Things were not going well for two of the cosmetically star-crossed couples. In Neil's office, Phyllis told Neil to go ahead and gloat over the problems she and Jack were having. Their marriage was feeling the strain of her job at Newman and her refusal to go to work at Jabot. Neil insisted that he felt sympathy for her. He said that her long hours couldn't be helping things any. She should go home and spend quality time with Jack; he could finish uploading the new numbers to their web site. Phyllis refused to leave. Before he could argue with her, he received a phone call and had to leave. After thinking it over, Phyllis picked up the phone to call Jack.
At Jabot, after agreeing to go to Miami for an interview, Dru apologized to Jack for her behavior at the board meeting. She'd been put on the defensive by Brad's accusations, and she probably shouldn't have reacted by telling everyone about the meeting she'd walked in on between Ashley and Victor. Jack told her that was all in the past; they needed to focus on their work. When Dru wondered if he and Phyllis were having problems, Jack told her she'd better not be trying to yank his chain. While Dru was defending herself, Jack got a call from Phyllis suggesting that they meet at home and try to repair their relationship. Jack was too angry to agree, saying that she'd refused all his overtures, and now he was in a meeting he couldn't leave. After he hung up, Phyllis slammed the phone down, and Jack told Dru he couldn't finish their meeting and walked out.
Dru went to Crimson Lights, where she ran into a seething Phyllis. First she tried to make peace with Jack's wife, saying the two of them were in the same predicament. Phyllis angrily told Dru to keep her nose out of her personal life. Dru, in turn, told her that her call had tied Jack in knots and interfered with their meeting. She wondered if that had been Phyllis's intention all along. After exchanging a few more heated comments, Dru went inside the coffee house while Phyllis brooded on the patio.
Jack went to Gina's, hoping to find Phyllis. When Neil came in, the two took verbal shots at each other until Gina told them they needed to get their act together. Finally both men sat down, each of them regretting the stress their jobs were putting on their relationships. They hatched a plan. They would invite Phyllis and Dru to join them at Gina's. If all four of them were together, maybe they could enjoy a nice evening out. Jack called Phyllis on her cell phone. At first she didn't want to talk to him, but after some smooth talk from Jack, she finally agreed to meet him at Gina's. Meanwhile, Dru and Neil were having a similar conversation after he reached her on her cell phone. She agreed to come to Gina's after going home to change.
While Jack and Neil congratulated themselves on their plan, Phyllis and Dru exchanged annoyed looks as they left the coffee shop at the same time, neither of them realizing they were both heading for the same place and probably another confrontation with each other.
J.T.'s surprise party turned out to have surprises for everyone. J.T. was shocked to see Anita and Frederick there. Jill was shocked to hear that Anita had seen her and Frederick coming downstairs at the Lodge, and even more shocked that Frederick hadn't explained to his wife that they spent the night merely talking. Billy was shocked to see Jill arrive, knowing she was intent on telling John about his engagement to Mac.
After Ashley left the party to check on Abby, who was still running a fever, Brad had a little fun with J.T. When J.T. thanked him for letting him see Colleen openly and assured Brad that they wouldn't let him down, Brad said he didn't think so, if J.T. wanted to live to see his twentieth birthday. A nervous J.T. looked around for Colleen, and Brad told him to lighten up; he was only kidding. When Colleen came in with a cake covered by lit candles, J.T. rushed to her while Brad smirked, obviously enjoying the way he'd made J.T. uncomfortable.
Billy begged his mother not to tell his father about the engagement, and she finally agreed. She asked why Anita and Frederick were there, and Billy said they were staying close to Raul because Brittany was supposed to call him. After telling Billy to keep Mac away from her, Jill and Anita had their confrontation, in which Anita told Jill not to even try to talk to her mother to mother. Frederick broke that up. After Anita made a comment about him coming to Jill's rescue, she stalked off. Jill asked Frederick why he hadn't told Anita the truth---that nothing had happened between them---and Frederick said Anita would only think he was lying. Jill then said her day had been terrible. Though it wasn't his fault, she was getting out of there. She told John she needed to talk to him later, then she left.
Anita cornered J.T. at the punch bowl and made him feel very uncomfortable when she said her morning was the best part of her day. J.T. told her this couldn't happen between them. She told him she knew, and he should stop being so nervous. No one was going to suspect him of being interested in some over-the-hill woman like her. She said that Colleen was sweet; if she was Anita's daughter, she'd keep her away from J.T., too.
J.T. got away from Anita, grabbing Colleen and leading her to the dining room for a kiss. He assured her this was his best birthday ever. Later, when everyone asked him to make a speech, he said Colleen was the sweet and smart one, and she should be the one talking. Colleen wished him a happy birthday, then told the group that J.T.'s birthday wasn't the only thing they were celebrating. She'd just found out that her Uncle Billy had asked his wonderful girlfriend Mac to marry him.
Stunned, John turned away, and a distraught Billy crossed the room to him, asking if he was about to go ballistic. John said no, he thought people were entitled to make their own mistakes. Billy was breaking his heart, and he would never condone what he was doing. As Billy and Mac shared a stricken look, Raul's phone rang. He hurried to the kitchen to take Brittany's call, and Mac tried to keep Anita and Frederick from following so Raul could have some privacy. But they pushed past her.
Raul begged Brittany to tell him what was going on and where she was. Brittany said she wasn't ready for that. When Raul got upset, Anita demanded the phone. After Frederick ordered Raul to give Brittany's mother the phone, Raul did. Anita told Brittany that she was worried about her, loved her, and wanted her to come home. Brittany then asked to speak to her father. Frederick told her how much he missed her and assured her that if she would only come home, they could work through anything together. Brittany then asked to speak to Raul again. She told Raul she would call him the next day and hung up over his protests.
In the dining room, Colleen was upset because her grandfather was so stunned by Billy's news and Billy was mad at her. J.T. said she'd probably done them a favor, forcing things out in the open so they could talk about them. He told her how wonderful she was for always worrying about other people. She said she worried most about him. When he took her hands, she told him she loved him. As J.T. assured her that was the best birthday present he could have gotten and embraced her, Anita looked on with a hurt expression.
Thursday, April 17, 2003
Dinner with the Abbotts and the Winters was very interesting to say the least. The girls didn't even want to sit down, but their men were hungry and there was only one table available in the house, so they did so reluctantly. It was almost impossible to leave work out of the conversation -- Phyllis and Dru ribbing each other about how the other company didn't have a chance, etc. Dinner arrived just in time, then dancing started. The Samba was the event of the evening when both couples tried to outdo each other on the dance floor.
Nicholas talked to Cassie about the day that she ended up in the pond. Things were fuzzy for her, then she remembered Victor arguing with her father and her mother leaving town. Nicholas questioned why she walked into the water -- she assured him that she was not trying to kill herself. Later, a knock came at the door. It was a messenger with an envelope from Sharon. . .
Once they were back at their place, Mac suggested to Billy that maybe it wasn't for the best that they marry so soon against their parents wishes. Billy wouldn't really accept that and asked her about her true feelings. She admitted that her life's dream was to be married with her family in attendance, happy for her. But her feelings for him were stronger than that dream, and getting married next month was what she really. really wanted. They kissed and Raul excused himself.
Victor and Nikki spoke of his troubles with his son and how, by trying to make things better for him and his wife, he made them worse. Nikki was supportive and they melted together in a kiss. . .
Raul was alone in the apartment when he sat down to send a message to Brittany on the computer. He was desperate to hear from her. He wrote that he loved her and needed her to come home. While he wrote, she entered the room silently, without him knowing that she was there. . .
Friday, April 18, 2003
Raul was shocked at the sound of Brittany's voice, turned from his laptop, and saw her standing in the loft. He rushed to embrace her, and the two of them tearfully talked about how much they'd missed each other. Brittany couldn't believe Raul was being so understanding about the way she'd left. She knew how much she'd worried and upset him. Raul reminded her that it only mattered that they were together. They could work everything out. Brittany later admitted that she hadn't seen a doctor or taken a home pregnancy test. But she was seven weeks late, her breasts were tender, and she'd had morning sickness. Raul said they could wait until the next day to pick up a test, as well as let her parents know she was home. They both agreed they just wanted to spend their first night alone with each other.
Anita was annoyed when Frederick started looking through the papers on his desk when they went back to his office. She felt even worse after hearing Brittany's voice, but as usual, Frederick thought about nothing but work. Frederick confessed that work was his refuge. Anita furiously demanded if he needed refuge from her. She unzipped her blouse and wondered what was so horribly unappealing about her. Frederick shut her up by kissing her. But when he tried to tell her how desirable she was, Anita told him to show her, not tell her. Frederick pulled away, pointing out that, once again, he wasn't able to do things the way she wanted them. He could never measure up. Anita zipped up and left for the Lodge, telling him that he could stay with Jill or at home; she didn't care. If she heard from Brittany, she'd let him know. She hoped he'd do her the same courtesy.
Jack brought strawberries to Phyllis in their bedroom, hoping their dance at Gina's could be extended into the evening. Phyllis was still complaining about work and Jack's manipulation of her. Jack finally told her to shut up. He did want her to be part of his family. He did think if she worked at Jabot, they'd be able to spend more time together. And he hated it that she was working for Newman. But he was tired of fighting. He found her exciting, and he didn't think she was immune to the attraction between them. He'd sensed it on the dance floor. Phyllis allowed him to pull her to the bed, then she changed her mind, jumping up and insisting that it was her turn to talk. She felt that Jack had attacked her in the area where she was the most vulnerable by using her longing to be a part of the Abbotts to manipulate her. She'd forgive him this time, but the next time, she would just get even. When she turned back to get his response, she was furious to see that he was asleep. She dropped her robe and angrily got into bed. Jack turned over with a grin, having faked sleep, and told her that she was beautiful when she was angry. Even she had to smile at him for tricking her.
Once Dru found out Lily was asleep at Mamie's, she was eager to go to bed with Neil, since they hadn't been alone in their apartment for so long. But Neil's idea of foreplay was a little game of strip poker. After he won several hands and Dru was down to her slip and nothing else, she suggested Neil get some juice to cool off. She then stacked the deck so that she won a few hands, until Neil was down to his boxers. Neil finally threw the cards in the air and climbed onto the couch with her while Dru laughed at him.
Victoria came by the ranch house to let her mother know that she'd settled into the tack house. Nikki told her that Victor was once again attempting to talk to Nicholas and work things out. Victoria held out very little hope for that. In fact, she felt that their family was falling apart and no one could stop it. Nikki said they'd be better off if Sharon never came back; she was the source of all the pain of the past year. But Nicholas was still grieving his loss. At that phrase, Victoria got teary-eyed. No one had to tell her how hard it was to heal from loss. She had worried she would never feel alive again after Ryan's death. For a little while, Diego had made her happy. But now that was gone, and she'd never felt so alone. Nikki noticed that she was still wearing Ryan's wedding ring. She gently suggested that it might be time to let go. Victoria said she knew her mother was probably right, but she just wasn't ready.
As Nick looked at the envelope from Sharon that held letters for Cassie, Noah, and Victor, Cassie came downstairs. She'd hoped it was her mother at the door. Nick admitted that he'd hoped so, too. But he reassured her that her mother was thinking of her. She'd sent a letter. Cassie was sad to hear that Nick hadn't gotten a letter, too. After her father refused to let her dwell on that, she was finally ready to read Sharon's letter, which expressed how much she loved all of them. Sharon said that she felt she'd had no choice but to leave, because she'd caused so much pain to everyone she cared about. But she and Cassie had been separated before and found each other. They should have faith that would happen again.
Nick was visibly moved by Sharon's profession of love for him. After he helped Cassie back to bed, he picked up the phone to call Victor and tell him about his letter from Sharon. Before he could dial the phone, Victor knocked on the door. Nick shoved the letter in his pocket while the two of them talked. Victor wanted to know how Cassie was doing and if he could visit her the next day. Nick reminded him that he didn't want him around. He still held him responsible for all the bad things that had happened to his family. He then tried to give Victor Sharon's letter, but Victor refused it. So Nick opened it and read it aloud. Sharon thanked Victor for all his support, especially when it had cost him so much with his family. But she said it was time for Nick to know the truth, that Victor was not responsible for what Nick had seen. She felt unworthy to be a wife and mother, so she didn't want them to try to find her. She hoped that by leaving and staying away, the Newmans would begin to heal. She had nothing but regret for all the pain she'd caused them.
After they heard the letter, Nick said he still held his father responsible. If Victor hadn't been in the middle of things, it all might have worked out. He insisted that he was no longer Victor's son. Victor sadly told him that he would always be his son. Before he left, he said that maybe one day, Nick would realize that in the end, all we have is family.