At the Top of the Tower, Nick and Christian visited with Victor and Nikki. Victor said that his favorite memory from Christmas was watching Nick lift Faith high the air so she could place a star atop the tree. Nikki said she'd been touched by Nick's graciousness. Nikki thanked Nick for letting Dylan and Sharon spend time with Christian. Victor spent time bonding with Christian. Victor held the tot near a window and said that someday, the business empire would belong to Christian because Nick didn't seem interested in assuming the reins.
Nick told Nikki that his father was probably talking to Christian about Newman Enterprises. Nikki again mentioned Nick and Christian's visit with Dylan and Sharon. Nick recalled how excited Dylan and Sharon had been, and Nikki praised her son for having given them a wonderful gift. Nick shrugged off his mother's compliment and said his act had merely been the right thing to do. Nick added that Christmastime was over, and it was time to anticipate the new year.
At Sharon's ranch house, Sharon told Dylan she hadn't experienced the usual letdown after Christmas because Nick had taken Christian over for a visit. Dylan said he'd felt joy, too, until Nick and Christian had left. Dylan inadvertently said "Sully" when he referred to Christian. Sharon corrected Dylan. Sharon changed the subject and suggested she and Dylan enjoy a movie while they had their house to themselves. Dylan, markedly subdued, declined the offer and said he needed to run errands. Before Dylan stepped out, Sharon asked if Dylan was all right. Dylan claimed he was doing great.
After Dylan stepped out the door, he sighed heavily. In a flashback, Sharon recalled the Christmas Eve visit with Christian. Dylan had held Christian until Nick had taken the boy back. After Nick had left, Sharon had felt uplifted. Dylan, however, had seemed sullen and withdrawn. A knock at the door distracted Sharon from reliving her memory.
Sharon opened the door and saw Nikki standing on the front porch. Nikki learned that Dylan wasn't home. Sharon recalled how much she and Dylan had enjoyed their visit with Christian. Nikki seemed pleased. Sharon added that she and Dylan were trying to move on. Nikki took offense and asked Sharon why she always viewed situations negatively.
At Crimson Lights, Hilary met with Jack. Hilary thanked Jack for choosing her to host the foundation's New Year's Eve benefit. Hilary said she hoped that a less formal setting might inspire donors to loosen their purse strings. Changing the subject, Hilary mentioned that she and Devon had worked out their differences. Jack said he was certain that fans at GC Buzz were relieved, too. Hilary glanced at the host's script and said she'd arrange for a member of her staff to set up a teleprompter. After Hilary said she planned to promote JabotGo on GC Buzz, Jack noted how much he appreciated that friends helped friends.
On the patio at the coffeehouse, Dylan ran into Nick and Christian. Christian was asleep in his stroller. Dylan thanked Nick for stopping with Christian on Christmas Eve. Dylan offered to watch Christian whenever Nick needed help. Nick explained that the visit on Christmas Eve had been a one-shot deal, so Dylan shouldn't expect a change of rules regarding visitation. Nick added that he didn't want Christian to become confused about his parentage. After Nick expressed his concerns, Dylan turned and abruptly walked away.
Dylan returned to Sharon's ranch house. Dylan, frustrated, removed his jacket and threw it down onto a chair. Dylan wandered around the room and imagined he was holding Christian. Sharon went downstairs and saw Dylan with his hands against his chest as if he were clutching a child. Sharon seemed distraught as she watched Dylan.
At the Genoa City Athletic Club, Lily seemed frustrated after she learned from Devon that Hilary had managed to avoid repercussions. Devon said that after he'd confronted Hilary about lying that she'd had numerous job offers, he and Hilary had engaged in a meaningful discussion about a number of other issues. Lily said she'd hoped that Devon would have had his eyes opened about Hilary and her lies. Devon said Lily wouldn't be happy until Hilary was completely out of the picture. Neil joined Devon and Lily, but Devon abruptly left.
Lily complained to Neil about the way Hilary had treated Devon. Lily noted that even after Hilary had manipulated Devon, he hadn't turned his back on her. Lily scoffed that Devon had even bought Hilary a penthouse and given her back her job. Neil warned that Lily's comments might be alienating her from Devon. Neil suggested that Lily vent her frustrations about Hilary to him instead of Devon.
Neil changed the subject and mentioned the New Year's Benefit. Neil showed Lily the venue contract. After Lily read the name of the man listed on the contract, she asked Neil when he'd last spoken to the man. Neil researched the man's name and learned that the man who'd leased the venue had left debts unpaid when he'd last lived in Genoa City. Neil phoned his assistant and learned that the man had conned him, too. Neil learned that the building he'd leashed for the venue had been shuttered. Neil became distraught and noted that the benefit had been hailed as the biggest gala of the year. Lily apologized and explained that the club had been booked up for months. Neil said he'd have to break the news to Jack.
At GC Buzz, Mariah discovered that she'd encouraged a number of viewers who'd become ardent fans. Mariah had just shared story ideas with her assistant when Hilary arrived and said, "Excuse me. You're in my chair. I am your boss, again." Hilary explained that she'd been promoted to executive producer and would resume her role as the host. Mariah said, "Interesting. Is your name going to be on the toilet paper, as well?"
Devon arrived and told Mariah that she could resume her previous job and avoid being on camera. Devon thanked Mariah for having acted as host during Hilary's absence. Mariah said she'd like to become a segment producer. Later, Mariah was standing nearby and overheard Hilary and Devon teasing each other playfully. Mariah gave herself a pep talk and thought of the money Devon paid her to remain cordial. In a flashback, Mariah remembered the day she'd fallen while performing live on-air. Though her memory was hazy, Mariah recalled seeing a smug-looking Hilary standing in the shadows, out of camera range.
At Jabot, Ashley was elated to learn that Ravi had managed to upgrade her app, JabotGo, in record time. Ravi admitted that he'd devoted almost every hour during a two-week period to complete the task. Ashley explained that the app was in need of tweaking, but she hesitated to ask Ravi to devote additional time exclusively to her project. Ravi insisted that he edit his own code. Ravi seemed eager to please Ashley, whom he called Mrs. Abbott. Ashley told Ravi to call her by her first name.
Ravi explained that he and Ashley would be working closely together for a few weeks. Ashley replied, "Well, you know what? I can't think of a better partner." Ravi asked for Ashley's cell phone number in case he needed to contact her. Ashley instead explained that she'd provide the number to reach her executive services group. Ashley explained that the executive services group could contact her at any time.
Jack arrived, and Ashley showed him the updates Ravi had already implemented. Ashley asked Ravi to step out. After Ravi left, Jack joked that Ashley should get a collar and a leash for Ravi because the young professional followed her around like a puppy waiting for Ashley to pat his head. Ashley said Ravi just had a little crush, but she praised her programmer's skills. Jack expressed concern about Ravi's ego.
In Jack's office, Neil told Jack and Ashley that the venue selected for the gala was unavailable. Jack told Neil it wasn't his fault because the man had duped them all. Ashley commiserated with Jack and Neil and promised to do what she could to help them locate another venue. Ashley left. Neil and Jack were concerned about locating another venue with little time left before the event would take place. Jack and Neil each made numerous phone calls, but neither located a suitable venue. Jack suggested canceling the event, but Neil insisted that they continue to search for alternative locations.
Later at the Top of the Tower, Nikki was surprised to see Victor again and asked why he wasn't in his office. Nikki said she thought Victor had said he intended to step back from his company commitments. Victor asked Nikki if she'd visited Dylan. Nikki, disappointed, said that Dylan hadn't been home when she'd stopped by. Nikki said that she'd visited with Sharon.
Nikki told Victor that Sharon had mentioned the visit from Nick and Christian. Victor said, "I think that was a mistake." Nikki said she believed that Nick's gesture had shown compassion. Victor explained that Christian was the only one that deserved compassion. As Nikki was leaving the Top of the Tower, she ran into Ashley. Ashley said she'd stopped by to see Victor. After Nikki left, Ashley approached Victor and said she had a proposition for him.
At Chancellor Park, Nick sat on a bench with Christian in his lap. Nick said Christian was his only reminder of Sage. Nick said he missed Sage terribly and noted that Christian had endured many changes. Nick promised to be a good dad and make Christian feel secure. Nick held Christian close. Nick said he'd be the only dad Christian would ever need.
Jack strikes a deal with Victor
At GC Buzz, Hilary finished rehearsing a segment, and Devon gushed that it was fantastic. Hilary wanted to run through it again, but Devon told her to save it for the broadcast, since it was like she'd never left. Hilary snapped orders to an assistant, and Devon asked Mariah if she thought Hilary had been great. Mariah dryly replied that it was like old times, and Devon crowed that there was nothing but success ahead. Devon added that they had the making of a great team with Mariah behind the camera and Hilary killing it on-screen. Mariah agreed that Hilary was a "natural born killer."
Hilary asked what Mariah was doing the following night, and Mariah feigned being flattered, but she thought Hilary already had a date for New Year's Eve. Hilary explained that she was working the benefit and could use some help, and she recognized that Mariah was no longer a gopher but a producer. Hilary conceded that Mariah was competent, and she needed everything to be perfect at a major media event, but she couldn't do it by herself. Hilary asked Devon to help convince Mariah to help at the benefit, and Mariah coyly remarked that she couldn't say no after everything Hilary had done for her.
Hilary and Devon returned to their penthouse, and she rambled on about the things she wanted to do on the show. Devon urged her to relax because she was off the clock, but she was excited about her ideas. Devon marveled that he was lucky to have a wife with brains and beauty, and Hilary spotted a rack of clothes across the room. He explained that he'd wanted to surprise her, so he'd had Lauren drop off a bunch of dresses for Hilary to choose from to wear to the benefit.
Devon worried that he'd overstepped, just like he had when he'd bought the penthouse without talking to Hilary first, but she fawned over the gowns and said she loved them. She hugged him, and he asked if she knew that he wasn't trying to control her. Hilary assured him that her only problem was figuring out what to wear, and she purred that she might need a little help to determine which one she could slip out of easily. She dropped her dress to the floor, and she seductively asked if he was up to the challenge.
After making love, Hilary and Devon cuddled on the couch, and she murmured that it really felt like home. He asked if she missed room service, and she contemplated learning how to cook. He wished it hadn't taken him that long to see that they'd needed a place to call home, and she commended him for listening to her, since she wanted to be by his side equally. Devon welcomed Hilary home, and she said their home was truly theirs -- not his to give or hers to get, but something they shared. She mused that she had a home, work she was passionate about, and the man she loved, so she had everything she'd ever wanted. They kissed passionately.
Meanwhile, Mariah watched some technicians setting up equipment, and she noticed a cord running over a mat. Someone called out a warning not to trip over the cable while they were getting things in place, and Mariah retraced the steps she'd taken when she'd fallen on the red carpet during the live broadcast. She flashed back to looking up and seeing a smirking Hilary, and she inspected the floor. Mariah was startled when a technician pulled on the cord, and she realized that Hilary had moved the cord during the live broadcast, causing Mariah to go sprawling to the ground.
At the cottage, Sharon asked if Dylan was okay, since she'd heard the door slam, but he hadn't responded when she'd called his name. He said he had a lot on his mind, and she understood that he was struggling with losing Christian. Dylan glumly stated that it didn't matter what he felt, since it wouldn't change anything. Sharon cautioned that it wasn't good for him to keep his feelings bottled up inside, and she begged him to talk to her.
Sharon said it had made her happy to see Christian on Christmas Eve, but she sensed that it had made Dylan sad. Dylan admitted that he missed the boy, and Sharon brightly suggested that perhaps Christmas Eve had been only the beginning of Nick sharing the baby with them more often. Dylan grumbled that it would never happen, and he recounted that he'd seen Nick and Christian at the coffeehouse. Dylan revealed that he'd thanked Nick for the holiday visit, and he'd offered to help with Christian if Nick ever needed it. Sharon became excited, but Dylan informed her that Nick had made it clear that it would never happen, since the visit had been a one-time deal.
Dylan sarcastically added that it would be terrible for a child to think a lot of people loved him, but Sharon encouraged him not to lose hope. Dylan was determined to make a clean break, and Sharon pointed out that he didn't have to do it alone. He prepared to go to the police station, but she was worried that he was dealing with the situation too well. Dylan questioned whether she thought he would snap under the pressure, and Sharon assured him that she just thought they could help one another. He snapped that there was nothing work couldn't fix, and he walked out.
Sharon was happy when Noah dropped by, and she asked if he had recovered from Christmas. Noah quipped that there would be peace on earth as long as he avoided Victor trying to drag him back into the company. Noah reported that Faith had had a great holiday, but he knew Faith missed Sharon. Sharon tearfully turned away and began packing up more holiday decorations, and Noah teased that she usually kept things up until Valentine's Day. Sharon wailed that it didn't feel the same that year, and he sympathized that it was hard on her, but he also understood why Faith didn't want to be in the middle of a tug of war.
Sharon confided that seeing Christian had made her whole holiday, but it had made everything worse for Dylan. Sharon relayed that Nick had become extremely protective and had reminded Dylan about the judge's ruling, so there would be no more visits. Sharon lamented that Dylan felt pushed out all over again. Noah felt sorry for Dylan, but he thought Nick was trying to do the best thing for his little boy. Noah figured that it would take time for everyone, but Dylan was a good, strong man who would accept it in his own time. Sharon fretted that Christian would always be a weak point for Dylan.
At the police station, Dylan told Christine that he hadn't realized that his new assignment would be starting that soon. Christine stressed that it was their last chance to take down a monster and a drug ring, but the work was dangerous. She promised that the police would do their best to keep Dylan safe, but she wanted him to know what he was getting involved in. Dylan was distracted with the memory of taking Christian to the park before handing him over to Nick. Christine asked if Dylan had any questions, and he said no. She apologized for the timing, but he insisted that it couldn't be better and that he understood the risks.
Christine presented Dylan with documents to create a whole new life as Derek Young. She instructed Dylan to commit the details of Derek's life to memory before destroying the documents, and she explained that he'd have burner phones to touch base with Kevin as his point person. She added that the priority was to keep Dylan safe, but Dylan clarified that the priority was to catch the bad guys, and he knew what it was like go behind enemy lines. Christine warned that he couldn't tell Sharon about any of it, and his wife would have no way of contacting him or knowing if he was alive. Christine inquired whether he had any second thoughts, but he swore that he wanted to do it. Christine handed him a plane ticket to Miami.
Dylan returned home and sourly asked if Nick had sent Noah down to make sure Dylan and Sharon weren't planning to sneak a peek at Christian in the park. Noah was stunned, and Sharon explained that Noah was there to let them know that Faith was okay and that the girl missed them. Noah insisted that he wasn't taking sides, and he hoped everyone found a way to put Faith and Christian first. After Noah headed out, Sharon lectured that Noah wasn't the enemy, and Dylan promised to apologize to Noah before leaving for his new assignment.
Sharon asked when Dylan was leaving, and he said he didn't know, but it would be soon. She peppered him with questions, but he maintained that he couldn't tell her anything, and she just had to trust him. She argued that she needed him there, but he refused to back out of it. Sharon realized that he was leaving to keep himself from thinking about Christian, and Dylan confirmed that he had to do it -- for them and for himself.
Sharon objected to Dylan running away to keep from hurting, but he explained that he was surviving the only way he knew how. She protested that it would be without her, and he swore that she would be with him every second. He added that he knew he had her love and that she'd be waiting when he walked back through the door, and he reminded her that he'd survived two tours in Afghanistan. Sharon whimpered that he could just choose not to go, and he held her close. He softly said he didn't know how much time they had left, and he didn't want to waste any of it. They kissed.
Victor met with Ashley at Top of the Tower. She noted that Newman Enterprises had endured tons of negative publicity, and she imagined that he was trying to find a way to reposition the company as a powerhouse with a heart and soul. Ashley suggested that she help him do it, and Victor guessed that she wanted him to allow the foundation to host its benefit at his restaurant. Victor taunted that Jack and Neil had been hoodwinked by the most corrupt guy in town because they hadn't done their due diligence, but Ashley argued that it was a great cause. Victor figured that Jack had been desperate if he'd sent her to ask for a favor, but Ashley revealed that Jack didn't know she was there.
Ashley said she didn't want to involve Jack until she and Victor had a deal, and she wondered if she could call Jack to let him know the good news. Victor questioned why he should help Jack, and Ashley contended that the foundation's mission was bigger than the feud between the two men. Ashley reminded Victor that the foundation had helped people like Nikki, who had been unable to battle her addiction on her own. Victor figured that he and Nikki would be at the gala anyway, so he agreed to let Ashley have the space as the Newmans' contribution to a good cause. They shook on it, but she asked what the catch was.
Victor said he had some details to consider, since he had planned to close the restaurant and give his staff time off for the holiday. Ashley informed him that she had catering staff in place and an event planner to decorate, so Victor just needed to show up and lord over everyone that he'd saved the day. He noted that he was saving Jack's reputation as well as the foundation's, and he was sure the arrangement could be beneficial for all of them -- if Jack ripped up the eviction notice and let Victoria stay in Brash & Sassy's office space.
Ashley was sure that Jack wouldn't forget about the eviction, but Victor thought it shouldn't be an issue if Jack wanted the foundation to benefit. Ashley was surprised that Victor didn't want to swoop in and save the day by offering Victoria office space at Newman, and he conceded that he'd love to do it, but Victoria loved where she was. Victor vowed to do everything in his power to make his children happy, and that included doing what he could to make sure Victoria stayed in her space. Ashley coldly stated that the space was her lab, but Victor replied that it wasn't if she wanted the venue for the charity ball.
At Jabot, Jack and Neil made calls to try to find a new location to hold the foundation's fundraiser, but they had no luck. Neil lamented that they had no place to host an event on New Year's Eve, but Jack refused to give up. Jack noted that people could have gone to many events on the holiday, but they'd chosen the foundation's fundraiser because they believed in what the organization did. Neil bemoaned that they were out of options, but Jack stressed that the lives of the people who benefited from the program depended on it.
Neil said Jack's fighting spirit and dedication were why he'd asked Jack to return to the foundation, but he thought they were in an impossible predicament. Jack countered that they did the impossible, and he vowed to use every resource they had. Jack stepped outside his office and asked Ravi where Ashley was, and Ravi reported that she hadn't said, but she'd be back soon. Later, Jack and Neil exhausted their efforts to find a venue, and Jack regretted that they'd have to pull the plug.
Jack prepared to have his assistant send out apologies, and Neil offered to do a press release with Ashley. Ashley entered and told them to stop, since she'd found the perfect venue. Neil excitedly twirled her around and called her amazing, but she cautioned that it wouldn't be cheap. She nervously babbled about how the gala would be an even bigger success at the new location, and Jack demanded to know where it was. Jack realized that it was at Newman Towers, and he snarled that it would happen "when hell freezes over."
Ashley questioned whether Jack's pride was more important than the benefit, and she argued that he hadn't even heard the terms. He flatly stated that he wasn't interested, but she reminded him that he'd gone back to the foundation to help people, and he had power to do it by saving the benefit. Neil asked to hear the offer, and Ashley relayed that Victor wanted them to tear up the eviction notice. Jack protested that they'd been counting the minutes until Brash & Sassy was out, but Ashley inquired whether Jack's vendetta was worth all the good the foundation could do. Neil added that anger was blinding Jack, and he encouraged Jack to let it go. Ashley ordered Jack to stop trying to stick it to Billy, and Jack stormed out.
Ashley hoped that Jack would change his mind, but Neil thought he should start drafting a press release in case they had to cancel. Ashley bemoaned that she didn't know who her brother was anymore, and Neil assured her that Jack was in there, but they had to look to find him. After Neil departed, Ravi entered and expressed confidence that if anyone could make the benefit happen, Ashley could. He offered to help if the gala actually took place, and she asked if he knew anything about how to work audio-visual equipment.
Jack arrived at Top of the Tower, and Victor said he'd wondered how long it would take Jack to get there. Victor guessed that Jack wouldn't even entertain the offer, but Jack suggested that Victor put on a coat and scarf, since "hell just froze over." Jack accepted the terms of the offer.
Victor said Ashley had been hard to refuse, but Jack imagined that Victor had known how to draw her in to get what he wanted. Victor pointed out that both he and Jack knew that Jack was only kicking Brash & Sassy out to get even with his idiot brother, and loathing Billy was something they had in common. Jack asked if they had a deal, and Victor anticipated that the next night might turn out to be more interesting than he'd thought. The men shook hands to seal the deal.
Nick and Chelsea share a kiss>
At the Newman ranch, Victor and Nikki got ready for the gala, and they admired one another's formal attire. She asked how Victoria had reacted when she'd found out the reason Brash & Sassy hadn't been evicted, but Victor replied that he hadn't spoken to Victoria about it, since he'd been concerned that she would assume that he thought she wasn't capable of solving her own problems. Victor swore that he had confidence in Victoria's abilities, but he hadn't been able to pass up the opportunity. Nikki gushed that Victor had a generous heart, even if the rest of world couldn't see it. They kissed.
Nick arrived and told Nikki that she looked beautiful, and he asked how Faith was doing. Victor reported that the girl was adjusting, and they were very happy to have her there. Nikki added that it didn't mean Faith loved Nick any less, and she advised him to take things slowly to regain Faith's trust. Victor remarked that it was good advice, and Faith entered and asked what he meant. Nick offered to tell her if she gave him a big hug, and she obliged.
Faith guessed from Nick's casual attire that he wasn't going to the party, and Nick jokingly asked if she was trying to say that he didn't look as good as Victor did. Faith asked if Nick would be alone with Christian that night, and Nick mentioned that Chelsea was planning to stop by with Connor to watch the ball drop. Faith suggested that they do it at the ranch with her while her grandparents were at the benefit, and Nick happily replied that it had been the best invitation he'd had all year.
At Brash & Sassy, Victoria and Cane hurriedly packed things up before they got locked out at midnight. Billy arrived, and Victoria inquired whether he'd found a moving company who would work on New Year's Eve. Billy announced that he had something else planned -- a reporter from the Chronicle had agreed to send his breaking news team to film the dramatic scene Billy was about to make by calling Jack out for being the petty hypocrite he really was.
Victoria lectured that Billy embarrassing his brother in front of the press would make Billy look just as petty and vindictive as Jack was, and it would reflect negatively on the company. Dave entered with a Jabot security memo signed by the boss, and Billy was shocked by what it said. Victoria grabbed it and demanded to know why they were just finding out that they weren't being evicted. Dave indicated that he didn't know, and Victoria cheered, "Happy New Year!" Billy wondered what had happened, but Cane didn't care, since he would get to spend New Year's Eve with his wife. Cane hoped they'd all celebrate at the benefit, and he departed.
Victoria recalled that Jack had been determined to pry them out of there, and she theorized that he'd responded to Jill's threat to sue. Billy doubted that Jill had deterred Jack, and Victoria suggested that Jack had had a change of heart because of the holidays. Billy said he'd called off the camera crew, but he refused to start singing Jack's praises. Victoria decided to go to the benefit, and Billy figured he'd hang out with the kids. Victoria reminded him that Brash & Sassy had bought a table, and she expected him to be there.
Billy preferred to spend the night with the kids, but Victoria pointed out that the children were already asleep. Billy couldn't stomach the idea of seeing a smug Jack, but Victoria reminded Billy of the saying that the way someone spent New Year's Eve indicated how the whole next year would turn out. She noted that they'd been given a pretty great gift, and she saw no reason to start things off bitter and resentful. She urged him to think about it, and she headed out.
At Devon and Hilary's penthouse, Devon was surprised that Hilary wasn't dressed yet. She asked him how to pronounce something in French, but he quipped that he hadn't learned the language at his group home. Hilary practiced reciting the script and fretted that she needed to say things correctly in front of a sophisticated group of people. Devon assured her that the spotlight was made for her and that she had a gift for handling things on the fly. He gave her a supportive hug.
Hilary struggled with saying phrases in French, and she testily asked whose bright idea it had been to donate an expensive trip to a place no one could pronounce. Devon mentioned that it had been Victor's idea, and Hilary expected that all the big shots in the room would be judging her. Devon popped open a bottle of vintage Bordeaux and anticipated that one sip would have her talking like she'd been born in Paris. Hilary figured that no one would listen anyway if she slurred her words, but Devon had faith that someone as beautiful and intelligent as she was would get through it. He envisioned that she would have the crowd eating out of her hands, and they kissed. She nervously sipped the wine.
At GC Buzz, Mariah looked at a program for the benefit, and she flashed back to Hilary feigning sympathy after Mariah had tripped on live television. An employee named Theo gave Mariah the final copy to proofread for the auction, and Mariah agreed to look it over for any last-minute changes. Mariah rewrote the copy, and Theo offered to go with her to the benefit to run the teleprompter. She insisted that he take the holiday off, since she had it under control.
At Top of the Tower, Lily arranged the timing of the catering for the benefit. Meanwhile, Abby greeted Chelsea, who was there to drop off an original gown that she'd created for the charity auction. Ashley, Jack, and Neil stepped off the elevator and were impressed by how volunteers had transformed the restaurant within 24 hours. Jack complimented everyone's hard work, but he hated that they owed Victor anything. Neil praised Victor for not charging a nickel, but Jack grumbled that Victor had gotten his pound of flesh.
Jack groused that Victor could have helped without strings attached, but Victor had taken advantage of the situation. Ashley pointed out that she'd been looking forward to getting her lab back, but she thought it was a small price to pay. She encouraged Jack to think about the money they'd raise to help more people rebuild their lives, and she questioned what could be more meaningful than that.
Abby became forlorn as she tended to the flower arrangements. Lily asked if Abby was okay, and Abby reflected back on her wedding, which had taken place in that very room one year earlier. Abby murmured that it would have been her first anniversary with Stitch, and Lily suggested that Abby take some time to herself. Abby asserted that they had a lot to do for the gala, and she refused to feel sorry for herself, since they had a new year to ring in. The women hugged.
Neil thanked Chelsea for contributing an original design, and she said it had been her honor. Abby cautioned that anyone who bid against her would have a fight on their hands, and Chelsea hoped the gown made a lot of money for the foundation. Chelsea told them to have a wonderful time, and Abby assumed that Chelsea was going home to change clothes. Chelsea clarified that she wanted to skip the festivities, since she wasn't in the mood for a party. Abby gave Chelsea's hand a comforting squeeze, and Chelsea left.
Chloe and Kevin arrived at the gala for their New Year's Eve date, and he remarked that it had been cool of Michael and Lauren to share their table. Kevin contemplated bidding on some items, but Chloe pointed out what the minimum bids were. Kevin set down his paddle and decided to write a small check instead. Mariah entered and brushed by Kevin and Chloe, and she brusquely explained that she was producing the whole thing for Hilary. Chloe observed that Mariah was getting around great in high heels, and Mariah chalked it up to developing survival skills. Mariah sat down by the teleprompter and told herself that she wouldn't be the one taking a fall that night.
Jack and Neil greeted the guests, and Nikki and Victor arrived. Neil said Nikki looked stunning, and she replied that he looked dashing himself. Jack welcomed Victor and hoped Victor had his checkbook. Victor sarcastically thanked Jack for welcoming him to his "own damn building." Nikki confirmed that they planned to make a donation, and Neil acknowledged that Victor already had.
Devon and Hilary walked in, and Jack pulled Hilary aside. Devon approached Mariah and informed her that Hilary was having jitters. Devon explained that Hilary had never used a teleprompter before, and he asked Mariah to make sure it was on track. Mariah assured him that she'd triple-checked that the copy was exactly what the foundation had approved. Hilary joined them and wanted to take a look, and Mariah showed her how to read the words on the monitor as they scrolled up. Hilary seemed relieved, and Devon thanked Mariah for producing the show that night. Hilary requested another glass of wine.
Ravi entered the restaurant, dressed in a tuxedo and sneakers. Abby inquired whether he was the guy who had set up the tech, and he worriedly asked if he'd done something wrong. She swore that everything looked great, and she introduced herself. Abby realized that she hadn't seen him around Newman before, and Ravi informed her that he was a software engineer at Jabot. She inquired whether he knew Ashley, and he confirmed that Ashley was the best boss ever. Abby revealed that she was Ashley's daughter, and she said it had been great to meet him. Ashley waved to Ravi from across the room.
Jack asked what Billy was doing at the benefit, and Billy replied that he was there to enjoy the party, since Brash & Sassy had gotten a table. Billy contended that he believed in the foundation and its cause, no matter what Jack thought about him, and he wondered if Jack had retracted the eviction to extend good will to his errant younger brother. Jack implied that Billy might not be grateful if he knew the reason why, but he cut himself off and suggested that Billy sit back and watch.
Victoria excitedly informed Victor and Nikki that Jack had mysteriously changed his mind about kicking Brash & Sassy out. Victoria wanted to thank Jack, but Nikki divulged that Victor was the mysterious reason why Victoria still had the space. Nikki explained that the foundation had encountered a problem with the original venue, so Victor had allowed the use of the restaurant in exchange for maintaining Brash & Sassy's lease. Victoria pointed out that she could have handled it on her own, and Victor agreed. Billy joined them, and Victoria said he'd never guess who had persuaded Jack to let them keep their offices. Victor prompted Billy to thank him.
Jack called for everyone to take their seats, and he welcomed them to the first annual Abbott-Winters Foundation New Year's Eve gala. Jack thanked Victor for donating the beautiful venue, and he credited Devon and Lily for donating the food and drinks from the Athletic Club. Neil introduced Hilary as the event's host, and she stepped to the podium and greeted the crowd by reading the script from the teleprompter. Hilary enthusiastically stated that they had an exciting evening planned, and she hoped everyone had looked at the items that were up for auction. She invited everyone to watch a video presentation about the work the foundation had done, and the lights lowered as the video started playing.
Ashley told Billy to slow down with the drinks, but he countered that they were supposed to be celebrating. Hilary took some deep breaths, and Devon said he hadn't been able to tell that she'd been reading from a script. Hilary conceded that Mariah was doing a pretty good job, too. The video ended, and Hilary returned to the stage. She continued to carefully read from the teleprompter that someone near and dear to her had had a serious alcohol problem, and it was why she was proud of all the work the foundation had done. Hilary prepared to start the auction, and Mariah watched her closely.
Hilary displayed a photo of a racecar that she was sure would get the bidders' motors racing, and she anticipated that one generous person would be driving it home that night. Cane placed a bid, but Lily reminded him that he'd just bought a car. Billy and Cane bid one another up, and Cane gracefully bowed out by commenting that Billy could let him drive it someday. Hilary implored the crowd to do better, and Devon jumped in with a $300,000 bid. Hilary tried to goad Victor into a bidding war, but he declined. Hilary declared that it was sold to the most interesting man in the room, and she asked if it was how they were getting home. A touched Neil remarked to Devon that Devon hadn't needed to do it, but Devon pointed out that it was something Katherine would have done.
Hilary presented a Chelsea 2.0 original gown with a custom fit for the winner, and a model showed it off. Victor, Ashley, Abby, and Cane placed bids, and Ashley pushed Jack to get it for her birthday. Abby complained when Ashley kept outbidding her, but Ashley whispered that she was trying to get Victor to increase the ante. Nikki told Victor to let Cane have it, since Lily had done a lot to pull off the evening. Victor congratulated Cane, and Lily squealed in delight.
Hilary thanked everyone who had participated thus far, and Neil announced that they'd already raised a half-million dollars. Hilary proclaimed that they had a true showstopper for their final item, and Mariah simultaneously mouthed the same words as she watched them on the teleprompter. Hilary carefully read the details about a two-week trip to a private estate in France. She became more comfortable as she got past the French terms she'd just learned how to pronounce, and she confidently described the swimming pool, gardens, and winery on the property.
Hilary continued to read directly from the script about a wine tasting and a stroll through the grapevines, but she warned to be careful not to trip over the vines and fall flat on one's face like she'd caused Mariah to do on live television. Hilary suddenly stopped when she realized what she'd said out loud, and Devon demanded to know what Mariah had done. Mariah declared that it was time for everyone to find out the truth about who his wife really was.
At the Newman ranch, Faith couldn't believe how early Connor had zonked out, and Chelsea remarked that her son was good about going to sleep at his bedtime. Faith was determined to stay awake past midnight and tell Connor what he'd missed, but Nick teased that she'd fallen asleep every year. Faith chalked it up to being a little kid before, but she thought that year would be different. Faith prepared to make popcorn and have a movie marathon, and she told Nick and Chelsea to pick out their gear. Faith pulled out a bag with party hats and favors.
Later, Chelsea said she never got tired of the movie's ending, and Nick commented that everyone had ended up happy after all the big twists. Chelsea wished real life was that way, and Nick asked Faith what she wanted to watch next, but he realized that she'd fallen asleep. Nick remarked that it was even earlier than it had been the year before, and he picked her up to carry her upstairs. Chelsea prepared to get Connor and leave, but Nick asked her not to go.
Nick poured some Champagne, and he resolved to find more reasons to celebrate in 2017. Chelsea said she didn't make New Year's resolutions because she never ended up keeping them. Nick mentioned that Faith had resolved to spend more time with her pony, and he thought it showed where he rated. Chelsea assured him that he was an amazing dad, and Faith would get past the confusing time.
Nick pressed Chelsea to make a resolution, and she committed to try to live more in the moment in the new year. She thought it wasn't very original, but he considered it to be one of the better ones he'd heard, especially after the year she'd had. She thanked him for the many things he'd done for her lately and especially for that night, since she hadn't wanted to be alone. They slowly leaned in and shared a tender kiss.
Victoria gets a surprise visitor
During the auction at the foundation benefit, the guests were stunned when Hilary read from the teleprompter that she'd caused Mariah to trip and fall on live television. Hilary reeled from what Mariah had tricked her into saying, and Neil rushed to the stage and encouraged people to bid on the French getaway up for auction. Hilary raced over to confront Mariah, and she angrily asked how Mariah could do that to her. "Payback's a bitch. Am I right?" Mariah spat. Hilary accused Mariah of changing the copy to humiliate her, and Mariah compared it to how Hilary had made Mariah trip in the fashion show. Neil ushered the women to somewhere private.
Hilary snapped that she hadn't confessed, and she called Mariah a loser who'd been jealous because Hilary had taken back her job. Mariah pointed out that she'd never wanted to be on-camera, but Hilary had been so insecure that she'd made sure Mariah would never take her place again. Hilary noted that Mariah had just indicated that it had been an act of revenge, and Mariah huffed to consider it her resignation if it took being sneaky and low to get to the top. Mariah wished Devon good luck and stormed off, and Devon asked Neil to give him a second alone with Hilary.
Hilary huffed that Mariah had been out to get her, and she complained about the damage Mariah's actions had done to the foundation. Devon numbly realized that Mariah hadn't just tripped, and Hilary retorted that Mariah never should have been hosting. Devon accused Hilary of lying to him so that he'd hire her back, and he ranted that she'd lied and tricked him into making her an executive producer. He pointed out that he'd bought a penthouse for her to build their life together with trust and respect, and she insisted that they had all that. Devon growled that it was the biggest lie of all, and Hilary implored him to forget what had happened and start over.
Devon spat that it had been hateful to make Mariah fall, and Hilary swore that she was truly sorry. Hilary pleaded with him to understand, and she threw her arms around him and begged for forgiveness. Devon peeled her off of him and coldly stated that he'd been wondering when she'd throw herself at him again. Hilary couldn't believe he was siding with Mariah, and Devon pointed out that Mariah had only been on the show because she'd been doing him a favor. He blasted Hilary for intentionally making a fool out of Mariah, and he questioned how heartless a person could be.
Devon figured that Hilary expected him to ignore what she'd done, and Hilary called him the type of man who was kind and forgiving. Devon retorted that he was the type of man who was stupid for being with her, and he walked away. Hilary chased him to the elevator, but Neil held her back and told her to let Devon go.
Devon went to the parking lot, where he discovered a huge bow on the racecar he'd just won in the auction. He pulled out the keys, threw the bow aside, and got into the car. As Devon sped down the road, he flashed back to Hilary pledging her love and saying she was fighting for them, but Devon had told her that lying wasn't the answer. "She got you again. When are you going to learn, damn it?" he told himself as he revved the engine.
Meanwhile, Lily asked Cane if Hilary had really just admitted to making Mariah fall, and Cane opined that he thought Hilary was capable of doing it but not of confessing to it. Kevin remarked that Hilary had messed with the wrong woman. Ashley recalled that the video of Mariah's fall had gone viral, and it had looked like an accident, but she wasn't surprised that Hilary had caused the tumble. Jack hoped it was just a misunderstanding so they could get back to the business at hand.
Nikki wished she and Victor had gotten to bid on the trip to France, and Victor informed her that he'd made a preemptive bid on it. She was stunned that he'd done that for her, since he'd essentially paid for the same trip twice. He explained that he'd bought it once for the foundation and once for his "baby," since nothing pleased him more than to make her happy. Nikki requested that he never stop surprising her.
Kevin told Mariah to remind him never to cross her, but she hesitated to do a victory dance because she felt grimy for sinking to Hilary's level. Chloe urged Mariah never to feel bad for making sure justice was done, and they clinked their glasses together. Lauren and Michael arrived with Phyllis, who headed over to get some Champagne. Phyllis ran into Billy, but she silently grabbed a drink and walked away. Michael hoped they weren't late for the auction, since he was looking forward to outbidding Victor on the trip to France, but Chloe stated that they'd already missed the fireworks.
Lily taunted that she'd underestimated Hilary, since she'd known Hilary was ruthless, but she hadn't realized that Hilary's desperation was off the charts. Lily warned Hilary to stay away from Devon, since he was better off without her. Cane led Lily away, and Jack crossed over to Hilary and asked if she was okay. She forced a smile and dryly replied that she was terrific, since she'd been able to take down her marriage and his benefit in one fell swoop. Jack offered to take her home, but she opted to get a cab. She sincerely told Jack she was sorry, and she left.
Victor remarked to Jack that the foundation couldn't save everyone, and he didn't think Hilary was worth the effort. Victor imagined that it was exhausting for Jack to be Hilary's champion, and Jack incredulously asked if Victor was glad she was upset. Victor referred to everything Hilary had dished out, and he confirmed that he was glad some of it was falling back on her. The men argued about Jack's plan to evict Brash & Sassy to get even with Billy, but Jack swore that he planned to abide by the deal he and Victor had made. Victor noted that Jack and Billy could start off the new year with a clean slate, thanks to Victor.
Billy grumbled to Victoria that he wasn't looking forward to being grateful to Victor, and she asked if Billy would have preferred to be evicted. Billy jokingly questioned whether she'd ever wished she were an orphan, and she wondered what they'd fight about then. Billy pointed out that maybe they wouldn't fight about anything. Victoria answered a call from Hannah, who informed her that Johnny was sick. Billy insisted on going home with Victoria.
Ashley asked Ravi how things were going, and she reminded him that she'd warned that the event might be boring. Ravi called it amazing, and his mouth dropped open when he thought he spotted Victor Newman. Abby pulled a star-struck Ravi over and introduced her dad to the best software engineer in the world, and Ravi was flabbergasted that Victor was Abby's father. Victor wondered why Ravi wasn't on his payroll, and Jack declared that Ravi worked for him. Victor told Ravi to let him know when Ravi was ready to play in the big leagues. Nikki halted the shop talk and led Victor away to dance.
Mariah nervously babbled to Jack about how the event was for a great cause, and she wished she'd thought about it before she'd sabotaged the teleprompter and ruined everything. Jack calmly told her to stop and let him get a word in, and he insisted that she hadn't ruined anything, since the auction had been a great success. Jack added that the entire benefit had become a sensation because of Mariah, since the foundation was trending on social media, and it would only raise the organization's profile. Mariah was stunned that what she'd done had actually helped.
Ravi stared adoringly at Ashley, and Abby encouraged him to go for it. He wondered if Abby really thought "she" would say yes, and Abby encouraged him to ask. He anxiously straightened his tie and checked his breath, and Abby grabbed his arm and marched him over to Mariah, who was standing near Ashley. Abby pushed the pair onto the dance floor, where they awkwardly swayed to the music. Mariah asked Ravi what his sign was, and he replied, "Pi." She jokingly inquired whether he meant apple or pumpkin, but he referred to the mathematical symbol. Mariah recognized that they were off to a weird start, but she was down. They chuckled.
Michael asked Lauren to dance, but she wanted to check in with Fen. Phyllis pulled Michael to the dance floor, and they bumped into Victor and Nikki. Michael remarked that Victor had spared Jack a massive embarrassment in the courtroom by getting Jack to call off the eviction, and Victor said he'd done it for Victoria. Nikki wondered if Victoria was still there, and Phyllis mentioned that Victoria had left with Billy.
Ashley told Jack that it had been a smart move to negotiate the venue, even if it kept Brash & Sassy in their building. Jack admitted that it had been worth it to get another year of funding for the foundation, and he thanked her for rescuing him. She toasted to the foundation, and Neil declared that the evening had been perfect. Jack asked if Neil thought Devon and Hilary would patch things up, and Neil noted that Hilary always landed on her feet, but Devon had been upset and angry when he'd left. Ashley was sure that Hilary had reached Devon, since fights blew over quickly when people were in love. "Sometimes," Jack mumbled.
Lauren told Phyllis that she wanted to get Fenmore's new website up and running, and Phyllis announced that she was available full-time. Lauren hugged her and called it the best belated Christmas present ever. Phyllis credited Lauren with giving her an out so she could start the new year by letting go of the past. Lauren rejoined Michael, and he wondered why she seemed happy. She named him as the reason.
Victor commented to Abby that it had been quite a year, and she remembered getting married in that very room the year before. She questioned how she could keep going, and he urged her to fight and to cry, but he added that there was a time to dance. As they danced, Victor assured Abby that everything would be all right and that the next year would be wonderful for all of them, especially her.
Nikki noted that Victor had improved Abby's mood, and Victor asked what he could do for Nikki. She replied that other than taking her on a fabulous trip to France, he could accept her apology for every time she'd reprimanded him for interfering in their kids' lives. She shared that Dylan had made her realize that letting her children go and giving them space was the hardest thing to do. Nikki and Victor hugged.
Jack called for everyone's attention to get ready to ring in 2017 by grabbing a drink, a friend, and maybe a kiss. Ravi squirmed at the mention of a kiss, and he inquired whether he was supposed to find someone to kiss. Mariah told him that he was thinking too hard about it, and she excused herself to meet up with Kevin and Chloe. Kevin asked if Mariah had hit it off with the AV guy, and Mariah reported that Ravi was nice, but he spoke a foreign language -- math.
Phyllis requested a moment with Jack, and Neil pulled Ashley away to get set up for midnight. Jack didn't see the point in rehashing the last year, but he hoped the new year was good to Phyllis. She wished the same for him, and she announced that it was time to make the clean break that she'd mentioned at Christmas. He was surprised that she'd chosen that moment, and she inquired whether there was a better time. He agreed that there wasn't one, and she proclaimed that she was no longer working for Jabot. She wished him a happy New Year and headed to the elevator.
At the Newman ranch, Nick and Chelsea's kiss turned more passionate, and they fell back on the couch. They started to loosen their clothes, but Chelsea pulled back and told Nick to stop. He stammered that he was sorry, but she said all that mattered was that they'd stopped. She blamed their make-out session on the Champagne and getting caught up in the moment, and she grabbed her shoes and prepared to wake up Connor so they could leave. Nick asked her not to go.
Nick checked upstairs and reported that the children were all asleep. Chelsea remarked that life was simple for kids, and he replied that the so-called adults made things complicated. He broached the subject of what had happened between them, and she stressed that it wouldn't happen again. Nick figured that they just missed Adam and Sage, and they'd gotten lonely at that time of year.
Chelsea asserted that it had been wrong to turn to one another, since she needed Nick as a friend in her life and in Connor's. Nick pledged never to forget the promise he'd made to Adam to look out for them. Chelsea reasoned that they were both learning to live their lives without their partners, so the last thing either of them needed was more complications. She added that feelings had consequences, and she didn't think either of them could handle getting hurt again.
Later, Chelsea stared at the Christmas tree, and Nick guessed that she was thinking about how mad she was at him. She assured him that she wasn't mad, but she'd been serious about their friendship being really important to her, and she didn't want to mess it up. He swore that would never happen, and he presented her with a gift bag filled with goofy New Year's Eve props. She teased him for stealing it from his daughter, and she put on a pair of oversized glasses. They laughed, and he asked if they were still friends. She agreed that they were, but she wanted to get going before the parties started breaking up. She went upstairs to get Connor.
Later, Faith ran downstairs and mentioned that she'd set her phone alarm to wake her up before midnight. She asked about Chelsea, and Nick said Chelsea and Connor had gone home. Faith was excited that she hadn't missed the ball drop, and she cuddled next to Nick on the couch. They put on blinking headbands and counted down the final seconds of the year. Meanwhile, Chelsea sat alone at her penthouse, staring at a photo of Adam.
At home, Victoria wanted to take Johnny up to bed, but Billy thought reading a book would keep the boy's stomach from doing somersaults. Billy suggested a story about the boy who cried wolf, and Victoria headed up the stairs to check on Katie, but she stopped to peer down fondly at father and son on the couch. Billy finished the book and asked Johnny about the moral of the story, and Johnny said wolves were bad. Billy explained that the story was also saying that people stopped listening if someone cried wolf too often, and they might not believe it when the wolf was really there. Victoria returned and asked if Johnny was ready for bed, and Billy offered to take him upstairs and make sure there were no wolves in Johnny's room.
Billy returned downstairs and reported that Johnny had been asleep before his head had hit the pillow. He thanked Victoria for letting him put their son to bed, and she mused that it never got old. Billy started to head out, but Victoria grabbed his hand and said he didn't have to feel like he had to rush off. Billy hesitated to crowd her, since he'd sensed that she'd been keeping her distance. She conceded that she'd been stressed out, but it was a relief that Brash & Sassy didn't have to move out.
Billy thought it looked like it would be a good year for him, Victoria, and their kids, and she said she wanted that more than anything. They wished one another a happy New Year, and he leaned in to kiss her, but the doorbell rang. Billy bet Victor was there to make sure things didn't get out of hand. Victoria opened the door and was shocked to find Reed with a police officer. The cop asked if the teen belonged to Victoria.
At the gala, balloons fell from the ceiling at midnight. Mariah stood alone as Kevin and Chloe kissed, and Ravi nervously pecked Ashley on the cheek. The guests gathered at the window as the fireworks show began outside.
Hilary returned to the penthouse and called out for Devon. She realized he wasn't there, and she tried to call him, but the call went straight to voicemail. Hilary waited at home alone as the fireworks exploded. Meanwhile, Devon tore down the road in his racecar, and he flashed back to her attempt to apologize. He floored the accelerator, and the speed of the car climbed. Devon lost control of the car and crashed.
Due to the extended New Year's holiday, CBS aired an encore presentation of the classic 1984 wedding between Victor and Nikki. This was a planned scheduling change and were will be no "lost" episodes as a result.
Regular programming resumed on Monday, January 2, 2017, and picked up where the Thursday, December 29, 2016 episode concluded.
Thank you for visiting soapcentral.com over the past 12 months and for sharing your love of all things soap. Here's wishing you a very happy year ahead.