gonna spoil your supper if you keep that up. SONNY: And those abs, I might add. Alex gives Sonny a smug, mocking look. ALEX: Ahh you're just jealous because I got the good genes. SONNY: Yeah, well, apparently modesty's a Johnson thing anyway. ALEX: Ohhh! I know you didn't go there just now. SONNY: I SO did! As the boys laugh, Maggie leans over the table and grabs their hands, squeezing them tightly as she smiles, looking back and forth between the two of them. MAGGIE: You know...can I just say...this was exactly what I needed? SONNY: I'm glad to hear it, Maggie. I'm sorry about what's been happening between you and Uncle Vic. Maggie smiles warmly at Sonny. MAGGIE: Thanks, Sonny. I mean...I know it's not his fault. With everything that's happened. Titan being in so much trouble, and...Brady dying...I know it's been hard on him. ALEX: But it's not your fault, either. SONNY: Exactly. Don't be afraid to have some sort of...release. Maggie nods, sighing in a sense of relief of having been able to talk this out with Alex and Sonny. MAGGIE: I know. I was never very good at that. At least tonight, I've got the kitchen free for a bit. SONNY: Yeah! I was amazed you got Chef to go home early. Maggie gives a cute smile to Sonny. MAGGIE: I have my ways. As Maggie winks at the boys, everyone laughs, and Alex smiles, nodding in approval of his great aunt. MAGGIE: But you know...honestly, it's nice having a kitchen again. I thought I'd love being waited on hand and foot but...I miss everyone coming down to my house and hanging out in my kitchen. SONNY: Yeah! That used to be like...every lunch break. Me, Chad, Will, Gabi, Melanie... MAGGIE: I really miss that. But...I wouldn't trade it for life with Victor for anything. Alex pats Maggie's back gently, smiling approvingly, as Sonny takes a sip of his drink. ALEX: Well...we wouldn't trade you for anything either. You make a great addition to this family. Sonny holds up his drink, as Alex reaches over to grab his. Maggie, not having hers, laughs awkwardly, slightly embarrassed by the praised being given to her. SONNY: Hear hear! As Sonny and Alex toast, Will bursts into the room. He sees Sonny and Alex toast and senses the same tension as before. ALEX: Hey, Will! Will stops a moment before calling out to Sonny. WILL: Hey! ...Uh...Sonny, can I...talk to you a second? Sonny, sensing something's troubling Will, immediately walks over. SONNY: Uh, sure. Everything alright? WILL: Yeah, I just...I need to ask you something...in private. SONNY: Ssssure. Sonny and Will both look back into the room, with Sonny giving both Maggie and Alex a smile, while Will looks on, fixated on Alex, before catching himself and looking away. WILL: I won't keep him long, I promise. Maggie and Alex laugh quietly, as Sonny is dragged into the hall. Once in the hall, Sonny looks around, a bit annoyed by Will's awkward behaviour, he whispers intensely at Will. SONNY: What's wrong? You alright? Will begins to panic as he grabs Sonny, holding him tightly for a moment. WILL: I...I don't know. Sonny reciprocates, holding Will tightly in his arms for the first time in days. He savours the moment, as much as he worries for Will. SONNY: What is it? Tell me. Will holds back tears as he pulls back from his embrace with Sonny. Looking intensely at his fiance, tears in his eyes, he answers. WILL: It's your mom, Sonny. Sonny looks on, worry and aggravation painted on his face. --- Adrienne stands in the Kiriakis garden, facing away from a confused Justin. Justin stands, hands on hips, trying to sort out Adrienne's thought process. JUSTIN: Do you seriously think that Will is going to marry our son, his first boyfriend, I might add, only to throw everything they've worked so hard for away just as things are starting to smooth out for them? Adrienne laughs softly, as she turns around, shaking her head at her husband. ADRIENNE: Justin, you cannot be that naive. JUSTIN: And you can't possibly be that cynical. Do you hear yourself right now? Will is Sami's son, therefore he's inevitably going to turn to be a Samantha Gene Brady mini-me? Adrienne sighs, holding in her feelings as Justin ravishes her for her remark. ADRIENNE: That's not what I'm sayin-- JUSTIN: Then what ARE you saying, Adrienne? Because whatever it is, I don't think it's fair to Will, or to our son if you start trying to separate them again. All you're going to do is alienate them both. Is that what you really want? ADRIENNE: No! Of course not! Justin, I just...there is something going on between Alex and Will, and so help me, if your son comes between Sonny and Will-- Justin, taken aback by Adrienne's slip, cuts her off, stunning her into silence with his interjection. JUSTIN: My son? Adrienne, you helped raise Alex like he was your own...what are you saying? Adrienne struggles to find an answer, hoping not to make matters worse. Justin looks on, an increasingly hurt and angered look in his eye. --- Rafe looks confused at Hope. He looks on, attempting to figure out what she's referring to. RAFE: I...I don't know what you mean...I mean...we went on the info we had on this guy...it turned out to be wrong. End of story. Hope turns around, shaking her head in disagreement. She takes a second, sighing before responding to Rafe. HOPE: Not...exactly. Rafe squints in confusion, now shaking his head. RAFE: I don't get it. HOPE: Oh, Rafe, dammit! I just...I have...concerns. RAFE: About-- Hope turns around quickly, interrupting Rafe, a sudden intensity and anger in her voice. HOPE: ...About Jerome! About why we arrested him when he was...so diametrically opposite to what the real thief looked like. Rafe shrugs, trying to rationalize with Hope, but still uncomfortable. RAFE: Well...these things happen all the time, you know that-- HOPE: No! This...it's more than that. I mean... Hope looks down, turned back away from a confused Rafe. She looks at the ground, as if not even focused on anything in the room. She's intensely inside her own thoughts, and Rafe, her audience for her self-reflection. HOPE: ...I mean...Rafe, that profile. How many profiles have we seen...black male...early 20s... Hope turns back around, prepared to look at Rafe again. HOPE: What...what if Jerome's right? What if he was only made a suspect in the first place...because he was black? Rafe looks on, a conflicted look on his face, as he contemplates what Hope says to him. ---