Monday, August 31, 2015
by Mike

At the Horton Town Square, Ben emerged from the yogurt shop and handed Abigail a cup of the ice cream she was craving. After taking a seat next to Abigail, Ben started talking about Serena's murder -- and Chad's possible involvement. Abigail, who had only eaten one spoonful of her snack, handed the cup back to Ben and told him she didn't want the rest.

Abigail was certain that Chad couldn't have possibly killed Serena, but Ben didn't share her confidence, and as he walked over to a nearby trashcan to dispose of the ice cream, he wondered aloud if Chad even had an alibi. Abigail didn't think Chad needed one, but Ben disagreed, reminding her that Chad was possibly the last person who had seen Serena before the murder had taken place -- and he was, after all, a DiMera.

Frustrated, Abigail asked Ben to stop using Serena's death as an excuse to trash Chad. Ben apologized and insisted that he hadn't meant to disrespect Serena's memory or trash Chad. Abigail conceded that Ben had every right to want to trash Chad, given what Chad had done to Ben in the past as well as her own history with Chad, but she stressed that the latter was exactly that -- history -- and she wanted to focus on Ben and their baby.

Abigail regained her appetite and asked Ben for another cup of ice cream. While eating the dessert, Abigail fretted about how big she was going to look when she walked down the aisle at Christmastime. Ben had been hoping to marry Abigail within the next couple weeks but reluctantly assured her that, while he was in a rush to get married because he loved her, he would wait until December if that was what she wanted.

At the DiMera mansion, Rafe questioned Chad about what had happened with Serena the previous night. Chad said he and Serena had parted ways after drinking far too much alcohol together at Club TBD, and he had gone for a walk in the town square afterward to clear his head. When Rafe asked about Chad's busted lip, Chad claimed that he had apparently bumped into something while drunk.

When Chad explained that he and Serena had each been drinking to forget about an incredibly bad day, Rafe wondered if their foul moods had caused any tension or ill-will between them. Chad hesitantly revealed that he had kissed Serena, but he claimed that she had kissed him back and had then realized it wouldn't be a good idea to let things go further while they were both drunk. Chad said he had been disappointed but had understood Serena's reason for wanting to end the night early. Chad maintained that he hadn't seen Serena again after her departure from the club. Rafe seemed skeptical but had no further questions, so he showed himself out.

Chad started to pour himself a drink. "Isn't that how you got into this mess in the first place?" Stefano pointed out as he entered the study. Chad hoped Stefano didn't really believe he'd had anything to do with Serena's death. Stefano wondered if Chad was sure he hadn't, since there was an obvious gap in Chad's memory. "I may be a DiMera, but unlike you, I am not a killer, and I resent the hell out of the fact that you're even implying that I am," Chad snapped before grabbing his luggage and leaving the mansion. Later, at the Salem Inn, Chad wondered why he couldn't remember everything that had happened the previous night.

At Edge of the Square, Hope laughed nervously and admitted that she'd had no idea Aiden had been planning to ask her to marry him. Hope gulped down the rest of her wine and refilled her glass as Aiden apologized for rushing things, realizing he had been wrong to assume she was just as ready to take their relationship to the next level as he was. Hope assured Aiden that she loved him and wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. Hope added, however, that ending her marriage to Bo had made her feel a mixture of defeat and failure, and she couldn't agree to another marriage until she was absolutely sure it was the right thing to do.

Aiden agreed to accept Hope's "maybe," and he promised not to pressure her for an answer. After ending the date with one last dance, Hope decided it would be best for her and Aiden to sleep in separate beds that night, since she had a lot to think about. Aiden told Hope to take the engagement ring with her. "So I can have it appraised?" Hope jokingly guessed. Aiden laughed and clarified that he wanted Hope to take it because it was useless to him unless it was on her finger. Hope received a text message from the police station and headed there after promising to take good care of the ring.

At the hospital, Joey protested as Kayla hugged him tightly. "New rule -- no public displays of affection," Steve advised Kayla. "Don't give me tips on parenting," Kayla snapped before finally letting go of Joey and taking a step back to inspect him and assure herself that he was okay.

After contacting Joey's school and assuring the administrator that she didn't blame the school for what had happened, Kayla ended the call and made it clear that she wasn't going to let Joey off the hook that easily. "Why on earth would you leave school without telling anybody where you were going? And why would you drop in on your pretty-much-absentee father's doorstep in New York City? Do you know you scared the hell out of me? Or maybe you don't even care about that!" Kayla asked, leaving Joey no time to get a word in edgewise.

Suggesting that it might be best for him to field Kayla's questions himself, Steve told Joey -- whom he referred to as Joe -- to go get a drink. "Do I have your permission?" Joey tiredly asked Kayla, who hesitated a moment before okaying the idea. Steve wanted to talk to Kayla in a more private location, so she reluctantly took him to her office. "Nice digs. Oh... 'Dr. Kayla Brady,' huh?" Steve noted when he saw the nameplate sitting on Kayla's desk. Kayla said the surname meant a lot to her. "And Johnson doesn't, right?" Steve guessed.

"Sure it does. It's my children's name," Kayla answered uneasily before changing the subject, guessing Steve hadn't asked her to take him to a more private location just so they could discuss the two surnames. Steve confirmed the suspicion, explaining that he had assumed Kayla would want to raise her voice while chewing him out. "You are the same as always," Kayla muttered with a shake of her head. "You're looking mighty fine yourself, Sweetness," Steve smoothly replied. Unimpressed, Kayla asked Steve to explain how Joey had ended up in New York City, which wasn't exactly walking distance from his school in Ohio.

Steve took a seat and sighed as he admitted that he was to blame for that. "You see, Joe and I have been, um...we've been in touch. For a while now," Steve explained. Kayla wasn't surprised to learn that Steve was responsible for Joey's trip to New York City, but she admitted that Joey had never mentioned that he had been in contact with Steve lately. Steve said he thought there was a good reason Joey had kept their communications a secret. "Well, it's been a long time since I heard one of your explanations. They were always so creative," Kayla bitterly mused.

Steve suggested he and Kayla could skip the sarcasm and instead talk about their son. As Kayla agreed, Joey approached her office door and started eavesdropping. Steve explained that, thanks to social media, he and Joey had reconnected and begun corresponding via text messages and emails. Steve added that the conversations had been mundane at first, and when he admitted that they had also been a bit awkward, Kayla suggested that could be attributed to the fact that it had been a really long time since Joey had last seen Steve.

Nodding, Steve continued that the conversations had eventually started getting more personal, and he had learned that Joey hadn't been thrilled about leaving Salem and being dumped at a boarding school in Ohio. Steve explained that he had tried to sympathize with Joey and see things from his point of view. Kayla assumed that meant Steve had backed Joey up and invited him to drop out of school and fly to New York City on his own, but Steve insisted that he'd had no idea that Joey had been planning to do that. "He just showed up. And when I realized he had dropped out of school --" Steve started to add.

"He brought me home," Joey concluded as he entered the office. Kayla declared that Steve had done the right thing but added that it would have been nice if someone had bothered to let her know what had happened. Steve apologized, explaining that he had hoped to return to Salem with Joey before Kayla realized Joey wasn't at the school. Kayla conceded that Steve had almost managed to achieve that goal. Steve added that he'd had another reason for escorting Joey back to Salem himself. "I'm thinking about staying in Salem -- permanently," Steve revealed.

Kayla insisted that Steve needed to return to New York City because Salem was no longer his home. Steve disagreed, but Kayla maintained that New York City was the most exciting city in the world, and that was what Steve wanted -- a life filled with excitement and devoid of ties to others. "I want my family," Steve clarified. "For how long this time? I mean, just because you're feeling a little nostalgic? I don't think that you should be using Joey to try to recapture the past," Kayla countered. Rolling his eyes, Joey put away his cell phone and turned his attention to his parents' conversation.

Steve clarified that he wasn't trying to recapture the past -- he was instead thinking about the present and looking toward the future. Steve added that his family was in Salem. "You do not get to talk to me about family. You made your decision about family in Africa, when you, completely unilaterally, made a decision to join the ISA. And I had no choice but to learn to live with that decision, and learn to live without you. And so did our children," Kayla reminded Steve. Assuring Kayla that he was no longer involved with the ISA, Steve stressed that he just wanted to start over.

"You're just done with that? Because our son shows up at your front door, you just want to waltz back into our lives?" Kayla asked incredulously. Steve started to respond, but Kayla interrupted and told him not to say another word. "Just go, and I will handle this, just like I always do," Kayla quietly added. Steve agreed to leave but warned Kayla that he didn't intend to just go away. Kayla took Joey to the Brady Pub for some food, and when he showed a lack of interest in what she had ordered, she reminded him that it had once been his favorite meal. "I changed, okay?" Joey replied with a shrug.

"Yeah, I know. You used to talk," Kayla recalled. Kayla told Joey that she wasn't just upset about what he had done; she was also worried about him. Kayla pointed out that Joey was a minor and that going off on his own could have proven to be dangerous, but he countered that he had managed to get to New York City just fine on his own. Kayla warned Joey not to cop an attitude with her. "Do you see why I didn't tell you I was talking to Dad? 'Cause you think everything I do is wrong," Joey complained. Kayla clarified that she simply believed Joey had been making some mistakes lately.

Kayla started to add that she understood that Joey wanted to get to know his father, but Joey interrupted. "Look, you don't need to explain things to me, okay? Yeah, at first I thought he did want to be my dad, but it's just like you said -- he's only using me as an excuse to come back here," Joey conceded. Kayla acknowledged that she had some issues with Steve. "Nice way to put it," Joey muttered. Kayla continued that Steve loved Joey and hadn't been using him. "That's why you were so glad to see him -- 'cause he was being such a good dad," Joey sarcastically agreed.

Kayla clarified that she had simply been taken aback and hadn't known what to make of Steve's announcement that he would be staying in Salem. "You heard him -- he's here 'cause his family is here," Joey reminded Kayla, his words still dripping with sarcasm. Not wanting to trash Steve to Joey, Kayla carefully explained that she believed Steve had meant what he had said; she just wasn't convinced he could follow through with his promises.

"Come on, how could you possibly not be sure?" Joey replied. Ignoring the continued sarcasm, Kayla noted that Joey and Stephanie knew what to expect from Steve. "I think that he loves you the best he can; it's just that sometimes it's not as much as you want," Kayla added, grasping Joey's hand as he remained silent.

While passing through the town square, Steve paused to take a look at Tom and Alice's memorial plaque. "Mrs. H and Dr. H, still at the center of it all. That's nice. It is good to be home," Steve mused. Steve went to the police station to see Hope, who was stunned to see that he was back in Salem. At Steve's request, Hope gave him a hug, but it wasn't exactly a warm one.

After telling Hope about what Joey had done, Steve jokingly wondered why present-day kids couldn't be reliable and obedient, like his and Hope's generation had been. Hope sarcastically agreed that those were the exact words she'd use to describe the younger version of Steve, and he countered that taking off on the back of Bo's bike hadn't exactly been a reliable and obedient thing for her to do as a youth.

Hope tensed as Steve wondered how Bo was doing. Hope said she didn't know because Bo had gone undercover for the ISA, and it had been three years since she had last seen him. "That's just not like him," Steve noted with obvious confusion. "Really? Well, people change, don't they, Steve? That's exactly what he did -- he deserted me," Hope replied. When Steve asked about Ciara, Hope tersely reported that she was doing wonderfully. Steve could tell that Hope didn't want to talk about the situation with Bo, and she confirmed the suspicion before changing the subject, wondering when Steve planned to head back to New York City.

Steve admitted that he wasn't sure what he was going to do next. Hope was surprised to learn that Steve was no longer involved with the ISA. Steve explained that he had been hanging out with Joey recently in an effort to get to know him better. Steve added that Kayla hadn't exactly welcomed him back to Salem with open arms. "Shocker," Hope dryly replied. Conceding that Kayla had a reason to be skeptical about his return, Steve noted that her reaction had made him realize just how hard he would have to work to make things right with his family again.

"Well, when you're put in the position to have to make it on your own -- because your husband's deserted you, and you're left having to raise the children on your own -- you find that the happy memories are the most painful, so you don't get sentimental about the good old days, Steve," Hope replied. Hope's cell phone chimed before Steve could respond, and she excused herself, explaining that she was working on a case. Steve said it had been good to see Hope again, and she stiffly returned the sentiment. "We'll talk later...if you decide to stick around this time," Hope added before walking away.

When Kayla returned to her office, she found Steve waiting for her. Steve told Kayla that he had just talked to Hope. "She told me about Bo, and it made it painfully clear what I did to you. I'm here to say I'm sorry. And I know I should've called you about Joe, but the truth is, I wanted to come back here and see you, Kayla. I missed you. I missed you so much," Steve added. Kayla interrupted and protested that Steve couldn't just swoop back into her life and act like nothing had happened.

"You left me and your son in Africa, and I can never, ever forgive you for that," Kayla added. Steve assured Kayla that he understood, but she wasn't convinced that he could possibly understand what his abandonment had been like for her and Joey. "You want to make our past your present and your future? That isn't gonna happen, because what we over, and you're just gonna have to learn to live with that," Kayla quietly concluded. Kayla excused herself after receiving a phone call, telling Steve to show himself out.

At the park, Rafe showed Hope a bloodstained cocktail napkin from Club TBD that he had found near the crime scene. Because Serena had been strangled, Hope and Rafe knew that the blood wasn't hers, and they were hopeful that the pending blood analysis would lead them straight to the killer.

Meanwhile, in the town square, Aiden received a phone call from someone. "Look, I'm telling you, I am good for the money. I just -- I need a little more time; just a month or so... Because I'm coming into a sweet windfall, that's why... Look, it will not be long, I promise you. I'm gonna be able to pay you back...and then some," Aiden said before ending the call with a nervous sigh.

. . .

On the next Days of our Lives...

• Kate, Nicole, and Theresa unknowingly find themselves in pursuit of the same goal.
• John tries to prove his devotion to Marlena with a trip down memory lane.
• Jennifer and Eve fight after Jennifer accuses Eve of leaking false information to the press.
• Kyle tests J.J.'s loyalty.