At Crimson Lights. Nick told Dylan that Victoria and her baby had been asleep when Nick had stopped by Genoa City Memorial to pay a visit. Nick said, "Apparently our niece is doing great." Dylan liked the sound of that, and the brothers planned a joint visit to see Victoria and their new niece. The topic changed to Nick's disgust with Sharon. Dylan wondered if Nick wanted to move on or if he wanted to seek revenge on Sharon.
Nick said that all he was concerned about was his children's well-being and told Dylan that he hated the whole situation. Mariah entered and, overhearing Nick, said, "Hey, you're not the only one, bud." Dylan made a hasty retreat so Nick and Mariah could talk privately. Mariah said that she'd heard that Nick had moved out of the cottage. Nick wondered if, under the circumstances, Mariah had expected him to stay with Sharon.
Mariah reminded Nick that he and Sharon had put each other through a lot, not the least of which had been Nick's affair with Phyllis. Realizing that Mariah was upset with him, Nick told her that he regretted that she felt as if she was caught between a rock and a hard place. Nick didn't want Mariah to feel like she had to choose sides. Mariah said that people always had to choose -- and she would, too.
Sharon showed up at Avery's law office and snidely asked the lawyer if she was working on Nick's attempt to win full custody of Faith. When Avery said that she was, Sharon told Avery that she wasn't going to allow Faith to become a pawn just because Nick was angry. Sharon admitted that she had hurt Nick, but he was lashing out at her -- and none of his decisions made sense.
Sharon said that dragging Faith through a legal "mess" wasn't the way to protect the child. Avery countered that there didn't have to be a legal mess if Sharon voluntarily gave up custody of Faith. Sharon told Avery that would never happen. Avery smirked and said, "Okay, then legal case it is." Sharon said that if Avery had actually ever cared for Faith then Avery would be trying to talk Nick out of his attempt to gain full custody.
Sharon added that Faith deserved better than to be dragged through Nick and Sharon's marital problems. Avery sarcastically replied that it was remarkable that Sharon suddenly had strong maternal instincts -- reminding Sharon that she had used Faith to try to break up Avery and Nick's engagement. Sharon claimed that she had been emotionally ill during Nick and Avery's engagement -- and that Faith definitely was not the reason that Avery had left Nick at the altar.
Avery became angry, saying that Sharon did terrible things to people -- then tried to make it appear to be someone else's fault. Fuming, Avery said that Sharon had tormented Summer by allowing the girl to think that Jack was her father -- and even if Sharon hadn't pushed Phyllis down the stairs, Sharon was still responsible for Phyllis losing a year of her life.
Sharon admitted that she hadn't been in her right mind when she'd switched the paternity results but said she had regained her mental health and was trying to protect Faith. Avery told Sharon that Nick felt he was best suited to care for Faith. As Avery tried to show Sharon out, Sharon said that Nick was wrong, adding that Avery was fighting "against motherhood" -- and wasn't going to win. Avery smirked, telling Sharon that she had just given Avery all the ammunition she needed to beat her in court. Sharon walked out of the office. Her expression turned to one of fear and concern as she stood alone in the lobby.
Later, Nick arrived at Avery's office, wondering how things were progressing with his custody case. She told him that she had just drafted a motion -- but had fallen behind in her schedule because of Sharon's visit. Avery quickly recapped her conversation with Sharon and told Nick that since Sharon wouldn't relinquish custody voluntarily, court was the only alternative. Avery said that she had bragged to Sharon that he would win but added that she wasn't one hundred percent certain of a legal victory -- Nick's case was tricky, and the battle might become ugly.
Nick said they needed to ensure that Faith didn't get caught in the middle. Avery assured him that they would make it as painless for the little girl as possible. She warned Nick that he had no legal right to maintain physical custody of Faith -- that was at Sharon's discretion -- and he needed to allow Sharon to see Faith whenever possible.
Changing the subject, Avery told Nick about her ex-husband, Joe, and his Genoa City Development Project. Nick boasted that he could throw some Newman weight around Genoa City Hall and ensure that Joe's business proposal would never "come to fruition." Nick waxed nostalgic about Crimson Lights. He told Avery about "Cassie's Corner" and how much the coffeehouse had meant over the years. He said he wasn't going to allow Joe to "blow it up." Avery thanked Nick for his offer but turned it down, saying that she and Dylan had formulated a plan of attack. Nick left.
At the Athletic Club bar, Joe ogled Lauren as she entered. Lauren initially thought Joe was trying to hit on her until he revealed that he was Joe Clark -- the man she was scheduled to meet. Lauren turned red with embarrassment. Joe chuckled and told her not to worry about it. Lauren wondered why Joe had wanted to meet. He said that he was a client of Michael's and hoped that he could do business with Lauren as well.
Joe showed Lauren the prospectus for the proposed development in Genoa City's warehouse district. Joe said he was looking for high-end restaurants and retailers to lease the space in the development. He wanted the project to cater to the type of person who shopped at Fenmore's. That piqued Lauren's interest, especially when Joe said that he could offer Lauren a special pre-construction deal on a lease. Lauren told him that he had given her a lot to think about -- she was going to take the prospectus and discuss the project with Jill.
As Joe began to leave, he asked Lauren to send his regards to Michael. Lauren told Joe that Michael would be joining her for lunch at the club if Joe wanted to stick around. Learning that Michael was out of the office Michael shared with Avery, Joe lied and told Lauren that he had another meeting. They said their goodbyes, and Joe left. Lauren called Michael and left a voicemail informing him that her business meeting had ended early if he wanted to join her at the club.
Avery was unpleasantly surprised to see Joe standing in her office doorway. He claimed to be there to see Michael. Avery asked Joe to tell her why he was really there.
Joe said he was sorry for what had happened during his recent visit to Avery's office. Avery found that difficult to believe, since, after that visit, he had gone to the coffeehouse to purposely irritate Dylan. Joe said that he had gone to Crimson Lights to smooth things over with "your boyfriend." Avery accused Joe of wanting to build a "generic monstrosity," but Joe said that the architecture was quite attractive and handed Avery a folder. He said the project was generating a lot of interest.
Joe and Avery finished arguing about the development project then began arguing about their relationship. Joe said that there was still a spark between them, demonstrated by the kiss they had shared. Avery told him that the kiss had almost got him a knee to the groin. Looking dejected, he said, "Look, I kissed you because -- you know, it doesn't matter anymore. Please tell Michael I stopped by." He turned to leave, only to find Dylan in the doorway. Joe grabbed his coat and, without saying a word to Dylan, left. Dylan stared at Avery, took a deep breath, and said, "You kissed Joe?"
Avery insisted that she hadn't kissed Joe -- rather, he had kissed her. Dylan said he wanted to know if Joe tried to kiss her again, but Avery said that she would handle it. Their heated discussion was interrupted when Avery's phone rang. Dylan, clearly upset, told Avery to take the call then stormed out of her office.
Avery sat at her desk and opened the folder that Joe had left behind. Joe's picture was plastered on some promotional material for the proposed development. Avery stared at the picture for a moment, smiled a faint smile, then frowned and threw the folder into the trash. She thought for a moment, retrieved the folder from the trash and began reading the material, an idea formulating in her head.
Dylan found Joe at the Athletic Club. After a brief, snarky exchange of words between the men, Dylan said, "You said shutting down my business isn't personal? Obviously it is. And I'm here to let you know that it's personal for me now, too."
Not paying attention where she was walking, Sharon ran into Dylan, literally, in Chancellor Park. Recognizing him, she tried to make a quick exit, but he caught up and said that he had been waiting for an opportunity to speak with her. Sharon suspected that he wanted to berate her and told him that she couldn't take that anymore. Dylan admitted that he hated what Sharon had done but told her that he could never despise her. He said that he could empathize -- he had psychological problems as well.
Sharon told Dylan that if she hadn't been ill, she never would have switched the paternity test results. Very caringly, Dylan told her that she needed to get help and to "take baby steps" with the people she had hurt -- and realize that no one owed her forgiveness. Sharon asked Dylan if he held her misdeeds against her. He reminded her that she had been a good friend to him when he'd moved to Genoa City -- and that she was a great mother to Faith. She smiled when she heard his kind words, telling him that they mattered more than he could know.
After Dylan left, Sharon sat on a park bench and stared at a picture of Faith. She noticed Nick walking through the park and told him that they needed to talk about Faith. Nick said that he had spoken to his attorney and that Faith would be staying with Sharon -- but only temporarily, until a judge could decide Faith's fate.
Sharon asked Nick why he was battling her for custody. He told Sharon that he didn't trust her around Faith. Suddenly turning angry, Sharon said that she would never harm their daughter and accused Nick of behaving just like Victor. Nick felt that, in the future, he and Sharon should communicate exclusively through their attorneys.
As Nick began to leave, Sharon softened her tone and told Nick that, with time, things would get easier. Nick heatedly accused her of destroying their family and said that their relationship was over -- permanently. He walked away, leaving Sharon alone in tears.
Sharon called attorney David Sherman and told him she needed representation in a custody case. After he spoke, Sharon said, "Yes, I am aware of how the Newmans always rally around their own. Mr. Sherman, I know you're the man I need on my side."
At the Underground, Nick poured himself a drink and downed it. Hearing footsteps, he said, "Bar's closed." He looked up and saw someone he obviously recognized. He smiled and said, "What are you doing here"
Michael sat nervously in his oncologist's office. Kevin walked in and told Michael that apparently the doctor was running late. Michael wasn't happy to see Kevin and asked him to leave. Kevin refused, telling him that he wasn't going to allow his big brother to "go through this alone." Michael asked Kevin to back off. But Kevin replied that he wanted to be a decent brother and help Michael through his health crisis. He offered to take notes during Michael's consultation with his oncologist.
Dr. Derek Larson, the oncologist, showed up and introduced himself to Michael. Kevin introduced himself as Michael's brother -- and his backup. Dr. Larson said that it always helped to have "a second set of ears." Michael insisted on seeing the doctor privately. Kevin acquiesced and agreed to leave, after making the doctor promise to take good care of Michael.
As soon as Kevin was gone, Michael asked the doctor about his prognosis. Larson told him that more information was necessary to definitively stage Michael's cancer. Given Michael's test results, the doctor felt that the cancer had progressed beyond stage one, and treatment would be necessary. Michael mentioned some alternative therapies, but the doctor implored him not to believe everything he read on the Internet. Dr. Larson told him that they would run some tests, including imaging, and take it from there.
At the club, Michael joined Lauren for their lunch date and apologized for arriving late. She showed him the prospectus that Michael's new client, Joe Clark, had given to her. Michael remarked that some women seemed to think that Joe was handsome, but Lauren said she hadn't noticed -- the only handsome guy in her life was Michael. Michael said that he might blush. The Baldwins kissed.
Lauren wanted to order lunch, but Michael said that he couldn't stay. When Lauren asked him why, he said he needed to go shopping so he could prepare a romantic dinner, after which they would make love. Lauren smiled and said that it sounded intense -- but wondered if there was something else going on. He told Lauren how much he loved her then waxed poetic, saying that there would never be enough moments with her. Lauren nearly swooned then, with a mischievous look in her eye, asked Michael to take her home.
Kevin stopped by Crimson Lights and noticed the sullen Mariah. They acknowledged that they'd both had lousy days. Mariah urged Kevin to tell her what had been happening in his life, but Kevin told her that he couldn't discuss it. Mariah said that she had initially been reluctant to become part of Nick and Sharon's family, but once she had, she'd realized they didn't "totally suck." She lamented that her "kinda, sorta" family was just as screwed up as everything else in her life.
Mariah related the story of the paternity test switch and its aftermath to a shocked Kevin. She told him that she felt powerless -- she was unable to really help anyone. Kevin said that her mere presence was probably helping Sharon. The mood lightening, Mariah asked him if he had seen a new online fantasy series written by Plato Sphere. Kevin said that the name was corny; also, he had read some reviews and didn't think he would be interested in the series. Mariah begged him to read the first five pages, and if he didn't like it, she would buy him a cup of coffee.
Mariah stood over Kevin's shoulder as he read the beginning of the fantasy book on his laptop. She asked him if he loved it, and he replied with a noncommittal "Eh... it's okay." Mariah claimed that it was "way better than okay." She told Kevin that she needed to leave to visit Faith, but she couldn't wait until he read the next chapter. After she was gone, Kevin smiled and, on his laptop, typed, "My Next Installment coming soon. -- PLATO SPHERE"