At the hospital in California, Eve claimed to Paige that her grandfather was a lot sicker than they'd thought, so they could not return to Salem. Dr. Green, Shane's doctor, lied at Eve's behest that Shane's condition could be life-threatening, and they needed to treat it aggressively. Dr. Green left for rounds but allowed Eve and Paige to remain in his office to speak privately. Laying it on thick, Eve declared that she would never be able to forgive herself if something happened to her dad while she was halfway across the country.
Paige understood that Eve wanted to stay to be there for her father, but Paige didn't get why she needed to stay, as well. Eve suggested that Paige could take her finals online then transfer to a college out there for the spring semester and go to Stanford in the fall, as she'd planned. Paige was dismayed when she realized that meant she'd never go back home -- and when she learned that Eve was returning to Salem without her to make all the arrangements. "I wish it was something that Theresa could take care of, but we both know she can't handle that," Eve pointed out.
Paige asked for permission to return to her grandparents' house, and Eve agreed. "Oh, honey, I just want your granddaddy to be okay. I am so, so lucky to have you to take care of me," Eve declared as she hugged her daughter. Dr. Green returned as Paige was leaving. Once he and Eve were alone, Green remarked, "I thought I was a pretty good liar. Got nothing on you."
Eve joined Kimberly in the waiting room. Eve divulged that she'd met with someone from a company that paid lump sums in exchange for settlement rights from lawsuits, and she was eager to do that so she wouldn't have to wait on the royalties from Jack's book sales. Eve continued that she needed a copy of her settlement agreement before the company could proceed, so she had to return to Salem to get it, but Paige was staying in California -- and the two of them wanted to spend the holidays with Kim and Shane. Kim was thrilled about having a family Christmas, even though Theresa couldn't get away to join them.
Kimberly wondered how Paige felt about Eve's decision to stay in California. Eve insisted that Paige knew it was the right thing to do, but Kimberly didn't buy it. Eve confided, "Can this stay between us? Paige is upset about a boy, and I just want her to have a fresh start." Eve added that she also wanted the opportunity to make up for the way she'd messed things up with her dad and Kimberly. Kimberly said that she appreciated that. Eve requested that Kimberly not say anything to Paige about how well Shane was doing.
"Are you asking me to lie to your daughter?" Kimberly asked. Eve claimed that ever since Paige's father had left, it had been difficult for Paige to deal with the thought of losing someone else she loved. Eve continued that even though Paige was aware that Shane would make a full recovery, Eve thought it was best to pretend his health scare had never happened. Kimberly agreed that it would please Shane if they talked about other things. Kimberly embraced Eve, optimistic that Christmas and the new year would be wonderful for the whole family.
At the Horton house, while Rory and J.J. were talking about Paige, J.J.'s gesticulations caused him to spill soda on himself. He asked Rory to go to the kitchen and get some paper towels. After Rory left the room, J.J. headed through the entryway for the stairs, pulling off his damp shirt as he went. Just as J.J. finished peeling off his shirt, Abigail returned home from shopping -- with Melanie in tow. "Well, at least this one has pants on," Melanie noted with an embarrassed chuckle.
As Abigail escorted J.J. into the living room so he could put on a fresh shirt, she explained that the other woman was her friend and Daniel's daughter, Melanie. J.J. got a call and eagerly grabbed his phone, but he was disappointed when he saw that the caller ID said "unknown number." Abigail guessed that he'd been hoping to hear from Paige and asked what was wrong. J.J. insisted that everything between him and Paige was fine. After first making sure that J.J. was decent, Melanie entered the room.
A few moments later, Rory returned, attempting to open a huge package of paper napkins because he'd been unable to find paper towels. The instant he looked up and spotted Melanie, the package burst open, spewing napkins everywhere. When Abigail learned that Melanie was heading to her dad's, she offered to go along to drop off some Christmas presents. Rory stood in the doorway and surreptitiously ogled the girls as they left.
Rory exclaimed to J.J., "Dude, I can't believe your life... Your mom's hot, your sister's hot, and now your sister's friend is, like, off the charts! Totally doesn't suck being you." Rory continued musing about Melanie until J.J. told him to shut up. Unperturbed, Rory headed out.
Paige called J.J. from Shane and Kimberly's house to tell him that her grandfather was sicker than they'd thought, and she wasn't going home. "Not even for New Year's?" J.J. asked. "I think we're staying a lot longer than that," Paige admitted tearfully. J.J. offered to go to California, but Paige reminded him that her mom thought they'd broken up. She added that she couldn't leave her mom, who was really worried about Paige's grandfather.
"So you have to stay there, and I can't come out there. It almost sounds like -- like you're breaking up with me. Is that it? Is this you saying goodbye?" J.J. asked. Paige insisted that wasn't the case, but she worried that it wasn't fair to J.J. because she had no idea when they'd be able to see each other again. J.J. assured her that he could wait. Paige had to hang up when someone knocked on her bedroom door.
Will was on his laptop at home, trying out a headline for his article about Paul: "All-star Free Agent to Test the Market...But Should the Buyer Beware?" When Sonny returned home to retrieve the keys to the new club, Will closed his computer to try to talk to his husband. A cold Sonny accused Will of lying about the real reason he'd returned from California. Will defensively insisted that he really had missed Sonny, but Sonny pointed out that Will had barely returned his phone calls -- and when Will had deigned to phone, he had talked only about himself.
"I'm going through a really hard time right now," Sonny declared, the hurt evident in his eyes. Will asked why Sonny hadn't just told him that. "Because I want you to ask! I want you to give a damn about my life!" Sonny asserted. "I never stopped loving you, and it is crazy for you to think that I don't care," Will insisted. Sonny had to leave because he was paying workmen who were waiting at the new site for him to let them in. Will asked if the two of them could talk later that night. "Sure. Whatever," Sonny muttered on his way out the door.
Paul took off his ball cap and glanced around nervously as he entered Club TBD. Theresa spotted him and asked if he were looking for her. Guessing that Paul was afraid of being recognized, Theresa led him to a private table and seated him with his back to the door. After getting coffee for the two of them, Theresa told Paul that she'd tried unsuccessfully to find out where he'd gone after he'd left the hospital, but Jordan had refused to divulge even when his next physical therapy session was.
When Paul admitted that he was staying at a hotel, Theresa offered to visit him there. Paul informed Theresa that although he was glad to see her, someone from his past was back in his life. "And you think maybe you're still in love with that person, don't you?" Theresa guessed. Paul admitted that he wasn't sure, but he wanted to find out. Paul worried that he had let Theresa down, but she lightheartedly patted his knee and said, "So what? I mean, come on, we had fun, right?"
Abigail walked in as Paul was leaving, and she thanked him for his generous donation. After Paul left, Abigail observed Theresa sitting alone and looking miserable, and she couldn't resist rubbing it in Theresa's face: "[My Christmas] just got a whole lot merrier...knowing that another guy saw you for what you actually are." Theresa pointed out that what had happened between her and Paul was none of Abigail's business. While the women were bickering, Sonny arrived and started on some paperwork at the bar.
Reminding Theresa that they'd both signed confidentiality agreements, Abigail asserted, "Paul being in Salem is nobody's business." Theresa insisted that Paul had been there when she'd arrived. Abigail countered skeptically, "And hitting on him had nothing to do with the fact that his name is Paul Narita, right?" Sonny looked up, curious, when he overheard Paul's name. Theresa maintained that Paul had been totally into her until someone from his past had gotten in touch with him.
"He was afraid that if he hung out with me, it would ruin any chances he had with his old flame," Theresa asserted confidently. After making a snide remark about Abigail dating a barista, Theresa left. Abigail walked to the bar and said hello to Sonny, who casually asked, "So what was that about?" Abigail explained that the guy was a "huge flirt," but Theresa had scared him off by stalking him. Sonny asked how Abigail knew that. "Because he said what every guy always says when they're trying to let a girl down easy. You know -- one of his exes came back into his life," Abigail said, her disdain for Theresa, as well as for most men, quite clear.
Abigail gave Sonny a large shopping bag filled with wrapped gifts and explained that they were Sonny, Will, and Arianna's Christmas presents. Sonny apologetically admitted that he'd been too busy to shop. Abigail divulged that she'd gotten an email from Gabi -- who wasn't doing well because Will hadn't taken Arianna to visit her since he'd returned from L.A.
Will arrived at the park, set his satchel down on a bench, and blew on his hands to warm them. He suddenly remembered that he was still wearing his wedding ring, so he took it off and stuck it in a pocket, moments before Paul showed up. Will apologized for the cold, but he said that he'd thought Paul might have wanted to get out of his hotel room, and that part of the park was usually quiet. Will explained that he wanted to get some more background for his article -- especially about Paul's love life.
Will asked how long Paul's relationship with a supermodel named Fiona had lasted. Paul replied that it had been a little over a year, but much of that had been during baseball season, and Fiona had also spent a lot of time modeling in Europe. Will wanted to know why the two had broken up. Paul maintained that with the demands of their careers, they'd both realized that a serious relationship between them wouldn't have been possible. Will asked if Paul regretted not trying harder to make things work.
Paul maintained, "I'm a little too young for regrets. I'm also a little too young to be tied down...don't you think?" Will wanted to know more about Paul's romantic history after his breakup with Fiona, but Paul didn't want to answer any more questions until Will gave his opinion about whether Paul was too young to be tied down. Paul offered a trade: he would answer three of Will's questions in exchange for one answer from Will. An uncomfortable Will hedged that his life wasn't very interesting.
Before Paul could press much further, Will got a text message from Sonny that read, "YOU HAVE TO GET HOME RIGHT NOW! IT'S ABOUT ARIANNA." Will mumbled an excuse and made a hasty exit after promising to get back in touch with Paul for a follow-up.
In Horton Square, Eric informed Serena that she had met Nicole earlier that day, except Nicole had made sure Serena hadn't known it. He added that he'd also caught Nicole researching Serena online. With a shrug, Serena pointed out that a lot of people did that when they met someone new -- and besides, Serena maintained that they had nothing to worry about because she had nothing to hide. She assured Eric that she could handle Nicole. Taking Eric's hand, Serena said, "Nicole is a part of your past. I'm hoping to get you looking forward to the future."
Eric said that he just didn't want Nicole inserting herself into whatever the future held. Serena proposed that they table the discussion about Nicole because she didn't want to spend their time at Daniel's, talking about Nicole. Eric admitted that Daniel and Nicole were friends. Serena asked if the same were true for Nicole and Melanie, but Eric said that he'd never heard Nicole mention Melanie. "So tonight can be about me getting to know your friend, you meeting my friend, and the four of us having a good time -- nothing about Nicole," Serena suggested. Eric concurred.
At Daniel's apartment, after Nicole kissed him, Daniel pointed out with a chuckle that there was no mistletoe in sight. Nicole started fumbling through an explanation about how they needed a plan, and Daniel deduced that she was asking him on a date. Nicole affirmed that she was and suggested that they do it that evening. Daniel informed her that he and Melanie were having Eric and Eric's friend, Serena Mason -- who was also a friend of Melanie's -- over for dinner. Daniel apologized for not being able to invite Nicole to join them.
Nicole understood, pointing out that Eric could barely tolerate being in the same town with her -- plus Daniel's history with dinner parties was not exactly good. Daniel suggested that he and Nicole should postpone their date until after the holidays -- that way, he would also have time to talk to Jennifer first. Nicole seemed surprised -- especially when Daniel offered to talk to Eric, as well. After pointing out that Eric didn't care, Nicole declared, "I know what I want." She kissed Daniel again to demonstrate.
After Nicole had gone, Serena and Eric arrived at Daniel's. As Daniel was welcoming Serena and ushering her inside, Eric spotted Melanie getting off the elevator with an armload of shopping bags and a giant plastic tub. Melanie tumbled backwards out of the elevator and onto the floor, dropping her parcels. Eric rushed over to help her up. He picked up the tub as Melanie began a rapid-fire explanation that it contained a gingerbread house that she thought would be fun to put together with her brother. Eric interrupted, "You must be Melanie."
Realizing that she was talking to Eric Brady, Melanie apologetically assured him, "I'm usually much more adorable than -- than I was just being." Eric led Melanie inside, and Daniel and Serena greeted them with glasses of wine. The foursome clinked glasses. Serena and Eric related the story of how they'd met while working in Africa, and even though they had been far from friends at first, things had changed after rebel forces had moved in. "I'm grateful our paths have crossed again, and this time, nobody's life is in danger," Eric told Serena.
Privately, Melanie remarked to Serena that she had failed to mention how "hot" Eric was or how strong the connection between them was. Serena pointed out that she wasn't even sure that Eric was fully available, plus he was still dealing with leaving the priesthood. Melanie offered to do whatever she could to help move things along. "You know, maybe there is," Serena said. She requested of Melanie, "Tell me everything you know about Nicole Walker."
Nicole sat alone at a table in Horton Square and told herself that Eric would never tell Daniel that she'd "kind of stalked" Serena. She tried to convince herself not to do any more research about Serena, but she wondered where Serena had been the previous few years. "There's a story here. I just know it. Who is she, really?" Nicole muttered as she picked up her tablet. A few minutes later, Nicole dropped the tablet on the table in frustration because she hadn't been able to dig up any dirt on Serena.
Just then, Nicole's coworker, Sally, spotted her and asked what was wrong. Nicole confided that even though she was completely over Eric, she'd recently run into one of his old friends. "I sort of questioned her, and I didn't tell her who I was... And now Eric's mad at me," Nicole explained. Sally suggested that Nicole should simply apologize to the woman, but Nicole thought it was too late for that. Nicole suddenly remembered that Serena and Eric would be at a dinner party at Daniel's for the next few hours.
As Nicole walked away from the table, she paused to look at an orchid plant on the florist's cart, then she called Serena's hotel. "Hi, I just checked in, and I totally forgot my room number... Mason. Serena Mason," Nicole told the clerk.
A little later, Nicole showed up with the orchid outside Serena's hotel room door just as an employee was leaving. Nicole stopped the man and declared genially, "Just the person I need to see… I have to get in that room."