E.J. and Stefano met with two men down at the pier to buy some diamonds, but instead, they found themselves at gunpoint after the money changed hands. While E.J. and Stefano were forced to their knees, Stefano yelled for his bodyguards, and the bodyguards stole the diamonds and money back. Stefano decided to spare the men's lives, but decided to teach them a lesson by having them beaten up.
After Stefano's bodyguards hauled the men away, E.J. was angry at Stefano for being held at gunpoint and for having to watch men beaten. Stefano explained to him that it was part of the job. E.J. said he wanted his family completely protected from that kind of element.
Brady found a vial of drugs at the park and picked it up. John saw him and accused him of using drugs again. Brady destroyed the drugs, and then he went off on John for not caring about what he went through over the past several months. John wasn't moved by Brady's heartfelt words. Brady told him he might as well tell Marlena, Chloe, and Nicole that he was still a drug addict, because that was worse than trying to make John care.
John said he was trying to care and was seeing a shrink. Brady asked if his session with the psychologist was helpful, and John said it was too soon to tell but he liked the doctor, because she didn't judge him. Brady said he was happy for John, and started to leave, but John stopped him and said he was glad that Brady was clean. John said that in his own way, he was happy for and proud of Brady.
Sami didn't want to join Hilda in decorating the Christmas tree that Rafe arranged to have brought to the safe house, but Hilda convinced her to decorate it. Hilda told Sami to make a wish on the star before putting it atop the tree. Sami's wish was to be with her children for Christmas.
Nicole saw Rafe in her bedroom, so she went into her closet and grabbed a high heel to defend herself. She demanded to know who Rafe was, and he explained that he was the cable guy. Nicole didn't believe him, so she tried to call the police. Rafe told Nicole to calm down, and showed her the work order, which showed he was at the wrong address. He apologized and left the room, after Nicole got a call from her brother, Brandon. While Nicole told Brandon about her "pregnancy," Rafe went outside the mansion and cut the wires to the cable box.
When he went back inside, Nicole came down the stairs and asked what he was still doing there. He explained that the housekeeper went to get him some water, and Nicole asked him for his business card, then ordered him to leave. Rafe wanted to wait until the housekeeper brought him the water first. Then he started asking Nicole questions about her pregnancy. Nicole wondered why Rafe was so curious about her baby, but he covered by saying his sister just had a baby.
When Rafe got back to the safe house, he told Sami he hadn't seen E.J. while spying at the DiMera mansion. Sami and Hilda pretended to hate each other for show. Rafe told Sami that Nicole didn't seem overjoyed about being pregnant like Sami thought she would be. Sami vented to Rafe about Nicole and asked him for his opinion of Nicole. He said his job was to be objective about people, not to attack or judge them.
Sami asked what he observed about Nicole, and Rafe said Nicole seemed cool, like she was hiding something and was very sad. Sami wondered why Nicole would be sad, especially since she was pregnant. Rafe explained that he was in Nicole's bedroom when he observed Nicole being sad.
Sami got scared when she found out Rafe went inside the mansion, because the DiMeras had video surveillance inside the mansion, but he told Sami that she knew little about him.
Nicole went to the bar where Max worked and was greeted by Rick, one of the regular bartenders, who had returned to town. He offered her a drink, as Max watched from afar. Rick offered to serve her a drink for free, but she turned him down, saying she was pregnant. Nicole ordered a Shirley Temple, but he went off to talk to some other female patrons instead of getting her the drink. Max congratulated Nicole on her pregnancy and poured her the non-alcoholic drink she'd ordered. Then, Max said he owed her an apology.
She wondered what he wanted to apologize for, since they barely knew each other. Max said when he found out that Nicole was charged with Trent's murder, he felt relieved because if Nicole had killed Trent, it meant that his sister was innocent. Nicole agreed to forgive and forget, and she asked him how it felt to have a newfound sister. Max said he realized that family wasn't the same as biology.
Nicole stared at Max and said she almost forgot that he was adopted, because even though he wasn't blood-related, he looked just like the Bradys. He said no one ever could tell that he wasn't related by blood. Nicole was intrigued by Max's life as an adopted Brady. Max had to get back to work, and Nicole asked if she could use his laptop. She looked online at adoption websites, but before she could investigate more, Brady walked up, closed the laptop and asked what she was doing.
When Stefano and E.J. came home, the housekeeper told them that Nicole had left and the cable man had dropped by and then discovered he'd visited the wrong house. Stefano was fuming, because no one from the mansion had called the cable guy. E.J. explained that it was just a mix-up. Stefano told him to think, because there were no innocent mistakes when it came to the DiMeras. Stefano ordered him to get the surveillance DVD so they could watch it.
Stefano and E.J. discovered that the cable guy disabled their security system. Stefano was furious, and planned to get another security system that was tamper-proof. E.J. agreed that they needed to be extra careful, for the sake of his children.
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At the Cheatin' Heart, Chelsea stopped Max from throwing away the box that Trent had left him. Max did not want to let Trent have the last word, even in death, but Chelsea argued that if he threw out the box, he would always wonder what was inside. Chelsea took Max by the arm and led him back to the Brady Pub.
Up in Max's room, Chelsea placed the box by the phone and started to leave Max alone. Just before she got to the door, Max called out to her and asked her to stay. With Chelsea at his side, Max opened the box to find a stuffed dog. Max remembered a night from his childhood when he had been playing with the stuffed dog when Trent burst into his room. Trent yelled at Max for making too much noise and ripped the dog out of his hands as Max cried out for his dog, "Charlie!" Max told Chelsea about that night and that Trent had taken away his best friend. Chelsea noticed a note in the box and gave it to Max. Hesitantly Max opened the note and read it aloud. "I'm sorry," Max said before breaking into tears and falling into Chelsea's arms.
Down on the pier, Lucas told Chloe how proud he was of her bravery and strength. Embarrassed, Chloe argued that she was helping Kate for purely selfish reasons, since it helped her self-esteem. When Lucas asked about Chloe's ring needing resizing, Chloe attempted to take the ring off and give it to him. At first the ring would not move, but with a little effort, the ring came off and flew off of her finger and into the Salem River. Horrified, Lucas ripped off his jacket and shirt and dove into the river after the ring. Miraculously, Lucas found the ring, and did not suffer hypothermia.
Over at the Cheatin' Heart, Nicole tried to leave but Brady demanded to know why she was looking at adoption websites on the Internet. Nicole argued that she could not have any more children and wanted to investigate options to explore with E.J. Suspicious, Brady accused Nicole of attempting to adopt a child and pass it off as E.J.'s. Brady warned Nicole that if she lied to Stefano DiMera about his heirs that Stefano would "eliminate" her. Brady told Nicole that he loved her and that he would help her by telling E.J. the truth. Nicole argued that Brady was miserable and resented her happiness, but Brady denied the accusation, saying that he was in recovery and that he could not lie.
As Brady got up to leave the bar, he ran into Chloe and Lucas, who were just entering. Nicole noted that Lucas was wet, and laughing, Chloe explained that he had jumped into the river to save her engagement ring. As Chloe happily flashed the ring for Nicole to ogle, Brady looked on awkwardly and offered his congratulations.
Nicole sat at the table with Chloe while Lucas and Brady went to get drinks at the bar. When Brady attempted to discuss Kate's surgery with Lucas, Lucas warned Brady to rethink bringing Chloe flowers in the hospital. Brady assured Lucas that he was happy if Chloe was happy with Lucas.
Over at the table, Chloe asked Nicole how she was feeling, but did not believe her when Nicole said that she felt great. Nicole attempted to divert Chloe's suspicions by explaining that Brady had dampened her spirits, but that just caused Chloe to question why Nicole was hanging out with Brady in a bar. When Nicole explained that she had run into Brady there, Chloe wondered aloud whether Brady was down in the questionable part of down to buy some drugs. Shaking her head, Chloe changed the subject to how delightful life was without Sami around.
When Brady and Lucas returned to the table with Chloe and Nicole, they toasted to their futures . Nicole excused herself and headed down the hallway to the bathroom after Rick the bartender. When Nicole caught up to him, she asked if she could buy some cocaine for a friend.
Back at the table, Chloe and Lucas got up and left the bar to go to spend the night together before her surgery, while Nicole sent Brady over to the bar to get her some aspirin. With Brady out of the way, Nicole pulled out a vial of cocaine and poured it into Brady's soda. When Brady returned to the table and sat down, Nicole urged him to finish his drink.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefano argued that whoever cut off the surveillance at the mansion was not linked to the men down at the docks. E.J. did not agree with Stefano stating that he abhorred violence, but Stefano snidely countered that DiMeras did not make idle threats. When E.J. questioned Stefano's comment, Stefano reminded E.J. that he had said there would be hell to pay for whoever invaded his house if they hurt his children. E.J. became defensive and told Stefano to stay out of his decisions. Angry with E.J.'s stance, Stefano reminded him that, because the children were his heirs, he had a stake in how they were raised.
Changing the subject, Stefano asked E.J. what his intentions were with Nicole. When E.J. evaded the question, Stefano questioned whether E.J. cared for Nicole. E.J. admitted that he cared for Nicole, so Stefano urged him to marry her and stake his claim on their child. When E.J. argued against Stefano's notion, Stefano asked whether E.J. was avoiding the marriage because of Sami. "I have nothing and want nothing to do whatsoever with Sami," E.J. said. Stefano questioned whether E.J. was avoiding marriage because he was worried about Sami's reaction to learning that Nicole had become the stepmother to her child.
Down at the police station, E.J. walked into Roman's office and demanded a phone call to Sami. Roman resisted the request, but when E.J. argued that the matter would profoundly affect Sami's future, Roman relented on the condition that he could listen in on the call. At first, E.J. would not agree to Roman's terms, stating that the matter was too personal to discuss in front of Roman. Smiling, Roman joked, "If it's too personal to say in front of me then put it in your diary, because you're not talking to Sami." Frustrated, E.J. agreed to Roman's conditions for the phone call.
At the safe house, Sami berated Rafe for going into the DiMera mansion when there was so much surveillance on site. Smiling, Rafe explained that he was not in any danger because he had disabled the security before entering the mansion. Sami was impressed with Rafe's work, but she still argued that he was in danger because both Nicole and whoever answered the door to let him in had seen him. Trying to calm Sami down, Rafe reminded her that he was an FBI agent, and that he had been up against worse people than the DiMeras. When Sami attempted to counter Rafe's argument, he reminded her that at least one DiMera had fathered two of her children. Furious, Sami yelled that E.J. "was the biggest mistake of my life, and Johnny would never have been born if not for..." Looking uncomfortable, Sami changed the subject and said that she was just very emotional because of the pregnancy.
Sitting on the couch, her eyes misting with tears, Sami told Rafe that Hilda had brought pictures of her children by earlier and it had made her sad. Sami said that she knew she was being selfish, but that when she saw the photos of her children smiling, she realized that she "[did] not want them to be okay without me." Rafe attempted to cheer Sami up by telling her that things would work out, which prompted Sami to snap, "How am I supposed to do that when you won't even let me see Sister Theresa?" Confused, Rafe asked why that mattered. Sami quickly explained that she merely meant that Sister Theresa represented family, tradition, and prayers. With Sami seemingly calmer, Rafe made her promise not to try another escape attempt while he took a shower.
When Rafe exited the bathroom he was surprised to find Sami in the kitchen baking gingerbread cookies. Sami explained that although she could not cook, she did learn to bake from the DiMera butler. Citing Hilda's argument about having next Christmas with her family, Sami explained that she was feeling better. While Rafe and Sami decorated the tree, Sami began to laugh when she discovered a pickle ornament hanging on one of the limbs. Rafe said that it was there because Hilda had said that in Germany, the person who found the pickle on the tree first received good luck throughout the following year. Sami scoffed at the idea, but when Rafe urged her to believe in the magic of the pickle, Sami could not help but smile and agree to try to believe the tale. Sami apologized for complaining about being away from her family when Rafe was, too. When Sami pushed Rafe for details about his personal life, Rafe cut her off, explaining that he was just her bodyguard, and their relationship should probably remain that way. As they decorated the tree in silence, Sami pricked her finger on the needle to string popcorn. Rafe was teasing her about her injury when his phone rang.
On the other end of the phone, Roman greeted Rafe and explained that Rafe's supervisor had approved the call. Rafe passed the phone over to Sami, who was thrilled to hear from her father. After a quick chat to assure Sami that her children were fine, Roman passed the phone over to E.J. When E.J. said hello, Sami was shocked to hear his voice on the other end.
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In the park with Lucas, Chloe hung up the phone after talking to her parents, and was frustrated because she said they were being overprotective as usual. Lucas said he understood how they felt, but he was grateful she was giving his mother a second chance at life. Daniel called just then and informed Chloe that her white cell count on her preoperative blood work concerned him. He asked her to come to the hospital so they could discuss it further. Lucas was worried, but Chloe firmly declared that she was going through with the surgery.
Lucas and Chloe met Daniel at the hospital, and Lucas went in to see Kate while Daniel showed Chloe to an exam room. Lucas found his mom asleep, so he quietly pulled up a chair and whispered words of encouragement to her, adding that Chloe was giving their whole family a second chance.
Meanwhile, Daniel checked Chloe's blood pressure and asked if she were feeling all right. She assured him that she felt fine, and stopped him before he could finish asking to remind him that she was fully aware of the risks of the surgery. Chloe added that since her baby sister had donated bone marrow to save her life, it was her way to "pay it forward" in doing the same for Kate. As Daniel palpated Chloe's lymph nodes, their eyes locked, their faces moving closer until it seemed they might kiss, but Chloe suddenly turned away.
Once the exam was finished, Daniel left Chloe alone to get dressed. He was pacing in the hallway, seemingly exasperated with himself, when he nearly ran into Lucas. When Chloe emerged from the exam room, Daniel told Lucas to make sure Chloe got plenty of rest. Daniel left, and Lucas asked Chloe if she were all right, as she seemed nervous. She assured him that she was fine, but she wanted to get home. As Daniel sat at Kate's bedside, he and Chloe exchanged a meaningful look through the window, and then Chloe and Lucas left.
With Roman listening in on their phone call, E.J. told Sami that he'd called to say goodbye. He explained that he and Nicole planned to spend the rest of their lives together. Sami wanted to know if E.J. were in love with Nicole, but he would only say that he had feelings for her. He added that his father had suggested that Sami was the reason E.J. was having trouble connecting with Nicole and the baby, even though Sami had made it clear that she and E.J. didn't belong together. After calling Nicole a slut, Sami irritably accused Nicole of getting pregnant intentionally to trap E.J. into marrying her, and maintained that E.J. would be ruining his life if he did. E.J. argued that Nicole had changed, and that the two of them had a lot in common, including wanting to start a family together.
When Sami snidely asked if E.J. had started drinking, he retorted with a sarcastic diatribe of his own about how Sami had expected him to pine away after her while she decided which man she loved, but she really only loved herself. Sami accused him of being deliberately hurtful. E.J. reassured her that he would always care for her, because she was the mother of his son, but he was moving on with his life. Sami stressed that she understood that Johnny would need to bond with E.J. and Nicole's new baby, but she did not want Nicole to raise Johnny. Fed up, E.J. quietly said he'd hoped their conversation wouldn't devolve like it had, then wished her luck and abruptly hung up. He turned to Roman and said he'd tried to do the right thing. "I know you did, E.J.," Roman replied sadly.
Sami crossly threw Rafe's cell phone, which broke a vase, and she began vehemently ranting about how all men were scum, and how Nicole was going to screw up E.J.'s life. Rafe tried to reason with her, urging her to stop torturing herself, but Sami continued her tirade until Rafe accused her of having it bad for E.J. She hotly denied it, but Rafe wondered why she cared so much if he moved on with someone else. Sami claimed it was because she feared Nicole would try to turn Johnny against her, then anxiously declared she had to find a way to get out of there.
Rafe reminded her she'd been hiding her pregnancy, and asked if she still planned to, or if she were perhaps conflicted about going home. Sami said she had been conflicted until E.J. had called, and she was still terrified that Stefano would use her time away to try to cut her out of Johnny's life. Rafe reassured her that would never happen, because a lot of people cared about her-including him. Sami apologized for seeming ungrateful, and confessed that while she feared the man who was trying to kill her, she was far more afraid of the DiMeras. Rafe vowed that no one would lay a finger on her while she was in his care, and she confessed that she felt safe with him.
Brady returned to his and Nicole's table at the Cheatin' Heart with her aspirin, which she took after reluctantly "conceding" that she would tell E.J. the truth as soon as she got home. She urged Brady to finish his soda, which she had secretly laced with cocaine. He remarked that they should finish up so she could get home and tell E.J. the truth, but Nicole argued that if she did, it would ruin her life. Brady countered that if she lied, her life would be worthless. As he began to take a drink of his soda, Nicole suddenly knocked the glass out of his hand, exclaiming, "No, I can't!" She then grabbed her purse and coat and fled from the bar, while a very bemused Brady tried to figure out what had just happened.
Brady chased Nicole down to the waterfront, where he demanded to know why she'd run out. She showed him the vial of cocaine and confessed that she'd put some in his drink. Incredulous, Brady wanted to know why she would do that, and as she was ranting about how she couldn't handle his telling E.J. about the baby, he snatched the vial from her and threw it in the river. He lectured her angrily about how hard it had been for him to get clean, and what a struggle it was, every day, for him to stay that way. Nicole's justification was that, if Brady were hooked on drugs again, it would discredit anything he said. Brady contemptuously declared that Nicole was up to her old tricks again, and tried to leave.
Nicole stopped him and pleaded with him to try to understand that E.J. was the first man in a long time who really cared about her, and although he hadn't told her he loved her, she knew he did-and she didn't want to lose him after everything else she'd lost. Brady was hardly sympathetic, and pointed out that relationships were supposed to be about trust. Nicole apologized for hurting him, but asked if she didn't deserve to be with someone who saw the good in her. Brady replied that she didn't, not if passing off someone else's baby as her own were the way she planned to get it. He urged her again to tell the truth.
Nicole broke down, sobbing that she was consumed with grief over the loss of her baby girl, and her only consolation was the hope that she could have another child. She continued that she desperately needed to become a mother, and as she began crying again, Brady gently told her that he hadn't known just how important it was to her. He promised her that he wouldn't tell E.J. or anyone else. Nicole hugged him gratefully.
Nicole returned to the DiMera mansion, and was sitting on the couch, looking miserable, when she spied the decanters lined up on the bar. After making sure no one else was around, she walked over and had just uncorked the vodka when E.J. walked in. The bottle hidden behind her, Nicole quickly replaced the stopper and claimed she was looking for the grenadine to make a "kiddie cosmo." E.J. asked where she'd been, and she replied that she'd gone to visit Chloe to wish her luck before the transplant. E.J. then declared that he needed to talk to Nicole, so he sat her down on the couch. He explained that Stefano had helped him see that there was one obstacle preventing E.J. from committing to Nicole: Samantha. Nicole was furious that E.J. still wasn't over Sami, and, after announcing that she was going to stay at the Salem Inn, stormed upstairs.
E.J. followed her to her room and knocked on the door. When she wouldn't let him in, he pleaded through the door for a chance to explain. Nicole only opened it when she couldn't find her dog, Pookie, and E.J. found that she'd been throwing things into a suitcase. She continued to pack, ignoring him, so finally he just told her that he'd arranged through Roman to talk to Samantha. That got Nicole's attention, but she only wanted to know why E.J. was telling her. He explained that he'd called Samantha for closure, to tell her he was moving on with Nicole and the baby. He added that the conversation had also helped him to realize something he'd been feeling for a while. "What's that?" asked Nicole. "That I love you," E.J. replied. She smiled a bit giddily, and they shared a tender kiss.
While Roman was looking at the police sketch of the mayor's assassin and vowing that no one would hurt his little girl, that very killer was having a clandestine meeting with a man down on the docks. He handed the man an envelope full of money, and he gave the killer pictures of Rafe, who he said would lead straight to Sami Brady.
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Lucas visited Kate at the hospital, but she encouraged him to go be with Chloe. Lucas agreed to leave, but not before he told her how he felt about Kate accepting his relationship with Chloe. Kate expressed concern about Chloe volunteering to be Kate's donor. She asked if Chloe had any hesitation about being a donor. Lucas mentioned how nervous Chloe seemed after coming in the night before for some tests.
In her hospital room, Chloe felt awkward being around Daniel after having almost kissed him the day before. Daniel asked her if there was something wrong, and she said he should know. Daniel asked if she wanted to talk about what happened, but she said nothing happened. Daniel agreed, but wondered what the problem was. Chloe complained about being cold and hungry, but she said she didn't want any special treatment.
Lucas overheard Chloe complaining, and Daniel explained that she was probably just edgy. Chloe lost her temper, and her blood pressure shot up. Daniel said if they couldn't get her blood pressure under control, they would have to scrap the procedure. Chloe said she was adamant about going through with the treatment. She was just upset because Daniel was hovering, she said.
As soon as Lucas rubbed her back, Chloe's blood pressure dropped. Daniel left the room, but Chloe was still agitated. The nurse entered Chloe's room to hook up her IV, and Chloe had to take her ring off, so she gave it to Lucas for safekeeping.
Daniel went to see Kate, and she thanked him for trying to save her life. Daniel said he didn't deserve credit for saving her life, because he didn't do the research that made her procedure possible. Kate credited him with finding the doctor who discovered the procedure and bringing him to Salem. Kate said she didn't want to go through with the surgery if Chloe felt pressured, because if something happened to Chloe, Kate wouldn't be able to forgive herself.
Kate asked Chloe if he was sure about going through with the surgery. Chloe said she was sure and that she seemed edgy because she just wanted to get it over with. Kate and Chloe shook hands, and Chloe tried to calm Kate's fears.
Philip asked Stephanie to help Melanie go over the notes for the presentation after finding out that Marie went home sick. Melanie told Stephanie she didn't take orders from her, and Stephanie said she wasn't about to let her personal feelings get in the way of business. She couldn't find the files for Nick's alternative fuel project, so Melanie volunteered to go down to archives to get them.
Kayla stopped by Titan Enterprises to see Stephanie and give her the wallet she forgot, and Kayla put Stephanie's wallet on Melanie's desk. Melanie was tempted to steal it, but changed her mind. Philip asked Kayla for advice on whether he should fly his sister Billie in to be with Kate.
Before she left to get coffee with Stephanie, Kayla reminded Stephanie not to forget her wallet. Philip overheard Melanie trashing Stephanie to another employee, Sasha, and he scolded her. Melanie brought up the lunches, and she was struggling to keep up with the workload. Stephanie told Melanie she was going into the vault to find the documents for Nick's project. Melanie pretended to walk off, then locked Stephanie inside the vault.
Chelsea stopped by Melanie's desk and asked her to tell Philip that Chelsea was there to meet him so they could go see Kate at the hospital. Melanie told Chelsea to have a seat, but Chelsea didn't want to wait. Melanie told her if she was in such a hurry to find Philip, she could look for him herself. Then, Melanie told Chelsea to shut up so she could finish her work.
Chelsea tore into Melanie for having a cushy job while Nick was on trial for murder. Melanie reminded her that Nick was on trial for murdering Melanie's father. Chelsea asked if Melanie expected Chelsea to feel sorry for her. Melanie said they were even, since she didn't like Chelsea and Chelsea obviously didn't like her. Chelsea threatened to go tell Philip how Melanie was treating her. Chelsea looked in Philip's office and noticed he wasn't there.
Inside the vault, Philip appeared inside as Stephanie was banging on the door for help in getting out of there. He told her she couldn't open it from the inside because the door was on an automatic timer, and it was soundproof.
Chelsea asked Melanie where Stephanie was, since she didn't know Philip's whereabouts, but Melanie said she was busy. Sasha walked up, so Chelsea asked her if she knew where Philip was. Sasha told her he was going to the vault. Melanie's ears perked up.
Stephanie apologized for getting locked in the vault, and said she didn't plan on getting locked inside. Philip said he believed her. Stephanie asked when the vault opened, and she started panicking. Philip told Stephanie to calm down.
Melanie, Chelsea, and Sasha walked down to the vault, and Chelsea wanted to know why the door was shut. Sasha said she saw Stephanie go into the vault, too, and there was no way they could get them out. Melanie found out that the only way the vault would open was to wait until an unknown preset time when it was scheduled to open automatically.
Chelsea suggested they call a locksmith, and Sasha said when someone got locked in the vault before, it was only locked for a few hours. Melanie suggested they call 9-1-1, but Chelsea was sure that Phillip and Stephanie would be fine. She asked Sasha to tell Philip that she would see him at the hospital when he got out of the safe. Sasha pointed out to Melanie that Phillip and Stephanie were together.
Stephanie was worried about missing the presentation, but Philip was laid back about it. He said she made an impression, but Stephanie was insulted when he insinuated that she locked herself in the vault on purpose. Philip teased Stephanie, suggesting she wanted to be trapped in the vault with him. Philip flirted with Stephanie, and they were about to kiss when Melanie walked in.
Marlena was surprised to find out she was sharing a reception area with Dr. Charlotte Taylor. While they were talking, John walked in. After John's therapy session, he told Marlena he planned to continue therapy. Kayla asked Marlena if she wouldn't mind sharing her waiting room with Dr. Taylor, and Marlena explained she already knew about the arrangement, because Dr. Taylor already moved in.
Marlena told Kayla how John was receiving treatment from Dr. Taylor, and Kayla sensed that Marlena might be jealous of Dr. Taylor. Marlena denied being jealous, and Kayla pointed out that Marlena and John weren't a couple anymore. Marlena thought it was demeaning that John tried too hard to be nice to women. Kayla asked if she wished she were helping John instead of Dr. Taylor. Marlena admitted she was jealous that she wasn't helping him.
Kayla reminded Marlena that she got what she wanted, because John was getting help. Kayla asked her if she would want him talking to everyone about his therapy if she were John's doctor. Marlena said she wouldn't want that, but she still loved him, and seeing Kayla with Steve gave her hope that she and John might find their way back to each other. Kayla told her not to give up on that hope.
Marlena worried about what to do if John's problem couldn't be treated with therapy. Kayla asked her if she disliked Dr. Taylor, but Marlena realized she was probably just jealous that Dr. Taylor was helping John and not Marlena.
At the park, Dr. Taylor found John sitting on the park bench with his head in his hands. She asked if he was all right. John complained of a headache, but said that aspirin wouldn't work. Dr. Taylor suggested they try some biofeedback in their next session. Then she praised him for having a successful first session and she wondered when she would see him again. John said he wasn't sure if he would be able to come back.
John admitted to Dr. Taylor that he was afraid that the therapy might work too well and he would get his old life back. John said it sounded like the old John was a jerk, and he was only doing the therapy for Marlena. Dr. Taylor pledged to do her very best to help John.
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Stefano had just issued instructions to one of his henchmen down on the docks, when Tony found him. He demanded to know why Stefano hadn't included him in the recent deal with the Argentineans. Stefano informed his son that he'd excluded him-and let him find out he'd been excluded-intentionally, pointing out that it had been Tony's decision to leave the family business. While Tony fumed, Stefano maintained that E.J. had skills that Tony did not. "I've traded up," Stefano declared with a chuckle.
Nicole called Brady from the DiMera foyer and asked him to meet her right away at the Cheatin' Heart, adding, "I think I've found the answer to my prayers!" She hung up quickly when E.J. entered. E.J. wanted to know why she was being so secretive, but she reminded him it was Christmastime-when some people made plans they wanted to keep secret. E.J. then led Nicole into the living room and presented her with a gift, which he said was for their baby. Nicole tried to cover her sadness, asking what he'd gotten the baby, but E.J. asked if something were wrong. Tony barged in just then, declaring that he and E.J. needed to talk, so Nicole used the opportunity to leave to meet Brady.
Tony informed E.J. that he'd just come from meeting with Stefano, and warned E.J. that he would be making a big mistake if he allowed Stefano to groom him to be head of the family. E.J. tried to shrug off Tony's concerns, and accused his brother of wanting the family business for himself. Tony assured him that he did not, emphasizing that Stefano was trying to stir something up between the two of them, possibly to distract them. Tony cautioned E.J. to keep his eyes open, and not to trust Stefano for a second. Tony suggested that Stefano had taken E.J. to the meeting on the docks to set him up to be the fall guy later.
E.J. was completely skeptical, believing that family was the most important thing to Stefano. Tony scoffed and suggested, if E.J. wouldn't believe him, that he should talk to Lexie, and described how Mayor Marino had been shot on their doorstep after Lexie had complained to Stefano about him. E.J. reminded Tony that Stefano would never do something so blatant. Tony argued that, regardless of whether Stefano had the man killed, he was using Lexie's guilt about the incident to manipulate her. E.J. was confident that Stefano would never do anything like that to him, but Tony theorized that Stefano would set E.J. up to do something that could get him disbarred or even sent to prison, and use that evidence to control E.J. and those he loved.
Stefano found Lexie at work at University Hospital, and asked her how Theo's therapy was going. Lexie made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with her father. Stefano intimated that it might look like Lexie and Abe had asked Stefano to kill Mayor Marino, if word of Lexie and Stefano's meeting got out. With an icy glare, Lexie asked if Stefano were threatening her, but he told her he would never hurt his family. Lexie declared that being Stefano's family was a curse, and stormed off.
After Tony had gone, Lexie stopped by the mansion to drop off some Christmas gifts. She told E.J. she was in a hurry because she didn't want to run into Stefano, but he told her about the conversation he'd just had with Tony about how she'd asked for their father's help with Marino. Lexie exclaimed that she'd never intended for anyone to get hurt. E.J. wanted to know what she expected when she asked for help from Stefano DiMera.
Nicole joined Brady at a table at the Cheatin' Heart and showed him a printout of a personal ad from a pregnant woman looking for a couple to raise her baby. Brady thought it was a really bad idea, but before they could discuss it much further, the mother called Nicole, wanting to meet. After Nicole hung up, she gushed excitedly about how she and E.J. could give the baby the perfect life, but Brady suggested that she think things through a little longer. Nicole angrily got up and said she didn't need anything more from Brady except for him to keep quiet, then left to meet the woman.
Brady followed Nicole to the docks, and insisted on staying so he could make sure she was all right. When the pregnant woman, Kelly, arrived, Nicole introduced herself as "Cindy," and Brady as "Jason." Kelly explained why she was giving the baby up: a college student, she hadn't been able to find a job or pay her rent, and had skipped her last clinic visit because she couldn't afford it. She also feared her parents would disown her if they found out she was pregnant. Kelly showed them a picture of the baby's father, and said she knew the baby would be as cute and smart as he was. When she started crying, Nicole reassured the girl that she and "Jason" would pay for her doctor visits-and take care of the baby when it was born. While Nicole was comforting Kelly, Brady took the boyfriend's picture from Nicole, and a look of disbelief crossed his face.
Kelly left, saying she had to call her parents and get to her doctor's appointment, and afterward, Nicole told Brady, "She's so sweet." Brady, obviously dubious, announced that he had something to do, and when Nicole asked if he were going to a meeting, he said he was. But as she watched him go, Nicole muttered, "Meeting, my ass," and followed him.
Nicole tailed Brady to the Cheatin' Heart, where he'd found Kelly smoking and drinking at the bar. As Nicole approached incredulously, Brady declared to Kelly, "You're not only a two-bit con, you're a really stupid two-bit con."
At the Brady house, Bo wanted to rest after a hard day at work, but Hope reminded him that he'd scheduled a meeting for the Christmas food-drive fund there that night. She maintained that they needed to get their bare Christmas tree decorated, to help get people in the holiday spirit so they would make donations. As Bo tiredly trudged up the stairs, Hope shouted after him to bring down a box of fragile decorations from the closet-after which she heard a loud crash.
A little later, after they'd decorated the tree, Bo tried to get romantic with his wife, but she spurned his advances, reminding him they didn't want their guests to arrive and find them in a compromising situation. Hope noted that they still needed to put the star on top of the tree, so he went off in search of a ladder.
When Bo had returned with the ladder and was wobbling atop it, Hope urged him to be careful. He had just gotten the star attached to the top of the tree when suddenly the ladder gave way and he went crashing to the floor.
Locked in the Titan vault, Melanie and Philip were just about to kiss when Melanie opened the vault door. As the three of them exited the vault, Melanie babbled about how worried she'd been, and how she hadn't known Philip had come down to the archives. Philip ordered everyone back to work, but gave Stephanie the rest of the day off to decompress. Stephanie thanked him and left, but eavesdropped just outside the door as Philip asked Melanie to hang back so they could discuss his notes for the presentation. Melanie said she'd already finished them, and a skeptical Stephanie stepped out from behind the door and declared Melanie couldn't possible have done it all. Melanie countered that she took her job seriously, so Philip decided she deserved the rest of the day off, too.
As Melanie left, Stephanie cautioned Philip that Melanie had probably locked them in the vault. "If that's the case, then maybe I should give her a raise," Philip replied. He closed the outer office doors and said he wanted to talk about what had almost happened. Stephanie admitted she was afraid to assume anything lest she look stupid. Sasha arrived with papers for Philip to sign, and asked Stephanie if she wanted to hit a shoe sale at Baron's later. Before Stephanie could explain why not, Sasha finished, with a pointed grin toward Philip, that Stephanie must have other plans.
When Sasha had gone, Stephanie laughed and said that the office would soon be abuzz that something had happened while the two of them were in the vault. Philip asked Stephanie if she would go out on a date with him, after his mother was out of the hospital. Stephanie replied that there was something she had to take care of before she could.
Melanie stopped by Max's room to warn him that Stephanie was making a play for Philip. Max pointed out that Melanie hated Stephanie, and probably was just trying to ruin her life, and ordered Melanie to leave him out of it. Melanie argued that she was only worried that Max might want to get back together with Stephanie-because, if so, he'd better make a move before she hooked up with Philip. Max thought Melanie just wanted Philip for herself, but she somewhat unconvincingly denied it. Max urged her not to be her usual, manipulative self, and to leave Philip and Stephanie alone.
Max then gave Melanie an envelope from Nick, and told her Nick had said it was about something financial. Melanie remembered Nick's promise to cut her in on the profits of his alternative fuel project. When Max suggested she read the letter and write Nick back, Melanie replied, "Or why don't I just go visit him?"
When Rafe returned to the safe house, Sami greeted him by throwing her arms around his neck, relieved that he was all right. Sami then declared that she needed Rafe's help, so Hilda left them to clean up the kitchen. Sami asked Rafe to do some Christmas shopping for her, and buy a toy-the Laughing Penguin doll-for her kids. Rafe firmly refused, so Sami turned on the waterworks, pointing out that every day she was stuck there with him, she'd get more and more depressed, thinking about being without her kids on Christmas. Even Hilda couldn't believe how convincingly Sami could produce tears on cue, and finally Rafe grudgingly relented. After he'd left, slamming the door behind him, Hilda noted that Sami hadn't bothered to tell him that the Laughing Penguin had been sold out for weeks. Sami replied with a sly grin that the FBI's motto was, "We always get our penguin."
A little later, Hilda sat on the couch, munching happily on cookies that Sami said she'd learned to bake at camp. Suddenly, Hilda bolted for the bathroom, groaning. Sami remarked to herself that the cookies had once taken out eleven camp counselors, then jumped up and grabbed Hilda's cell phone. She called Sister Theresa and promised to visit her soon.
Mayor Marino's killer got a call from his informant, whom he told to keep an eye on Rafe until he could get there. The killer declared to himself that it would be "hasta la vista, Sami," after Rafe led him to her.
In the park, Rafe happened across a woman who was berating her son for reading a book instead of playing with the Laughing Penguin she'd gotten him. Rafe asked where he could buy one, and the woman replied that she had connections at the manufacturer. While the killer watched from behind a tree, Rafe dialed a friend and said that he needed a favor.
Hilda emerged from the bathroom and declared that she'd just eaten too many cookies. Sami worriedly asked what could be taking Rafe so long.
Rafe went down on the docks to meet his friend, who gave him a shopping bag containing the coveted stuffed animal. When the friend had gone, the mayor's assassin suddenly jumped out from behind a crate, and stabbed Rafe in the gut.
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