Valentin opened the front door, and he wasn't surprised to see Lulu. She insisted that she was "taking my daughter home," and she was ready to fight him for Charlotte. He divulged that he had no intention of fighting with her, and he let her into the house. She thought that he should give Charlotte to Lulu and stay out of their lives. He didn't have any intention of giving up his parental rights and informed her that they would have to coexist.
Charlotte ran out into the living room in the dress Nina had given her, followed by a cautious Nina. Valentin reintroduced Lulu and Charlotte. He reminded Charlotte that she had a drawing to give Nina, so Charlotte ran off to get it. Lulu stated that Charlotte wasn't safe with Valentin. Challenging Lulu, Nina observed that Lulu had only met Charlotte one, while Valentin had raised the little girl her entire life. Lulu reminded Nina that she was Charlotte's mother, and Nina was the one who had no place to discuss Charlotte's future. Valentin informed Lulu that Charlotte adored Nina.
Valentin warned Lulu not to tell Charlotte that Claudette wasn't her mother, because he wanted to take things slowly. Lulu accused him of stalling, but he insisted that he didn't want to keep Charlotte away from Lulu. Charlotte returned and gave her drawing to Nina. Valentin suggested a "play date with Lulu" to Charlotte. Lulu offered to take the girl to the tree lighting at the Metro Court. Nina went with Charlotte to get her coat, and Lulu took the opportunity to stoically thank Valentin. Nina was helping Charlotte put on her mittens, but Lulu grabbed them and left with Charlotte.
Outside the door, Lulu finished putting Charlotte's mittens on. She told Charlotte that she was happy they would be spending time together, and they left.
"Are you out of your mind?" Nina asked Valentin. She thought that Lulu had reminded her of a "kid with a new toy. She doesn't intend to share." Valentin revealed that he was trying to be strategic and honest with Lulu. He offered that there was a place left for her in his life if she still wanted it. "What if I don't?" she teased. He answered that he would let her go -- but start chasing her again the next morning. They shared a kiss, and Nina had to leave.
Nina told Valentin that all the time they'd spent together was special to her. He thought that she'd made his and Charlotte's lives better. Nina warned Valentin again about Lulu, fearing that there would be a custody battle. Speaking from experience, she advised him that there was no telling how far someone would go in order to defend their child.
Anna bumped into Dante at the Metro Court and admitted that Griffin had told her about Charlotte being Lulu's daughter. She wondered how he was doing. He answered that he'd always wanted a daughter, and the fact that he was disappointed that Charlotte wasn't his made him feel selfish. She assured him that he was human. He wondered what would happen if he couldn't welcome Charlotte into their lives. Anna believed that Dante would love Charlotte as his own. He regretted that they were opening their lives to Valentin, but Anna hinted that Valentin wouldn't be a threat for much longer.
Anna confided that she was investigating Valentin, and she'd been "onto something," but the man's childhood school had burned down. She thought that he'd tried to hide who he'd been as a child. She just wanted to figure out when her path had crossed his. She explained to a confused Dante that Valentin had seemed familiar to her, and he'd been taunting her with things from her past. However, she didn't mind, because that meant he would probably slip up sooner rather than later. Dante wished her luck just as he caught sight of Lulu and Charlotte.
Lulu introduced Charlotte to a shocked Dante. Anna offered to take Charlotte to see Emma at the party downstairs, so Charlotte went with Anna. Lulu gushed about Charlotte, but Dante wanted to know how Lulu had ended up with Charlotte. She explained about confronting Valentin, and Dante was concerned that she'd gone without him. She admitted that she would have called, but she hadn't been sure of how he was feeling about the situation. He assured her that he was "all in," and he apologized for making her doubt his feelings. Lulu confessed that she had no intention of giving Charlotte back to Valentin.
A few minutes later, Anna returned with Charlotte and Emma, and they sat on the balcony. Robert was calling, so Anna stepped out to take the call. Robert had caught a dead end, but Anna refused to give up. She promised to talk to him later, and she hung up. When she returned to the girls, Emma was humming a song that Charlotte had taught her. The song caught Anna's attention, and she asked how Charlotte knew the song. She answered that Valentin whistled the song when he put her to bed every night. Anna ushered the girls back inside as Emma continued to hum the song.
Anna had a flashback of walking down a long hallway toward a doorway with light shining underneath the door. Someone was whistling the song as she walked down the hall.
Tracy was reading from, and commenting on, a magazine as she sat on the edge of Hayden's bed. Hayden, looking very ill, asked Tracy where Finn was. Tracy replied that Finn was working hard on a treatment for Hayden because he thought he had a cure. A short while later, Tracy returned to the room with a glass of water, and she found Hayden trying to get out of bed. A concerned Tracy physically put Hayden back into the bed.
At the hospital, Franco found Elizabeth. She'd been trying to call him and wondered where he'd been. She revealed that his landlord had called because his music had been too loud. He realized he'd left his phone at his studio. She asked what he'd been working on, but he reminded her that it was a gift, so it was a surprise. Just then, Elizabeth's phone went off, and she left, citing the need to see a patient.
Tracy assured Hayden that she'd asked Elizabeth to get something for Hayden's fever. Hayden wondered why Tracy was taking care of her. Tracy admitted that Hayden reminded her of someone who was "arrogant, elitist, and ruthless in business." Tracy continued that it had taken this person a long time to care about anything, but she hoped the person would learn from their mistakes. Hayden thanked Tracy. Elizabeth arrived and took Hayden's temperature. She took Tracy aside and told her that Hayden's fever was "dangerously high," so she needed to go to the hospital.
At the hospital, Hayden groggily said that only Finn could help her, but he wasn't allowed to treat her at the hospital. Both Elizabeth and Tracy implored her to trust them as the doctor walked in. Elizabeth quickly told the doctor what was going on with Hayden. The doctor deduced that the sepsis had returned, and Hayden's only chance of survival would be sedation. Hayden wanted to see Finn first in case she didn't wake up, but the doctor didn't think they had time to wait.
Hayden begged Elizabeth to find Finn. Elizabeth agreed and left the room. Tracy took Hayden's hand and promised that Finn would be there soon. Hayden thanked Tracy for everything she'd done, and Tracy assured Hayden that she would be all right. Just then, Hayden lost consciousness, and Tracy asked the doctor if Hayden would make it through the night. "I wish I could say for sure. I'm sorry," the doctor responded.
Finn entered the empty lab and turned the lights on. As he unloaded supplies from his bag, Brad entered and demanded to know what Finn was doing there. He threatened to call security, but Finn needed Brad's help. Finn finally convinced Brad to help, but Brad wanted the truth first, so Finn updated him on his and Hayden's condition. He told Brad about his possible breakthrough as Brad looked at the substance through a microscope.
Finn needed Brad to get Finn's first sample of the possible cure in order to mix it with his bearded dragon sample. Brad refused, because he would get in trouble if something went wrong. Finn promised to take all the blame if something went wrong, but he iterated that he didn't have a lot of time to spare. Brad commented that Finn would either accept the Nobel Prize or be sent to the madhouse. "As long as Hayden is alive," Finn said. Brad observed that Finn was in no condition to do the "precision work," so he offered to stay and help.
A short while later, Finn believed that he had the cure, and he wanted to test it. Brad said that it needed to be purified first. He knew someone at Hudson University and offered to "fly it over" immediately so that Finn could have an answer by the next morning. Brad asked Finn to trust him to take care of it, and Brad left. Just then, Finn's phone rang, and he answered it to Elizabeth. She quickly updated Finn on Hayden's condition.
A few minutes later, Brad returned to the lab, talking about a chopper picking up the sample. Brad was frustrated to see that Finn was gone, and so was the sample.
Finn entered Hayden's hospital room with the sample and a syringe. He lied to the doctor that he was back on staff and that Hayden was one of his patients. He asked for privacy with the family, and the doctor left. Finn updated Tracy on his possible cure, which he intended to test on himself. When Tracy protested, he exclaimed that the cure had been his work over the last three years, and he owed it to Hayden, who'd woken up a part of his life he'd no longer thought would exist. "Don't make me regret it," Tracy muttered.
Finn gave Tracy his notes and asked her to give them to Brad if the doctors didn't get to Finn in time. Tracy incredulously wondered how she would know that he needed a doctor. "You'll know," he assured her. He asked her to make sure he wasn't interrupted, and she agreed. He took some of his sample into the syringe as the machines around Hayden began to beep uncontrollably.
Tom stretched through the bars of his cage for a piece of wire that was sitting on the floor right next to Franco's phone. As the music continued to blast, Tom finally reached the wire and used it to move the phone closer. The phone was within arm's reach as Franco entered the studio and turned the music off. He picked up his phone. Tom wondered if Franco was going to kill him, but Franco denied it. Tom promised to stay away from "you and yours" if Franco let him go.
Tom continued that he was supposed to check in with his parole officer weekly, or he would be sent back to jail. Just then, Tom realized that Franco's goal was to get Tom back in jail, and he begged Franco not to get him sent back. He vowed to stay away from everyone and even give up photography. He threatened to tell the cops what Franco had done to him so that Franco would face jail time. Franco assured Tom that he would be amazed to see how advanced Photoshop had become and threatened to make it look like Tom had been away on vacation the whole time he'd been missing.
Franco turned the music back on and left. Tom was able to pick the lock on the cage with the wire, and he got out of the cage.
Franco returned to the hospital and found Elizabeth talking to Seth Baker, Tom's brother. Elizabeth explained that Seth hadn't seen Tom in a few days. She wondered if Franco knew anything.
Tom catches Franco off guard
At the hospital, Elizabeth introduced Franco to Tom's brother and explained that Seth was concerned because Tom had vanished. Elizabeth asked if Franco knew anything about it, but Franco shook his head. Seth appeared skeptical because he knew about Franco and Tom's altercation and the threats that Franco had made. Elizabeth assured Seth that Franco had promised to leave Tom alone, but Seth wasn't satisfied because Tom hadn't replied to any of Seth's text messages, which was out of character for Tom. Seconds later, a doctor called out to Elizabeth to assist with a code blue emergency.
In Hayden's hospital room, Tracy closed the door as Finn prepared to inject himself with the serum he'd developed to treat Blackwood syndrome. However, the alarms on Hayden's monitors suddenly sounded. Finn sprang into action and determined that Hayden had stopped breathing. Finn began CPR as Elizabeth and another doctor raced into the room. Elizabeth assisted Finn by handing him defibrillator paddles to start Hayden's heart as Tracy ordered the other doctor to step down. The doctor objected, but Tracy insisted that it was what Hayden's family wanted.
After the doctor left, Finn and Elizabeth continued to work on Hayden until he could no longer safely use the defibrillator on Hayden without permanently damaging her heart. Desperate, Finn begged Hayden to fight her way back to them and reminded her that if she didn't, then Elizabeth would outlive her. Elizabeth wasn't amused, but Finn explained that he was desperate. He decided to pour his heart out to Hayden by reminding her that they had unfinished business because they'd never a chance to explore a relationship. Hayden's eyes fluttered open when Finn referred to her as "sweetheart."
Hayden softly asked what had happened to her, so Tracy admitted that Hayden had died for a short time. Hayden admitted that she felt as if she'd been hit by a truck and added that she'd seen a bright light. "Really?" Elizabeth asked. "No," Hayden answered. Elizabeth smiled as she told Tracy that Hayden was as rotten as ever. Hayden accused Elizabeth of having an atrocious bedside manner, but Tracy defended Elizabeth by letting Hayden know that Elizabeth had helped Finn save Hayden's life. Hayden decided that she and her sister were even. Satisfied, Elizabeth decided to get back to Franco.
Tracy followed Elizabeth to give Finn and Hayden time alone. Finn seized the opportunity to apologize to Hayden for pushing her away time and again and admitted that it had never occurred to him that she might fall ill and die before him. He gently explained that her organs had begun to shut down, and her options were limited. He told her about the serum he'd developed but warned her that it hadn't been tested and might kill her. Finn added that he only had one dose, but he quickly assured her that he could make another. However, she needed to make a decision quickly because her heart could stop again at any time, and he might not be able to save her.
Meanwhile, Seth threatened to go the police if Franco didn't provide him with some answers. Franco apologized for breaking into Seth's house, but he admitted that he'd been trying to protect Elizabeth because of what Tom had done to her. Seth conceded that he couldn't blame Franco, but he vowed to return if his brother met with foul play. Franco suggested that Tom might have gone on a bender or done something else to land him back in jail. Seth acknowledged that his brother had a tendency to get into trouble, but he'd hoped that Tom had found the strength to fight the impulses that had driven him in the past and had become the man that Seth knew Tom could be.
Elizabeth approached the nurses' station as Franco admitted that he'd done a lot of terrible things in the past, but he'd met someone who had inspired him to be a better person. Franco believed that it was in everyone's nature to do bad things, but he was determined to keep moving forward and try to fight his impulses for Elizabeth's sake. Seth wished that his own brother could meet someone like that. Franco quietly replied that Tom had, but Tom had had nearly destroyed Elizabeth when she'd been fifteen. Franco explained that Elizabeth had been through a lot because of Tom, but Franco had worked too hard to prove himself to Elizabeth to risk losing her over something stupid.
Franco advised Seth to return home because Franco was certain that Tom would show up soon. After Seth left, Elizabeth approached Franco and told him that she'd heard what he'd said to Seth. She slid her arms around Franco's waist as she revealed that her sister had nearly died, and seeing Finn and Hayden had made Elizabeth realize how much time she'd wasted doubting Franco. She admitted that she would regret the distance between her and Franco if she'd been in Hayden's position. Franco assured Elizabeth that he'd answer any questions she had about his dark past, but Elizabeth insisted that it was behind him, and he'd changed.
Elizabeth kissed Franco passionately, but he pulled back and explained that he had to get back to his studio. Elizabeth was disappointed, but he insisted that he wanted to make certain she had a perfect Christmas. She assured him that she'd be content with a peaceful holiday without any injuries. Franco vowed to make her believe in Santa Claus all over again, tenderly kissed her goodbye, and left.
A short time later, Elizabeth returned to Hayden's hospital room to check on her sister. Tracy and Finn were at Hayden's bedside as Hayden explained that she'd been about to say her goodbyes before Finn gave her an experimental serum that might kill her. Elizabeth insisted that Hayden would live a long life because they were destined to fight like the sisters they were for the rest of their lives. Elizabeth gave Hayden's hand an affectionate squeeze and stepped back to give Tracy an opportunity to speak. Tracy admitted that she wanted Hayden to live because it wasn't fun to put her in her place when she was down.
After Elizabeth and Tracy stepped into the hallway, Hayden warned Finn that she didn't want to live only to watch him die. He promised that he would find a way to keep going and kissed her. Elizabeth and Tracy watched from the doorway as Finn pulled the syringe from his pocket and injected it into Hayden's I.V.
Elsewhere at the hospital, Kevin smiled when he saw Laura pacing and practicing an acceptance speech. He approached her from behind and asked if she needed a psychiatrist because there had been reports of a beautiful woman wandering the hallways and talking to herself. Laura chuckled and admitted that she'd been trying to think of something coherent to say to the committee, but Kevin reminded her that the meeting was just a formality because she'd already agreed to join the hospital's board. Laura wondered if Kevin thought it had been the right decision. He assured her that it had been but suddenly realized that she would be his boss.
Seconds later, Lucy walked up and congratulated Laura on becoming the newest board member. Lucy realized that the official announcement hadn't been made, but she'd heard about it through the grapevine. Lucy suddenly realized that Laura would be Kevin's boss and teasingly advised Laura to avoid any hint of impropriety. Kevin sputtered with embarrassment, but Lucy shifted gears and offered to give Laura some pointers for when she addressed the board.
Later, Laura assured Lucy that her first order of business as a board member would be to secure the funds for the Nurses Ball. Lucy was delighted and promised to find a donor to reimburse the hospital. After Lucy left to make some calls, Kevin seized the opportunity to talk to Laura about his declaration of love because he knew that he'd put her on the spot. He asked if they could forget about it and move forward, but Laura shook her head and admitted that she couldn't. Laura confessed that she hadn't been able to stop thinking about it and woke up every day with a light happy feeling that stayed with her throughout the day.
Kevin's expression filled with joy when Laura told him that she loved him. He assured her that he loved her, too, and kissed her passionately. After the kiss ended, Laura realized that she was late for her meeting. Kevin promised that everything would be fine as she raced to the meeting.
At Metro Court Restaurant, Lulu told Dante that she had no intention of returning Charlotte to Valentin.
Nearby, Anna recalled hearing the tune that Emma and Charlotte had hummed. Anna remembered hearing someone whistle the melody as she walked down a hallway in a facility with a closed door at the end of the hallway that had a bright light shining from under it. Anna pushed the memory away and quickly collected Emma and Charlotte's coats as they sat down at the bar to order hot chocolate. After Anna handed the coats to a waitress, she casually questioned Charlotte about the melody, but Lulu returned to collect Charlotte.
Lulu and Charlotte joined Dante at a table to wait for Charlotte's hot chocolate and discuss their plans for the rest of the day. Lulu was eager to show Charlotte the holiday sights, but Charlotte admitted that she just wanted to go home. Disappointed, Lulu asked if Charlotte was tired. "No," Charlotte replied, and she once again asked to go home. Dante tried to entice Charlotte into spending more time with them by inviting her to decorate their Christmas tree with Rocco, but Charlotte declined. Moments later, Charlotte perked up when she saw her father enter the restaurant. She hopped out of her chair and ran into Valentin's open arms.
Lulu glared at Valentin as he greeted Charlotte in French. Charlotte asked if they could go home, but Valentin told her that he needed to speak to Lulu. He offered to get Charlotte a cup of hot chocolate, but Charlotte told him that she'd already ordered one that hadn't been delivered. Dante stepped forward to invite Charlotte back to his table, but Charlotte shook her head and ran to a nearby empty table to wait for her father. Lulu angrily demanded to know what Valentin was doing there, so Valentin admitted that he'd been concerned because Nina had warned him that Lulu might be reluctant to return Charlotte. Lulu was furious and accused Valentin of sabotaging her visit with Charlotte.
Lulu reminded Valentin that Charlotte was as much her daughter as she was his, so he suggested they work out an equitable arrangement for their daughter. Dante was curious what Valentin considered fair, but Valentin argued that it wasn't the time or place to discuss it, and he walked away. Lulu accused Valentin of manipulating the situation and pointed out that he'd kept Charlotte from her all of Charlotte's life. She admitted that she would have taken Charlotte and run if it hadn't been for Dante and Rocco, but Dante warned her not to think like that. Lulu acknowledged that it would be kidnapping, since Valentin had custody of Charlotte, but Lulu intended to remedy that in court.
Dante urged Lulu to go about things the right way because Charlotte barely knew Lulu. Concerned, Lulu asked if Dante would support her in court. Dante insisted it was too early to think like that and advised her to give it time. Lulu reminded Dante that Valentin had murdered Nikolas, and she made it clear that she would not let her brother's killer raise her daughter. Dante explained that it wasn't about Lulu -- it was about Charlotte. He asked Lulu to try to see things from Charlotte's perspective because Charlotte loved Valentin and would resent Lulu for ripping her away from her father.
At the bar, Emma wondered why Anna had questioned Charlotte about the tune Charlotte had taught Emma. Anna explained that she'd heard it before, but she couldn't place it. Emma suggested that perhaps her grandmother had heard it when Anna had been a child. Anna agreed and shifted gears to ask what Emma thought of Charlotte. Emma admitted that she felt bad for her new friend because Charlotte hadn't seen her mother for a long time. Emma knew what that was like, but at least she'd had her father to help ease the pain.
Anna pointed out that Charlotte had a father, but Emma knew that Anna didn't like Valentin. Emma was curious why the song Charlotte had taught her had bothered Anna, so Anna reiterated that it had just seemed familiar. Emma turned the conversation back to Valentin by asking why her grandmother didn't like Charlotte's father. Anna admitted that Valentin was a mystery that she needed to solve. Emma offered to arrange a play date with Charlotte and use the opportunity to spy on Valentin, but Anna quickly made it clear that she did not want Emma doing anything.
Anna added that Emma was not to go near Wyndemere under any circumstances unless Anna accompanied her. Emma reluctantly agreed but promised to report anything interesting that she might overhear. Moments later, Valentin and Charlotte walked up. Valentin explained that Charlotte had wanted him to introduce himself then invited Emma to join Charlotte for a plate of cookies he'd ordered. Anna nodded her consent, and the girls scampered off.
Valentin smiled at Anna, but she decided to get some answers. She told him that she'd heard Charlotte whistle a particular tune he'd taught her and asked if it had lyrics. Valentin confirmed that it did, but the words were in Russian. He wondered if Anna spoke Russian, but she was certain that he already knew the answer, since he'd done his research on her and knew that she'd joined the World Security Bureau right after the Cold War, when every agent had been taught Russian. Valentin claimed that he'd never been good at Russian and told her a story about how his professor had told him in Russian not to give up. Valentin admitted that he'd been confused because the literal translation had been "Hold your tail as a weapon."
Anna's smile faded as Valentin stood up and walked away. Rattled, Anna ran over to Dante to ask for a moment of his time. Lulu assured Dante that it was fine. After Dante and Anna walked away, Valentin walked up with Charlotte in tow to say goodbye. Valentin instructed Charlotte to thank Lulu for the visit, so Charlotte dutifully hugged Lulu then quickly pulled back from the embrace. Valentin sent Charlotte to the elevator to wait. After Charlotte ran off, Valentin apologized to Lulu for the rough start she'd had with their daughter, but Lulu decided to cut to the chase and informed him that she intended to sue for full custody. Valentin merely smirked.
On the terrace, Anna confided that Valentin had told a story from his past that had actually been from her own past. Dante suggested that perhaps it had been a coincidence, but Anna shook her head because the details had been too specific. Anna was certain that she and Valentin had crossed paths, likely when she'd been training to become an agent for the WSB. However, she had no idea who he'd been back then or why she couldn't remember.
In Franco's studio, Tom managed to pick the lock on the dog cage and crawl out. He immediately went to work on the electric collar, which proved difficult to remove. In his frustration and anger, he knocked over an easel then went to the door, only to discover that it had been locked from the outside. Furious, Tom grabbed a tool and tried to break the lock, but it held firm. Tom realized that he was trapped in the studio and yelled out for help until it became clear that help would not arrive.
A short time later, Franco returned to the studio and announced that Christmas had arrived early for Tom. Franco didn't notice that anything was amiss because the studio had been cleaned up, and Tom had returned to the cage with the electric collar secured to his neck. Franco crouched down to let Tom know that he intended to set Tom free because Franco had had a chat with Tom's brother and Elizabeth. Franco conceded that it hadn't been his job to punish Tom for raping Elizabeth, but he made it clear that Tom was to stay away from Elizabeth.
"Bygones?" Franco asked, but Tom admitted that it was difficult to be forgiving when he was locked up in a cage. Franco promptly unlocked the cage and offered to fetch Tom something to drink. Tom waited for an opportunity to slip up behind Franco and knock him out with a rag pressed over Franco's nose and mouth.
Franco is left shaken by a revealing dream>
At Greystone Manor, Jason explained that he'd hit a wall in his investigation and needed Sonny's help. He was curious if Sonny had had any dealings with the Chinese because the money trail had led to mainland China. Sonny recalled an issue with Chinese "gangs and stuff" about ten years earlier, but it had been prior to Sonny taking over. Satisfied, Jason turned to leave, but Sonny wanted more information about the investigation. Jason admitted that he didn't trust Sonny because he was concerned that Sonny would "blow everything to hell."
Sonny realized that Jason knew who Morgan's killer was, but Jason remained reluctant to talk about it. Sonny asked Jason to imagine their roles were reversed, so Jason told him about the van he and Curtis had traced to Julian. Furious, Sonny marched to the door with the intention of killing Julian, but Jason reminded Sonny that the police would pick him up before he got far. Jason added that Sonny would also lose everything he held dear, including Carly, who would wash her hands of him for good. Jason asked Sonny to wait until Jason could prove that Julian had been responsible for the bomb.
"Then what?" Sonny wondered. Jason promised they would have a completely different conversation about how they would deal with Julian. Sonny wondered how long he'd have to wait. "As long as it takes," Jason replied.
At the Jerome apartment, Alexis entered the living room and snatched the small bell Julian had been ringing out of his hand. She warned him not to do it again, but he grumbled that he couldn't reach the glass of water on the coffee table. Alexis picked up the glass then set it on a side table just out of Julian's reach. Julian grumbled with frustration, so Alexis slid the glass closer, but not close enough. Julian was forced to push through the pain to get his drink of water. Unmoved by Julian's pain, Alexis picked up her things and informed him that his dinner was in the kitchen, and he needed to take his pain medications in an hour.
Julian reminded Alexis that they had an agreement and demanded to know where she was going. He made a crack about her hitting a bar for happy hour, but she coldly told him that she was headed to her daughter's baby shower. Julian's tone changed as he softly asked her to tell Sam that he'd said hello, but Alexis flatly refused. Julian reminded her that Sam was his daughter, too, but Alexis argued that her daughter wanted nothing to do with him. She made it clear that she would not be taking pictures for him or tell him about the party. Julian warned Alexis that he expected her to check in after the party, or he would call Sam to ask where she was.
Shortly after Alexis stormed out, Winston Rudge let himself into the apartment. Julian was curious where Winston had gotten the key, but he merely chuckled and reminded Julian that no doors were closed to their "fearless leader." Winston tossed a small box on the coffee table as he explained that it was a get-well gift from him and their boss. Winston assured Julian that they wished him a speedy recovery. Winston told Julian that their boss appreciated that Julian needed to convalesce, but Julian had not been excluded from his responsibilities, because Julian remained a vital part of their boss's plans.
Julian promised to not shirk his duties. Pleased, Winston turned to leave, but Julian wanted to discuss Jordan's visit. Julian revealed that the police had located a van that had blocked the security cameras facing the Floating Rib on the night of the explosion and that it had traced back to him. Winston feigned surprise and insisted that Sonny had been behind the attempt on Julian's life. Julian agreed, but he suggested that the discovery of the van might make some suspect Julian of the deed. Winston argued that it had been an obvious attempt on Sonny's part to draw suspicion away from himself.
Winston dropped into Julian's wheelchair as he suggested that Julian share his theory with their boss. Julian smiled easily and admitted that he'd been overthinking things because he'd had too much time on his hands. Winston returned Julian's smile then intentionally rammed the wheelchair into Julian's broken ankle. Julian grunted with pain as Winston feigned concern and asked if Julian had help during his recovery. Winston offered to send over someone to assist Julian, but Julian politely declined because he could rely on his sister.
Winston admitted that their boss didn't think Ava had a caring touch, but Julian assured Winston that it was fine, and he promised to call if anything changed. Winston admitted that it wouldn't be necessary because they kept a close eye on Julian.
At Metro Court Restaurant, Maxie went over the plans for the baby shower as Monica, Molly, and Kristina looked around at the dining room, which had been transformed for Sam's party. Monica was impressed with everything and admitted that she liked the idea of the gender-reveal cake that would tell them whether Jason and Sam were having a boy or a girl based on the color inside. Molly confessed that she'd been surprised that Sam had gone along with it because it was unlike her sister. Maxie smiled awkwardly until she saw Sam standing in the doorway. Maxie greeted her friend, but Sam was curious what they'd been talking about.
Maxie was saved by Carly's timely arrival and quickly seized the opportunity to enlist Kristina and Molly's help to fetch the goody bags from the car. Monica pulled Sam aside to tell her how happy she was to celebrate the special day with Sam. Touched, Sam told Monica that she loved her. Monica beamed with happiness and went to check on the food in the kitchen. Carly admitted that she hadn't thought Sam would want such a lavish party, so Sam admitted that it had been Maxie's idea. Carly nodded in understanding because Bobbie had been the same way during Carly's pregnancy with Morgan.
Carly's expression suddenly clouded with sadness as a wave of grief washed over her. She immediately apologized to Sam and admitted that the grief sometimes hit out of nowhere or when something triggered a memory of Morgan. Sam empathized, but she promised that Carly was not alone because she had Bobbie, Jason, and even Sam. Carly smiled with gratitude, so Sam reminded Carly that Carly also had Sonny, who'd been dealing with the same pain as Carly.
Moments later, Alexis arrived. Sam and Carly returned to the dining room and greeted Alexis. The party quickly kicked into gear as everyone gathered around Sam to watch her open presents. Monica gave the baby a silver spoon that had once belonged to Alan. Alexis gifted Sam with a motorcycle rocker, while Kristina presented Sam with a leather jacket for the baby. Molly was impressed and asked how Kristina had managed to afford it. Kristina informed everyone that she had worked hard and had even saved up enough money to rent an apartment.
Alexis was surprised when Kristina announced that she would be moving out the following week. Moments later, a server wheeled out the cake, but Maxie jumped up to instruct the woman to take it back to the kitchen because they were waiting for the baby's father to arrive. Carly reminded Maxie that Jason didn't like cake. Sam decided to take a closer look at the cake and was startled when she realized that it was a gender-reveal cake. "Surprise," Maxie said with a nervous smile.
Annoyed, Sam reminded Maxie that it hadn't been her place to reveal the baby's gender. Sam suddenly realized that the only way Maxie could have known the baby's sex was if she'd opened the envelope. Carly quickly stepped forward to advise Sam to take a deep breath and count to ten. As Sam worked on calming down, Carly pointed out that Maxie had invaded Jason and Sam's privacy. Maxie regretted what she'd done and apologized. Sam quickly forgave her friend because she knew that Maxie's heart had been in the right place. However, she warned Maxie not to even think about cutting into the cake.
A short time later, the party wrapped up, and everyone filed out. Carly fetched a plate of ribs for her and Sam to snack on. They were happily chatting away when Jason arrived and apologized for being late. He admitted that he'd been with Sonny. Carly's expression filled with concern when Jason mentioned that he hoped his message had gotten through to Sonny. After Carly excused herself, Sam filled Jason in about the party and the cake. Sam wanted to donate the cake, but Jason suggested they cut into it.
Sam smiled with excitement as she asked if Jason was sure, but he insisted that it was up to her. Sam agreed to find out the baby's gender, but she made it clear that she wanted the secret to remain between them. Jason agreed, and together they cut into the cake.
In the hallway, Carly called to check on Sonny. He assured her that he was fine, prompting Carly to talk about Christmas and how Morgan had always enjoyed making gingerbread houses. She suggested that they make one with Avery. She was relieved when Sonny agreed.
After Sonny ended the call with Carly, he looked at a gingerbread ornament on the Christmas tree.
Across town, Alexis entered Julian's apartment. She saw him seated on the sofa and decided that she'd done her duty, but Julian asked her to wait. Alexis insisted that she had to go because Kristina had decided to move out, and she would finally have her house to herself. Alexis was shocked when Julian told her that he wanted to move in with her.
In Franco's studio, Tom managed to catch Franco off guard and knock him out with a cloth pressed over Franco's nose and mouth. After Franco fell to the floor, Tom slapped the electric shock collar around Franco's neck and threw him into the dog cage. Tom secured the lock and gloated that he had plenty of time before he was expected to check in with his parole officer. Tom decided to pay a "certain someone" a visit and promised to tell Franco all about it when he returned. Tom swiped a large pocketknife from Franco's desk and left.
A short time later, Franco woke up and immediately called out for help when he realized that he'd been locked in the cage. Moments later, Sam rounded the corner and smiled with satisfaction that she finally had Franco where she'd wanted him. Franco begged for Sam's help, but she wanted to hear the magic word first. "Please," Franco said, but Sam shook her head. "1,305," Sam told him. She explained that it was the number of days he'd let her believe that she'd been raped before claiming that it had been a ruse.
However, Sam informed Franco that she would never know if he'd told the truth because she'd been drugged and had no way of knowing if he'd raped her after the cameras had stopped recording. Franco apologized for what he'd done to Sam, but she didn't believe him and warned him that he'd soon know what it felt like to be truly sorry. Alarmed, Franco asked what she meant by that. Sam crouched down and told him that Tom hadn't gone to the police -- he was on the prowl and eager to exact some payback. Sam was certain that Franco knew who Tom would target and rape.
Franco tearfully apologized, but Sam insisted that he'd set everything in motion. Franco watched helplessly as Sam walked to the door and disappeared. Seconds later, Elizabeth appeared beside him on the outside of the cage. Franco promised that he didn't want her to suffer because of him. Elizabeth assured him that she wouldn't, but Franco admitted that no matter how much he tried to change, he'd always be the person who'd done terrible things. Elizabeth insisted there was good in Franco because he'd done a lot to help Jake, his patients, and her.
Elizabeth also acknowledged that there'd been a darkness in Franco, but she prayed that it was gone. Franco admitted that he did too. Elizabeth was curious why he'd kidnapped Tom, so Franco assured her that he'd only wanted to protect her. Elizabeth advised him to find another way because she believed that he was stronger than the darkness inside him.
Seconds later, Elizabeth faded away, and Dark Franco appeared. "I'm back," he said as Franco looked at his dark half with horror. Franco insisted that he'd gotten rid of that side of him, but Dark Franco pressed a button that activated the electric collar and zapped Franco. "Ready to get to work?" Dark Franco asked. Franco denied that he still did the things his dark half wanted to do, but Dark Franco was curious why Franco had snatched Tom off the streets.
Franco admitted that it had been a mistake to target Tom, but Dark Franco informed Franco that the tumor had simply given Franco an excuse. Franco denied that he was evil, but Dark Franco explained that he was the future and knew what was headed Franco's way. Dark Franco agreed that Franco wasn't as bad as people believed -- he was way worse. Franco disagreed because people like Heather, Carly, and Jason would have been dead. "You can't win them all," Dark Franco said with a smirk, but Franco insisted that he'd been getting better, which was why Dark Franco had appeared. Franco suspected his dark half wanted to stop Franco before Franco vanquished the darkness inside him.
Dark Franco argued that he was the truest part of Franco, but Franco disagreed and claimed to be the man he'd always wanted to be because he had Elizabeth on his side. Dark Franco conceded that perhaps that was true, but time had begun to run out. Franco's eyes suddenly snapped open. He looked around and realized that he was locked in the dog cage. He desperately cried out for help, but no one responded.
At D'Archam Facility, Heather was surprised when she saw Elizabeth waiting for her. Elizabeth explained that she needed Heather's help finding Naomi Dreyfus. Heather admitted that she hadn't heard from Naomi in months and complained that Naomi had been behind in payments. Heather told Elizabeth that the world would have known about Hayden far sooner if Naomi hadn't paid Heather the hush money. "So I've gathered," Elizabeth replied. Heather accused Elizabeth of being overly sensitive. According to Heather, Jeff had been a rolling stone, and things like that happened.
Elizabeth cut to the chase and told Heather that she needed to find Naomi because Hayden was sick and dying. Heather suggested that Elizabeth try the federal penitentiary, but Elizabeth revealed that Naomi's sentence had been commuted, and Naomi had been released. Disgusted, Heather admitted that she couldn't help Elizabeth. Elizabeth started to leave, but Heather wanted to talk about Franco. Elizabeth refused to talk about her relationship with Franco behind his back, but Heather was curious if Elizabeth would think differently if she knew that he'd already talked to Heather. Elizabeth conceded that she would understand.
Heather was pleased that Elizabeth was a sensitive "girl" who appreciated that a son's bond with his mother was sacred. However, Heather advised Elizabeth to remain on her good side. "Ask Carly and Nina. They couldn't quite cut it," Heather added. Elizabeth admitted that she just wanted everyone to get along. Heather smiled and revealed that she'd been rooting for Elizabeth.
Heather remained determined to talk to Elizabeth about the relationship Elizabeth hoped to have with Franco. Elizabeth assured Heather that she didn't need Heather's approval, but Heather warned Elizabeth not to hurt Franco. Elizabeth acknowledged that she didn't intend to, but Heather could save her threats because she didn't fear Heather. Heather clarified that it wasn't her that Elizabeth needed to fear -- it was Franco. Elizabeth was confident that Franco would never hurt her, but Heather claimed that Franco had only shown Elizabeth the quirky, sensitive, soulful side of himself.
Heather claimed there was a darker side to Franco that Franco mistakenly believed had been locked down. Heather explained that a mother knew, and she was certain that "my boy" would return. Heather advised Elizabeth to be prepared for the homecoming, but Elizabeth accused Heather of being bitter because Franco had become a better person. Heather claimed that she accepted Franco for who he was, but Elizabeth disagreed and added that Heather had done nothing to be worthy of Franco's love and attention, which was why he seldom visited her.
Elizabeth realized that Heather might not believe in Franco's capacity to change, but Elizabeth did and -- more importantly -- Franco had started to believe in himself. Elizabeth marched to the door and called for a guard to let her out.
Alexis overhears Julian on the phone
Kiki bumped into Dillon at Kelly's. They exchanged stilted greetings and wished each other a merry Christmas, but both seemed uncomfortable, so Dillon excused himself. Kiki called out to him and admitted that she was glad that she'd run into him because she had wanted to apologize for what had happened at Crimson. She admitted that she'd been out of line, but Dillon acknowledged that it had been wrong of him to say that she'd chosen him over Morgan. Dillon promised that he'd never intended to diminish her relationship with Morgan because Dillon knew she'd still been dealing with the loss. Kiki regretted that she'd jumped to conclusions about Nina's job offer because she realized that Dillon had only been trying to help.
Dillon assured Kiki that it was fine, and she need not worry because they'd both made mistakes. Kiki's smile faded when Dillon told her merry Christmas again and walked away. A short time later, Kiki emerged from the back hall and saw Dillon and Valerie seated at a table. Kiki's expression filled with hurt when she overheard Dillon admit to Valerie that the night he and Valerie had spent together had been one of the best he'd had in a long time. Kiki took her order from the counter and rushed out the door.
Meanwhile, Dillon told Valerie about his encounter with Kiki and how happy he'd been until he'd realized what a mess things were between them. Dillon was certain that Kiki thought he was a jerk, but Valerie was curious why he hadn't tried to work things out with Kiki. Dillon hadn't wanted to risk it because Kiki had already accused him of manipulating her. He thought it might be best to give up because it was difficult for him to see Kiki, knowing that their relationship was not what he'd hoped it would be. Valerie felt the same about Curtis, but she warned Dillon that he couldn't avoid Kiki because they lived in the same town and moved in the same circles.
After Valerie left, Dillon decided to switch things up for the holiday and picked up his phone to make plans.
At the Jerome apartment, Julian instructed one of his men to take the bags to the car because Alexis was waiting. Ava couldn't believe that Julian had decided to move in with Alexis, but Julian insisted that it made sense and would spare Ava from having to cross paths with Alexis. Ava reminded her brother that Alexis had run him down, but Julian assured Ava that it had been an accident. Ava scoffed and argued that Alexis couldn't properly take care of Julian because Alexis was a hopeless drunk. Julian didn't disagree, but he took full responsibility for Alexis' downfall.
Julian explained that Alexis had made him believe that he was worthy of love, and he had repaid her by dragging her into the gutter with him. Julian refused to leave Alexis there and admitted that there might be a chance for both of them to have a better life. Stunned, Ava asked if he was delusional, but he insisted that a love like the one he and Alexis had shared couldn't just disappear. Ava reminded Julian that he'd tried to kill his wife, but Julian claimed that he'd never intended to go through with it. He quickly amended himself by clarifying that he'd never meant for things to go that far.
Ava's tone softened as she assured Julian that she loved him, but she didn't think Alexis did because Alexis had tried to destroy him -- repeatedly. Julian appreciated Ava's concern, but he had to try to reach Alexis because he couldn't live with how things were. Disappointed, Ava wished Julian luck.
At Alexis' house, Alexis fetched a cup of coffee then made her way to the liquor cabinet and added a generous splash of alcohol. Alexis took a long sip and sighed as Kristina ran down the stairs, asking if Alexis had seen a blue sweater. Alexis directed Kristina to the laundry room, but Kristina was concerned about Alexis' appearance and asked if she was okay. Alexis claimed she felt ill, but Kristina suspected it was more than that because Alexis had been through a lot in recent months. Kristina worried that Alexis might be upset about Kristina's move and offered to stay through the holidays, but Alexis promised that she was fine and reminded Kristina that Sonny needed Kristina more than ever.
Alexis added that she had plans to spend the holiday preparing for her meeting with the ethics board and would need to transform the living room into a temporary library. Alexis urged Kristina to spend the holiday with Sonny until Kristina relented, grabbed her things, and left. A short time later, the doorbell rang. Alexis went to the door, and Julian greeted her. "Honey, I'm home," he said with a grin.
Alexis waited until Julian's bodyguard had unloaded Julian's bags and left before she grudgingly offered to fix up the sofa for Julian. Julian assured her that he didn't want her to go through any trouble, but Alexis laughed. Julian promised that he was there to help, so Alexis suggested that he stop blackmailing her and leave, but Julian refused. He watched her pick up a mug and asked if it was a morning cocktail. Alexis glared at him and told him that it was coffee then defiantly took a long sip. Julian smiled knowingly.
Alexis informed Julian that he'd be sleeping on the sofa -- not in her bed. Julian promised that he didn't mean her any harm, but Alexis didn't believe him. She worried that his presence in her home would jeopardize her law license being reinstated, but Julian reminded her that he'd been acquitted and was innocent in the eyes of the law. Alexis suspected that Paul had drugged her to ensure she tanked her testimony, but Julian shrugged because it was in the past and no longer mattered. However, he assured her that only Ava knew where he was. Alexis made it clear that she didn't want any visitors until he left and asked how long he'd be staying.
"Till the healing's done," Julian answered. Alexis offered him a blanket, but he asked for an ice pack instead because he'd been hurting from the ride and wasn't due for a pain pill. After Alexis disappeared into the kitchen, Julian's cell phone rang. It was his mystery boss. Julian confirmed that he'd been asking questions about the van that had been parked near the Floating Rib's parking lot, but he added that Winston Rudge had persuaded him to drop it. He reminded the caller that he'd done everything that had been asked of him despite what it had cost him.
Alexis returned to the living room as Julian growled that he'd cooperated for the sake of his children. Julian acknowledged that he was crystal clear on what the expectations were and promised to be waiting for the call. After Julian ended the call, Alexis demanded to know who he'd been talking to.
At the Jerome apartment, Ava happily greeted her daughter and suggested they open presents after breakfast. Ava was surprised when Kiki expressed an interest in spending the following day with Ava, so she suggested they drive to the city to visit Ava's mother, Delia. Kiki declined because she wasn't in the holiday spirit, but she urged Ava not to let that stop her from spending the day with Delia. Ava was curious what was going on with her daughter, prompting Kiki to open up about Dillon and how disappointed she'd been to learn that he'd moved on with Valerie. Ava appeared skeptical, but Kiki assured her mother that she'd overheard Dillon talking about it.
Kiki realized that she should have been prepared for it, but it had been hard watching Dillon move on with his life. Ava didn't want to leave Kiki alone for the holiday, but Kiki refused to let Ava change plans. Ava suggested that Kiki might have a more enjoyable holiday away from Port Charles. A short time later, Kiki decided that her mother was right and picked up her phone to make plans.
At the nurses' station, Elizabeth left Franco a voicemail message letting him know that she and the boys were excited to spend Christmas Eve with him. She added that she looked forward to seeing him later that evening and ended the call. Moments later, Naomi rushed up and asked where Hayden was.
In Hayden's hospital room, Finn sat at Hayden's bedside and tried to tempt Hayden to wake up by promising her an early Christmas present. Moments later, Tracy entered the room, carrying a potted cactus. She informed Finn that Hayden had left it in Dillon's care, but the words died on her lips when she saw his expression. She asked him what was wrong. Finn checked Hayden's temperature and was relieved that her fever had gone down a bit. Tracy assured him that it was an encouraging sign, but Finn asked her to put the cactus on the table next to Hayden's bed.
Finn explained that he hadn't wanted Hayden to wake up on Christmas Eve and not see some kind of tree. Finn and Tracy looked up when Naomi suddenly threw open the door and gasped when she saw her daughter. Tracy was curious why Naomi wasn't in jail, prompting Naomi to explain that her attorneys had worked out a deal, and her sentence had been commuted. Tracy stepped aside, and Naomi rushed to her daughter's side as she demanded answers. Finn carefully explained that Hayden had been exposed to a rare bacterium that had shut down Hayden's organs. Naomi was horrified, but Finn added that he'd given Hayden an injection of a serum that he'd tweaked by adding "lizard DNA."
A short time later, Finn was on the phone with Brad as Elizabeth entered to check on Hayden. After Finn ended the call, Naomi made it clear that she didn't want Finn anywhere near Hayden. Naomi threatened to call security if Finn tried, but Tracy defended Finn by informing Naomi that Finn had given Hayden the only dose of serum despite suffering from the same illness. Naomi wasn't impressed because she thought Finn had used Hayden like a test animal. Naomi decided to take her daughter to New York City for treatment.
Seconds later, Hayden's eyes fluttered open. Finn ran over to check on Hayden and quickly examined her. Hayden wondered if the serum had worked. Finn confirmed that she had stabilized, and her organs appeared to be functioning on their own. Hayden was surprised when she saw her mother, so Naomi credited Hayden's sister for calling.
Hayden glanced at Elizabeth as she finished taking a blood sample. Hayden smiled and thanked Elizabeth. Elizabeth returned her sister's smile and left to take the blood sample to the lab. A short time later, the lab called Finn with the test results. Everyone was delighted when Finn announced that the serum appeared to have worked. Tracy pointed out that Finn had found a cure to an incurable disease, so Naomi apologized for her earlier outburst. Finn thanked Naomi but informed both Naomi and Tracy that Hayden needed rest.
After Naomi and Tracy said their goodbyes and left, Finn sat down next to Hayden's bed and pointed to the cactus. Hayden laughed when she realized that he'd decorated it with garland made of colorful paperclips. She told him that it was the best Christmas present ever, but he reminded her that she'd been cured of an incurable disease, made Tracy cry, and forged peace with Elizabeth, and Naomi had been released from jail in time for Christmas. Hayden wondered if her recovery meant that he could be cured too. Finn smiled and told her that they were stuck with each other.
In Franco's studio, Franco woke up and screamed with frustration when he realized that it hadn't been a dream -- he was locked in the dog cage. Franco desperately tried to kick the lock off as his phone rang, but he failed. After the call went to voicemail, Franco redoubled his efforts and managed to dislodge the cage's door. Franco crawled out and immediately grabbed the phone to call Elizabeth. He was relieved when she answered the phone, but she sensed that something was wrong. Franco quickly realized that Tom hadn't harmed her, so Franco promised to see her later that evening and ended the call.
Franco decided to hunt Tom down, but he had no idea where to start until he recalled that Tom had been scheduled to meet with a parole officer. Franco called the parole officer and posed as an Uber driver as he claimed that he'd been scheduled to drop Tom Baker off at the address -- except Tom had never showed. Franco was alarmed when the parole officer revealed that Tom had missed his appointment. After Franco ended the call, he called to check on Kiki. Franco was worried when he heard Kiki crying, but she assured him that she was fine.
Kiki blamed her tears on being "stupid and emotional," but she promised Franco that she was headed to her mother's apartment. Franco wished Kiki a merry Christmas, ended the call, and left the studio.
A short time later, Franco arrived at D'Archam to visit his mother. Heather was happy to see her son, but she was curious if he was there because of her chat with Elizabeth. Franco wanted to know what she was talking about, but Heather quickly backtracked and assured him that it was nothing. Franco wanted to know what Heather had said to Elizabeth, but Heather was surprised that Franco hadn't known about the visit. Franco admitted that he hadn't seen Elizabeth in the past twelve hours then told Heather about what had transpired with Tom.
Heather couldn't understand how Tom had managed to get the drop on Franco, but she insisted that Franco had done what had been necessary. Heather was glad that Franco was finally embracing his true inner self despite Elizabeth's efforts. Franco warned Heather to leave Elizabeth alone then returned to the topic of Tom because he was worried that Tom would continue to prey on women. Heather suggested that Franco had frightened Tom into fleeing town. Franco hoped she was right and decided to leave because he intended to tell Elizabeth everything.
Heather advised Franco against confessing to Elizabeth, but Franco insisted that he had to because Elizabeth trusted him. Heather warned Franco that being true to one's self could be costly, but Franco assured Heather that Elizabeth believed in him and knew that he could be a better man. Heather cautioned Franco because Elizabeth might decide that Franco was as bad as the "psycho who raped her."
A short time later, Franco arrived at the hospital. Elizabeth was pleasantly surprised when she saw him, but he quietly explained that he needed to talk to her. Elizabeth's smile faded as she asked him what was wrong.
Christmas Eve Revealed
Many of the residents in Port Charles gathered at the park in a gently falling snow before heading off to their respective holiday gatherings. Emma tried to convince Anna that they should make a friendly visit to Wyndemere, where she promised she wouldn't spy on Valentin. Emma was feeling sorry that Charlotte didn't have her mother around for Christmas.
Dante assured Lulu that Charlotte would eventually be with them, and he was okay with the girl being a part of their family. Laura was happy to run into Rocco and his parents.
Jason thought that he and Sam should check on Alexis, but Sam thought they should pay a visit to Sonny instead, as her mom was working on her bar exam.
Lulu and Anna received text messages from Valentin, inviting them and their respective families to Wyndemere for a Christmas Eve get-together. Lulu convinced a reluctant Laura that they should go, especially so that Laura could see her granddaughter. "No snooping," Anna ordered Emma.
Valentin, Nina, and Charlotte hung their Christmas stockings on the mantel at Wyndemere. Charlotte was very happy with the early gift from Nina, a craft set. Nina suggested that Charlotte make a collar for Rudolph. Valentin informed Nina of Lulu's plan to sue for full custody of Charlotte, but he had a plan of his own. He wanted Nina's help.
Anna and Emma arrived at Wyndemere, and Anna immediately confronted Valentin over their last conversation. His story was really her story, she prodded him, and he'd referred to the WSB several times. Their conversation ended when the doorbell rang. "Where's Charlotte?" Lulu asked as she walked inside with her family. Dante wondered why Valentin had invited them, and Valentin shrugged. It was merely about Christmas, he told the detective.
Lulu was dismayed to see that Charlotte was embracing Nina and exclaiming how happy she was that Nina was staying at the house. Laura could only stare at the child and pronounce that Charlotte resembled Lulu as a child. Charlotte opened the gift that Lulu gave her and remarked that she had already received the same gift from Nina. She turned and handed it to Emma.
Dante reassured Lulu, and Laura announced that she had to leave. She was close to tears. Nina suggested that Lulu rethink her plan to gain custody of Charlotte, but Lulu retorted that she was hardly going to take advice from someone who had stolen a baby from someone's womb. Nina told Valentin that she was there to help with his plan.
Emma plied Charlotte with questions and managed to invite herself to have a look around Charlotte's bedroom. She assured the younger girl that she was familiar with the house, having been friends with the little boy who had lived there previously.
Anna advised Valentin that she was tired of his game, and she would eventually learn the truth. Valentin asked why Anna was so obsessed with the truth. "Aren't spies trained to traffic in lies?" he asked. Anna retorted that there was no mention of Valentin anywhere in the WSB.
Dante received a call, and he had to leave. He thought it best that Lulu leave with him, but she wanted to stay. She wanted to watch her children together.
At General Hospital, Elizabeth wondered what was wrong with Franco, but he told her it could wait. He thought that if she heard what he had to say, Christmas would no longer be "enchanted." Elizabeth revealed that she had received a phone call from Tom Baker's parole officer, and he had advised her to take precautions, as Baker hadn't shown up in his office.
Elizabeth was happy that Franco would be spending Christmas with her, and she advised him he'd have to spend the night. They were interrupted when Monica showed up with Elizabeth's sons. Franco was touched when Jake handed him his personal homemade Christmas stocking from arts and crafts. He took the boys aside so that Elizabeth could talk to Monica.
Monica was uneasy to learn that Tom Baker was missing, and she was less than thrilled that Franco would be spending Christmas with Elizabeth and the boys. She conceded that Franco was good with Elizabeth's sons, and she knew how Elizabeth felt about him.
Laura arrived at the hospital. Jake was excited to receive a coupon from Franco, good for a trip to New York City and the Museum of Modern Art. Franco thought that perhaps the boy would take his mother, as he wouldn't be able to go with Jake after Elizabeth heard what Franco had to say.
Alexis overheard part of Julian's telephone conversation and wanted to know who was on the other end. She took the ice from his requested ice bag and dumped some of it into her drink. "There's some things you don't know," Julian stated. The couple began to argue. Julian admitted that if he had a do-over, he never would have had Duke killed, and Carlos would still be alive with his son. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door, and Alexis panicked that it was one of her daughters. They couldn't see Julian.
Julian apologized for arranging to have a Christmas tree delivered. He knew that it wasn't "ideal" for him to be there, but he hoped that Alexis would help him to decorate in order for them to "find a little joy."
Alexis mentioned how happy she'd been in the past and how she'd believed that Julian had changed. He confessed that he would always love her, and he recalled how he'd proposed at Christmas the previous year. Alexis continued to drink. Julian handed her a gift and insisted she take it when she refused. It was a little past the "use by date," he explained. It was a tree ornament with a photo of the couple inside.
"How did we ever end up here?" Julian asked. Alexis reminded him that it was all his fault. Julian knew that, and he was sorry. Alexis replied that she wished it mattered. Julian revealed that he had thought he was dying after Alexis had hit him with the car, and the sound of her voice had brought him back from sure death. He was alive because of her, and he hoped it mattered, because he had been close to letting go. Alexis was his heartbeat, his breath, his life, Julian muttered. "I see you," Alexis repeated over and over as the couple slowly embraced and kissed.
Michael and Kristina hung stockings at Sonny's home, and while hesitating to hang Morgan's, Sonny determined that it should go up with the rest. He felt that Morgan was still with them in spirit. Carly entered with Avery in her arms. Everyone began to reminisce about Morgan, and they all agreed that they should have a fun holiday. Nelle showed up suddenly, much to Sonny's displeasure.
Nelle apologized to Sonny, but Carly had wanted her to be there because she didn't suspect anything. Kristina overheard part of their conversation, and she was curious as to what Carly didn't suspect. Nelle quickly covered and said that Sonny had a surprise for Carly. The family marveled over Morgan's seashell, and Sam, Jason, and Danny arrived.
Michael presented his parents with a gift, a framed photo of Morgan as the little drummer boy. The family talked about their departed family member again, and Kristina suggested that Sonny reveal his surprise to Carly. Off by the tree, Nelle quickly removed the tag on her own gift to Carly.
Instead, Carly jumped up and handed a gift to Nelle. It was a necklace of three hearts. Carly explained that the hearts represented herself, Nelle, and Josslyn because they were all connected. Carly was ready for her present from Sonny and was pleased to unwrap a pair of gloves.
Jason seemed melancholy and admitted it had been a tough night. Sonny managed to get Nelle aside and asked if the gloves had been from her. Nelle confessed that they were, and it proved that she would never tell their secret. "What's going on with those two?" Carly asked Jason as she watched Sonny and Nelle whispering. She was suspicious of the pair.
Jason and Sam announced that they had to leave. Jason stopped to have a private chat with Sonny on his way out, and he revealed that he and Curtis were close to vindicating Sonny. He hoped that Sonny and Carly were close to healing as well.
Carly dimmed the lights, lit a candle, and gathered her family into a circle to hold hands in order to honor Morgan. She wanted Nelle there, too, calling the young woman a gift. Nelle and Sonny ended up next to each other and awkwardly grabbed hands. Carly thanked Michael for comforting his family. Carly intoned that they would always love Morgan, and he would always be with them, giving them strength, faith, hope, and love.
Once again, Franco's attempt to tell Elizabeth what he'd done was interrupted when Jason, Sam, and Danny arrived. Monica asked the couple to "let it go" for Elizabeth's sake when they spied her with Franco. Monica then gathered everyone together to tell them about Christmas and forgiveness. She spoke of goodness and how the world was better with joy.
"I did something to Tom Baker," Franco finally managed to tell Elizabeth. Just then, Dante arrived with a couple of uniformed cops and announced that Tom Baker had been stabbed to death.
At Wyndemere, Lulu hugged Charlotte goodbye and vowed it would be the last Christmas without her daughter. Nina told Valentin and Charlotte that it was her best Christmas ever. Emma had a gift for Anna and presented her with an old photo of Anna, swiped from the house.