Both being from the same small West Virginia town, Stuart and Becca had an endless number of stories to share with one another. Stuart momentarily forgot that there were others in the room, but when he snapped back to the present he quickly introduced Becca to Marian. Becca forced a smile and softly noted that she and Marian had already met. Becca offered to give Marian a homemade remedy for her rash, but Marian declined after stating that her dermatologist had already given her a lotion. Marian looked towards Scott and told him that she'd thought of a great idea for his film project: love. Marian went on a lengthy explanation of how Scott could follow couples in the various stages of love. Scott interrupted and explained that, thanks to Becca, he'd already come up with the perfect theme. Marian was not at all thrilled by the thought of doing a film on break-ups, but she seemed even less happy that Becca had thought of the idea. Stuart was simply crazy about the young woman. He got caught up in the moment and suggested that Scott call Adam to ask if he'd bankroll the film project. Becca cleared her thought and reminded the two men that Adam had just gotten married and probably didn't want to be disturbed. Stuart remained giddy about meeting Becca even after Becca returned to Tad and Dixie's house. Marian, however, had moved on to other issues. She again expressed her unhappiness that Stuart and Scott had to ask Adam for money. Stuart sensed an argument coming and tried his darnedest to change the subject. He suddenly called out to "Nurse Marian" to help nurse him back to health. Marian smiled devilishly and gently chewed on his earlobe.
The door to Erica's house opened slowly and a slightly confused Janet walked inside. Erica's house was eerily quiet and numerous bouquets of flowers adorned the house. Myrtle, Janet, and Brooke had all been summoned by Erica, but no one knew exactly why. The three women---but mostly Myrtle and Janet---spoke of how badly Erica had made them feel when she went on her tirades about loyalty and friendship. Janet said that she was not sure that she could handle another "high and mighty" speech from her friend. Erica slowly walked down the stairs and greeted the women. "I want to offer you my deepest apology," Erica said softly. Erica said that her facial injuries were no reason to lash out at the people who had meant the most to her---her friends. Erica said that she now knew who her real friends really were. "Does that mean we can break into a chorus of Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead?" Janet asked wryly. Erica bowed her head slightly and said that she'd prefer not to discuss Vanessa. Erica stepped towards Janet and apologized for the way she'd treated her. She said that she'd lost a lot of sleep over a comment she made to Janet telling her that she was "just a bookkeeper." Janet assured Erica that all was forgiven. Erica puckered her lips slightly and told Janet that it must have been hard for Janet not to fire back at her, musing that she had a "quick temper and a big mouth." Janet laughed and the two women shared a hug. Erica then turned to Myrtle and apologized to her long-time friend for always being there for her. "You are like a second mother," Erica said. "You're always there to tell me what I don't want to hear." Myrtle and Erica both chuckled and embraced. Brooke's eyes bulged as Erica turned in her direction. Erica praised Brooke for having "a lot more courage" than she'd eve given her credit for. Brooke cocked her head to the side and asked Erica not to get too sappy. Erica said that she would do no such thing. She wiped a tear from her eye and told Brooke that she doesn't think that she has "any sense of style" and urged Brooke to stop buying her clothes at outlet malls. "And I find it very annoying that you have never met a man that I haven't met first," Erica snapped. Brooke raised her eyebrows and muttered, "If I waited for a man you never met..." Erica laughed softly. She said that Brooke was "an intelligent, self-confident, focused" woman and admitted that she was often jealous of Brooke for having those three character traits. Myrtle said that she couldn't wait to tell Opal the news that Erica was back. Opal had been invited to the gathering, but other commitments prevented her from being there. Erica had more news for the trio. She announced that she was headed to Brazil in the morning to undergo reconstructive surgery. Her plastic surgeon determined that the time was right to operate. The women wished Erica well, but they had some news of their own. Janet confessed that she'd had Trevor call some of his friends to do research on Erica's doctor. Brooke, too, admitted that she'd used Tempo's resources to check into the surgeon's past. Both women boasted that the doctor was "a genius" who had worked miracles many times in the past. Before leaving, Myrtle asked Erica why she had so many flowers. Janet looked around and noted that there were nineteen bouquets. "Well, you know that nineteen has always been my lucky number," Erica smiled. [The writers carefully inserted the flowers into the scene as a way to congratulate Susan Lucci for winning the Daytime Emmy---on her nineteenth nominations. The explanation on the show was that Erica's doctor contacted her on the nineteenth of the month to tell her that her face was ready for surgery.] Erica again thanked her three friends, surprisingly lumping occasional nemesis Brooke into the same category as Janet and Myrtle.
Even though she'd promised not to look at or talk about Ryan, Gillian couldn't seem to do anything but obsess about her former husband. Normally quite patient, Jake was beginning to tire of Gillian's antics. Gillian, however, seemed oblivious to the fact that she was slowly irritating her date. The pair hit the dance floor. Gillian rested her head on Jake's shoulder, but stared into the distance at Ryan; she was certain that something was upsetting Ryan and she wanted to be sure that he was okay. Finally Jake spoke up and told Gillian that if she did not stop talking about Ryan, he was going to leave. Then he came up with another idea. He knew of a club in Center City with "horrible music" and "low rent" clientele, but he was certain that Ryan would not be there. Gillian smiled, took Jake's hand, and the pair left. Their departure was not unobserved. Ryan looked up from chopping fruit slices and watched the couple walk out the front door.
In the back room, Hayley tearfully told Mateo that she "can't do this any more." Mateo apologized for speaking endless about Max and Raquel. Max and Raquel, claimed Hayley, were not the problems. "It's just me," she concluded. After a deep breath, Hayley said, "I can't live with you any more. I have to move out." Mateo was stunned. "We love each other," he said. Mateo misunderstood what Hayley was trying to tell him; She was not leaving him, rather she was taking a mental health leave. Hayley referred to Mateo as a "good and wonderful person." She said that she wanted the best for both Max and Raquel, but admitted that when she looks across the courtyard and their condo she "resents them." Giving up time with Mateo and not being able to get pregnant only compound her woes. "It's too much to live with anger and resentment," she said. Mateo accused Hayley of giving up, a charge Hayley vehemently denied. She explained that she needed time away to refresh herself so that she could come back stronger than ever. "I almost took a drink tonight," she sobbed. Again Mateo looked as though he'd been slapped across the face. Hayley assured her lover that Ryan had stopped her before she'd taken a drink, but the fact that she'd come so close scared her. She chalked up her close encounter to the pain she'd felt after receiving the bouquet at Liza and Adam's wedding. Mateo suggested that they take a few days and get away together. Unfortunately, Hayley did not see that as a fix because her problems would be waiting for her when they returned. Mateo wondered if this was Hayley's way of asking him to choose between her and his son. Hayley shook her head and said that she would never think of asking him to do that. Hayley knew that Mateo would choose his son and, in her words, that was "the right thing to do." She felt horribly for the way Mateo was being "pulled in two directions." She asked that Mateo continue to love her, saying that that love would help her through. Hayley softly announced that she was going to attend a midnight AA meeting and then return home to pack her bags. On her way out of the club, Hayley stopped to say goodnight to Ryan. "You saved my life tonight," she whispered.
In the morning, Erica took one final look at herself in the mirror before gathering her bags. She quickly called Bianca to tell her what was going on. She swore that she was not afraid, but asked her daughter to say a prayer for her. Erica promised that when her recovery was complete, they would spend some time together.
At the hospital, Stuart and Scott set up information booths for the Day of Compassion/AIDS Awareness Day. Stuart gently stroked a picture of his late wife, Cindy. Marian slowly walked into the solarium and placed a vase of daisy next to Cindy's picture. Gillian arrived and offered to write a donation check to the AIDS fund. Brooke appeared a little while later with two checks---one from Tempo and one from her personal account. Marian mentioned that Erica had dropped by earlier in the day to drop of checks as well. As Brooke was informing Marian and Stuart that Erica was on her way to Rio de Janeiro for reconstructive surgery, David passed by in the hall. He quickly raced to the phone and asked his secretary to cancel all of his appointments and to book him an immediate flight to Rio.
Her bags only slightly packed, Hayley fell asleep on the sofa of her condo. Mateo returned home and gently covered Hayley with a blanket. He stroked her hair softly and sat down in a chair to watch his lover sleep. When Hayley did wake, she tried to quietly sneak out without disturbing Mateo. Mateo heard the noise and jumped up. He asked Hayley not to leave because he'd come up with a solution to their problem. Mateo said that he had decide to "move [Raquel and Max] away."
To repay Tad and Dixie for allowing her to stay with them, Becca served up a delicious home-cooked breakfast. Dixie assured Becca that she was not intruding. Becca didn't even impose by sitting at the breakfast table. Instead she allowed Tad, Dixie, Junior, and Jamie to enjoy the food she'd served up. From out of nowhere Jake plopped down in a spare chair and started shoveling pancakes into his waiting mouth. This would be the boys' last breakfast at home for a while because after breakfast they'd be heading off to camp. As Jake munched, he flashed pictures he'd taken at Liza and Adam's wedding. Tad and Dixie examined every picture but couldn't help but notice that every picture was of Colby. Jake smiled proudly and muttered that he'd get pictures of the bride and groom at the next wedding. The unexpected visitors continued to grow in number as Scott dropped by to ask Tad if he could use WRCW's editing room for his documentary. Tad promised to help out, but he and Dixie were both concerned that Scott would have troubles getting people to talk about their breakups on film. Becca offered to make another batch of pancakes for Scott, but Scott declined when Becca informed him that she would not be eating because she had to take the boys to camp. Scott looked at Junior and Jamie and uttered the one magic word that makes boys of all ages beam: convertible. Scott offered to drive Becca and the boys to camp---and of course the boys were all in favor of the idea. "Alone at last," Tad purred after the group left. "Well... almost." Tad turned to Jake and told him to "get out." Tad, of course, was only toying with his brother---but Jake wanted to continue enjoying breakfast. Eventually, he did agree to hit the road and Tad and Dixie settled down for a little one-on-one time. Tad hoisted Dixie into the air and slowly carried her towards the bedroom. He got all of three or four steps when the phone started ringing. Tad vowed not to answer the phone, but he to when Adrian's voice sounded on the answering machine with urgent news about Opal.
"You'd actually send them away?" Hayley asked half in shock and half in jubilance. Mateo spoke softly and explained that he didn't actually plan on having Raquel and Max move away from Pine Valley. This was more of a venue change involving moving Raquel and Max to another apartment complex. Hayley was concerned that Mateo was forgetting about Max's needs. "Max is not the only equation here," said Mateo in a misguided attempt to use mathematics in the conversation. Hayley admitted that she'd dreamt about the day that Mateo would tell her that he'd put her needs before those of Max and Raquel. At the same time, however, she felt horribly for feeling that way. "The person who has to disappear is me," Hayley said. Mateo urged Hayley to think things over before jumping to a decision. Max wandered into the room and told his father that he was ready to fix the window he'd broken. Again, Max failed to acknowledge Hayley's presence. Matt urged his son to say good morning to Hayley. It did little good as Max mumbled his usual, unenthusiastic greeting to Hayley. Mateo knew that he had unfinished business with Hayley, so he asked his son to run to the playground and play with one of his friends. Mateo looked into Hayley's eyes and said that he could forget about fixing the window for now. Hayley shook her head. Too much of their life has been about forgetting of late---forgetting about having a baby or forgetting about getting married. Mateo stepped forward and tried to console Hayley, but she pushed him away. "Please don't," she said to Mateo's advances. "Max is your first-born. He needs his father. You couldn't survive without Max anymore than you could survive without..." She stopped, but Mateo quickly filled in the missing word," You." Hayley told Mateo that she loved him and that she wanted to be with him, but she knew that sending Max and Raquel away was not going to solve anything. Mateo nodded his head and told Hayley that he respects her decision even if he doesn't really understand it. Hayley continued packing her bags. She became extremely sentimental when she came across the card she'd given to Mateo to tell him that she wanted to start a family with him. Hayley and Mateo both reached out for her suitcase, their hands brushing. They were drawn closer and shared a short, gentle kiss. Mateo put his hand on his lover's waist and tried to pull her towards him, but Hayley resisted her urges and pulled away.
Jack met Brooke at The Valley Inn for breakfast. Jack brief Brooke on his investigation into Vanessa's past. In short, he hadn't found squat. Brooke smiled and told Jack that she no longer needed him to go after Vanessa because "something wonderful turned up." Suddenly a voice sounded and announced that "Mrs. Cortlandt" wanted to speak to all of the diners. Opal, with Adrian and Belinda just a few steps behind her, smiled gleefully as she addressed the crowd. She stated that she'd just gotten a dose of incredible news and wanted to share her happiness with everyone. She raised her hands in the air and proclaimed that she would pick up the tab for everyone's breakfast. The trio walked across the room and joined Brooke and Jack. Belinda explained that Opal's happiness was tied to a huge win in court. A judge had given Opal sole custody of Peter. Palmer was allowed to see his son, but only on supervised visitations. Brooke had even more good news for Opal. She informed her that Erica was en route to Brazil for reconstructive surgery. Opal's eyes lit up when she learned that Erica had apologized for treating her friends poorly. Opal was thrilled that "the she-devil" was finally out of Erica's life. That, of course, being Vanessa. Opal claimed that she was "flying so high" that nothing could bring her down. She may have spoken a bit too soon. "Uh oh," Brooke mumbled as she look towards the doorway. Opal turned and saw that Palmer had entered the dining room. She rose from her chair and scurried across the room stating that the special of the day was "stuffed crow." Opal and Palmer bickered back and forth about the day's events in court. Palmer informed his ex-wife that he'd already filed an appeal. Opal recognized Palmer's companion as a member of Cortlandt Electronics' board. She smiled broadly and advised the man that if Palmer was trying to buy his vote, he should hold out for something better than breakfast. Palmer warned Opal that he would make her life miserable if she tried to cross him again. Opal remained surprisingly calm until Palmer a "tacky, overteased, low-class piece of trash." Opal grabbed a tray from a passing waiter and tried to smoosh a plate of eggs in Palmer's face. Luckily, Adrian happened to be standing by and grabbed the plate away from Opal before she could do any damage. Adrian had just gotten off of the phone with Tad and told him that Opal wanted to celebrate her court victory with him. Tad declined, but he changed his mind when he learned that Opal and Palmer were squaring off. He sadly told Dixie that their romantic time would have to wait until later. Opal rejoined her friends, but she only warmed her seat for a few minutes. "My day just keeps getting better," she cackled when she noticed that Vanessa had filed into the dining room. Jack smiled broadly as Opal waltzed across the room. Opal pulled up a chair at Vanessa's table just as Vanessa placed a call to the hospital. She'd asked to speak to David and was stunned to learn that her son had flown off to Rio de Janeiro. Opal took pleasure in knowing that Vanessa had been cut out of Erica's circle of friends. Vanessa, however, claimed that she'd simply forgotten that Erica had been scheduled for surgery. Opal shook her head and ordered Vanessa to stop the games. She grinned as she warned Vanessa that it would only be a matter of time before she was run out of town. Palmer suddenly appeared behind her and ordered her to stop "assaulting" Vanessa while she was having her morning coffee. "Tea," corrected Vanessa. Opal was surprised that Palmer had come running to Vanessa's rescue. Opal returned to her table and asked her friends to join her back at Cortlandt Manor. As Brooke and Belinda walked past Vanessa and Palmer's table, Belinda stopped and couldn't help but stare. "Isn't that a match made in hell?" Belinda quipped. Brooke replied, "Don't stare or you'll turn into a pillar of salt." Palmer apologized profusely to Vanessa for the way she'd been treated by Opal. Vanessa stated that she'd endured worse. Palmer shook his head and asked himself why he'd ever gotten involved with Opal in the first place. Vanessa stated that mistakes build character, but said that she'd all but given up on the notion that she'd ever find a soulmate. Palmer smiled slightly and said that he still believes that there's someone out there for him---and for Vanessa too. In the lobby, Hayley approached the front desk and asked for a room. When asked her name, she replied, "Hayley San---Vaughan. Hayley Vaughan." The man behind the desk asked her if she knew how long she'd be staying at The Valley Inn. "Ya know, I'm not sure." Tad walked by and greeted Hayley with a smile. He wiggled his eyebrows at the thought of Hayley and Mateo using The Valley Inn as a spot for a romantic getaway. He felt horribly when Hayley informed him that she was "checking in solo." Tad asked Hayley if she wanted to talk, but Hayley assured him that she'd be fine. Tad then told her that she could call him any time she needed someone to talk to. Hayley was still waiting for her room key when Opal and friends filed out of the dining room. Opal approached and asked Hayley where her "hunk of a husband" was. Tad tried to shush his mother, but it didn't work. Hayley finally got her room and raced away. "Oh, Mama," Tad sighed. "How's your other foot taster?"
Dixie cleaned up the breakfast table, but as she was clearing the dishes she suddenly felt a flash of pain. A plate dropped to the floor and Dixie clutched her chest. She braced herself against the sofa and closed her eyes. She knew that something was very wrong and determined that she needed to have someone check her out. Shortly after she left, Scott and Becca returned. When Becca saw a plate on the floor, she knew that something was amiss. Scott offered to stay with her until they found out if everything was okay. While they waited, Scott asked Becca if she would be the "star" of his documentary. Becca initially declined, but Scott urged her to take some time to think it over.
In an attempt to teach his son some responsibility, Mateo had Max scrape the windowpane clear of broken glass. He drifted off as Max toiled away. Max knew that his father was unusually distant and asked him if he'd done something to make him sad. Mateo shook his head and said that he'd made himself sad.
Across town, Hayley unpacked her bags in her hotel room. She clutched a photograph of her and Mateo and burst into tears.
Dixie arrived at Pine Valley Hospital and asked to see the Chief Resident on duty. While Dixie was waiting in the emergency room waiting area, Jake happened upon her. When asked why she was there, Dixie created a lame excuse about meeting with several cardiologists. Since she'd "fired" David, Dixie said that she needed to audition new doctors. Jake knew that patients didn't meet with cardiologists in the emergency room. Dixie had even more to explain when a nurse informed Dixie that the Chief Resident was tied up and couldn't see her. Instead, she suggested that Dixie talk to Jake. Dixie rose from her chair and started to walk away. She didn't get very far before she suffered a dizzy spell and collapsed into Jake's arms.
While the women headed off to Cortlandt Manor with Opal, the men lingered around The Valley Inn to discuss business. Trevor arrived at the restaurant and sat down to learn the latest news from Adrian, Jack, and Tad. With Erica out of the country, Trevor was left to vote on the Cortlandt Electronics board in her place. Jack listened while his friends literally drooled at the idea of ousting Palmer. He waited for a pause in the conversation before asking, "Would it be the end of the world if [Palmer] kept his company?" One by one the men looked in his direction and indicated that allowing Palmer to remain CEO of the company was not an option. There was still more bad news for Adrian. The Wall Street Herald featured a full-page ad alerting investors to Adrian's hostile takeover bid. The advertisement included an unflattering photograph of the former spy and included news on his stint as an undercover Adrian and his status as an illegitimate child. Adrian vowed to get even with Palmer, but he knew that he lacked the financial resources to purchase ad space. Tad smiled and said that he was sure that their mother would be happy to pay for the ad.
Scott wasn't at all happy with the prospect of Becca leaving town. "I've got a home to go back to," Becca reminded him. Scott claimed that he needed Becca around to provide him with "focus" for his film project. Becca again stated that she wasn't sure that she wanted to be a part of his documentary. After all, the tale she'd tell wasn't exactly flattering. She feared that the documentary might circulate and give her a bad reputation in the dating pool. "I'd go out with you in a heartbeat," Scott said softly. Becca chuckled slightly and thanked Scott for his remark. After she thought about what he'd said, she seemed genuinely surprised that Scott was interested in her. The topic quickly disappeared from the conversation and nothing more about Scott's romantic interests were mentioned. Instead, Becca agreed to film a segment for the film. After the taping was complete, Scott thanked Becca for helping him out. He then asked the young woman to help him produce the documentary. Becca was taken aback and commented that she was not qualified for the task. Again she made mention to the fact that she'd have to return to Pigeon Hollow because she couldn't "live off of Tad and Dixie" forever. Scott asked that Becca say goodbye before leaving town.
"From now on it's my world and Palmer just lives in it," Opal beamed in the foyer of Cortlandt Manor. With Janet, Brooke, Myrtle, and Belinda crowded around her, Opal went on a lengthy voyage through the history of make-up. One particularly interesting tale told of an evil female member of a royal family who wore poisonous lipstick to keep gentleman suitors at bay. No, this was no ordinary history lesson. "Each one of us is born with a destiny," Opal preached. She raised her arms into the air and pointed to an awning above the entranceway to what used to be the parlor. Opal opened the double-doors and showed off the brand new Glamorama. Opal's female friends were going to help her by giving the day spa a "dry run." Brooke was intrigued by the idea of getting a facial and Janet was looking forward to a massage from a man known only as Sven. Belinda sat for a manicure, but her ears perked up when she heard "Stop In the Name of Love" playing on the radio. She suddenly sprung to her feet and started dancing and lip-synching to the old Supremes tune. Brooke and Opal provided back-up for the would-be Diana Ross while Janet sat on the sofa getting her hair done. While the women were otherwise occupied, little Peter played in his mother's beauty supplies. The men arrived while the Motown Revue was still in progress. Tad, always a ham, swished and swayed along with the women. Peter continued playing around and flailed a ball of mud at Jack. Opal sighed and said that it would be hard for her to run the beauty parlor and look after Peter while Flossy was out of town. And daycare was not an option because Opal knew that Palmer would finagle a way to see their son. Tad got on the phone and called Becca to see if she could babysit for Peter. Becca was more than happy to lend a hand and arrived a short time later. She instantly piqued the young boy's curiosity by telling him that there was buried treasure on the grounds. They scurried off together to look for what Becca called "pirate booty." Across the woman, Adrian and Belinda slow-danced. Adrian was surprised by Belinda's impromptu performance and said that there were parts of her that he's never seen. "You've seen all the parts that count," smiled Belinda wryly.
Jake escorted Dixie into an examining room and insisted that his sister-in-law receive a full check-up. The doctor also felt it was important to phone Tad and tell him about Dixie's fainting spell. Dixie begged Jake to keep quiet until they were sure that she was really sick. Dixie explained that Tad has been so happy lately and she'd hate to ruin it by worrying him unnecessarily. Jake reminded Dixie that part of her wedding vows referred to "in sickness and in health." Dixie numbly replied that she and Tad hadn't been married long enough for that part of the vows to take effect. Jake agreed to keep silent for the time being, but he ordered a series of blood tests and an EKG. He also agreed to put a rush on the tests so that Dixie could get the results later in the day. Some time passed before Jake returned to the room and informed Dixie that the results of her tests were in.
In Rio de Janeiro, a nurse presented Erica with a stack of papers she needed to review and sign before her surgery. "Next of kin?" Erica gasped as she read over the papers. The nurse nodded and explained that they needed to have someone to call "in case of complications." Erica didn't know who to list. Bianca, she said, was entirely too young and at the moment she was "between husbands." She ultimately decided to list Myrtle as her next of kin. There was also some concern about the wording in some of the papers. The nurse explained that the surgery was considered "experimental" and Erica's signature was needed to release them from liability. Erica took a deep breath and inked her name on the dotted line. When the nurse left, Erica started writing a letter to Bianca. From behind, David entered the room and told Erica that there was no need for her to write him a letter. "Why are you here?" she gasped. Erica feared that David had been called in because something was wrong with her heart. David assured her that her health was fine. "I've never been to Rio," David said matter-of-factly. He said that the chance to see Rio and Erica in one feel swoop "proved irresistible." Erica was shocked that David had out his life and career on hold to visit with her. David knew that Erica would be worried about her surgery, but Erica denied having any fears. After being pressed for the truth, Erica admitted that she was worried that her face might never return to its original condition. "I want Bianca to be able to see me," Erica said. "You don't need a mirror to tell you how beautiful you are," David replied. David told Erica that there was a possibility that her face would never be the same, but he cautioned her that negative thinking wouldn't get her anywhere. There was yet another concern that Erica had. "What happens if as a woman I'm not attractive?" she asked David. David reached out and gently brushed Erica's undamaged cheek. "You will always be beautiful. Light will always shine from [your] eyes leading men home," said David tenderly. He leaned forward and kissed Erica gently on the lips.
Hayley sat alone at a table in the dining room of The Valley Inn. Her food remained untouched as she gently massaged her neck. Vanessa happened to stroll on by and instantly recognized Hayley as Adam's daughter. She put on a big smile and reminded Hayley that they'd met at SOS's grand opening. Before Hayley could respond, Vanessa sat down and invited herself to join Hayley for lunch. Vanessa remarked that she was glad that she'd found someone who hated to eat alone. Hayley's mouth gaped slightly. From there, Vanessa blathered on about how she and Adam had meant years ago on a Trans-Atlantic cruise. Vanessa, however, was not done dominating the conversation. She told Hayley that she was surprised that Adam and Liza had gotten back together. Nevertheless, she felt it was very romantic that the couple had found love "the second time around." Hayley bowed her head and said that she'd remembered she was late for an appointment. She rose to her feet and dashed away. Vanessa was puzzled by Hayley's departure, but she didn't let it bother her for too long. She turned her attention to the menu momentarily. Before long she noticed a familiar face sitting at a table across the room. Vanessa gently placed the menu on the table and waltzed across the room to greet Palmer and one of his business associates. Ironically, Vanessa and the man, Reginald Hightower, were old friends. Palmer invited Vanessa to join them at the table and Vanessa bashfully agreed. The men continued talking business. Reginald stated that he was considering voting against Palmer in the CEO election because Cortlandt Electronics' quarterly earnings were down for two consecutive periods. Vanessa looked at Reginald and told him that the slump had been due to the troubled Asian economies. "Cortlandt Electronics is still a blue chip stock," she said confidently. Palmer smiled broadly, as he was obviously impressed by Vanessa. Reginald nodded his head and told Vanessa that what she'd said made a great deal of sense. Reginald was miffed that he had to leave town so soon because he wanted to spend more time with Vanessa. Vanessa smiled slightly and told Reginald to tell his wife she'd said hello. Reginald cleared his throat and walked away. Palmer thanked Vanessa for intervening. Vanessa claimed that she was only speaking the truth, but indicated that she'd be glad to speak to other stockholders on Palmer's behalf. Palmer said that everything else was under control. Erica, he stated, was the only person he still needed to contact. Vanessa filled Palmer in on Erica's trip to Brazil. As she was spinning the tale, Vanessa carefully slipped in comments about her relationship with Erica. Of course, Vanessa made herself look like a martyr. She claimed that she'd sadly severed her close relationship with Erica because of Erica's friends' opposition to their relationship. She also mentioned that she was not at all please that David was tending to Erica considering that it was his fault that Erica had been injured in the first place. Vanessa also admitted that her relationship with David has been strained for years. "I have a son like that," Palmer said. "Ross---he's like a stranger to me." Palmer decided that he would fly to Brazil in the morning and talk to Erica about the vote for CEO. Vanessa asked Palmer if he could deliver some papers to Erica for her. Palmer smiled and told Vanessa to join him for dinner so that they could talk more.
The results of Dixie's tests showed that her heart and kidney functions were normal, her blood pressure was fine, and her blood sugar level was also okay. That left Dixie to wonder exactly why she was feeling so poorly. "You're pregnant," Jake said softly. "I'm-I'm pregnant?" Dixie asked in disbelief. "It's not possible. [Tad and I] use protection." Jake noted that no form of birth control is one hundred percent effective. Suddenly the nausea and dizziness made sense. "I've wanted to have a baby for a very long time," Dixie said euphorically. "Especially with Tad." Dixie said that she'd never expected to get pregnant because of all the precautions she and Tad had been taking. Those precautions, explained Jake, were there for a reason. He warned her that having a baby would put extra strain in her body. Considering Dixie's recent health problems and the fact that she had only one kidney, Jake felt it was very risky for Dixie to continue on with the pregnancy. He did note, however, that it was not his decision to make. "The child inside me is a gift from God," Dixie responded. "It wants to be there." Dixie couldn't wait to tell Tad what she viewed as good news, but Jake made her promise that she'd tell him the full story---including the bad news. Liza poked her head into the examining room and asked if she and Colby could visit with them for a while. Colby was due for a check-up, but Liza didn't see any reason why they couldn't visit too.
Mateo sat on the floor, bracing himself against a chair. He gently stroked a photograph of Hayley unaware that someone was ringing the doorbell. When he snapped back into reality, he quickly raced to answer the door. Outside, Raquel stood tall, smiling proudly. She'd used a walker to make the journey across the courtyard. Mateo was amazed that Raquel was able to walk by herself and invited her into the condo. Raquel was upset that Hayley wasn't home to see her maiden voyage with the walker. She assumed that Hayley was at the club and Mateo made no effort to correct her. Mateo's mind continued to wander. He muttered that he'd never known how difficult it was to raise a child. Mateo's remarks seemed to come out of nowhere and Raquel asked him if everything was okay. Before Mateo could say anything more, a knock sounded on the door. This time Adam had dropped by and he was in a remarkably good mood. His good mood wasn't just due to the fact that he'd just been married. In his hand he held a small package---a gift, he explained, for Hayley's twenty-fifth birthday. Mateo told Adam that Hayley was still asleep because they'd worked late. Raquel crinkled her brow and cocked her head to one side. Adam told Mateo that he was glad that he was a part of Hayley's life. He then apologized for their past disagreements and even shook Mateo's hand. After Adam left, Raquel asked Mateo why he'd lied about Hayley's whereabouts. Mateo lamely replied that he'd never lied---he just didn't tell Raquel that Hayley wasn't at the club. Mateo ran his hands through his hair and sighed heavily. "I'm such a bad liar," he groaned. Mateo told Raquel that Hayley had left him. Raquel was stunned. Mateo told Raquel that Hayley is troubled by the way Max feels about her. Raquel assured Mateo that Max was coming around. Mateo shook his head. Setting fires and breaking windows were not a sign that Max's feelings were changing. "She almost took a drink," Mateo said. Raquel bowed her head. "You and Hayley were doing so well before Max and I showed up," she said softly. Mateo agreed. So as not to let Raquel feel totally responsible for the problems, he explained that he'd caused the most damage by not having told Hayley about his relationship with Raquel.
Jake met with Joe on the sun porch at the hospital and told him that Dixie had been having dizzy spells. Joe was worried that Dixie's heart was acting up again. Jake told his father that that was not the case-she was pregnant. Joe shook his head. He grumbled that Dixie had been advised not to get pregnant. Jake concurred, but noted that Dixie had seemed "thrilled" by the news. He said that he'd tried to warn her about the dangers posed by the pregnancy, but that nothing he'd said seemed to make any difference. Joe worried that Dixie would sugarcoat the news about her pregnancy and not tell Tad that she faces serious health problems if she allows the pregnancy to continue.
Dixie returned home and looked longingly at pictures of Junior and Jamie. She sat on the sofa and daydreamed for a while before Tad's shrilly "Helloooo" broke the silence. Tad noticed that Dixie was smiling more than usual and he remarked that she looked even prettier than normal. Dixie blushed and looked down at her feet. "What are you up to?" Tad asked with a grin. Before Dixie could answer, Liza popped in through the back down. She apologized for intruding but said that she wanted to return the dress Dixie had given to Colby. Liza noted that Colby would soon outgrow it. Tad talked to Liza about Scott's movie project while Dixie fixated on the infant. Liza told the couple that Adam had planned a surprise birthday party for Hayley and asked that they be in attendance. Tad surmised that they could get Becca to babysit the boys. He then fantasized about what life would be like with a full-time babysitter living under their roof. He mused that he and Dixie might get to have a night out more than once a year. He also gently teased Liza about having spoiled the only free time that he and Dixie had have since their return from their honeymoon. Dixie pledged to be at the party and at the same time told Tad that she liked the idea of having Becca stick around. Liza headed on her way and Dixie once again had Tad all to herself. Before she could break her big news, Tad became extremely amorous. He gently nibbled on her neck and told her that he wanted to her to join him upstairs. Dixie melted in her husband's arms and followed him upstairs.
Hayley returned to her hotel room and momentarily looked out the window. She closed her eyes for a second before closing the blinds. She walked over to the honor bar and ran her fingers up and down a miniature bottle of vodka. She quickly reached for a can of soda and drank as much as she could in one mouthful. When the phone rang, Hayley's spirits lifted momentarily. They quickly sank when she found out that it was housekeeping calling to see if she had enough bath towels. Hayley curled up on the bed. She laid there for a few minutes before racing over to her purse. She reached for an inspirational book entitled "Courage to Change," a book designed to provide motivation to alcoholics. She put the book down and walked over to the dresser. She looked in a small mirror and sadly wished herself happy birthday. Hayley again sat on her bed, but this time she fell asleep. She dreamt that she was at her birthday party. Adam, Mateo, Max, and Raquel surrounded the table. Adam continually whispered in Hayley's ears that she should wish for whatever she wants when she blows out the candles because he can make it happen. Sure enough when Hayley blew out the candles, Max and Raquel slowly faded into nothingness. Mateo was devastated as Hayley boasted that her wish had really come true. "I thought you loved me," Mateo said coldly. "You took my son away from me. I'll always hate you for that." Mateo slowly faded away. Hayley woke up from her dream breathing heavily. Hayley once again walked to the window, this time opening the blinds. As she stared out the window, she was reminded of the happier times that she and Mateo had shared---their lovemaking sessions on the beach in Jamaica, their hospital room wedding, and the first night they'd spent in the condo. A knock sounded on the door and Hayley once again had her hopes raised. She trotted over to the door and anxiously opened it. Mateo smiled warmly and handed a bouquet of flowers to Hayley. "Happy birthday," he said softly.
A chocolate pudding-filled birthday cake had been ordered for Hayley's surprise party. It upset Adam slightly that he didn't know that his daughter liked chocolate pudding. He bowed his head and told Liza that he never knew Hayley when she was growing up. "You're in her life now," Liza replied warmly. Adam and Liza both knew that in the blink of an eye they would be throwing a surprise party for Colby's twenty-fifth birthday. A knock sounded on Adam's office door. Jake had dropped by to pick up Colby. While Adam and Liza were at Hayley's party, Jake was going to watch Colby. The young doctor had also made arrangements to go over to Tad and Dixie's to spend time with Junior and Jamie. Liza said that she was going to suffer "severe separation anxiety" the whole night. Adam smiled slightly and told his wife that there as no need for her to be concerned because Colby was "in good hands." Jake was caught off guard by the praise, but he was very grateful for Adam's kind words. After Jake left, Liza praised Adam for being "very generous with Jake." Adam nodded and said that he had done it for Colby's sake. Liza told Adam that he had no reason to feel insecure because he was only father Colby would ever need. Adam had, after all, changed his entire life for Colby. Adam started to remark that Colby had no idea how much he'd had to change his life, but he cut himself off before finishing his statement. "There's so much I want to say to you," Adam lamented. "The biggest failure of my life is fatherhood." He stated that he'd failed all of his children, but vowed to be there for Colby. Then came a surprise twist: Adam had a confession to make. Rather than revealing the overdue truth about his role in Colby's conception, Adam said that he had been keeping a secret. He claimed that he had a "fantasy" that Colby was really his biological daughter. He cocked his head to one side and asked Liza if she'd ever had a similar fantasy. Liza said that she would always be grateful to Jake for helping her have Colby, but she admitted that she'd had similar thoughts. "It would be heaven," she said of the idea of Colby being Adam's daughter. She knew, however, that it was unfair and even a bit cruel to think that because it would mean that Colby would be missing out on the love Jake and the Martin family could give her. Adam said nothing more except to tell Liza that it was time to head to SOS for Hayley's party.
"You didn't forget," Hayley smiled. Mateo shook his head and told Hayley that there was no way that he could forget the most important day in her life. Mateo told Hayley that he'd had to lie to Adam about her whereabouts. Mateo thought it was the best thing to do. Hayley, though, cited an AA pledge that states that it's a mistake to keep secrets from loved ones. "I want you to come home," Mateo interjected. He felt that Hayley could have her solitude at home just as easily as she could in a hotel room. Hayley admitted that it took every ounce of fortitude she could muster to keep herself from jumping into Mateo's arms. That wouldn't solve anything. Hayley said that she needed to be by herself for a little while. She wasn't sure how long she'd need to be away, but she said that she'd know when the time was right to return home. When Hayley was able to look across the courtyard and not feel ill will towards Max and Raquel then and only then would ordered have been restored to her life. Mateo reminded Hayley that he'd offered to move his ex-wife. Mateo wasn't listening to what Hayley was trying to tell him. Raquel's physical proximity wasn't what was causing trouble for Hayley. It became harder and harder for Hayley to talk to Mateo. Finally she ordered Mateo to leave. Mateo was stunned. He'd never Hayley to give him the boot. He turned and walked towards the door. He stopped momentarily and told Hayley that he'd only been trying to help her have a happy birthday. Later, Hayley sat on her bed and looked at the gift Mateo had given her. For the long nights during their separation, Mateo had given Hayley a stuffed puppy dog to hug. Hayley was moved to tears. She jumped from bed, grabbed her purse, and raced out of the room.
As promised, Palmer met Vanessa for dinner at The Valley Inn. The two briefly discussed Vanessa's concern over Erica's operation. Palmer was confident that Erica would come through "with remarkable ease." Vanessa thanked Palmer for being a comfort to her. The conversation took a turn and again the two parents discussed the often-difficult roles they take on as parents. Palmer said that he takes solace in knowing that after his death his children might finally realize that he was right all along. Vanessa looked at Palmer with sad eyes and commented that she never would have guessed that behind his tough exterior he was such a lonely man. After the meal, Vanessa reached into her purse for the papers she needed Palmer to deliver to Erica. In addition to the Enchantment documents, Vanessa had also written a letter to Erica as an attempt to repair their broken relationship. Palmer apologized for the way Opal had interfered in Vanessa and Erica's friendship. Vanessa said that she could only hope that her true feelings came across in the letter. Palmer thought for several seconds before telling Vanessa that she should tell Erica what she was feeling in person. Out of nowhere, the business whiz invited Vanessa to travel to Brazil with him. Vanessa's neck snapped back and she scolded Palmer for thinking that she was the type of woman to run off on a romantic rendezvous with a man she'd just met. Palmer quickly explained that he'd booked an entire suite at a hotel---a suite with at least seven bedrooms. There was nothing sexual about his offer. Vanessa blushed and apologized for having jumped to the wrong conclusion. She then told a rather revealing tale about her days as a young actress at MGM. She was to have appeared in a film opposite Cary Grant. She tried her best not to give into the temptation to have a romantic liaison with the famed actor---but apparently her willpower wasn't strong enough! Vanessa agreed to travel with Palmer to Rio de Janeiro. After Palmer left, Vanessa sighed deeply and mumbled to herself. "He had his own teeth---God is good."
The moments of tranquility drew to a close for Tad and Dixie. The couple cuddled in bed savoring their physical intimacy. Tad told his wife that he was very happy---and that if he was any happier it "would hurt." Dixie looked at him with a partial smiled and asked if it was possible for them to be too happy. Tad shook his head and explained that after all they'd been through it was time for a little happiness. Dixie's grin grew and she told Tad that she knew of a way to make him even happier. Before she could tell Tad her big news, Junior and Jamie returned home. Junior clanged a pair of cymbals that he'd picked up at camp. Jamie wasn't empty-handed. The group was to dissect a frog in the morning, but Jamie didn't think it was fair for an innocent frog to be put to death. So, he'd "liberated" the frog. He opened the lid of a shoebox he was toting to show off the frog, but the little critter was nowhere to be found. The boys heard a "ribbit" from the hallway and quickly chased after their amphibian friend. Tad and Dixie exchanged worried glances when a loud clashing of a cymbal followed the boys' shouting out that they'd located the frog. Tad raced out of the room and was relieved to learn that the loud noise hadn't signaled the frog's untimely demise. Some time later, Tad and Dixie were dressed and ready to head to Hayley's party---but they had to delay their departure because Jamie's frog got loose again. They managed to capture the frog just before Jake and Colby arrived. Dixie sat the boys down and reminded them to be on their best behavior while Colby was there. Jake pulled Dixie aside and asked her if she'd told Tad that she was pregnant. Dixie shook her head and promised that she'd tell Tad when the time was right. Jake offered to tell Tad for her, but Dixie said that she could do it herself. After Tad and Dixie left, the boys sat down with Jake and asked him a few questions about babies. The most humorous asked when a baby girl starts acting "like a girl." In their words, they wanted to know when girls start hating things like frogs and worms. The boys chatted amongst themselves about how they'd never share a sister or brother of their own. Junior thought about it for a while and said that it was possible because Tad and Dixie could have a baby together. Jake took a deep breath, but said nothing.
Gillian arrived at Sounds of Salsa and immediately walked over to Ryan. There was an awkward exchange of greetings before Ryan asked Gillian how Eugenia was doing. Gillian smiled and said that her grandmother was well and that she was enjoying the book that Ryan had sent her. Trevor shuffled in a few minutes later and thanked the pair for agreeing to meet with him. Trevor pulled out some documents from his briefcase and handed one to Gillian and one to Ryan. Ryan and Gillian both asked Trevor if their divorce was now final. "I did what you wanted me to do," he replied. From the looks on their faces, though, it was blatantly obvious that neither Ryan nor Gillian had wanted things to go this far. The attorney urged the pair to admit their love for each other, but neither would speak up. Trevor saw the divorce as a chance for their relationship to have a rebirth and he asked them to "fight like hell" for their love. Ryan and Gillian stared at one another without saying a word. Trevor groaned and walked away. Gillian and Ryan continued to pussyfoot around the issue. Gillian asked Ryan if he thought it was possible for them to be friends now that they were divorced. Ryan shrugged his shoulders. Gillian said that she'd hoped her relationship with Ryan could grow into the type of relationship she shared with Jake. Gillian immediately realized that discussing Jake in front of Ryan wasn't such a good idea. Ryan, however, assured Gillian that he was not mad that she'd moved on. "I want you to be happy," he said. Mateo showed up at the club in a foul mood. Ryan asked Mateo if everything was okay. After some initial resistance, Mateo told Ryan that Hayley had left him. One by one, guests started showing up for Hayley's surprise party. The party also happened to be a surprise to Mateo. He tried to tell the gathering that it wasn't a good idea to have a party for Hayley, but before he could say anything one of the partygoers spotted Hayley. They all quickly hid and waited until Hayley entered the club before yelling out their birthday greetings. Hayley was definitely surprised and a look of shock crept over her face. From behind the bar, Mateo shook his head to signal to Hayley that he had no idea that they'd planned a party for her.