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Ben receives an unexpected invitation
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Thursday, August 16, 2018
by Mike

At the Kiriakis mansion, Gabi eavesdropped from the foyer as Chad and Abigail had another tense conversation.

Gabi waited for the right opportunity then burst into the living room to tell Chad something about Arianna. "Sorry -- I didn't realize you were still here," Gabi told Abigail before starting to leave. "What were you gonna say?" Abigail wondered. "Uh, well...Ari's done with her last pancake, and she's requested that Chad jump on the trampoline with her. Apparently, he can do a backflip," Gabi explained. "I promised I'd show her," Chad confirmed. Nodding, Abigail urged Chad to be careful. "I won't [break anything -- except maybe] the trampoline...or my ego," Chad joked while exiting the living room.

"I'm sorry. I didn't realize the two of you were in here. [I mean], I never would have interrupted..." Gabi told Abigail again. "It's fine. [And] I'm really glad things are going well with your daughter," Abigail replied. "What about us? Are we okay?" Gabi wondered. "Yeah. I'm just -- I'm hormonal and emotional, but I do know that you're a good friend," Abigail confirmed. Gabi was relieved to hear that. "I swear, I -- I want you and Chad to work things out...and as long as he's staying here, I'm gonna do my best to make sure that he [eventually] moves back home with you," Gabi promised.

After Abigail left the mansion, Chad rejoined Gabi in the living room and reported, "The guy that I had watching Ben Weston just checked in. [Ben] left the homeless shelter [this morning], so he's leaving town for good. [I mean], no one else is gonna take him in..." Gabi was pleased to hear that there would soon be one less thing to worry about each day.

Changing the subject, Gabi thanked Chad for being willing to spend time with Arianna. "[But] I think we upset [Abigail -- I mean, even] more than she already was. [See, after you left, she] told me that she thought that maybe you were more interested in spending time with Ari [than] with Thomas," Gabi claimed. "That's not fair! She knows how I feel about our son!" Chad protested.

"Sorry. I should have never told you anything," Gabi innocently acknowledged. "No, it's not your fault. I'm glad you did," Chad replied.

"[But], I mean, [Abigail's jealous of] her own goddaughter and her own husband [spending time together]? I don't understand that! I mean, she knows how much I miss Thomas! I mean, I miss him like crazy! That's the worst part of all this for me! How does she not know that?" Chad added, incredulous. Gabi assured Chad that it had probably just been Abigail's hormones talking.

"Eh, I know she's going, you know, through her own hell, [but]...you're just gonna get mad at me, [but] honestly, I don't know how I'm gonna get past all of this," Chad admitted with a sigh. Gabi predicted that Chad simply needed time apart from Abigail to process everything. Gabi added that Abigail needed to respect Chad's need for distance. "She doesn't [seem to] realize that she's putting a lot of pressure on you -- [or] that every time you guys get together, it just makes you more upset, [which isn't] good for anybody. I think you should definitely be staying in neutral corners [for now]," Gabi continued.

"Trust me, you're doing the right thing," Gabi assured Chad. Smiling, Chad thanked Gabi for being such a good friend.

At the Brady Pub, John and Steve complained to each other about the fitting they had just endured. "You sure you don't want to go back? I really think you should have gotten that hot-pink cummerbund," Steve joked. "Yeah, right -- like that would have been [a good look]. Back in the '80s, maybe..." John replied. "What's wrong with the '80s? As I recall, that was when you and the lovely Marlena made your first trip down the aisle," Steve countered. "Yeah, just like you and Kayla," John confirmed. "[Which is why] I loved the '80s," Steve wistfully mused.

Chuckling, John changed the subject, wondering if Steve had gotten around to questioning Kayla yet. "I did," Steve confirmed. "And she had an innocent explanation [for what you overheard], didn't she?" John guessed. "She did. I'm just not sure I believe it," Steve replied with a sigh. John conceded, after hearing all the facts, that Steve was right to doubt Kayla's story.

"I'm worried, man. I think something's wrong -- really wrong," Steve admitted. John suggested that Kayla might be trying to protect Steve from something. "The last time I lied to Doc, it was all about trying to protect [you -- and not wanting] to get her involved," John added, inadvertently leading Steve to conclude that Kayla was probably in danger. John tried to backpedal, but Steve insisted, "You're right -- she could be [in danger]...which is all the more reason I have to find out what the hell is going on!" Steve resolved to question Kayla again. "[And] if that doesn't work...I'll do whatever I have to [do] to get the truth," Steve vowed.

At the hospital, Kayla received a visit from Stefan, who again demanded information about Abigail's most recent doctor's appointment. "[Actually], let's make this simple -- just give me Abigail's complete medical records," Stefan added. Stunned, Kayla refused, insisting that would be a huge breach of ethics. "Let me remind you that I can make Steve blind at any time. [I mean], one flick of the switch, and your husband's shopping for [a second patch again]. Hope he's not driving [right now]..." Stefan told Kayla. "Nice to see that you've inherited [Stefano's] taste for the gothic," Kayla grumbled while reluctantly handing over a copy of Abigail's medical file.

"Satisfied?" Kayla asked irritably. "For now. [But] I'll be back," Stefan replied before exiting Kayla's office.

After leaving the hospital, Stefan headed to the park to find a quiet place to read Abigail's medical file -- which included a sonogram picture from the first ultrasound. As Stefan was admiring it, someone approached from behind. Stefan quickly shut the front flap of the medical file then turned to face the person -- Abigail. "What are you looking at? [And] why'd you close the folder so fast?" she asked. "It's a prototype we're working on [at DiMera]. The last thing I need is for you to share it with the CEO of Titan," he innocently claimed. "You don't need to worry about that," she replied, leading him to conclude that she was still estranged from her husband.

"Chad is gonna come around," Abigail insisted. "And maybe it's not what you want to hear, but everybody who loves me -- who really loves me -- is rooting for us. Even Gabi is helping us get back together," Abigail continued. "Why would she do that?" Stefan asked curiously. "Because she's a great friend," Abigail explained with a shrug. "Who doesn't, uh, hold a grudge, apparently. Must say, I'm surprised. I mean, to me, she seems like the kind of woman who'd want revenge," Stefan mused. Abigail insisted that Stefan obviously didn't know Gabi very well. Nodding, Stefan changed the subject, wondering what Gabi could possibly do to help Abigail.

"Well, right now, she's staying at the Kiriakis mansion [to reconnect] with her daughter..." Abigail started to explain before pausing. Chuckling, Stefan delighted in guessing that Chad had ended up at the Kiriakis mansion, too. "It is not like that," Abigail insisted. "Whatever you say..." Stefan skeptically replied before walking away.

After parting ways with John, Steve went to the hospital to see Kayla. "I'm so glad to see you!" she declared, hugging him. Confused, he wondered if she was upset about something. She claimed that she was still worried about the patient she had told him about earlier -- the one who had been battling a life-threatening fever. "Sweetness...if you're the one who's in trouble, you would tell me, wouldn't you?" he asked. "Why would you think I'm in trouble?" she evasively replied. "[Because] I don't think you gave me the whole story [earlier]," he explained. "Well, no, I didn't -- [because] I can't betray Jen's confidence," she maintained, shrugging.

"I have a staff meeting in the lounge [soon], so I'll see you tonight," Kayla added before rushing off, leaving Steve alone in her office. "You're a lousy liar, Sweetness," he muttered, sighing. "[And] you shouldn't have left your phone behind..." he added, noticing the device on her desk. "[I mean, I already] know the code -- 07-25-88. I did love the '80s..." he continued, unlocking the device. A quick search revealed something alarming.

"What the hell is this about?" Steve wondered -- just as Kayla returned.

At the police station, Abe found Hope and Rafe in one of the conference rooms -- making out. "I guess this means that the two of you are back together," Abe mused. "We are, yes -- [I mean], I think we are -- [but] this is the last time, um, we display public affection, um, here at work," Hope replied, embarrassed. "That's a, um, promise," Rafe added. "Well, I'm willing to look the other way today...and I'm happy for you both," Abe stressed.

Changing the subject, Abe wondered why Hope had decided to stop investigating the cabin fire. "It looked like we were never gonna get enough evidence [against Ben] for an indictment...[so] I made it very clear to him yesterday [that if he left town for good, I'd close the case]," Hope explained. "[Yeah, well, I've] been keeping tabs on him -- informally, of course -- [and] he was [still] here in town last night, [staying] at a homeless shelter," Abe countered. Hope was outraged, but Abe conceded that Ben might have been planning to leave town after getting some sleep. "If Weston has gone back on our deal...God help him," Hope told Rafe after Abe left.

Rafe contacted the homeless shelter and learned that Ben had checked out earlier that day. Hope wondered if that meant that Ben would soon be leaving town. "[I mean, he has] nowhere else to go [here]..." Rafe pointed out.

At the Horton Town Square, Claire finished a work shift then joined a customer -- Marlena -- for a quick chat. "I hope you don't mind, but John shared part of your conversation from the other day," Marlena began. Claire insisted that everything was fine, adding that Marlena had more important things to focus on at that time, anyway -- like the wedding. "I'm a great multitasker," Marlena assured Claire, refusing to drop the subject.

"Okay, well, if you really want to know...[things at the apartment are tense because] Ciara is totally hung up on Ben Weston -- not that she'll ever admit that," Claire started to explain. Marlena was skeptical, but Claire insisted that Ciara was attracted to Ben. "Why else would she be pushing Tripp away? I mean, she has got this perfect guy literally throwing himself at her, and she won't give him the time of day because she would rather hang out with a serial killer! How messed up is that?" Claire continued. Marlena initially assumed that Claire was worried about Ciara, but as Claire continued talking, Marlena realized that Tripp was the bigger concern.

"Ciara treats [Tripp] like trash, and he still follows her around like a puppy...and he doesn't even look at me anymore..." Claire grumbled. "[And] I guess I shouldn't let it hurt my feelings -- [I mean], I know that I should have the self-respect to just back off and start dating again -- but...I don't know, it doesn't work like that. I can't just snap my fingers and [be] over Tripp," Claire continued, releasing a heavy sigh of defeat.

Marlena guessed that living -- and working -- with Tripp was making matters even worse for Claire. Nodding, Claire mused, "You know, maybe I should just be glad that Ben keeps showing up at our doorstep -- you know, 'cause if he kills us all, then I won't have to worry about [this anymore]." Unamused, Marlena told Claire not to joke about such things. "I'm not joking! I am really scared of this guy...[and] so is everyone [else] except Ciara, [who] refuses to accept what is obvious to everyone else -- that Ben set the fire [that] made her almost toast...literally," Claire replied. "Honey, I'm not somebody who believes that," Marlena revealed, stunning Claire.

"Part of being a therapist is really believing that people can change -- [that] they can be rehabilitated. [And] Ben is working so hard to do that. He has acknowledged what he's done, he's making amends... I just think we have to give him credit for that," Marlena explained with a shrug. Claire smiled as Marlena's comments sunk in. "You know, if Ben is such a great guy, then maybe Ciara should just be with him. [I mean], that would be perfect, [because] then Tripp would be free for me, right? I mean, if he can stand the sight of me anymore..." Claire cheerfully mused before rushing off, ignoring Marlena's repeated attempts to argue the point.

John soon joined Marlena. A short time later, Abe approached. "I'm so glad I ran into you two," Abe began. "You know, being mayor does have its perks...[so] I was able to pull a few strings, and I cleared the town square for your ceremony," Abe continued, pleasing John and Marlena. Changing the subject, Abe guessed that John and Marlena were looking forward to having all their kids back in town at the same time again for the wedding.

"Well, except for Sami," Marlena clarified. "She's not coming? Why not?" Abe asked. "Wish we knew," Marlena replied, shrugging.

Tripp returned home after a grueling work shift and wondered if Ciara wanted to unwind with him at the lake. "Actually, do you mind if we wait a little while?" Ciara hesitantly replied. "What for?" Tripp wondered -- just as Ben emerged from the bathroom, wearing only a towel. "What the hell is this?" Tripp asked Ciara incredulously. "[Ben's] been staying at a homeless shelter, but they're overcrowded right now, so they kicked him out this morning, and I thought the least I could do is let him clean up here," Ciara explained with a shrug. "Yeah, well, you look pretty clean to me, so why don't you just get dressed and get the hell out of here," Tripp impatiently ordered Ben.

"Look, man, I'm sorry -- I didn't mean to overstep. I'm gonna get going," Ben agreed, turning to retreat to the bathroom to get dressed. Ciara stopped Ben then informed Tripp, "[I promised Ben] he could grab something to eat before he goes." Scoffing, Tripp reached for a box of cereal that had been left out on the kitchen counter. "There you go," Tripp said, thrusting the box at Ben. "Think I could get some almond milk, or...?" Ben asked dryly. "We're not seriously shoving food in his hands as he walks out the door, right?" Ciara added. "Oh, I'm sorry -- what should we do? [Maybe] all sit around the counter and talk about our day?" Tripp countered.

Ciara wondered why Tripp was being so harsh. "[Maybe because] every time I turn around, there's a serial killer in my living room!" Tripp replied. "Stop calling him that! And it's our living room, Tripp! You don't get the only say!" Ciara countered. "I'm gonna go get dressed," Ben awkwardly interjected before retreating to the bathroom.

"If I want to have Ben over, that's my choice," Ciara continued. "So...what, every time the shelter's a little crowded, [that] guy's gonna show up and stroll around practically naked?" Tripp asked incredulously. "How else is he supposed to take a shower?" Ciara reasoned. "Maybe get a job of his own and find a place of his own -- preferably far away from here?" Tripp suggested, shrugging. "But it's not like it's that easy, Tripp! It's not like he can just go and fill out an application!" Ciara pointed out. "Oh, well, geez, I wonder why!" Tripp sarcastically replied.

"He's trying to make up for what he's done! But he can't when people like you and my mom won't even give him a second chance! You know what -- I bet she was the one who got him kicked out of the shelter in the first place! She is completely crazed, trying to drive him out of town!" Ciara grumbled. "Yeah, well, it sounds like she's got the right idea," Tripp muttered.

Sighing, Ciara maintained that Ben was no longer a threat to anyone. "[If anything], my mom should be thanking him [for saving my life], and now that we know that the fire wasn't actually his fault --" Ciara began to add. "Excuse me -- since when do we know that?" Tripp asked, confused. "Ben told us, remember?" Ciara replied with a smile. "[But] everyone in this town is [still] determined to see the worst in him, no matter what the evidence says!" Ciara continued, clearly frustrated. "Yes, and you're determined to see the best in him!" Tripp countered. "Why is that?" Tripp asked Ciara.

Ben returned, fully dressed, before Ciara could respond. "You guys can quit fighting now. I'm leaving," Ben announced. "Where are you gonna go?" Ciara asked. "I'll figure it out. Don't worry about it," Ben replied, shrugging.

"You can stay here!" Ciara blurted out as Ben started to leave, stunning Tripp. "You did not just ask him to move in with us," Tripp muttered with a shake of the head. "Only 'til he finds another place," Ciara stressed. "Ciara, thank you, but --" Ben began to say. "Shut up!" Tripp demanded. Annoyed, Ciara reminded Tripp that it wasn't okay to talk to people that way. "Fine. Yeah. I'll talk to [Ben] like a person," Tripp assured Ciara before approaching Ben with a forced smile. "I'm not okay with you staying here -- and I know Claire won't be, either," Tripp told Ben with mock respect -- just as Claire entered the apartment.

"Oh, Claire, you're just in time! You can tell us yourself -- how would you feel if Ben Weston moved in with us?" Tripp asked Claire expectantly. Confused, Claire listened as Tripp and Ciara took turns lobbying for support. Ben, clearly amused, settled on a stool at the kitchen counter and began munching cereal like it was the popcorn that typically accompanied a good movie. Tripp and Ciara impatiently ordered Claire to pick a side.

"My vote is...yes, Ben can stay with us," Claire declared -- stunning Tripp, pleasing Ciara, and further amusing Ben.

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