Hope was relieved to hear from Ciara -- but also devastated to learn that Ciara had no intention of returning home anytime soon. "[And] don't bother trying to trace this phone, [because] it's a burner," Ciara advised Hope.
Hope desperately tried to change Ciara's mind. "[At least] tell me where you are [so I can see for myself] that you're fine -- that you're all right," Hope begged. "But I'm not, Mom! God, I'm not all right -- not since what happened with Chase," Ciara replied. "I don't know what to do, and I don't know what I want, [so] I just need some time to figure it [all] out," Ciara continued, fighting back tears.
Hope, also on the verge of tears, looked to Rafe for help. Rafe took Hope's cell phone and began talking to Ciara, who remained determined to stay hidden for the time being.
"Is there someone there with you right now?" Rafe eventually asked Ciara, hearing movements in the background. "We found a man's boot print near where you crashed. [Is that man] holding you hostage?" Hope worriedly added after reclaiming her cell phone. "No, Mom, it's not like that at all. He, uh -- he didn't hurt me; he helped me. [In fact], he may have saved my life," Ciara clarified. "[Anyway], look, I'm sorry, Mom, [but] I just -- I need some time. [But] you don't have to be worried about me, okay? I promise. Just know that I'm okay, and...and that I love you," Ciara added before ending the call.
"Ciara!" Hope repeatedly shouted in vain, not yet ready for the conversation to end. "She hung up," Hope eventually told Rafe before breaking down.
Rafe tried to get Hope to focus on the positive aspects of the phone conversation, which had confirmed that Ciara was alive and well, but Hope remained concerned. "We've gotta find [Ciara]! She's vulnerable, she's hurt, she's with a man she doesn't know... What if she thinks she can trust him, [and he's actually] a bad guy? What...if... What if?" Hope fretted.
Meanwhile, Ben, who had been going in and out of the cabin the whole time that Ciara had been talking to her mother, reentered it again and saw that she had ended the call and was resting. He removed his dirty shirt then realized, while putting on a clean one, that she was actually awake. "I didn't mean to, like, make you feel uncomfortable or..." he apologetically began, taking a seat at her bedside. "You didn't," she assured him.
"I was trying to get all the soot off the cabin. There's so much of it from back when I..." Ben started to explain to Ciara before letting his voice trail off. "Set it on fire?" she concluded for him. "Yeah," he confirmed with a sigh.
"[Anyway], I thought maybe I could try to clean it off a little bit, but all that happened [was that I] got covered in dirt. No matter how much I scrub, the walls are still burned. I don't know why I thought I could clean it off," Ben admitted with a chuckle of embarrassment. "I do," Ciara replied. "Every morning, you wake up, and you think of all the ways you could have changed things -- 'if only I had done this, or if only I had done that, it wouldn't have happened' -- [but] the truth is, no matter how much you wish that you could change what happened, you can't, [so] the best thing you can do is just accept it and try to find a way to move on," Ciara continued, shrugging.
Ciara hesitantly reached for Ben's face, intending to wipe away some of the soot, but he turned away from her and walked over to a side table at the other end of the cabin, where he began filling two mugs with water. When he turned to face her again, he saw that she was asleep. "You're safe here, Ciara. No one will hurt you here," he quietly promised, taking a seat at her bedside again.
Justin met with Leo's attorney, Ted, at Doug's Place, armed with a settlement offer. "I'll take it to my client, but I'm pretty certain it will be rejected," Ted predicted. Confused, Justin insisted that the offer was actually quite fair. "There's an ample quantity of words, Mr. Kiriakis, but the dollar amount is a lot less than what we're looking for," Ted replied. Justin scoffed and concluded that, in other words, Leo and Ted were planning a shakedown. Ted preferred to think of it as a heroic attempt to send a very clear message to all the Sonnys of the world. "My son is innocent!" Justin angrily stressed. "[Then] why is he so willing to settle?" Ted countered.
"[Sonny] would fight like hell if this was just about him and his reputation, but it's not; it's also about Titan, which is why Victor made [the decision to settle -- because] he always looks out for the best interests of the company [above all else]," Justin clarified. "[Then] tell your uncle that if he wants to settle this matter [quickly], he's gonna have to up the ante," Ted replied before starting to walk away.
"Who put you up to this?" Justin asked, stopping Ted. "You know exactly who engages my services -- my client, Leo Stark," Ted replied. "That's not what I asked," Justin countered.
"What I want to know is...who has an axe to grind against my family? Who wants to see Titan fail? Tell me about the woman who put you up to this," Justin continued, prompting Ted to feign ignorance. "Don't be coy, Ted. I know Vivian Alamain approached Leo," Justin pointed out. "And [Leo] turned her down," Ted replied. "Right. And he couldn't possibly be lying -- an honest fellow like Leo," Justin skeptically countered. "Isn't Vivian Alamain dead?" Ted asked. "She could have put this whole thing in motion before her untimely demise," Justin reasoned. "[If only we could] bring her back and ask her..." Ted sarcastically mused before leaving.
At the Salem Inn, Kayla, who was snooping through Kate's room, suddenly sensed someone's presence. Kayla turned around and found Kate standing in the doorway, watching curiously.
"Oh, don't stop on my account," Kate said, joining Kayla in the room. "Sorry. [I was just looking for a pen so we could] sign the, um -- the budget addendum that we had agreed upon at the last, uh, board meeting," Kayla stammered while producing a document. "[And] I could have waited in the hall, but, um, the door was wide open, and, I mean, obviously the housekeeper was [just] here, and, you know, I was just trying to be efficient, because the sooner [this is] signed, the sooner we all get paid," Kayla concluded before handing the document to Kate, who quickly signed and returned it. Kayla thanked Kate then started to rush off.
"Did you ever speak to Stefan about that bionic eye for Patch?" Kate asked, stopping Kayla. "Steve didn't want me to," Kayla replied. "Sometimes the men in our lives just don't know what's good for them," Kate mused with a sigh. Kayla seized the opportunity to casually probe for the identity of the man in Kate's life, but Kate responded with a long list of men, past and present, who had ignored her advice at one time or another and had later suffered the consequences of that mistake, including Stefano, Andre, and each of her sons. "Men are such proud creatures," Kate concluded with a shake of the head. Kayla agreed then left.
Seconds later, Ted knocked on Kate's door. "You know that we can't be seen together!" she irritably reminded him. "Who would see us?" he asked, confused. "I'll get into that later," she replied before changing the subject, demanding to know the reason for his unexpected visit. "I'm afraid we have a little bit of a mess on our hands," he admitted with a sigh.
"I just came from a meeting with Justin, [and] he suspects Leo has a benefactor," Ted revealed, horrifying Kate. "Relax, Kate -- he thinks it's Vivian," Ted clarified. "Oh, thank God for small favors," Kate declared, breathing a sigh of relief. Ted showed Kate the settlement offer and assured her that he had already taken the liberty of rejecting it.
"[The Kiriakis clan's] clearly running scared," Ted mused. "Well, of course they are; their stock went down another ten percent today, and that's only a drop in the bucket," Kate happily replied. "[I'm sure Victor wants] to sweep the whole matter under the rug and rebuild the company, but little does he know that I'm gonna drag it out until their shares hit rock bottom," Kate continued. "So you can buy them at bargain price and take over his company," Ted guessed. Kate confirmed the suspicion with a nod. "Why don't we celebrate a little early?" Ted suggested, leaning in to kiss Kate.
Kate pushed Ted away and slapped him. "What was that?" he asked, confused. "[You know], this is highly ironic -- [that] we're in the middle of a sexual harassment suit, and you force yourself on me," she snapped in response. "It was just a kiss!" he incredulously protested. "[And besides], you're my boss, not the other way around, [so] you have the power...and I'm pretty certain that is the dynamic you have with every man you've ever been with," he continued, adding, for the record, that he was fine with that. "[Yeah, well], I have no interest in fulfilling [your] tawdry little fantasy," she countered.
Undeterred, Ted continued trying to charm Kate, making it clear that he admired the fact that she was willing to do whatever it took to get what she wanted out of life. She wasn't impressed. "Let me make something very clear to you, Ted -- my attention is focused on one thing and one thing only, and that's acquiring Titan, because once I have that power [and] can use it to my advantage, I never have to fear any man again," she stressed. He assured her that she had nothing to fear from him, but she maintained that flattery would get him nowhere with her. "Fair enough. We'll keep it a professional relationship...for the time being," he replied before leaving.
Steve bumped into someone while passing through Horton Town Square -- and realized, while apologizing to the person, that it was Stefan. Steve couldn't resist the opportunity to lash out at Stefan on Abigail's behalf, but Stefan was quick to suggest that Steve might want to be a bit more respectful to the person who was in control of Visionary Bionics. "I would rather stay blind for the rest of my life than be indebted to you," Steve spat.
"Does your wife feel the same way?" Stefan asked. "My wife knows exactly the kind of pain you inflicted on her niece, and she would never ask for anything from a man like you," Steve insisted. "[Your wife may hate me, but] she certainly loves you -- I mean, I could be blind and see that -- [and] isn't it true that we tend to do things that we wouldn't ordinarily do for the people that we love?" Stefan countered. Steve impatiently urged Stefan to get to the point. "My point is that maybe you should swallow your pride and ask for what you need so you can look into Kayla's eyes again and see how lucky you are," Stefan concluded.
"I don't need you or anybody else to tell me that!" Steve snapped. "And I think Kayla would be fine with me speaking for both of us [and saying that] we don't want anything to do with you, or any help you have to offer, [because] you're scum!" Steve continued, shoving Stefan. Kayla soon arrived and wondered what was going on. "Kayla! Lovely to see you! [Steve] was just telling me [that you'd never want anything] to do with me, even if it meant he never got his sight back," Stefan explained, smirking at Kayla. "[Right], because we know that, in the end, [your] motives would be self-serving and most likely malicious," Kayla replied, glaring at Stefan.
Stefan soon walked away -- but didn't go very far. Meanwhile, Steve and Kayla claimed a table. Steve soon heard Kayla's cell phone chiming. Kayla again glared at Stefan, who was standing in the doorway of a nearby store, delighting in sending her teasingly complimentary text messages about her earlier performance. "[Someone] must be pretty desperate to talk to you," Steve curiously observed. "It's Seth Burns," Kayla claimed, annoyed.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Victor overheard Chad making a sales pitch to Sonny. Scoffing, Victor insisted that Titan would never appoint a DiMera, of all people, as its CEO. "I understand that you have your reservations, but if you just give me a minute to make my case --" Chad began. Interrupting, Victor dismissively declared that Chad had no case to make. "Your stock has [already] fallen fifty percent, [and] it's gonna continue to fall. You have a problem," Chad stressed, undeterred. "[Only] because Stark's lawsuit has taken up all the news cycles. We'll have a new story as soon as that little weasel accepts the settlement we've offered," Victor confidently countered.
Stunned, Sonny protested that Victor couldn't settle because that would be like admitting guilt. "Your point?" Victor asked. "My point is that I'm not guilty!" Sonny stressed. "And this is not [just] about my reputation; it's about Titan's, too. If we settle this case, [everyone] is gonna think they can just come after us, and we're gonna give them a huge settlement," Sonny continued as Victor's cell phone chimed.
"It's your father," Victor told Sonny while reading a text message. "You got your wish," Victor added with a sigh. Sonny was relieved to hear that Leo had turned down the settlement offer, but Victor didn't share Sonny's excitement. "[Now] we're in for a fight...and whether we win or lose is gonna determine the outcome of Titan," Victor grumbled. "That's why you need to hire me," Chad, who had been listening quietly, told Victor.
"Look, Titan's fighting for survival. You've taken hits, [and now] it's time to strike back," Chad reasoned. "No question...but putting a DiMera in as CEO is like putting a fox in the henhouse. We'd be giving away all our trade secrets to the enemy," Victor dismissively replied. "Yeah, but you'll be getting your enemy's trade secrets in return," Chad countered, promising to tell Victor everything there was to know about DiMera Enterprises.
"So, I'm to believe you'd turn your back on your family, just like that?" Victor asked skeptically. "[Stefan's] not my family; he's my enemy," Chad stressed. "[And] after what happened with Deimos, [Victor], you, more than anybody, can understand that dynamic. Stefan made me turn my back on DiMera, and now it's my mission to destroy him and it -- [which is] something you've wanted to do for a very long time, [so] why don't you let me help you [do it]?" Chad continued. Victor wondered if Chad was truly ready to put a knife in a family member's back -- something even Victor had ultimately chosen not to do to Deimos.
Chad was quick to clarify that Stefan was the one who had started the war. "[But] I'm gonna finish it," Chad vowed. "So, you want to use Titan as a weapon," Victor summarized. "Forget it. Find someone else to play Cain and Abel with you," Victor added after thinking about the matter for a few seconds. Sonny started to protest, but Chad quickly interrupted, not yet ready to give up. "I assure you that [this] relationship [would] be mutually beneficial. [I mean], I'm not just some kid off the street; I was CEO of DiMera," Chad pointed out. "And it sank like a stone with you at the helm," Victor dismissively countered, still not convinced.
Chad explained to Victor that Stefan had orchestrated all of that. "That's business," Victor argued. "With all due respect, that is not business, no. Stefan's sabotage led to Andre's death. He framed our friend Gabi [and] put her in prison. And he raped my wife. This is not business; this is personal," Chad countered. "So, you bring your brother to his knees..." Victor began. "And we resurrect Titan," Chad added.
"Then what? Do you see yourself as CEO in perpetuity?" Victor wondered. "After I take down Stefan, I leave, [and] Sonny's in charge of Titan then," Chad promised. Sonny thought that offer proved just how serious Chad was about wanting revenge more than anything else. "[Look], I'm taking Stefan down, one way or another. Either Titan benefits from DiMera's fall or not -- it's up to you, Victor," Chad concluded with a shrug.
While passing through the town square, Justin spotted Steve and Kayla, who were both curious to know how the sexual harassment lawsuit was going. "We're fighting [the] ridiculous charges made by Stark, but his sleazy lawyer is refusing to cooperate. The guy's a real piece of work," Justin reported. "Sounds like someone I wouldn't want to face in court," Ted pointedly noted while strolling past Justin, Steve, and Kayla.
"That was the attorney?" Kayla asked curiously. "It was...but if you ask me, there's more to this than just a sexual harassment case. I think there's someone else who's pulling the strings," Justin replied.
After Justin left, Kayla stepped aside and contacted Stefan, keeping an eye on Steve the whole time. "Calling to apologize?" Stefan guessed. "No, I'm calling to give you what you want," Kayla quietly replied.
Justin went to the police station to see Rafe, who reported, when asked, that Ciara had finally been in contact with Hope but wasn't willing to return home yet. "Hope can't be too happy about that," Justin guessed before changing the subject. "I just heard from the warden. I have some news about Gabi," Justin began to inform Rafe.
Chad went to the Salem Inn to see Kate, who was stunned when he revealed that he had just been named Titan's newest CEO. Meanwhile, at the Kiriakis mansion, Sonny assured Victor that forming an alliance with Chad had been the right move to make. Victor remained skeptical but admitted with a sigh, "I'd sell my soul to the devil to save Titan -- and this family's legacy."
• Kate makes a confession.
• Lani receives devastating news.
• Gabi is finally released from prison.
• Brady and Eve get a surprise from Stefan.