A ticked-off Nicole showed up on Daniel's doorstep and demanded to know why, after months of giving her the cold shoulder, he had sent her a text message that said, "I'm so sorry." Daniel explained that he'd thought Nicole would have already heard: E.J. had been murdered the night before. Daniel filled a shaken Nicole in on what he knew of the details, and she explained that she hadn't heard anything about it because she'd been in Chicago for work.
Fighting back tears, Nicole admitted that through all her and E.J.'s ups and downs over the years, she had wished him dead many times, but she had never really meant it. When Nicole broke down, Daniel put his arms around her. After she regained her composure, Nicole called the mansion and spoke to Mary to make sure the kids were all right. "No, it's best that you don't mention I called," Nicole added before hanging up. She told Daniel that she was worried how Johnny and Sydney would handle their father's death.
Daniel asked if Nicole wanted to go the DiMera mansion, but Nicole declined, believing that Sami would think she was intruding and that Marlena and Eric would think Nicole was manipulating the situation. Nicole started to leave and get out of Daniel's way, but he urged her to stay and talk to him about her feelings, because he knew better than anyone how much she had loved E.J. Nicole admitted that she had loved E.J., even though they had ultimately tried to destroy one another. Daniel pointed out that E.J. would never have been able to hurt Nicole if she hadn't loved him.
Nicole confided that she had tried countless stunts to hang on to E.J., but she had finally realized that she would always be second to Sami. Nicole continued that they had eventually moved past everything, and the last time she'd seen E.J., they'd enjoyed a nice conversation. Nicole rose to leave and thanked Daniel. "For a minute there, it kind of felt like...we were friends again, way back when," Nicole added. Daniel asked if Nicole would like to join him for coffee at the Brady Pub after he dropped some things off for Parker. "I'd like that," Nicole agreed.
In her hotel room, Kristen left a message for Chad, reassuring him that she was there for him. As she hung up, a knock at the door from Brady surprised Kristen. "I wanted to make sure you were all right," Brady said. Kristen threw her arms around him -- but Brady pulled away when she held the embrace a bit too long. Kristen apologized for falling apart and admitted that the previous night had been difficult, because she'd been alone. Brady acknowledged that Kristen had loved E.J.
Kristen noted that she and E.J. had grown close in recent years, and she felt bad that she'd been mad at him when she'd returned to town. She asked how Sami and the kids were, but Brady said that he hadn't been to the house yet. Kristen was touched that she had been Brady's first visit. Brady urged Kristen not to read anything into that, clarifying that Marlena and Roman were with Sami, and Brady wanted to give the family some time before he went to the mansion.
Kristen admitted that she didn't know how to cope with E.J.'s death, and she regretted every terrible thing she'd said to him since she'd returned. She asked if Brady perhaps could relate to that because of what had happened to his dad. Brady acknowledged that he hated himself for what he'd said and done to his father, but he had a second with John because of Kristen -- and Brady wished he could somehow give that to Kristen, as well.
When Kristen asked how John was doing, Brady said that Kayla and Daniel believed that John would make a full recovery. Brady added that he was glad that John had remembered everything about the night Brady had put him in a coma. Kristen insisted that it hadn't been Brady's fault, but Brady misunderstood what she'd meant. Kristen wondered if John's memories were completely accurate, pointing out that he had just emerged from a coma -- and perhaps there was more to the story than John had remembered.
"What are you talking about?" Brady demanded, perplexed. Kristen suggested that they could talk about it some more, but Brady was incredulous. "We have nothing more to say to each other. Look, I'm appreciative of what you did. I am. But please, make no mistake: this is the last time that we will be meeting. This is goodbye," Brady declared firmly. Kristen pointed out that Salem was a small town, so they were bound to run into one another occasionally. Brady suggested that Kristen should really consider leaving town, perhaps to visit Stefano, wherever he was.
"You think I should leave town because everybody here hates me, right? But you don't hate me because of what I did for your father. That's what you said, right?" Kristen asked. Before Brady could answer, Kristen's phone rang. Kristen saw that it was her father and noted that he would call her back. She implored Brady not to leave before they talked some more -- and after that, they never had to see one another again. Brady glared at her and left without another word.
Ben had just stopped by Will and Sonny's to pick the guys up for a game of basketball when Will got a call from Sami, who was in bed at the DiMera mansion, surrounded by some of E.J.'s ties and photographs of her husband. Not hearing the obvious sorrow in her voice, Will assumed that his mom was calling to tell him that she and E.J. hadn't shown up at the party because they were still angry. Sami's attempt to explain why she hadn't called sooner was a bit rambling, so Will interrupted and told her that he didn't have time to hear what a "royal screw-up" he was.
"Stop. Just stop it, okay? E.J. is dead," Sami said. She explained that she'd assumed that Will would have already heard that morning, and she had wanted to tell him the night before, but telling the kids had been draining for her. Will asked what had happened. Sami explained that E.J. had been shot during an apparent mugging, and she'd been the first one there. She began to cry as she described how much blood E.J. had lost, and finally she broke down. "I'm sorry, Will. I just can't," Sami cried.
"Mom, it's okay. We're coming over there. Just hang on, okay? Hang on," Will urged Sami. He hung up and told Sonny and Ben what had happened. While Will went into the bedroom to change, Ben hurried out. After the guys had changed clothes and were about to head out the door, a guilty Will admitted that he didn't know what to say after complaining on the phone about his mom and E.J. not showing up at the party. Sonny reassured his husband that Sami would understand. "Nothing ever works for my mom. Everything always just crashes and burns," Will remarked sadly as he and Sonny headed out.
Abigail returned to the Horton house after a run and found a grim Jennifer and J.J. waiting for her in the living room. Jennifer broke the news to her daughter that E.J. had died the previous night. A thunderstruck Abigail asked if there had been an accident. "He was murdered," J.J. said. Jennifer helped Abigail to the couch and told her that there had apparently been a mugging, and E.J. had been shot.
Her hand covering her mouth in horror, Abigail exclaimed, "Oh, my God, his poor children!" As J.J. got up to answer the doorbell, Jennifer pulled Abigail to her and held her as she cried. Abigail confessed that it felt hypocritical to feel so sad when she'd been angry and resentful toward E.J. for so long.
Ben was on the doorstep when J.J. answered the door. J.J. encouraged Ben to return later because it wasn't a good time. "J.J., I heard what happened. I need to make sure [Abigail's] okay. Now," Ben said. J.J. stuck his head in the living room and informed Abigail that Ben was there. Abigail quickly wiped away her tears and told J.J. to let Ben in. Ben explained to Jennifer that he'd just wanted to make sure Abigail was all right. Abigail stepped into Ben's open arms, and as he held her, Ben apologized to J.J. and Jennifer and offered to give the family some alone time.
Jennifer said that she had to head to the hospital and put out a statement, since E.J. had been on the board. J.J. made an excuse to leave, as well. After Abigail cried on Ben's shoulder for a while, she apologized. "Abigail, the guy was murdered. I mean, you have to feel something," Ben noted sympathetically. Abigail admitted that she was surprised E.J.'s death had hit her so hard, especially since she had spent so much time hating him.
"The last thing I ever said to E.J. was that I never wanted to see him again. I sure got my wish, didn't I? In the worst possible way," Abigail said, as Ben kissed her cheek to try and comfort her. He emphasized that Abigail hadn't wished for anyone to die. "E.J. DiMera was a liar, and he hurt you badly, but he sure as hell didn't deserve to be killed -- and his kids didn't deserve to lose their dad," Ben added. He asserted that Abigail should be able to feel whatever she felt, without having to apologize for it. "I'm glad you came," Abigail said.
As J.J. and Jennifer got off the elevator at the hospital, he explained that he had accompanied her because he'd wanted to give Ben and Abigail some time alone. Jennifer asked what J.J. thought about Ben. "I've only a talked to him a couple of times. He seems fine. Definitely a step up from E.J. DiMera," J.J. said. Jennifer shot her son a scolding look.
Jennifer wondered aloud if she should invite Ben to dinner, adding that they could also invite Paige to take some of the pressure off. J.J. wasn't sure inviting Paige was such a good idea, because he'd been thinking that he and Paige should "ease off" a little. Before Jennifer could question him about that, J.J. got a text message and rushed out, leaving his mom puzzled.
Eric, Caroline, and Marlena were in the living room when Sami went downstairs. Wearing an old shirt of E.J.'s and bedroom slippers, her hair pulled back into a messy bun, Sami sobbed in her brother's arms. Marlena and Caroline headed upstairs to be with the kids and give the nanny a break. On her way out, Caroline grabbed her granddaughter's hands and assured her firmly, "Samantha Gene, listen to me: you are going to get through this. So are the kids. Your family is here for you, always. Understood?" Sami nodded.
Once Sami and Eric were alone, Eric promised to spend more time with the kids. Sami tearfully admitted that all she wanted was to wake up from the terrible dream she was having. She continued that she and E.J. were supposed to have had the rest of their lives together, to raise their kids and watch them grow up. When Sami began to sob again, Eric pulled her into an embrace and let her cry. "Dad said that you were the one who found E.J.," Eric said.
Sami described how she had held E.J. and tried to will the blood back into his body. Sami continued that she knew he had heard her when she'd told him she loved him, but there was a lot more that she'd wanted to say. "Nobody understood me the way that he did. Nobody loved me the way that he did," Sami said despondently. Stroking his twin's hair, Eric reassured her, "I want you to know that your feelings, your memories, the memories of everyone who loved and knew E.J. -- they belong to you."
Eric handed Sami a photo from the side table of her with E.J. and the kids and urged her to hang on to it. Sami clutched the frame to her chest and wept some more. She acknowledged that she had to focus on her kids. "I going to protect them, and I'm going to get them away from here," Sami added, as determination replaced the grief on her face. "God, I can practically feel E.J. backing me up on this. I have to get them away from here, and from Stefano and his evil -- his evil daughter," Sami declared.
When Will and Sonny arrived, Sami embraced her son-in-law then held on tightly to Will. Her mood seemingly much lighter, Sami said that she was very glad they were there. Sonny offered to help in any way they could. Will pulled his mom aside and apologized for what he'd said on the phone before he'd learned what had happened, and for how he had recently treated her and E.J. Sami assured him that none of it mattered.
"Just know that whatever I did, whatever I said -- I still really cared about E.J.," Will said, his voice breaking with emotion. Sami said that E.J. had been very proud of Will, and he had been determined that Will and Sami would be close again.
Caroline returned and told Eric that someone at the pub needed her key to the storeroom. Eric volunteered to take the key over for his grandmother so she could stay with the kids. He quickly said goodbye to Sami and left. Will advised Sami that Lucas was on his way home, but it was a very long flight from Hong Kong. "I should have thought of that. I really should've called Lucas. Of course he's worried about Allie," Sami fretted.
Will urged his mom to stop thinking that everything was her responsibility and let him and Sonny help. Will added, "There's something else you should know, too. All that stuff we've been fighting about -- it's done, over." Sonny chimed in that Will had intended to tell Sami and E.J. that at the party.
Nicole sat in a booth at the Brady Pub, breaking the news of E.J.'s death by phone to her sister, Taylor. Nicole explained that while neither woman had been involved with E.J. for quite some time, she'd thought Taylor should hear the news from Nicole first. After Nicole hung up, she got up to order a drink, and Eric's presence behind the bar startled her.
Nicole assured Eric that she hadn't gone there to see him; she had assumed that he would be with Sami. Eric explained that he had just been there. Nicole inquired about how everyone was doing, asking especially about Sydney. Eric said that E.J.'s death was hard for Sydney to understand. "I know Sami and I never got along, but I know how much she loved E.J., so could you please just tell her I'm sorry?" Nicole requested, fighting back tears. Eric agreed, adding that he had intended to call and check on Nicole because she'd been married to E.J.
Nicole assured Eric that she was fine. Right after Nicole stepped into the back room to take a phone call from work, Daniel arrived. He asked Eric to pass on his condolences to Sami. When Daniel said that he was meeting Nicole, Eric expressed surprise that she and Daniel were friends again. Daniel clarified, "I'm not really sure we are." Eric wanted to know if Daniel and Kristen were friends again, too.
Nicole returned just in time to overhear Eric say, "Daniel, with all the great news about John's recovery, you never did explain why you were secretly speaking with Kristen." Nicole was incredulous that Eric would make such an accusation, but Eric maintained that Daniel had, indeed, been talking to Kristen.
Marlena was in the foyer of the DiMera mansion when the doorbell rang, so she answered it. A man stood on the doorstep, holding a large box, which he extended wordlessly to Marlena. She gasped with recognition when she realized what the box contained.
A moment later, Marlena entered the living room, carrying a bronze urn filled with E.J.'s ashes. Sami froze when she saw it. Marlena set the urn down gently on a table. Sami explained that E.J. had wanted to be cremated, though Will remarked that it seemed kind of soon. Sami continued that E.J. hadn't wanted Stefano to bury him with the rest of the DiMeras. Marlena asked if there would be a service, but Sami explained that E.J. had felt that the publicity would be hard for the children.
Overwhelmed, Sami made an excuse about checking on the kids and fled from the room. She started to head upstairs, but she stopped, clinging to the railing at the bottom for support, and broke down in silent tears. Just then, Brady arrived. He saw the state that Sami was in and extended his arms, and Sami ran to him, hurling herself into his embrace and wailing against his chest.
Brady escorted Sami back into the living room, and Marlena hugged him gratefully. As Will and Sonny headed upstairs to stay with the kids, Brady spied the urn and asked how Sami was doing. "You know what? I'm good. I can be strong, and I can protect our family. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to protect our kids," Sami declared with determination, picking up the picture that Eric had handed her earlier.
Kristen spoke with Stefano on the phone and informed him that she'd done exactly as he'd instructed. "Thank you for acting so quickly... Elvis' body just arrived. My son is now where he belongs, with his famiglia. That bitch Samantha will never know the ashes in that urn aren't her beloved E.J.'s!" Stefano declared angrily.