Jack revealed that Lily had been involved in a car accident. From what little Jack said, a pair of teenagers were "out joyriding" lost control of their car and somehow hit Lily. An open six-pack of beer was found in the teens' front seat. Kit wondered how Edmund was planning on looking out for her. Perhaps he would "station [himself] behind the potted palms" in the lobby. Edmund grinned and told Kit that he wanted her to stay at Wildwind for the holiday. Kit felt like she was imposing, but Edmund insisted that he wanted her at Wildwind. Jack gave his approval to the idea and before leaving asked his sister if he could take the photo proofs with him. Kit nodded and gave Jack something else to take along: her necklace. She wanted Jack to give the necklace to Lily.
At the hunting lodge, Edmund helped Kit unpack her bags. His eyes opened wide when he pulled a slinky little negligee from one of Kit's suitcases. Kit snatched the garment away with a wry smile and headed off to unpack the rest of her belongings. She grabbed a step-stool and started putting things away in the closet. Kit lost her balance and fell backwards into Edmund's waiting arms. Only a split second passed before Edmund and Kit shared a very passionate kiss.
Hayley growled her disapproval with Mateo's suggestion. Her hands began to tremble. She gripped tighter onto the glass she was holding---and eventually he glass shatter in her hand. Shards of glass penetrated her palm, causing a steady stream of blood to trickle down her hand. Mateo tried to help his wife, but Hayley told him that she didn't need his assistance. Mateo claimed that he was "not crazy" about the idea of having Raquel live with them, but he saw it as the only alternative. Hayley suggested that they allow Max to stay with Raquel at the Pine Cone during the day and then take the boy at night. Matt reminded Hayley that nighttime was when Max most exhibited separation anxiety. Hayley turned things around and said that they could take Max during the day. Matt said that they could not go with that plan because of the judge's ruling. Hayley told Matt that when she was younger she was sent to the country for a few weeks as part of an after school program. For the first four days, she said that she had a horrible time. After the fourth day, however, Hayley said that she got over her homesickness. Matt argued that he did not want his son to think of their home as a "boot camp." Hayley nodded in agreement and announced that she did not plan on living at Wildwind much longer. She explained that after the holiday she wanted to begin searching for a new house---nothing extravagant. But the house would not have a spare room for Raquel, she announced adamantly. Mateo knew that he'd asked Hayley for an awful lot in the past few months and realized that this was his turn to give something back. Max burst into the room fresh from feeding the "horseys." Matt warmed up the little boy with some hot chocolate (with lots of marshmallows). The young couple told Max that it was naptime, but the boy informed them that his mother did not make him take a nap. Matt stood by the naptime decision, but that led to yet another problem. Max wanted his mommy to read him a story.
"What gives you that idea?" Dixie retorted nervously. For Tad, it wasn't a far stretch to think that Dixie might be sick. She did, after all, nearly pass out in front of him. Tad assured Dixie that he remembered their agreement to go their own ways if they did not meet up on top of the Statler Building, but he argued that this was different because he was concerned about her well-being. Something else that worried Tad was Dixie's choice in physicians. Why, he wondered, would Dixie opt to see David Hayward when Joe and Jake were but a phone call away. Dixie was silent. Again, Tad asked Dixie if she was okay. "You're scaring me," Tad said softly. Braden appeared out of nowhere and ordered Tad to leave Dixie alone. Braden wrapped his arm around Dixie and pulled her close. Tad's eyes nearly popped from their sockets. He asked Braden to explain his actions. With a quick glance at Dixie, Braden said that he was in on the "secret" that Dixie had been keeping. Tad chuckled and told Braden to clue him in on the big secret. Braden delivered the bombshell with a horrified Dixie looking on. He said that Dixie had lied about going to Paris---she'd been with him in New York the whole time. At first, Tad thought that Braden was trying to pass off a rather weak lie. Dixie confirmed that Braden was not lying. She also told Tad that Opal knew all about he time in New York, but that she had been asked to keep it quiet. Tad was floored. Dixie walked across the sun porch and kept her back turned to Tad. That way Tad couldn't see the pained look on her face. Braden bought Dixie a little time to get herself back together, dropping trivial details about the poetry readings they attended and the night clubs at which they frolicked. Finally composed, Dixie turned and told Tad that she and Braden were "just friends." Tad's heart broke into a thousand pieces. He bowed his head and walked out of the room. Braden told Dixie that he hoped he'd done the right thing. Dixie smiled weakly and told Braden that his performance was "brilliant." She told her friend that she'd tried to tell Tad about her health woes when she suffered an "attack." Braden wanted to take Dixie's mind off of her problems and asked her out for a cup of coffee. Dixie nodded and the pair went off together.
Tad burst into David's office and demanded to know if Dixie was sick. David blasted Tad's intrusion, saying that he was "fed up with [Tad's] interference." This wasn't the first time that the talk show host had barged into his office. David accidentally blundered by saying that he does not discuss his patients' medical conditions with outsiders. That let Tad know that something was, in fact, wrong with Dixie. David conceded that he's been treating Dixie, but he went no further. He told Tad that if Dixie wants him to know, she'll tell him herself. Tad filed out of the office and a little while later David left to attend to other business. Tad flagged down his brother, Jake, and begged him for help in breaking into Dixie's medical records. Jake initially refused, fearing that he'd get in trouble. He decided that he could get around the unethical nature of Tad's request by looking at Dixie's file and then "accidentally" forgetting to close it. Tad sat down at the computer and learned that Dixie was diagnosed with "parathesis." Jake explained that the term was a fancy way of saying that Dixie had suffered a panic attack. Tad realized that Dixie might have suffered her panic attack because she was nervous about telling him about her relationship with Braden. Tad vowed not to let the news get him down and asked his brother to join him for a night on the town.
A frantic Opal showed up at Belinda's apartment looking for Adrian. Belinda, who was still in her bed clothes late into the afternoon, listened as Opal said that Adrian had not returned home the night before. Belinda assured Opal that Adrian was "a big boy" who could take care of himself. Opal had it in her mind that Adrian had been "kidnapped by terrorists." He hadn't. Wrapped only in a towel, Adrian appeared in the doorway and told Opal that he was okay. Opal's face turned ghost white. She remarked that it would be "a good time for the Earth to open up" and swallow her whole. Opal was unable to look in Adrian's direction and spent most of the conversation looking at the floor or ceiling. Opal had picked up Belinda's mail on the way to her apartment and made small talk about a sale advertised in one of the circulars. Adrian apologized for not having called Opal to tell her that he wouldn't be spending the night at Cortlandt Manor. Opal decided that her presence wasn't needed and headed for the door. She told the couple to go back to whatever it was that they were doing. She stopped in her tracks and sort of cringed. Then she scurried on her way. Belinda and Adrian both chuckled about Opal's interruption. Adrian mused that Opal was acting like "a mother hen." Belinda reacted strangely to Adrian's observation, but she didn't seem to pay it much mind. She compared Adrian to Old Man Winter, saying that Adrian had her "shivering in a whole new way." The attorney then asked Adrian if he found it odd that Opal was so interested in his life. Adrian shrugged slightly and said that Opal cares about everyone who entered her life---from the mailman to the newspaper boy. Adrian recalled that he had an appointment to keep and headed for the shower. While he was cleaning up, Belinda placed a call to Opal and asked her to come back to her apartment in about half an hour. When Opal showed up, Belinda acted rather peculiarly. She downplayed her interest in Adrian, saying that she was just another of the "good times girls." She went on to say that Adrian was more interested in her than she was in him and hoped that Opal could help her let Adrian down easy. Opal became enraged with Belinda and blasted her decision to dump Adrian. Opal stomped her way towards the door. Before she could leave, Belinda called out to Opal and told her not to go. "You'd be upset if [Adrian] was hurt, wouldn't you?" Belinda asked. Opal turned and nodded her head. Belinda told Opal that she knew why Opal was so concerned about Adrian. "I know who Adrian really is," she announced.
Trevor kept his promise to his daughter and took the stray dog to an animal shelter. It was difficult to part with the furry little critter, but Trevor was comforted by knowing that the shelter did not euthanize any of the strays. Trevor bid the dog farewell and headed back home. When he left, the lock to the dog's cage dangled freely and unlocked. It took only a matter of minutes for the dog to wiggle its cage door open.
Edmund quickly pulled away from Kit and put her back on her feet. "I'm sorry," he said hurriedly. He made his way towards the door and might have left if Kit hadn't called out to him. "You can't pretend this didn't happen!" Kit shouted. Edmund stopped in his tracks and turned back to face Kit. Edmund claimed that their kiss was a "natural response to a very pleasant stimulus." He explained that the feeling was not that unlike the way someone might feel when they brushed up against someone attractive. Kit's nose wrinkled and she remarked that she's brushed up against many people, but never kissed any of them. Edmund shook his head and told Kit that they should not "be doing this." He added that anything between them was "impossible." Kit's face dropped. She wondered if Edmund's disinterest in her was a result of her rape. Edmund gently took Kit by the shoulders and swore that the attack had nothing to do with the way he felt. "I'm not the right man," he explained. Kit nodded her head slightly. She told Edmund that she knew what he was trying to do and told him that she admired him for that. What she was referring to was Edmund's undying love for his late wife, Maria. Edmund insisted that Maria was not the reason he felt as he did. He seemed frustrated and complained that everyone thinks they understand what he's feeling. "I care about you," admitted Edmund. He said that he still wanted to be friends with Kit, but that was where he wanted their relationship to remain. Kit said that she understood and told Edmund that she would not make any further advances. Edmund scurried out of the hunting lodge. Kit reached for her coat and followed after him. Edmund headed directly to the mausoleum. There he rubbed his hand across the engraved crypt marker bearing Maria's name. Edmund looked out the ajar crypt door as a cold winter breeze blew leaves across the ground. He told Maria that he was cold and that he's been cold ever since she left him. He wondered if his interest in Kit was somehow a subconscious attempt to make up for not being able to save Maria. Edmund sat down on the cold cement floor and began to sob. He begged his wife to come back to him. Outside, Kit listened with a sad look on her face. "For all time," Edmund said softly, "I will always love you until I die." Kit bowed her head and walked away.
Opal stopped dead in her tracks. She turned back towards Belinda with a stunned look on her face. "What do you mean?" she asked the attorney. Belinda remained composed, telling Opal that she knew what she was talking about. Opal told Belinda that she cared about Adrian because he had helped her through a very difficult time in her life. She noted that Adrian had a great sense of style, was a charmer, and also a very attractive young man. Belinda nodded, but informed Opal that she'd life "something very basic" off of the list of reasons why she should care about Adrian. Opal thought hard for several seconds. "You must be very proud of your son, Opal," Belinda said suddenly. Opal's eyes widened. "Have you lost your mind?" Opal snapped. She reminded Belinda that just a few weeks before she had accused her of having a crush on Adrian. Now she was accusing her of being Adrian's mother? Opal quipped that Belinda must have "left [her sense of] reality in the next county." Belinda rattled off a list of things that had tipped her off to the secret relationship Opal and Adrian shared. Opal waited on Adrian hand and foot, she was his cook, and "facilitator of his social life." Opal shook her head in disbelief. She asked Belinda where she was getting her ideas and, at one point, called her a "wacko." Belinda brought up the incredible rapport that Opal and Adrian shared. She admitted that she had once believed that Opal had romantic feelings for the secret agent, but she said that she no longer believed that. Opal was relieved and referred to Belinda's incorrect conclusion as the first sign that "the butter had slipped off [Belinda's] pancakes." Keeping true to her roots in law, Belinda continued mounting evidence to support her argument. Why, she asked, had Opal kept a picture of a man who'd supposedly give her a place to stay hidden inside a book for over thirty year? Opal claimed that she'd kept the photo for the same reason people keep pictures of their kindergarten teachers. She then sassed that people who keep photos of their kindergarten teachers do not necessarily harbor "some deep dark secret about learning the alphabet." But the look on Opal's face when she'd learned that Frank, Adrian's father, had dropped by Cortlandt Manor cinched the fact that something was not quite right. Opal explained that hearing Frank's name had made her think of an unpleasant time in her life, a time when her husband, Ray Gardner, beat her. Belinda nodded, but said that she felt that thinking about Frank also brought up other memories: memories of giving birth to Adrian. Opal fought off tears. She wagged her finger angrily at Belinda and warned her that she'd sue her---or do whatever else she had to do---to prevent Belinda from spreading her lies. Belinda repeatedly dared Opal to admit the truth. "I mean it," Opal snarled. "I'll skin you alive." Belinda remained insistent on learning the truth. She told Opal that she had once thought that she as a "compassion, decent, kind" person. Now, however, she had learned that Opal had deserted her son just because she was ashamed by having "slept with a Black man." That pushed Opal over the edge. She blasted Belinda for her assertion and vehemently denied being embarrassed of her relationship with Adrian's father. "If I did not love Adrian, I'd lock you in Palmer's [secret] room and throw away the key!" Belinda was surprised by Opal's admission of her feelings for Adrian. The tears flowed freely down Opal's cheek. She told Belinda that it breaks her heart to even look at Adrian because she wants to take him in her arms. Belinda didn't understand why Opal was unable to tell Adrian the truth. She said that giving Adrian to Frank and his wife as one of the hardest things she's ever had to do. She explained that having taken Adrian back to Ray Gardner would have resulted in catastrophe. She referred to Ray as a "racist murderer" who would surely have ended the little boy's life. That's why she opted to give her son to Frank. She felt that Adrian would have had a better life, a life where he could grow up healthy and become a man. The situation was a mixed bag for Opal. She ached when she thought of how Adrian had turned into a great guy without having had any part in his life. At the same time, though, she was proud of the man Adrian had become. Telling Adrian the truth would turn his world upside-down and Opal couldn't bear to hurt Adrian, Frank, or "the woman who's raised" Adrian. She never referred to Adrian's mother as his "mother," nor did she refer to her by name. Belinda nodded her head and told Opal that she understood. She also promised never to tell anyone what she'd learned.
At Cortlandt Manor, Palmer had a secret meeting with Walter, his attorney. Opal had filed for divorce and wanted half of everything Palmer owned. A hostile Palmer told his attorney that he had no plan to part with "a penny" of his worth, nor would he give up custody of his son. Walter informed Palmer that Opal had a claim to half of his worth because she had been one of the reasons he'd re-amassed his fortune. Opal had turned a family recipe into a fortune when she and Palmer took over the Chicken Shack. Palmer didn't care and told Walter to do whatever he had to do to dig up dirt on Opal. What neither man knew was that Adrian was listening from the other side of the door. After Walter left, Adrian strolled into the room and sat on a hassock. From his leather armchair, Palmer took potshots at Adrian. He asked him why he wasn't busy working and threatened to call his crony in Congress to recall or relocate Adrian. Senator Blogit, Adrian noted, had been a recipient of a sizeable contribution from Cortlandt Electronics. About two months later, Cortlandt Electronics had ironically received a lucrative government contract. Palmer shut up very quickly. Adrian let it be known that he too was in good terms with the Senator. Adrian rose to his feet and walked over to Palmer. He was only a few inches away from Palmer's face and Palmer was shaking noticeably. He asked the mogul how he managed to get "such a close shave without looking in the mirror." Palmer was unamused by the implication that he was a vampire and thereby unable to see his own reflection. Adrian left the room momentarily and returned with a piece of paper. He demanded that Palmer sign the paper, a "full disclosure" document on which Palmer was to list all of his assets. That way it would be easy to divide the assets in half. The terms of the document warned Palmer that if he failed to list an asset it would immediately be given to Opal. Palmer laughed at Adrian and told him that he was a fool if he believed he would sign the paper. Adrian put his hand around Palmer's throat and remarked that he knew one thousand ways to kill a man. One of them, he said, made it look like the victim had died of a heart attack. Opal returned home and told Adrian that he could unhand her husband. She said that she was confident that Belinda would stick it to Palmer in court. Adrian told Opal about Palmer's meeting with Walter, but Opal was unfazed. She told Palmer that he could do all the digging he wanted because there were no skeletons in her past. Adrian stepped up behind Opal and informed Palmer that he'd be there to back her up every step of the way. Palmer's eyes darted back and forth between Opal and Adrian. Like Belinda, it appeared that Palmer was beginning to question Adrian and Palmer's relationship.
When Trevor returned home from the animal shelter, he found a less than merry tree trimming party. Amanda was down in the dumps and Tim and Janet were unable to lift her spirits. Amanda said that she was upset because everyone had an ornament to call their own---everyone except Harold, that is. Janet pledged to pick up a special ornament at the mall in the morning. Trevor headed to the door and when he opened the door, the stray dog scurried into the house. Amanda flipped upon seeing the dog and accused her father of having lied to her when he said that he'd taken the dog to the shelter. Trevor swore that he'd done what he said. His story was later proven when the shelter called and told Trevor that all of the dogs had somehow escaped. Amanda ordered the dog be taken back immediately, but it was too late to return to the shelter. Tim wanted the dog to stay inside, but Amanda demanded that the dog sleep outside. The Dillons called it a night, their furry friend sleeping on the front porch in an old sleeping bag. At some point before turning in, both Tim and Trevor sneaked outside to sit with the dog. Tim wanted to adopt the dog and said that Amanda would just have to "deal with it." Trevor hinted that it wasn't that simple---and reminded Tim of the way he'd acted when he first become romantically interested in Janet. The pair headed back inside and went upstairs to bed. After everyone was asleep, tufts of smoke billowed out from the crack under the basement door.
His new office barely broken in, David had already had more than his fair share of visitors. Gillian was next on the list to drop by unannounced. In a plain, unmarked white envelope, Gillian had placed fifty thousand dollars. She handed the envelope back to the doctor and told him that she did not need the money he'd given her. David seemed surprised by Gillian's actions. While she may not have needed the money to bail Ryan out of jail, that did not change the fact that she had still slept with David. David wondered if he was being given the "royal kiss off." Gillian again repeated her decision that they could never be intimate again. She told David that she would "always think of [him] fondly and hoped that he would someday get over her. Gillian left the office with her head bowed solemnly. David burst into laughter and shook his head. He picked up the telephone and placed a call to an acquaintance. That acquaintance turned out to be Kyle, a lab technician at the hospital. David had concocted a tale about doing scientific research on unborn children. David smiled and told Kyle that he would include his name on his research if he could help him out. David guessed that he might need amniotic fluid samples. Ironically, Kyle was the very technician who handled those samples. Of course, David knew exactly what he was doing and there was no coincidence. Kyle headed to the lab, snatched the most recently drawn amniotic fluid, and gave it to David. Again by plan, the sample belonged to Liza. David waited until Kyle left before thinking of how he would go about the next phase of his plan---getting a DNA sample of Adam so that he could compare Liza's baby's genetic makeup to that of Liza and Adam.
It had been only six hours since Liza began her doctor imposed bed rest and already Liza was restless. She'd had her fill of puzzles and magazines and even a gaggle of videos couldn't hold her interest. Adam smiled and announced that he knew exactly what Liza needed. Liza cringed slightly but allowed Adam to go about his business. Some time later, Adam returned with two plates of food. Liza was amazed. In all the time she spent with Adam, she'd never seen him cook. Adam corrected her: He does not cook. He "creates gastronomical experiences." He softly noted that there were a lot of things about him that Liza did not know. That, he said, was one of the dangers of assuming that they would always be together. Liza thanked Adam for having been there with her during her amnio. Adam smiled and thanked Liza for giving him hope. He asked her not to feel as though she was leading him on or giving him mixed signals. All Adam wanted from Liza was to ability to hope that they might one day get back together. The topic of conversation turned from relationships to poker of all things. Liza and Adam played a "hypothetical" game of poker---and Liza was winning big. She won seventy-million dollars and Adam's private jet. Of course, this was all in fun. Then came the time to make a real bet. If Liza were to win, she wanted everything Adam owned. If Adam won, Liza would agree to give him another chance.
Braden and Dixie skipped out on a sophisticated coffeehouse and ended up at The Pit. There, Dixie found the very person she'd been trying to escape: Tad. Tad and Jake sat across the bar with a pair of unknown women. Dixie sighed upon seeing Tad. Braden suggested that they leave, but Dixie said that she wanted to stay. Tad saw Dixie and began flirting shamelessly with Lenora, the woman sitting next to him. Dixie watched uneasily and told Braden that she might regret her decision to cut Tad loose. She said that Tad was quite a catch and that any woman would give her eye teeth to be with him. Braden casually remarked that Tad wasn't that special and again asked if she wanted to leave. Dixie shook her head and then smiled peculiarly. She asked Braden if he wanted to have a little fun. Braden agreed and the pair were soon laughing it up. Tad noticed the chipperness at the nearby table and drifted off into deep thought. His distance sort of put up a barrier between Tad and his date. The two women headed off to the bar and Jake scolded his brother for being a wet blanket. Dixie scurried up to the bar and sat down next to Tad's date. She asked Lenora if Tad had gotten over his "drinking problem." She went on to say that Tad had had his license revoked as a result of frequent DUI charges. The woman became very unhappy and decided that Tad was no longer the man for her. In stepped Braden to sweep Lenora off her feet. Dixie hurried over to Tad's table and asked him if he'd like to dance. Tad shook his head unenthusiastically and told Dixie that dancing wasn't his cup of tea. Dixie was disappointed and did everything she could to convince Tad to dance with her, but Tad didn't budge. Dixie hit the dance floor and joined in on a linedance. She took every opportunity to look over and Tad and flash her winning smile. Tad watched with a smile on his face, but when the dancing was done the pair failed to connect. Tad was obviously still hurt by the way he'd been shunned by Dixie and Dixie still did not want to tell Tad that she still cared about him.
Janet tucked Amanda into bed and headed back to her bedroom. Amanda reached under her pillow and produced a picture of Harold that she, unbeknownst to anyone else, slept with every night. She drifted off to sleep and began dreaming of Harold. In her dream, Harold was at the front door, scratching frantically. Outside, the stray dog began yipping and yapping. He struggled to free himself from his collar and eventually did so. When he did, he jumped through an open window and raced up the steps. By now, the smoke had flooded the house. The dog entered Amanda's bedroom and licked the young girl's face. Amanda was not happy and ordered the dog to leave her alone. The dog wouldn't leave. He grabbed Amanda's sleeve with his mouth and gently tugged on her arm. Amanda crawled out of bed and asked the dog what he was doing. Then she saw the smoke. She raced out into the hallway and screamed for her parents and brother. It seemed like an eternity before everyone woke up, but one by one the Dillon family popped out of their bedrooms. The Dillons raced down the steps. Before he would leave the house, Tim plucked his mother's angel from the tree as well as a picture of Natalie. They all safely escape the fire and the fire department was at the house within minutes. The blaze was doused and the family was given the green light to return inside. Amanda looked around and saw no sign of the little dog. She began to panic, fearing that something horrible had happened to the dog. Janet and Trevor looked nervously at each other. Amanda raced back into the house determined to find the dog that had saved her life.
Ryan returned to his room at Myrtle's and found an unexpected visitor in his room. Myrtle had let herself into the room and made up the bed with fresh, flannel sheets. Myrtle apologized for the intrusion and assured Ryan that she would not enter their room when they were in it! She handed Ryan a note from Gillian and went on her way. Gillian returned home later and Ryan quizzed her about where she'd been. A bouquet of flowers in her arms, Gillian seemed a bit confused by Ryan's questions. She told him that she'd written him a note to tell him where she was going. Ryan grinned and handed Gillian the note; It had been written in Hungarian. Gillian chuckled and apologized for her mistake. Now came the task of deciding who would sleep where. Ryan offered to sleep in the chair, but Gillian argued that Ryan should have the bed because he was paying for the room. Ryan wanted to unpack his belongings, but Gillian had already taken up all of the drawers. She offered to move her things from at least one of the drawers. The first item she removed was a lacey, white negligee. Ryan's eyes bulged at the thought of his wife wearing the negligee. He didn't have to wonder what she looked like in it because Gillian would soon be wearing it! The pair eventually decided to sleep in bed together. They were convinced that they could fight any urges that might crop up. Gillian washed up and came out of the bedroom wearing the aforementioned negligee. She realized that something a little less revealing might be more appropriate. When she crawled into bed wearing one of Ryan's shirts, Ryan noticed that Gillian smelled of his favorite body lotion. The smell was intoxicating and being next to the woman he loved wasn't making things any easier for Ryan. Ryan was uncomfortable on his side of the bed and asked if they could switch sides. The couple carefully rolled around so that they didn't have to get out of bed. As they did this, their bodies pressed against each other and their lips were but a few inches apart. They continued rolling over, but neither was able to get to sleep. They stared at the ceiling, each with a dazed look of love on their faces.
Pre-Christmas festivities took place all over Pine Valley. From the Dillon home, to Wildwind, to the Martin house, seemingly everyone was enjoying the holiday spirit---well, almost everyone. Amanda peered out the front window hoping to see a sign of the little dog that had alerted her to the fire raging in the basement. Tim explained that the dog had probably been frightened off by the smoke. Amanda informed her brother that the dog couldn't have been frightened because the dog had gotten into the house and warned her about the fire. Janet entered the room and tried her best to put a positive spin on the situation---but it did little good. Trevor returned home from some last minute shopping and found his family down in the dumps. One of the purposes of Trevor's shopping trip was to locate a "Harold ornament" for the tree. As hard as he look, he couldn't find an ornament that shared any resemblance to the late family pet. Janet had similar luck and while Tim found a dog ornament, it looked nothing like Harold. The doorbell rang and Amanda's ears perked up. Unfortunately, the pup had not returned. A solemn Derek entered the house to follow up on an urgent call placed earlier in the night by Amanda. Trevor was somewhat embarrassed when Derek explained that Amanda had asked him to put out an APB on the missing dog. Derek assured Trevor that it was okay because things were slow down at the station. Derek had nothing to report and told Amanda that the police were on the lookout for the dog. Amanda decided that there was only one way to get the dog, which she'd named Smokey, back to their home: an urgent Email to Santa Claus. Amanda was certain that Santa could deliver Smokey under the Christmas tree. She rattled off a quick electronic message and zapped it off to the North Pole. With a slight smile, Tim reminded Amanda that she didn't like "Smokey." Amanda shook her head and called Smokey a hero. In the background, Trevor and Janet exchanged content smiles. Suddenly, a distinct bark and faint scratching sounded from outside. Amanda and Tim both scurried to the door and found Smokey waiting outside the door. They let the little dog into the house and the dog was instantly showered with love and affection. Mysteriously, a new ornament had appeared on the tree: a wooden carving that look exactly like Harold. Janet looked at a picture of Natalie and smiled broadly.
At Myrtle's, Gillian lit about a dozen candles and scattered them about the room she shared with Ryan. She turned off the lights and awaited her husband's return. Sure enough Ryan did return, but his entrance was not what Gillian had anticipated. In the dark, Ryan stumbled into the room, tripped over a Christmas tree Gillian had set up, and crashed to the floor. Gillian flipped on the lights and rushed to Ryan's side. She began coddling him to make sure that he was okay. Ryan suffered no injuries in the fall, but the incident did further bolster his disdain for Christmas. Gillian was shocked that someone could actually hate Christmas. After hearing Ryan's explanation, however, she understood fully. Ryan explained that nearly every Christmas while he lived at home was marred by his parents getting drunk and fighting. One Christmas in particular stood out in his mind. He had landed a part in a Christmas pageant as a shepherd. Before he could get to the play, he tried to break up a fight between his mother and father. He stepped between his parents and ended up taking a punch dished out by his father. Gillian was heartbroken and apologized for her holiday decoration. Ryan lowered his head and told Gillian that she had done nothing wrong. He picked up a bouquet of mistletoe from the floor and asked Gillian if she knew what it was. Gillian shrugged and said she'd surmised that it was some type of symbol of good luck. Ryan grinned and gave Gillian the true story about the plant after which he held the bouquet over Gillian's head. He then leaned over and gave Gillian a soft, tender, and very passionate kiss.
Another unhappy Christmas camper was little Max. He hadn't been sleeping or eating well since moving to Wildwind. Hayley insisted that the boy was still getting acclimated to his new surroundings, but Mateo didn't think that that was the case. He hinted that his son would never get used to Wildwind as long as he was without his mother. Hayley let out a deep sigh and warned Matt that it would be unwise to revisit the idea of having Raquel move into the castle with them. Matt offered to let Max open one gift early, but the seemingly innocent gesture caused some problems. Max informed his dad that he usually waits until Santa brings the gifts before he opens them. Both Hayley and Mateo closed their eyes as they realized that they had completely forgotten about the Santa Claus aspect of the holiday. Dimitri happened to be hovering near the front entrance when the doorbell rang. He let Raquel into the house and thanked her for coming. It could not be determined if Raquel's visit had been prearranged or if Dimitri or someone else had stepped in at the last moment to make it possible. Max lit up when he saw his mother and begged her not to leave him alone at Wildwind. Hayley told Matt that she had to deliver a few presents to her loved ones. She had hoped that Mateo would go along with her, but Mateo wasn't about to leave. Again the doorbell rang. This time when Dimitri answered the door he received a less than happy surprise. Kit forced a smile and told Dimitri that she wanted to drop off a few gifts for Edmund and the kids. Dimitri was civil, but that was a long way from being nice. Edmund wandered down the steps and invited Kit into his home. She initially rejected the invitation, but Edmund noted that Kit had nowhere else to be and she finally agreed to stay a while. Hayley returned home from her special deliveries and had a present of her own. Seeing Max cuddled up next to Raquel on the sofa prompted her to want to give the boy a pre-Christmas present. She asked the boy how he'd like it if his mommy moved into Wildwind with them.
Stuart and Marian were all decked out in holiday garb---from the antlers on their heads to the red Rudolph noses smack-dab in the middle of their faces. Junior and Dixie were joking around when the boy wondered if they might not have more fun if "Jamie and his dad" were to stop by. Meanwhile at The Martins, Jamie was just about to ask Tad a similar question. Jamie asked if Dixie and Junior might be stopping by. Tad shook his head slightly and told his son not to count on it. Liza paced nervously around the house. She informed Tad that Dr. Clader had promised to call her with the results of the amnio. Tad took his friend's hand and told her that he was confident that everything was going to be fine. Adrian and Belinda arrived at the party, but Belinda wouldn't be sticking around long. Brooke made an announcement inviting everyone to her home for an "open house" on New Year's. Nearly everyone accepted the invite on the spot---except Adrian. He announced that he wasn't sure if he'd still be in town by then. Opal bowed her head and walked across the room. Belinda chased after her and asked her if she was going to be okay. Opal nodded meekly and said that she had hoped that Belinda had been able to talk Adrian out of leaving town. Adrian walked over to the two ladies and asked Belinda if he could have a moment of her time. The young couple strolled across the house and Adrian told Belinda that they had a date at a telephone booth across town. Belinda smiled deviously and wondered if Adrian had some sort of outdoor romance session in store. Adrian returned the grin and told her that someone would be calling her. Adrian's face lit up. She knew that Noah and her mother would be calling. She thanked Adrian for the present and dashed out of the house. The topic of the conversation turned to "Birdzilla," the huge turkey Tad had purchased for Thanksgiving dinner. Phoebe and Myrtle both mused that Tad had to use a chainsaw to carve the turkey because it was frozen even after being in the oven for hours! Joe offered to make dinner for everyone, but again the chainsaw worked its way back into the conversation. The front door swung open and Ruth (the role has now been reprised by Mary Fickett, the original Ruth Martin) appeared in the doorway, her finger waving in the air. "Not in my kitchen," she barked. Everyone rushed the door to give Ruth a hug. Ruth told everyone that she missed them dearly and that after a few more weeks in Mexico, she'd be back in Pine Valley to stay.
Back at the gatehouse, Dixie and Braden were engaged in some holiday chatter when "Scrooge" arrived. Adam puckered his lips upon hearing Dixie's new name for him. He took one look at the foam antlers on her head and fired back with a zinger of his own. "Better lose the antlers before Rudolph answers your mating call," he chuckled. Adam cast a frigid glance in Braden's direction prompting Braden to make the observation that Adam must not like him. Adam claimed that Braden was "right up there with fruit cake and figgy pudding" on his list of likes. He then whispered to Dixie that her new boyfriend was actually making him "long for Tad Martin." Braden left the room to escape the tongue-lashing. Adam told Dixie that he'd bought Junior a telescope for Christmas-and he hoped that that was a smart buy. Dixie smiled and told her former husband that Junior loved everything he bought for him. Dixie asked Adam why he'd spent the previous night away from Chandler Mansion. Adam explained that he'd stayed with Liza because she had to remain immobile for twenty-four hours. Dixie was somewhat surprised by the way Adam and Liza were getting close again. Dixie answered a knock on the door and, speak-of-the-devil, found looking back at her from the outside. "Ho!" Dixie bellowed. She followed it up quickly with two additional "hoes." Liza wandered over to Braden and looked him up from tip to bottom. She had heard Tad speak of Braden, but this was the first time that she'd see him face to face. Liza's cell phone began to chirp. She knew that Dr. Clader was probably calling her, but she was too nervous to answer the phone. She ultimately did answered the phone. When she received the doctor's news, she fell into Adam's arms and began sobbing. After several minutes of crying, Liza looked up and told Adam that the test showed that her baby was fine. Marian return and was briefed on the good news. She sensed that Liza was holding back on something---and sure enough she was. The doctor had also informed Liza that her baby was going to be a girl.
Outside, Dixie looked up at the stars and looked for "the Christmas star," the same star she had wished upon several years earlier for Tad to come back to her. Now, she was about to ask the star for yet another favor. This time Dixie wanted to have her heart problem completely cured so that she and Tad could get back together. Across town, Tad was outside on his parents' porch also wishing on the star---and also hoping that somehow he and Dixie might find their way back to one another.
Due to the Christmas holiday, All My Children will not be shown. Broadcasting will resume on Monday where Thursday's show concluded.
On behalf of everyone involved with the operation of Soap Opera Central, I wish you and your family the safest and happiest holiday.