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Monday, December 5, 2016
by Mike

While Ciara and Claire were spending time with Victor at the Kiriakis mansion, Claire began complaining about how her mother was always trying to control her life, even from Hong Kong. "Last night, on the phone, she was just, like, grilling me about how many hours I'm studying for finals," she continued with a dramatic sigh.

"Oh, no! You poor baby. How can you stand it?" Ciara sarcastically replied. Claire quickly apologized, realizing that she was being insensitive. Ciara wasn't upset with Claire but admitted that she couldn't help worrying about Hope all the time, and she found it particularly difficult to accept the fact that Hope was in prison because of a crime that had been committed due to a misunderstanding. "I mean, yeah, Stefano did horrible things, but he never kidnapped and tortured my dad. That was somebody else -- someone who hasn't paid, and probably never will," she pointed out as Victor made eye contact with Deimos, who was listening from the foyer.

Ciara abruptly excused herself so she could get some more tea from the kitchen, declining Victor's offer to summon Henderson to take care of the task. Claire assumed that Ciara had rushed off to get away from her, but Victor guessed that Ciara simply needed a few minutes alone because she was missing Bo. "Seems like Ciara's really special to you," Claire observed. Victor stressed that all of his grandchildren -- and great-grandchildren -- were special to him. "But you gave Ciara a trust fund," Claire pointed out. Victor explained that he had done that after Ciara had lost her father -- and she hadn't accepted it, anyway.

"It's none of my business, really -- and believe me, I do not expect you to do anything like that for me," Claire stressed, adding that she would probably get a trust fund of her own from John -- someday. Victor got the not-so-subtle hint and wondered why she needed money. She vaguely explained that she was working on a project for a friend and needed two hundred dollars or so to pull it off.

Victor handed over the money without hesitation but didn't believe for a second that Claire wanted it for a friend, warning her, "Don't kid a kidder." He assured her, however, that he didn't care what she was planning to do with it. "You know, you are, like, the only adult in this family that actually gets me," she mused as she thanked him with a hug and a kiss. "Well, I certainly do get you," he agreed with a knowing grin as she rushed off to get started on her project. When Ciara returned a short time later, she was disturbed to learn that he had given Claire money. She warned him that Claire was definitely up to something. "That's my girl," he dismissively replied.

Theo went to the hospital in search of Abe, who was there for a checkup, and found him talking to Valerie near the nurses' station. Theo offered Valerie a terse greeting then informed Abe that he had found the place that was selling the worst Christmas trees. Valerie thought the Carvers would be avoiding that particular place, but Abe clarified that he and Theo actually had a tradition of buying the worst Christmas tree every year and turning it into something special. Valerie found that heartwarming, knowing that even the worst real Christmas tree would put her artificial one to shame. She was pleasantly surprised when Theo invited her to tag along.

Later, after Theo finished picking out a Christmas tree and arranging for it to be delivered to the Carver house, he and Abe went to the town square with Valerie to get coffee. Theo was taken aback when Abe spontaneously decided to invite Valerie to spend Christmas with them, but he forced a smile and claimed that he was okay with the idea. Meanwhile, Valerie received a text message from someone but found herself unable to view it because her cell phone was frozen. When she started to complain about how it had been acting up lately, Abe volunteered Theo to fix it, explaining that he was really good at such things.

Abe and Valerie stepped aside to order coffee while Theo was working on the device. When he fixed it, the text message popped up on the screen, and he noticed that it was from someone named Eli, who wanted Valerie to know that he missed her. Theo managed to take a picture of the text message with his own cell phone before Abe and Valerie returned.

Later, Theo sneaked up on Ciara while she was staring intently at something on her cell phone. He jokingly wondered if she was trying to pick out the perfect Christmas gift for him. She smiled as she turned to face him, claiming that she wasn't going to get him anything at all because he had been too naughty that year. He said the smile on her face at that moment was enough for him, anyway.

Ciara clarified that she had actually been looking at a message she had gotten from someone on the dating profile Theo had set up for her. She thought the guy's profile seemed a bit sketchy, but she agreed to meet him when Theo offered to stick around and keep an eye on her during the meeting to give her peace of mind.

Theo took a seat at a nearby table, and while he was keeping an eye on Ciara from there, Claire joined him and started to tell him about her earlier visit with Victor. He interrupted and showed her the picture of the text message Valerie had received earlier. "Sounds like she's involved with another man," Claire observed. She resumed her earlier tale, informing Theo that she had convinced Victor to give her enough money to pay for some high-tech spy gear so they could get some dirt on Valerie. "Okay, let's do it," Theo replied.

Meanwhile, Ciara's date arrived and greeted her. "Rory?" she asked incredulously. He was pleased to see that she remembered him, since they had only met once before. She said she also remembered that he had often hung out with J.J. back when J.J. had been into drugs. Rory said it had been forever since he had last seen J.J. Ciara guessed that J.J.'s career choice had killed that friendship pretty quickly.

"Your bio says you're a grownup," Ciara pointed out. "Hey! I'm twenty-two," Rory stressed. Unimpressed, she argued that he would never qualify as a grownup. She guessed that he had lied about everything on his profile -- especially the part about being a pharmaceutical rep. "That's what I do," he insisted with a sly grin.

Rory told Ciara that she needed to calm down a bit, prompting her to guess that he had just the thing to help her do that. She made it clear that she would never be interested in going out with him because they had nothing in common. "Whoa, come on. No, I've been to jail, your mom's in jail -- we can totally bond!" he protested.

After angrily telling Rory to get out of her sight, Ciara started to walk away, but he chased after her and apologized for his insensitive comment. She eventually agreed to sit with him while he scarfed down several burritos to satisfy a serious case of the munchies. As he was stuffing his face, she watched Theo and Claire, who were still seated at a nearby table.

While playing cards with Hattie in the prison's recreation room, Hope admitted that she missed her family. "That's the good thing about not having a family -- you got no one to miss," Hattie replied. Hope said she was sorry to hear that, but Hattie dismissed the concern, insisting that she was just fine.

Changing the subject, Hope wondered how Hattie had ended up in jail. "I was working as a secretary. Had a good job in Chicago. Had a great little life, was making a good living -- life was good at that point. It was good. Then I thought I would try one of those speed-dating things, you know? Anyway, I met this guy -- he was tall...ish, dark, handsome...ish. Anyway, we hit it off right away, you know? We became an item. He took me out, he wined and dined me... It was perfect...'til it wasn't," Hattie explained.

After telling Hope to ignore Coco and Sheila, who were watching threateningly from a nearby table, Hattie continued her story. "I showed up for work one day, [and] the place was crawling with cops. Seemed that, um, somebody had embezzled a lot of money -- billions -- and, uh, they tracked that stuff down to my personal computer," she explained. She said she didn't know how that had happened; in fact, she didn't even know how to send an email properly, let alone use her computer for embezzlement. "Anyway, turns out the money had been, uh, transferred to an offshore account. I couldn't prove that I hadn't done it, so I copped a plea," she concluded.

Hope thought Hattie should have fought the charges, but Hattie insisted, "I didn't have it in me to fight it, okay?" She added that her guy had taken off the night before the embezzlement scandal had started. Hope suggested that he might have had something to do with the whole thing. Hattie admitted that the thought had crossed her mind, but she added that she didn't like to think about that possibility. Hope assured Hattie that she would keep her promise to look into the case as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, another inmate entered the room and joined Coco and Sheila, who started complaining to her about how Hattie was protecting Hope. The new arrival, Chillie, promised to take care of the matter. She approached Hope and Hattie's table and demanded Hope's chair, but Hope refused to give it up, and Hattie threatened to arrange for Chillie to go without meatloaf for the rest of the month if she didn't walk away immediately. Unfazed, Chillie revealed a shiv and once again demanded the chair. Hope rose from it and twisted Chillie's arm, forcing her to drop the weapon, which Hattie quickly picked up.

Someone started applauding the performance from the doorway, and when Hope turned to face the person, she was surprised to see that it was Deimos. Chillie demanded to know who he was and how he had managed to get into the recreation room. "My last name's Kiriakis. It opens a lot of doors," he explained before demanding a moment alone with Hope. As the other inmates were leaving, he commented on Hattie's resemblance to Marlena. "That again?" she asked with obvious annoyance, prompting him to guess that she had heard about it before. "Far as I'm concerned, she's not even in my league," she stressed before walking away.

Deimos told Hope that he was sorry about what had happened to Bo, knowing that she was only in prison because she had mistakenly held Stefano responsible for something he had done. She said that was her problem to deal with, not his. He guessed that she hated him. "With all of my being," she confirmed through gritted teeth. He said he understood, and he promised that he would nevertheless find a way to help her, since that was the least he could do to make up for the pain he had caused her. He then walked away without waiting for a response.

Later, Hattie rejoined Hope in the recreation room and wondered what "the Kiriakis guy" had wanted. Hope said he had told her, but she hadn't believed a single word he had uttered. She promised to tell Hattie the whole story later. Meanwhile, Coco and Sheila returned and started to threaten Hope again. Chillie soon joined them and warned them not to touch Hope. Disappointed, they reluctantly left the room.

Hattie guessed that Chillie had taken her earlier threat about the meatloaf seriously, but Hope guessed that there was more to the story. "I'll see if I can find out," Hattie promised. She approached Chillie and demanded to know what was going on. Chillie claimed that she simply wanted to have a cop on her side, but Hattie wasn't convinced. "I just talked to the head guard, and they are giving me serious money to offer loyalty and protection to my new homegirl," Chillie admitted, adding that someone on the outside obviously liked Hope.

Hattie shared the information with Hope, who guessed that Deimos was responsible. "Well, I guess you won't be needing my help anymore," Hattie realized with a sigh. Hope stressed that she had no intention of turning her back on Hattie, who was touched when Hope offered up a fist bump to reinforce the earlier deal they had made.

At the Kiriakis mansion, Victor overheard Deimos talking to someone on the phone about the deal he had made to keep Hope protected in prison. After Deimos ended the call, Victor thanked him for the kind gesture. Deimos said it was the least he could do to try to atone for the pain he had caused. Victor dismissively reminded Deimos that an untreatable form of cancer had caused Bo's death. "Are you really trying to lessen my burden of guilt?" Deimos asked incredulously. "I'm trying to say that I'm accepting part of that burden. I was responsible for turning you into the man that could do what you did to Bo and to Maggie," Victor clarified.

Touched, Deimos noted that Victor had never said anything like that to him before. "Yes, well, I'm saying it now," Victor replied. Deimos stressed that he would never forgive himself for having cost Bo valuable time with loved ones. Victor said he knew the feeling, since he had sent Bo on the mission that had delivered him into Deimos' hands. Deimos fretted that he hadn't done enough to help Hope yet. He insisted that he owed Hope nothing less than her freedom. "And a Kiriakis always pays his debts," he added.

Rafe and Shawn summoned Kate to the police station to see if she knew anything about a suspicious email Stefano had received three weeks before his death. The email had been from someone named George Kline, and it had alluded to some sort of bad news. Kate immediately recognized the name as that of the man who had been Stefano's doctor.

With Rafe and Shawn's suspicions suddenly further aroused, Kate agreed to contact George and try to get him to reveal what the email had been about. As soon as she mentioned that she was calling to talk to him about his time as Stefano's doctor, he hung up on her. Undeterred, she contacted Austin and enlisted his help, explaining to Rafe and Shawn that it sometimes helped to have a forensic accountant in the family.

After ending the call, Kate revealed that Austin had discovered that Stefano had been transferring funds from his corporate account into his personal account in the weeks prior to his death. "Makes sense. He didn't have any personal money [because] Sami had stolen it all," Rafe pointed out. Kate continued that Stefano had apparently written a large corporate check to a life insurance company a couple weeks before his death but had then canceled it when his application had been turned down.

Confused, Rafe noted that diabetes shouldn't have automatically disqualified Stefano as a candidate for the company's policy. Kate agreed that there had to be more to the story. Shawn argued that Stefano might have just been denied coverage due to old age, but Kate wasn't convinced, recalling that he had managed to get a rather large policy a few years earlier.

Rafe wondered why Stefano would want more life insurance if he'd already had a policy in place for years. "Maybe he knew that his death was imminent," Kate guessed with a shrug. She added, however, that Stefano hadn't been the kind of person who would have just sat around and waited for an inevitable death to occur. Rafe guessed that Stefano might have decided to goad Hope into killing him because he had known that suicide would have caused his family to lose his life insurance money. "If we could [prove that], that could be Hope's ticket to freedom," he excitedly added.

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