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Monday, February 20, 2017
by Mike

At the courthouse, the judge thanked Nicole and Chloe for their patience, acknowledging that "both mothers" had a lot riding on her ruling. "With all due respect, Your Honor, that woman is not my baby's mother; she's a surrogate, a baby oven -- nothing more," Nicole protested.

The judge conceded that the situation had obviously been very hard on Nicole. "But your continued outbursts --" the judge began to add. "'Outbursts'? Well, what do you expect? You didn't hear a word I said! Holly is my baby, my biological baby -- the child I've been waiting for my entire life, the child that I've been repeatedly denied -- so get this straight: no judge, no attorney, no backstabbing bitch of a surrogate is gonna keep my baby from me!" Nicole spat.

Justin, who had already tried once to calm Nicole down, asked the judge if he could have a moment to talk to his client. When the judge granted the request, Justin pulled Nicole aside and warned that she was at risk of alienating the judge. Meanwhile, Belle impatiently asked, "Your Honor, may we proceed?"

Nodding, the judge instructed Justin and Nicole to return to their chairs. The judge then continued, "I understand how difficult this is, not to mention unusual. After hearing both sides, I've tried to put aside all the accusations and personal baggage and focus on what really matters, which is the welfare of this child. And, to that end, I've had to assess the facts and consider which woman would best be able to provide a stable and loving environment for this little girl. I think it's abundantly clear which parent that should be. I am awarding full custody...to Chloe Lane."

As Nicole struggled to absorb what she had just heard, the judge explained that she had based her decision on Nicole's past and present criminal history. Nicole protested that she had only stabbed someone to save her fiancé's life. The judge clarified that she was aware of that; however, she was concerned about the fact that Nicole had once kidnapped a child as well as the fact that Nicole had just been caught in the middle of a scheme to control the result of the custody case. Nicole tearfully maintained that she'd had nothing to do with that scheme.

Justin assured Nicole that he would fight the ruling. Meanwhile, Chloe asked Belle, "Did we just...?" Belle confirmed, "Yes, we just won. Holly's going home with you." The social worker soon entered the judge's chambers with Holly and handed the child to Chloe. Justin held Nicole back as Chloe followed Belle and the social worker out of the room, taking Holly with her. "This is your version of justice? I don't get it!" Justin snapped at the judge as Nicole broke down in his arms. "That'll be all, counselor," the judge dismissively replied before leaving the room.

After leaving the courthouse, Belle and Chloe went to the Brady Pub for coffee. Chloe sensed that Belle disagreed with the judge's ruling. Belle insisted that she respected the judge's decision; furthermore, she was Chloe's lawyer and wouldn't have taken the case if she hadn't intended to win it. She admitted, however, that she did feel bad for Nicole. She started to point out that Nicole had basically just had a biological child taken away from her, but Chloe interrupted, protesting that she didn't need to hear that. "Fine. I'm just trying to explain why I don't feel triumphant right now," Belle replied.

"Well, you know what? I do. And I'm not sad for Nicole," Chloe countered. She stressed that she was grateful to Belle for figuring out Deimos' plan to bribe a judge into ruling in Nicole's favor. Belle admitted that even after she had learned about the scheme, she had still been concerned about Chloe's chances of winning the case. "Because I'm 'just' the surrogate? I'm sure half the town will have trouble with that," Chloe guessed with a sigh. She insisted that she had never felt like just a surrogate, and she wouldn't have been able to live with herself if she'd had to hand Holly over to a reckless woman whose life was once again a mess.

Chloe was eager to leave Salem as soon as possible, not wanting to run into Nicole again anytime soon. Belle confirmed that Chloe was free to return to Chicago as soon as they took care of some paperwork. As Chloe was thanking Belle again for helping her retain custody of Holly, Shawn entered the pub and offered his congratulations.

Chloe wondered if Shawn and Belle were planning to return to Hong Kong, since Hope's exoneration and the conclusion of the custody case had left them free to do so. Belle admitted that although she loved being back in Salem, she needed to return to Hong Kong to finish what she'd started there for DiMera Enterprises. "And I can't let her go alone, right?" Shawn reasoned with a smile. Belle added that Salem would always be home, and she and Shawn would probably be back again sooner or later. "Well, I hope so. I miss you guys, and I really appreciate your support," Chloe stressed.

After Chloe left with Holly, Shawn curiously observed that it seemed like Belle wasn't exactly thrilled about what had happened in court. Belle conceded that she probably should be thrilled. "But...to be honest, I just didn't think we would win, and now that we have, the thought of depriving Nicole of her biological child -- [a] child she wanted so desperately... I don't know. As a mom, it just makes me feel like I need to go home and take a long, hot shower," she continued. Shawn pointed out that Belle had simply done her job. She said she knew that Chloe would be a good mother to Holly. "But what's gonna happen with Nicole?" she wondered.

At the Kiriakis mansion, Paul pulled Adrienne away from Deimos, who continued to pretend that he wasn't responsible for Chad and Gabi's disappearance. "You really are the monster they say you are, aren't you? Let me tell you something: [if] you don't fix this problem, you're gonna get paid back -- and I don't mean by the legal system. I guarantee you [that] the karma coming your way is gonna be a bitch," Adrienne warned.

Deimos tiredly advised Adrienne to ask the police for help with locating Chad and Gabi. Adrienne reminded Deimos that Sonny was also missing. "Well, unfortunately, um, I don't think there's really anything that I can do to help you with that. But I'll tell you this: I believe that Sonny is a very strong young man, so wherever he may be, I'm sure he's taking very good care of himself," Deimos dismissively replied.

Adrienne lunged toward Deimos again, but Paul held her back. "I'm gonna kill you! I'm gonna kill you, I swear to God!" she spat repeatedly. Brady tried to get her to calm down, but she angrily insisted, "No! He's a lying son of a bitch!" Annoyed, Deimos started to excuse himself, grumbling that he had taken enough insults for one day. Meanwhile, Nicole entered the mansion with Justin and shouted, "Deimos!"

Deimos greeted Nicole and wondered where Holly was. "Not with me, obviously," Nicole snapped, adding that she had lost the custody case because of Deimos' attempt to bribe a judge. "So I'm not the only mother you ripped a child away from today, huh?" Adrienne mused. Confused, Justin wondered what Adrienne was talking about. She quickly explained what had happened to Sonny as a result of Deimos' ongoing battle with the DiMera and Hernandez families for control of the Orwell device. "Are you proud of yourself? Is there nothing that you wouldn't stoop to?" Nicole asked Deimos incredulously.

Deimos assured Nicole that he could explain everything. He added, however, that he would prefer to speak with her privately. "You're not going anywhere until we get some answers!" Justin insisted. Deimos made it clear that Nicole was his main concern at that moment, prompting her to stress that she no longer wanted to have anything to do with him.

"Getting custody of Holly was supposed to be a slam dunk for me. She's my daughter, for God's sake -- my daughter! And if I ever get the chance -- and I highly doubt it -- to petition the court for custody again, what, you think I want you hanging around me? I don't! So I will be resigning from Basic Black, effective immediately, and in case I didn't make myself very clear before, I am through with you forever!" Nicole tearfully continued, removing her engagement ring and throwing it at Deimos.

Deimos tried to chase after Nicole as she stormed out of the mansion, but Brady stopped him, reasoning, "There's no point in following her; she's made up her mind." After advising Deimos to focus on fixing the kidnapping mess, Brady went after Nicole himself. He caught up with her in a secluded section of the town square and tried to assure her that the judge's ruling wasn't final. She fretted that the appeal process could take months, and she would be deprived of many precious moments with her child in the meantime.

Speaking from experience, Brady advised Nicole to use her pain as a tool to help her fight to get her child back. "But what if I can't get her back? What if I can never hold Holly again? What then, Brady, huh? You tell me, what then? What happens then?" she asked before breaking down in his arms.

Brady refused to let Nicole go straight to the worst-case scenario, assuring her that Justin would do everything in his power to fight the ruling. "[And] in the meantime, we know that Chloe is not gonna harm Holly in any way, okay? She's gonna be fine," Brady added. Nicole countered, "She's already harmed her, Brady, by keeping her away from her mother -- by keeping her away from me!"

Nicole predicted that Holly would eventually grow to hate Chloe just as much as she did. "And just like you said, Brady, when your little boy was taken away from you by Kristen, it was the pain that motivated you to fight like hell. And that is what is gonna motivate me, because I am telling you, I can feel a fight right now, Brady -- I can feel it, and I am gonna take my little girl away from that crazy bitch one way or another! And when I do, Chloe Lane is gonna be so sorry she did this to me and Daniel," she continued.

Brady warned Nicole that acting irrationally and impulsively would be a bad idea. He assured her that Justin would know how to help her handle the situation conservatively and responsibly. "We will find a way to get [Holly] back, I promise you," he added. Nodding, she accepted a hug from him and broke down in his arms again.

At the Kiriakis mansion, Deimos told Justin that he wasn't going to discuss Kiriakis business in front of the owner of a newspaper. Adrienne agreed to let Justin handle the matter himself. Before showing herself out, she told Deimos, "Remember what I said about karma? Looks like all your hard work is finally paying off. I hope you're happy."

Once the coast was clear, Justin angrily demanded an explanation from Deimos. Deimos told Justin that he had caught Chad and Gabi trying to steal the Orwell device. "What was I supposed to do, let 'em walk away? They were breaking and entering, stealing corporate secrets!" Deimos defensively continued.

Justin suggested that Deimos could have ended his obsession with the Orwell device the moment he had realized that people's lives were at stake. "Don't you realize that you are escalating this war? It's one thing to do business with GDR, but to double-cross them? Especially [by] stealing a device that belonged to them in the first place? You're lucky they didn't stage a home invasion and slaughter all of us in our sleep!" Justin stressed. He added that Deimos could have -- and should have -- had Chad and Gabi arrested for breaking and entering instead of kidnapping them.

Deimos unapologetically explained that he had done what he'd had to do to get the key, which either Eduardo or Andre had stolen from him. "[That] doesn't justify kidnapping people!" Justin countered. Justin demanded to know where Chad and Gabi were, but Deimos refused to reveal that information, insisting that he was going to keep them in his custody until the key was returned to him.

"And what about my son?" Justin asked. Deimos predicted that if he released Chad and Gabi unharmed -- which he had every intention of doing once the key was in his possession -- Andre and Eduardo would release Sonny unharmed, too. "You'd better pray you're right," Justin spat before storming out of the mansion.

Adrienne went to the Salem Inn to tell Jennifer about what had happened to Sonny. Drew listened with interest while continuing his work on the Titan laptop, using his headphones to hide the fact that he was eavesdropping. "We're responsible, Jen. As long as we continue to keep their 'key' under wraps, it's only gonna get worse. This is bigger than you and I; it --" Adrienne continued. Jennifer abruptly interrupted Adrienne, suddenly realizing that Drew was gone. They rushed into the hallway in search of him, but he was nowhere to be found. "He must have heard us talking. I'm afraid he's gonna give himself up," Jennifer fretted.

J.J. ran into Abigail in the town square and demanded to know why she had been ignoring his calls and text messages recently. Without giving her a chance to respond, he added that if she knew something that could help him figure out where Chad and Gabi were, she needed to tell him right away. She insisted that she wasn't keeping anything from him and would, in fact, be happy to do whatever she could to help with the search. Nodding, he asked her to try to gain access to Andre's cell phone and take a picture of his call log so they could figure out who he had been in contact with lately.

After J.J. left, Abigail arranged a meeting with Andre. When he joined her in the town square a short time later, she asked if he had determined Chad and Gabi's whereabouts yet. "Suffice to say that I'm on it," he vaguely replied, reasoning that Chad wouldn't want him to reveal anything to Abigail that could put her in danger. When she pressed for more details, he assured her that he was about to level the playing field.

A man soon approached Andre and asked to speak with him privately. Andre stepped aside with the man, leaving his cell phone behind with Abigail, who used her own cell phone to take a picture of his call log as soon as the coast was clear. His cell phone began ringing while it was still in her hand. She saw that the caller was Eduardo, but Andre returned before she could decide what to do about the call. "It's for you. Obviously," she told Andre as she placed his cell phone back on the table. She then excused herself and rushed off.

When Andre answered the phone call, Eduardo told him that it was time to arrange a trade with Deimos. Eduardo waited for Andre to join him at Club TBD then contacted Deimos and told him, "We need to meet. It seems we each have something the other one wants."

Paul went to the police station to fill J.J. in on what had happened to Sonny. "Damn it! This situation is totally out of control. And if Deimos has Gabi and Chad, which is what I believe --" J.J. began. "Then the Hernandezes or the DiMeras, they took Sonny," Paul concluded. "I'm pretty sure you're right on both counts," Abigail said as she joined J.J. and Paul.

Revealing what Andre had told her about leveling the playing field, Abigail guessed that he had kidnapped Sonny -- and that he was working with Eduardo, who had contacted him earlier. She forwarded the picture of Andre's call log to J.J.'s cell phone. J.J. rushed off to run the phone numbers through the police department's database.

Abigail guessed that Paul was really worried about Sonny. Paul confirmed that he was, especially since Sonny was all alone. "At least Gabi and Chad have each other," he pointed out before excusing himself so he could check in with Steve. While she was alone in the conference room, Abigail noticed that J.J. had left his laptop open, and a list of Titan properties was on the screen. She quickly snapped a picture of the list with her cell phone.

J.J. soon returned with Paul and announced that several of the phone calls on Andre's call log had originated from a cell phone that was presently at a hotel on the outskirts of town. Believing that was where Andre and Eduardo were holding Sonny captive, J.J. and Paul rushed off to check it out. "You guys go find Sonny. I'm gonna go find my husband and Gabi," Abigail muttered to herself before following J.J. and Paul out of the police station.

Chad and Gabi shivered uncontrollably as the temperature in the meat locker continued to drop. "We're never getting out of here, are we?" Gabi guessed fearfully. Chad tried to assure her that help was on the way, but she expressed skepticism. "Chad, if we die in here...I'm glad I'm dying with you," she admitted. "I'm glad we're together, too," he replied.

Gabi expressed regret for the mistakes she had made with Chad in the past, wishing she had held on to him in high school and convinced him that they were meant for each other. They shared a tentative kiss then began kissing each other with more conviction. "I don't feel so cold anymore," she told him between kisses. Nodding in agreement, he weakly recalled that he had once watched a documentary in which some stranded hikers had removed all their clothes and huddled against each other, skin to skin, in order to stay warm. "We need to do that," she decided.

After stripping out of their clothes, Chad and Gabi held each other tightly and began kissing again. "Chad, listen -- whatever happens, I just want you to know...I love you," she told him. "I love...you, too," he replied before giving her another kiss.

On the next Days of our Lives...
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• Drew seeks Shane's help.

• Sonny tries to escape from his captor.

• Dario helps Abigail search for Chad and Gabi.

• Deimos, Eduardo, and Andre begin to negotiate.

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