Jason was trying to update Sonny on his and Curtis' findings, but he could tell that Sonny was distracted, so he wondered why. "Just one reason?" Sonny asked. He asked Jason for any news. As Jason explained how he and Curtis had sifted through dumpsters for clues, Sonny's mind drifted back to Nelle. Jason told Sonny that they'd found a bag full of tools that could have been used to plant a bomb, so they were going to send it to a lab to find any fingerprints. Noticing that Sonny was again not listening, Jason wondered if there was a problem with Nelle.
Sonny replied that Jason couldn't help him with his problem, which had to do with Carly. Jason realized what was going on, so Sonny explained. Sonny revealed that Nelle had told him that Carly had kissed Jax. He'd had a lot to drink, and he didn't remember the night. Jason urged Sonny to tell Carly. He believed that Sonny and Carly had such a strong relationship that they could get through it. Sonny refused, not wanting to stop their forward progress.
"What if Nelle tells Carly?" Jason suggested. Sonny thought that Nelle wouldn't talk. He didn't believe that he and Carly had a future if she found out the truth. "The truth always comes out," Jason warned, believing that Sonny would never be able to hide it from Carly. Sonny related that both he and Nelle were staying quiet, so there was no one else to tell. "There's me," Jason said.
Nelle was sitting at the Metro Court bar when Tom approached her. He gave his speech to her about being a photographer and wanting to take her picture, but she replied, "not gonna happen," and advised him to "walk away while you can." He demanded to know what her problem was, and she answered with, "unwanted advances by losers I can spot a mile away. Take off before I scream for security." He took the opportunity to walk away.
Michael arrived and apologized to Nelle for being late. She confessed that she had to leave because she didn't think her dress was "festive" enough. Michael didn't think that anyone would care, but he promised to fix it. He asked for ten minutes, and he left. Ten minutes later, he returned in a Hawaiian shirt underneath his jacket, and sandals. He informed her that she wouldn't be underdressed next to him, and they made their way into the ballroom.
A short while later, Michael and Nelle ran onto the balcony off the restaurant in order to hide from a man who Michael had accidentally hit with a sandal. They agreed that they were both having a good time. Michael wondered how Nelle could stand to be around his family, and he asked if she blamed or resented them for what had happened to her. She replied that she didn't blame them because what had happened to her had "brought me here."
Michael gave his coat to Nelle as they discussed the frigid New York weather. He jokingly wondered why anyone would want to live in Port Charles. On that note, he offered to grab their coats so they could get going. When he was gone, she said, "I haven't forgotten why I'm here. I'll never forget." A few minutes later, Michael returned and found the balcony empty.
Elizabeth left a message for Jeff, telling him to visit his daughter Hayden while he could. She hung up the phone, clearly exasperated. Griffin approached and wondered if she wanted to talk about Franco. She revealed that Franco was no longer her biggest worry since Tom had been reassigned. She recognized that Franco had been trying to protect her, but she resented that everyone saw her as a frail victim. Griffin assured her that he'd never gotten that feeling from her, and he bet Franco didn't either.
A short while later, Elizabeth asked Griffin if he could cover for her with Epiphany while she took her break early. She needed to see Franco and let him know that her life was better with him in it. Griffin wondered if it was so urgent that she needed to tell him right then. Elizabeth revealed that Franco acted out when he felt insecure.
At Dr. Bellamy's office, Valentin confirmed that he and Lulu were Charlotte's biological parents. "We're family," he added, which prompted Dante to lunge at Valentin and pin him up against the wall. Nathan pulled Dante away, and Valentin insisted that he was as much of a victim as Lulu. He revealed that the entire thing had been Helena's doing. She'd promised Stavros that he could have a baby with Lulu, but then she'd found out that Stavros wasn't able to be a father. Helena had recruited Daphne to seduce and drug Valentin in order to get a sperm sample for the embryo.
Lulu demanded to know if Valentin had planned to keep Charlotte from her forever. Valentin promised that he'd intended to broach the subject with Lulu when his claim on Charlotte became "irrefutable." He continued that his legal problems had started when Claudette had taken off with Charlotte. Maxie countered that Claudette had been trying to protect Charlotte, but Valentin reminded them that Claudette had no claim over Charlotte. He told Lulu that she was free to be with her daughter.
Valentin invited Lulu to see Charlotte if she wanted to, and he left. Dante and Nathan vowed to find out what had really happened and to arrest Valentin. "I have a daughter," Lulu said happily. She realized how many things she'd never done with her daughter and remembered that they'd missed out on a lot of the same things with Rocco. Dante urged her to be careful playing Valentin's game. She replied that Valentin had "picked the wrong Spencer to mess with. I'll be damned if I don't win."
Tom's phone rang, and he was pleasantly surprised to answer it to Kiki, who wondered if his offer of a photo shoot still stood. As she flirted with him, Franco looked on. He wanted to give his address to her, but she told him that a friend of hers that was a painter had offered for her to use his studio. He was reluctant, so she went on about how private it was. He finally agreed, and she gave him the address.
Kiki told Franco that she was going to stay in order to make sure that all Franco did was talk to Tom. He welcomed her to stay but warned her that it would stay between them. Kiki suggested that he shouldn't do whatever he was planning if he worried that it would disappoint Elizabeth. He revealed that he was only trying to protect the women in his life.
At Crimson, Nina wondered why Dillon, clad in a tuxedo, wasn't at his family's charity gala. He revealed that he wasn't in the mood for socializing. As he worked at his desk, Nina talked about how she'd changed after what she'd done the night before. She finally got his attention and told a stunned Dillon that she'd been "sexed up." She wondered if he saw a difference in her, because she hadn't felt that good in a long time. He thought she looked great.
Nina was glad that Dillon had her back even though Nathan didn't. She revealed the identity of her new boyfriend to a shocked Dillon. She urged him not to judge, because everyone had made mistakes in life. He advised her to be careful, but he couldn't give her any other relationship advice. She wondered if he still had his eye on Kiki, but he covered that he was "too busy" to date. Nina agreed, and Dillon suggested that she hire an assistant. "I know the perfect person to be your assistant, and she can start right away," he said.
Kiki's phone rang, and she answered it to Dillon, who wanted her to meet him at Crimson. She promised to be right there and hung up the phone. Kiki made Franco promise that he wouldn't do anything stupid, and she left. A short while later, Tom entered the studio and found a creepy portrait of Franco. "Do you like it? I painted it just for you," Franco said, pouncing on Tom out of the darkness. A few minutes later, Tom was sprawled out on the floor, gagged and unconscious. Franco dragged him away.
A short while later, Tom awoke to the sound of pencil strokes on paper. Franco was drawing a portrait of Tom, who became agitated to find himself locked in a dog cage. He yelled at Franco to let him out, but Franco sprayed water on him. He explained that it was the humane method of training, but there was a "less cuddly" way. Tom found that he was wearing a shock collar, and Franco promised to shock Tom if he misbehaved in the least. "Speak," Franco commanded. Understanding, Tom uttered, "woof." He wondered what Franco was going to do with him, but Franco only walked away.
A concerned Kiki arrived at Crimson, and Dillon led her into Nina's office. He told Kiki what she was there for and talked up the working conditions at the magazine. Nina didn't need an answer immediately, but she offered to talk when she got back from running an errand. When she was gone, Dillon excitedly asked if Kiki wanted the job. "No. No, I don't," she replied.
Kiki appreciated Dillon thinking of her for the job, but she thought they would be seeing too much of each other. He thought it would be a steady paycheck until she found something more permanent. She figured that he just wanted to see more of her, but he advised her to walk away if she didn't want the job. Getting angry, he told her to look at her own motives before accusing him of anything. He believed that she didn't want the job because she was punishing herself for choosing Dillon over Morgan. She slapped him hard across the face.
Kiki immediately apologized. Dillon wished her luck in finding a job and stormed off into the elevator. She begged him to return, but Nina advised Kiki to let him go. Kiki explained what had happened, but Nina wasn't surprised. "He's crazy about you," she informed Kiki. Nina advised Kiki to grieve and then move on, "hopefully to someone" like Dillon. Kiki wondered what would happen if he'd already moved on by the time she was done grieving. "Maybe your time's up," she suggested.
Nina's phone rang, and she saw it was Valentin. Kiki thanked Nina for the advice and left. Nina answered the phone, and Valentin invited her out for a drink. She asked for an hour in order to "move things around." He revealed that he was in New York City, so she should make it two hours. He promised to see her soon.
At the Metro Court bar, Valerie and Dillon sat at the bar together. She confided that Jordan had offered her an extra day off for Christmas if she "stood in" for Jordan at the event. She thought it would have been more fun if she'd had a date, since she and Curtis were done. "Sorry, I know the feeling," Dillon commiserated. He wondered if she wanted to "get out of here." She agreed, reasoning that she didn't need the extra day off, anyway, and they left.
At Franco's art studio, Tom crouched, caged in a dog crate, as he pleaded to be released. Tom promised that he'd learned his lesson not to mess with Franco, but Franco clarified that Tom was there because of what Tom had done to Elizabeth. Franco knew Tom hadn't been rehabilitated in prison, so he intended to make certain that Tom never hurt Elizabeth -- or anyone else -- again. Tom argued that he'd paid his debt because he'd spent eighteen years in prison, but Franco explained that Tom had only paid a debt, not the one he owed for raping Elizabeth. Tom tried to put Franco on the defensive by throwing Franco's past crimes in his face, but Franco argued that he'd been sick. Tom scoffed and accused Franco of playing a sick game with him.
Franco's temper flared, and he vowed to protect the women of Port Charles from Tom. Franco confronted Tom about Tom's nefarious plans for Kiki, but Tom deflected by nervously asking what Franco intended to do to him. Both men's eyes suddenly flew to the door when they heard a knock and Elizabeth called out. Tom was about to yell for help, but Franco pressed a button on the remote he held that triggered an electric shock from the collar around Tom's throat. Tom's scream froze in his throat until the zap ended. Franco warned Tom to remain silent and advised Tom to leave the collar's lock alone, or he'd zap Tom harder the next time.
In the hallway, Elizabeth started to type a text message to Franco when the music in his studio blared to life. Moments later, Franco opened the door. He feigned surprise when he saw Elizabeth and asked why she was there. Elizabeth assured him that she'd knocked, but he claimed that he'd had his headphones on and hadn't heard anything. Elizabeth believed him and explained that she had stopped by during her dinner break to talk to him about something important. Franco perked up and asked if it had to do with Christmas.
Elizabeth asked if they could enter Franco's studio because she wanted to talk to him about Tom. Alarmed, Franco quickly explained that he'd been working on her Christmas present and didn't want her to see it. Franco admitted that he'd thought long and hard about what to give her that would have a lasting impact. He added that his project was still in the early stages, but he could see the finished product in his mind. Touched, Elizabeth agreed to talk in the hallway and gently explained that she'd been worried that he'd hurt Tom in the name of protecting her.
Elizabeth admitted that she and Franco were in a good place, and she didn't want him to mess things up by going after Tom. She appreciated his concern, but she didn't need him to be a hero and vanquish Tom because Franco was already a hero in her eyes. Franco was skeptical about the assertion, but Elizabeth assured him that it was true because he was kind to his patients and generous with her boys. Franco reminded her that heroes protected their loved ones at all costs, but Elizabeth disagreed and told him that heroes were only protective when warranted. Franco insisted that Tom was dangerous, but Elizabeth reminded him that Tom hadn't done anything since he'd been paroled. Franco conceded that she was right, but he knew she was worried because she'd held onto the key chain he'd given her with the pepper spray.
Elizabeth acknowledged that Tom scared her, but she and Franco didn't have a magic wand to make Tom go away. She insisted that all she and Franco could do was move forward -- together. Franco assured her that he wanted to, so she smiled and invited him to spend Christmas with her and the boys. Franco readily agreed, but Elizabeth warned him not to go overboard with the presents. After Franco promised to contain himself, Elizabeth gave him a quick kiss and left.
Moments later, Franco entered his studio. He shut the door, turned off the music, and suggested that he and Tom find a way to get along. Tom implored Franco to spare his life, so Franco assured Tom that he would let Tom live. However, Franco intended to end Tom's life as Tom knew it.
At the Quartermaine mansion, Tracy stood outside Emily's old bedroom and quietly listened as Finn sat at Hayden's bedside, chatting with Hayden. Without warning, Hayden began to convulse. Tracy ran into the bedroom as Finn instructed her to hold Hayden still while he fetched an injection. Moments later, Finn jabbed a needle into Hayden and held her until the seizure abated. Tracy watched Hayden with concern as she questioned Finn about the injection. He revealed that he'd given Hayden an injection of Zekenestrol. Alarmed, Tracy wondered how much of the life-saving drug Finn had left.
Tracy's concern mounted when Finn admitted that he barely had enough to last him and Hayden two weeks because Hayden's situation was dire, since she'd been exposed to a concentrated dose of the disease. Tracy offered to hunt down more of the illegal opiate, but Finn refused to let Tracy risk everything for him. Tracy agreed to respect his wishes -- provided he immediately returned to work on finding the cure. Finn insisted that he'd done all he could, but Tracy refused to let him give up. She offered him words of encouragement and promised to take care of Hayden, while Finn worked on the serum. Finn agreed and returned to the bedroom to say goodbye to Hayden.
Tracy stepped away to give Finn and Hayden privacy. Finn told Hayden that he had to leave because he had to work, but she became upset and accused him of always abandoning her. He quickly realized that Hayden thought he was her father as she angrily told him that she didn't need him. Hayden's tone changed as she started to talk about someone special she'd met. She admitted that she and the man were good for each other and added that she wanted her father to meet the new man in her life.
Finn knew that Hayden had been referring to him when she talked about how she'd looked up his name and had learned that it meant "the end" in French. Hayden confessed that it was fitting because Finn would be the end of her, since he was it for her. "I love him," Hayden confided. Seconds later, Hayden's mind cleared, and she asked Finn what had happened. Finn filled her in about the seizure and injection then told her that he had to get back to work on finding a cure. Hayden didn't want Finn to leave, but he insisted that it was necessary. Tracy stepped forward to support Finn.
Resigned, Hayden asked Finn to return to her if it appeared that he wouldn't find a cure in time. Finn assured Hayden that he would be back with a pair of ice skates for her because he intended to take her ice-skating.
Shortly after Finn left, Hayden began to hallucinate that Tracy was Naomi. Hayden accused her mother of resenting her because Hayden had been a reminder of Naomi's greatest failure when Jeff had picked his wife over Naomi. Tracy gently told Hayden that Naomi had been the failure, not Hayden. Tracy's tone changed as she acknowledged that she'd been a cold and judgmental mother, but she promised that it hadn't been because she didn't care. She admitted that she'd been inept as a parent despite having been raised by the sweetest woman on earth. Tracy confessed that she'd been all about business and profit, but she tearfully promised that she deeply loved Hayden.
Hayden softly returned the declaration of love and talked about how her mother had taught her to follow her heart. Hayden revealed that her heart had found someone to love, but she was afraid that it might be too late. Tracy's expression filled with sadness.
In Finn's hotel suite, Finn paced the living room as he muttered to Roxy. He was frustrated because he'd been close to finding a cure for the disease, but he couldn't figure out why the serum wouldn't gel. Finn looked at Roxy as if she might have the answer then sighed with disappointment when the silence stretched out. He picked up a treat to feed to Roxy and opened the top of the tank. He noticed that Roxy had begun to shed her skin and praised her as he dropped the treat into the tank.
"Getting rid of the old scales to make way for some shiny new ones," Finn said repeatedly as an idea began to germinate. "Oh, my God," Finn suddenly said as something occurred to him. Finn studied Roxy in the tank as he muttered that her tail would not grow back if she lost it, but the lizard was able to shed her skin. Finn realized that the key to the cure had been in front of him the entire time -- dining on crickets. Finn picked up Roxy and told her that she might save Hayden's life.
At Metro Court Restaurant, Carly chuckled when she saw Michael's outfit. He explained that he'd picked up the colorful shirt and flip-flops to make Nelle feel more comfortable at the gala. Cary laughed and asked where Nelle was. Michael admitted that he'd been about to ask Carly the same question. Michael filled his mother in about Nelle's disappearance while he'd stepped away to fetch their coats. Carly frowned and asked about the evening, but he assured her that everything had been good, which was why he'd been surprised when Nelle had vanished. Carly suggested that perhaps Michael and Nelle had gotten their wires crossed.
Michael conceded that it was possible, so Carly shifted gears to ask what Michael's plans were for Christmas. Michael told Carly that he intended to open presents with the Quartermaines in the morning, pop over to Carly's house to Skype with Josslyn, and then head to Sonny's house. Carly quietly told him that it wouldn't be necessary to plan three visits because she and Sonny planned to spend the holidays together. Michael expressed his concern, but Carly explained that she and Sonny had been getting along and had decided it would be best for the family to be together for the holidays.
Michael was curious if Carly and Sonny had decided to get back together, but Carly insisted it was too soon. However, she conceded that she and Sonny were in a better place. Michael worried that Sonny might get his hopes up, but Carly assured Michael it wouldn't be a problem. Moments later, Michael's cell phone chimed with a text message. It was Nelle explaining that she'd left because she'd been ill.
Michael was relieved that he hadn't done anything to upset Nelle, but he turned the conversation back to Carly and Sonny. He assured his mother that he'd always have her back and that he loved both Carly and Sonny. He wished his parents the best then left.
At Greystone Manor, Jason urged Sonny to be honest with Carly about Nelle, but Sonny insisted that it was a private matter that didn't concern Jason. Sonny worried that Jason would run to Carly to tell her about Sonny and Nelle's one-night stand, but Jason was offended by the suggestion. Jason urged Sonny to do the right thing, but Sonny refused to ease his conscience at Carly's expense. Sonny explained that it would be unfair to ruin Carly's holiday when she was already suffering the loss of a child. Sonny added that it would be a double betrayal to Carly because she'd taken Nelle under her wing.
Jason was certain that Carly would understand that Sonny had been hurting and grieving, but Sonny implored Jason to keep silent. Sonny reminded Jason that Jason had kept secrets before, like when Jason had lied for a year about being Michael's father. Jason argued that he'd lied to protect Carly and Michael. Sonny suggested that Jason would be protecting Carly and Michael -- as well as Sonny's entire family -- by keeping quiet about Sonny's tryst with Nelle. Jason assured Sonny that Carly knew what it was like to make a mistake and lash out when she was hurt, but it failed to sway Sonny.
Sonny assured Jason that neither Sonny nor Nelle would tell Carly about their night together and vowed that it would never happen again. Both Jason and Sonny tensed when Carly arrived and called out to Sonny. Seconds later, she entered the living room. Carly was delighted when she saw Jason and gave him a quick hug as she told both men about her plans to decorate the house for Christmas. Carly's smile faded as she picked up on the tension between Sonny and Jason. She demanded to know what was going on, so Sonny claimed that he and Jason had been talking about the bomb that had killed Morgan.
Cary was eager to know if Jason had any news. Jason shook his head, but he promised to find the answers she needed. Carly thanked Jason for all his help. Jason assured both Sonny and Carly that he cared about them and wanted them to be happy.
Later, Carly asked Jason and Sonny what they thought of the Christmas tree she had picked out. Sonny looked at the tree in question and confessed that it didn't matter how much they decorated and filled the house because there would always be something missing. Carly agreed that they would always feel Morgan's absence and suggested that it was all the more reason for their family -- including Jason -- to pull together and support each other through the holiday. Jason smiled awkwardly and glanced at Sonny. Carly sensed that something was off and demanded an answer.
Sonny sagged with relief when Jason told Carly that he liked seeing Carly and Sonny together, and he hoped it boded well for the couple's future together. Carly smiled and hugged Jason. After Carly left with a promise to call Sonny later, Jason explained that he'd decided to keep quiet because Carly was grieving. However, he warned Sonny that he wouldn't cover for Sonny if Carly became suspicious or questioned Jason. Sonny was grateful for the concession, but Jason urged Sonny do right by the family.
At Nelle's apartment, Nelle dropped her keys on the desk and grumbled as she sat in a chair and ripped off her shoes. Nelle was furious with herself for spending time with Michael because the reminder that he was a great guy had made things more difficult for her. Nelle pulled off her dress and looked in the mirror at the scar from having her kidney removed. She told herself that the evening hadn't changed what she had in store for Carly.
Later, Nelle sat on the sofa and opened a music box. As a tiny ballerina twirled on the pedestal to the melody, Nelle glanced at her father's letter then pulled out a baby rattle that had been tucked in with the letter. Moments later, Nelle's cell phone chimed with a text message. It was Michael asking what had happened to her. Nelle thought about her evening with Michael and the effort he'd made to put her at ease. She returned the rattle to the music box, closed it, and thought about how she'd drugged Sonny and helped him undress for bed.
A short time later, Michael knocked on the door. Nelle quickly closed the music box and slid it under the sofa before answering the door. Michael held up a bag as he announced that he'd picked up some hot soup for her. He also returned her coat that she'd left behind. Nelle thanked Michael and invited him inside. Michael was surprised when he checked her for a fever and she felt cool to the touch. Nelle claimed that she'd taken a fever reducer, but Michael suspected that she had faked the illness because she'd been afraid to tell him that she'd been bored on their date.
Michael assured Nelle that she could be honest with him, so Nelle confessed that she'd had a wonderful time, but she'd been afraid of blurring the lines because she worked for his mother. Michael appreciated Nelle's reservations and agreed to back off, even though he believed that she needed a friend as much as he did. Nelle conceded that he was right and opened up about how lonely she'd been since moving to Port Charles. She acknowledged that she'd wanted to make a fresh start after losing her job as a teaching assistant, but she hadn't anticipated how difficult it would be to move to a place where nothing was familiar.
Nelle agreed to give her friendship with Michael another chance, but he warned her that things might get complicated. Nelle suggested they would cross that bridge when they reached it. A short time later, Nelle walked Michael to the door. After he left, Nelle returned to the living room to fetch the music box and retrieve the baby rattle.
At Crimson, Maxie warmly greeted Sam and asked about the pregnancy. Sam smiled as she revealed that she'd entered her third trimester, and everything was fine. Maxie admitted that she felt like a terrible friend for not being around much during Sam's pregnancy, so Maxie had decided to make amends by hosting a baby shower for Sam. Sam assured Maxie that it wasn't necessary, but Maxie's mind was made up. She dragged Sam over to her desk to work out the details because she wanted to make it a special day for Sam, since the pregnancy had been a wonderful surprise.
Sam admitted that it had felt as if she'd been given a miracle when she'd been told that she was pregnant, but she insisted a party wasn't necessary. Maxie ignored Sam's protests and admitted that she'd already thought of some fun games to play. Sam continued to decline the offer and stood to leave, but Maxie stood to stop Sam and knocked over Sam's purse over in the process. Maxie apologized, but her attention landed on an envelope that had fallen on the floor. Sam confided that Dr. Lee had written the baby's gender on a piece of paper then sealed it in the envelope, but Sam and Jason had decided it would be more exciting to wait until the baby's birth.
Maxie accused Sam of being medieval and listed all the reasons why it was a good idea to know the baby's gender, including selecting the baby's name. Sam revealed that Danny had already named the baby Scout and reiterated that she preferred the mystery of not knowing the baby's gender. Maxie didn't believe Sam because Sam had kept the envelope, which meant a part of Sam wanted to know. Sam started to disagree, but her phone rang. After Sam disappeared into Nina's office to take the call, Maxie looked at Sam's purse.
A short time later, Maxie walked Sam to the elevator and promised to make the baby shower fun for Sam. After Sam left, Maxie opened a file on the table and pulled out the envelope. Maxie smiled with satisfaction because she had a surprise in store for Sam.
At Metro Court Restaurant, Jason and Curtis discussed their investigation into who had planted the bomb in Julian's car. As they pored over photographs, something caught Jason's eye. However, Carly arrived to drop off a couple cups of coffee. She immediately sensed something was off with Jason and questioned him about it. Jason recalled Sonny's confession about sleeping with Nelle, but he pushed the memory away and assured Carly that everything was fine. Carly's eyes narrowed, but Curtis cleared his throat and suggested that it had simply been bad timing because he and Jason had been in the middle of something.
Carly let the matter drop, but she reminded Jason that she expected to see him for the holidays. After Carly left, Jason thanked Curtis and explained that he hadn't wanted to tell Carly about the investigation until he had solid answers. Curtis nodded in understanding and asked what Jason had seen in the photograph earlier. Jason held up the picture of the garbage bag they'd recovered from the dumpster and suggested that perhaps they should focus on the Chinese restaurant rather than the contents of the bag. Curtis warned Jason that it was a generic bag used by a lot of Chinese restaurants in the area, so Jason pointed to the address on the bag.
A short time later, Jason and Curtis entered a pawnshop and spoke to the owner. The man confirmed that the address was correct, but the Chinese Restaurant had been closed for a while. Jason and Curtis showed the shop owner pictures of Julian, Pete, and the homeless man from the surveillance tape, but the shop owner denied having seen any of the men. Curtis was frustrated, but Jason decided to show the shop owner the tools they'd found. The shop owner didn't recognize the tools, but he conceded it was possible they'd been purchased at his shop because the bag was familiar.
The shop owner explained that the previous owners had left the bags behind, so he'd decided to recycle and use the bags. Curtis was disappointed it was a dead end, but Jason noticed something in a display case. Jason called the shop owner over and asked about the tool set. The shop owner offered to sell it to Jason, but Jason wanted answers because he noticed that the wire cutter he'd recovered fit perfectly in the tool set's empty slot. As Jason and Curtis questioned the shop owner, someone watched them on a monitor in another room.
At the Jerome apartment, Ava helped her brother to the sofa. Julian groaned as he sat down because his ribs hurt. He realized they would need time to heal, but he admitted they hurt a lot. Ava fussed over him and offered him pain medications, but he declined because it was too soon for a dose. Moments later, Alexis walked in. Ava vowed to keep a close eye on Alexis because she didn't trust her. Julian tried to keep things from escalating by reminding Ava of her appointment, but Ava offered to fix a Bloody Mary for Julian instead.
Alexis informed Ava that a drink would put Julian in a coma because he was on pain medication. Alexis also pointed out that it was too early for cocktails, but Ava refused to apologize and explained that she'd simply wanted to celebrate her brother's good fortune after being left for dead by a hit-and-run driver. Alexis bristled and shot back an insult. Alexis and Ava continued to bicker until Julian suggested they review his discharge instructions. Alexis seized the opportunity to flee to the terrace and grabbed her purse. After Alexis left, Julian asked Ava to leave Alexis alone.
Ava insisted that Alexis belonged behind bars for the hit-and-run and urged her brother to go to the police, but Julian refused. Ava suspected that Julian had more dirt on Alexis and begged him to let her help him. Julian stubbornly refused, so Ava warned him that he'd been playing a dangerous game with his ex-wife. Ava tried to persuade Julian to open up to her, but he drifted off to sleep.
On the terrace, Alexis feared that she might not be able to uphold her end of the deal. However, she realized that she didn't have a choice because she would lose her law license if she didn't. She repeatedly reminded herself of what was at stake as she pulled out a mini bottle of alcohol and emptied it into her coffee cup before tossing the empty bottle into the bushes. Alexis took a fortifying drink and braced herself to return inside.
Moments later, Alexis entered the living room. Ava quickly indicated for Alexis to be quiet because Julian was asleep then approached Alexis. Ava whispered that Alexis might have fooled Julian, but Ava knew the truth. Alexis had no idea what Ava was talking about and added that Ava had no room to judge. Ava scoffed and accused Alexis of being self-righteous. Ava warned Alexis that she knew Alexis had been forced to be there, but Alexis knew Ava's vague statement had been intended to elicit an incriminating confession from her.
Ava smugly informed Alexis that Julian had told her that Alexis had been behind the wheel of the car that had struck him. Alexis glared at Julian and found him awake and listening. Alexis was furious that he'd gone back on their agreement, but Julian assured Alexis that Ava wouldn't say anything. Ava objected, but Julian stood firm. Reluctantly, Ava backed down, but she vowed to keep a close eye on Alexis because she remained convinced that Julian and Alexis were hiding something. Disgusted, Alexis announced that she was headed to the pharmacy, but Ava objected to Alexis leaving and grabbed Alexis' arm.
Alexis' purse slipped out of her grip, and several mini liquor bottles spilled from her purse. Ava's eyes lit with understanding, and she accused Alexis of being drunk when Alexis had struck Julian with the car. Alexis claimed that she'd collected the bottles during her travels, but Ava didn't believe her and threatened to report Alexis to the police. Ava resented Alexis acting morally superior and looking down her nose at people, so she was eager to see Alexis locked up behind bars where she belonged.
At Greystone Manor, Sonny answered the door. He was surprised when he saw Nelle on his doorstep, but she explained that Carly had sent her over with Christmas decorations. Sonny invited Nelle inside and led her to the living room. She immediately noticed the bare Christmas tree, so Sonny admitted that Carly had picked it up the previous day. Nelle smiled and told him that she was glad that he and Carly were on better terms.
Later, Nelle offered to help Sonny trim the tree and suggested that Carly might expect it. After Sonny agreed, Nelle picked up an ornament and admitted that they were beautiful. Sonny explained that Carly had been adopted and had dreamed of doing Christmas right when she had a family of her own. Nelle was curious about Sonny's preferences, but he admitted that he'd always left the decorations up to Carly. Nelle smiled and told him that she was glad that he would be spending the holiday with Carly.
Moments later, Carly arrived and smiled with delight when she saw the Christmas tree. Carly gushed about the tree and quickly went to work hanging ornaments with Sonny, while Nelle took a step back and watched Sonny and Carly interact. Nelle was forced to hide her annoyance when Carly reminisced about the first time she had decorated a Christmas tree in Sonny's penthouse.
Later, Carly's phone rang. She picked it up and frowned when she noticed that it was an Atlanta area code. Nelle tensed when Carly answered the call. After a brief exchange, Carly confirmed that Nelle was her assistant. Moments later, Carly asked the caller to hold and covered the mouthpiece to ask why Sonny had written Nelle a letter of recommendation. Sonny seemed at a loss for words, so Carly finished up the call.
After the call, Carly announced that Nelle had a well-paying teaching job waiting in Atlanta, thanks to Sonny. Carly demanded to know what was going on, so Nelle explained that it had been a misunderstanding. Nelle told Carly a story about how Sonny had walked in on Nelle reading to Avery, and Nelle mentioning her desire to be a teacher. Nelle assured Carly that Sonny had had the best of intentions because he'd wanted to repay her for all she'd done for the family. Carly's eyes filled with emotion as she looked at Sonny.
Nelle made it clear that she didn't have any intention of returning to Atlanta, but Carly didn't want to stand in the way of Nelle's dreams. Nelle assured Carly that she loved working for Carly and wanted to stay in Port Charles because it already felt like home. Carly smiled as she and Nelle began to talk about Michael's antics the previous evening. Sonny was curious what they were talking about, so Nelle filled him in about her date with Michael. Carly took a moment to speak to Sonny privately and express her regret that she'd been too caught up in her own grief to notice what was going on around her.
Sonny assured Carly that he understood and admitted that it helped knowing that she'd be there for him during Christmas. Carly assured him that it would help her too. She didn't want to jinx anything, but she was certain their Christmas would be about love and would honor Morgan. Moments later, Carly squealed with delight when she heard Avery on the baby monitor as the little girl woke up from a nap. Carly insisted on fetching Avery because she was eager to trim the tree with the baby.
At the hospital, Dante and Lulu eagerly awaited the results of a DNA test to determine if Lulu was Charlotte's mother. Griffin approached the couple but quickly clarified that the results weren't back yet. However, he had wanted to assure them that the test results would be accurate because the blind tests had been sent to two independent labs. Lulu was relieved, but she admitted that no one deserved answers more than Charlotte.
Later, Lulu thanked Dante for his support. He assured her that he would always be there for her, but she knew that it hadn't been easy on him. Lulu reminded him that Charlotte was an innocent child, but Dante explained that his issue was with Valentin because Valentin had lied to them from the moment they had met on Cassadine Island.
A short time later, Griffin returned with the results of the DNA tests. He confirmed that Lulu was indeed Charlotte's mother and that Valentin was the child's father. Stunned, Lulu looked at both DNA tests. She couldn't believe that the man who had killed her brother was the reason she had a daughter. Dante warned Lulu that they had to prepare for a custody fight and stepped away to make a phone call. Lulu thanked Griffin for everything. Griffin wished both Dante and Lulu luck because he wanted what was best for Charlotte.
After Griffin left, Lulu approached Dante. He explained that he had tried to call Diane, but Lulu asked him to wait because she was worried about him. She wondered if he could love Charlotte and be a father to her daughter.
At Crimson, Maxie spoke to someone on the phone and reminded them that she expected the order to be on time because it was a surprise. She ended the call as Nina arrived for work. Nina asked if Maxie was planning a party, but she deftly avoided the question by asking what Nina had in the garment bag. Nina excitedly told Maxie about the dress she'd picked up for Charlotte. Nina admitted that she hoped to attend mass with Valentin and Charlotte on Christmas Eve because she knew Charlotte would be missing her mother. Maxie realized that Nina didn't know about Lulu.
Nina was stunned when Maxie revealed that Lulu was Charlotte's biological mother and added that Lulu was at the hospital waiting for DNA results. However, Valentin had confirmed that it was true. Nina tried to hide her hurt as Maxie filled her in about the shocking revelation at the doctor‘s office. Nina struggled to assure Maxie that she was happy for Lulu, but Maxie was skeptical. Nina insisted that Charlotte deserved to have a mother then fled to the elevator on the pretext of being late for a business meeting.
A short time later, Maxie ended a call with her daughter as Felicia exited the elevator. Felicia was frazzled and expressed her regret that she'd persuaded Maxie not to hire a wedding planner. Felicia frowned when she noticed that Maxie was quiet and asked what was troubling her. Maxie admitted that she'd been thinking about Lulu and Charlotte and how sad it was that Lulu would never have memories of Charlotte's first years. Maxie explained that for a long time she'd felt as if Lulu had done everything right, while Maxie had done everything wrong, but Maxie acknowledged that she'd been the lucky one because Georgie was safe and didn't have a horrible man for a father.
Felicia acknowledged that Maxie and Lulu had been through a lot and had weathered storms that had tested their friendship. Maxie knew her mother was referring to when Maxie had allowed Lulu to believe that Georgie was Lulu's daughter, but Felicia rushed to remind Maxie that Lulu had forgiven Maxie. Felicia urged Maxie to forget about regrets and focus on the bright future ahead of her.
At the hospital, Lulu asked Dante if he could love Charlotte and be a father to her. Dante assured Lulu that he could because she was Lulu's daughter, but he reminded his wife that Charlotte had a father who likely wouldn't make things easy for them. Dante assured Lulu that Charlotte seemed like an amazing child, but he doubted that Valentin would appreciate Dante being a stepfather to Charlotte. Lulu questioned if Valentin had told them the truth. Dante had no idea, but he found it difficult to imagine that Valentin had been an innocent victim. Lulu decided that it didn't matter because Valentin was connected to Charlotte and in the end her daughter was all that mattered.
Lulu admitted that she'd felt an instant connection with Charlotte the moment she'd laid eyes on her, so a part of her had known right away what Charlotte was to her daughter. Moments later, Laura called out to Lulu. Laura was curious why Dante and Lulu were at the hospital and asked if Rocco was okay. Lulu assured her mother that Rocco was fine.
After Dante received a call from work and left, Laura asked what was really going on with Lulu. Lulu quietly revealed that she was Charlotte's mother -- and Valentin was the child's father. Laura was shocked, but also pleasantly surprised because she finally had a granddaughter. Laura was happy for Lulu, but she admitted that it was a lot to take in. Lulu admitted that she'd longed for a second child and suddenly recalled that Olivia had had a premonition about Lulu's daughter. Laura acknowledged that a child was a gift, but Lulu explained that it was more complicated than that because she'd always dreamed of carrying a child that she and Dante had made out of love.
Lulu was delighted that Charlotte was her daughter, but Charlotte would always be connected to the Cassadines and the man who'd killed Lulu's brother. Laura insisted that it didn't matter who Charlotte's father was because she would have Lulu and Lulu would love Charlotte no matter what. Lulu smiled with gratitude because she appreciated her mother's unwavering support. Laura was touched, but she reminded Lulu that they would have to figure out a way to get Charlotte away from Valentin. Lulu confessed that she feared Valentin would grab Charlotte and run, but Laura assured Lulu not to worry because Laura intended to talk to Scott and get the names of a few top child custody attorneys.
However, Laura warned Lulu to rein in her Spencer instinct and not do anything impulsive because they needed to handle everything through the courts. Lulu promised that she wouldn't do anything rash.
At Metro Court Restaurant, Olivia smiled and greeted her son with a warm hug. Dante explained that he'd been in the neighborhood then chatted with her about the holidays. Olivia reminded him of the tradition she'd started with Leo the previous year when they had posed with Julian for pictures wearing Christmas sweaters. She offered to buy sweaters for Dante and Rocco if they posed with Olivia and Leo, but Dante's expression turned somber as he advised Olivia to buy a sweater for a little girl. Olivia was shocked when he told her about Charlotte.
Dante explained that Valentin had claimed that Stavros hadn't been able to father children, so Helena had sent someone to "collect a contribution" from Valentin. He added that Valentin had discovered Helena's plans, retrieved the embryo, and then enlisted Claudette to carry the baby. Olivia wasn't surprised when he told her that Lulu was ecstatic to have a daughter. However, Olivia wondered how Dante had been handling everything. He conceded that he'd concerns, but he couldn't talk to his wife because she would think he didn't want Charlotte.
According to Dante, Lulu was too excited to see the ramifications of Charlotte being her daughter. Dante explained that inviting Charlotte into their lives also opened the door to Valentin, which Dante feared he wasn't ready for. Olivia conceded that the situation was complicated, but she reminded her son that Charlotte was innocent and hadn't asked to have a crazy father like Valentin. She insisted that Charlotte was a blessing and urged her son to find a way to minimize the damage. Dante was curious if his mother had followed her own advice with Julian and Leo.
Olivia admitted that she'd been lucky because Julian had either been locked up or confined to a hospital bed since his lies had been exposed. However, she assured him that she would do whatever was necessary to safeguard Leo, so she urged Dante to find a way to make things work for Charlotte's sake.
At Wyndemere, Nina confronted Valentin about Charlotte being Lulu's daughter. Nina was furious that he'd lied to her because she'd defended him when everyone had told her that he was evil and cruel. Nina admitted that keeping Charlotte from Lulu seemed both evil and cruel, but Valentin insisted that he'd only been protecting his daughter. Valentin claimed that he'd acted in Charlotte's best interest because his daughter had no idea that Claudette hadn't been her biological mother and would always miss her.
Valentin admitted that it was one of the reasons that he was grateful that Charlotte had bonded with Nina, but Nina questioned if he'd been playing her because he knew how she longed for a child. Valentin denied it and reminded her that he'd trusted her with his daughter. He pointed out that Nina knew what it was like to be at the mercy of adults and not understand their motivations. Valentin claimed that he didn't want his daughter to suffer the same fate as Nina had. Nina believed him, but she wanted to know why he'd lied.
Valentin blamed Lulu's hatred of him and his desire to keep her from finding out before he'd been ready to tell her. Nina was hurt that he thought she might have shared his secret, but he confessed that he hadn't wanted Nina to keep secrets for him. Valentin apologized for hurting her and added that he would never regret letting her into Charlotte's life. He insisted that he was just a single father doing his best to raise his daughter alone. Nina's anger faded away when he added that she was a natural with Charlotte and his daughter had been completely taken with her.
Valentin believed that Charlotte's life benefited from having Nina in it -- as did his. Nina smiled, but she quickly pulled back when she heard the doorbell ring and decided to deliver her gift to Charlotte. Valentin directed Nina to Charlotte's room and went to answer the door. Lulu on the doorstep and informed him that she was there to take her daughter home.
At the Jerome apartment, Ava threatened to report Alexis to the police because Alexis had been drunk when she ran Julian down. Julian ordered Ava to drop it or she'd face the consequences. Moments later, the doorbell rang. Ava perked up when she saw Jordan in the hallway and quickly invited her in. Jordan explained that she had some follow-up questions for Julian about the hit-and-run, but first she wanted to know why Alexis had violated her own restraining order by visiting Julian.
Ava claimed that Alexis had been concerned about Julian, but swiftly changed the subject by asking about the legal ramifications of leaving the scene of an accident. Alexis decided to put an end to her own misery by trying to leave, but Jordan asked if Alexis wanted to lift the restraining order against Julian. Alexis assured Jordan that she didn't and explained that she'd stopped by to pick up a photo album because she'd thought that Julian had still been in the hospital. Jordan was skeptical and questioned why Alexis would want a photo album filled with pictures of her ex-husband. Alexis claimed that she had intended to remove the photos of Julian and keep the ones of her daughters.
Satisfied, Jordan questioned Julian about the night Morgan was killed. She was curious if he was familiar with a company named Bev-More. Julian shook his head, but he conceded that Derek Wells Media had many subsidiaries. Jordan showed him a picture of the van as she revealed that it had blocked the security camera facing the Floating Rib's parking lot when someone had planted a bomb in his car. Julian was surprised when she added that the van had been traced back to Derek Wells Media. Julian accused Sonny of trying to frame him to throw off suspicion, but Jordan argued that it didn't make sense for Sonny to frame the man he was trying to kill. Ava scoffed and reminded Jordan that Sonny was a criminal.
The conversation turned to Julian's hit-and-run, so Ava seized the opportunity to make Alexis squirm by suggesting that Jordan keep an open mind and consider all the possibilities when searching for the driver. Jordan asked if Julian remembered anything about the accident that might help them find the driver, but Julian shook his head and added that it was unlikely that he'd remember anything because it had been a traumatic event. Jordan reminded Julian that the truth had a way of finding its way to the surface and left. Julian thanked Ava for not saying anything to Jordan, but she made it clear that she'd done it for him, not Alexis. Ava gave Julian a quick kiss and left for the gallery.
Alexis admitted that she'd noticed Julian's odd reaction when Jordan had questioned him about the bombing, but Julian blamed it on the medication wearing off and asked for a dose of medicine with lunch. Alexis started to go to the kitchen, but Julian called out to her. He knew that she couldn't cook, so he assured her that take-out would be fine. After Alexis went to fetch a menu, Julian dialed a number. However, he quickly disconnected the call when Alexis returned to ask if he would be okay with Chinese food. Julian nodded and asked her to order for him since she knew what he liked.
At the pawn shop, a mystery person watched on a security monitor as Jason and Curtis confronted the shop owner about the tool set with an empty slot for wire cutters that matched the ones they had recovered. Winston Rudge insisted that he had no idea if the tool set had arrived intact or not, so Jason asked if any of the other employees might remember. Winston admitted that he worked alone and hadn't kept meticulous records because he was in a cash-business. Jason and Curtis tried to get Winston to break, but he stuck to his story. Resigned, Curtis changed the subject and expressed an interest in buying a Chinese sailing ship.
Winston quickly ran over and took the ship from Curtis as he explained that the ship was being held for one of Winston's repeat customers. Jason quickly scribbled his name and phone number on a piece of paper and handed it to Winston before hustling Curtis out the door.
Later, Jason and Curtis sat down at Metro Court Restaurant to discuss their chat with Winston. Curtis was curious why Jason had bothered to give Winston his number when it was clear that Winston would not talk. Jason explained that if they were right about Winston working for Julian then Winston would contact Julian to let him know that Jason and Curtis had been asking questions. Jason hoped it would draw Julian out. Curtis nodded his approval and reminded Jason of Winston's bizarre reaction when Curtis had offered to buy the Chinese sailing ship.
Jason believed there might be a connection because Julian's driver, Pete, had received a call from Oscar Jessup and the number had been traced to an account in China. Curtis added that the bag they'd found had been for a Chinese Restaurant. Jason doubted it was a coincidence, which meant that there was something they weren't seeing.
Meanwhile, Winston carried a tray to a backroom where a mystery person sat behind a desk. Winston set the tray down, poured a cup of tea, handed the person the slip of paper that Jason had given him, and left. Moments later, the person's cell phone rang. It was Julian.
Due to ABC News coverage of President Obama's final news conference, General Hospital did not air. While not a planned preemption, ABC opted to preempt the episode nationally and to air it instead on Monday, December 19. As a result, there were no lost episodes.