At the Genoa City Athletic Club, Zack was leaving a phone message for Alice demanding she get in touch when Abby approached. Abby greeted Zack with a kiss on the cheek. Zack didn't reciprocate Abby's token of affection, and she said, "Wow, that wasn't warm and welcoming." Zack claimed he'd been dealing with work problems. Abby explained that their DesignDate app needed tweaking because the number of men outnumbered the pool of women. Abby asked Zack if he'd finalized the plans to purchase ads for their dating app on Brash & Sassy's site. Zack seemed out of sorts and didn't recall Abby having made the request. Abby noted that Zack was usually much more organized. Zack lashed out and said, "Give a rest!" Zack apologized, but Abby recalled that he might still be angry because she'd refused to sleep with him. When Abby rose to leave, Zack apologized.
In the stables at the Newman ranch, Tessa asked Mariah about pretending she was Cassie's ghost. Mariah explained that when she'd first carried out the cruel ruse, she hadn't known that Sharon was her mother or that her twin, Cassie, had ever existed. Mariah admitted she'd hated herself all the more when thinking back to what she'd done. Tessa expressed appreciation to Mariah for helping locate Crystal and said Mariah was like family. Mariah replied, "Well, you're not like family to me." Responding to Tessa's reaction, Mariah explained that Tessa meant more to her than anything. Tessa said she'd never be able to repay Mariah. Tessa, anxious, cried that she couldn't just sit still and wait, and she rushed out of the barn. Mariah followed her to Sharon's house.
At Sharon's house, Sharon warned Alice that she couldn't escape because ranch security would capture her immediately and alert the police. Sharon added that police would question Alice at length. Alice noted that because she'd been captured and dragged to the ranch, Sharon would face consequences, too. Sharon waved Alice's phone in the air and explained that she'd direct police to search the phone and trace the call Alice had made to arrange for Crystal's return to Genoa City. Sharon added that police would likely find even more information that Alice wouldn't be able to satisfactorily explain.
Sharon praised Alice for helping Crystal. Sharon promised that if Alice arranged a meeting after Crystal's plane landed, Alice would be set free. Sharon listened to the call, which Alice made to Leon to arrange the meeting. Alice asked to speak to Crystal and assured the young woman she would be safe. Sharon wrote instructions on a pad and showed them to Alice. After the call ended, Alice expressed concern about the place Sharon had set up to meet with Crystal.
Tessa and Mariah entered Sharon's house seeking an update. When Alice spotted Mariah, she said, "Holy smokes! Who are you, for real?" Mariah replied, "Surprise! Cassie was my twin sister." Sharon explained that the doctor had drugged her, so she'd been unaware that she'd given birth to twins and thought the doctor was helping give her baby a better life. Mariah, addressing Alice, said, "So Cassie got adopted by you, and I got a nurse lady who handed me over to a cult." Alice refused to forgive Mariah for pretending to be Cassie's ghost. Sharon explained that Mariah and Cassie had shared much in common, so had Cassie been present, she would've shared the shame sentiment as Mariah had. Tessa asked Alice about the other girls and insisted police should shut down the sex ring.
Sharon escorted Alice to the rendezvous spot in the cemetery where Cassie was buried. Sharon said she'd also experienced the trauma of facing Cassie's ghost. Sharon said that eventually, she and Mariah had concluded that Cassie wouldn't have been angry at either of them. Sharon assured Alice that Cassie had forgiven Alice because she'd "taken the side of angels" for agreeing to reunite Crystal and Tessa. Sharon said she hoped Cassie might inspire Alice to turn her life around. Alice replied, "Or you'll sic the cops on me?" Sharon downplayed the role of police and told Alice that after Crystal and Tessa were reunited, Alice would have to make a decision on her own about what to do.
Alice insisted that she cared about "her girls," but Sharon demanded that Alice end her association with sex trafficking. Sharon hid when Leon escorted Crystal into the dark, foggy cemetery. Leon expressed his displeasure with the rendezvous site, but Alice claimed the boss had cleared the plans and would make known additional instructions later. Tessa and Sharon, hidden by trees and bushes, watched and listened nearby. Crystal rushed to Alice's arms, and the two women turned to leave.
Sharon stepped on a tree branch and drew Leon's attention. Leon grabbed Sharon by the arm and said, "What the hell is going on here?" Alice insisted that the boss had approved of everything. Leon remembered Sharon being with Crystal, so he refused to back off. Mariah picked up a large rock and hurled it against the chapel wall to frighten Leon. Tessa and Mariah stepped out of the shadows. Crystal called out to Tessa. Alice quickly recovered the firearm Leon had dropped, and Mariah instructed her to aim it at Leon. Mariah protested when Alice refuse and set Leon free. Alice said she'd done what Cassie would want by reuniting Crystal and Tessa. Sharon and Mariah watched as Crystal and Tessa tightly embraced. Alice seemed uneasy, seemingly aware that Leon would contact Zack, which Leon did.
In Victor's office at Newman Enterprises, Victor told Noah that Nick resented his father's help. Victor said Nick desired to build a business on his own as his father had. Kevin overheard Victor brag that he'd built his business empire as a legacy for his children and grandchildren. Victor told Noah that he owned a property in St. Louis occupied by a restaurant that would work as a perfect venue for Noah and Nick's expansion plans for the Underground. Victor offered the property to Noah. Noah, pleased, seemed eager to accept Victor's offer.
After Noah left, Kevin, using a laptop, set about helping Victor transfer funds from Nick's accounts, leaving him strapped for cash. Kevin, recalling what he'd overheard, said, "That was fascinating gamesmanship back there. Offering Noah a lease, knowing that Nick would freak. Impressive." In his own defense, Victor insisted he'd merely offered an available property to his grandson. Kevin replied that as soon as Nick's bank accounts were emptied, it would end Noah's big dreams. Victor became annoyed with Kevin and insisted that Noah had his own trust funds and didn't need Nick's help. Kevin suddenly expressed surprise when he successfully hacked into Nick's bank accounts and was able to transfer all funds to Victor's account.
At Cane and Lily's house, Lily told Cane she planned to file for divorce because she no longer wished to live in limbo. Mattie and Charlie arrived for a family meeting to hear the new development. After Cane, Mattie, and Charlie talked about school sports, Lily announced that she and Cane would be divorcing. Charlie asked why his parents had made the decision to end their marriage. Lily explained that she hoped the divorce might help their family move on and begin to heal. Mattie asked where she and Charlie would live and how visitations would be arranged. Cane said the children would remain in the home, and Lily added that Cane could visit with Mattie and Charlie whenever they wished.
Mattie asked if Lily had decided to end her marriage because of Jordan. Charlie replied, "This is about Juliet and her baby. Why would you even bring up someone else?" Charlie told Cane that he'd be free to move in with Juliet if he wanted. Cane said moving in with Juliet wasn't what he wanted, though he planned to do the right thing for the baby. Lily assured their children that their dad loved them, so they shouldn't say anything to make the situation harder than it already was. Mattie cried, "How could it get any harder? Everything's upside-down." Charlie put his arm around his sister and said, "Not us. It's you and me." Lily and Cane assured their children that they could count on their parents' love and support. After the kids went to their rooms, Cane told Lily that he'd always love her. After Cane left, Lily began sobbing. Mattie returned to console her mother.
At Chelsea's penthouse, Nick and Chelsea made love on the sofa. Afterward, Chelsea said she'd missed Nick while he'd been away. Chelsea admitted she'd been unsure about inviting Nick to move in. Chelsea added that sharing her life with Nick was definitely what she wanted. Noah arrived and asked Nick and Chelsea if they'd seen Tessa. The both said they hadn't. Noah said he'd been unable to contact Tessa since he'd returned to town.
Noah told Nick about Victor offering a property in St. Louis for expansion of the Underground. Nick insisted Victor was attempting to maneuver his way back in the family. Nick asked Chelsea to back up his claim about Victor, but she suggested he at least listen to Noah's proposal. Noah insisted that the lease would be risk-free, but Nick disagreed and urged Noah to pass on Victor's offer. Chelsea agreed with Nick. Noah said they'd need additional capital to secure property at a different location. Nick said he had the funds readily available. Nick used his phone to log into his accounts, so he could transfer the funds. Nick was shocked when he logged into his personal account and discovered a zero balance. Nick exclaimed, "Where's all my money?"
Zack sets a contingency plan in motion
In the Jabot hallway, Kevin and Gloria discussed how she'd taken Bella out for a day of shopping and manicures. Gloria wished Kevin and Bella were staying longer, but Kevin insisted that he had to get back to the best tech job in town. Gloria speculated that he had a special someone, but Kevin countered that it was too soon. She noted that he had a peaceful inner glow, and he attributed it to loving living in Portland. Kevin wondered if Gloria and Jack were still involved, but she sourly reported that Jack had dumped her for Nikki.
Gloria added that she'd met a charming man named Graham but that he preferred to remain friends. She bemoaned that she didn't even get to be a doting grandmother with Fen away at college and Bella in Portland, and she contemplated knitting sweaters and getting a cat. Kevin lectured that self-pity didn't look good on her, and he was sure that she would find someone who appreciated her. She questioned why he had to live so far away, and he promised that he'd be back soon. They said they'd miss one another, and they hugged.
At Newman Enterprises, Victor praised Abby's work and put her in charge of the Bancroft deal. She was honored that he had confidence in her, and he asserted that she deserved it, since the Design Date app was a certified success. He inquired about how things were going with her and Zack, and she replied that she enjoyed spending time with her new suitor. Victor wished her a good time that night, and she stepped out. Abby stopped in the corridor, reentered Victor's office, and admitted that everything she'd just said had been a lie.
Abby assured Victor that the app was a winner, but she had fibbed about her and Zack. She explained that Zack was sometimes a terrific boyfriend, but she felt like he was keeping something from her. Victor warned that it wasn't always a good idea to mix business with romance, and he was sure that hundreds of men were waiting in the wings to scoop up a beautiful, smart woman like her if it didn't work out. Abby wondered if there was any chance that Victor and Nikki would get back together, but he considered it doubtful. Abby understood the feeling of loneliness and need for companionship, and she suggested that maybe it was time for him to move on and find someone else.
At the Athletic Club, Nick left a voicemail message, inquiring whether a bank error had caused his account to appear empty. Nikki asked what was wrong, and she observed that he kept looking at his phone. She guessed that Victor was responsible for his mood, and Nick complained that his father kept finding ways to insert himself into his and Noah's lives. Nikki empathized because Victor hadn't had any problem letting her and Jack know that he was aware of their relationship. Nikki added that Victor wasn't alone, since Dina had also decided to bust into their business.
Nikki rolled her eyes at the thought of Victor and Dina becoming best pals, and Nick swore that he'd always be there for her. Nick answered a call and learned that the bank had no idea how his account had been drained, and he told them to keep working on it. Nick informed Nikki that his checking account had been completely wiped out, but the bank didn't know why or how. Nikki prepared to cancel her plans with Jack, but Nick insisted that she keep them because he had his own date with the gym. Nikki departed.
Nick was surprised when he ran into Kevin, who explained that he was only in town for a quick visit. Nick expressed remorse for showing up at Chloe's funeral, and he wished he had handled things differently. Kevin spat that Nick should feel worse for driving Chloe to commit suicide, and Nick realized that trying to apologize had been a bad idea. Nick turned to leave, but Kevin ranted that it was just like Nick to walk away and never accept the consequences of his actions. The men argued until Nick firmly stated that they were done.
At the gym, Victor congratulated Nick on his successful trip to Michigan. Victor observed that Nick seemed relaxed in spite of everything on his plate, and Nick insisted that there was nothing to stress about. Victor hoped Nick could keep it up, since having multiple clubs in different states required attention to detail. Victor declared that it was on Nick's shoulders whether he succeeded or failed, but he thought Nick could never admit failure because he was too stubborn for regrets, no matter how costly they were. Victor cautioned that Nick stood to lose everything if the smallest thing fell through the cracks.
Later, Kevin met with Victor in the Athletic Club dining room and explained that he hadn't wanted to send anything sensitive over the Internet. Kevin handed Victor the passwords to Nikki's cell phone and email, and Victor asked about Nick's remaining accounts. Kevin promised to keep going until he'd returned the $500 million to Victor, but he pointed out that he could do that from anywhere, and he had an early flight in the morning. Kevin asked Victor to keep him in mind if other work became available, and Victor said it had been good working with him.
Dina stepped off the elevator at Jabot, charged into Jack's office, and slammed the door shut. She demanded her laptop, and Jack politely informed her that Ravi was in charge of the computers, but he'd left for the night. She recognized that Jack was still upset about the photos, but she relayed that Victor had assured her that he wasn't plotting revenge against Jack. Jack declared that she was a fool if she believed that.
Dina chided Jack for antagonizing Victor by dating his wife, and she insisted that Nikki was just trying to make Victor jealous. Jack scoffed at the idea that Victor was biding his time, waiting for the perfect moment to win Nikki back, and he swore that Nikki had changed. Dina dreaded the day that Nikki went back to Victor, and Jack questioned where Dina's concern about him had been before. Dina huffed that maybe she'd changed, too, and she wanted him to know how much she loved him. Jack snapped that he'd almost believed it until she'd hired a private investigator to follow him.
Jack guessed that Graham had hired the investigator for Dina, since there was nothing that made Graham happier than getting between her and her children. Dina haughtily stated that Graham didn't tell her what to do, and Jack asked if she'd hired the investigator on her own. Dina complained that whenever Jack heard something he didn't like, he blamed Graham. They continued to argue, but Gloria interrupted to show Nikki in. Dina said she'd just been leaving, but Nikki sarcastically thanked Dina for sending the lovely photos, adding that she and Jack were thinking of using them for their Christmas cards.
Dina anticipated that despite Nikki's jokes, it would be very sad when they saw how things ended. Nikki countered that she had no plans to end her relationship with Jack, so Dina had better get used to it. Dina questioned whether Nikki's marriage was worth so little that she'd openly cheat on Victor, and Nikki replied that her marriage had provided many advantages, like learning how to punish people who tried to interfere in and control her life. Dina incredulously asked if Nikki was threatening her, and Nikki assured her that it was not a threat but a promise. Jack wholeheartedly sided with Nikki.
After Dina left, Jack contended that his relationship with Nikki wasn't any of Dina's business, but Nikki understood that mothers worried about their kids, even when they'd been apart for way too long. Nikki realized that she'd grown to pity Dina for trading watching her children grow up to pursue her own happiness. Jack added that Dina had never achieved it, so she was back to try to retrieve what she'd lost. Nikki was grateful that she'd maintained her children's love and support, and Jack said she also had his. He promised to protect her from whatever "hell" Victor rained down, but she responded, "Don't."
Nikki recalled that she'd once been a vulnerable, weak addict, but she wasn't that person anymore. She recounted that she'd had setbacks, but she'd always ended up stronger. Jack questioned whether she didn't want protection from Victor, and Nikki clarified that she didn't need it. Jack proclaimed that she'd officially gotten her mojo back, and she credited him for that. He remarked that she was the strong, confident Nikki he loved, but he anticipated that Victor would want revenge, and he was prepared.
Jack said he'd made a reservation at a restaurant just outside of town, and Nikki was thrilled to not be going to the Athletic Club. Jack admitted that he didn't want to run into Victor, since he only wanted an enchanted evening with her. Nikki mused that they were halfway there if there was no more talk of Victor, and they headed out. Nikki remarked that she didn't want to harm Victor, but nothing would make her happier than if he just moved on.
Gloria ordered Champagne at the Athletic Club bar, and Victor told the bartender to put it on his tab. She chirped that he knew how to brighten a lady's lousy night, since she'd just had to say goodbye to Kevin again. She mentioned that she'd run into Nikki at Jabot earlier, and Victor barked that Nikki and Jack deserved one another. Victor suggested that Gloria work for someone other than Jack, since someone with her charms and talents could find a job anywhere. She asked if he was trying to employ her, and he ordered a double tequila.
Across the room, Nick told someone over the phone to stop trying to find who'd hacked his account, since he'd figured out who it had been. He watched Victor and Gloria clink their glasses together.
While driving in a car, Sharon thanked Alice for reuniting Crystal with her sister. Alice groaned that her head was still spinning after being kidnapped and standing up to Leon, and Sharon applauded her for doing the right thing. Alice worried about explaining things to her boss, but Sharon thought that was the last thing Alice should be concerned about. Alice asked if Sharon had changed her mind and intended to have her arrested, after all.
Sharon said she knew Alice was a good person deep inside, since Alice had kept her promise to get Crystal back to Tessa. Alice confessed that she'd done it for Cassie, and Sharon was sure that Cassie would have been proud of Alice. Alice mused that Sharon was lucky to have Mariah, and Sharon gushed that she was grateful that Mariah was in her life. Alice imagined that Cassie would have loved Mariah, and Sharon regretted that the twins had never met, but mostly she felt lucky that she'd gotten a second chance to raise another beautiful daughter. Sharon added that she also wanted Alice to have a second chance, which was why she was giving Alice a head start before calling the cops.
Alice couldn't fathom where she'd go, and Sharon encouraged her to get as far away as possible to start over. Alice complained that a fresh start would be hard, but Sharon pointed out that prison would be, too. Sharon suggested that Alice channel her skills in a healthier direction by getting a legitimate job, but Alice lamented that she'd invested a lot in her girls. Sharon lectured that Alice's girls were victims of ruthless people who only placed Alice one small notch above the product they were peddling, and she warned that they wouldn't think twice about hurting Alice. Sharon questioned whether Alice wanted to risk her freedom and her life to continue down that path.
Mariah and Tessa took Crystal to the cottage, and Mariah offered to make something to eat. Crystal panicked that she couldn't stay, since she had to leave town right away. Tessa urged Crystal to relax because it was over, but Crystal fretted that her captors would try to find her. Tessa insisted that Crystal was safe, but Crystal cried that the people who'd held her were evil.
Over the phone, Leon admitted to Zack that he'd screwed up, but he explained that Alice had sworn that Zack had signed off on everything. Zack hissed that she'd played them both, but there was no time for regrets. Zack instructed Leon to put their contingency plan in motion, and they made arrangements to meet.
Alice crept into the deserted safe house and packed a suitcase. Her phone rang, and she apologetically explained to Zack that she hadn't gotten back to him because she'd been kidnapped and forced to have Leon take Crystal back to Genoa City. Zack ominously said he'd thought maybe Alice had stabbed them in the back, but Alice wailed that her captors had tricked her into handing Crystal over. Alice swore that Crystal wouldn't reveal anything about their operation, but Zack claimed that he didn't care if Crystal talked because he'd already moved the girls to another location.
Alice mentioned that she'd seen things packed up, and she was surprised when Zack noted that she'd packed some things, too. He told her to look in the living room above the bookcase, where she spotted a camera. She claimed that she wanted to be ready for what was next, and he crowed that it would be business as usual. Alice hoped to take few days off, and Zack feigned sympathy after all she'd been through. He assured her that she was invaluable, and he mentioned that he'd left something for her outside to put toward a vacation. She found an envelope on the porch, and she promised that she'd be back in a few days, since the girls were her life.
Paul arrived at the cottage and informed Sharon that his team was heading over to the address where the girls had been kept. Mariah entered and pulled Sharon aside to voice concern about Crystal walking in and seeing a male stranger. Crystal suddenly appeared, and Tessa softly explained that Paul was a good friend and the police chief. Paul expressed relief to see Crystal, and he thought they had the same goal -- to arrest certain people, try them for their crimes, and send them to prison so they wouldn't ever be able to hurt girls again. Paul asked Crystal to tell him who was in charge of the sex trafficking ring.
Crystal recalled that she'd only met the boss once briefly, but she hadn't gotten his name. Paul pledged to find out everything about the guy, and he asked how many women were still in the ring. Crystal wasn't sure, but she mentioned one girl who she'd become friends with -- Natalia. Tessa revealed that she and Sharon had met Natalia, who had told them about a woman whose job it was to look after the girls. Paul inquired whether the woman was based at the same address. Meanwhile, the police busted down the door to the safe house.
Sharon divulged that the woman who'd chaperoned the girls was Alice Johnson. Paul was stunned that it was the same woman who'd adopted Cassie, and Sharon confirmed that Alice had been the woman who she'd seen driving the silver sedan. Paul recounted that they hadn't obtained a license plate number, but he figured that the car should be easy to identify if it was Alice's. Paul couldn't imagine what Crystal had been through, but he insisted that she needed police protection as a witness in an ongoing investigation. Sharon asked how long Crystal would be gone, and Paul explained that it depended on how long it took to locate the leaders of the ring.
Mariah inquired whether there was any alternative, but Paul reiterated that it was necessary to keep Crystal safe. Crystal whimpered that she didn't want Tessa or her friends to be in danger, so she thought it was best if she went. Tessa wanted to go with Crystal, but Crystal protested that Tessa had too many amazing opportunities there, and she'd feel guilty if Tessa put them on hold for her. Tessa and Mariah led Crystal upstairs to pack some clothes for her. A sympathetic Paul guessed that Sharon was thinking about Dylan, and she replied that she was trying not to. Paul hugged her.
Later, Tessa and Crystal held one another close, and Tessa told her to take care of herself. Crystal promised that she would, and Tessa swore that she'd give Crystal the life they'd talked about when it was all over. Crystal thanked Tessa, Mariah, Paul, and Sharon for what they'd done for her, and she wanted them to know how much it meant to her. Tessa walked Crystal to the door, and the sisters said they loved one another before they hugged one last time. Tessa, Mariah, and Sharon watched as Paul led Crystal away.
Alice got into her car and opened the envelope, which contained what appeared to be bundles of cash. She flipped through the bills and was stunned to find that there were only blank sheets of paper on the inside of each stack. Leon suddenly jumped into the passenger side of the car, but Alice managed to exit the car on the driver's side. She stared into the headlights of an oncoming vehicle as the bills went flying into the air.
Jack makes plans to take down Brash & Sassy>
Jack held the elevator door for Victoria. Jack proceeded to brag about his next big plan for the Jabot products, and he assumed that Victoria had her strategy in place for Brash & Sassy as well. Jack gloated that Jabot's coffers were flush, and they were ready to implement Phase 2. His and Ashley's wildest dreams were about to come true. Victoria confirmed that she had a plan, and their strategy would take them to new heights.
Jack knew that Victoria was fired up to rebuild her brand because she didn't need to worry about bankruptcy, thanks to the Hamilton-Winters bridge loan. Victoria added that it included their renewed spike in sales at Fenmore's and their bottom line. Jack said he couldn't wait to see what would happen and warned Victoria that they were in for "one hell of a fight." Victoria stated that she was looking forward to it and added, "May the best company win." As Victoria exited the elevator, Jack smiled and said that he was counting on it.
Billy and Phyllis were at the Athletic Club gym. Billy told Phyllis that he'd booked a massage for her because she'd seemed a little stressed. Billy took a call from Victoria, who mentioned a Phase 2 Jabot rollout. She asked Billy to go to the office immediately. Victoria warned Billy not to access Phyllis' computer. Billy said he'd talk to Victoria later and disconnected the call.
Billy stopped Phyllis from taking her computer to her massage appointment, claiming that she didn't have the time to put it into a locker. After Phyllis left, Billy called Victoria and told her that he had Phyllis' computer. Victoria felt it was too risky, and she didn't want him to access the Jabot server. She felt that they had enough information. Billy felt it was the perfect time and asked why Victoria wasn't interested in the Phase 2 plan. Victoria advised him to think about the price he'd have to pay if he got caught.
Billy contemplated accessing the server, but before doing so, he recalled an argument he'd had with Victoria about accessing Jabot's server and how he'd assured her that he wouldn't get caught. After some pondering Billy decided to get the information he needed. When Phyllis returned, they left the club together.
Chelsea had been working from home when Nick returned from his run. Nick told her that the missing money from his account hadn't been a mistake -- it had been Victor's doing. Chelsea was shocked. Nick said that he'd run into Kevin at the Athletic Club. The hack had Kevin's name written all over it because it was in Kevin's wheelhouse. Nick suspected that Victor had taken Nick's money with Kevin's help. Nick explained that at the gym, Victor had said that Nick's business was risky and had warned Nick to pay attention to every detail because the slightest misstep could lose it all. Nick said that Victor had sent him a message with his comments.
Nick told Chelsea that it was Victor's way of reclaiming the money that Victoria, he, and Abby had won in their lawsuit against Victor four years earlier. Chelsea asked about Abby. Nick said that Abby was the golden child -- this month. She was the only one working at Newman Enterprises, and Abby hung on Victor's every word.
Nick added that Victor had been doing everything in his power to get Victoria back into his orbit, and he'd probably succeed. Nick refused to back down. He told Chelsea that Victor expected him to forget what Victor had put the family and Nikki through. Victor couldn't stand it that Nick had turned his back on him. Chelsea saw how Victor had tried to show Nick that he couldn't be successful without Victor by procuring a liquor license for the Ann Arbor location and dangling the St. Louis property to Noah. Nick said that Victor would consider it poetic justice.
Nick said that Victor was still pulling his strings and admitted he was partially responsible because he hadn't broken the vicious cycle. In the end, Victor always got what he wanted, and he'd make everyone feel grateful that he'd accepted them back into his good graces. Nick promised Chelsea that this time, things would end differently.
Chelsea wondered how much damage would be done before the story ended. Nick felt that emptying his checking account had been the beginning of something much larger as well as an attempt to make Nick look incompetent. He assured Chelsea that Nick was in Victor's crosshairs to show how much power Victor had -- not Chelsea or the boys. Nick assured Chelsea he wouldn't let Victor get away with it. Nick knew what he had to do, and Victor wouldn't "see it coming."
As Ashley approached Dina's suite, she recalled the conversation she'd had with Dina about Graham's mother and how Graham had ingratiated himself into Dina's life to the point that he was the major beneficiary of Dina's estate. When Dina had suggested that Ashley needed to focus on her own agenda, Ashley had advised that her only agenda was to protect Dina. Ashley had said that Graham had been trying to turn Dina against her children. Dina had said that because of Ashley's accusations, it might work.
Dina opened the door when Ashley knocked and asked if it was Ashley's turn to admonish her. Ashley wanted to know why Dina had sabotaged Jack by sending the photos of Jack and Nikki to Victor. Dina claimed she'd do anything to have Jack walk away from Nikki before he got hurt, and she asked Ashley to show herself out. Ashley refused to leave until she'd had her say.
Ashley gave Dina's computer back to her and apologized for accusing Graham of cyber-theft. She told Dina it had been a false alarm and apologized for the undue stress. Dina accused Ashley of treating Graham like a common criminal. Ashley asked if Dina had questioned Graham about his dead mother that she'd spoken to recently. Ashley said that Graham had been deceiving Dina for years. At that moment, Graham walked in, and Dina informed him that Ashley had returned her computer.
Graham said he hoped Ashley had proof that he hadn't been guilty of accessing the Jabot server. He noted that Ashley appeared disappointed. Ashley admitted she'd been wrong. Graham forgave her and added that he and Ashley might be more alike than they'd realized. Ashley spat that she didn't think so because she was honest and trustworthy. Dina asked Ashley to leave before the argument escalated.
After Ashley left, Graham told Dina that he felt vindicated, and he'd proven that he hadn't done any of the things Ashley had accused him of. Dina stated that she'd always defended Graham and disputed every claim, but Ashley had told her that she believed that Graham's mother was still alive. Graham asked why Ashley would think that. He claimed that Ashley was obviously desperate to have conjured up such a twisted story. Dina mentioned the retirement community in Florida where a Mrs. Bloodworth resided. Graham admitted that a woman with the same last name lived there, but she was his aunt -- not his mother.
Graham admitted that he'd check in with his aunt from time to time. Dina asked why he'd never told her about his aunt. Graham said it hadn't been important, but Dina felt he should have told her. She felt that Graham hadn't spoken about it because he didn't like to talk about his good deeds. Dina said she knew that he had a big heart. Dina was bitter that her children didn't see him the way she did. Her children were full of resentment, and Ashley couldn't even give Graham a proper apology. Graham said Ashley could treat him any way she wanted, but the truth would always be revealed in the end.
In Jacks office, Jack asked Ravi if there had been any unauthorized logins. Ravi reported that there hadn't been. Jack asked Ravi to warn him immediately when it happened. Ravi acknowledged that he would, and he left. Ashley arrived a short time later and told Jack about her visit with Dina.
Ashley mentioned that she couldn't wrap her head around Billy's betrayal and told Jack that she didn't like his plan to entrap Billy. Jack said that if Billy could steal his wife, Billy could steal from Jabot. Jack assured her it was a brilliant plan. He read Ashley the false memo he'd planted for Billy, stating that the production of the men's line would be significantly reduced. Jack couldn't wait to see the look on Billy and Victoria's faces when they discovered that Jack had actually doubled Jabot's budget.
Ashley was afraid that if any Jabot employee saw that memo, it would create panic. Jack assured her that no one but Billy would read it. He said that Ravi had it covered. He said that Brash & Sassy would panic when they saw the budget for the men's line, and with Brash & Sassy's financial situation, they wouldn't be able to compete. Ashley asked why Jack had to go after the Dare consumers -- it was Billy's pride and joy. Jack claimed he had to use the right catnip to lure that tomcat downstairs.
Ashley felt that Jack should have blocked Billy's access to the server and defused the war rather than intensifying it. She wanted Jack to give Billy the benefit of the doubt, and Billy would see that he'd made a huge mistake and had crossed the line. Ashley felt certain that Billy would stop himself from doing that again. She told Jack that his plan was a wasted effort. Jack said that no amount of faith in Billy would give him a conscience.
Ravi burst into the office and said that Dina's password had been used to access their server. Jack gloated that Billy had struck again. Ashley said it could have been Dina because she'd returned Dina's computer to her, but Ravi confirmed the login had been from Phyllis' laptop and that the Jabot Junior file had been uploaded.
Jack maintained that Billy needed to prove that he was better at business than Jack, and Victoria needed a win to prove herself. Ashley spat that she hated the situation. Jack understood that Ashley wanted to take the neutral ground and be there for both her brothers, but it was time to stand up for John Abbott's company. Ashley said that she wouldn't fight Jack. Jack crowed that Billy and Victoria didn't stand a chance.
Phyllis arrived, and Ashley and Ravi left. Jack commented that Lauren had done a bang-up job on the promos. Phyllis waited for a compliment, but one wasn't forthcoming. Phyllis said she'd done some digging and confirmed that Brash & Sassy hadn't manipulated their numbers, but she wouldn't stop until she had Victoria's butt nailed to the wall.
Jack advised Phyllis to stop digging because they'd decided on a different direction, and Phyllis' help wasn't needed. Phyllis pointed out that she'd proven what a valuable ally she'd been and how willing she'd been to expose their competition. Jack snidely commented that her type of loyalty was rare and that she'd done it all to protect Jabot. She admitted she wanted Billy out of Victoria's orbit. Jack said that her allegiance had been noted, but it wasn't about her or her personal agenda.
Jack said that Brash & Sassy's little stunt at Fenmore's had been a sorry little maneuver because Victoria's company was only treading water. Phyllis asked if Jack was going to sit and wait for them to go under when he knew that they would fight him to the end. Jack said that Jabot had superior products and more customers, and their coffers were full. He said he'd done his job, and the rest would take care of itself.
Phyllis noted how confident Jack sounded. Jack said he knew how Billy and Victoria operated. He knew their strengths and weaknesses, and they couldn't possibly win the race -- they just hadn't realized it yet.
Billy arrived at Brash & Sassy and showed Victoria the flash drive. Victoria was miffed because Billy had accessed Jabot's server. Billy advised her that Jabot was pulling back on their men's line. Billy said it was an opening for them, but Victoria saw it as a trap. Billy said he wasn't suggesting that they drop their other products. He knew they'd lose a chunk of the market when Jabot Junior hit the shelves, but they had two women's lines that they could extend with minimal cost by repurposing them.
Billy wanted them to focus on two of their products -- the mask and the anti-aging skin care line that Victor had given them. He suggested that they repurpose them into a men's line. They needed to alter the scent and put together a new branding. They would target the men that were already Dare customers and keep the products that women bought for their men. Billy suggested a "His and Hers" campaign -- side-by-side on the shelves. He said they had to do it before anyone saw that Jack had left a huge hole in the men's market.
Victoria said it would cost a fortune, but Billy pointed out that it would pay off and was their big chance at redemption. It would be a game changer, and they couldn't walk away from it. Victoria wasn't sure it was the best way to use their resources because the money Neil had given them was to stabilize Brash & Sassy. Billy was confident their plan would stabilize and rebuild by capturing a huge chunk of the men's market. Billy felt that with the sales, they'd be able to pay Neil back and still keep everything else in production.
Billy was adamant that it wasn't the time to be conservative. Jack wouldn't stop. Jack would continue biting at their heels because he wanted them out of business and out of the building. They couldn't let Jabot win. Victoria said it would kill Jack if his loss was their gain. She decided to go ahead with the plan and thanked Billy.
Outside Jack's office, Ashley apologized to Ravi about the spy games, but Ravi said he was simply protecting Jabot. Ashley told Ravi that he was her rock. She asked Ravi for an update about Graham's school records. Ravi advised that hadn't found anything. He suggested that perhaps Graham had gone to a private school. Ashley told Ravi that Graham had mentioned that his family hadn't had much money, so they wouldn't have been able to afford a private school for him. Ravi considered that Graham might have used a different last name. Ashley thought that he might have used his father's surname when he'd lived in Genoa City.
Ravi wondered why Graham would have used his mother's maiden name. Ashley suggested that Graham might have hated the man who'd abandoned him and his mother, or perhaps he'd wanted to honor his mother. She felt that Graham's motives were darker and tied in with his obsession with Dina. She wondered how far back it went.
Ashley told Ravi they needed stay focused on Myrna Bloodworth. She asked Ravi to find out where Myrna had worked, and that might point them in the right direction. Ashley wanted to know why Graham's life in Genoa City was such a mystery.
Victoria lashes out at Hilary after hearing 'ringing'
In his hotel suite, Graham was on the phone with Myrna, who warned him not to underestimate Dina. Myrna ranted that Dina hadn't cared that Myrna and Brent had been together when Dina had taken up with him. Myrna imagined that Brent had left her and Graham behind because he'd been looking for a better life with Dina, but Dina had already had one that she hadn't wanted to share. Graham realized that Ashley's anger made sense, since it had hurt her to find out that her father hadn't been the great John Abbott. Myrna advised him not to get soft when they were so close to "paying that bitch Dina back," and she pressured him to get Dina's kids to turn against her.
There was a knock at the door, and Dina called out for Graham. He hurriedly hung up and answered the door, and she demanded to know who he'd been talking to. Graham claimed that their earlier conversation had made him think about his aunt in Florida, so he'd called her to see if she needed anything. Dina informed him that she was on her way to Jabot, but Graham cautioned that Jack would pick up where Nikki had left off. Dina thought she shouldn't judge Jack, considering all of her own mistakes. Dina asserted that she'd returned to Genoa City to repair her relationship with her family, and Graham wished her luck.
At Jabot, Ashley and Jack gazed fondly at an elaborate glass trophy and recalled when John had won the Innovator of the Year Award. Jack mused that it had been one of highlights of their father's career, and he urged Ashley to hold it to feel the magic. She remembered the smile on John's face when he'd received it, and Jack said he couldn't wait to see the look on her face when she held one of her own. He became choked up as he revealed that he'd just learned that she'd won the same award, so her name and their dad's would be linked together with the honor forever.
Jack relayed that the head of the committee had told him that Ashley had been their unanimous choice. Ashley protested that she didn't deserve it, but he referred to her numerous contributions, like Jabot Go and the Parker Beauty acquisition. Jack admitted that he'd wanted the award for a long time himself, and he encouraged her to revel in it. She noted that he was full of flattery, but he believed their dad would have been the proudest of her.
Jack announced that he'd planned a party to celebrate and that Traci had already agreed to be there. He added that Abby, Dina, and anyone else Ashley wanted to invite could join them. Ashley noted that he'd left out their brother's name, and she thought Billy would wonder what they were hiding if they left him off the guest list. Jack implored her to go to Brash & Sassy to invite Billy and then sniff around to see if he'd taken the bait by accessing the fake files on the Jabot server. Jack inquired whether she was up to subterfuge, and she replied that she wouldn't be Innovator of the Year if she wasn't.
Later, Jack was surprised when Dina apologized for sending the photos to Victor. Dina insisted that she wanted what was best for Jack, and she hoped to heal and move forward together. He admitted that he wanted that, too, but she thought it would be harder to set Ashley straight. Dina explained that Ashley believed that Graham had lied about his mother being dead, but Ashley had simply been confused about an aunt of Graham's who was living in Florida. Jack suggested that Dina try to sell Ashley on the story during the party that he was throwing to celebrate Ashley winning a prestigious award that John had also won years earlier. Dina mused that Ashley and her father were alike in many ways, and Jack commented that nurture had been more significant than nature in Ashley's life.
Dina returned to the Athletic Club and informed Graham that she and Jack had arrived at a good understanding. Graham apologized for his part in making Jack angry, and he imagined that Jack had always been her favorite child. Dina recalled that she'd had a different kind of relationship with Jack than she'd had with her other children, but she'd betrayed their closeness by leaving. Graham encouraged her to get things out, and she said it had felt good to talk to him about her difficult past with Ashley. Graham assumed that Dina's marriage to John had ended when she'd told John that Ashley wasn't his daughter, but Dina revealed that John had never found out, and she vowed that it would always stay a secret.
Dina recalled that Ashley had been John's favorite, so Ashley had been devastated when she'd learned the truth. Dina hadn't been able to imagine what it would have done to John, so she'd decided to walk away to keep the secret under wraps. Graham figured that there was no harm in the truth getting out because John was gone, but Dina anticipated that Ashley would "go through hell" all over again if her paternity became widely known. Dina declared that it was the way Ashley wanted it, so it was the way it would be.
At the Ashby home, Neil was sympathetic when Lily informed him that she'd decided to file for divorce. She mentioned that she and Cane had told the kids the night before, and she lamented that the situation was unfair to them. Neil pointed out that it was unfair to her, too, but Lily was glad that no one would be in limbo anymore. He pointed out that stability was everything to a kid, and she replied, "Not just when you're a kid." He hugged her.
Lily hoped the twins found a way to forgive Cane and rebuild their relationship with him. Neil recognized that she'd been carrying a heavy burden for a long time, and he didn't have much sympathy for Cane for using her devotion to her family to drag things out. Neil assured Lily that she was a strong person who would get through it, and she thought keeping busy with work was the best medicine. He inquired whether she had been doing more modeling, but she replied that she hadn't done anything other than a couple of photo shoots for Dare with Jordan. Neil called Jordan a good friend, and Lily admitted that she'd been able to count on Jordan a lot.
At Brash & Sassy, Victoria instructed her staff to put a rush on rerunning tests on a new eyeliner. Billy suggested that she tell them not to bother, since everything they'd done to beat Jack might have been for nothing. Billy handed her the latest résumés for the executive position they were recruiting for, and Victoria groaned that the candidates had less experience than the first group. She imagined that things would be looking much different if the mess in L.A. hadn't happened, and she recognized that Cane had been good at his job, even though rehiring him would be a huge mistake. Billy insisted that she let it go, and she pledged to stay positive.
Neil stopped by Brash & Sassy, and Billy and Victoria were dismayed to hear about Lily and Cane's impending divorce. Neil announced that he was there because Lily always put her children ahead of her own needs, but Ashley interrupted. Victoria and Neil stepped into the conference room, and Ashley observed that it looked like Billy was busy. Billy chalked it up to keeping up with the Joneses in the penthouse. She inquired whether there was anything exciting in the pipeline, but he pressed her to tell him first.
Ashley revealed that she'd won the Innovator of the Year Award, and she wanted Billy to be at the party that Jack was having for her. Billy congratulated her with a hug, and he wondered if Jack knew that she'd invited him, since he didn't want to put her in the middle of their war. Ashley thought they could set the competition aside for one night, and she insisted that Billy was family. Billy promised that he would do everything he could to leave his baggage behind and not ruin her moment. He commented that his busy schedule was about to get crazier, and she pushed to find out why. He insisted that she had to wait to be surprised along with everyone else.
In the conference room, Neil told Victoria that he didn't want Lily to know he was there, and he confided that Lily seemed worried about the future. Neil pointed out that divorces were expensive, and he was sure that Lily felt like she was under pressure to provide for the twins. Neil mentioned that Lily had been doing less modeling for Brash & Sassy, and Victoria defended that they'd been trying to make every dollar count. She continued that they'd already been spending too much on advertising when they needed to hire a new executive, but she suddenly stopped. She called Billy into the room and proclaimed that she'd just thought of the best idea she'd had all day.
Later, Billy summoned Lily to the office and expressed regrets about her divorce. He recognized that she had a lot of things going on, and he anticipated that work was about to get a lot busier. Lily surmised that she should expect more time in the studio, but Billy hoped to get more out of her. He revealed that he and Victoria wanted to make Lily a full-time executive at the company, since they needed someone with management skills, and they trusted her. Lily incredulously asked if he wanted her to take Juliet's job.
Billy anticipated that Lily would take care of some of the things that Cane and Juliet had been doing, plus handling the brand ambassador side of things. Billy noted that Lily had managed the Athletic Club and done marketing for Jabot, so he and Victoria felt confident that she could handle Brash & Sassy's marketing, too. Lily hoped they weren't treating her as a charity case because her dad had lent them money, but Billy swore that she'd be helping them and the company. She gushed that she was lucky to have friends like them, and she hugged him.
Ashley returned to Jabot, where Jack told her that Graham had convinced Dina that the woman in Florida was his aunt. Jack was more concerned about what she'd found out from Billy, and she reported that Billy had been very busy and that he'd played his cards close to his vest. She suspected that Billy had taken the bait, since he'd said something about expecting a surprise. Jack crowed that the surprise would be Billy's, and it would be decidedly unpleasant. Ashley pointed out that Brash & Sassy could end up with a huge hit on its hands. Jack thought she was giving Billy too much credit, since Billy's endless need for risk would be his undoing, and he'd end up taking Victoria down for them.
Jack assumed that Billy had used Phyllis' computer to find the nugget on the server and had convinced Victoria to use all their resources to take Jabot on. Jack added that Billy was attracted to the gamble and would always be his own worst enemy. Ashley countered that Victoria understood the fine line between risk and reward, and she doubted Victoria would jeopardize her company because of Billy. Jack speculated that Victoria thought she could have Billy and a successful company at the same time, but Ashley said it didn't sound like Victoria to her.
At the gym, Hilary chided Cane for not fighting for his marriage. He argued that he had fought for months, but he questioned how his marriage could survive him fathering another woman's child. Hilary spat that he was just a quitter, and she dared him to look her in the eye and tell her that he was ready to walk away from his family. Cane figured it would cause more pain if he fought the divorce, but Hilary wondered what had happened to the guy who'd had hope that counseling was the answer. She suggested that he romance Lily by whisking her away on a trip with no distractions, and he guessed that she meant Jordan.
Cane snapped that Hilary just wanted to keep Jordan away from Lily, but Hilary swore that she cared about Cane and the twins. Cane retorted that if she did, she'd know that what he was doing was right. He recognized that he'd made one mistake after another, and he had a chance to do something right by putting someone else first besides himself. Hilary clucked that he was leaving the door wide open for Jordan, and she suspected that Lily would turn to Jordan to make Cane suffer. Cane insisted that Hilary didn't know Lily at all, and Hilary told him to keep telling himself that.
Later, a towel-clad Hilary scampered back into the gym to retrieve her water bottle. Jordan jokingly asked if it was the latest fall fashion, and she expressed surprise to see him because he hadn't been around. He explained that he'd needed to go out of town for other assignments, and she realized that he hadn't been working with Lily. He guessed that Hilary had heard the news about the Ashbys' divorce, and Hilary was shocked because she'd assumed Lily would put her family first. Jordan stressed that Lily was far from getting involved with anyone, and Hilary hoped he wasn't pining for a woman who might never see him as more than a friend. She purred that there were friends -- and then there were friends who were more beneficial than others. She opened her towel and flashed him, leaving him open-mouthed as she sauntered off.
Juliet greeted Charlie at the Athletic Club and noted that it had been a while since she'd seen him there. He glanced down at her growing belly, and she gushed that "he" had been kicking up a storm. Charlie realized that the baby was a boy, and Juliet was surprised that Cane hadn't told him. Charlie grumbled that his father didn't talk about her much, but Juliet countered that Cane had talked about the nice dinner he'd had with Charlie. Charlie doubted that it would happen again, since his parents were getting divorced, and he blamed Juliet. Juliet recognized that he hated her, but she begged him not to hate the baby.
Cane arrived at Juliet's hotel room in response to a text message she'd sent, and he asked if she was all right. She insisted that he didn't have to worry about her, but she was worried about him. She informed him that Charlie had told her about the divorce, but Cane didn't want her sympathy. He maintained that there was nothing he wanted more than to put his family back together, but he accepted that Lily wouldn't change her mind, and both he and Juliet knew why. Juliet stared down at her pregnant belly.
Juliet opened a beer and said it looked like Cane could use one, and he thanked her. He urged Juliet to take care of herself and not concern herself with his marriage, and she assured him that she would be okay. Juliet mentioned that Hilary had suggested that she consider moving back to Tokyo, and she wondered if she should make a fresh start. Cane insisted that Genoa City had become Juliet's home and that he could support her and the baby there.
Juliet remembered a time when Cane had wanted her to go back to Tokyo, but he argued that things had been different then. Juliet pointed out that she was a walking, talking reminder to Lily of Cane's mistakes, and she was prepared to move out of their lives forever. Cane urged her not to listen to Hilary and said she should just stay. Juliet agreed. He placed his hand on hers.
In the club foyer, Hilary greeted Victoria, who tried to ignore her. Hilary recalled a time when they'd been friends, but Victoria coldly stated that it had been before GC Buzz had trashed her. Hilary hoped they could put it behind them, but Victoria angrily referred to how much damage the tape had cost her, and she accused Hilary of meeting with Jack so he could feed her something for a follow-up story. Victoria hissed that Hilary had made it her mission to take Victoria down, and Victoria considered making it her mission to take down Hilary.
Victoria sarcastically wished Hilary luck with whatever sleaze her show uncovered next, although she doubted it would ever be about Jabot. Hilary pointed out that she'd sat on the sexual harassment story, but Victoria heard ringing in her ears and couldn't focus. Victoria lashed out at Hilary to stop it because she couldn't take anymore, and Jordan asked if everything was okay. Victoria bet that Hilary was kicking herself for not having a camera rolling, and she warned Jordan to be careful because Hilary would dig up trash on him and make him a laughingstock on air. Hilary and Jordan speechlessly looked on as Victoria stormed over to the bar and winced as she reached up to her head.
Jack tells Phyllis that Billy broke her trust
At Newman Enterprises, Abby was thrilled when she learned that Ashley had won the Innovator of the Year Award. Ashley mentioned that Jack was hosting a family dinner to celebrate, so she was there to personally invite Abby. Abby questioned whether Dina would be there, given the recent tension, but Ashley thought her mother would clear her calendar to attend. Ashley welcomed Abby to invite Zack if she wanted to, and she headed out. "We'll see," Abby muttered to herself.
At the Athletic Club, Zack was on the phone, griping that he had to clean up everyone else's messes, including a complication he could do without. Zack advised the person to sit tight and talk to no one while they went dark, and he'd let them know when they were ready to make their next move. He exited the club.
In the dining room, Devon greeted Mariah with a kiss, and she apologized for going off the radar. She explained that she'd been helping Tessa with something, and he admitted that he'd sensed that something had been going on, but he hadn't wanted to pry. Mariah declared that it was over, so Tessa could focus on her music. Devon mentioned that he'd had an interesting conversation with Kevin, who had made him wonder if he had competition for Mariah.
Devon continued that Kevin had been adamant that nothing romantic was going on between him and Mariah, and Mariah confirmed that she and Kevin were parked in the friend zone. Devon referred to the way Kevin had been probing about their relationship, and Mariah chalked it up to Kevin's oddball way of looking out for her. Devon was happy that was all it was, since he preferred to think that she was all his. He proposed that they take a trip to Chicago together, and she offered to be ready to go whenever he needed her to be.
Across the room, Graham approached Ashley, who snapped that she'd hoped to get work done with her coffee. Graham extended his congratulations to her for winning an award, and he mentioned that Dina had been excited. He was sure that Ashley's father would have been, too, but Ashley spat that he knew nothing about her father. Graham insisted that he was making a sincere effort, and he hated how much Ashley mistrusted him. He accepted his share of the responsibility, but he wanted to find a way to put their differences aside, since they might have more in common than she realized.
Graham pointed out that he and Ashley were both businesspeople who'd lived in Europe, and they both cared about Dina. Graham considered it to be an inescapable fact, much like the scars Ashley carried with her from childhood. Ashley figured that he thought she should just get over it, but Graham recognized that some betrayals could never be forgotten. Graham anticipated that he and Dina would eventually return to Paris, and he implored Ashley not to squander her time with Dina. Ashley replied that she had no intention of doing so, but she hoped Graham returned to Paris without Dina. Ashley stalked off.
At the club bar, Victoria sweetly asked if she could count on Phyllis to buy some raffle tickets for a haunted house fundraiser at the kids' school. Victoria rambled about how the kids were excited to plan their costumes, and she intended to ask Billy to sign up for some shifts with the other dads to help build the house. Victoria claimed that she wanted to make sure Phyllis didn't have a problem with it, and Phyllis questioned why she would. Victoria commended Phyllis for being great about the time Billy was spending with Victoria, between the kids and work, and she insinuated that it had created tension between the couple.
Phyllis insisted that she and Billy were fine, and she asked how Victoria was doing, given her dry spell after things hadn't gone well with Ben Hochman. Phyllis imagined that it had been a disappointment, and Victoria figured that it had been more disappointing for Phyllis, who had shoved Hochman at her. Phyllis taunted that Victoria had to know the real reason Billy had been spending that much extra time with her -- it was obvious that he felt sorry for her.
Victoria asserted that Billy felt a lot of things for her, and Phyllis agreed that he did -- especially after Victoria's romp with Hochman had been broadcast to the world. Victoria thanked Phyllis because being with a jerk had made her realize that she should hold out for the right man, and she described a bright, hard-working, passionate guy who was great with kids and had a bit of a gambler in him. Phyllis recognized that Victoria wanted Billy back, but she vowed that it wouldn't happen.
Phyllis said Victoria was transparent with all of her excuses to get Billy to hover around work and the kids, but he went home to Phyllis every night while Victoria returned to the empty bed that she'd kicked him out of. Victoria remarked that Phyllis' insecurities were showing, and she thought Phyllis had a right to be concerned, since there was chemistry between Victoria and Billy. Victoria figured that it was only a matter of time before Billy moved back home, but Phyllis contended that the chemistry was all in Victoria's head. Victoria questioned how Phyllis knew that Victoria and Billy hadn't kissed or done more, and Phyllis retorted that she knew Billy. Victoria countered that she did, too, which was why she knew she'd get him back. Victoria sauntered off.
Devon greeted Abby at the gym, and she asked if he loved running his new company. He said he'd always hoped to get back into producing, and he announced that he was getting ready to launch Tessa's new single. Abby inquired whether he was still seeing Mariah, and he indicated that they were in a good place. Abby admitted that she and Zack had been getting close, but she'd seen a different side to him that had been a real turnoff.
Abby recounted that Zack had stood her up and had become angry and abrupt when she'd asked about a marketing issue. Devon figured that there were reasonable excuses for what had happened, but he understood that it was hard for Abby to put her heart back out there and wondered if she was looking for a reason to back out. Abby confided that it felt different with Zack than it had with other guys she'd gotten serious with, and Devon thought there was something to be said for being friends and colleagues first, since it could turn into something wonderful.
Devon recalled that he and Mariah had been friends and colleagues when he'd first developed an appreciation for her mind and character, and it had turned into something deeper. Devon explained that it wasn't always a bolt of lightning from the sky, and he compared it to the intense feelings he'd had for Hilary, when he'd been caught up in the passion and made decisions he'd regretted. Abby remarked that she liked passion, but Devon urged her to be happy that she had a solid, dedicated guy who cared about her.
At the cottage, Tessa spoke with Crystal over the phone. Tessa was glad to hear that her sister felt safe, and she assured Crystal that Paul would protect her. She hung up as Noah entered, and she raced into his arms. After she updated him, Noah wished that he'd known what Tessa had gotten herself into so he could have helped. He reflected back on his history with women, and he realized that taking things slowly had worked against him because Tessa had also held back. Tessa swore that she hadn't meant to, and he understood that she'd been protecting herself.
Tessa called Noah an amazing guy who'd grown up in a wonderful family with security, whereas she'd grown up penniless with people who'd forgotten that they had kids to raise. Tessa praised Mariah for really stepping up, and Noah was stunned when Tessa revealed that Mariah had pretended to be Cassie to shake information out of Alice. Noah didn't know what else he had to do to get Tessa to trust him. Tessa insisted that she did trust him, but she had trouble opening up to him sometimes. He figured that she thought he wouldn't understand the way Mariah did.
Noah explained that he'd seen how much Tessa relied on Mariah, and it was how he wanted his relationship with Tessa to be. Tessa recalled how much it had meant to her when he'd taken her to his family dinner, since she hadn't felt that kind of love and laughter while growing up. Noah suggested that she could have that feeling all the time, and he invited her to move in with him. Tessa excitedly said yes, but she hoped he didn't get sick of her. He thought the point was to spend more time together and take things to the next level, and she was sure that his mom would appreciate having one less person around.
Noah questioned whether Tessa was saying yes because she felt like she was imposing on Sharon. Tessa swore that she'd accepted because she wanted to spend a lot more time with him, and they kissed passionately as Mariah walked in. Noah informed Mariah that Tessa had filled him in on their adventure, and Mariah offered to leave them alone. Noah announced that he'd asked Tessa to move in with him, and she'd said yes. Mariah plastered on a smile and stammered that it was great news.
At Crimson Lights, Scott was surprised when Sharon told him that Crystal was in protective custody. Sharon explained that it would only be until the authorities busted the sex trafficking ring, and Scott credited Sharon for everything that had happened. Scott thought that most people would have given up, and he praised Sharon for pulling it off, but he couldn't help but think of the things that could have gone wrong. Paul entered the coffeehouse, and Sharon hoped everything she'd done had led the police to arresting the people behind the ring.
Paul reported that the safe house had been emptied by the time his officers had arrived, but he had his detectives on it. He further revealed that Alice had been in a possible hit-and-run accident and was unconscious at the hospital. He added that they had no suspects. However, Alice had appeared to be heading out of town, and he surmised that someone hadn't wanted that to happen. Scott guessed that Alice had pissed off the wrong people when she'd helped Crystal escape, and Sharon lamented that it had been her fault.
Paul insisted that Sharon hadn't been responsible for what had happened to Alice, and he pointed out that Sharon had given Alice a chance to get out. Paul clucked that he didn't condone Sharon's methods, but he recognized that a young woman was free because of her. Sharon thought that Alice had truly believed that she'd been helping the girls, and she sympathized that Alice was just a lost soul who'd never put her life together. Paul mentioned that he was posting an officer outside Alice's door to question her when she was awake, but he requested that Sharon think back on her conversations with Alice in case Alice wasn't forthcoming.
Paul lectured that he didn't want to hear about Sharon pulling anything else, although he conceded that they knew more than they had before, since they'd found some paperwork and partial fingerprints at the safe house. Paul imagined that the sex ring operators had been in a rush and had gotten careless, but those were the mistakes forensics lived for. Paul offered to give Scott copies of everything as soon as the Feds cleared the evidence, and he hoped that Scott's exposé led to more arrests. Paul departed, and Sharon wanted to go to the hospital to convince Alice to cooperate with the police. Scott and Sharon left together.
Sharon and Scott hovered outside Alice's hospital room, and she noted that only family was allowed to visit. Sharon figured that she and Alice were connected through Cassie, and she hoped to ask Alice if she'd recognized the driver who'd hit her. Sharon guessed that Paul's officer wasn't there yet, and she and Scott crept into the room. Sharon pulled back the curtain and found the bed empty. Zack peered in at them from the window.
Billy stepped off the elevator at Jabot, and Jack barked that Billy was on the wrong floor, unless he was there to see what success looked like. Billy retorted that he saw plenty of it downstairs, but he wasn't there about business. Billy called Ashley's award a "hell of an accomplishment," and he didn't want his personal stuff with Jack to ruin the family dinner in her honor. The men agreed to put their differences aside to celebrate Ashley's success. Jack added that it was a waste of energy to harbor ill will, and he mentioned that he had even lessened his hostilities toward Victoria. Billy insinuated that Jack's side of the truce had been all talk.
Jack wondered what he'd done to give Billy the impression that he'd broken his agreement with Victoria. Billy conceded that Brash & Sassy couldn't compete with a budget like Jabot's, but they were doing the best they could to make up for a rough year. Billy thought Ashley would be happy if they got along for one night, and Jack said he would see Billy at the party. Billy departed as Ravi entered, and Jack pulled Ravi into his office.
Jack instructed Ravi to change Dina's password right away, since he'd determined from Billy's coy behavior that he'd found what Jack had wanted him to find. Ravi was happy to mend the flaw in the system, and Jack mentioned that Ashley had been given major accolades by being named Innovator of the Year. Ravi exclaimed that it was amazing, and Jack recognized that she never would have accomplished it without Ravi's support. Jack hoped Ravi would help him plan a celebratory dinner, since Ravi seemed to be tuned in to what made Ashley happy.
Later, Ravi handed Ashley some flowers and explained that Jack had told him about her award. He mentioned that he was helping Jack plan the dinner, and he wanted the night to be perfect. Ashley noted that she'd been in a bad mood after running into Graham, and Ravi intended to keep digging into Graham's past. Ashley invited Ravi to the dinner, and he assumed that she was doing so because he was a member of the team. She clarified that she wanted him there as her date, but he pointed out that her whole family would be there. She asked if he was up for it, and she assured him that she was, too.
At Brash & Sassy, Victoria flashed back to kissing Billy. Billy entered and announced that Lily had accepted the new job they'd offered her, and he suggested that the three of them get together to go over everything. Victoria blurted out that she had a confession to make first, since her latest encounter with Phyllis hadn't been pretty. Victoria claimed that Phyllis had been acting smug about her relationship with Billy, so Victoria had told her that things weren't as idyllic as Phyllis thought. Billy reminded her that they had to keep their professional and personal lives separate, and he stressed that he was committed to Phyllis.
Victoria noted that Billy had shown willingness to risk his relationship with Phyllis time and time again. Billy made it clear that what he'd done for Brash & Sassy hadn't had anything to do with Phyllis or their relationship. He reiterated that he'd logged on to get information to save the company because he'd had no choice. Victoria expressed gratitude that he'd been willing to take the risk, and she said she knew he regretted the one time they'd slipped as much as she did. Billy ordered Victoria not to engage the next time she saw Phyllis, and Victoria promised not to let Phyllis get to her.
Phyllis updated Jack about the latest version of the virtual dressing room app, and he asked if there was anything else he needed to know. Phyllis recounted that she'd had a bizarre encounter with Victoria earlier that day, and Victoria had informed her that it was just a matter of time before Billy dumped Phyllis and went back to Victoria. Phyllis and Jack agreed that it was unlike Victoria to get that confrontational in public, and Phyllis contemplated whether it was part of Victoria's new strategy, since Victoria had also implied that she and Billy had been hooking up.
Jack guessed that Phyllis suspected it might be true, and he asked what Billy had said about it. Phyllis admitted that she hadn't spoken to Billy, since it would only make her look insecure, which was what Victoria wanted. Jack called Billy a serial cheater who liked the excitement of the risk, and he wouldn't be surprised if Billy hooked up with Victoria again. Phyllis insisted that it was different that time, since she and Billy were always honest with one another. Jack conceded that she might have been, but he asserted that Billy hadn't been honest with her.
Jack admitted that he wasn't objective where Phyllis and Billy were concerned, but he insisted that Ravi could back him up. Jack confessed that he'd been protecting her when he'd claimed that the recent security breach had been a false alarm, but he couldn't stomach how she was professing Billy's loyalty after what Billy had done with no regard to how it affected her. Jack revealed that Billy had been the one who'd hacked into Jabot's server -- and he'd used her computer to do it.